5 ways to take advantage of Shopify’s segmentation tool
It is super easy to treat your email subscribers as if they are all alike, designing a mass email newsletter and sending it to all without a second thought.
Of course, they aren’t all the same. At least one common interest ties them together (your brand!). Level of enthusiasm — that’s a different story. Some emit love with consistent purchases. Others, well … their non-activity makes you wonder why they stick around.
Here’s what you should be doing: segmentation. As in, classifying customers into groups with similar characteristics, so that you can create communications tailored just for them when the right opportunity strikes.
This approach results in greater engagement than the “spray and pray” email method. It’s more personalized, which means more sales for you. We see it all the time. Personalization is what consumers want — a study from McKinsey found that 71% expect it, and 76% are frustrated when it’s non-existent.
The five segmentation strategies outlined below are a great start, and only a small representation of all the possibilities. The best part is that none require you to toil away at filters, unless you’re motivated to customize.
Shopify does the heavy lifting by providing Segment Templates (formerly Saved Customer Groups) for each.
Engage first-time customers
Confirmation emails verifying receipt of a customer purchase are par for the course in email marketing. But what are you doing beyond that to keep your first-time customers coming back?
Capitalize on their initial trust in you with special content made just for them.
How about asking them to share a referral link with friends, and they get a reward whenever someone makes a purchase with it? Or invite them to download your app or sign up to receive SMS messages.
We like how BetterBrand encourages buying into a subscription. The brand makes sure to show all of the value you get by doing so.
Engage high-value customers
How you define a high-value customer is totally up to you. You might have a customer who racked up a large dollar amount in sales over the course of two separate purchases. Or there could be customers who purchase more regularly, but in smaller spend amounts.
For the purposes of this example, we’ll say your high-value customers are those who have made at least two purchases, $100 minimum, over the last four months.
Why not send an exclusive email to them that expresses your gratitude? Offer a discount on your higher-end products, or give them first dibs on a limited-run product drop. Carved, for instance, grants early access to its VIPs for Black Friday. A custom code helps reassure the customer that this sale isn’t for everyone.
You can even reach out with different tactics tailored for how much a subscriber is expected to buy in the future, based on past activity. Shopify has a “predicted spend” segmentation tool that separates subscribers into high, medium and low tiers.
The goal with all of these messages is to show thanks and increase loyalty.
Plenty of reports show it’s much cheaper to retain customers than acquire new ones. That’s why it’s integral to re-engage those who have already purchased from you and are familiar with your brand, no matter the amount they have spent.
When we mean re-engage, we mean reaching out to those who once bought a lot — or even not so much, if you want to invest in that route — and haven’t returned in some time.
It’s time to win them back.
Depending on the customers’ purchasing habit profile, you can hone in on what might drive them to return. Let's say you have shoppers who bought from you during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period. You could reach out to them early in the next holiday shopping season with an exclusive early bird sale or free gift to entice them to shop again.
The example below, from Aillea, takes a broader approach with a simple subject line: We’ve missed you. It entices the recipient to check out the brand’s new collection. The call to action is clear — click on any category to see what you’ve been missing.
Target purchase behavior
Think of all the products you sell. Now imagine how you can use each of them as a launching point.
We see this as a “you bought this, you might like this, too” approach. Maybe you’re debuting a new product relating to one that already exists in your inventory or is an upgrade. It makes sense to reach out to those who bought that original product, offering them a special deal not available to anyone else.
Cross-selling also fits within this targeting technique. Anyone who has shopped on Amazon is familiar with the “these products bought together” suggestions that pop up when browsing. You can achieve the same effect, but after the sale and through email.
These customers bought from you before, so why wouldn’t they return to purchase a complementary or related product? Laird Superfood does this well.
Target a specific location
You probably have subscribers who are located all over, especially if you’re an online-only shop. The segment builder in Shopify allows you to create groups based on a customer’s country of residence, state or province. You can even pinpoint down to the city.
Let’s say you sell clothing. You don’t want an Australian subscriber, lounging by the pool during their January summer, to receive a newsletter promoting a winter jacket sale. Nor would it bode well if your California-based subscriber gets an announcement about a Chicago-area pop-up shop happening in a few days. In either example, you’ll appear out of touch with some of your subscribers, impacting your credibility.
Targeting by location provides the means to not only avoid those situations, but more importantly, send very pertinent information to folks living in a certain area. For instance, CAMP’s announcement of a new site is most relevant to people living in the Boston area. It could also be an appropriate message for subscribers who live within a few hours’ drive.
Segments: jump in
There’s nothing wrong with sending newsletters to your entire list. But sometimes a specific class of subscribers — VIPs, the silent contacts, you name it — merit a message targeted just for them.
So dig into segments. It’s not as tough as you think.
A word to the wise: don’t get too carried away with it. You can slide into over-segmentation territory if you’re not careful. Too much, and you start to unravel progress you’ve made with your email marketing program.
Segment based on the categories that make sense to your brand. And remember that Seguno is ready to help if you need it.
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