Use Scarcity, Urgency to Enhance Email Marketing – Total Retail

In today’s world, retailers are having a harder time than ever finding ways to break through the deluge of daily email messages in order to reach customers and get them re-engaged with their brands. So often, marketers talk about getting new customers into the pipeline, but perhaps even more challenging is re-engaging customers who have failed to return to the site in a long time.

Brands are often forced to turn to batch-and-blast emails in an attempt to re-engage customers. Because these emails are not personalized or focused on a customer’s needs or wants, they can often do more harm than good. However, with limited tools on the market to help retailers get in front of their customers, where can they turn? Social remains a solid go-to tactic, with 83 percent of marketers noting it as a business essential, yet email marketing still retains a median return on investment four times higher than other channels. And today, email marketers are embracing triggered and targeted messaging programs in droves.

Marketers who utilize urgency, scarcity and social proof via changes in their product feeds and inventory relative to user intent will drive the most engagement across the board. Triggered emails based on these product statuses are meant to break through the noise to drive retention and continual purchases, ultimately growing revenue and inspiring brand loyalty.

One retailer that does this really well is luxury jewelry brand Alexis Bittar. Alexis Bittar worked with BounceX to trigger emails based on on-site actions like cart and product abandonment, with these emails driving 17 percent of the jeweler’s total digital revenue. Seeing the impact that relevant one-to-one emails had on later stages of a buying journey, Alexis Bittar wanted to extend that experience to other stages in the customer lifecycle. Therefore, Alexis Bitter capitalized on the urgency and scarcity of its products to bring customers back to a given site or product, even if they haven’t engaged the brand in up to six months.

Here are three examples of emails that Alexis Bittar has used to re-engage its customers:

  1. Price Drop: If a customer views a product at full price at some point and then the product goes on sale after they leave the site, price drop emails are triggered to take those consumers back to the item. Sales at Alexis Bittar tend to be rare, therefore a decrease in price is a noteworthy milestone for consumers. This can psychologically trigger the notion that the time to act and re-engage is now.
  2. Back-in-Stock: The ability to purchase something in the moment is also a key triggering scenario. If a consumer initially views an in-stock item that soon goes out of stock, generating a quick-response back-in-stock message to send to that shopper encourages an equally rapid conversion. Despite a limited edition ethos, Alexis Bittar’s popular products occasionally get restocked after an initial run. Therefore, by driving visitors back to an item after it has sold out the first time, the social proof implication in the consumer’s mind is that it will likely sell out again and they must act fast.
  3. Low Stock: The fear of missing out (FOMO) allure of limited inventory is a re-engagement powerhouse. Potential scarcity essentially encourages visitors to make a purchase before it’s too late. Alexis Bittar’s individual handmade jewelry products are produced in limited quantities, making them fundamentally scarce and likely to yield a high sellout. Pushing out low-stock messages not only conveys the idea of missing out on an item, but also drives home the point that the product is valuable when available for a limited period of time.

By focusing on those emails, within a business that shies away from relying too heavily on promotions to move inventory, Alexis Bittar recorded a 13 percent higher open rate and 39 percent higher clickthrough rate, with its total email revenue increasing 37 percent when combined with its other BounceX triggered emails.

Low-stock, price-drop and back-in-stock emails allow a brand to find more ways to reach customers and their prospect base with relevant content to literally give the consumer what they want. These one-to-one relevant messages can be the catalyst that brands need to start driving meaningful new revenue from their email program, and to get their customers to make purchases again and again.

David Warren is the senior director of client partnerships for BounceX, an industry leader in cloud-based behavioral marketing and analytics.