On the Web: An E-Commerce Holiday Checklist, Part 2
In the July/August issue of Retail Online Integration, I discussed how important merchandising, strong navigation, instigated chat and customer reviews will be to achieving online selling success this holiday season. Here are five more things you should consider doing with your e-commerce site before it's too late:
Seed your list. Set up five mailboxes to 10 mailboxes at Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL and anywhere else you can. Don't open the seed emails (i.e., the ones you send to yourself). This tactic will give you a good indication as to where your emails are being delivered — inbox, spam folder or trash. Do this in-house; don't ask your provider to do it for you.
Test pop-up ads to capture email addresses. The Golf Warehouse frequently uses a sweepstakes pop-up ad to acquire email addresses. Birkenstock Central often gives away a free gift (e.g., socks) in exchange for an email address. Test offers, sweepstakes, a deal-of-the-day or even just ubercompelling creative to see what helps consumers want to give you their email address. Pop-ups will work. If they don't, it's likely because your bias against them is keeping you from developing killer creative.
Make sure your customer service reps (CSRs) are collecting email addresses (to the tune of 85 percent at a minimum) and mobile phone numbers. Yes, you really should try to obtain mobile phone numbers, even if you don't know what to do with them right now. It's also a great time to train your CSRs on upsell items that your web customers are most likely to buy.
A trigger email program should be the most successful program in your marketing arsenal. Don't have a trigger email program? Start one with order confirmation and abandoned cart emails.
An abandoned cart program is made up of a series of three emails to five emails. Keep the emails simple. They shouldn't look like your regular thrust emails. Personalize them, include the item or items that the consumer has abandoned and make sure there are lots of clear action directives (e.g., return to cart now).