Online, switching suppliers is only a Google search away. If you are not doing anything to encourage repeat business, then your customers will go elsewhere. Your return customer rate can be the difference between a failing and a thriving business, and recruiting new customers is expensive.
Staying in touch with past customers via email is a highly effective strategy for encouraging repeat purchases and building your brand. The emails can be used to send transactional, promotional informative and sales life cycle messages.
Why Email Marketing is Important
Unless you have a strategy for promoting repeat purchases, most new customers will buy once and never return. Building an email list and sending compelling email campaigns gives you a way to retain your hard-won customers by providing subscribers with a reason to stay in touch.
If your eCommerce business has not invested in email marketing, you are certainly losing sales by missing potential customers. Email marketing has the following advantages for eCommerce businesses:
Drives Repeat Business
Return customers are essential for eCommerce businesses because it keeps the cost of sale down. Search engines and social media are great for recruiting new customers. However, once a customer is acquired, email plays a pivotal role in encouraging the second purchase and beyond.
Effective Sales Channel
Research from the leading eCommerce platform Shopify shows that email traffic had the highest order conversion rate during peak periods. 80% of businesses rely on email as their primary channel for acquisition and retention (source Emarsys).
Improves Sales Performance
There are only three ways to improve revenue: increase the total number of customers, increase the total number of purchases per customer, or increase the average order value (AOV). Email can improve performance in all three areas:
- Automated welcome and abandoned cart emails can boost conversion rates.
- Win-back campaigns boost the number of purchases a customer makes.
- Lifecycle campaigns and promotions can automatically highlight high-value products to targeted customers, increasing AOV.
As your email marketing campaign matures, your list will grow performance should improve. Therefore, it is never too soon to start email marketing.
Platforms such as Amazon, Google and Facebook are growing in importance for online retailers. Whilst these platforms are a vitally important part of the marketing mix for any eCommerce business, they have several disadvantages:
- Charges. To acquire customers through platforms requires payment, either on a commission (e.g., eBay or Amazon) or advertising charge (e.g., Google).
- Do not own the customer. With marketplace platforms, you do not own the customer and cannot market directly to them.
- Potential for exclusion. If you break the platforms rule for actual or perceived infringements, you can get barred either temporarily or permanently.
With email, you own the customers, and the cost of running an email campaign is low (price of email system and any promotions).