It’s normally a self-flagellation exercise to look back 12 months to see which of your predictions for the year have proved correct. In mitigation, I’d point out that everyone else was way off on what they saw for the future this time last year. Covid-19 caught us all out. Mind you, merely being part of the herd isn’t that much compensation.
For us sages, the main problem has been that the pandemic affected all areas: from employment to entertainment, from the high street to online sales, from sourcing products to delivery. Email marketing has been a bit of a curate’s egg. There has been a significant, and one has to say predictable in the circumstances, move towards online sales but many of these have been new customers and the figures seem to suggest that the major beneficiaries have been the major companies. That said, we should have got our share.
There is an equally significant downside. A recent survey suggests that many online customers have experienced shipping delays, the biggest area of complaint, whereas around one in five have lost out financially due to missing deliveries to their home. As can be imagined, a substantial proportion suggest they have lost confidence in online shopping. It is probable in the current situation, and for the foreseeable future, which isn’t all that far, these people will continue to shop online, and via email marketing, given the problems the high street is experiencing and, according to recent reports, will continue to experience.
Have the subscribers to your email marketing lists had their expectations realised? If your complaints have risen, not only in numbers which might be explained away by increases in sales figures, but by a marked percentage, then the next question you should be asking yourself should be what you are going to do about it. According to reports, there’s been an overall increase of 4.7% for online sales month on month. You need to stay on the crest of this wave.
It is probable that a number on your email marketing list are recent additions, grabbed from those visiting your webpage or buying via an online advert. They might well have had different expectations for the level of service you will provide, which can be shown by complaints focusing on what you might call normal procedures. Did you promise more than you could deliver? Did you assume that they must know what to expect?
If you fail to make it clear what your customers can expect, they will make assumptions based on previous experiences, which will include walking into a shop, pointing to something, it being wrapped, and then taking it home the same day. If you cannot give a precise delivery time, say so. Their expectations might well be unreasonable, but of course, that’s what people without experience will do.
Your 2021 targets should include keeping new subscribers to your email marketing list. Your emails and website should be clear, precise and not fanciful. One thing I can promise you about next year is that it will be tough and competitive.