Put on your customer hats to avoid annoying your customers!

Customers have a number of options when they want to buy something online. They are constantly being flooded with emails, text messages, advertisements etc. of promotional offers and discounts.

Yes, you need to remind them of your presence too. But pause for a moment and remember that you are probably one among the many sending them reminders. You don’t have to stop sending them offers, but you have to understand where to draw a line so that you are not annoying them.

Marketing tricks

You may be using one or more of the following to attract customers to your online stores and convince them to buy from you itself.

  • Personalisation. The norm of today, personalisation is an absolute must to make customers feel special and give them a shopping experience as close to an offline store as possible. Personalisation is done based on shopping behaviour, profiles, purchase history etc.
  • Pop-up offers. Depending on customers’ on site activities or browsing actions, instant offers or product suggestions are given to them with pop-up windows.
  • Pop-up chat. A pop-up chat is like a sales person in physical stores, to help you with looking for the right size or decide on what to purchase.
  • Membership. Some sites require customers to sign up before they are given access to the online store. The intention behind this is to increase the subscription base (to send out emails with offers later).
  • Emails. Reminder emails are sent in the case of shopping cart abandonments, sometimes with discount vouchers, or marketing emails with offers and promotions are sent to entice customers to come back and shop for more.
  • Online advertising. Online ads like banner ads have become common now. When customers visit related sites, product or store ads are shown depending on their browsing activity to show relevant and interesting options.
  • Subscription emails. Customers are given the option to subscribe for emails with details about the latest promotions and offers, or even new products.
  • Subscription text messages. Customers are given the option to subscribe for phone messages with details about the latest promotions and offers, or even new products.
  • Check out offers. Up-sell and cross-sell offers are displayed at the checkout counter to attract customers into buying them.
  • Shopping cart offers. In addition to product-related offers, up-sell and cross-sell offers, and additional discounts are given for products in the shopping cart.
  • Video. Promotional videos are popular to attract customers especially when they first land on a page.

Drawing a line is important ..

Almost every seller uses one or more of the above in the name of marketing. But it’s important to recognise and understand the need for drawing a line between marketing and shopper annoyance.

When a customer enters a site, he may skip through pop-up windows and flash messages that obstruct his browsing session once, twice or maybe even a third time. But beyond that, he may get annoyed and just leave the site.

Also, some customers may not like the idea that their shopping behaviours are being tracked although it is an effective technique to grab customer attention. So your marketing tool should not outright convey this fact.

Respect Shoppers

If you want your shoppers to respect you and keep coming back to you, first give them respect.

  • Don’t overdo anything.
  • If they opt out of something, like an email subscription, don’t send it to them again.
  • If they don’t respond to pop-ups, don’t bombard them with these again.
  • Avoid displaying the option to subscribe for emails or offers as soon as they visit your site.
  • When you personalise, ensure it is based on up-to date data. For example, don’t send offers for toys for 1-year olds after more than a year since the customer browsed for the toy (the kid has obviously grown up by now!)

Don’t alienate Consumers!

Although the marketing techniques you use may be based on consumer shopping behaviour, it does not necessarily mean that they are welcome or that consumers want them. To avoid annoyance, you can try to incorporate the following into your methods.

  • Analytics. Constantly check on your emails and offers to figure out what’s being accepting and what’s not working
  • Experiment. Check on the results to any new form of marketing that you may have used.
  • Alternative option. If a customer unsubscribes from emails or phone messages, try to give an alternative subscription option to receive information.
  • Surveys. Use these periodically to get customer reactions, but ensure these are not forced.

Although these are guidelines or certain methods to gauge customer reaction, these are not hard and fast rules. Your instincts are the best to understand and track conversion rates. Identify and recognise boundaries to avoid annoying and losing your customers!



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