How to create urgency messaging like Booking.com

We have all been influenced by urgency messaging at some point in our lives. Ever purchased that dress you somehow convinced yourself you needed as there was free next day delivery for one hour only? Booked a swanky hotel because it was 15% off the standard rate and only 1 room left? Yes, we thought so.

We are now in a world where we have access to almost anything we need, at the touch of a few buttons, with numerous websites selling similar products. As a result, we are spoilt for choice, and retailers are feeling the pinch.

Companies are always looking for ways to raise sales, and creating urgency is an effective method of converting your visitors into customers. In this blog we will show you how to  break through your visitors’ mental hurdles to purchase, such as overthinking and waiting too long. Urgency encourages consumers to act quickly, and can often result in increased order values and conversions.

Time limited offers

It is well known that putting time limitations on offers are more effective than allowing them to be open ended. Injecting urgency in your website by notifying your visitors how long is left on the offer encourages them to make the decision there and then. Countdown timers can be used on offers such as free next day delivery, or discounts off purchases. A recent survey found that 71 percent of respondents residing in suburban areas would prefer free home delivery service ahead of free click and collect. If you choose to promote free delivery, be specific to your customers about when the item will arrive. Research has shown that stating the exact time you can expect your item to be delivered is clearer than stating the delivery speed (in days, hours etc).

You can A/B split test different variations of the offers, such as text, position and colours to see which are the most effective at boosting your conversions.

Scarcity Warnings

Scarcity techniques, such as highlighting to customers which items are low in stock, ranked first in the most successful e-commerce marketing personalization techniques worldwide as of June 2017. Results show that using scarcity warnings provide an average uplift in revenue-per-visitor reaching 2.9 percent.

We have all experienced that dreaded feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out), and your customers feeling that they’re going to miss out on that last item in stock is no different. Showing limited stock levels not only activates the fear factor in your customers, but also lets them know that their chosen items might not be available for much longer if they don’t act soon.

Social call outs

Urgency can also be created by showing consumers call-outs highlighting how popular the product they’re viewing is, based on other shoppers behaviour.

This feature can be added to your product pages using simple pop up boxes showing how many times items have been viewed or purchases in the last 24 hours, or even how many people are also viewing the item right now.

Showing consumers how popular a product is, heightens its desirability and therefore increases the probability of the product being added to basket. It is worth noting though, this could backfire if your product has had very few purchases!

Social Recommendations

You can create urgency using social recommendations by showing visitors notifications of how well products have been selling that hour, day or week. An alternative would be to feature a list of products which are selling fast on your homepage. This shows to consumers not only that your website is popular, but also creates urgency for them to purchase one of the best sellers before they all get snapped up!

Using colours to promote urgency

Booking.com is king when it comes to using colours to promote urgency on their website. Our bodies are hard wired to change our behaviour when we see different colours. Red is often associated with anger, importance but also love. Orange, whilst having some of the same energising aspects as red, does so in a slightly safer degree. Orange is a good way to add excitement to your urgency messaging with less severity. Green is seen to be a softer colour, and naturally represented as a safe colour, especially when placed next to the stimulating colours of red and orange.

 

As always, we highly recommend that you split test your colour choices to find out which works best for your site…however, there is a reason that red is most commonly used!

And finally…

Adding some urgency to your website encourages shoppers to take the actions you want them to, and has been proven, when used correctly to increase your conversions. We would always recommend that you split test any changes you make to measure the impact.

Need some assistance in getting your real time urgency messaging set up? Let us help!

Bunting offer a free months trial for our customers, so you can see the results for yourself.

By: Charlotte Halkyard 20th June 2018 Tags: , , , , , , ,

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Email Personalization, Abandoned Carts and GDPR

There have been numerous scare stories about the impending death of email marketing once GDPR kicks in later this month on May 25th.

As you’ll know, you will be legally obligated to acquire consent (from existing customers, and new) in order to send your email marketing communications. This will no doubt see your email list reduce in size. But on the plus side, this means your email marketing database will only contain people who want to receive your emails. Providing you’re compliant with the new regulations, there’s no reason why you can’t continue to send personalized email campaigns and abandoned cart emails.

Regardless, there still seems to be a lot of confusion around the topic of GDPR and email marketing.

Abandoned cart emails

One of the areas that seems to have raised many questions is the topic of abandoned cart emails and their lawful basis. There has been some debate as to whether abandoned cart emails constitute transactional emails or marketing emails. Some have suggested that they are the former, arguing that legitimate interests can be your lawful basis for processing personal data to send these emails. Others have recommended getting consent and treating abandoned cart emails as marketing emails.

We believe consent is the best option here and in the best interests of customers. Legitimate interests is used as a lawful basis for when the processing is necessary and in ways that customers ‘would reasonably expect’. However, in the case of abandoned cart emails, it’s debatable as to whether a) they are necessary and b) whether a visitor landing on your site would expect such an email.

In this case, abandoned cart emails can then be sent to consumers who have opted-in.

Personalized emails

In much the same way, personalized marketing emails require consent. It’s important when using a personalization tool like Bunting to make sure your vendor is up to date with your email subscriptions.

It’s crucially important to make sure your recipients know that their data will be used for personalized marketing emails, and you’ll need to detail how and why.  This information should be displayed clearly and must be easily accessed. Remember consent needs to be “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous”.

With all kinds of marketing emails it’s essential that recipients can opt-out – unsubscribe – just as easily as they can opt-in.

Vendors

Only you are responsible for your GDPR compliance, meaning you need to check your vendors have the structures and processes in place to ensure your own compliance with the regulation.

You should now be in the process of getting consent from your customers – existing customers and new ones – to process their data in order to send them further marketing emails. It’s important that your vendors are also updated with your customers’ consent, which we are well prepared for at Bunting.

For Bunting users we’ve got a guide for how to update your email database in the tool. In this article you’ll find out how to automate this process and keep Bunting up to date with your opt-ins.

Good luck with the rest of your preparations, and if you’ve any questions, just drop us an email at gdpr [at] bunting [dot] com

Disclaimer: nothing in this article should be taken as legal advice. We strongly encourage you to get legal advice to aid your GDPR preparations!

By: Bunting 11th May 2018 Tags: ,

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How to create the perfect abandoned cart email

As any ecommerce merchant knows, abandoned carts are the most frustrating and ongoing source of lost revenue. A well cited statistic from Baymard Institute shows an average abandoned cart rate of a huge 68.53%.

The most frustrating part of this is that even when you have done all in your powers to completely optimize your site, visitors will still abandon carts. Frequently.

The good news is that, after website optimization, an effective abandoned cart campaign is quite simply the best way to get shoppers to return to your site and complete their order. Abandoned cart recovery emails have a high open rate and impressive click through rates. And, on average, a third of recipients go on to make a purchase after opening.

It is crucial, however, that you get each part of the email right.

I’m going to run through the 10 necessary ingredients to create a perfect abandoned cart recovery email.

1. Make sure your brand is clearly identifiable in the sender or subject line

This may seem obvious, but cannot be stressed enough. If a recipient is not sure of the sender, or if any trust issues arise, then the email will not be opened.

2. Make sure the subject line states the purpose of the email

Abandoned cart emails have a higher open rate than your typical sales email, but only if you make it clear to the recipient what the email is about. You heighten chances of the email being ignored if you don’t be clear about this in the subject line.

3. Display an image of the abandoned item/s

Make sure you show a good quality image of the items left behind. This serves as a reminder to the shopper and may re-spark interest in the product. After all, many carts are abandoned due to distractions, and a little reminder of what was left behind is sometimes all that is needed.

abandoned cart email

4. Have a clear call-to-action with a link to the cart

Make sure you make it as easy as possible for the customer to get back to their cart and proceed with their purchase. A clear call to action placed prominently near the image of the item is essential.

5. Add a sense of scarcity and urgency

Of course, not all shoppers will convert just by reminding them of their cart content. A little bit of scarcity and urgency can help here. For example, by showing the number of stocks left, or how much longer an item will be on sale, you can add a little nudge and an incentive to return.

6. Show customer reviews of the item

Further persuasion and trust can be added by throwing in a strong customer review of the item. If a customer is still undecided, let them know how much other people love the product.

7. Show recommendations of similar items

We know what product/s the shopper has shown an interest in, but an abandoned cart may be due to indecision as to whether the product in their basket is the ‘perfect’ one. For these undecided shoppers, product recommendations can be a great way to help the shopper find what they were looking for. Make sure you show these recommendations beneath the main image of the abandoned cart product/s.

product-recommendations-Furtinure-countrywide

8. Make all your shipping and returns policies and prices clearly visible

A common reason for cart abandonment is an unanswered question and a resulting lack of trust. Whilst it is crucial your site clearly provides shipping and returns information, so too should your emails. Trust is essential, and your shopper’s concerns should be addressed. Provide a clear link to your full policies.

9. Consider free delivery or a time-sensitive offer … but carefully

35.7% of abandoned carts occur once the shopper sees shipping costs (source: Business Insider) Free delivery is, therefore, a very effective means of enticing the shopper back to purchase. Likewise, time-sensitive offers can work well, too.

However, you don’t want to risk hurting your bottom line – there are online lists of retailers who offer abandoned cart coupons, and the savvy shopper may end up intentionally abandoning their cart to get an offer. So, use these cautiously.

Don’t necessarily give such offers and discounts to everyone, either. Segment your data carefully, and consider metrics such as ‘abandoned cart but did not return to site for 4 weeks’. For these indecisive users, an offer or free delivery coupon may be an effective incentive to return to your store.

10. Allow users to opt-out

Ok, so you’ve put together your email and you’re looking forward to seeing more shoppers return to complete their orders. However, unfortunately, there will be some of your buyers who just don’t want to receive these reminders.

According to Sherpa Research, while 51% of shoppers found cart recovery emails to be helpful, a further 38% found them to be annoying and wished they weren’t sent at all. The last thing you want is to irritate your shoppers, so by allowing them to unsubscribe from abandoned cart emails you will likely see a happier customer.

Summary

So, get creative, and remember to show your brand’s personality in your emails. By including these ingredients, you should be well on your way to perfecting your abandoned cart recovery emails. If you don’t have the technical capacity to leverage data and automate your own emails, consider a tool like Bunting to help you.

Whilst you will never be able to completely obliterate the pesky problem of abandoned carts, we expect that your email campaign will help you see massive improvements.  Let us know how it goes! 🙂

 

By: Bunting 29th April 2016 Tags: , , ,

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Email isn’t dead … but if you don’t personalize, it will be

Email marketing has been getting some hard press as of late. Some of this is understandable – emails are becoming increasingly easier to ignore, and, with emerging channels competing for consumers’ attentions, many argue that email is a dying medium.

But the facts remain: email is still one of the biggest traffic drivers, it is 40 times more effective than social media for customer acquisition, and there are still huge opportunities within it.

However, the downside is that, more than ever, email has the potential to harm your brand.

Research shows that the average customer receives 6 sales and mobile offers a day, with many recipients claiming a large proportion of these to be irrelevant. Customers are increasingly fed up of these generic messages creeping into their inboxes – and that annoyance can very quickly result in a spam filter activation or unsubscribe request. Worse still, it can result in a negative association with your brand.

The key here is to be relevant, and personal. Consumers are no longer tolerating a spray and pray approach – you need to know your customers, and use the wealth of data they are entering into your site to target them effectively. And it works: personalized emails deliver 6 x higher transaction rates, and 82% of shoppers say they are more likely to purchase from a brand who sends them emails relevant to their interests.

However, if you’re going to personalize, you need to segment data meaningfully, and use effective triggers. 70% of shoppers think personalization attempts are superficial, and a ‘hello first name’ alone just isn’t going to cut it anymore.

I’m going to run through some effective ways email can be kept alive and well through personalization.

1. Serve up what your customer loves

 

I recently received this newsletter email from a ticket agency from whom I’ve purchased before. They clearly know I’m a fan of stand-up comedy, and had utilised the data from my previous transactions to provide an email full of completely relevant recommendations for up and coming comedy gigs.

The email title was also effectively to the point, with no sales-speak – just a list of the acts on tour soon. This no-nonsense approach appealed to me, and I was actually pleased to find an email in my inbox that was directly relevant to my interests. I purchased from them soon after reading this.

Where this email faltered, however, was the lack of awareness about my geolocation. Based on data collected from my previous purchases, the company should know where I’m based, but yet the recommendations were for gigs taking place in various locations, and I would have far preferred to see gigs in my local area.

Still, this email shows a simple and effective way to serve up relevant content based on past purchasing data. This can go wrong, however, when a customer has purchased a one-off product, resulting in targeted content that does not match the shoppers’ current needs or interests. Consider all options: cross-sells and related ‘trending products’ could be a good alternative.

Likewise, be aware that customers may also have purchased gifts for others at your store. I would cautiously advice any retailers to have a ‘this is a gift’ option when customers are checking out, and keep these users out of the segment.

2. Send out ‘We miss you’ emails

email-screenshot-1

Haven’t seen a customer for a while? Email can be a very effective way to entice them back.

This email here from Hostel World is offering a time-sensitive discount from their next accommodation order, with a month deadline to increase that sense of urgency.

The personalization is fairly minimal here – a first name is used which, although a simple technique, makes the offer seem unique to that person. However, segmenting no doubt was used. The recipient hadn’t engaged with the brand for some time, so an offer was an effective means of targeting them.

For customers who have recently engaged with your brand, a newsletter or alert for product replenishment may be a more suitable means of bringing them back to your site.

Also be sure to mention the offer in the subject line. This is, unsurprisingly, one of the most effective means of engaging a user to open an email.

And of course, if you’re going to provide an offer on a particular product or brand, then make sure it is directly relevant to a shopper’s previous purchasing or browsing history. That may sound obvious, but many brands are keen to promote a product currently popular on the site but with no relevance to the preferences of the customer receiving the message. Research has shown that 78.6% of shoppers would only engage with a promotion if it was directly connected to how have previously interacted with your store.

3. Abandoned cart emails

abandoned-cart-katespade

The vast majority of carts are left abandoned, and on average, only 2% of traffic complete their transaction first time round. In fact, cart abandonment was found to be the single biggest factor affecting conversions.

There are myriad reasons for this: some shoppers are put off by unexpected delivery costs and thus leave the site, others may become distracted and exit with the intention of coming back but then forget to do so.

Emailing the content of the abandoned cart, with a triggered incentive based on relevant metrics, is a great way to get your shopper to return. A good example of this is seen above, from Kate Spade. The discount, along with the sense of urgency from the 2 week deadline, is a useful tactic. Mentioning that there is ‘only x number of stocks left” is another good way to entice the shopper to proceed with the purchase. However, it would be better to include an image of the abandoned item.

Conclusion

These are only a few ways personalized emails can be used, and experimentation is recommended. But remember: a personalized email campaign is only as good as the quality of the data you collect. If data collection in-house is a concern, then many personalization tools can assist you in data collection and setting up triggered actions.

So, good luck, and do share any successful uses of personalization in email! 🙂

Sign up to Bunting for a free trial of its easy website personalization software. No tie-ins, cancel anytime.

By: Bunting 3rd March 2016

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