Capturing Data for Retailers – Part 2: The retailer’s ultimate guide to email list growth

In part one of this guide, we looked at the best ways to get people to part with their email addresses online. This time we look at the best methods to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of capturing email addresses in-store.

These tactics can quickly help you build your database, retain and attract customers while increasing your sales.

And as with the online tactics, there are plenty of opportunities and a few quick wins. You’ll soon be able to significantly increase the amount of customer data you’re collecting – while boosting sales and conversion rates.

Take a look at our suggestions and take your pick. To optimise your results don’t forget to combine them with our online strategies available in part one of this guide.

Prioritise email capture in your loyalty scheme

Many retailers with high-street stores still use their loyalty card schemes as their main form of data-capture. Make sure the way you ask customers to sign-up for loyalty cards is quick and captures their email address above all other details. Once you have their email address you can go back to them for more information but without an email address it will cost you more and will be slower to contact them. The coffee chain Costa do a great job of this asking members to activate their loyalty cards by submitting their email address.

Capture addresses in-store using SMS

If you’re a clothing, cosmetics, electronics or home store, shoppers are highly likely to leave your store without purchasing anything. But the answer to converting those browsers into buyers is in the palm of your customer’s hand. Ask customers to send you their email addresses while they’re in your shop, by prominently displaying SMS shortcodes. Clothing retailer GAP recently promoted a welcome offer at the till point, asking customers to text their email addresses to a shortcode to redeem 25% off their next purchase. After sending their details consumers were then sent a promotional code that could be redeemed in-store and online.

Offer free WiFi

If your stores have WiFi then advertise it to your customers and encourage them to log-on. Boots do this regularly and it’s a great way to capture data by asking people to register for the service. This tactic works best when a customer is likely to be killing time in your store – outside changing rooms or waiting for a service.

Partner with another retailer

Enrich your database by partnering with another retailer. Make sure it’s not one you’re in direct competition with but one that your target customer might also shop with. For example if you’re a women’s clothing retailer than approach a make-up or bath and body retailer. Run a competition in-store and online to supply a makeover or a combination of products and advertise it to your databases. When people enter make sure they’re willing to sign-up to both of your databases as a condition of entering. These partnerships increase your appeal and reach – allowing both retailers to build their databases.

Attract new customers with a free gift

Buying email subscribers can be costly and unproductive. Purchased data is notorious for low conversion rates and poor quality data (SmartInsights, 2016). Instead of buying data from an agency, incentivise prospective customers to sign-up to your email database by offering them a gift. To redeem the gift all they need to do is to give you their email address in-store. It’s a commercially savvy tactic if the cost of the product you’re offering is lower than the typical sales driven from acquiring an email address. Offering free products is also a great way for prospective customers to trial your goods before they buy – if you’re confident in the quality of your product then you can be confident they’ll return.

Offer e-receipts

Electronic receipts are not just convenient and eco-friendly – they’re a nice way of capturing email addresses. If your customers walk out of the door without giving you the means to contact them again you’re reducing the likelihood of a repeat purchase. Apple Stores routinely offer their customers e-recipients and as with everything Apple do, it usually starts a trend. Make sure your staff are able to capture the customer’s details quickly and effectively on tills or handheld devices so they can help you grow your database on the go. It’s worth the investment – even if it does give your IT department a headache.

These are just a few of the strategies you can adopt to improve your data-capture in-store. Next time you’re in your favourite shop, don’t forget to notice the smart ways they get you to part with your data, and which tricks you think they’re missing.

And remember – if you try any of these then make sure your store staff record what data is generated from which method so you can analyse the success. And when we say success we mean conversion – never judge a data capture program by volume – when it comes to data, quality is what counts!

If you haven’t already then don’t forget to read part one of this guide focusing on effective strategies for retailers capturing data online.

Download the Advanced Email Series: Data Capture Guide