eCommerce Marketing: Increase Sales on Your Online Store During the Lockdown

 In Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

eCommerce has boomed during the time of COVID, with a lot of new essentials online stores experiencing a surge in the sales volume. As most people have accepted this lifestyle, brick and mortar stores can capitalize on this opportunity.

Another episode of the ForTheLoveOfEmails podcast is out now and this week with our host Dennis Rayman and this time, we’re talking about eCommerce marketing. 

As the Coronavirus impacts industries across the globe, industries that worked offline for decades are now taking the step towards a digitized economy.

One such industry is the comfort tech industry. 

For decades, it relied on people being able to visit the store and touch and feel the mattress before the purchase. 

 Scott, who's joining us today, is Email Marketing Manager at Purple, a comfort technology company. He talks about how they took Purple from a wholesale focused business to an email marketing success during the lockdown.

He offers insights into finding ways to rewrite your marketing playbook.

About Scott Cohen

Scott Cohen is the Senior Email Marketing Manager at Purple. He's a proven email marketing veteran with 15 years of marketing experience.

During his time in the industry, he has been both a brand-side marketer in higher education and an agency startup veteran in the email marketing space. 

He brings copywriting chops and email marketing strategy and execution expertise. He has worked with brands of varying sizes and from a variety of industries.

How Purple mattresses grew during COVID?

Before the lockdown, mattress companies made the most revenue by wholesaling to bigger retailers and generating bulk sales.

Purple mattresses had a similar business model. But unlike most other mattress companies, Purple had an online presence.

During the lockdown, their competitors had to start from scratch to create their online presence and generate any sales to keep their companies afloat.

With Purple, the case was different, however.

They already had the emails of customers who had purchased from them and knew exactly how to leverage the existing business to generate more sales.

Here's what Purple did during COVID:

  • They realized that more people are working from home, sitting in front of the computer for 8-9 hours a day with little exercise.
  • Their existing customers were looking for seat cushions to improve their seated comfort.
  • Purple focused on marketing their seat cushions to their existing mattress buyers via email
  • Because their existing customers already knew how the mattress felt like, buying the seat cushion from Purple was a no-brainer.

By the end of the few initial campaigns, their sales had skyrocketed and there was no reason to back out.

So Purple decided to put a lot of focus on marketing to existing customers while strengthening their brand online.

The Repeat Purchase Approach to Email Marketing

Amazon does this. Purple did this too with great success.

What's the Repeat Purchase Approach?

If a customer likes their first product purchase with your brand, they're highly likely to have much lesser friction when making their second purchases with the same brand.

How Purple used this approach in their email marketing

Purple pulled a list of all the products that users have purchased from their stores and online. 

They sat their data scientists to analyze the products that customers have already purchased, and the ones that most of those customers bought right after.

This gave them a bird's eye perspective of what products are bought in pairs.

With this information, Purple was armed with the knowledge to target specific customers across their customer base with only a small set of products.

They identified that people who purchased a pillow from them, have usually purchased a second pillow. 

They marketed a second pillow to people who've purchased only one.

Apart from that, mattress buyers usually purchased mattress protectors, sheets, and other accessories to go along with their mattresses.

So the targeted campaigns to mattress buyers were related to the accessories that can be paired along.

Actionable email marketing steps for your brand:

The idea behind this method is to figure out what the next logical product would be when a person buys one of your products.

  1. Take a look at your business' lifetime sales data including all the products that have been purchased and who has purchased them.
  2. Look at patterns in the sales data. This is best left with the data scientists in the company. You can however do the same with smaller datasets by just looking through the data manually.
  3. Identify products that are usually purchased in pairs.
  4. Market the second part of the combination product to your existing customers who've purchased the first part of the pair.

This simple strategy will immediately generate higher revenue if you have multiple products being sold on your website.

If you have a single product, the easiest method is to identify the highest converting page.

Once you know that, put it out in front of as many people as you can.

Relevancy-based list segmentation

When it comes to segmenting your audience, a lot of email marketers dive too deep right from the start. With such an approach you might end up losing track of what you're supposed to market to your customers.

Dennis asked Scott for his segmentation strategies and he says he keeps it really simple:

  • Know who your customers are with their emails, names, and any other details that you may need for the product sign up/purchase
  • Identify at what point they purchased the product (moved into a new house, became a parent, got married, got a new family member, etc)
  • With this information, proceed to market at relevant points in time (a month after moving in, a few years after becoming a parent so they can buy a bigger bed for their kid, etc.)

These simple segmentation strategies paired with the regular birthday or first-time purchase discounts, will make your customers feel valued and be known.

And because they know that you know them well enough, they're more likely to stick with you as long as you provide enough value.

Practical tips for email marketing starters

Dennis Dayman asked a question that a lot of people listening to the podcast would have in mind.

What are the first, and the most impactful steps that Scott would take if he entered an eCommerce company with little to no email marketing going on?

There are few basic but really high-impact strategies that Scott mentions he'd focus on first.

  • The most important thing that a lot of new marketers miss out on is to learn the sales funnels, figure out the customer journeys, the engagement, and to get an overall feel for the brand and its customers.
  • As a marketer, the next logical step in this process is to find the low-hanging fruits. What's the cart abandon rate, what pages are customers finding difficulty with during making the purchase, how can we make the process of purchase smoother, and if there is any place for upsells
  • Once these two steps are complete, you should have a strong foundation of tasks to execute, that will have a maximum impact on the marketing of the company.

These tips in practice may take time to get a hang of, but are sure the 3 very easily implementable steps that immediately give you an ROI on your campaigns.

The reason these strategies work is that each marketer has different sides of creativity and marketing ideas that they implement. There are always going to be gaps in every marketer's strategies that some other marketer can leverage to improve further.

Final words...

Though COVID is a new, yet a one-off scenario that will be better handled if it comes up in the future, behavior trends continue to change irrespective of that.

So as email marketers, it's important for all of us to stay updated with the latest ideas that are launched in the market. The latest information that's being shared and has gone viral across among your audience. Use these pieces of information and build your marketing around it while the trend lasts.

That brings us to the end of the article. We hope that it has been an insightful read for you to start working on your email marketing strategies. 

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