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Guest comment: How multichannel retailers can maximise on-site e-mail capture

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By Hosein Moghaddas

With industry research consistently showing that e-mail acquisition from web sites is the most effective method of acquisition, here are some top tips for multichannel retailers on how they can get users signed up and logging in on a recurring basis.

Prominently display your sign-up box

This may seem a little basic, but a sign up box should be one of the first items visible at the log-in stage. Under no circumstance should a consumer be searching for the facility, which should be clearly available on every page of the site. Think about it; if you were a customer statically browsing on a website with only a marginal amount of interest in the brand, the likelihood of sign-up would be much higher if the work was done for you.

In terms of sign-up box location, retailers should make an executive decision based upon how crucial it is for their business. If sign-up is a key factor of survival, for instance in a the case of a loyalty marketing site, then the sign-up facility should be aggressively promoted on the landing page, coloured with a few creative elements to improve recognisability. Also if the hosting service allows, be sure to take full advantage of the auto complete feature that many internet browsers provide.

Highlight the benefits of subscribing

Ask yourself: why should a customer sign up with your site and what makes your brand worth listening to? With the online climate being as competitive as it is, the benefits of subscribing to your brand need to be plainly obvious to consumers as they browse. In short, there needs to be a call to action for consumers.

If, for instance, you’re an online fashion brand, this could be as simple as giving first views of the latest promotions or collections. It’s also essential to provide preference options, such as allowing customers to choose how often they would like to receive your e-mail updates, in what format and on what categories that may be of interest.

Gather customer data for targeting

Online retailers should never pass up the opportunity to obtain essential data without bombarding their customers with questions. The trick is to strike a happy medium by politely offering additional options to shoppers. Enable a few optional questions along with an e-mail request, such as date of birth or town of residency.

If more information is required, for example in the case of product order, consider implementing a two stage effort of data registration, which allows customers more time to consider the information they offer.

Highlight a strong privacy policy

Consumers are often reluctant to provide sensitive information so the onus is on retailers to highlight a strong privacy policy in the sign-up box. Depending on the type of information asked for, it can be placed adjacent to fields where personal information is submitted, reassuring customers that their information will not be used for any other purpose than originally stated.

If done well, the process of getting customers signed up and logging on should not be particularly challenging for companies, who are then left to make intelligent, actionable decisions for their business.

Hosein Moghaddas is VP & MD International, GSI Commerce

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