Customer buying behavior is different before, during, and after the purchase. Each of these stages requires different email communication. With this article, you will understand how to best set it up to boost purchases in your eCommerce store.
What is the customer lifecycle?
The customer lifecycle describes the stages a customer goes through in the buying process - from when they first hear about you to when they become your loyal customer. To reach new and maintain relationships with existing customers through mailing, you need to understand each stage and set a different strategy for each.
The stages of the customer lifecycle are:
- Prospective customer
- Undecided customer
- Repeat purchases
- Strengthening the relationship
- Lost customer
1. Prospective customers - Don't let site visitors leave
A site visitor has yet to decide to buy from you. Use the cheapest way to attract a potential customer. Simply ask for their email right away and increase the chances of making the first purchase.
How would you do it?
- Create a signup form
In the form, offer value to the contacts in exchange for their email address, so they have a high incentive to fill it out. Consider free shipping, a discount on their first purchase, or an e-book with valuable information.
There are 3 types of forms you can use to reach potential customers.
- Pop-up form
Offer your customer a discount in exchange for an email and motivate them to make their first purchase. The pop-up will only appear when the user first visits the page and usually pops up when they try to leave the page or after a few seconds on the page.
- Slider form
The slider is a less aggressive form type and is ideal for offering downloadable content or a discount. It only rolls out after a potential customer clicks a button at the bottom of the site.
- Static form
You don't have to offer discounts to everyone. Add a static form to your website to sign up for your newsletters. They are typically located in the footer.
Example of a pop-up form with a discount on the first purchase.
#tip: In Ecomail, you can create a pop-up form that also appears on mobile devices.
An example of a slider form that offers a discount in exchange for an email.
Example of a static form placed in the footer of the website.
Welcome the potential customer - welcome campaign
Get potential customers to make their first purchase as quickly as possible, or introduce your company to newcomers and guide them to further communication with you.
A welcome email is usually expected by the potential customer and can therefore have an open rate of over 80%. And if you include a clear CTA, up to a third of recipients will click on it. Welcome the new contact, and remember to deliver on what you promised in the collection form - send a discount coupon or interesting content.
In Ecomail, you can set up welcome automation in a few clicks, thanks to preset scenarios.
#tip: Encourage potential customers by sending them a discount on their 1st purchase in your welcome campaign.
Example of a welcome email.
2. Indecisive customer - Increase the percentage of completed purchases
Up to 70% of customers do not complete their purchase. Set up remarketing campaigns and get undecided customers to take action. These campaigns are automated - you set them up once, but then they work and deliver results continuously.
- Reminder of the abandoned shopping cart
According to recent studies, more than 45% of recipients open an automated email reminding them of an item in their cart, and up to 50% of them complete the purchase. So with automation set up, you can save up to 11% of sales with just one automated campaign.
Send an email to your customer with the exact contents of the shopping cart, and allow them to easily complete the purchase using the button that links to the cart. Set up your campaign by following our guide.
- Reminder of last viewed products
With this campaign, you can remind undecided customers of the products they last viewed at your store. It's your chance to convince them they can't miss out on your products. Highlight important information or add product reviews. This makes it easier to bring an undecided customer back to your website to complete their purchase.
Use our instructions to set up this automation.
Example of an abandoned shopping cart campaign.
This will display the last viewed products in the newsletter.
3. Repeated purchases - The first purchase is complete, and now all the effort begins!
Retention is cheaper than acquisition, which is why loyal customers are the most essential group you have. The following campaigns will ensure you get regular purchases.
- Discount for your next purchase
As a thank you, send an email with a discount code for your next purchase with a limited-time offer that will create a sense of urgency and interest to make another purchase at your store. Use discount coupons for this.
- Product recommendations
Respond to customers' buying behavior and recommend products based on their purchases. Automatically send emails with products that are a perfect match for the purchased item (cross-sell), or recommend a larger package or upgraded version of the product (up-sell).
- Repeated consumption
If you sell goods that customers have to buy repeatedly (such as contact lenses or pet food), take advantage of this. Remind them in advance that their stock is running low and allow them to repeat their last order straight away in the email.
- Anniversary of the first purchase
Celebrate the anniversary with your customer with a small gift to motivate them to make another purchase. Send them an email telling them you still have something to offer and that they haven’t purchased in a while.
A reminder about the repeated purchase of dog food.
Campaign for the anniversary of the 1st purchase.
4. Strengthening the relationship
Customer care should be as important to you as retention. Send them content that makes them happy or is full of information and they won't stop buying from you. These campaigns are good for strengthening the relationship.
- Purchase rating
Get valuable reviews that convince other customers of your quality. To motivate the customer to complete the review, you can promise them something extra for completing it - a discount, free shipping on their next purchase, or points for a loyalty program.
- Content email
Ensure you are a strong industry expert by providing advice and tips. After purchase, send the customer a newsletter full of useful information about the product they purchased. In the email, describe its benefits or send helpful tips on how to use it.
- Holiday and Birthday Campaign
A holiday or birthday campaign builds a stronger relationship and is also great at motivating customers to buy. You can give the customer a discount code or even free shipping as a birthday or holiday gift. Be sure to use at least a basic salutation to make the card truly personal.
- Loyalty Club - exclusive discounts and promotions for members
Your loyal customers should feel that they get a lot of benefits from you. This will give them no reason to switch to your competitors. So include the option to collect loyalty points in your email campaigns, introduce special offers or send exclusive discounts only for club members.
The company asks its customers to fill in a questionnaire after they have made a purchase.
After ordering new plants, the customer will receive an email full of helpful information and care tips.
#tip: Ecomail will help you track all the birthdays and send gifts on autopilot.
An example of a birthday campaign.
An example of an offer for loyal customers.
5. Lost customer
Not every customer will remain loyal to your brand in the long term. It may happen that they will not place another order and will be inactive in your store for a long time because they bought from competitors or brick-and-mortar stores. But don't give up yet! Try to re-engage them and remind them you exist. These campaigns will help you do that.
- Exclusive offers
Communicate with the inactive part of the database only rarely, for example on Black Friday or for special offers. These are events that, with the support of a well-chosen subject line and preheader, can entice the customer to open the newsletter and take advantage of your offer.
- Reactivation campaign
Reach inactive contacts at the appropriate time with automated emails. A reactivation campaign will be triggered when you specify, and you can send them an irresistible offer. This will help you increase the chances of customers returning to your store again.
Black Friday campaign with limited offers.
#tip: Work with urgency (for example countdown) and reactivate the customers faster.
Example of a limited-time offer.
Whatever stage of your customer's lifecycle, you can use these proven email campaigns to communicate effectively with them and achieve a quality base of loyal customers