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  • April 21, 2008

Takeaways from the MarketLive eCommerce Summit 2008

I attended the MarketLive eCommerce Summit last week and spoke to attendees about retail email best practices, drawing upon my subscription, welcome email and unsubscribe studies. Here are just a few of the great insights and learnings from the event:

Shopping Carts:
>>Consumers don’t really like wish lists, said Patti Freeman Evans, JupiterResearch’s research director. They’d rather just leave items in their cart, so it’s user-friendly to have persistent shopping carts.
>>Steve Webster, the CSO and VP of sales for iPost, recommended that you not immediately send customers a discount on the items in their abandoned carts, as that only trains customers to abandon their carts. However, he did recommend trying these other shopping cart abandonment tactics: (1) send customers a discount on an item in their cart if it has been there for a month or more; (2) include in your email to customers a reminder of what’s in their shopping carts; and (3) send customers a notice after a period of time letting them know that their cart is about to expire.

Behavioral Segmentation:
>>Peter Kosciewicz, the CMO of Eastwood, said the automotive tools and supplies retailer has used behavioral targeting to send their general promotions and specific promotions. (They still blast product launch emails and content emails.) Because of the targeting, which is based on an RFM analysis (of recency, frequency and monetary value of their purchases), Eastwood has been able to: increase their profit per 1,000 by 21%, their email-driven demand by 22.8% and their open rates from 17% to 28%, all while reducing their send volume by 32% and opt-outs by 14%.

Shipping Expenses:
>>52% of consumers want to see shipping costs earlier in the checkout process, according to Freeman Evans. RetailEmail Takeaway: So if you have flat shipping rates, be sure to promote those in your emails so customer are clear on the shipping fees before they even reach your site.

Re-engaging Non-responders:
>>You have to make a radical offer, perhaps a loss-leading deal, said Webster. Anything to get the person to buy something, because once they convert they’re much more likely to convert again. He added that 50% to 80% of iPost’s customers’ subscribers are disengaged.

Social Networking:
>>“Social networking is not going to be the next Google,” said Freeman Evans. “It’s not.”

Product Reviews:
>>Product reviews can get you 80% of the benefits of social and user generated content, said Freeman Evans.
>>Consumers generally write product reviews because they’re asked. RetailEmail Takeaway: So use your email marketing to ask for reviews and even incentivize them. For examples of how retailers use product reviews and ask customers to write them, explore the Product Reviews tab.

>>Freeman Evans talked about the importance of transparency, saying tell customers what you are going to do, deliver on it, and it builds loyalty. RetailEmail Takeaway: This is particularly important during the email subscription process. Tell customers what you are going to send and how often.
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