Email may be the most productive retail selling tool, as recently reported. But it’s not because brands are following best practices.
Of the retailers polled in a “Mystery Shopping” study, by Kibo and Astound Commerce, 57% send an email to respond to an abandoned cart.
But over 40% do not. And of those that do send emails, none offer incentives to complete the purchase.
This is “the most shocking result of all,” the study says.
Why is it shocking? Because almost three-fourths of all carts are abandoned, according to a widely accepted statistic. It’s a missed opportunity.
At the same time, only 6% personalize these messages beyond mentioning the abandoned product. “No name, no additional items, no extra content,” the study states.
Granted, this research has a limited scope — Kibo studied only 30 companies — but it provides a snapshot into what retailers are doing, and not doing.
The failure to send abandoned cart emails is not the only performance gap uncovered in the study. For example, 40% do not show customers recently viewed items. This form of personalization can remind visitors of their interests.
And of those that display inventory information, only 35% display the quantity available. However, this number rose by 17% over 2016.
The study found that 16% of retailers have inconsistent pricing between their brick-and-mortar store and ecommerce site. This encourages customers to “only use the touchpoint that has the best pricing,” the study notes.
In store, however, only 53% show personalized recommendations without signing into the store account.
On the positive side, 73% do offer personalized recommendations or recently viewed items on their home page at the second visit.
Meanwhile, a consumer survey shows 84% believe firms should be doing more to integrate their offline and online channels, Kibo reports.
So where does that leave us?
"This year, we have identified crucial gaps across digital and in-store buying touchpoints that can significantly improve the shopping experience," states Tushar Patel, chief marketing officer for Kibo.
Patel continues that these gaps include “some of the basics: personalization for all shoppers — known and unknown — with more relevant recommendations and promotions, and allowing access to inventory information across the entire buying journey with the ability to place an order efficiently."
"Retailers that close these gaps will be the winners of tomorrow’s retail industry, while those who do not take action will risk losing long-term sales growth and customer loyalty," Patel says.
The keys to omnichannel retailing are fulfillment and transparency, personalization, pricing and signage, Kibo says.
What does email have to do with it? In a recent retail study by TurnTo and WBR Digital, 40% said email is the top revenue contributor. Thirty-nine percent cited search as the second-biggest revenue generator.
Here is one more happy note about retailing: The study also found that 77% of all firms don't wait for customers to come into the store. They encourage the practice known as BOPIS — buy online pickup in-store (or ship to store). Now they’re on the right track