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You, Me and a Whole Lotta Email: Why Email is Everything for Retailers Today

TAGS: Marketing

We hear a lot about social media -- how to do it "right", what type of social media strategy you "should" have, what your competitors are doing, what you aren't doing, how to leverage Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Vine -- the list goes on and on.  What many retailers are missing out on is good old fashioned email.  Yep, you heard me right, email.  The first form of social media and still the most powerful.  Whether you are a large or small retailer, email is the secret sauce in driving sales day in and day out, even when your stores are closed.  The big retailers, like Nordstrom, have this down to a science.  They know that more than 50% of all commerce traffic comes from mobile devices - a number that is increasing daily.  

So why email you ask? Simply put, email is the only social media platform that you as a retailer can "own", and is the only push social media marketing out there.  Every other form of social media is "pull" - meaning it requires you to post something amazing enough for someone to want to look at it.  You have to try to be all things to all people and battle ever-increasing speeds of feeds, Facebook algorithm changes, among many other distractions for attention. But with email? You push -- in fact you don't even push - if your customer has given you their email address, you've been INVITED into their email box to delight them, to give them all your latest news, let them know how they can save money with sales and show them everything new you've got in the store.  Email is as if someone has said, yes, absolutely come in and show me whatcha got!  What an amazing opportunity.  

If you are a small retailer and you don't even have an online part of your store -- email is a wonderful way to connect with customers, give them the scoop on what's just in, give them special discounts just for signing up, or invite the to events in-store.  If you are a big retailer, mostly likely you've got the email thing down pat - but there's still more you can do.  Tapping into your customers current needs, wants and desires through email is a brilliant way to test ideas and even new product.  What is amazing about email is that you also get to see - who opened your email, when and what did they click through on.  Simply put - who's interested in what you have to offer and who's taking action by clicking? There are tons of ways to connect via email, and I'll write more about this in future articles but for now here are three quick tips to get you started:

1. Make It Authentic 

Stay away from overly "sales-y" language - make it sound authentic, true to your brand versus pushing to a sale

2. Make It Fun

Inject the spirit of your particular store into the email - as if your chattiest salesperson were having a conversation

3. Be Consistent

Create a calendar of when you send out and stick to it -- consistency builds trust, your first step in building sales

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