How Retailers Can Improve Sales with Email Marketing

September 12, 2016

 

Here at ACE POS, we're busy working together with our partners to help our customers grow their businesses. Email marketing has been around for a while now but with increased privacy regulation, retailers can use tools such as the digital receipting service offered with all Star Micronics receipt printers for worry-free post-sales marketing.

For Michael Spencer of Star Cloud Services, reaching your customer and reminding them of your value matters in an era of omnichannel retail. Email can be used to engage with your customers, driving traffic to your website and increasing brand loyalty and visits to your store or restaurant.

Adding Value to the Customer Journey

Building high-value relationships with your customers takes time, and it takes reaching them effectively on different channels, all with your own brand’s natural tone. The best email marketing inspires, educates and helps your customers.

According to Shopify, the ROI of email marketing is around 3,800% for small and medium sized businesses.

Acquiring new customers, retaining them and attracting them to seasonal events back to the store, Email can play a major role in all of these, as well as keeping customers in the loop about special events, promotions, your brand’s story and time-limited deals, contests, and much more.

Email is also a great way to spread your brand’s organic reach with minimal investment of your time and money.

 

Email is a high Return on Investment for Retailers & Small Businesses

For every $1 dollar you spend, you gain about $40 on your return; that’s a ratio many retailers need to tap into. With targeting, automation and proper personalization and segmentation of your list, your Email performance is what you put into it.

Seasonal Campaigns

It’s important to signal your loyal customers about your next event or promotion and what products you are offering during this time.

Emails can be integrated or part of your loyalty rewards program and work along with other channels. Some customers may prefer to receive offers on SMS, while others will prefer to stay up to date on your brand via social media.

Retailers should have a seasonal calendar with different campaigns they will send throughout the retail calendar; this will help ensure that you are actively communicating with, reaching out to and keeping customers up to date.

Acquiring Emails and Phone Numbers of Customers

Giving customers the choice to give as much personal info as they would like and by specifically asking them if they prefer to receive Email or SMS communications is important.

With Millennials growing up texting, some may prefer to receive a text message than an Email. Open rates and click-through rates also tend to be substantially higher via SMS.

Typically, a customer is giving you this information to benefit from your loyalty rewards program in addition to receiving promotions. Good basic information to acquire would be:

  • Name

  • Email or Phone Number

  • Postal Code

  • Frequency of messages they prefer

  • Channel of preference: Email or SMS


Create an Incentive for Customers to Sign Up

  • Pairing your Email marketing with your loyalty program makes sense because typically you’ll want to offer your customers something in return for giving you their personal information.

  • Ask for Email at time of purchase/Opt-in customers to Loyalty Program

  • Have a non-intrusive pop-up on your website to acquire Emails

  • Offer access to loyalty points, tiers and other benefits of your loyalty rewards program.

  • Discount offer on next purchase.

  • Raffles (chance to win x,y,z).

  • Mail List Checkbox at Ecommerce Checkout (if applicable).

  • Hold contests on your most popular social media channels to acquire Email addresses by inspiring user generated content (UGC).

  • Offer discounts on friend referrals of Email sign ups.


Create Emails for Mobile Devices

Since over 50% of Emails are checked on mobile devices, make sure your Emails look as good as possible on the following clients with the most attractive subject lines. Once you’ve gotten their attention, conversions still typically take place on desktop computers.

Apparel retail customers in particular, at 62.5% opening Emails on a smartphone, according to Marketing Land, tend to be younger and more mobile native and since a majority of them view Emails on their smartphones, implementing SMS marketing would be a greater priority for those customers.

Since the majority of Emails in 2016 are first opened on mobile devices, they should be highly scannable with offers that “jump out” at the audience. Highly polished images, “can’t miss” special offers, with a sense of anticipation and urgency, links to videos and blogs, etc.

What to do with a Customer Email List

  • Grow it and patiently nurture it.

  • Let those who aren’t interested self-select (unsubscribe).

  • Don’t bombard your customers with the same message or too frequent messages.

  • Segment your list while targeting and personalizing messages with special offers as much as possible.

 
Choosing the Right Email Service Provider (ESP)

There are literally hundreds and thousands of ESPs on the market, choose one that is easy to use with the highest reviews that is affordable to your retail or restaurant business.

While MailChimp is often cited, it is not necessarily the best for your small business. Some top contenders might include:

  1. SendInBlue

  2. Campaign Monitor

  3. Constant Contact

  4. Zoho Campaigns

  5. AWeber

  6. iContact

  7. GetResponse


Writing Awesome Emails

  • Create copy that’s personable, laid-back and actionable.

  • Study the Emails of brands like you want to become.

  • Test, A/B test and try different subject lines to different segments of your audience.

  • Make sure your images have embedded text in them.

  • Leverage gratitude and being thankful to customers.

  • Add a tone of excitement, urgency and anticipation.

  • Think of the first impression and feelings the message elicits.

  • According to HubSpot, 65% of users prefer messages with mostly images.

  • Provide useful relevant information that’s helpful and not simply sales-centric.

 
Compete with Yourself

While it’s useful to know industry benchmarks, there are many variables governing why your open rates and click through rates (CTR) may be higher or lower.

It’s important to monitor these analytics, but not obsess over them and to improve on your own campaign performances and measure whether they lead to greater sales or in-store visits.

 

Depending on the kind of small business you are, having over 20% open rates and 2.5% click rates is a good benchmark to measure the success of your Email campaigns. Anything higher than these means you are likely doing a good job and have responsive customers.

Why Start Email Marketing Now for your Small Business

While store owners and SMB retail brands are typically quite busy, the benefits far outweigh the costs of implementing Email marketing and improving customer engagement with your products and services.

If you still aren’t sure, here’s why you should do it:

  • Helps build credibility, trust and engagement for your brand and business.

  • Email Marketing is a preferred lead generation channel for Marketers.

  • Email is easily trackable with sophisticated analytics and automation features.

  • Email campaigns are relatively easy to implement.

  • Email can boost Ecommerce sales and in-store traffic to seasonal shopping events.

  • Helps build a loyal customer base to boost sales and lead to higher lifetime customer value.

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