There is a connection between what goes on in your store and your guests’ online activity. It may be hard to believe at first, but the proof exists.

The folks at Marketing Sherpa recently wrote up a case study on soccerloco, a small soccer gear retail chain in California, whose in-store welcome email program led to 7% of email openers making an additional purchase.

The campaign went like this:

  • New customers supplied an email address in-store. You can blatantly ask for your guest’s email address or get clever with the process. Some stores will even offer prize drawings to guests that give their email address.
  • The names were then loaded into soccerloco’s email service provider. If you're not using Swipely, remember to segment these email addresses so the recipients don’t receive the wrong messaging.
  • The welcome email was sent with some necessary elements of a good welcome email, including primary navigation leading to the most important parts of the website, a large image of product offerings, a “thank you” message to customers for already making a purchase, and a call-to-action to get them into the online store.

The campaign was a big success for soccerloco because they were able to reach their new email guests at the right time. Email marketing is greatly affected by timing like most other things. Sending the welcome email when the initial experience is fresh in mind is the best possible strategy.

The email marketing campaign had wonderful results. Here is a look at some of the stats:

  • 40% open rate.
  • 7% clickthrough rate.
  • 4% conversion rate, which focused on a completed survey.
  • 7% of customers who opened the email made another purchase online.

An open rate of 40% is excellent and 7% clickthrough rate is high compared to industry standards, a 7% rate of buyer conversions is also a number to be proud of.

A new customer is the perfect person to email to because interest in your company is at its peak. Dining or shopping with you is a new experience and if the initial interaction was positive, it’s possible to establish a stronger relationship.

Ideas for collecting emails at the counter

1. Be creative: Red Hanger, a dry cleaner in Utah, uses a marked Post-it pad where customers can write their email address and hand it to the cashier. This eliminates any worry about jotting down an email address where everyone can see it.

2. Make it easy: Some businesses use a fishbowl to collect business cards, but since not everyone has business cards, you might try asking for their email address at the point of sale like Yankee Candle does.

3. Make it interesting: Swipely offers a Text to Join program where merchants can promote their unique code on a table tent, poster or chalkboard. Customers simply text that code from their mobile phone and can sign up for the merchant’s loyalty program to start receiving emails and rewards automatically.

4. Turn it into a game: Hold a monthly contest that gives something away for free in exchange for their email address. The customer gets a prize, and you gain entrance to a mailbox that they review daily.

5. Double up on the feedback: If you use comment or feedback cards, make sure to leave an optional line for people to add their email address to your email list.

Additionally, you’ll want to keep these folks on your list, so it’s important to send great email newsletters once you have their trust. Although you should also collect email addresses on your website, your in-store methods capture customers at their peak of interest.

Sending an effective welcome letter

  • Remind your guests that they signed up for your email list.
  • Personalize your emails. The personalized touch makes recipients appreciate the sentiment more because it feels like you’re sending a direct one-to-one email and not a mass email. Also personalize the “From” line if your brand has a recognizable personality.
  • Don't forget the call to action. Your email can act as a loyalty program simply by rewarding them for returning to your store, or incentivizing them to continue your relationship in your online store. This is where soccerloco excelled.

If your email marketing program isn’t very comprehensive, don’t worry; you can always start small and build as you go. Email is a starting point and you can work your way into reputation monitoring.

Are you capturing email addresses from customers in-store? Please share your experience with us.

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