Driving In-Store Traffic this Holiday Season

by Megan Ouellet, Director of Content Marketing. Reach out and say hi to Megan on LinkedIn.

Prime Day is July 12. The annual “Black Friday in July” sale was one of the most lucrative online sales day for Amazon last year, coming within 3% of its actual Black Friday sales numbers. It saw other retailers, like Walmart, jump on board and offer their own Black Friday in July sales. And even more retailers are expected to offer Prime Day sales this year.

Prime Day is the unofficial start to the holiday season, which gets earlier and earlier every year. And as your focus shifts to Q4 and the holidays, there are several strategies you must put in place.

2015 by the Numbers
Total holiday revenue increased 3% to $626.1 billion last year according to the NRF. Despite a 6.4% decline in in-store traffic, in-store sales had a slight revenue increase on 1.7%, fueled by omnichannel marketing and cross-channel engagement. Even though in-store sales had a small increase over 2014, it still accounted for about 85% of total holiday revenue.

Retailers took advantage of every opportunity to drive more customers to their stores, sending emails offering in-store only discounts or inviting customers to special events:

But one trend stood out from all of the others – Buy Online Pickup In Store.

One trend from 2015 that we expect to see even more of this year is BOPIS – Buy Online Pickup in Store – or the similar Buy Online Ship to Store and Buy Online Deliver From Store strategies. Nearly one-third of shoppers took advantage of BOPIS or BOSTS last year; and while picking up their items, 69% of shoppers made an additional purchase. More than half of all retailers offered this click-to-collect option, up 35% from 2014. Those numbers are expected to be even higher this year.

This strategy is the epitome of an omnichannel strategy as it seamlessly allows shoppers to move from your site to your transactional email and/or SMS alerts to your store in a single transaction.

Several things are needed in order to make this experience a seamless one.
  • Online and email local store locators. 
  • Accurate store inventory and clear communication on timing and location of pickups. 
  • Email / SMS notifications for both order confirmation and pickup notifications. 
  • Store associate training on how to handle the merchandise purchased online, how to remove it from the store inventory, where to store it for easy pickup, etc. 
  • If retailer is shipping items to a specific store for pickup or having the store deliver merchandise to customers, processes and training need to be created in order to handle this in an expedited and organized fashion.

Mobile and Social Drive Traffic to Stores
Mobile commerce was the big winner last holiday season with a whopping 59% increase in sales. But it is still a small percentage of total sales as it was only 18% of total digital revenue.

PSFK found that 76% of shoppers interact with a brand before ever setting foot inside a store, with the majority of those interactions happening on a mobile device. Shoppers spend 14% of their total time on their mobile devices in social networks, which definitely influence sales and in-store traffic.

Do your sites do enough to help shoppers find your stores? A simple store locator button on Facebook is a necessity, but many retailers have yet to put this in place. Another tactic to consider is allowing each local store to have its own Facebook page where customers can interact directly with associates and other local shoppers. It might be difficult to relinquish the control from the corporate office, but with training and guidelines in place, this will do wonders to create emotional bonds between customers and associates.

You can also offer the functionality of checking local store inventory of products shoppers find on Instagram, like Nordstrom does:

Your mobile shopping app should also let customers quickly locate local stores, check in-store inventory and provide important information, like where customers can pick up items they purchased online:

This holiday season will be led by personalization, outstanding shopping experiences, mobile devices and seamless omnichannel shopping. Are you ready?

We will soon publish our 2016 holiday strategy guide and we will relaunch our holiday insights center, which will offer even more advice on how you can engage shoppers across multiple channels. But if you have any questions in the meantime, please let us know!

Keep Your Brand in Front of Browsers This Holiday Season

The following post is written by Rachel Peters, a Listrak marketing research intern. Rachel's observations are based on a research study the team is conducting on approximately 200 various mid-market retailers across a number of verticals.   

Holiday strategy planning is upon us! A crucial time of year for retailers, every site visitor offers a connection and conversion opportunity. Many retailers, however, are not fully taking advantage of the opportunity.

Browse abandonment campaigns play an important role in leveraging site traffic. Listrak’s Director of Product Strategy Andrew Rotteveel recently published an article containing research on the significant impacts that browse abandonment campaigns have on average order value, incremental revenue and customer acquisition.

In a recent in-house research project we found that only about half of the mid-market retailers we are studying are utilizing a modal pop-up for email acquisition on-site. Without obtaining an email address to identify and connect with the customer, retailers are missing the opportunity to optimize proven, revenue-driving email campaigns..

Even visitors who do not go so far as to place an item in a shopping cart are still providing retailers with valuable clues about what they are interested in. This is where browse abandonment campaigns come in. Sending personalized messages (like the ones below) to the browser keeps your product in the forefront of their minds, driving traffic (and money) back to your site.

Our research also found that fewer than 8% of retailers have browse abandonment campaigns in place. Looking at the chart below, which is based on Listrak clients who have both shopping cart and abandonment and browse abandonment campaigns, you can see how much revenue these retailers are missing out on: 

As you strive to keep your brand in front of shoppers this holiday season, consider the impact a browse abandonment campaign would have to your bottom line this year and for many years to come as you continue to interact with your browsing customers.

Want to learn more about browse abandonment best practices? Sign up for our webinar here, and be on the lookout for the complete research report packed with insights on modals mobile and more…oh my!

Four Best Practices for Browse Abandonment

by Megan Ouellet, Director of Content Marketing. Reach out and say hi to Megan on LinkedIn.

The NRF reported that overall holiday sales increased 3% to $626.1 billion last year and non-store holiday sales grew 9% to $105 billion. Even though about 83% of holiday revenue still comes from brick-and-mortar retail locations, there is no mistaking that digital sales from eCommerce sites and mobile devices are continuing to gain market share.

To break it down further, comScore reported that customers spent $56 billion online from desktop computers from Nov. 1-Dec. 31, 2015 – a 6% increase from 2014. During that same time period $12.7 billion in holiday sales came from smartphones and tablets – a 59% increase from 2014. Mobile accounted for 18% of all online commerce, compared to 13% in 2014.

Online and mobile holiday sales are expected to grow at a similar pace this year. Remember, customers don’t care what channel they’re in – they expect a seamless experience as they move from your store to their mobile devices to your site. Consumers have become the Point-of-Sale so you need to be available where, when and how they shop.

Easy Cross-Device Identification
If you use your email data, it is easy to identify shoppers as they interact across multiple devices. For example – a customer who downloads your app on her mobile device and creates an account while shopping in-store later opens the eReceipt you sent on her tablet and she browses your site. You now know that the phone and tablet belong to the same shopper.

The next day, she opens a browse abandonment email on her laptop at home, clicks through and makes an additional purchase. You can now tie the data from that computer to her account.

Seven days later, she opens a post purchase loyalty message on her work computer. You now have a 360-degree view of that shopper – tying all of her activities on the different devices to a single account.

This is particularly important for the 2016 holiday shopping season as digital shopping continues to grow. In 2015, 54% of traffic to retail eCommerce sites came from mobile devices and the ability to identify customers whether they are on their desktop, laptop or mobile device and use the data effectively will help provide the seamless shopping experience customers expect. 

Emails Cross-Channel Impact
Some important stats from the 2015 holiday season:
  • Retail email volume rose 36.4% on the peak holiday shopping days and 25% overall during the holiday season. 
  • 90% of retail email campaigns during the 2015 holiday season included an offer, with free shipping being the most common offer. 
  • Email drove 22.1% of all online transactions during the 2015 holiday season. Direct mail was close behind at 19.4%. 
  • Email also drives in-store sales. Digital interactions influence 64 cents of every dollar spent in retail stores and shoppers that are active in multiple channels are three times as valuable as shoppers who only shop in a single channel. 
  • Over half of all emails were opened on mobile devices during the holiday season, per Litmus. Mobile received 39% of unique clicks, with 9% from tablets and 61% from desktops.

It is evident that email drives site traffic and conversions. But some campaigns work better than others. This holiday season, stand out in the overcrowded inbox by personalizing your messages based on each shopper’s browse behavior and purchase history.

Browse Abandonment Compared to Shopping Cart Abandonment

Browse abandonment campaigns have a number of advantages over shopping cart abandonment messages:
  • Expanded reach – you can automatically send timely and relevant messages to a larger audience 
  • New revenue stream – average 7.8% conversion rate and average 2% higher AOV than all other email campaigns 
  • Customer acquisition - 63% of conversions are from first-time buyers 
If you’re already running a shopping cart abandonment campaign, you can expect those messages to make up about 64% of the revenue from your remarketing campaigns with browse abandonment making up 36% of the total remarketing revenue. Browse abandonment can bring in 8% of total email revenue while shopping cart abandonment accounts for 14% of total revenue. Adding browse abandonment messages will give you a nice revenue boost.

Best Practices for Browse Abandonment
If you currently aren’t running a browse abandonment campaign, now is the time to add it into your email mix. If you’re already running a shopping cart abandonment campaign, adding browse abandonment is quick and easy and we’ve seen retailers move from implementation to ROI within 30 days.

It’s important to note that if you feel like these campaigns aren’t for you, it’s time to take another look. While the first versions of these messages were unexpected and came across as a little creepy, many updates and optimizations have been made over the years. Customers now not only expect to receive these messages; they actually use them as shopping tools – which is evident from the statistics above.

When you’re ready to get started, follow these best practices to get the highest return on investment.

Get the Timing Right
The timing of your browse abandonment messages – especially if you only send one – will make or break the campaign. The image below shows the cadence of a browse abandonment series compared to the same retailer’s cart abandonment series. The first browse message is sent one hour after abandonment, with a second message going out one day later and the final message going out three days after that if no action is taken by the customer. The cart abandonment messages go out two hours after abandonment, two days later, five days later and then two weeks later they make a final attempt.

Choose Content Carefully
Think about the content and what message you want customers to read. You can be direct, like Crayola and Bentley, or a little more subtle like Carbon 38.

Also, another question that we hear a lot is whether or not to include prices in these messages. You can see that Crayola and Carbon 38 to have prices but Bentley does not. The goal of these messages is to get customers back to your site to shop. You don’t want them to make purchase decisions in the inbox. If the price gets them to click, then use it. But if not, don’t.

One of the greatest things about browse abandonment campaigns is that you can highlight full price merchandise and you don’t have to offer any discounts. The goal of these messages is to get shoppers back onsite shopping and to help them discover new products. Save your discounts for other messages – they aren’t needed here.

With that in mind, consider whether or not you want to include prices in these messages. If the price will help encourage shoppers to return to your site to continue shopping, add them along with images of the browsed merchandise. For higher priced items, it could be best to leave them out of the message. Test to find what works for your shoppers.

Also consider adding product ratings and reviews to show shoppers what other customers thought about the merchandise. Shoppers tend to trust other customers more than retailers and the addition of ratings and reviews can help increase clicks and conversions.

Recommend Additional Products
Browse abandonment messages are great for product discovery so deliver a great shopping experience by including personal product recommendations. Show merchandise that is in the same category, sub-category and price point as the merchandise that was browsed onsite.

A best practice is to only show six to eight additional products. Again, the goal is to get shoppers interested enough to return to your site. You don’t want them to make decisions in the inbox or show them so many products that they see everything without having to return to your site.

Send a Series
Just like a shopping cart abandonment series, browse abandonment works better when you send more than one email.

We like the nurture approach that giggle uses. Standard browse abandonment messages are sent to shoppers the same day as the customer was shopping onsite, with additional messages going out three and six days later if no action is taken. However, giggle enhances these campaigns with emails that look like traditional promotional messages on days two, three and five. These messages feature the browsed item but it looks like it could be a coincidence rather than intentional.

Showing shoppers the items they viewed online and using a combination of a direct and indirect remarketing approach works.

Questions? Let us know in the comments.