Seal the Deal with Triggered E-mails

Mar 24, 2008 11:49 PM  By

Congratulations. You send triggered e-mails to customers who experience a lifestyle change. That’s great. But do you also send them when the person has abandoned a shopping cart or placed an order?

The point in both cases is to capitalize on an event that is unique to the customer at a given moment. But many marketers ignore everyday activities—and that’s a mistake.

Everyone experiences abandoned carts. Customers place items in their cart but never check out. There are many reasons– the shopper may not really need the item, or may not think you have the best deal. But you do know that the person was close to making a purchase—and you know exactly what items they wanted.

Your choices are to hope for the best (that they return to make their original purchase at a later date) or take action to seal the deal. Triggered e-mail allows you to take action every time a cart is abandoned. The objective? To move that prospect off the fence and close the deal.

How do you do it? Offer free shipping, a discount across the entire order, a bigger discount off any one item in their cart. Be creative and test different options to see what moves your abandon cart customers from fence-sitter to buyer.

Then there are order confirmations. Here you are dealing with the hottest of hotline buyers immediately after their purchase. Why not capitalize on it and sell more to them even before their initial order is out the door?

This case calls for a more customized approach. You are most likely to make an add-on sale if there is some connection to what they just bought. For example, if you are confirming a purchase on swim wear, offering to add a swim cover up or flip-flops to the order before it is shipped is more likely to get a positive reaction than offering a new pair of slacks or laptop computer.

This requires a bit more offer development to make offers that are relevant to the order being confirmed. Programming may be needed to hold the original order for 24 hours to ensure the additional purchase is added to the original order.

However, the payoff can be big with these super-hot hotline buyers. Offers that are particularly enticing – “add to your order with zero incremental shipping expense” or “add a membership club to your purchase and save on your order”.

Of course order confirmation offer can’t be made with orders that have paid for expedited delivery – no one wants the order they paid overnight delivery for held up to add incremental items.

Abandoned carts and order confirmations are “events” that occur with regularity. Instead of letting them pass without action, set up a triggered e-mail program and use these events to enhance your brand and add to your bottom line.

Shari Altman is president of Altman Dedicated Direct, a direct marketing consultancy specializing in customer acquisition, catalog, continuity, DRTV, and loyalty marketing. She can be reached at SAltman@AltmanDedicatedDirect.com.