We hope you’re all well! In the past couple of weeks we have had a number of announcement-worthy things to occur that we wanted to share with you:
Bon Voyage, Simon!
As many of you know, Simon Lee has left our support/project management team as of last Friday. In the meantime, all of his e-mails will forward to the other members of the team. So if you’ve e-mailed Simon you may see Andrew Hammond or James Laurenti replying in his place. Additionally, Ian Tjornhom, our content/data manager will be helping manage our marketing services in lieu of Simon. We fully expect this transition to be very smooth. However, if you have a pending request with Simon, and you haven’t received a reply at this time, please reach out to James and Andrew to help facilitate this.
At this time we are also finalizing the interview process and plan to bring a new team member into the office by mid-March. We’ve had many excellent candidates at this time, and we are looking forward to introducing our newest team member quite soon!
Store Pick-Up Only Items
Besides the new admin area redesign, which I’m sure everyone has noticed by now, we did quietly release a new feature last week. Our system now has the ability to let stores offer certain SKUs as store pick-up only. At this time, the feature is still in its infancy and is something that just lives within our eStage software. We have plans to build upon it though as receive initial feedback.
If you’re a store that wants to only offer a certain product category for in-store pick (e.g. items over ZZZ ML; beer/spirits; etc.), and you’d like to pilot this feature… please respond to this message, and we can set up a time to make the change in eStage for you.
This is a feature that hasn’t so much been in demand as much as it is something we think stores will find increasingly useful. Our reporting shows that the fastest growing segment of sales is with local, in-market users. More people are using eCommerce websites for their local shopping than ever before. And to that end, we want to make sure you have the tools to offer a local customer anything you would like to offer him in-store.
It came to our attention last week that nearly everyone received an e-mail solicitation sent without anyone signing up for the mailing list. One aspect of the e-mail though is that it highlighted a feature around abandoned cart e-mails, and many people have inquired if this is a feature that we have or anticipate having in the near future.
During late December (which is when we tend to decide our development agenda for the first half of the following year), we gave this a lot of consideration as we know abandoned cart e-mails are perceived to have quite a bit of value. Our concern, however, is that given the nature of selling wine online, the value is undermined by the fact that many abandonments occur before an actual e-mail address is captured (often when someone gets a shipping quote or realizes the store doesn’t ship to their state). To test this theory, we ran a script developed in-house to compile all of the cart abandonments across the network for the month of November. The final results were… underwhelming, with most abandonment occurring before the e-mail was captured.
We went further and calculated the estimated volume of abandonments over the course of the year, and then determined how many might convert if the person received an abandoned cart e-mail. Ultimately, we arrived at order amounts that would likely account for less than 0.5% of a store’s overall volume for the year.
To that end, we’ve decided this isn’t a feature that makes sense for us to pursue. Even if it’s vogue and popular in eCommerce blogs and e-mail solicitations alike, we don’t want to use our resources to deliver something that—so far—seems to have a negligible value to a store’s bottom line. We’d much rather use our time to try and come up with some features that we think will have a greater, strategic value to you and will ultimately make it easier for you to grow and succeed online. Store pick-up only items isn’t the only new thing to come… but more on that later.
Finding Conversions on Non-Buyers
We do acknowledge, however, that abandoned cart e-mails really bring up a great digital marketing challenge: what can we do about re-engaging people that were on the site but didn't buy something? Our belief is that “remarketing lists”, which are still a relatively young marketing tool, are going to be key here. A remarketing list, in short, is a user list of people that have previously been on your site or on a certain page that you can target ads at. Unfortunately, Google Adwords (who currently has the most developed remarketing tools) is not allowing the use of remarketing lists in ads promoting the sale of alcoholic beverages at this time. That said, time and time again we’ve seen Google restrict the use of new marketing tools in our industry only to find the rules later loosen. We are banking this will happen again, and when it does… we will be ready to seize the opportunity and help our stores take advantage of this marketing asset.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out!