Blog: e-commerce

Success Story: Using Loyalty Marketing to Build your Brand

If you haven’t checked out our loyalty marketing email system yet, we’ve got even more reasons for you to get familiar with it. Loyalty marketing emails allow you to schedule followup emails based on a number of events, like a registration or a purchase.

We’ve detailed before how this can be used to automatically remind a customer when it’s time to re-order, or to send a new user a coupon after they’ve registered. But you can also use it to directly build your brand and reputation by soliciting followup reviews.

Avery Manko of the Manko Company did just that, to great success:

“The loyalty marketing feature is brilliant. I have several automations set up but my favorite is an automation for collecting Google reviews. It was super easy to set up: for the subject line I wrote ‘Can I ask a favor’ I then wrote a simple email that asks the customer if they’d be willing to write a review and I included the link to my Google Reviews that takes them to my reviews page. It was that simple.”

—Avery Manko

The result? Dozens of five-star reviews since he started requesting reviews. Now, soliciting reviews may not be right for every situation; you’d never use it for a private-access company store, for example. But for distributor stores and retail-oriented company stores, reviews can make a huge difference not just in exposure, but also in click-thoughs – users are much more likely to click on businesses and web sites that have good ratings.

Check out the Manko Company here, and if you’d like to learn more about our marketing automation tools, we’ve got an instructional video for you as well as an overview here on the blog.

“Hey, Come Back!” – Cart abandonment, product-specific coupons and more in latest release

One of the most common problems with e-commerce stores is cart abandonment – customers abandon (leave unpurchased) their shopping carts all the time, in staggering numbers. They do this for a variety of reasons; sometimes they change their mind, but often they just get distracted or move on without finishing a purchase. You’ve never gotten distracted while shopping online, have you? Look, squirrel!

That’s why we just added Cart Abandonment Emails to our suite of Loyalty Marketing tools in your storeBlox CS company store. You can now trigger an automated email to users that abandon their carts, reminding them to purchase the items in their cart.

Like all storeBlox CS emails, the template is fully customizable and can be personalized with user variables. The reminder includes the products that they have in their cart, along with a link back to the site to complete the purchase:

Abandoned cart e-commerce email

Abandoned cart reminders can be quite effective in company stores, since most abandonment falls into the “I forgot” category (rather than the “I found it cheaper somewhere else” or “I just don’t want it” categories). This feature is available in our latest release and is in your store now. If you need help setting it up or would like a walkthrough, just give us a shout!

Product-specific Coupons

Check this one off your wishlist: storeBlox CS now has product-specific coupons! Ever want to send a coupon code out that a customer could only use for a specific product? You’re not alone; this has been on our customer request list for a while. It’s now available in your store – just designate a coupon as “Product Specific” then apply the coupon to the product you’d like it to apply to:

product specific coupon screenshot

That’s it! Product-specific coupons work like any other coupon; they can be for dollar or percentage values, have expiration dates, usage restrictions and so on. Product-specific coupons are available in your store today. We recommend trying one of these out in your next email blast – they can be a great motivator for users to come back to your store.

Checking Gift Certificate Balances

Gift certificate balance check screenshotOne more oft-requested feature was also added in our latest release: quick checking of gift card balances. This does exactly what it sounds like – your customer enters a gift code and the store shows them the remaining balance. We’d like to make it sound sexier, but unfortunately it won’t shine your shoes or fold your laundry. We hope you enjoy it regardless. It’s available right now.

Sales Tax is About to get Interesting

A few months ago, we talked about the big Supreme Court case that could upend the current sales tax regime. The decision came down last week, and as we expected, the court supported a state’s ability to force retailers from other states to collect tax for them. In the decision, the court ruled that an out-of-state retailer selling items may still be required to collect tax in that state, even if they have no physical presence there.

This was going to happen sooner or later; states have been losing out on far too much money for the “nexus” requirement to last forever. We once believed that the states might actually band together to create some kind of universal online sales tax (numerous attempts have been made before) but it’s never gotten very far. In an interesting way, this might force their hand.

Though the ruling is only for the South Dakota case, it implies that any state’s tax collection regime can be forced on any retailer that sells items into that state (South Dakota had a $100,000/200 transaction minimum, but we expect that many retailers will easily exceed this). That means that likely everyone selling anything online to other states must now comply with that state’s sales tax requirements. With 45 states collecting state sales tax and 38 of those adding local sales tax on top of that, you have a potential compliance and reporting nightmare for small online retailers.

So, will every small online retailer now have to file 45 different sales tax reports, pay 45 different bills and potentially get audited by 45 different agencies with 45 different sets of rules? It’s possible, and that’s where we hope sanity will prevail. There are already some reciprocal sales tax collection practices in place, but if the states are smart, they’ll come up with some truly uniform procedures for reporting and collection. Otherwise, the cost of compliance will likely drive many small retailers out of business, and that would be even worse for state tax bases.

At eBlox, we’re cautiously optimistic that this will bring some kind of harmonization to state-level sales tax collection. Luckily, we already offer “rooftop”-accurate sales tax collection on our storeBlox CS e-commerce platform, so if you’re selling in multiple states, the only thing you have to worry about is cutting (potentially 45) checks!