Good news for online retailers – there has been a significant growth in the amount of spend online over the last two months, with figures rising up to those seen pre-2007 before the full force of the financial crisis set in.
Over 5 billion pounds has been spent by UK shoppers online in July alone, an increase of 18pc from July 2009. As the high street retailers are losing out more and more to online sellers, it makes sense to invest in your online venture and ensure you get your cut of the action.
Despite all the excitement surrounding online activity, there are still a lot of companies who are missing important sales due to poor online marketing. Email marketing is one of the more popular routes for those who have a strong web presence due to the ability to include direct links to a website, and because it targets prospects who are already active online. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of improvements that businesses could make in order to gain the ultimate from their e-marketing efforts.
Here are some of the most popular mistakes that companies make:
1. Forgetting to personalise
Remember, whilst it may be obvious that you can’t write thousands of individual email messages every time you have a promotion or an offer, constantly reminding your customers that they’re just one of many isn’t wise. People like to feel special so, even when you’re sending a large email campaign, try and incorporate each individual’s name.
2. Not paying enough attention to subject lines
Companies get so wrapped up with an email’s design and content that the subject line is often seen as a last minute finishing touch. In reality, a subject line is what decides whether or not your email gets read. A bad subject line will make sure that your email, and your much loved design, never sees the light of day.
3. Forgetting to include text versions
There are a lot of recipients who can’t, or won’t, download pictures. You need to ensure that even without your carefully chosen images your message is still communicated clearly. If it won’t be, include a text only email too.
4. Not testing how an email displays in different ESPs
Not every email service provider displays emails in the same way. They each interpret HTML differently, leaving a good chance that your carefully designed email may be reduced to a huge mess and your response rates too. So always check how your email renders in all the major ESPs before you send your campaign.
Online shopping is the ultimate convenience and is favoured by buyers who are looking for a fast, hassle-free shopping experience. It is therefore unsurprising that sites which are difficult to navigate score lowest amongst prospective customers. The route from choosing a product right through to the final sale should be as clear as possible. Putting unnecessary obstacles in your customers’ path will only make them more likely to opt out of the sales process all together.
Research has also shown that poor customer service is a popular reason for why shoppers are dissuaded from certain online sites. It’s easy to nip down the high street to take back a purchase which is faulty, but it’s not always so easy to sort problems online. Including a phone number on your website, tracking customers orders online, and responding to email enquiries quickly can all help make the process that much easier for your clients.
And finally, remember that whilst it is online retailers who are overtaking the traditional brick and mortar, the companies pulling in the biggest profits are those taking advantage of both on and offline selling. Expanding your business to include a web based shop can really give your takings a boost. So, if you are a retailer who hasn’t gone online yet, maybe it’s time to put some roots down in cyber space.