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Like the excitement you feel when getting a phone number to set-up a date, gaining an email address from an ecommerce website visitor is the first step in building a relationship and turning that shopper into a customer.
But how can an ecommerce site gain visitor confidence in order to encourage them to provide their email address?
The following are a selection of industry best practices that help online retailers build relationships with visitors and gain email addresses:
With over a billion people already on Facebook, chances are pretty high that a site visitor is registered with the social network. Why not offer a visitor the chance of signing in via Facebook?
Beyond getting the visitor’s email, you’ll gain a new channel through which to build a relationship: Facebook. And as our experience has shown, users will leave a website if they can’t find or don’t remember their login, so enabling registration via Facebook removes a barrier to entry while enabling increased personalization.
Add a discount on the prospect’s next purchase in order to ‘close the sale’ and earn their email address.
Email their shopping cart
For as long as there have been shopping carts, shopping cart abandonment has been a problem for ecommerce retailers. In fact, looking back at abandonment studies from a decade ago show that despite the increased familiarity with ecommerce, rates still haven’t improved.
One proven solution for reducing shopping cart abandonment is to offer visitors the option of emailing their shopping cart to themselves with one-click access.
With 24% of carts abandoned by shoppers who want to save products for later consideration, emailing shopping carts can significantly increase conversions for this large segment of shoppers.
How soon should you email the shopping cart? According to our research, sending the first email an hour after the shopping cart was abandoned with another one or two follow-up emails over the next few days if the shopper hasn’t purchased is a best practice.
Name your price
Another tactic which I’ve seen ecommerce sites use is to offer visitors the option of ‘Naming Their Price’ for selected products.
Tapping into this variable pricing trend used in ecommerce over the last decade brings gamification (and personalization) into the shopping experience, and is a natural way to earn a visitor’s email address.
One way to make ‘Name Your Price’ a successful and profitable tactic is to incorporate social responsibility into the pricing.
According to research from “Shared Social Responsibility: A Field Experiment in Pay-What-You-Want Pricing and Charitable Giving” published in Science magazine, a product being sold via ‘Name Your Price’ generated significantly more revenue (and profit) for the company and charity when customers were told that half of what they pay for the product would go to a specific charity.
Though this is one of the oldest ways for obtaining an email address, it’s still one of the most effective ones. Include content on your site which will make a visitor want to receive your newsletter and throw in a discount on their next purchase to make this tried and true tactic a success.
A lot of online retailers show a newsletter sign-up form to new visitors on the first page of their visit, but from our experience, we recommend only asking new visitors to sign-up for a newsletter after spending several minutes on your website OR visiting five pages.
Emails enable new opportunities with mobile commerce
According to research from Shop.org and Forrester, on average, retailers say that 28% of emails sent to customers are first opened on a smartphone.
Small and medium sized retailers say that on average 42% of their emails are first opened on a smartphone. These results are in-line with the feedback we’re hearing from our clients regarding mobile email open rates.
With email reading increasingly migrating to mobile platforms, retailers need to optimize their emails to work across the range of smartphone and tablet mobile devices and operating systems.
In addition to the challenge of email optimization, mobile email provides retailers with opportunities for better, more immediate interactions in real-time.
One such opportunity for online retailers is through the integration of click-to-call functionality into their email marketing campaigns.
By letting users call directly from an emai, retailers will improve conversion rates and reduce shopping cart abandonment through this mobile-friendly solution.
Having visitors signing up for email is the first step to building a relationship with a customer.
But in the same way that being late or checking your phone too frequently on that first date can end a relationship before it even began, online retailers must respect the trust their visitors have shown by providing their email address, and work to build a long-term relationship.
By understanding a customer’s needs and sending personalized, timely and relevant emails, online retailers will build relationships which increase the customer’s life-time value.