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By Clare Goggin Sivits On February 24, 2021

How To Effectively but Carefully Handle Customer Emails Obtained Through Online Sales

In 2020, we had plenty of conversations with clients about distillery marketing and design. Coming in second for most discussed topic of 2020 was online sales and leveraging the email addresses of your customers. 

Customer emails give us the power to re-engage previous customers, but with that comes great responsibility. With an effective but responsible email marketing strategy, you can lead customers back to the brand. Here are five steps to follow when collecting e-commerce customer emails.

Know Your E-Commerce Platforms

Third-party e-commerce platforms opened the door for spirits brands to sell product directly to consumers. Each platform sets terms as to how a customer’s emails can and cannot be used and it’s important for any brand to understand the rules. Delivery apps, like Drizly, likely won’t share contact details. That said, spirits brands can gain customer insights from the app to help inform upcoming marketing campaigns. 

On the other hand, e-commerce platforms with white-label solutions, such as Barcart or Speakeasy, not only deliver a consistent customer experience, they also allow access to customer information in most cases. For instance, Speakeasy stipulates that it uses customer contact information to “market our products or services or the products and services of third parties,” which suggests distilleries can email shoppers directly. 

Customize Order Confirmation Emails

The purchase confirmation email is an opportunity to leave an impression on a new customer. If done right, that confirmation acts as more than a receipt; it can project a brand’s voice, offer reasons for a consumer to return to the website, or introduce a promotion. 

A distillery’s ability to compose a unique confirmation email again depends on how much flexibility its e-commerce platform provides. If it’s an option, incorporating creative elements, like GIFs or jokes, will delight and leave a positive perception. This not only sets the tone for ongoing interactions with a new customer but also gives the distillery a chance to ask them to sign up for an email list. 

Get Permission Before Adding to the Mailing List

According to Mailchimp, a brand technically has permission to send emails to someone who purchased through its online store. All the same, it’s wise to give consumers a heads up. If a new customer gets inundated with marketing emails without giving express consent, they could unsubscribe permanently and even decide not to return to the website again.

That’s why it’s best to get permission before you fold online purchase email addresses into your existing lists. This can be done through those confirmation emails or by adding a checkbox or form as part of the checkout process. 

Collect and Target Emails Based on Behavior

When distilleries have full control over the online store and customer information, it’s easy to determine what products a customer wants. In fact, if a customer explores the site or even drops a few products in their cart before leaving, a quick reminder email may be a smart way to lure them back. Using a service such as Klaviyo allows a brand to segment customers while also collecting emails before they complete a purchase. If using pop-up forms for this purpose, it’s wise to ensure they don’t interrupt the flow of the website or feel overly intrusive for the user.

Once the distillery has approval to email the customer, it can send reminders about an abandoned cart, updates about spirits, and other notifications. Sales on products grant the brand an additional excuse to get content into a customer’s inbox too, like a blog post about cocktails involving the last spirit they viewed.

Develop A Reward Program

Spirits brands may be able to create a reward program for online customers. It could add an incentive to join that mailing list. Shoppers earn points or discounts for every purchase, even with the first product they buy. This type of program re-captures a recent buyer and brings them back to use those rewards. 

Reward programs could extend to purchases on third-party apps or retailers but that gets a bit complicated. The consumer has to voluntarily visit the website and submit an order number or similar details to claim the reward but it’s another opportunity to collect customer emails. 

Bonus: Create Lookalike Audiences

As a bonus, distilleries advertising on Facebook or other similar social media sites could use online customer emails to build lookalike audiences. This method analyzes an email list and pinpoints behaviors and interests customers have in common then builds an audience of similar users on the social media platform. Once created, a brand can use the new audience to advertise their products. 

It should be noted: Facebook requires advertisers to confirm that they have permission to use the emails. Additionally, distilleries need to follow federal, state, and local laws that pertain to advertising on social media. 

All in all, with the right combination of care and strategy, online customer emails can effectively be used to draw shoppers back to your site again and again. Need help with email newsletter management? Send us an email at highproofcreative@gmail.com. We’re more than a drink branding company — we’re a full-service marketing agency with a love for the distilling industry!

Clare Goggin Sivits

As a marketer with a strong writing background, Clare Goggin Sivits has worked in the beer, spirits, and wine industries for nearly a decade. She oversaw digital marketing for a small wine startup as well as a craft brewery and distillery with a nationwide footprint. A Florida ex-pat, Clare now lives in Portland, Oregon, and continues to write about craft beverage marketing and the industry as a whole.
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