4 Automated Product Alerts to Improve the Customer Experience
I recently read that 205 billion emails are sent every day, but my initial thought was that the number seemed too low. I got that many just yesterday! Though it didn’t always used to be this way, many of us continue to be bombarded by retailers sending three emails every morning and nine or 10 by day’s end.
Consumers and marketers alike wish that retailers would take mom’s advice to heart and follow the mantra, “if you don't have anything relevant to say, don't say anything at all.” I believe marketers would actually subscribe to that theory, and I would be able to avoid a brand’s latest promotional email featuring women’s bathing suits. Simply put, marketers need to do a better job personalizing their communications. Sending seven messages to everyone each day and assuming one of those will work for a majority of the audience is wishful thinking.
Instead, if there's something relevant that has happened with your product catalog in the past 24 hours that might be interesting to a specific customer, use knowledge about that customer's interests and send the appropriate information. For example, if a price has changed in my favor for something I’ve looked at many times, it would be relevant for me to know that. And let’s not forget that a single view of a product doesn't count as significant engagement that warrants an email.
To further expand on this, here are four other types of product notifications that all retail marketers should implement:
1. Low Inventory: Don’t let your customers miss out on the expensive 85-inch television they've been pining over for the past three months. There are only four left! To ensure they get one, customers needs to know the product is almost gone so they can purchase immediately. The precise low inventory number will vary depending on sell-through risk, but the right contextual marketing technology will be able to tell the difference between low inventory of a product like televisions compared to batteries.
2. Back in stock: Say your customer still misses the low inventory notice. Luckily, more televisions have just arrived and you can let them know that they’re back in stock! Remember, these customers are high-value shoppers that have already shown lots of interest in the product.
3. Discontinued product: It’s one thing to let shoppers know that inventory is running low, but it’s an entirely different thing to share that a favorite, repeatedly purchased tennis shoe style is being discontinued. Giving your invested shoppers a heads up that this unfortunate event is happening allows them to stock up now instead of being disappointed later.
4. New products: Even the most diligent shoppers can make mistakes and miss the insight that their favorite shoe is discontinued. Now they're browsing for new shoes with no such luck. Retailers should target these consumers with a new product email showing at least the top six best new tennis shoes.
Each of these product notification campaigns is easy to execute and will provide relevant information to your customers. Please keep in mind that these customers shouldn’t receive any of the other 43 emails you're planning on sending them that day. If you don't have anything relevant to say, don't say it at all. However, there’s always something relevant that can be said if you’ve got the knowledge.
Jason Fordham is vice president of strategic solutions at SmarterHQ, a contextual marketing technology provider that retailers use to deliver personalized email and web experiences.
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