This shopping cart plug-in acts like a digital Post-it note to remind shoppers to return to your site when they're ready to buy.
Bryan Azorsky, a small Web shop owner and e-commerce entrepreneur, just released what could be called a digital version of the popular Post-it note. This new tool is a shopping cart plug-in called Gift-Reminders
that you can customize so that your customers can send personalized reminders to themselves about a specific item on a future date of their choice.
Until recently, it was common for online shoppers to either bookmark an item of interest, e-mail themselves a link or attach a sticky note to their monitor and then trust that they would remember where to find the information when they need it. The Gift-Reminders service helps browsing customers get back to the site and to your product when they are ready to buy.
The advantage to e-tailers is obvious: When shoppers receive their e-mail reminder, they can return to the exact product, in just one click. By bringing the customer directly back to the item at your product page, the consumer has no need to search the Web, and therefore be lured away by the competition.
He Tried It, He Liked It
As owners of Bagettes.com
, Azorsky, along with wife and business partner Felice, wanted to make the shopping experience at their store simple and convenient for their customers. One of their observations was that people were researching buying their custom photo bags and purses two, six, even 12 months before they needed the item. Since many of their products are bought as gifts for occasions like weddings, Mother's Day and Christmas, they wanted to find a way to ensure their customers remembered their site and then returned to make the purchase.
|Forget Me Not: Bring Back Buying Customers with Gift-Reminder.|
Azorsky, along with programmer Stuart Sands, embarked on creating a custom reminder for Bagettes.com. By analyzing revenues in 2007, and seeing nearly 5 percent of sales coming from the reminder e-mails, they knew they were onto an idea that could benefit other sites.
Their idea evolved into Gift-Reminders.com, which is now available for other e-commerce businesses by subscription. With four levels of service available, Gift-reminders suits the relatively new site owner as well as the well established, high-volume store.
"On our site, we have found the Gift-Reminders service effectively reduces your competition. Before today, if the shopper cannot remember the Web site where they saw a product they'll usually do a Google search, which immediately opens the door for your competition," said Azorsky. "Your chance of converting that consumer just got a lot harder."
Keep Customers Coming Back, Increase Order Size
He also told E-Commerce-Guide.com that in the nearly two years he's been using the tool at Bagettes.com, he's seen a 15-percent increase in the average order size from the customers that have used the reminder service compared to his regular customers.
Here is how Gift-Reminders works for the customer: While surfing the Web, let's say a customer comes across an item that would be perfect for her mother. With just a few clicks, the customer creates a gift reminder with a personalized note, for example, "This would be a great gift for mom's b-day." The customer also includes the date she wants the reminder to arrive in her in-box, perhaps one month before the mother's birthday. Their reminder e-mail will arrive on the chosen date with the custom message and a link straight back to the product on the e-commerce subscriber's site.
"I'm sure it will work better for sites like ours that sell merchandise that is often bought for gifts," said Azorsky, "but you never know, it could also help people who sell seasonal items, or even those who sell stuff that people buy in a timely matter, say, when they have a baby or remodel a home."
Testing and tracking guru, David Bullock said, "The gift reminders service gets the person to 'bookmark without book-marking' Instead of trying to find what you are looking for, what you are looking for finds you, exactly when you tell it to. A very interesting twist on customer engagement."
"The numbers suggest a significant 're-commerce' effect by using this tool. To at least test it out is a no-brainer. From the numbers we have seen, additional revenue of 10 percent or more is possible with the same traffic you are already getting. This looks to be one way to increase conversion without changing the configuration of your Web site."
The plan plug-in is available at Gift-Reminders.com, and Azorsky said, "is as easy to install as an icon you'd put for showing your site is safe, basically, it's just a matter of embedding a bit of code."
The tiers of service are as follows: $15 a month for Bronze Service, $22.25 for Silver, $26 for Gold and $29.75 for Platinum. If you have a relatively new e-commerce site, Azorsky said the Bronze service would fit your needs, whereas more mature sites might want the more expensive plans, which offer more detailed reporting, for instance, including e-mail addresses of customers. All plans include a customizable "reminder" form that your customers fill out, a daily delivery system and basic reporting.
"This service is really affordable, that I know from my experience using at Bagettes.com for a year and a half," said Azorsky. "I could have paid $3,000 a year for it and still made money."
Michelle Megna is managing editor of ECommerce-Guide.com.