Over the past two months, we've been working on something we are really excited to share. So excited, that we're giving a sneak preview of the insights generated by this project before it's officially complete.
Let me take you back to February— it’s -20 degrees Fahrenheit outside in Minnesota, and a foot of snow covers the ground. We asked all of our employees to embark on an ecommerce shopping experience. An ecommerce study, in fact. As a part of this project, everyone at Drip made a purchase from a different brand and documented every step of the customer journey. We’ve always discussed the latest ecommerce trends by the water cooler (let’s be real: coffee station) rather than gossip… but this project took us to a whole new level. We set off on a methodical mission to figure out what works and what misses the mark from small to large brands alike.
We're going to give you a preview of what’s to come by tearing down two customer journeys for you. Full disclosure. No omissions. Where the brand scores big points and where they miss the mark.
First up is our Senior Accountant, AJ, and his experience with a D&D lifestyle brand.
D&D Inspired Streetwear
AJ discovered D&D Inspired Streetwear while scrolling through Instagram and had never heard of the brand before. This streetwear brand scores big points for targeting AJ - he loves D&D and clicked immediately!
AJ was so excited about the product line, might he have subscribed without the 10% off offer? Would 5% work just as well? These are important questions a brand should ask, test, and answer.
“I discovered this brand on Instagram while scrolling through my feed. I entered my email in a little opt-in form for 10% off my first purchase. I noticed their product line is fairly limited so I was hoping they would let me know about products released in the future.” - AJ
AJ proceeded to add some items to his cart and went about his day, bookmarking the brand in his mind and expecting to receive an abandoned cart email.
“I added a sticker and t-shirt to my cart to see if I’d get an abandoned cart email. I had not received one after five days, so I then placed an order.” - AJ
Of the many insights that have already surfaced from our project, abandoned cart has certainly risen to the top. Abandoned cart automations are tools for your consumer. People are often interested enough to save items that resonate with them in their cart - but for whatever reason, they just aren’t quite ready to buy. Who knows, they might just not have their wallet nearby… and watching Netflix while discovering the latest ecommerce sensations on Instagram is a serious business not to be interrupted with a trip to grab that highest-points-earning credit card.
Turns out, the abandoned cart isn’t the only automation this brand was missing. The brand’s only communication with AJ post-purchase was shipping and delivery confirmation. No promotions, product highlights, or announcements.
Here at Drip, we like to mention how important communication is during the Fulfillment Gap: the time between placing an order online and receiving the product. This gap is an especially important time of engagement with first-time purchasers. AJ’s experience highlights the area of opportunity for this brand - build anticipation and get your new customer excited about your company and their purchase.
Unfortunately for this brand, AJ indicated he is likely stuck as a one-time purchaser. It’s not because he disliked the products at all - mostly because the brand didn’t continue the relationship. They had an opportunity to build brand love and just didn’t make the effort.
AJ’s Recommendations for the Brand
Fortunately for the rest of us, AJ has some great recommendations as to how this brand could have made him a repeat purchaser and evangelist:
Infuse brand identity everywhere. AJ loves D&D and appreciated the references around the website, but noticed this voice was never pulled through to the brand’s emails. Make sure you pull through your identity to create cohesion for your customers.
Put some life in transactional emails. The transactional emails were very plain. Your transactional emails are absolutely not required to be robotically transactional. Spice them up with your voice! Your customers will love it.
Keep in touch. AJ would have loved some follow-up. Now that you know someone is interested in the unique value you provide, ask them for a review, show gratitude for their purchase, and recommend more they might like.
Liz, a Senior Success Manager, purchased magnetic eyelashes and received too much communication from the brand. Spoiler alert: she ended up unsubscribing! Let’s see how that disengagement came about, starting from the beginning.
Liz first saw the brand on Facebook and found the videos answered her biggest qualm about ease of use:
“I started seeing ads on Facebook almost every time I logged in. They had great video ads that made the product look easy to use. After seeing a few ads, I went to their site and was offered a discount right away if I subscribed… so I did.” - Liz
Liz decided to check-out the brand a couple of days later and was promptly shown a discount for subscribing to their email list.
“I wouldn’t have subscribed right away if no discount was offered.” - Liz
Not knowing much about this brand, Liz found it imperative to ensure these magnetic eyelashes would work. The brand did not email Liz with customer reviews, information on product quality, or information about their return policy. So, Liz took finding reviews into her own hands.
“I almost always read reviews before making a purchase. It will definitely be a deal-breaker if there aren’t good reviews.” - Liz
Is this a place the brand might lose a good number of potential customers? I mean, how do you really know the product will work? Are most people motivated enough to read into reviews and return policy?
Upon reading good reviews (phew!) Liz decided to purchase. The brand sent Liz the following communications during the fulfillment gap.
1 confirmation email
1 SMS message with a discount
“Get the Look” marketing email
2 company sale emails
Receiving not one, not two, but THREE messages about discounts that could have applied to her purchase felt like a real bummer for Liz. Here at Drip, we agree. That is a bummer. Luckily, our pre-built Workflows include Goals and Decisions to ensure people who have recently purchased don’t get any discount offers.
Ultimately, Liz unsubscribed from their list because they emailed too frequently and didn’t take the time to provide valuable information during the purchase experience. Liz lost trust that the brand respects her sacred email address after her experience with their impersonal communication strategy.
Liz’s Recommendations for the Brand
Now that she has unsubscribed, this brand will probably only get a future purchase from Liz if she stumbles upon their website again. Liz has some great recommendations on keeping her interest and encouraging a second purchase for the rest of us to learn from:
Make the brand shine. Liz was excited about the brand and wanted to know more about the company. Always take the opportunity to show your brand ethos. More than ever, people care about who you are and why you are in business.
Send emails specific to the product purchased. Liz commented that an email with information about how to remove the magnetic eyelashes would have been much appreciated. Anticipate the needs and questions of your customers. It will make you look really good!
Avoid over-communication. Two emails per day is a lot. Brand fatigue is real!
AJ and Liz gave us a lot to think about with their customer journeys. Creating a cohesive customer experience can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be with Drip. We have a series of pre-made automations to address these missteps we saw with the brands above. Here are our top four strategies:
Browse Abandonment: Connect with window shoppers. Liz could have really benefited from some product-specific information as she was browsing.
Abandoned Cart: Our customers drive a ton of revenue with abandoned carts. Remember, they are a tool used by consumers! AJ was hoping for a reminder with an easy link back to the items he saved in his cart.
Welcome Series: Share your brand ethos with customers and tell them what kind of communication they can expect. Both AJ and Liz didn’t learn much about the brand and were underwhelmed (AJ) or overwhelmed (Liz) by the volume of emails.
Post-Purchase: Round-out the experience by showing gratitude and checking-in. Both Liz and AJ didn’t receive anything personalized at all after their purchases and it left them stuck as one-time buyers.
Want to implement one of those strategies? Grab the right flow for your OMS from our library of pre-made Workflows today.