A great meal at a restaurant is a well-orchestrated experience. You start with a cocktail, share appetizers, move on to the main dish and a bottle of wine, and then indulge in dessert and coffee. A good restaurant knows how to build the evening into a multi-course experience, which in turn drives up the average check.

Marketing to a consumer is like a great meal, too. If all you offer is a decent entrée, you miss the bigger win in pairing wines, appetizers, and desserts that make your business a success.

Aim for a little more

In marketing, the cadence looks more like this: a consumer considers a purchase. A search for a black sweater will take a consumer to your site where he or she browses the sweaters in stock. The customer might add a few styles to his or her cart and then leave your site to read some fashion blogs to decide which item is in style for the season and see some ads for your products. In this time, the customer may see display retargeting ads within a social app or a follow-up email promoting sweaters. Then a direct mail postcard comes in the mail, and it features a reminder about the sweater, an upsell on fall scarves, and free shipping. The end result should add up to more than the one black sweater the customer started shopping for.

Yet many marketers, especially newer e-commerce companies, are so heavily focused on acquisition that most have missed the boat on increasing average order value (AOV) or retargeting existing customers. These players often overlook the multichannel strategy or the AOV metric altogether. That omission is a major flaw for marketers, who should always be seeking a better return on their investments.

Don't overlook AOV

Overlooking AOV is like having customers coming for dinner and leaving before dessert. Customers have had a great dinner, and marketers have the perfect opportunity to add on something sweet and increase the cost of the meal. From the desktop and smartphone to the physical mailbox and tablet, a cross-channel approach to retargeting and increasing average order value adds up to a healthier meal for your marketing efforts.

Moreover, encouraging current customers to spend more money per visit on your site is more cost effective than acquiring new customers. It helps you increase revenue at the same cost. Consumers worldwide spent $128.44 on the average e-commerce order placed on a computer in Q1 2015, according to Statistica.com.

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image of Lewis Gersh

Lewis Gersh is CEO of PebblePost, the inventor of programmatic direct mail.

LinkedIn: Lewis Gersh