Email has come a long way in recent years. And it’s had to as it transformed from a rarity to a significant form of communication.
That’s great news for anyone in the ecommerce field. Because your business is online, that’s also where your most effective marketing will take place. And I think that ecommerce marketers are poised to benefit the most from email advancements.
A Tale of Two Emails
Imagine for a moment that one of your hard-working customers is taking five in the office breakroom. She pulls out her phone (because everyone does) and checks her notifications. She has a few minutes, so she scrolls through her email. Something catches her eye–it’s an email that says she can get 10% off all umbrellas in your ecommerce store.
She glances out the window; the sky is grey and rain is pelting the window. Remembering the tattered, black umbrella she used that morning on her way to work, your customer thinks to herself, “Hmm. I do need a new umbrella,” and opens your email. Right there at the top under the 10% Off banner, is a large blue button that reads, “Shop Now.”
When your customer clicks on the button, the email takes her to a wide array of charming and colorful umbrellas. Her problem becomes which one to choose–they’re all so great. “Well,” she thinks, “they’re on sale. I might as well get two.”
And just like, that, her order is complete before her break is even over.
Now imagine the same scenario, but instead of an email that says “10% Off All Umbrellas,” she gets an email that says, “10% Off All Swimwear.” Your customer glances at the window just as before. The sky is still grey. The rain is still pelting the glass. Now instead of opening your email, your customer thinks to herself, “Hmm. I won’t be wearing a swimming suit anytime soon.” She scrolls right past your email and goes on about her day. No sale. And even worse, she may be annoyed that you cluttered her inbox with irrelevant emails.
The difference between these two scenarios is “real-time data.” Real-time data is a crucial technology for ecommerce marketers to use because it changes an email based on data collected from the recipient at the moment of opening it. Data collected can be time, location, weather, and how the email is being viewed (desktop vs. mobile).
So in the scenario, I described above, the first email used real-time weather data to customize an offer that was relevant to the customer. The second email didn’t use that information. It was a traditional email that would be effective for some customers (those with warm weather) but not for all.
Real-time data increases the likelihood that your emails will be relevant to your customer at the moment he or she is reading it by customizing the email.
You could customize similar email offers by location (sandals in Florida and hiking boots in Montana), time (pajamas at night and sunglasses in the morning), device (larger font on mobile devices and smaller font on desktops).
Does Relevancy Matter?
Relevant emails matter for several reasons. The first is that “too many or irrelevant” emails sent by one brand is to the number one reason customers report the email as spam (Litmus 2017 State of Email).
The second reason is adjusting the email according to the device is critical in this mobile dominant age. 73% of customers utilize their mobile phones to access email (Liveclicker). And if the email isn’t mobile-friendly, the customers won’t wait around for you to catch up with the times. More than half will simply opt out of future emails (Litmus).
And the third reason is your bottom line as a businessperson. Using real-time data will lead to higher conversions. One powerful way to implement real-time data is by adding a countdown timer to your email offers. Countdown timers have been shown to increase clickthrough rates anywhere from 15-70 %. That can have a significant impact on your conversions.
Triggers Are Important
The example I used of umbrellas and rainy weather is obvious. But the truth of the matter is that most of us are “triggered” throughout the day on a subconscious level without even noticing it. If a customer receives an email for fishing lures on Friday afternoon, he may not realize that the email corresponds perfectly with his desire to get away from the office and relax on the lake for the weekend, but it does.
If I say jelly, do you think peanut butter?
If I say night, do you think of sleep?
Does apple cider make you think of autumn?
All of these associations come to mind without any conscious effort. That’s how you know you have an effective trigger.
Jonah Berger explains the idea of triggers and how to implement them into your marketing campaign in depth in his book Contagious. If you want to know more about it, his book is an enlightening and fascinating read for marketers.
How To Use Triggers And Real-time Data Together
But when you use real-time data in ecommerce emails, the triggers don’t have to be as well developed as they would for something like a billboard marketing campaign.
Why is that?
You have a substantial advantage as an ecommerce marketer. When you send an email, the customer doesn’t need to remember to take action at a later time. All he or she needs to do is click on your call to action button (Buy Now, Shop Here, Read More, See More, etc.).
But the significance of triggers is important to help you understand how to use real-time data in your ecommerce marketing. You don’t need a trigger as dominate as peanut butter and jelly, but the same principle applies to triggering sun hat sales in Arizona and coffee sales in the morning.
Customizing emails at “moment of open” is the future of email. Customers crave a personalized experience with companies and this is one of the best ways to create that. So consider how you could implement this technology to serve your customers better…and bump up your marketing email ROI.