As we have commented many times, the best way to grow your database is organic gathering through your own channels, especially the one that is made in your store, both online and offline. Users usually give their data on their own initiative because they want to receive information, offers or discounts, as they are willing to become customers, these leads are the most interesting.
Regarding online shops, the process is simple as it is usually highly automated and the incorporation of new emails is almost immediate. But things are different in off-line stores when they don’t have a clear and structured process, this situation can cause serious issues. We will show you an example of a case that happened to one of our clients “Retailer X”:
The retailer X, which has a wide network of offline shops, asked its employees to collect customers’ data through a paper form, including the email addresses. Employees filled out the form, but did not enter immediately the data in the computer system or maybe they did but the system was not connected to the email-marketing database, meaning information was kept without being used.
One day, the marketing director of X realized they own thousands or hundreds of thousands of customer email addresses that were never used. Considering this was a waste of resources, he decided to include all the information from interested opt-in users in the email-marketing database, in order to send them their weekly newsletters.
However, after the first send-out following the update, the retailer was blocked on several client mails such as Gmail, Hotmail, etc. and messages were not delivered anymore! After the initial shock and thanks to the quick intervention of Splio, finally the blocking was only temporary, meaning emails at these client mails were blocked for a couple of days and not permanently.
Why did client mails block the emails?
Well, first, because the email addresses were not new. Users gave their data months ago, without receiving any message from the retailer. In the meantime, these contacts probably changed their email address, either the professional or the personal one, and as these email addresses no longer exist, they are considered as Hard-bounces.
Secondly, some emails were misspelled. As the gathering was manual and had also gone through various hands before being integrated to the database, there were many typing errors. This wouldn’t have happened with an easy or online process, in which the salesperson directly enters the data in the system with an automatic database update. These misspelled emails are also Hard-bounces.
The high rate of Hard-bounces is the reason why the client mails became alarmed and directly blocked all the messages from that sender. This had an impact on the entire database: email addresses that were already stored in the database and new email addresses did both not receive the newsletters. In addition to a serious deliverability problem, this situation produced an important loss of sales. Doing a quick calculation, if the company had 30% of blocked emails in the following campaign sent, and knowing that 40% of online sales are generated by emails, the loss represented 12% of sales. This is a very important figure, which can become dramatic in comparison with other business models:
- Daily deals: as 70% of sales are generated by emails, blocking 30% of them generate a loss of 21% of sales, until the email addresses are unblocked
- Online outlet: 60% of sales generated by push emails, so with 30% blockage, the decrease is 18%.
How to better collect email addresses in-store?
All these issues could have been easily avoided by observing some best practices:
- First of all, collecting email addresses in-store in a more efficient way. The in-store acquisition should preferably be integrated electronically, with kiosks or tablets, for example. If this is not possible, you then should plan a process of continuous updating of data from paper to computer, this should ideally be daily or at most weekly.
- If you are not able to improve the acquisition process to those levels, try to increase as much as possible the frequency of the database updates. If you don’t do it regularly, you will lose precious time before you can send your first email to these new contacts. It’s much more efficient to get in touch with the new contact while his interest to receive information is high. If you don’t do so, the day you’ll send out the first email, your contact will probably have lost the interest for your brand in addition to not reminding anymore he subscribed to your newsletter. This is how recipients then click on the SPAM button.
- If the update is manual without any email confirmation process, it is essential to validate the structure of the emails before starting the send-out. This validation process allows discarding manual and typographical errors that happen during the acquisition, and avoids « false hard-bounces ». In general, all email-marketing platforms filter this kind of addresses and do not integrate them into the database. Even if these addresses are lost, it will avoid high rates of hard-bounces. The best thing to do is to be very careful while entering the email addresses manually in order to avoid any typographical error.
- Finally, it is important to integrate slowly the new contacts in your send-outs. Do not directly send-out to the whole database, but split it into several days or weeks. In that way, the reputation will not be affected; it will at least minimize the problem to the maximum.
Hopefully, these tips will help you to improve your in-store acquisition process so that you will only generate new leads and no new headaches!