By: Aaron Rubin, Founder & CEO at ShipHero
You’re more than likely still coming off the high of Black Friday/Cyber Monday and the sugar rush of pumpkin pie. And you should be; this is a tough time of year for everyone, but eCommerce retailers have a special challenge. So many retailers make the majority of their revenue in these few critical weeks and that ratchets up the intensity for everyone in an organization.
However, just because you’ve made the sale and shipped the product doesn’t mean that you’ve closed the loop on that customer. There’s so much more that can and should be done in the guise of client relationship management and marketing. Now that you’ve hooked someone with your awesome products, you want to keep them coming back. Let’s examine 5 key steps for marketing to customers during this busy holiday shopping season and beyond.
Tip #1 – Be prepared for returns and exchanges
This might seem counterintuitive, but how you treat a customer return or exchange could have a long-lasting impact on whether you’ve gained a repeat customer. Hopefully, you’re using a return partner like Returnly or Loop (which both integrate seamlessly with ShipHero’s software). They make it much easier to manage returns, often absorbing the burden of processing the return, the return shipping/label and everything in between.
However, if you’re not working with a partner like that, you want to be sure that everyone on your team, and especially those in customer service, are ready to manage return and exchange emails. But the number 1 task to tackle first is setting and communicating your return policy. If you don’t currently have one on your site, get it up there ASAP. A return policy not only protects you from angry customers who might want to throw a fit if something isn’t right, but it also sets expectations. You can include everything from expected timeframe for responses, steps to the return process and whether or not you’ll be able to manage exchanges.
Make sure everyone is up to speed no later than Christmas Day as the day after Christmas and beyond are when you’ll see the largest influx of return and exchange requests.
Tip #2 – Ask for reviews
Client reviews are a huge selling point for new or browsing buyers. Time and time again, word of mouth has proven to be the most effective selling method for many brands, including all types of eCommerce retailers.
Sending a follow-up email a few times following a purchase and successful shipment can encourage people to leave a review. There is always the chance that it might lead to a negative review, but in the end, the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Tip #3 – Take the chance to upsell
Now that your customers have made purchases, another remarketing opportunity is available – and that is the upsell. Perhaps instead of sending an email with a reminder to write a review, you can send one that reminds the customer there’s still time to purchase and send virtual gift cards. This is especially great for the last minute shopper or for someone who has just had another person added to their gift-giving list.
Cart abandonment emails are another way to encourage customers to come back and make a purchase. A recent study found that more than 46% of customers open cart abandonment emails. Take the time now to remind them of what they were browsing for in the first place.
Tip #4 – Communicate with your customers after the holidays
Once the holiday season has passed, you want to keep these customers engaged with your brand and products. If you have a customer relationship (CRM) tool, consider setting up an email sequence that will send reminders regarding new products or sales or maybe even provide a coupon code for a product the customer looked at but didn’t purchase. This is a great way to convert some more passive dollars into sales.
Tip #5 – Spend some money on retargeting ads
Lastly, consider spending some money post BFCM on retargeting ads. These ads are the ones that “follow” people from your site to other sites like Facebook or Instagram. You can remarket your shop or certain products to people who have previously visited you. This again can help keep your products and store top-of-mind while customers peruse the Internet looking for a different gift. Oftentimes persistence pays off.
While this is not an exhaustive list of all the remarketing efforts you can undertake during the holiday shopping season, it’s a good start. Partner with your internal teams, especially customer service and your warehouse, to ensure that everyone understands your returns/exchanges policy and knows how to enforce it.
In addition, spend some time with your marketing team or agency to uncover the best remarketing options for you and your customers. A one size fits all approach doesn’t often work for remarketing, so be conscious of frequency when sending emails, serving retargeting ads or reaching out for reviews. You want to remind people of your products and your store – not annoy them. The endless amounts of holiday music on a loop does that already.
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Aaron Rubin, Founder & CEO
About the author: Aaron Rubin is the Founder & CEO of ShipHero. He is responsible for planning and executing the overall vision and strategy of the organization. Rubin’s greatest strengths are leadership, change management, strategic planning and a passion for progression. He is known for having his finger on the pulse of ShipHero’s major initiatives, his entrepreneurial spirit, and keen business acumen. His leadership of ShipHero is grounded in providing excellent customer service that drives improved business operations. His passion for ShipHero comes from the culture and his ability to have an impact on the lives of employees, customers, partners, and investors.