Way back in the day (think around the dark ages of the mid-2000s) there was a viral trend going around known as “The Buckle Challenge,” surrounding popular Nebraska-based retailer The Buckle. The goal was to get all the way to the rear of the store and back out again without an employee speaking to you or asking for your email address. The chain was (in)famous for its slightly overzealous customer service and at times, it came across a bit overbearing. Unfortunately, for a lot of stores, not much has changed about email capture in retail.
The Fundamentals of Email Capture in Retail
While that was, of course, an extreme example, it’s common enough to make one wonder whether or not retailers have done their homework on how best to go about their email capture efforts. For some, it’s a matter of simply asking as many people as possible and reckoning that a handful of them will say yes. For others, it’s about a more carefully crafted approach that entices the customer.
For the most part, these serve the same purpose: information acquisition. Whether you want their email address for ongoing marketing efforts or simply to build up a customer database, chances are you’re interested in that sweet, sweet data. However, email capture in retail can serve so many more purposes than marketing and promotions alone and you should follow some best practices. It’s an excellent tool for customer retention, the right emails boost engagement, and it serves as a way to open a channel of communication between you and your audience. That’s why it’s important to look at the bigger picture of email marketing when developing your best practices.
Tips for Successful Email Capture in Retail
As a retailer, you might think this should be easy: toss out a few “Buy One, Get One” incentives and the emails will flood in, right? Not so fast. While that’s a great way to secure new customers and entice existing ones, your email strategy needs to be a bit more nuanced than that. Here are some of the best tactics for securing email addresses:
- Incentives. Okay, you caught us. BOGOs, sale coupons, and exclusive deals are (almost) always a hit with customers. It makes the email capture process feel more like a trade so the customer is getting something out of it as well. Don’t go overboard with the incentives though. At the end of the day, you still need to turn a profit.
- Rewards Programs. One of the best ways to get a customer’s information is through a rewards or loyalty program. For many, it follows a standard formula: for every X dollars spent in-store, the customer receives Y amount in coupons or cashback bonuses. Make sure that the customer is given a clear and deliberate choice to opt-in to any email marketing campaigns, lest you anger the marketing compliance gods.
- Email Receipts. This one is a major win-win. Less money spent on receipt paper for you and less environmental impact for your business and the customer. Going green never made so much sense, did it? Again, a clear opt-in is a must here.
- Comment Cards. Need a smarter way of getting email addresses and customer feedback? Here’s your solution. Keep in mind that physical comment cards are a harder sell for most customers so you can also offer digital surveys at the bottom of paper receipts or only roll out the comment cards for specific sales and promotions.
There are plenty of other savvy ways to score when it comes to email capture in retail and it’s important to make sure that your technology can support your marketing efforts without throwing you off your game.
Technology and Email Capture in Retail
When it comes to retail technology, the best starting place is your point of sale system. If you have the right system in place, it should be your business’s best friend: it supports you during the hard times, makes your life a bit easier, and takes care of some of the small stuff on your behalf. This is also true for email capture in retail. Without the right system in place, chances are you’re relying on traditional pen and paper methods for gathering customer info which, while marginally effective, doesn’t have the same impact that a digital solution would.
Ideally, your point of sale should be able to do the following:
- Loyalty Programs. Again, this speaks back to the idea of incentives and, without a digital solution in place, you’re going to find it that much harder to run an effective loyalty program, much less take down customer information.
- Information Acquisition. Take some of the work off of your plate and let your POS do it for you. Instead of frantically scribbling down a customer’s contact info and wondering if you meant to put a “g” or a “q” in their email address, streamline the process a bit.
- CMS Integration. Once you’ve got all that information, do you know how you intend to use it? Integrating your point of sale system with a CMS solution makes it that much easier to leverage customer data for your benefit.
While these are three key components of email capture in retail, realistically a solid point of sale system will be able to handle these tasks and many, many more. Ultimately, it’s all about choosing the right provider and determining whether or not they have the solutions to your problems.
A Trusted Provider
While retailers may not have the easiest go of it when it comes to capturing customer information and assessing competition, your business structure shouldn’t make it harder on you. Instead of relying on legacy systems and outdated processes, you might be in need of a bit of a technology overhaul. If you’re struggling to effectively implement email capture in retail for your business, it’s time to reach out to a trusted provider for help.
At talech, we have years of experience helping retailers not only meet their goals but exceed them. We understand that adapting to new technology can be daunting and we’re there to support your business every step of the way. Our feature-rich platform and round-the-clock customer service mean that we’re the ideal choice for all of your point of sale needs. For more information, you can contact us today or reach out to sign up for a free demo. We look forward to working with you.