In this article we’ll look at replenishment emails, and how retailers can use them to increase customer lifetime value.
Replenishment emails can form a useful part of a retailer’s post-purchase email strategy, prompting repeat purchases with timely reminders.
They are especially applicable to consumable products which customers are likely to run out of from time to time – pet food, razor blades, shampoo, moisturizing cream, you name it.
It’s a simple enough concept: just remind customers when they are likely to need to re-order the product, and they’ll buy from you.
Replenishment in Action
One example of replenishment strategy comes from Amazon, with its Dash buttons for reordering.
These are wi-fi enabled devices which allow customers to re-order various items when they need to be replaced. These are then ordered using saved Amazon Prime payment details.
It works on a similar principle to replenishment emails – offering a handy way to remind customers when they need to re-order.
However, while the Dash button requires the customer to decide when they want to re-order, replenishment emails use customer data and buying behavior to prompt customers at the optimum time. (They also don’t allow your children to press the button again and again…)
The data is key here, as the aim is to present a customer with a replenishment email for the right product at just the right time. Various pieces of data can be used, including:
- The average time taken to repurchase a particular product type.
- The customer’s own purchase history.
- Set schedules for certain products like contact lenses.
Examples and Stats
According to Listrak’s 2016 Email Benchmarks for Retailers, replenishment emails can achieve excellent click to open rates.
They are normally sent to a smaller, segmented audience, and this targeting and relevance delivered click to open rates of 53.6%, the highest of the triggered email campaigns in the study.
Here’s an example from Amazon, sending replenishment emails for products which other customers have ‘bought repeatedly’.
This suggests that Amazon is using general shopper data here, rather than using the specific recipient’s purchase history. At least for the first email.
Here’s an example from Clinique, reminding customers to reorder shaving cream:
This example from Chemist Warehouse is timed to be sent as the customer is running low on the product, but also provides related product recommendations.
This one for cat food makes a confident prediction of when the cat will run out, giving the customer time to replenish their supplies.
Replenishment emails, when executed well, are useful to the customer, providing timely reminders which ‘help’ customers to spend more with.
Used in the context of a post-purchase email strategy, they help to build a long-term relationship with a customer, therefore increasing lifetime value.
Graham Charlton is Editor in Chief at SaleCycle. He's been covering ecommerce and digital marketing for more than a decade, having previously written reports and articles for Econsultancy. ClickZ, Search Engine Watch and more.