Commentary

Using Email To Enhance In-Store Sales

The in-store experience can be greatly enhanced by seamlessly layering in the digital CRM experience. Retail is making great strides in breaking down data siloes, which is enabling marketers to implement effective programs for driving desired in-store behaviors.  We need to push more of this innovation, though, as there are still gaps in the consumer experience.

Here are some ways retailers can translate online efforts into in-store revenue.   

Out-of-Stock Items
When an item goes out of stock or sizes remaining are limited, make it easy for customers to sign up for email alerts so they can be reminded when those items are restocked.  Better yet, allow customers to order right from their smartphones while still in the store.  Make sure the transactional emails recognize this was an online order driven by an in-store visit.  

Store Locator
You probably have the home Zip code of your customers, but what if they are traveling?  I received an email from one of my favorite retailers telling me of an in-store-only sale that day. To encourage my visit, the retailer showed me locations near my home Zip code.  The problem was that I was traveling for work and was nowhere near home.  Using open-time personalization to show locations based on where your customer is when they engage with the message vs. what is stored in your CRM system can help drive in-store traffic from your traveling customers.

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Emailed Store Receipts
Sending a receipt via email is a great service to provide to your in-store shoppers.  Not only does it provide a record of the transaction without your customer having to tote around a paper receipt, it also provides great cross-sell opportunities.  My favorite is when retailers use this valuable real estate to ask for a promotional email opt-in.  

Purchase Thank You/Review Email
Product/service review emails are nothing novel, having been around for a long time.  What can make them distinctly special is calling out a thank-you for an in-store purchase when soliciting for a review. Ann Taylor Loft does a great job of sending me post-purchase review emails that note the store where I made my purchase.  This may be a small messaging change, but it can make a big impact on ensuring your customer feels like you know him/her.

Birthday Email
Sephora knows how to drive revenue by celebrating the customer. The company sends a birthday coupon for a free gift to be redeemed in-store. Driving foot traffic into the store through email provides an opportunity for the customer to see and view products in person and receive attention from store personnel — potentially generating revenue that never would have taken place otherwise.   

Reply for Replenishment
Walgreens makes refilling prescriptions very easy through email.  When a customer has a prescription up for refill, the company sends an email though which the customer can process the refill. The customer doesn’t have to enter any new information, but simply has to reply to the email.  This is a great way to drive an in-store pickup for any products that require periodic replenishment.

Geofencing/Beacons
The ability to track customers who are close to or in your store is getting better through mobile capabilities.  While it often makes sense to use push notifications through an app to communicate when a customer is physically in-range, there are also email opportunities.  For example, if you know a customer was in-store and didn’t make a purchase, you can use that logic as a trigger to send a coupon that can be used in-store for a limited time.  Be creative here, as there are many opportunities to use location-based triggers for a variety of email programs.  

There are endless opportunities to delight brick-and-mortar shoppers using email. It really comes down to how creative brands are, and the data available to power the ideas. What are some great tactics you’ve implemented?  Share in the comments.

1 comment about "Using Email To Enhance In-Store Sales".
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  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, July 16, 2015 at 3:38 p.m.

    Bed Bath & Beyond: They jump in quickly to help find something and if is not on the shelf, they will immediately order and send it to you. 

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