Study: The right communication is critical to e-commerce

One particular aspect of online customer communications leads to increased loyalty, according to a new study from Forrester and Listrak.

Findings from “Unlock Customer Obsession by Tying Business Features to Outcomes” reveal that 72% of 502 surveyed monthly online shoppers agree with the statement, “I am more likely to shop more frequently with retailers that send me relevant communications.” Another 70% agree, “I’m more likely to establish loyalty with a retailer that I feel knows me,” and 69% agree, “I would be willing to share details about my interests and preferences if it means I'll only be sent relevant offers afterwards.”

Furthermore, 67% agree, “I wish retailers would stop sending me what feels like generic sales offers/promotions,” and 66% agree, “I’m likely to spend more with a retailer who I feel knows and understands me.”

In addition, survey results show most consumers who had abandoned an online cart would quickly receive an email reminding them to return (82%). Consumers agree the emails made them more likely to return, but only 61% said they received emails that contained other useful recommendations.

Forrester advises that browse-abandon emails are more effective than cart reminders, but far less common. Forty-three percent of consumers who had recently abandoned a browse did not receive a reminder to return. But 79% of consumers who did received a browse-abandon email agree it made them more likely to return — more so than cart-reminder emails.

The study also demonstrates value in transactional emails. Nearly 90% of surveyed customers opened an email confirming a recent purchase, 91% of whom always open similar emails. However, only 66% said they received more relevant emails post-purchase, and only 59% said the email contained useful recommendations.

As part of the study, Forrester also conducted an online survey of 200 retail organizations in North America targeting decision makers in e-commerce and marketing. Overall, these respondents feel their efforts toward customer-centricity have resulted in greater efficiency (63%), better innovation (58%), and improved customer satisfaction scores (49%). Yet, only 18% have seen revenue growth — which Forrester terms the most important business metric — as a result of these efforts.