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The Methodology of Inactive Customers – eCommerce Email Marketing

Oh the joys of eCommerce. You fight to gain your new consumers, get them to your website only to lose them after purchase or two. We all hate inactive customers. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to reduce your customer churn and build a bank of loyal customers that stick with your brand?

Have your customers broken up with you? How are your efforts at winning them back going? Is it even possible to win back inactive customers? If you are asking yourself any of these questions then you need to read on. Understanding the methodology of inactive customers will help you put together a killer eCommerce email marketing campaign. 

eCommerce Email Marketing

As an online business, if you are not already laying down plans to re-engage inactive customers, you are undermining your sales. Repeat customers are very valuable to an online retailer. Whilst many of these businesses agree that it is indeed cheaper to retain customers rather than woo new ones, very few are making an effort to win-back their inactive customers. Time to reduce your churn.

Email marketing is a great way to retain customers while also looking for new ones. It provides the means to share information about your products, promotional programs, offers and other information that will lure customers directly to your ecommerce sites. As such, one of the ecommerce best practices for marketing is indeed email automation.

Consider your inactive customer like a student who is daydreaming in class and you are the teacher who needs to retain his/her attention. What do you do? You create and implement engagement strategies. In online retailing re-activating inactive customers is done using various strategies such as the win-back campaign via email to recapture their waned attention.

Win-back campaigns will only be successful if you understand the methodology of the inactive customer.

Identify Lapsed Customers

Who are your lapsed customers? Starting off your campaign means having to identify the customers who may have gotten disenchanted with your brand, and hence, the key ingredient is customers who have made at least one order in the past.

Next, identify the average purchase frequency for repeat customers such that you can classify whattime-scale makes this customer considered inactive. Customers who have not made a purchase in the last X amount of days, with X representing average purchase frequency value. For instance if your eCommerce store sells cosmetics, you can focus on customers who have not made a purchase in the last 90 days and thus peg them down for the campaign. Or you could decipher a customer inactive according to number of items purchased.

Once you have identified the customers who have been disenchanted with you, the next step is to make a win-back email marketing campaign that is personalized, compelling and appealing.

Fortunately these customers have already given you permission to interact with them during past dealings and hence, the likelihood of them opening your emails is higher than it would be for a new customer.

Give Specialized Attention on the Most Valuable of These Customers

Today, there are technologies such as Remarkety that can spot the customers that are at risk of becoming inactive so that you can target them using your win-back campaign to. Identifying the most valuable of them based on their purchase frequency, average order value and recent order will help you segment customers according to purchase values, frequency of orders and overall customer LTV.

Armed wih this information, you can decide how much effort to put in while trying to lure the customers back into the good sea of your products and services.

Why Did Your Customers Leave?

Finding out why your customers left or stopped buying is the first thing you need to understand when creating a win-back campaign. There are many reasons why a customer could cut ties with an online business:

  •         The consumer may feel they were treated poorly.
  •         Often customers may have been dissatisfied with the service or the products your eCommerce store offers.
  •         Some probably only purchased a product from you because you were offering a great deal on it.
  •         They have since changed their email address and maybe even used the new address to sign up for a new account with you.
  •         Their circumstances and interests may have changed since their last order.

Identifying the major reasons why customers have become inactive is a great way to improve your business. Use this information to create your eCommerce best practices and form your campaigns. For instance, you can use surveys to look for the common reasons or problems that cause customer to ghost you.

Once you figure out from the feedback why ‘it is you; not them,’ then you can work on these problem areas and spin this into a “We Fixed It” campaign such as Domino’s did with their, “The Pizza Turnaround” campaign.

Now onto the win-back campaign!

The Design of the Win-Back Email Campaign

The Subject Line

This should have the customer’s first name and a tag such as “we miss you”. It can also mention a discount.

A good example of an effective subject line: 

“Firstname, We Miss You. Come back this week for 20% off your entire order.”

The subject line is meant to capture the customer’s attention and get them to open and read the contents.

The Content

While the content should be short and go straight to the point, it should also contain a personal tone. Try mentioning a past order or highlight their favourite browsed categories. However, remember; content that doesn’t offer an incentive for the customer would not make for a successful win-back campaign.

Relevant offers may include: 

  • An offer could either be monetary; offering a discount or free delivery, or non-monetary; offering services such as a free gift with purchase of certain items or gift wrapping services.
  • Send them an email to follow-up on the offer, remind them and emphasize on the urgency of that offer. For example, you could make the offer time-based as in the case of Adidas time-based offers.
  • Use technology to identify the categories and products they expressed interest in. Send them an email offering a discount from these categories. This personalises the email with past purchases and browsing history images with links to these products pages for more details.
  • Follow-up with more emails by making use of email automation as some may go unopened. Just be sure to stop at four or five and avoid being considered as spamming.
  • Finally, always utilize customer data to create a simple and responsive email design with clever and personalised content. Win-back inactive customers through a compelling email marketing campaign.