Holiday Marketing Strategies Based on Shipping Data
The holidays are a season that invites brands and online sellers to get creative with their marketing. For many, that means a jolly tone, cheerful imagery, and plenty of holiday puns. For e-commerce merchants specifically, holiday marketing means creative uses of shipping and customer data to personalize email campaigns. Below are three email campaign types that should be in every online seller’s marketing rotation.
Regional Shipping Specials
Online sellers know the impact shipping has on their bottom line. At the same time, customers are coming to expect fast and cheap (or free) shipping. As shipping rates continue to increase across carriers, online sellers need to think beyond the norm in how and when they offer free shipping. One way to do that is with regional shipping specials.
For most shipping methods, distance matters. Online sellers can use their customer and shipping data to create geo-located customer list segments, then offer specials to those segments via email. Using a shipping method like USPS Regional Rate, which offers a flat rate dependent on distance only and not weight (up to 15 pounds or 20 pounds, depending on which box is used), sellers can optimize local and nearby shipping costs. These boxes can also be ordered online for free from USPS.From there, segment a list of customers who live in local or zones one through four, where Regional Rate is most optimal, and create an email campaign with a “locals-only” free shipping offer. According to an eMarketer report, 30 percent of consumers find it appealing to receive personalized offers based on their location. Not only can this increase orders, but it can also create a sense of local community by reinforcing a company's location.
Every holiday season brings a slew of new customers. Without the proper marketing to keep these customers around, they can often fall right back off the radar and forget about your business. That’s where win-back campaigns can be highly effective.
The best part about win-back campaigns is that they can be automated based on the last order or shipment delivery date. You can then create a “we miss you” offer, inviting lapsed customers back with a special offer. Take the personalization even further and insert a variable that mentions the last thing they purchased, and the email will feel like it was written specifically for that customer.
The same eMarketer study found that 43 percent of consumers find it appealing when a business makes recommendations based on their search or purchase history. Recognizing what your customers have purchased in the past shows them you’re paying attention to them and creates a very personal experience that converts.
Turn Procrastinators Into Early-Bird Shoppers
Every year, there are shoppers who wait until the last minute to make purchases. Those customers end up paying extra on expedited shipping to get their packages to arrive on time. Make your business the holiday hero for them by reminding them not to do that again this year, and perhaps offer free shipping when they order ahead of time.
To do this, segment a list of customers who ordered the week leading up to Christmas (or whatever holiday you're targeting). Those customers likely had to pay the premium shipping price to get those packages on time. Use that pain in your email copy and subject line in an empathetic way to show your customers that you’re here to help.
A subject line like, “Don’t pay for shipping (like you did last year)” or “Remember that last-minute gift you bought last year?” Add in a [first name] variable to the subject line, which can help increase open rates and feel really personalized when coupled with the above messaging. Within your email, empathize with the customer for having to pay a higher shipping cost, then offer the solution of free shipping if they order before a certain date.
It’s going to be crucial to stand out in the inbox this holiday shopping season, which is estimated to be another record-breaking year even while there are six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. To do that, online merchants need to use the data they have to create personalized, compelling offers their customers can’t ignore.
Christopher Vaughn is vice president of marketing at ShippingEasy, the only complete solution for e-commerce merchants to automate order imports and shipping, manage inventory, and increase sales through customer email marketing and online reviews.
Related story: Making the Best of the 2019 Shipping Rate Increases
Christopher Vaughn is VP of Marketing at ShippingEasy, the leading provider of cloud-based shipping, inventory management, and customer marketing solutions for e-commerce sellers of all sizes. For more detailed information on the Rate Changes, and how they may impact business, review ShippingEasy’s free Rate Change Guide.