Here are some ways email can help retailers shine:
1. Email is the glue between Web site and physical stores. Email plays a significant role in converging the experience of a brand’s site with its physical locations. Here are a few that work well:
Site to store: Many major retailers have offered a site-to-store ordering feature for years. Email is often a critical part of creating a seamless path from site ordering to store pickup. When an order is placed, the email often serves as the digital receipt to make for a quick process at the point of pickup. Once items are physically carted out of the store and the transaction is complete, an order pickup email can be triggered.
Replenishment: For example, Walgreens makes refilling prescriptions very easy through email. When a prescription is due for a refill, the company sends an email to the customer. The customer’s reply automatically kicks off the process of getting that drug refilled. Once the refill is ready, Walgreens sends another notification letting the customer know it is ready for pickup.
2. Email is location- and mobile-savvy. Here are a few ways you can leverage location capabilities in email:
Store Locator: The ability to show store locations nearby based on a shopper’s physical location is now commonplace, due to open-time personalization technology. Having store locations shown at the time of open on mobile devices makes it easy to tap the location and let GPS guide the customer right to your store.
Geofences as an email trigger: It’s now possible to use your app to tie together the identity of your customers that have the app and are also email subscribers. The app tracks location if you’ve enabled that functionality, and when an app user enters a geofence, you can trigger an email to invite the customer to stop in or to highlight special deals happening that day.
SMS email sign-up: Put signage around your store, so that when people are waiting to check out, you can provide an on-the-spot coupon in exchange for an email address. This is a simple and quick way to acquire new email subscribers that can help you drive customers back to the store or the Web site. Be sure to create a welcome program for these store subscribers that recognizes where they signed up and provides information on their local store.
3. Email brings utility, even for customers without an app. Branded apps are not always useful or valuable, so what can you do to provide the utility of an app without having to build one?
Electronic receipts: Customers don’t always want to carry around paper receipts or download the app to have access to account and ordering history. Stores like Home Depot and Ann Taylor Loft have done a phenomenal job of sending store receipts via email, using this as a strategy to gather addresses for marketing purposes.
Coupons: Mobile coupons are becoming increasingly popular through mobile apps. For your non-app customers, are you sending coupons via email that can be easily scanned and used in-store?
With the holidays coming, retailers that bring digital to physical and vice versa will beat their competition.
What are some ways that you’ve enhanced the store experience using email? Let me know in the comments!