Case Study: Trigger-Based Emails Help Onlineshoes.com Grow its Revenues
PROBLEM: Onlineshoes.com, an online retailer of women's, men's and kids' shoes and apparel, wanted to capture lost sales from consumers who either abandoned items in a shopping cart or browsed the site without making a purchase.
SOLUTION: Hired an on-demand email marketing solutions provider to develop trigger-based email programs.
RESULTS: In the three-plus months since Onlineshoes.com launched trigger-based cart- and browse-abandonment emails, the abandoned cart emails have seen an open rate increase of 400 percent, a 1,000-plus percent increase in clickthroughs, a 1,200 percent increase in conversion, and revenue per email is up over 1,000 percent compared to the brand's average promotional emails. The browse campaign's open rates are up 280 percent, the clickthrough rate is up 660 percent, conversion is up 250 percent and revenue per email is up 11 percent vs. a standard email promotion from Onlineshoes.com.
Rather than paying the high costs associated with acquiring new customers online, Onlineshoes.com focused its attention on selling to consumers already familiar with its brand. In particular, it targeted consumers who opted in to its promotional email program.
While email was already a valuable component in Onlineshoes.com's marketing mix — about 25 percent of its overall business was being generated via the channel — the company felt the medium offered more opportunity. So it asked its email provider, Responsys, to develop trigger-based programs to reach consumers who'd abandoned items in a shopping cart or browsed the site's product pages without making a purchase, in hopes of swaying them to reconsider a purchase.
Sent only to opted-in subscribers, the cart- and browse- abandonment emails are launched three days after the abandonment event with a headline that reads, "Forget Something?" An image of the highest priced abandoned product in the shopping cart or on a product page is featured with a link back to that product. To drum up cross-sells and upsells, the emails also contain dynamic product recommendations along the footer.
"We were looking for timely emails to be sent to customers who were actively either browsing the site or putting something in their carts," says Emilee Brunton, email marketing manager of Onlineshoes.com. "We wanted to make sure we were targeting customers with the right message at the right time after they were obviously interested in the site."
Subscribers Worth Their Weight in Gold
Since Onlineshoes.com's cart and browse abandonment trigger emails are only sent to opted-in consumers, email subscribers are particularly valuable to the retailer. To help it collect more subscribers, the company has added sign-up fields on its homepage; a pop-up box that appears when subscribers attempt to opt out that says, "Are you sure?," with a value proposition of what being an email subscriber gets them; pre-checked the email sign-up box on the cart page for first-time buyers (they can uncheck the box); and used Facebook to recruit new subscribers with special offers in exchange for email addresses.
Onlineshoes.com plans to test variations of its abandonment program to optimize its potential. The current wait time of three days will be tested to see if that's the optimal time before an email is sent. Offers customized to recipients of triggered cart- and browse-abandonment emails — e.g., get 10 percent off X, which you left in your shopping cart — will also be tested for their effect on conversion rates.
"We're looking to develop trigger campaigns that are relevant and personalized," says Brunton. "This is just the beginning of where we want to be going with the program."
Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.