A powerful retail email marketing strategy is capable of pushing your company to the forefront of your community. Now imagine one that is backed by email feedback… With email feedback you can obtain meaningful insights into your email campaigns, equipping you with the knowledge to better cater to your readers and provide them top of the line content and support.
Meanwhile, many organisations only leverage A/B testing methods to measure performance. This is a great method for discovering what resonates with your audience (i.e. subject lines, email templates, CTA texts, etc.), however it doesn’t tell you why or how you can improve. In fact, if you’re already conducting A/B testing, it might be worth a try to use your A/B testing in combination with qualitative customer feedback for a more holistic view.
So the question is (assuming you already use A/B testing methods), what’s the best way to obtain these qualitative insights as a retailer?
In this post we will outline how email marketing is used in the retail industry, why your organisation should be collecting email feedback and of course – our best practices for collecting email feedback in retail.
Email Marketing in Retail
While social channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great for exposing your retail products (and brand) to your prospects, they make it difficult to target your customers directly. Email marketing, on the other hand, allows for more precise targeting and personalisation of the messages you want to send. In fact, according to McKinsey, email marketing is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter at acquiring new customers. Hence, email marketing being a widely used marketing method within the retail industry.
And what’s particularly interesting about the retail industry is the sheer multitude of emails going out to customers and prospects on a daily basis. According to CampaignMonitor, some of the most common automated emails in retail include:
- Welcome emails
- Order / Registration confirmations
- Shipping confirmations
- Email address confirmations & Password Reset emails
- Support notifications
- Cart abandonment emails
- Related product emails
- Review request emails
The challenge here is identifying whether these emails are actually ‘hitting the mark’ with your customers. What we see with many retailers is this unfortunate lack of understanding and engagement with the target audience. In fact, it seems that with many campaign emails, communications are only outbound, leaving marketers with no real insight into how their email was received by their readers. This lack of insight into the performance of an email campaign is precisely why it’s important to start collecting email feedback…
Why Retailers should Collect Email Feedback
From promo campaigns, confirmation emails and newsletters to post-purchase drip and re-engagement campaigns, it can be a challenge to meet your customers’ needs if you’re not in tune with them.
That’s why collecting email feedback plays an important role in customer-centricity. Rather than sending out messages and hoping that they are received well, this feedback enables users to provide a platform for two-way communication with customers. Customers can share their thoughts and perceptions regarding the emails they receive, which gives you as a marketer insight into what your readers value.
Free White Paper: Boost your retail website with online feedback
Learn how user feedback can aid in maintaining a sound customer experience.
For example, say you’ve sent out an email with your company’s latest product updates, along with several promos. In the (likely) event that your readers say nothing in response to your email (and you do not collect email feedback), you will have no way of knowing how it was received by your readers. Was the content relevant? Was it useful? Was the promo relevant for these readers? Do your readers have suggestions on how you can improve? These are the blanks that email feedback can fill in for you.
Best practices for Collecting Email Feedback in Retail
As an experienced feedback software specialist, we’ve got a number of best practices we’d like to share with you when it comes to gathering email feedback for your retail organisation.
1. Employ a strong setup prior to feedback collection
Let’s start with email segmentation. As previously mentioned, targeting your prospects and customers with email marketing is much more effective than any social media post. It gives you a direct line with your audience, so that you can personalise and cater your retail content and promotions to them as needed. That being said, segmenting your audience beforehand will be beneficial to your feedback program.
In retail this is particularly important for personalisation purposes. By sending personalised email campaigns, you ensure that your brand, products, and content remain relevant to your customers. You can segment your audience in a number of different ways such as grouping various demographics including age, gender, geographic location, etc. You can also break down your audience into types of respondents (see below).
Here are some examples of reader segments:
- Subscribed readers / customers who didn’t open the email
- Subscribed readers / customers who did open it
- Non-customers who opened it
- Non-customers who opened it AND click on one of the ‘through’ links
Additionally, there is the layout of your email. Prior to collecting feedback be sure to aim for three things: simple copy, a minimalist design, and a clear Call-To-Action (CTA). Though your feedback will help you optimise these efforts, it’s important to start with a good basis and keep these in mind.
Looking for more resources about email feedback?
Check out How to Collect Email Campaign Feedback and How to Use Feedback Surveys in Email Newsletters, or this guest post from our friends at CampaignMonitor How to Use Email Marketing to Get Feedback from Loyal Customers.
Once you have your segmentation and email format strategies sorted out, it’s time to start collecting your feedback…
2. Mind the structure of your email feedback surveys
Remember you’ve got an audience with an attention span of nearly 8 seconds. Toppled with the fact that email users receive an average of 88 emails each day, it’s a short window of time you have to get their attention and gather their feedback. For this reason, it’s important to craft a survey that will keep effort levels minimal for your audience while simultaneously helping you gain meaningful insights. So what steps should you take?
Here are a few things to consider when building your email feedback surveys:
- Keep it short and sweet. Keep the question(s) brief and to the point. Often the more questions you ask, the less responses you’ll receive. Make sure your readers can quickly scan the text in your form.
- Ask questions that help you meet your goal(s). You can use questions that steer your customers in the right direction in terms of the feedback you want to collect from them.
- Use open-ended questions. Leave your readers with the option to submit open-ended feedback using open-ended questions. This way you are more likely to receive a more detailed response and explanation for their feedback rating.
For example, let’s say you’ve just sent out a customer satisfaction survey as a follow up to a purchase your customer made last week. The purpose of the survey is to discover how satisfied your customer is with their new product and if not, what you can do to improve. However, if you skip the last step above (use open-ended questions), how will you know WHY the customer is dissatisfied. Open-ended questions will help you determine the reasoning behind their feedback, i.e. poor delivery time, damaged product, etc.
3. Cater your email surveys to your organisation’s goals
As we mentioned above, retailers send out various types of emails within their email campaigns. From welcome emails and order confirmations to shopping cart abandonment and related product emails, there’s a lot to cover.
That being said, it’s important to make sure you’re asking the right questions in your email surveys so that you can reach your goals. To illustrate we’ve included a few examples below:
Get all the facts
With a software like Mopinion you can pass metadata from emails to your survey using URL parameters, such as name, campaign ID, email address, customer segments, marketing personas and more. Learn more about how this works here.
Email confirmation / Post-purchase Email
Purpose? Even if your customer has made a purchase or completed a process, it doesn’t mean they did so with ease. Post-purchase (or post-experience) is a great time to ask how things went and how loyal your customers are.
What types of survey questions are best?
Kick off your survey with an NPS question: ‘How likely are you to recommend our website to friends and family?’. Then dive deeper and add follow up questions that will help you discover factors which may help you improve. ‘What could we improve upon – according to you’. You could either leave this as an open answer section or use multiple choice and select main areas of improvement (e.g. online offers, ease of purchase, etc). This survey doesn’t need to be long by any means.
Gain insight into what your readers truly value. Collecting email feedback in your newsletters (or other content-rich emails) is a quick and simple way to gauge readership as well as email campaign performance.
What types of survey questions are best?
Be as brief as possible. Keep the question(s) short and to the point. Often the more questions you ask, the less responses you’ll receive. In fact, most of the time it’s best just to use a thumbs up / thumbs down option. Make sure your readers can quickly scan the text.If you leave your readers with the option to submit open-ended feedback, you are more likely to receive a more detailed response.
Try any of our bulletproof email survey templates in Mopinion’s Survey Marketplace.
4. Instill a sense of trust among your audience
Are you hoping to receive email feedback continuously from your audience? Then you’ll need to ensure them that you’re doing something meaningful with their feedback. Let them feel heard and show that their feedback is constructive being put to use.
Why is this so important for retail? As we mentioned before, shifts in the market have affected the retail industry heavily. With more retailers moving online via websites and mobile apps, there’s a higher purchase frequency and fierce competition. Therefore, email is one additional way of engaging and building a sense of loyalty among your customers.
The best way to do this is to directly inform your readers about what you will do with their input on – for example – future newsletters or service emails. If your readers know it’s something that will really change for the better, they will be more likely to take the time to send the feedback.
Ready to give your email campaigns a boost?
And there you have it: Mopinion’s best practices for retail businesses that are ready to collect email feedback the right way. We hope this post provides you with a bit of inspiration for getting started. And remember, keep your feedback surveys short and sweet, allow your readers to provide open comments (for those in-depth insights) and always follow up on your feedback so as to maintain a loyal and happy customer base!
Ready to see Mopinion in action?
Want to learn more about Mopinion’s all-in-1 user feedback platform? Don’t be shy and take our software for a spin! Do you prefer it a bit more personal? Just book a demo. One of our feedback pro’s will guide you through the software and answer any questions you may have.