Pivoting Your Email Strategy Amid COVID-19? Treat it Like Black Friday
If there's one thing every retailer can agree on it’s this: on any given day of any given week you must listen to your customers. Even amidst all of the COVID-19 news, this basic principle still reigns true.
With millions of people across the U.S. working from home, retailers need to keep a careful watch on how shoppers are interacting online. Our team recently took a look at customer interaction during these uncertain times and found that email open rates are increasing by 17 percent as more consumers pivot from mobile to desktop. This data suggests there's a fundamental shift in online consumer buying behavior.
So what does this mean for retailers? Essentially, they need to treat every day like these changes are the new normal. Don’t develop marketing strategies under the guise of “well, when things go back to the way they were before.” How people think about buying from brands has forever changed, and now is the time for retailers — especially those in nonessential industries — to closely analyze what their customers are doing. This will allow retailers to better conceptualize how they can develop strategies that will put them back on the growth track.
During these unprecedented times, what follows are two key strategies every e-commerce brand should keep in mind.
Treat Your Promotion Strategy Like it’s Black Friday
One strategy that's working for nonessential industries like fashion, luxury and beauty is deploying email and marketing strategies similar to Black Friday or Cyber Week campaigns.
It’s typical in e-commerce to limit sitewide sales in Q1 after a promotion-heavy Q4. Not to mention, heavily discounted promotions run the risk of devaluing a brand. However, around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, retailers run deals that benefit their customers, allowing them to buy more gifts for their families. We’re finding that the same principle applies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For example, a fashion retailer experienced a 32 percent growth in conversions online after adopting a strategy similar to its Cyber Week campaigns during COVID-19. The retailer was able to do this by pulling forward promotions so they were easily accessible on its website, as well as increasing the frequency in which it was sending emails to its customers. Consumers right now are looking to take advantage of deals they may not normally receive from nonessential industries, especially luxury retailers.
By pulling forward promotions and increasing the frequency of emails to their customer base, retailers can work towards growth and remain leaders of their respective verticals.
Promote Valuable, Not Just Revenue-Generating Content
While increasing the rate at which retailers send emails is something that can help them remain competitive, this isn’t the time to express urgency or fear. Don’t be overly aggressive in deploying content that indicates customers are running out of time or reminds consumers of the growing pandemic, such as “while you’re bored at home because of COVID, check out our sitewide promotion.” This will have the opposite effect of what's intended.
Alongside sales and promotions, develop content that reminds customers why they value you as a brand. For example, for beauty brands, this is a great time to send makeup tips or trends. For a pet toy brand, send entertaining, lighthearted content like funny dog videos. Retailers don’t need to always send revenue-generating content to improve brand equity and show shoppers why they're a company they should trust.
It’s more important now than ever for retailers to listen and react to what their customers are doing. Closely analyze how they're responding to your content, and don’t be afraid to quickly pivot. Provide your customers with content that reminds them that you’re more than just a brand, but human too.
Ryan Urban is the co-founder and CEO at BounceX, a global marketing technology company.
Ryan Urban is the Co-Founder and CEO at BounceX, a global marketing technology company. Under his leadership, BounceX has been ranked number one overall for both employee retention and career development by ComputerWorld, named one of the best places to work in NYC by Crain’s New York, and honored as one of Fortune’s best places to work. A veteran of the e-commerce space, Ryan was formerly Director of Acquisition at Bonobos and prior to that, Head of Ecommerce at Brickhouse Security. He has served on the advisory boards of both BabyAge.com and Bonobos.