Delivering a relevant buyer experience is virtually impossible to manage without the right blend of touch points and messages. No doubt you use transactional messages through printed receipts, email confirmations and delivery update notifications. Maybe you’ve even added a seasonal promotional email or direct mail campaign.

Retailers can also save time and keep customers engaged by setting up auto-responders. These types of emails are triggered once an event occurs. Let’s look at three types of events and example emails.

1. Surprise and Delight

The “Surprise and Delight” auto-responder is one that many retailers include in their communication plan. Simply put, it’s an out-of-the-ordinary email that a retailer sends to a customer that elicits an emotional “ahhhh” moment.

An appropriate event that might trigger this email is a customer anniversary. Knowing when a customer became a customer, and acknowledging that special day, is always a welcome surprise. More common events might be a customer’s birthday, or wedding anniversary. This special event auto-responder is designed to, well, make them feel special.

Offering a small token of appreciation goes a long way. It keeps your brand top of mind but shows your customers you truly value their business and loyalty. And although providing a gift certificate from your business is nice, offering your customer something unexpected is even better. Consider offering them a nominal gift card from a brand that complements your company or treating them to an exclusive in-store discount.

As Robert Spector, customer service guru and author of The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence: The Handbook For Becoming the “Nordstrom” of Your Industry, says “Don’t reinvent the wheel. Focus on winning one customer at a time. Be honest and sincere. Do what’s right. There’s nothing magical about this. That’s been my guiding principle. To make it work, you have to live it every day. Make it your mind-set.”

Here is a great example of a customer anniversary “Surprise and Delight” email:

2. Countdown

The “Countdown Event” auto-responder email builds awareness and excitement. It also creates a sense of urgency around a sale, special promotion, new product launch, or any type of event. You can segment your loyal customers and offer them a “sneak peak” using a Countdown. The impact delivered is great customer service to your best customers with exclusivity, but with a limited time element.

Here is a great example of a “Countdown Timer” auto-responder email:

3. Abandoned Cart

Last but not least, the “Abandoned Cart” auto-responder email that is triggered when a shopper leaves before going through the checkout process. You can decide to pair the email with an offer, or not. Either way, the goal is to entice them to complete the sale.

Here is the “no-offer reminder” abandoned cart email:

Here is the “offer reminder” abandoned cart email:

There is truly no one-size-fits-all approach to an auto-responder strategy but one thing is true, you can mix and match different auto-responders by combining the best elements of both.

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© 2015, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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