by Adam Sutton
, Senior Reporter
Email is the most important marketing channel for soccerloco. The retailer sells soccer gear through an e-commerce site, four stores in California and one in Arizona. At every location, the cashier asks the customer for an email address and types it into the point-of-sale (POS) system.
"We collect just about every single person's email address when they make their purchase. That’s how we keep track of them in-store," said Brandon Maskell, Marketing Director, soccerloco.
Customers who provide an address typically receive the company's marketing emails. However, before last year, only customers who purchased online received a welcome email that introduced the program. Customers who bought in-store did not.
"We were sending them marketing emails without acknowledging how the relationship started," Maskell said. "I think most people, when they provide an email, they expect to get something kind of quickly that recognizes [that] 'hey, we've got your email, you've been added to our list.'"
Maskell thought sending a welcome email to in-store customers was a natural extension of the program, but he didn't expect it to drive many sales, he said. Since the channel is so important to the company, the team decided to invest the time.
Maskell's team designed a simple welcome email to automatically reach new customers who provided an email address in-store. The email asked customers to rate their experience and did not push for a sale — but it scored them anyway.
Here are the steps the team followed:
Step #1. Collect email addresses in-store
Since email is so important to soccerloco, the company asked in-store customers for email addresses long before this campaign.
The marketing team uses the addresses to track customers' in-store purchases and to gather subscribers for its email program. Requesting an address is part of the in-store checkout process. While there is some possibility of errors, it is greatly reduced because the team's POS system validates the entry as an acceptable email address format.
"We've always been collecting these addresses and importing them into our email service, but we were never setting up a timely kickback thanking them for their purchase," Maskell said. "Very rarely does someone not give it to us."
Step #2. Import addresses to ESP
Retailers can hit snags when trying to collect email addresses in stores and entering them into an email marketing tool. soccerloco was not immune to these challenges.
"It should have been done through an API automatically, but because [of] our [point-of-sale] system, it didn't work out that way," Maskell said.
Instead, the team does some legwork. It exports the addresses from the POS system each week and imports them into the email platform manually.
Step #3. Design welcome email
Once entered, the addresses are set to receive the team's in-store welcome email
. The email is sent each Monday morning, which means customers who purchase on Monday afternoon wait the longest to receive it — seven days.
"Obviously, it would be better if it went out the day of [the sale] or the day after. But, just because of the limitations of our system, it's got to be that way," Maskell said.
Key features of the email include:
- Primary navigation — the top navigation bar of soccerloco's website is featured at the top of the email, just below the company's logo and a mention of flat rate shipping.
- Large image — a large image that includes dozens of products inside one of the company’s stores, as well as the text "welcome to soccerloco."
- "Thank you" — large orange letters thank the customers for their purchase.
- Call-to-action — a primary goal of the email is to kick off the team's email marketing program. It also encourages customers to leave a comment or review on soccerloco's profiles with Yelp, Google+ and Facebook, or take a two-minute survey.
"There's nothing in the email that's really promotional," Maskell said.
The email is not intended to drive direct sales, but it still scored points.
"Just from the touch point of sending them an email and having links to our site, we've seen people that actually buy," Maskell said.
Here are average metrics for the team’s in-store welcome email:
- 40% open rate
- 7% clickthrough rate
- 4% conversion rate (completed survey)
- 7% of people who open the email make another purchase online
For the email's social media buttons, the team sees an 8% clickthrough rate but is unable to track conversions.
"We're seeing people buying things from that email, and that's definitely surprising," Maskell said. "It's more of a review-type email to let us know about your experience, but I guess the design with the navigation bar lends itself to shopping and clicking through."
Plans for expansion
soccerloco is working to automatically send a digital receipt to in-store customers via email, Maskell explained, and the team has plans for the welcome emails, too.
"The next level would obviously be a series of emails. Then, if they click certain portions about Yelp, for example, we could send a follow-up email that says, 'Hey, here are some of our positive reviews on Yelp,'" Maskell said. "There are endless opportunities."
- In-store welcome email
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