It can be a struggle to find customers after you’ve just launched your online store.
Once you’ve found what works at bringing customers to your store, you soon realize that finding customers is only half the challenge. The other, arguably more challenging half is keeping them engaged.
While it might be tempting to feel as long as you’re attracting new customers your business will be alright, not focusing on customer engagement and retention is a massive mistake.
Even modest improvements in retention can yield massive returns.
Research from the Harvard Business School shows that a relatively small 5% increase in customer retention translates to an increase in profits of up to 95%. Or, to put it more simply, the more repeat purchases you can get from your existing customers, the more profitable your store will be.
The key to improving your retention rate is maintaining and improving your engagement with customers from the moment they interact with your store. Simply letting them make a purchase and hoping they’ll be back just doesn’t cut it.
The good news is that there are a few different email automations that you can set up that’ll help keep your customers engaged and making repeat purchases.
Setting them up is also straightforward and once done, they require virtually no ongoing work.
So what are these email automations? Below is a list of the top five you should set up for your online store right now.
1) Welcome emails
Welcome emails are the first emails people will receive immediately after having signed up to your email list. Either after having made a purchase or simply signing up to receive your newsletter.
The great thing about welcome emails is that there are few times customers will be more engaged than when they’ve just signed up to your email list.
This means that welcome emails generate an average of 4 times more opens and 5 times more clicks than regular emails.
If you aren’t sending these emails, then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to establish and build a relationship with your customers.
In terms of what usually goes into a welcome email, typically they will contain:
- An offer to incentivize a (repeat) purchase
- Introduction to your brand (what it stands for, your mission, etc.)
- Practical details like your opening hours and store locations if you have a physical presence
The welcome email below from Detour Coffee Roasters is a great example of these points.
2) Abandoned cart emails
Abandoned cart emails are simply emails that are sent to people who have added items to their cart but never checked out. Hench the term ‘abandoned cart’.
And it turns out that shoppers abandoning their carts is a huge problem for merchants.
Worldwide, the average cart abandonment rate is 69%. This means that for every customer that makes a purchase from your store, there are, on average, roughly another two would-be customers who add items to their cart but never purchase.
Thankfully, abandon cart emails do a great job of recovering these otherwise lost sales.
These automated emails have very high open rates of approximately 50% and a third of all clicks within these emails lead directly to a sale.
We also know that of the people who do convert from these emails, 72% do so within 24 hours after having abandoned their cart.
So it’s important to automate an email to send like the one below from Adidas within this timeframe.
Apps like SmartrMail will also let you automate an additional couple of follow-ups to increase the chances of someone seeing your email and completing checkout.
3) Thank you for your purchase emails
If you operate a brick and mortar store, you or your staff already likely thank customers for their purchases. It’s a simple gesture that goes a long way to establishing customer loyalty and engagement.
However, thanking your customers after they make a purchase online is more challenging.
Of course, you should and likely already do include a simple thank you note in your order confirmation email template, but to even come close at replicating the in-store experience, you need to send a dedicated thank you for your order email.
The email below from Abercrombie & Fitch is an excellent example.
The heartful message in the email goes much further than a simple ‘thank you’ and does a great job of keeping their customers engaged and increasing the likelihood of repeat purchases.
All you have to do to set up this type of automation is to schedule the email to send a couple of weeks or so after someone makes a purchase. Ideally, you want it to send after their purchase has arrived, so make sure you take into account your shipping times.
Obviously, you don’t want to keep sending the same message to the same customer every time they make a purchase either.
Instead, you can create one thank you email to send after someone’s first purchase and different ones to send after their 3rd, 5th, etc. purchases.
4) Replenishment / reorder emails
If you’re selling products that require regular refills or replenishments, like pet food, makeup, supplements, medicines, office supplies, etc., then reorder emails are an essential automation.
When timed well, these emails do a great job of keeping your customers engaged right when they need to make another purchase.
While getting the exact timing right requires a bit of experimentation, if you know that people typically buy pet food, for instance, once a month, then a good starting point is to automate the email 4 weeks after someone’s last purchase.
And it doesn’t just have to be for items that people typically purchase on a regular basis.
The example below from Graze Shop shows that even items like snacks lend themselves well to replenishment email automation.
5) Win-back emails
No matter how great you are at keeping customers engaged, it’s inevitable that eventually some will become disengaged and stop purchasing from your store.
Win-back emails are the perfect automation for these customers.
Just as the name suggests, these automations attempt to ‘win back’ customers with an email when a customer hasn’t made a purchase over a certain period of time.
For instance, if someone usually makes a purchase from you every few months, but it’s been nine months since their last purchase, then a win-back email is automatically sent.
As in the example below from Sephora, these emails also typically contain an inventive to entice the customer back.
These emails do a great job of bringing people back to your store and keeping them engaged.
Wrapping it up
Keeping your customers engaged requires ongoing effort but is made much easier with the help of these email automation.
Once you’ve set these automations up, you’ll keep customers engaged and coming back to make repeat purchases without too much involvement on your behalf.
There are also other email automations you can set up as well, such as review request follow-ups, but this list gives you a good starting point regardless of the nature of your store.
The only thing left to do now is start setting these automations up!
Aaron Wiseman is a marketing co-ordinator and content writer for SmartrMail. SmartrMail is the easiest way to send email that delights your customers and gets more sales. The app is available for merchants on Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, PrestaShop, and Neto.