What goes in the box? Why it matters in e-commerce.

Posted by John Park on May 23rd, 2009
2009
May 23

ecommerce shipping box

 
I’ve been working with a number of e-commerce clients lately and this question seems to come up often.  If you’re selling tangible products online, it’s not enough these days just to ship an order in a timely manner.  An online store owner should view the box as another opportunity to market their products.  Just by including the right items in the fulfillment box, you can exponentially increase the chances for a return visit and a follow-up sale.
 
Here are some proven marketing ideas.
 
 
1)  Return Visit Coupon:  Include a coupon code for their next visit.  You can offer a certain percentage off, a dollar amount or something like free shipping.  Be sure to note an expiration date so that you can get the return visit and sale within a few weeks.  And because you’re running an e-commerce store, you’ll be able to easily track usage of these coupon codes.
 
2)  Product Specific Promotion:  Include a brochure or a flyer promoting a specific product.  The promotion should be presented as an exclusive offer with a corresponding coupon code.  This type of promotion should also have an expiration date to generate a quick return visit.  Again, you should be able to track the usage of the coupons easily.
 
3)  Return & Interact for Reward:  Whether it’s for an online survey or to enter a contest, invite them back to a specific URL destination to interact and participate.  When they do this, you will reward them with some random offer or gift.  This method keeps it fun and it allows the visitor to play a game of chance at your web site.  If this method is used properly, you can also collect some valuable marketing research information from their return visit.
 
4)  VIP Access:  Give them exclusive access to a VIP area of your web site.  This would be a web page that could not be found unless you knew the specific URL.  In this area, you can offer special deals or clearance items.  Make the deals outrageous and they will return time after time to check out what deals have been posted to the area.  Don’t be so concerned about only selling these clearance items.  During most return visits, they will also check out the rest of your web site.  Navigation paths should be strategically located throughout this VIP area to encourage navigation to the rest of your web site.
 
5)  Promotional Item:  This is the easy one.  Add some low cost giveaway item.  The hard part will be to include an item that has some relevance to your core products.  There are three questions to ask when determining what to give away.  First, is your product branded with your logo and web address?  Second, how often will it be shown or displayed before your key target demographic?  And finally, how short will the distance be between this giveaway item and your next sale?  For example, let’s say your giveaway item is a mousepad.  The distance between your giveaway item and the next sale which will occur on their computer screen is pretty short isn’t it?
 
6)  Piggy Back:  This is the “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” marketing.  Identify e-commerce partners who sell products that have synergy with your products.  Once you’ve identified these partners, you will include an offer from them in your fulfillment boxes.  And in return, they will do the same for you in their fulfillment boxes.  This is a real win-win situation and it allows all participating stores to be introduced to new potential customers.  From a customer point-of-view, it will be accepted as a benefit because you are introducing multiple offers to them from companies that have close synergy to your products, which they have just purchased.
 
7)  Free Samples:  Depending on what you sell, you might want to consider including free samples along with every order.  The free sample must be accompanied by a specific promotion coupon code for the customer to go to your site and buy more.  Give them a try and then show them how to buy more at a discount.  Just think about Costco’s free food samples.  You’ll be using the same method except it’s in an e-commerce environment.
 
 
Some of you may hesitate to implement any of the above because of your profit and margin concerns.  When analyzing this concern, keep in mind the following.  Whatever the cost may be, I guarantee it will be much cheaper than acquiring a new customer.  This strategy is about maximizing the return from customers you already have.
 
Learn to think in…RESIDUALS.
 
 
Until Next Time…
 



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