february 19, 2021

Essence of Email Weekly - The game of eCommerce

Although it built its empire on selling consumer goods, America's largest eCommerce company, Amazon, has been strategically spreading its business to services for some time now. From AWS (Amazon Web Services) to FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon), the sales giant found interesting ways to capitalize on… well, everything. Let's not even talk about Amazon's pandemic-induced soaring advertising business. It's no wonder, then, that it now wants to give small and medium businesses the infrastructure they need to properly set up and launch their online stores.

Enter Shopify. **dramatic music plays**

Shopify is estimated to be the second-largest US eCommerce company behind Amazon. In a way, it positioned itself as a counterbalance to Amazon's dominion – allowing entrepreneurs to launch and operate their own businesses, and sell directly to customers without partaking in Amazon's ruling marketplace.

But Amazon is a cunning leader, as it's already gearing up to fight back against Shopify. Namely, it announced it will acquire Selz, an Australian tech company that focuses on growing businesses online. No plans have been revealed so far, so it's still unknown whether Selz will be acquired for its talent and intellectual property, or if it will be developed as a brand. Selz customers have been notified that nothing will be changed right away.

Shopify vs. Selz: who wins? Although somewhat cheaper, Shopify provides significantly more themes for eCommerce websites, as well as an incredibly expansive app store, while Selz supports only a few third-party apps and integrations and fewer payment options. Selz, on the other hand, supports more product features, such as Promotions and Reviews Management, mobile access, and data security. For a detailed comparison, check out this article.

With the pandemic accelerating the growth of eCommerce, there's no doubt everyone's scrambling to get their fair share. And Amazon's famous for smashing their competitors straight-on. But Shopify is only getting stronger, and the battle will be unpredictable.


"You become responsible forever for what you've tamed"

Source: Giphy
As the pandemic has been changing the way people shop and companies allocate their budget, retaining loyal consumers has never been more important. And it should be. By increasing customer retention by only 5%, companies can profit between 25% and 95%. Plus, it's 25 times cheaper to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one.

The key to mastering your eCommerce strategy lies in getting relevant, up-to-date consumer insights. The Fresh Relevance Loyalty Report* polled 2000 consumers in the UK in order to explore the pillars of their loyalty to brands.

As set out in the report, here are the three Cs of customer loyalty. They show what consumers want or don't want from the customer experience, how they want to hear from brands, and what they expect in return for their loyalty.

  • Convenience
Consumers demand convenience from their online experience. Gen Z consumers are more likely to abandon a retailer whose mobile site doesn't function well, while Baby Boomers are easily frustrated by website malfunctions. Other frustrations include the inability to try products before they purchase, having to wait for orders to arrive, and not being able to speak to a salesperson. An important thing for all the email marketers out there: consumers want eCommerce stores to make it easy for them to return to an abandoned cart, which is a perfect trigger for a browse or cart abandonment email program.

  • Communications
48% of Baby Boomers want control over the type and frequency of marketing emails they receive. However, relevance and frequency are important for all consumers, with almost 25% considering not shopping with an online retailer that emails them every day with irrelevant information. Even though personalization is important, 1 in 5 consumers doesn't care if they're referred to by their name in emails.

  • Customer incentives
Every third loyal customer expects early access to sales or limited editions, invitations to exclusive in-store or online events (this goes for the younger public). Plus, younger generations are more motivated to share user-generated content on social media in exchange for rewards. So, make sure to send your repeat customers exclusive offers and advance notifications of sales and encourage them to share their reviews of the products.

To sum up… Besides creating a smooth journey for your customers on mobile and web, keep them informed via email. Notify them about price drops, send them personalized post-purchase guides and replenishment emails. And make sure to use segmentation to treat your loyal customers with custom messages.

*You'll need to fill out a form to access the report


The "after life"

Source: Giphy
We're almost used to living in the pandemic: going online instead of out became normal, and online shopping carts feel almost as familiar as carts at the grocery store. But what's next? Will we keep on jumping from website to website in search of what we need? Or will store hopping make a big comeback in our lives?

Not surprisingly, the number of Americans buying groceries online nearly doubled in 2020. And while some are planning to return to in-store shopping when it's safe, many will continue to buy food online more than they did before COVID-19.

US citizens spent 125% more on food and beverages online in 2020 than they did in the year before. With nearly a year into the pandemic, the online grocery shopping trend is not slowing down. On the contrary, food and beverage sales remain elevated at about $3b more per month than in 2019. The explanation is clear – people are used to shopping online and they won't stop, even once the threat of COVID-19 disappears.

However, brands shouldn't be taking these numbers for granted. "Brands are going to have to have a very intentional strategy for continuing to attract and gain net new shoppers, drive repeat purchase and trips online and increase average spend per shopper" – notes Elizabeth Buchanan, Head of Consumer Intelligence, North America, at NielsenIQ.

Why shop online post-coronavirus?

Safety surely isn't the only benefit eCommerce has to offer to consumers. Consumers' reasons for shopping online once the vaccine is distributed and coronavirus subsidies will depend on how they were impacted by the economic situation.

For example, consumers who felt the negative impacts of the pandemic, whether it's health, employment or financial security, will rely on online shops for the best deals and sales.

On the other hand, those who weren't affected as much will stick to online shopping as an easier way to access a broad range of products. These consumers "will be attracted to subscription services, bulk purchasing capabilities and increased convenience" – says Buchanan.

In any case, brands must be attentive to consumer wants and needs, be flexible, and adapt to the changing environment.


Go, gradients!

Source: ReallyGoodEmails
Gradients in email design are fun! Not only do they add depth to your emails, but they can also subtly enhance the key elements through the versatile use of tones and tints.

This email from Tracksmith creates an impactful background through its bold use of black gradient. The lower sections of the email make for an excellent backdrop against which the two CTA buttons are beautifully prominent.

Even the hero image is much more striking against the richness of the color black. Pair this with an interesting ''heading'' serving as the focus of the email, and you get attention-grabbing visuals that won't leave you indifferent.

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