6 tips to boost your email engagement and sales this summer Published May 24, 2016 While most people are enjoying the arrival of warm weather, one sector prefers the rain when it comes to their marketing. ECommerce thrives on bad weather – people tend to venture out less, opting instead to stay indoors shopping online. From the month of May, many retailers see a natural decline in web traffic as people switch from online to the sunny high-street stores. But all’s not lost. There are some pretty nifty tricks to increase your web traffic and footfall when it comes to email marketing during those summer months… Tip 1: Create flash events A sense of urgency is a great way to create excitement and increase engagement among your online audience. If you’re looking for a short but sharp sales uplift then use your email marketing to promote a 48 hour flash sale online. The two-day period ensures you have time to generate the sales but it still makes sure people feel they need to act fast. Don’t forget to send an email 24 hours before the event ends to warn people they’ll miss out if they don’t act fast – last chance emails are a great way of re-energising sales. Tip 2: Promote online exclusives Promote online exclusives on email to generate interest, channel people to your site and tempt customers with their limited availability. Retailers such as Topshop frequently use online exclusives, you’ll only find River Island’s limited editions on their website, and Yves Saint Laurent offer free samples to their eCommerce customers. Online exclusives are a nice way of directing people to your website to get something they can’t get anywhere else. Tip 3: Use your online community Online has some distinct advantages over a bricks and mortar store – even when it’s sunny outside. Unlike customers in physical stores, online customers talk to each other, review or recommend purchases and provide feedback. Use the benefits of your online community to bring some of your in-store customers into your digital domain. Your stores are a great place to promote the product reviews, social media channels, web content and competitions to increase your traffic online. Tip 4: Make sure people can find you You can’t force people to shop online but you can make sure it’s easy for them to find you on the high-street by making sure your store locator is clearly marked on your emails. As 55% of emails are now read on mobile phones (Litmus, 2015), the chances are that your customer is on the go when they receive your campaigns. If they’re already out and about then don’t hide your store locator on your website – make sure you make it easy for them to pop into your nearest store. Tip 5: Support your store experience The flow of customers from your store to online shouldn’t be a one way street. A customer who shops with you across multiple channels will spend more with you (PwC, Multichannel Retail Survey, 2012). If you know you’re facing a few weeks where it will be hard to tempt your traffic online then use your email channel to drive people in-store. A great way to do this is through offers or gift redemptions which are exclusive to stores. Research suggests 70% of customers are likely to spend more than the value of gift voucher and make additional purchases (Worldpay, 2012). You can even use redemption codes to ensure you can track the sales generated by the emails. Tip 6: Build your brand and content If you struggle to schedule content in your email plan that isn’t sales focused then the summer months are the time to focus on brand. Consumers get bored of receiving constant promotions so use the natural break to promote relevant content that isn’t sales led. Beauty retailers often market ‘hot weather beauty tips’ in the summer and DIY stores start to seed content about gardening and bbqs. Some brands choose to tease forthcoming product launches in the autumn in an effort to start to build-up excitement and demand online. Good content re-engages an audience that is tired of the hard sell and keeps them reading your emails because they’re useful. This may not generate instant sales but it will generate loyalty. Keep an eye on your campaign’s open and click-through rates and monitor your brand-led marketing via engagement if you want to prove the benefits of great content. With these tips you won’t need to weather a drought when it comes to your engagement and sales online. These tactics can be used to boost engagement and sales across all your retail channels throughout the summer – so sit back and enjoy the sun this year!