How email can save the high street

According to IMRG, online sales in the UK grew by just 6.7% in 2019. The current pandemic, though, helped online retail sales soar to ten year high. A recent press release by IMRG reports growth to a “staggering +23.8% Year-on-Year (YoY) in April 2020, as high streets across the country remain deserted.”

Knowing from experience that Retail marketing is not easy, I am very sympathetic to marketers who work in this sector. This highly competitive industry has to face increasing pressure from emerging online competitors, strict regulations (particularly in Europe), changing consumer behaviour and expectations, and a globalised market landscape. To remain competitive, marketing and operations teams have to work with an extensive number of tools and platforms, trying to balance customer service excellence with keeping OPEX and product prices down. But what can they do to make the most of the online spending spree, and ensure repeat sales?

While omnichannel is on the rise, email remains the king of business-to-consumer communications. According to a recent report, 43% of the Retailers agree that email marketing is a significant tool to customer acquisition for their business. But while the cross-industry average email open rate is 18%, Retail scores lower at less than 15% – although the bounce rate in Retail is one of the lowest (source: CampaignMonitor). And while the abandonment rate in Retail is more than 75% (source: Salescycle), 40% of Retailers in Europe send a cart abandonment email after two days or more!

Cart abandonment emails work very well, and often have a really low unsubscribe rate. If properly timed, they can make all the difference as to whether or not the consumer comes back to complete their purchase. Retailers who waited past an hour to send a cart abandonment email found that conversion dropped in half. Furthermore, waiting beyond 24 hours dropped the conversion rate down to almost nothing.

With the average documented cart abandonment rate reaching a rocking 70% (source: Baymard Institute), abandoned carts can be perceived as an unavoidable stage of the eCommerce buying process. For marketers, they can also be a brisk path to success and generate immediate sales. Reports have shown that email campaigns targeting abandoned carts have the highest ROI, with more than 44% open rate and 30% conversion rate. Particularly in the UK, a series of three abandoned cart emails can lead to an impressive 131% increase in conversions (source: eFundamentals).

Tackling the cart abandonment issue can help Retailers improve their online sales revenue and growth rate significantly, with programmes that require minimal effort and resources, but can deliver rapid, measurable results.

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