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Guest Column: How email marketing can work wonders for e-commerce: Kunal Tomar

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Guest Column: How email marketing can work wonders for e-commerce: Kunal Tomar

Today a customer has access to unlimited options for shopping. With the advent of the smartphone and shopping applications, the mall has arrived at the door step of the customer, taking the cliché –Customer is King to a whole new level.

However, with every brand screaming sale or a discount, it is essential for ecommerce websites to build a personal relationship with the brand. Ecommerce websites run promotional campaigns through various mediums to reach out to their customers in the form of discounts, offers and sale during festive seasons. The competition among ecommerce websites is huge as customers are more aware of the online options at hand. Sales and offers are not sufficient for a brand to raise revenues as consumers are more discerning and do not fall just for discounts.

It becomes challenging for an ecommerce website to build long-term relations with customers who keep their loyalty to a particular brand. With the availability of so many alternatives, it is essential to build a personal relation with customers.

One of the most effective ways of targeting the customers is through email marketing. Emails have shown a huge increase in click -through rate during promotional offers.

Email marketing is not about bulk mailing, but rather through the use of effective data analytics, combined with smart copy and graphics, helps in building an understanding of the customer, thereby enabling brands to target the consumers effectively.

This helps build long term trusted relationships with customers by delivering and accomplishing their expectations, thus enabling the brand to be the brand of choice amongst the many in an already cluttered market.

Mailers with recommendations basis old purchases as well as browsing history generates a connect with the customer.  Email marketing is effective as personalised and customised content is shared with a defined customer base. It is imperative to segment the customer data according to their interests and dispositions and keep updating the list of customers in these segments.

Certain factors in an email reflect remarkable increase in sales. Relevant content in emails is extremely important whereas the use of infographics makes the content attractive as well as informative especially in case of newsletters. Customers pay more attention to the fun infographics as these are easy to understand and do not require much time to read each sentence as compared to lengthy text.

Also, the subject lines play a very important role in convincing customers to open the email, as these are the first impression you make on the recipient. Subject lines for promotional emails should be kept short, simple and clear containing personalised messages to generate their interest. ‘Short’ subject lines are all the more effective considering that close to 50% of email is opened on mobile devices. Even the pre-header and content which displays below the subject line, needs to be given due importance in order to grab attention of the consumer. Adding deadlines in the subject lines build a sense of urgency among customers, increasing the chances of opening the mail. Terms like ‘offers available till’ and ‘discounts available on’ are used in email marketing to build the urgency and increase the open rates.

The attention span amongst customers is very limited, and hence it’s important that the content is engaging, fresh and visually attractive.  

With the smartphone revolution taking place, most customers use their mobile phones to open emails as it is available almost all the time. Email click through rate is higher in mobile phones than desktop. Companies with mobile optimised websites raise the chance of opening the website, hence increasing the number of purchases. Mobile phones increase the reach to customers during such offers. Cart abandonment mails help in recovering sales opportunity otherwise lost due to inventory stuck in cart. Sending abandoned cart emails timely and at an adequate frequency depending on products can substantially increase click through rates and conversions.

Lastly India is a diverse country with different cultures, religions as also languages. It is thus imperative that brands cut through the diversity to be able to talk to the individual directly and emotionally. Emails citing offers on birthdays anniversaries, festivals help build the emotional connect. Email marketing is hence not only about making the mouse click, but also about making the heart tick.

The author is Kunal Tomar, Head of Sales for Experian Marketing Services  & Business Information Services, Experian India.

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