May 10, 2012, 9:45 AM

SmileyCookie.com tempts wavering shoppers via e-mail

The campaign boosts sales by 15%.

Lead Photo

SmileyCookie.com, the online cookie delivery service of Eat’n Park, a neighborhood restaurant with locations and bakeries in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, was searching for a way to sweeten its online sales.

The retailer, which sells customizable hand-iced sugar cookies with its signature smiley face design, wanted to extend the service customers received in its restaurants to its online store. SmileyCookie.com began to send targeted e-mails to welcome new customers and to remind customers who had abandoned carts that there were products they had left in their baskets. The e-mails resulted in a 15% increase in revenue for the online cookie shop.

The campaign, managed by e-mail vendor Listrak, first offers new visitors to SmileyCookie.com 10% off if they sign up for e-mails. The offer is displayed to new visitors in a pop-up window. Those who subscribe are sent a coupon code via e-mail, which is valid for two weeks. If the consumer doesn’t place an order within six days, she receives a second e-mail reminding her about the offer.

 The retailer says the discount offer increased the retailer’s e-mail list by 54%, and the two welcome e-mails triggered by the pop-up produce conversion rates of 28.4% and 25.8%, respectively.

“Our e-mail campaigns have helped us build our online community and grow our sales,” says Adam Golomb, director of e-commerce for SmileyCookie.com. “The timely, targeted messages keep customers engaged.”

SmileyCookie.com also began sending consumers who abandon their shopping carts e-mails asking them to come back and complete their purchases. The retailer sends an automated three-message series when a shopper abandons the online cart. The first message is sent three hours after the abandonment with the subject line, “Was there a problem checking out?” and includes images of items left in the cart, prices, and two prominent buttons that link back to the cart.

Customers that don’t come back and buy after the first e-mail receive a second e-mail, two days later, with a 10% discount offer. If a customer still doesn’t come back, she receives a third e-mail with a 20% discount.

By not offering the discount until the second e-mail, Listrak says SmileyCookie is able to maintain its margins on the customers who don’t need an incentive to purchase. However, providing an offer in the second message and an even sweeter offer in the third message provides a significant increase in sales by capturing hesitant shoppers, says Golomb.

The shopping cart abandonment series has the highest conversion rates of all e-mail for the retailer. The first message has a 37.8% conversion rate, the second 38.0%, and the third  23.9%. Overall, the shopping cart abandonment e-mail series accounts for 10.4% of all e-mail revenue.

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