Using Email to Increase Repeat Purchases for your eCommerce Store

Getting prospects to convert to customers is one thing. But, how do you get customers to buy again and again after the first purchase? It’s more than just ‘nice to have’, consistent repeat purchases can be the difference between success and failure. This is where attentive, behavior based emails become important.

At Kissmetrics, we have a product that is built around the ability to powerfully segment your customers based on their behaviors so you can deliver the right engagement (ad, email, etc.) at the right time to the right customer and drive more repeat (and first time!) purchases. The better you align your messaging with actions your customers have taken, the more success you’ll have. This post focuses on email engagement, but check out our Connections feature which enables you to send Populations (segments) directly to Facebook and more.

So what kinds of emails should you send? How often should you send them, and what should they contain? Here are a few of the best examples of eCommerce follow-up emails and why they work so well.

One more thing – this is just a start. What are some of your most successful campaigns? Let us know below.

The Repurchase Reminder

Oftentimes, when you make a purchase on a website, they email you immediately after encouraging you to buy again. This marketing strategy is rooted in the idea that customers are likely to come back and purchase while your brand is still fresh in their mind. But oftentimes, companies send emails out immediately and when the customer (naturally) doesn’t respond, they no longer follow up.

If your repeat purchase numbers are flat-lining and your emails are stale, why not wait until more time has passed (depending on how often the customer uses the product) to remind them? Here’s a great example from Sephora, which reminds the customer to restock based on how much time has passed since their first purchase:

Sephora reminds the user to restock based on their past purchase. (Image Source)

Another creative spin on the restock email comes from Clinique. Since their data likely shows that women tend to shop online for beauty products more than men, they wouldn’t have as much luck sending a shaving gel refill reminder to men — so they advertised a refill reminder for him, to her. See how they did it:

An advertisement for men’s shaving gel — targeted to women, who are likely the ones shopping for beauty products. (Image Source)

We Miss You!

One alternative on the restock/repurchase follow-up email is tailored to the bargain hunter, like this email from Starbucks. There’s no better way to stay top-of-mind than with a coupon, and many customers actively wait to purchase until they get a deal. Knowing this, why not reach out with a discount?

This reminder from the Starbucks Store gets right to the point with a discount for customers that haven’t shopped in awhile. (Image Source)

Going Beyond “How Did We Do?”

For the customer who doesn’t have time to write up a huge review, but the company still needs their feedback data to work with, I present to you the Amazon 1-click review:

Amazon encourages busy customers to simply click to review the size of garments they’ve purchased online. (Image Source)

Of course, you’ve likely received plenty of emails asking for your feedback, and even some that go the extra mile by giving you a discount coupon, entering you into a contest and much more. But this one is noted for its pure simplicity plus its unobtrusive style. It doesn’t get in the way — one click and you’re done.

And speaking of Amazon, you already know that they’re the e-commerce leader simply because of how much they test, monitor, tweak and track everything about their site. One of the more famous changes was adding in the “Customers who bought X, also bought Y” feature. Now much more commonplace on e-commerce sites, this “Frequently purchased together” option often encourages greater purchase volume per customer.

But what happens when they don’t purchase all of the items together? Is emailing them about it a lost cause? Not exactly…

Frequently Purchased Together

Not all “Frequently Purchased Together” emails have to be a sales pitch. And if the customer didn’t buy them when they were originally presented, there must have been a reason.

Of course, the reasons why customers choose not to buy could be a whole other blog post in itself, but knowing what you know, why not steer the customer more toward educating them about the product add-ons or accessories rather than simply presenting them?

An example of a Thank You follow-up email from BabyFirst. (Image Source)

Since, in the example above, the customer is shopping for baby-friendly TV shows, the company naturally recommends a couple of DVDs that a baby or toddler might like, as well as a coupon and directions on how to get it for free.

The Window Shopper

With all of the email examples showcased so far, you’d need the appropriate data based on what the customer bought previously. But what if they haven’t bought yet, and are only looking? Are you out of luck? Not at all. Provided you have the prospect’s email address (a pop up that offers a discount emailed to them is a great way to collect more emails), you can still send them reminders, even if they haven’t added a product to their cart:

Recommendations on shirts and a reminder based on shirts and slacks previously looked at, from Calvin Klein. (Image Source)

Here’s another example that reminds the user of the products they browsed in case they want to take another look and don’t want to have to sift through their browser history:

An email reminding the user of the products they looked at. (Image Source)

*Major Tip*: Kissmetrics ties anonymous users to identified ones (aka: when you collect their email), so you can measure the average number of visits before someone makes a purchase and factor that into when you send them emails, serve them ads, etc.!

Use Demographics to Sell

As opposed to many of our other examples, these emails do not rely on previous purchases. They start fresh with new product recommendations based on the demographics.
For example – has it been raining in Minnesota for the past few days? Find all your prospects located in Minnesota and send them an email showcasing your umbrellas.

Many of your prospects are likely either searching for one because a) they don’t have one or b) the one they have is old, has holes, etc.

This is just a take on what we said earlier – good marketing is the right message at the right time to the right person.

This is a tactic used by some of Kissmetrics’ most successful customers – it might seem simple, but people in different regions shop differently and putting a little effort into making that obvious in your email campaigns will go a long way.

New Product Recommendations Based on Past Purchases

Finally, we have the “new product recommendations” email. Rather than always notifying customers every time you have new items in stock (and hoping they might like some of them), why not segment the new product announcement emails based on what the customer has purchased previously? They’re much more likely to buy, and they’ll welcome the added personalized attention!

Despite the different products and industries, all of these emails have one major thing in common — and that is a dedicated — almost fanatical attention to customer orders, browsing habits and preferences. And although you may be doing a great deal of e-commerce by email, there are still, as these emails demonstrate, new ideas and approaches that can be capitalized on.

About Kissmetrics

Kissmetrics is a data-driven segmentation and engagement solution built to provide marketers with deep behavioral insights to power more targeted emails and ads. If you’re an eCommerce brand looking to turn more window shoppers into repeat purchasers through better customer engagement, request a demo here.

Source: New feed 2