We all know how important email marketing is for customer retention but are you using this tool to its fullest potential? Customizing specific offerings for your customers based on their past purchases and interests, can take your customers from simply opening your emails and briefly browsing your site, to actually making repeat purchases in an easy, frictionless way. Here’s how you can make this happen.
If you're an e-commerce merchant and you aren't leveraging email marketing to its fullest, you're throwing away your most qualified leads that drive most repeat purchases. Either you're building an email list with people who choose to subscribe to your newsletter to be informed about a product or service you sell, or they're already a customer you've sold your products to. Either way, these are the audiences you can command attention from much more easily than social channels and advertising. And in doing so, you should make it as easy and frictionless as possible to get them to checkout one more time. And then one more time.
Selling via email
If you're promoting a newsletter for people to subscribe to, do you know why they're subscribing? If there's a way to capture that person's reason for subscribing, you can better target them with email content that will be relevant. However, you definitely know what products they're interested in if they've bought from you before. And if you've been thoughtful about the products and services you offer your customers, you can easily promote another relevant product to them.
The problem with the classic e-commerce store is that it's designed for browsing and discovery, and isn't focused on selling a specific product without distractions. This may be OK for customers who find your website through SEO or organically through other means. The conversion rate of these customers is likely the lowest of all. If you're looking to create highly optimized channels to promote your products, content publishing and SEO can have its place. But you're still targeting an anonymous customer. Email marketing allows you to gather information about an email address on your list and target specific customers with specific products, and your e-commerce store simply becomes the funnel to collect payment for products they've already discovered and decided to purchase in an email promotion.
Limit customer distraction
When selling products via email, you don't need your customers to browse your e-commerce store. You simply want them to complete the transaction through a link in your emails. You've got several options to do this, of which the popular and effective approach is to use a single-page checkout platform such as OneClick Upsell or CartHook when selling physical products on Shopify. If you're selling digital products, you've got more options such as Gumroad or ClickFunnels.
Single-page checkout platforms eliminate the distractions that come with a full-blown e-commerce store by facilitating a marketing landing page focused on a single product for sale. This is great if you're building your email campaign around a single product. However, sometimes it may be easier (and possibly more cost effective) to skip the custom landing page and focus your attention on the email content alone. This is where we can take advantage of a little-known feature of Shopify, which allows you to build custom links that add products and discounts directly to your customer's cart. Using this feature, you don't need to link customers to product detail pages and rely on them to add the product to their cart –the work is done for them.
Use cases for Shopify Checkout links
A little known feature of Shopify is their Checkout link or Buy Button feature. These features are purposely built for email promotions to reduce friction when selling new products to existing customers or leads and provide a personalized experience. This feature can be powerful if used creatively.
The key to using this feature is not simply how to create the checkout links, but to devise a strategy for what products to promote. You'll need to be able to track purchase history of customers in your email marketing tool, and segment them based on specific products and oftentimes features of the product variant such as size, color or category.
Post-purchase add-ons, upsells & cross-sells
The most common goal of emails is to sell products related to customers' previous purchases, oftentimes as post-purchase add-ons, upsells and cross-sells. These complement the previously purchased products or promote a different type of product the customer might be interested in.
When you track the purchase history of your customer, you can create campaigns targeting customers who bought a specific product. Then select a new product you want to promote and create checkout links with those products embedded. You may need to create individual links for each product variant, to target your customers with the proper size or color. This is where you have the opportunity to really improve the personalized experience of your emails, further increasing the relevance and likelihood that your customers will click and buy.
Some businesses tend to curate products for their customers, such as B2B businesses that know what their customers have purchased in the past and likely need to replenish on a regular basis. Or there's a need to curate new products B2B customers may be interested in purchasing. In this B2B case, providing pre-built checkout links makes it much easier for customers to re-buy because they are not typically looking to browse and shop on your e-commerce store.
How to create Shopify Checkout links
How to create Shopify Cart links
Shopify has a way to build links that place products with quantity and discount into a customer's cart. The process to achieve this can be a bit tricky and technical, but provides several features not only to place items in the cart, but can also allow you to pre-fill the checkout form with your customer's information to make the checkout that much quicker. The trickiest part other than getting the format of the link right is the process if digging up the product variant ID you want to use. There are a lot of steps and pieces to put together, but the end result is powerful.
At The Pony, we’ve developed a Shopify Link Builder to make it extremely simple and non-technical to build cart links quickly and let you get on with your email campaigns. (Also, check out our accelerated version of pre-built Shopify carts which remove the entire checkout process for customers of yours for whom you have a credit card on file.)