The recent demise of once-dominant high street brands has highlighted how important it is for retailers to have an effective multichannel sales strategy.
Businesses need to be taking steps to track their customers across all touch points, which means collecting data in-store as well as online.
We previously reported data from an ExactTarget study which found that 44% of the top 95 US retailers asked customers for an email address at the checkout in-store, while 32% asked for a zip code and 27% asked for a phone number.
The value of asking for an email address was recently demonstrated to me when I bought a new bike from Evans Cycles. The cashier asked for my email address so they could send me an electronic receipt, but I have also received several marketing messages as a result.
I've previously highlighted ASOS as an example of a retailer that uses post-sales email to great affect, so thought it would be interesting to look at how a multichannel retailer uses this channel.
None of the emails from Evans have come across as spam, but instead offered me useful offers or services that also prolong my engagement with the brand.
So, here’s some of the tactics Evans Cycles uses in its post-sales emails...
1. Prize draw for reviewing the sales process
The first email I received included my sales receipt, but also offered potential cash prizes for completing online reviews.
In return for my feedback on whether I would recommend Evans Cycles to my friends I was entered into a prize draw for £250. The form also asked for my name, email and telephone number, but these are not compulsory fields.
It’s a clever way of incentivising customers to complete a simple feedback form, which may also yield some useful customer data.
However one negative point is that the email is just a basic text layout, so doesn't look particularly eye-catching or appealing.
2. Prize draw for reviewing my bike
I recently blogged 10 ways of encouraging customers to leave reviews, as displaying feedback from other shoppers is hugely important for driving online sales.
In fact, research has shown that 61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision and 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that has user reviews.
Two of the tactics I suggested were emailing customers shortly after the sales to ask for a review, and also incentivising them with a prize draw.
Evans Cycles ticks two of these boxes, as the email I received offered the chance to win £250 if I reviewed my bike online.
The landing page that I was linked to also included step-by-step instructions of how to complete the process, as well as tips for “writing a great review.”
Considering my bike only cost £260, offering £250 for a review is an excellent incentive so Evans should manage to drive a decent number of reviews through this email offer.
And the benefit that it will achieve in terms of increased conversions is likely to be worth far more than it pays out in prize money.
3. Welcome to the club
Two days after buying my bike I received another email welcoming me to the Evans Club.
I hadn’t been told I was going to be sent a further marketing email, so it could easily have come across as spammy – however Evans avoided this trap with some excellent copywriting.
The first line of the email thanks the customer for sharing their email address and welcomes them to the Evans Club with a £5 off discount code.
It then clearly outlines the benefits of the club in three bullet points, before stating what further emails the customer can expect to receive:
“Over the next few weeks we'll send you some emails designed to help you get the most out of your riding. We hope you find them useful, but if you prefer you can unsubscribe at any time”.
It’s a great example not only of how retailers should be using email for after sales customer care, but also of how to write a simple, concise message.
Evans Cycles manages to thank the customer, welcome them to the mailing list with a discount and set out the benefits of receiving the newsletter in fewer than 150 words.
4. Free bike check up
Four days later I received another email from Evans, this time congratulating me on my new bike and pointing out that I can take it in for a free check up six weeks after purchase.
It also included an invite to join a ‘RideIt’ event, which are group bike rides organised for free by Evans each month.
There weren’t any marketing or sales messages in the email; it was purely for customer service and improving the buying experience, and again shows the importance of collecting an email address in-store.
This example demonstrates the value that can be gained both in terms of customer service and brand engagement simply by asking for an email address in-store.
If the sales assistant hadn’t collected my email address my contact with Evans Cycles would probably have ended the moment I walked out the door with my new bike.
However I am now on the mailing list and, based on the emails I’ve received so far, am unlikely to unsubscribe any time soon. Therefore, it’s likely that I’ll consider Evans if I have to buy accessories or look to buy a new bike in a few years time.
But while Evans is a great example of email best practice, as with ASOS it hasn’t optimised its messages for mobile.
We’ve reported stats which show that 27% of emails are opened on mobile devices and more than a third of consumers (36%) read marketing emails on mobile. Yet Evans’ emails do not render properly on a mobile screen and require a great deal of scrolling and pinching to read them.
But that issue aside, the emails I have received from Evans have certainly improved my opinion of the brand and show the importance of collecting customer data in-store.