How Food and Beverage Brands are Owning Winback Emails

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on November 29, 2017. It’s been updated to reflect the most current data and insights.

If you run a food and beverage brand, learning from general marketing advice that isn’t industry-specific can really only get you so far. That’s why it’s important to benchmark yourself against other ecommerce brands in the same industry to truly understand how to get the best performance out of your marketing.

Armed with data-backed industry findings, you can prioritize your marketing efforts on tactics you know will increase revenue.

Find out how other food and beverage brands are using automation to their advantage and how five different ecommerce companies in this industry are finding success.

Let’s take a look at what we discovered and how three different companies in the food and beverage industry are finding success.

Winbacks for the win

Eighty-four percent of top-performing food and beverage brands have a winback series (also known as replenishment or repeat customer) automation live, according to Klaviyo’s business intelligence team. 

This seems like a no-brainer since food and beverage are consumable products, which people will use up and hopefully purchase again. Additionally, many food and beverage brands offer subscriptions or memberships of  some kind, so it’s easy to track when customers stop being customers.

But not all winbacks are created equally. While looking through the top accounts, I found brands a variety of trigger actions used with winbacks beyond just “placed order.” They were:

  • Placed order flows by product
  • By value
  • By type
  • Placed order flow by number of purchases
  • Single vs multiple
  • Number of days lapsed
  • Website visits
  • Subscription cancelations

Here are three different examples of food and beverage brands that are using winbacks emails as part of their email marketing program.

Replenishment winbacks with a discount

Steve’s PaleoGoods sends this product-specific winback email with a 10 percent discount out sixty days after a customer makes a purchase. This email is likely successful because it’s timely, relevant to the recipient, and has a clear call to action.

Additionally, they’ve built out winbacks for each group of products they sell (think different bar flavors) trigger eight weeks post-purchase.

Replenishment winback without a discount

Sakara Life sends this product-specific email out to people who have purchased their Beauty Chocolates 27 days after they’ve placed an order. They filter out anyone from this flow who makes a purchase during this time period in order to stay relevant.

Currently, they have a number of these product-specific replenishment emails setup as well as winback emails for those who haven’t purchased in the last 60 and 90 days.

Winbacks with a limited discount

Choc Zero knows that often a discount is the best way to “tempt” customers back—if they aren’t already enticed by their delicious, keto-friendly sweeteners, that is. But they also know it’s better to make the offer conditional and to create a sense of urgency.

Instead of giving lapsed customers a 15 percent off discount that they can use at any time, they offer them a coupon that has to be used within 14 days of when the customer receives the email.

Not only does this help to ensure that customers don’t abuse or share the discount, but it also encourages them to act fast since the offer will eventually expire. Plus, they feature some of their products in their winback email, which reduces purchase friction by making it easy for customers to click and checkout in as few steps as possible.

Subscription winbacks with a founder’s touch

This email from Bokksu isn’t just another automation (or so it seems), it’s a personal note straight from the brand’s founder…that just happens to be automated. 

The message, sent from Bokksu’s founder Danny Taing, comes across much more personal than your typical winback email. Additionally, this email invites the recipient to actually reply directly with questions, which helps to open communication between the brand and customers. It also encourages them to share their feedback or questions if they’re hesitant about rejoining for a particular reason. 

This is especially effective in a subscription winback series, where customers might cancel their subscription without providing a reason. This means they might have a small problem that could easily be solved, but either way, it’s a great way to collect feedback on why people churn.

Thoughtful cancelation confirmations

Every interaction a customer has with your brand is an opportunity to create an amazing experience. Yes, even when a customer cancels their subscription.

Instead of using a plain notification informing the customer that their subscription has been effectively canceled, trigger a dedicated message to go out to customers after they cancel with more thoughtful messaging.

Use this message as a way to insert another branded touchpoint after they cancel, ask for feedback about why they canceled, or even offer an incentive so they might rethink their decision and reactivate their account. 

For example, Oats Overnight spruces up the transactional email that goes out after a customer cancels their subscription to add in branding with their logo and products, messaging that asks for feedback, and social media. Additionally, since this is a transactional email, it sees higher than average open rates—hovering around 35 percent, in this case. 

If nothing else, adding this messaging positions your brand in a positive light for when your next winback email ends up in your customer’s inbox a month or two later.

Improve your winback emails

Crafting the perfect winback and post-purchase emails for your food and beverage company doesn’t have to be overly complicated. By segmenting the types of emails you send and personalizing the content for your customers, you’ll be able to send the most timely, relevant, and engaging messages to your list.

Additionally, while it can be tempting to create an autoresponder series and then set it and forget, A/B testing is the best way to improve its performance over time.

Here are four types of A/B tests you can explore  as you optimize your winback flows:

  • Subject lines and preview text
  • The number of emails in a series
  • Content and layout
  • Send times
  • Discounts and incentives

Winbacks may not be first on your list of email automations to implement, but a winback series can be instrumental in helping you re-engage lapsed customers with an offer they can’t refuse. 

In this way, winbacks can help you increase customer lifetime value (CLTV), but even more importantly, they can help you repair your relationships with customers who are still engaged with your brand.

If you’re new to winback emails or looking to improve your existing flow, here are a few resources you can explore.

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