In my previous article I outlined how and why brands should be capitalising on the opportunities that can be gained through trigger emails, if they are implemented correctly. Whilst many think simply incorporating triggers into a strategy is enough to deliver the long-term benefits, this is really only the first step.

Ultimately, the whole point of triggers is to enable a brand to react to customer driven events. The speed of this reaction is the critical factor in determining the outcome. Responding to customer actions in the moment with a highly relevant response can make all the difference between success and failure. If used correctly, triggers will be effective in quashing customer inertia and encourage customers towards making the final purchase.

That said, implementing and delivering effective triggers requires investment if it’s going to be a success. Whilst there is certainly no shortage of data out there, many businesses simply aren’t making the most of the insights available to them. In a competitive marketplace, if one brand isn’t making the most of these opportunities, a competitor with a trigger strategy already in place will only be too pleased to pick up the relationship with the customer.

It’s time for brands to take action and start giving their trigger strategy the recognition and investment required if they want to see the notable results and generate true value.

Whilst customers are looking for targeted, personalised and well timed approaches, they also want to be engaged and remain interested. Staying innovative and creative should be front of mind at all times, particularly in today’s world where customer attention span is low and they are being continually bombarded by distracting content. Implementing a one size fits all approach won’t engender the type of success a well-oiled trigger strategy should deliver.

At a basic level, ensuring website cart abandonment email triggers are in place should be a top priority for all brands and a no brainer, but beyond that, what are the innovative ways for brands to ensure they are meeting the expectations of customers and capitalising on the short window with an immediate and relevant response?

The most basic form of triggers, yet one that thousands of organisations still fail to appreciate, are those used to welcome a customer or try a convert lapse in engagement. Reminding users why they registered in the first place can have a significant impact on how consumers feel about your newsletter program, the utilitarian value or function it provides in their life.

Companies can take this opportunity to drive an immediate sale – by providing a discount or some incentive to enable consumers to take the bull by the horns and try your service now. Likewise, when customers go off the boil, marketers have to react swiftly to ensure they maintain the relationship. Customer hiatus is a serious threat for any company, but effective lapse trigger can significantly reduce this risk.

Capitalising on opportunities around the customer brand experience are not to be missed. This is particularly crucial in the travel sector. Sending pre-flight reminders not only allows you to cross and upsell companion products, but also allows you to generate a warm and positive feeling around the experience, adding further value. Customers come away feeling positive and excited when they receive the product – crucial for improving future loyalty.

This is also a useful approach to keep customers engaged as they wait for products to be delivered. In addition to this, post experience surveys are an opportunity to understand or improve customer service or product concerns, and provide a way to address or rectify potential risky negativity immediately before a consumer tells their friends. So many companies are still failing to do this basic step.

Admin cross-sell opportunities, whether it’s through an e-receipt or a call centre confirmation, it tracks every customer contact in a digital format to keep the brand front of mind. This allows retailers to increase their email registration base whilst also providing countless opportunities to cross or upsell with services and products that are entirely relevant to the subject matter of the original contact.

Anniversaries or event reminders provide a relevant window of opportunity to remind customers why they felt great about your brand and bought from you in the first place. Combining targeted messaging with a loyalty offer can help to re-invigorate lapsed customers, perfect for annual product purchases. Birthday reminders are a good starting point for event triggers, which can be marked with gift inspiration for loved ones. Retailers should start thinking of ways beyond this, to deliver more innovative event-based reminder services that offer stand-out amongst competitors.

Flash sales and time sensitive offers can be built into event reminders. Many consumers see a functional value in receiving flash sales incentives and will be happy to be engaged. Some consumers only want to receive offers that are really going to make a difference so retailers need to be careful to make sure they deliver. Time sensitivity is absolutely paramount here to make sure that consumers make the decision to buy now and not later.

The vast majority of site browsing is focused on information gathering. When a consumer is able to indicate that they need more information it gives brands a perfect opportunity to create a relationship and respond positively.

Creating an email registration box within each product page and a “tell me more” call to action will drive the email base size, allows a direct respond to customer queries and increases site conversion. Building upon this, having the mechanisms in place to recommend out of stock alternatives, enabled through an email call to action on a website, will help convert a negative user experience into a positive one.

Wish list and basket reminders are two ways to create stickiness with the website by emphasising the benefit of using the functions on the website. Consumers will always comparison shop, but by sending them their wish list reminder, you have the opportunity to underline why your consumers need to revisit the website and complete their transaction.

With the growth of customer channel and multi channel engagement, customers now expect a consistent and joined up experience no matter how they are interacting, which provides another good opportunity for trigger conversion. Recognising the importance of this, many bricks and mortar stores have started running ‘geo-located’ offers or ‘geo-fencing’.

These types of triggers, such as lunch-time exclusive offers, create a strong impetus to buy now but really help to drive co-operation between online and offline operations. Localised, time-sensitive triggers are perfect inertia killers which can explode virally.

The tools and opportunities are out there for the brands hungry enough to get ahead. Those that sit back and ignore the opportunities that a well executed trigger campaign can deliver will soon see competitors only too happy to pick up and build on a customer relationship.

Mark Ash

Mark Ash


Mark Ash is Managing Director Teradata Interactive International.