Move Beyond Email Marketing in Ecommerce

Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in emails.

Between work emails, catching up with friends on the other side of the world, flash sales from fashion brands, the seven daily emails from Amazon, and the confirmation of orders I’ve placed, my inbox is never even close to reaching zero.

The amount of emails being sent is reaching extraordinary levels. In 2017, the total number of business and consumer emails sent and received per day reached 269 billion. This is expected to continue to grow at an average annual rate of 4.4% over the next four years, reaching 319.6 billion by the end of 2021.

Email has reached a saturation point as a channel. According to HubSpot, 96% of consumers have unsubscribed from a mailing list, with the top reason for 78% being the sheer volume of emails being they were receiving from a company. And GDPR certainly didn’t help any.

If you’ve only invested in email marketing, you’re not only missing out on massive revenue opportunities from other channels, you also risk losing business by annoying customers with overwhelming amounts of emails.

Every B2C marketer must invest in omnichannel marketing in 2018 or you won’t remain competitive. It’s time to move beyond email marketing and make the move to omnichannel.

Try retargeting ads

Shopping cart abandonment continues to be a major issue in ecommerce, with an average of 69% of online carts abandoned by users. One common tactic used by forward-thinking B2C brands is to send out an automatically triggered shopping cart abandonment email whenever a buyer leaves a product behind. This email usually reminds the customer what items are in their basket and invites them to continue and finish the purchase.

But instead of sending an email when a customer abandons a shopping basket, why not try retargeting ads so your buyers are reminded of the items they nearly bought as they continue to move around the internet. These ads make it easy for customers to come back and complete the purchase without even offering a discount. This is a great option, instead of emailing a coupon to persuade them to buy.

This doesn’t just apply to consumers who are at the shopping cart abandonment stage either. You can also create browse behavior retargeting ads for people who have looked at the same product on your website several times, but have not completed a purchase. You can also target buyers who have spent a lot of time browsing your website but didn’t buy anything. If you collect data on their browsing habits, then you can make sure retargeted ads appear after they leave your site and continue to browse the internet, instead of sending yet another email.

Send push notifications

Another channel to use instead of sending an email is push notifications, which you can either send on the web, through your mobile app, or via text message. For example, when a customer is browsing a product but it’s currently out of stock, you might normally send them an email when it’s back in stock so they can complete the purchase. Instead, you can send them a push notification, which is a more immediate way of letting them know the product is back in stock.

This is especially key if the product is in high demand or it’s time sensitive. It shows that your ecommerce brand is paying attention to what your buyers care about most and that you want them to have a superior customer experience. They’ll be in the know, and they’ll appreciate that your brand told them first.

cart abandonment

However, push notifications come with a few risks. First, need the consent of the customer before you can start sending them text messages and mobile app notifications, so make sure to ask them to opt-in during the signup process. In addition, push notifications can be you very intrusive for buyers. You have to be careful how you use this tactic since it can annoy some people. But used correctly, they drive seriously high engagement.

Get creative on social

As well as using paid social media ads as a way of retargeting customers, it’s also important to use this channel organically to build up a loyal base of engaged followers. If you’re a new brand, you can use email as a way to alert your subscribers to your social media presence and offer incentives and coupons for following you.

Once you’ve started to build up a following, then you can use social media in a way that will turn casual buyers into loyal customers and improve their engagement with your brand. One key way is to offer your fans benefits for following you and becoming a brand ambassador. This could be advance notifications of in-person events, or coupons and discounts that are only available through social media channels.

With the right focus, social can help drive more engagement and allow your brand to rely less on email marketing overall. Now, just to be clear, we’re not saying your B2C brand should stop using email. But we are saying that you shouldn’t ONLY use email for all your marketing messages. This is true for all of the channels we’ve mentioned above as well — no channel should be overused or used in isolation.

It’s important to know which channel to use and when in the customer journey you should use by measuring and tracking engagement metrics across all channels and devices to get a single view of your customer. By using a variety of channels together as part of an omnichannel strategy, you can strengthen your brand, improve engagement, and ultimately leads get better ROI on your marketing campaigns.

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