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Aligning Email Marketing With Online Shoppers

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Wednesday October 10, 2012 )

It seems many merchants still aren’t taking notice of the time of day when their customers are active on their web sites.

According to a report from Yesmail, 39% of shoppers surveyed said between 6PM and 10PM are the times they prefer to shop online, but only 5% of the email campaigns tracked by YesMail over a 3-month period were sent out during that time frame.

A basic overview of the time that shoppers are most active on your site can be ascertained in Google Analytics. Choose a time frame of a week and on the Audience Overview page, simply click the hourly button on the right hand side above the graph. You can then run your mouse over the graph line and you’ll get a pretty good indication of when your site is most active. Further tweaking of reports can make this information easier to see and with some refinement you can use longer periods to gain a more accurate idea.

But it’s not just the timing of email campaigns that is important, it’s also the time when you have staff available to answer customer questions that is crucial.

Example: I remember shopping for an item a while back in the evening and whittled it down to 2 merchants. Prices were similar between the two. I shot off an email to both with a couple of questions. Merchant A got back to me within a few minutes, Merchant B, the next day.

Merchant A got the sale. I was keen, ready to buy. If both had left it until the next day, neither may have got the sale as my eagerness may have waned.

This doesn’t mean that if most of your customers are active on your site at 8pm on weekdays you have to shift all your staff to working during that time frame, but experiment. Maybe you’ll only need one or two people around. Take into account too that having people work outside of business hours can be expensive, so you’ll need to weigh up cost vs. benefit.


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