Fifty-five percent of consumers start product searches by price checking on Amazon.com, according to a recent BloomReach survey. Fifty-five percent. This means the majority of shoppers are using price as the initial barometer for potential purchases, rather than a final deciding factor.
As e-commerce has developed, it’s brought the convenience of online, on-demand comparison shopping. Large companies like Amazon seem to have the advantage, but individual retailers offer unique benefits to earn consumers' dollars.
Focus on Benefit Variety
Price is just a single component among many elements of purchase consideration — retailers can deliver so much more. Weave a variety of benefits into your messaging strategy in order to foster subscriber trust and lead to conversion. These benefits can include the following:
- Editorial Content: Educate subscribers by highlighting merchandise through unique and relevant content. Email campaigns that focus on new trends, hot items and themed stories help shoppers make informed and inspired decisions, without relying on price alone.
Tip: Keep content concise, as 56 percent of subscribers will experience your message on a mobile device. Too much content leads to too much scrolling and lost attention.
- Dialogue: With so much feedback and sentiment expressed in online reviews and social media, retailers have the opportunity to guide the buying decision. Use all of that crowdsourced information to feature the most popular and top-rated items, videos and actual user comments in emails and on landing pages. Demonstrating how you listen and respond to customer feedback will pay dividends of subscriber trust and confidence.
- Cross-Channel Convenience: For multichannel retailers, the synergy between the online and store experiences can be a game changer. If you offer benefits such as buy online, return to store; real-time local store inventory availability; or same-day in-store pick up, don’t bury these features in footer copy or rely on a website landing page to communicate them. Use them as clear differentiators in your messaging strategy to remind potential buyers how they can get what they want both faster and easier from you.
Become a Shopper’s Digital BFF
Personalized service has been the mainstay for many retailers, like Nordstrom, for years. Translating that experience to the online shopping environment can be powerful in differentiating you from the Amazons of the world. By implementing a few personalized tactics into your email program, subscribers become customers not just once, but over and over again:
- Pay attention to shopping habits. Customize email content with relevant offers and merchandise. Using past purchase history, make recommendations about what the customer might want next. Whether it’s advance notice of a sale for a customer who always purchases discounted merchandise or an add-on purchase (e.g., you bought the dress — now add accessories), communicating that you notice what's important to customers will earn their repeat business.
- Say thank you. And say it often. It may seem unnecessary, but simply thanking a customer for making a purchase with you leaves an impact. This modest act can evoke an emotional response in recent purchasers.
Tip: Consider setting up a triggered post-purchase message to thank a customer for their business. At least 77 percent of customers will appreciate it.
- Reward loyalty. Loyalty membership is commonplace for retailers. But how are you rewarding your most faithful customers? Don’t rely on loyalty points alone. Express your gratitude for their continued business by recognizing your top customers — from a simple call-out in a subject line to advance notice of a sale or new merchandise. Use your content and offer strategy to court your fan base. Their dependability and brand advocacy is incredibly valuable to sustaining the health of your business.
Price will always be a factor in purchasing decisions. However, focusing on ways your brand can consistently deliver value expands the consideration stage to include other elements that can drive conversion. Communicating the variety of benefits offered and striving to incorporate personalization can boost retailers to successfully earn customer loyalty for a lifetime.
Bonnie Malone leads the consulting, client training, and knowledge and editorial organization of Return Path, an email data solutions provider.
Bonnie is passionate about excellent customer experience. With a background in marketing, merchandise buying and retail management, she helps companies stay relevant amid the changing digital landscape. Bonnie leads the knowledge and consulting teams at Return Path, the global leader in email deliverability. She is an active Email Experience Council committee member, featured speaker for events, and writes monthly for the Return Path blog and Total Retail.