Throughout the e-commerce lifecycle, there is a large number of triggers waiting which, with the right direct marketing measures, can be used to activate, retain and emotionalise customers.
Each trigger opens the chance to positively influence a customer through communication.  Triggers cannot only be found in marketing contexts, but also in the service and transaction communication as well as in sales. In order to consistently approach a customer at each point in the e-commerce lifecycle, it is important to integrate all dialogues in a comprehensive way.  Important triggers in the e-commerce lifecycle are e.g., purchase, returns, subscriptions in the online shop, shopping basket abandonment, participation in loyalty programmes or interaction at the PoS (geo-fencing). We will show you a few triggers here.

E-Commerce Trigger

E-Commerce Trigger

Purchase as a trigger for After-sales Communication

Many direct digital marketing measures in e-commerce follow the goal of motivating a customer to a purchase. The purchase however, does not mean the end of the dialogue, but is an important opportunity for further communication in the after sales. The automated sending of order and dispatch confirmations has long been the norm in e-commerce and is expected by customers. Many companies however, send callously formatted text emails wasting a lot of potential. Order and send confirmations are particularly eye-catching due to their direct connection with the completed purchase and are therefore very suitable to emotionally charge the customer, score with high-quality service and activate cross and up-sell products.
Once the customer has received his order and had sufficient time to try the products, a feedback request would be sensible in order to ask the customer how happy he was with the products and the service. Independently from the results of the survey, you can send the customer further offers in a thank-you email, as well as order starters and vouchers for a future purchase. If he liked the products, you should motivate the customer to a rating or commentary in the shop or a recommendation. Do do this, you could use share-with-your-network (SWYN) buttons which the customer can use to share the relevant offers in social networks. The (incentivised) recommendation to invite new customers is another objective which works well at this point.
If the re-purchase is not happening, the customer can be reactivated through a “shop with us again” or “we miss you” email which may refer to the previous purchase or an unredeemed voucher. Has the customer purchased a consumable item, e.g. a pack of coffee or a printer cartridge? Do you know in what frequency he purchases this? Then ask him in time whether he needs a new supply or prepare the order in so far that the customer only needs to confirm it. Charming, clever approaches sometimes substitute for not very precise data e.g., on usage. However, if it is a long-life product, e.g., a TV, why not send a “product birthday” email one year after the purchase?

Recognise the Chances of Returns in the E-commerce Lifecycle

Returns, especially full returns are annoying for every e-commerce company. However, since returns cannot be fully avoided they should be seen as a chance to continue the dialogue with customers. When you receive a returned product, you can score with high-quality service by telling the customer via email what will happen next and how the return process works. On request, from the email, the customer can personally get in touch with a service person.
If the return is accepted, you should inform the customer asap via email referring specifically to the reason for the return. Was the product damaged? An apology, a voucher and the suggestion to replace the product (for a discount) help to make a good impression. Did the customer not like the product or has he returned everything? An opportunity to suggest similar products or order starters for the next purchase.

Reactivate Shopping Basket Abandonments

A customer fills his shopping basked, possibly passes through part of the checkout, but in the end, doesn’t complete the purchase. This customer is not lost, yet, but can be reactivated via email in order to complete the purchase. Further information on the reactivation of shopping basked abandonments can be found in our article “6 Tips for Email Remarketing After Shopping Basket Abandonments”: