A couple days ago, Techcrunch had a post with two points people found interesting.
Point #1 was the focus of the article: “50% of visitors to ecommerce sites are currently logged in to Facebook.”
Point #2 was a soundbite from Facebook: “88% of Internet Retailer Top 200 retail sites are integrated with Facebook.”
I threw out Point #1 as normal Techcrunch drivel as the article could have said 50% of visitors to health sites, porn sites, banking sites, news sites, or travel sites are currently logged in to Facebook. We all know visitors to any sites are currently logged into Facebook. It’s becoming unusual for people to log out of Facebook. What retailers – and health sites, porn sites, travel sites, etc. – need to think about, though, is why their visitors aren’t logged into their own sites.
I’ve always thought that the holy marketing grail for ecommerce sites wasn’t PPC or SEO (or to a lesser degree, Display/Retargetting, Social, Affiliate Programs, Lead Gen, etc.) but rather the in-house email list and the retention and engagement that comes along with the people on that list. You have names, purchase history, interests, demographic information like age, gender, income, and address, and much more. Slicing and dicing this information (and using big words like Business Intelligence) allows you to intelligently build a lifetime relationship with your customers.
But unfortunately, all that powerful data about your customers is often overlooked in deference to that next acquisition through Google AdWords. In this way, merchants aren’t typically developing a relationship with their customers. They acquire visitors, try to get them to become customers, and then send them a coupon every once in a while or a holiday promo. And that’s about it. The utopian land of really engaging with customers to build a life long relationship (read LTV) doesn’t exist for traditional ecommerce sites. Yes, that’s a bit of a generalization, but think of how many people you have in marketing dedicated to acquisition compared to how many people dedicated to building a relationship with your customers.
But now, my opinions of email have changed. Email should be a part of everyone’s engagement strategy, but email kind of just sucks. I’ve been heavily influenced over the last year living in the land of everything social through my work with Kontagent, being a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, where local/mobile/social is hot hot hot, and understanding that kids these days just don’t use email…and I’m pretty sure that’s where adults are moving to as well. So if email isn’t where it’s at, where is it at? Well, as the Techcrunch article says, 50% of your users are logged into Facebook. They’re posting on friends’ walls, messaging, and playing games. Your customers are using their mobile phones to text, chat, and use lots of apps.
Another email is not going to cut through the clutter, but more importantly, it’s just not going to be the way to communicate in the future.
Read the rest of this entry »