To grow a strong, successful eCommerce business it’s essential that you have the ability to communicate with your customers.
But with a growing fight for consumers’ attention and declining ease of access to their contact information, how should Amazon sellers approach this challenge?
In this article, I’ll share a case study we recently carried out which increased our email opt-ins by over 400% across a 3,000 order sample size by using post-purchase communications.
I’ll also show the exact breakdown of how we set it up, with beginner, intermediate, and advanced options so you can plug and play the process in your business.
But first, why is this process so important?
The importance of list building for Amazon sellers
It’s no secret that Amazon continues to restrict the flow of data from buyers to sellers.
Names, email addresses, and even physical addresses of buyers are being guarded tightly by Amazon making it harder and harder for sellers to build a customer database from Amazon sales alone.
With the eCommerce space growing in competition, sellers can’t afford to simply accept these changes and do nothing to overcome the challenges they provide.
Instead, we must become more skilled in building systems that promote ongoing list growth in order to drive more results in our business.
The benefits of list building for Amazon sellers
Building a data-rich customer list is a business activity that produces a range of results. For growing Amazon sellers, there are three in particular that are of utmost importance.
1/ Repeat Purchases
Returning customers provide eCommerce businesses with some of their most profitable transactions.
Even Amazon themselves attribute 35% of their total revenue to cross-selling more products to existing customers.
By building a healthy and targeted customer list of people who love your products you can carry out ongoing communication with them in order to drive more sales of best-selling and complementary products.
2/ Cost-Effective Launching
One of the benefits of building a brand on Amazon is the ability to launch new, related products to your existing customers and ensure each product launch is more efficient than the last.
Rather than a cold start that involves heavy discounts, giveaways, and expensive advertising costs, you can utilize an engaged list to launch new products with speed and efficiency.
3/ Overall Asset Growth
As the Amazon seller and eCommerce space continue to evolve, more and more of the opportunity leans towards the long term value of a business upon exit.
If and when the day comes that you decide to sell your business, having a growing, primed list of targeted customers is a significant value-add to any buyer.
This alone can help your business stand out amongst other opportunities and even increase the potential sale price of your business.
The good news is – as I’ll show you in the next section – you can set this system up once and let it build your list on near autopilot.
A recent 5x opt-in increase case study
When recently launching a new brand in a competitive space, we looked at potential opportunities to build an engaged customer list.
Our focus was primarily on post-purchase given these would be customers who had already spent money with us and were therefore our hottest prospects for future promotions.
We tested two distinct strategies with this goal in mind, each having very different outcomes. Let’s break each one down.
Method 1: Prize Draw
For our first test, we set up a prize draw opt-in.
Upon receiving the product the customer also received an insert offering the chance to win a $50 store credit in a monthly prize draw and to follow a standard QR code or custom website link to do so.
The initial theory was that this would be somewhat enticing and relatively cost-effective.
The setup was a simple Typeform embedded into a Shopify page on our website. When the Typeform was completed, Zapier fired the details over to our list inside Klaviyo.
Here’s how the prize draw flow performed:
- Inserts delivered: 2,000
- Opt-in page views: 39 (1.95%)
- Opt-ins: 15 (38% conversion) (or 0.75% of inserts received)
Given the average email opt-in rate is 1.95%, we were way below par.
Not only that, conducting the prize draw, including the results in our newsletter, creating the discount code, and communicating with the winner were all administrative tasks that could be eliminated with a change-up in strategy.
Method 2: Free Gift Funnel
In an attempt to both automate this process more and also improve the opt-in rate we moved on to testing a free gift funnel.
The insert was far simpler – stating only that the customer could claim a free gift by scanning a QR code or following a link.
The QR code was a ManyChat QR code, and we created a unique sub-domain (gift.examplebrand.com) that redirected to a Messenger Ref URL – essentially a starting step for a ManyChat flow (more on setup in a minute).
The flow then offered the customer a free gift when joining our brand’s newsletter.
Here’s how the free gift funnel performed:
- Inserts received: 1,000
- Opt-in page views: 106 (10.6%)
- Opt-ins: 42 (40% conversion) (or 4.2% of inserts received)
So as you can see, switching from the prize draw flow to a free gift funnel saw a 460% increase in email opt-in conversion rate (0.75% to 4.2%).
Interestingly, the conversion rate once on-page was relatively similar but the QR code scans and page opens on the free gift funnel were significantly higher – no doubt due to the enticing nature of a guaranteed free gift for all customers.
Harnessing the flexibility of chatbot software
Aside from the uptick in opt-in rates, the additional benefit of using chatbot software like ManyChat is the range of objectives you can hit in the same flow.
A traditional landing page is relatively limited in what it can achieve, allowing for an email capture and possibly a call to action on the email collection thank you page.
However, inside ManyChat you can test a number of different calls to action in the same flow.
For instance, once a customer has opted in to our email list we can also engage them in other high-value actions such as collecting a phone number for SMS marketing, OTN sign ups, pointing to social media, asking for a review, sharing a video, or any other of a range of marketing objectives.
Tip: One-time notifications (or OTNs for short) are particularly powerful. Given Facebook’s policy stating you can only message contacts within 24 hours of the most recent contact, OTNs are a way to create a list of buyers contactable outside of this time window. This is a great asset for product launches.
Setting up post-purchase flows
Ok, let’s get into exactly how you can set up post-purchase flows using ManyChat for your business.
Regardless of whether you choose the easy, intermediate, or advanced route, it’s important to set the foundations with a clear insert.
I would highly recommend a very simple product insert with only one call to action. This isn’t the time to ask for a review or tell the customer to contact you if they need help. Just offer the free gift.
I’d also (even more) highly recommend not disclosing exactly what the free gift will be. The results documented above are actually from offering a digital gift – a PDF guide download.
But by not disclosing the gift on our insert we’ve given ourselves the flexibility to test different gifts on the back end – be that digital or physical – and to switch out the gift if we were to offer a physical product and subsequently stock out.
With that cleared up, let’s look at the three options you have to get started.
Option 1: Easy Setup
This first option is simple in setup but will require a little more manual work by either yourself or someone on your team to deliver the free gift.
We’re going to set up a flow that automates the initial conversation with a customer but then we will deliver a free digital gift manually on the back end.
Step 1: Set up flow triggers
To get customers into your flow, you need to set up what is called a trigger inside ManyChat.
We use a combination of two triggers: a QR code and what is called a Messenger Ref URL.
The QR code is as simple as it sounds – take the QR code generated inside ManyChat and have it placed on your insert.
If you want to keep things super simple, leave it at that. Ask customers to scan the QR code to claim their free gift – most customers today are well acquainted with QR codes. We see around 90% of our opt-ins come from QR code scans.
To be extra helpful and capture the small percentage that won’t access via a QR code you can set up a Messenger Ref Url. By default, this will be a somewhat random URL and won’t read easily on an insert.
To overcome this we set up a subdomain within our hosting service (eg. GoDaddy) and have that subdomain automatically forward to the Messenger Ref URL. This allows you to put a much simpler URL on your insert – eg. gift.examplebrand.com – that customers will find much easier to type in.
Once you’ve set these triggers up, you’re ready to create the messages within your flow.
Step 2: Create welcome messages
We like to keep things fun and mostly informal as we welcome customers into the flow, but find a style that fits with your overall brand values.
A simple ‘thanks for purchasing’ style message is all that’s needed here, but if you really want to spice things up you can throw in a fun gif.
Step 3: Offer free gift
Next, we want to make the free gift offer. If you want to add this customer to your email list (which you absolutely should), it’s best to outline exactly what they are signing up for.
In the GDPR era, different regions have different rules and it’s best to be safe.
Let the customer know you have a free gift for anyone that joins your community (newsletter, club, tribe… delete as appropriate) and ask if they’d like to sign up.
Step 4: Send free gift
If the customer says yes, have your flow collect their email address and let them know someone from your team will be in touch within the next day.
Then you or someone on your team will need to follow up with each of these customers and send over the file. This method saves money and is easier on the setup but will cost you a lot more time.
If you can; skip straight to option 2. But if you don’t feel ready for that getting started with option 1 is better than nothing.
Option 2: Intermediate Setup
Whilst our next option does increase in complexity of setup, once put in place it is far more automated and can save countless hours of manual work.
For this option, you’ll want to carry out steps one through three as above, then switch things up from step four.
Step 4: Set up action to create contact
Once you’ve collected the email, rather than a message informing the customer you’ll be in touch we want to automate the delivery of the free gift.
ManyChat can integrate with a wide range of email tools to make this process seamless. We use Klaviyo and have an action that adds a new contact to our brand’s email opt-in welcome flow.
This sends the first email in the sequence immediately within which is the link to download the free PDF gift.
Thanks to the automation of this step it becomes completely hands-off for you, plus you can also test additional objectives later in the flow such as inviting to social media platforms.
Option 3: Advanced Setup
In this last option, we’re going to set up the final part of the flow to completely automate the delivery of a physical product.
A free physical product has the potential to be a real wow-factor customer experience which can lead to higher opt-in rates and engagement with other flow objectives. However, it does of course come with the added cost of said physical product.
So it’s important to select a product that is both cheap to source and to ship so that the unit economics make sense and the cost of the promotion has the potential to deliver a return on investment in the long run.
If you decide it does and you’re ready to go ahead, you’ll want to switch out step four from the intermediate option and integrate directly with the Seller.Tools platform.
Step 4: Automate an MCF order
Inside ManyChat, navigate to Settings > Extensions > Apps and install the Seller.Tools app. Once you’ve connected your Seller.Tools account you’ll be able to create actions in your flow that firstly verify a customer’s order on Amazon, then create an MCF order.
This will automate the entire process of shipping the free product out to customers.
Harnessing the power of automation in this way within ManyChat and Seller.Tools allows you to both safeguard your time, and deliver a truly exceptional customer experience.
Whilst we wouldn’t advocate outright asking for a review directly after delivering a free gift, most sellers would consider it a best practice to have the Amazon-templated review request option automated too.
You can also enable this within Seller.Tools meaning the same customers who receive the free gift will separately be receiving a review request.
As you have probably guessed, there’s no way to accurately track the conversion of gift recipients to reviews attained, but the laws of reciprocity are in play here and in our experience, it certainly doesn’t harm review generation.
Harness the strategies of the 1%
Whilst there is certainly a learning curve to be undertaken with this process, the potential results it can drive are more than worth the outlay of time and energy.
By being willing to learn strategies that 99% would deem too much effort you can take a massive step ahead of the competition and grow your brand’s audience at break-neck speed.
Try these post-purchase strategies with your next round of inventory orders and be sure to track your results so you can continue to optimize for more conversions and a faster-growing business.