With technology ever-changing and new products flooding the market on a daily basis, retailers need to step up their game and their sales strategies in order to stay ahead. Like most merchants, Footwear etc., a California-headquartered retailer that sells a large selection of shoe brands online and through nine stores, was struggling to turn browsers into buyers.
The opportunity: Recognizing and honoring the customer’s experience
A sizeable amount of time and money is spent driving visitors to the Footwear etc. website, but once those shoppers were on the site, there was difficulty getting them to buy. Some would browse a few brands and products then leave the site. Others would add products to their shopping carts, only to abandon. All of these browsers were expressing interest through meaningful interactions they had with specific brands, products and cross-channel promotions, but Footwear etc. wasn’t utilizing all that valuable information to reengage customers and ultimately boost sales.
Sending follow-up emails seemed like an obvious tactic to engage visitors and convert them into sales, but Footwear etc. was concerned that sending messages that did not honor the experience the customer had while on the website could harm the relationship with the customer, costing immediate sales opportunities and jeopardizing customer lifetime value. Footwear etc. wanted the perfect mix of relevance in product, message and promotion.
Automated relevance: Personal and personalized triggered emails
The goal was to deliver highly relevant and timely content to Footwear etc. customers and make it easy for them to reengage in the buying process.
In the months leading up to the 2011 holiday shopping season, Footwear etc. created sophisticated customer segments which identified shoppers based on recent marketing interactions, on-site shopping and checkout behavior. Armed with a combination of comprehensive behavioral data and a new technology to leverage it, Footwear etc. sent unique, automated email messages specifically crafted to reengage each individual segment.
Abandonment: Identify visitors who engaged in the shopping process, but failed to complete the transaction. The program determined where in the check-out process customers abandoned the transaction by identifying meaningful brand, gender and product interactions shoppers had online.
· Shopping cart abandonment: Identify visitors who abandoned after carting a product, but prior to check out.
· Check-out abandonment: Identify visitors who entered the purchase funnel, but failed to complete their order. Specific attention and segment generation was paid to why they abandoned, be it a payment problem, shipping rates, or promo code challenges.
Shopper retargeting: Identify visitors who were having meaningful interactions with the website
Category shoppers: Identify visitors who interacted with specific categories (such as product centric categories like “Clogs”; shopper centric including “Men’s”).
· Brand shoppers: Identify visitors who were brand centric shoppers, having deep levels of engagement with product lines like “Dansko”, “Noat” or “UGGs”.
· Event-based remarketing: Identify visitors based on previous interactions with marketing sources including SEM/SEO by search phrases, banner ad interactions, affiliates, Shopping Comparison Engines, and email engagement. Special attention was paid to reengaging visitors who interacted with any Cyber Monday promotions, but failed to purchase.
Personalized emails make for compelling results
Metrics from Footwear etc.’s revamped remarketing campaigns significantly outperformed the results of the company’s typical email marketing campaigns by nearly 400% and were directly responsible for a 20% increase in 2011 holiday sales.
During its “Cyber Monday VIP Extension” campaign, Footwear etc. sent emails to a list of shoppers that -were driven to the website from Footwear Etc’s on-line Cyber Monday promotions, had actively browsed the website, but had not carted or purchased. To provide perspective, it would be appropriate to compare the targeted “Cyber Monday VIP Extension” email to their “Cyber Monday Announcement” email, sent one week prior to its entire house file.
By featuring a combination of targeted messaging and product, but keeping the discount the same, the VIP extension email program came within $1,000 of the same sales volume and was sent to just 1/20 the number of emails. The targeted campaign recorded $2.64 per email sent, while the non-targeted campaign generated just 10 cents per email sent.
These metrics clearly illustrate how leveraging an understanding of customers’ online experiences and being able to act on the knowledge can have a transformative impact.