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According to a report by Demand Gen, The Rise of Marketing Automation —, “91% of brands that use marketing automation consider it a crucial factor to their overall online marketing efforts.” When ecommerce marketing automation is done right, it can bring more leads, conversions and sales, all with less work.
Using the software and tools we outlined in this post can really help help with your automation efforts – the opportunity is huge if put to full use. Brands can leverage automation software to reduce or even eliminate repetitive tasks such as:
- Email campaign creation
- Website personalisation
- Customer service
- Customer relationship management
- SMS messaging
- Dissemination of social media posts
- Data management and analysis
- Online advertising management
Another huge benefit is that ecommerce marketing automation can free up time to focus on generating more web traffic, higher conversions and focus on improving customer retention and loyalty. Less time on the mundane tasks, more on the initiatives that will drive bottom line growth for the business.
The benefit of ecommerce marketing automation
1. Save time
According to a Hubspot Marketing Automation report, “Brands that use marketing automation with social posts and ads are able to save more than 6 hours of work per week”. Additionally, automated social media accounts increase customer engagement.
Using ecommerce marketing automation, a single tool can be used to schedule content, track brand mentions and engage with customers. Some of the best tools like Hootsuite have in-built social CRM systems that enable you to monitor and track customer service related conversations across every social media platform which is another huge time saver.
Ecommerce marketing automation frees up time, allowing team members to focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience which boosts word of mouth referrals. By driving up customer referrals (which are essentially a zero cost customer acquisition channel), the overall customer acquisition cost is reduced and business profit increases.
3. A consistent tone of voice
When brands unify all their marketing campaigns, they can ensure that the tone of voice remains consistent through different channels. Consistency is key to staying in customers minds – being instantly recognisable makes all the difference.
4. Smart content
According to The Pulse Check report by Accenture, “91% of consumers like to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant.” Smart and personalised content is a great way to capture browser’ attention. Using customised visuals, personalised call to actions and offers, can deliver a dramatic uplift in overall conversion rates.
Ecommerce marketing automation at its best
Email Marketing Automation
Online retailers can bank on email marketing automation to help improve customer retention. Whilst social media may be all the rage, email actually delivers the highest return on investment (ROI) out of all the common digital channels. The VentureBeat Insight study also reaffirms email’s importance in customer retention, stating that “84% of surveyed brands say that email is crucial or critically important for customer loyalty.”
The real value of email automation just doesn’t come from a one-size-fits-all newsletter. Instead, the best email automation tools enable a variety of techniques that can help drive higher conversion rates, bigger basket size, longer customer retention and higher overall customer lifetime value using triggered emails.
A trigger email is an automated email that brands can send to customers or members of their newsletter based on a specific condition, behaviour or interaction that the subscriber has had with the brand. Some email automation tools worth checking out are EmailOctopus, Bitrix24 and Agile CRM – others are MailChimp, Moosend and Zoommail.
- Welcome emails – This email reaches a user’s inbox when the consumer subscribes to the mailing list. Welcome emails should say thank you for subscribing, be engaging and outline the value that the new subscriber will receive as part of their subscription to the newsletter.
- Abandoned shopping cart emails – Abandoned cart emails help convert customers that were tantalisingly close to making the purchase that didn’t quite make it to the finishing line When a browser adds an item to their shopping cart but did not complete the purchase, they receive an email prompting them to complete their purchase. A second reminder can be sent after a week if they didn’t make the purchase – with a promotional discount on the item that they have still not purchased in order to maximise the sales opportunity.
- Reactivation emails – this email aims to reactivate potentially lapsed customers. It is for those customers that have shown a very low level of engagement for a long period. Reactivation emails typically include an irresistible offer that reengages the customer with the service. A great example is gyms which often offer free personal training to their dormant customers that have not been to the gym for 6 months or more.
- Transactional emails – Also known as order confirmation emails, these emails contain the receipt and order details of the customer’s most recent purchase. Transaction emails help manage customer expectations and should ideally include information about the order delivery process and delivery time-frame.
- Birthday or anniversary emails – these emails are sent to users to help brands celebrate important dates with the subscribers. The user’s birth dates need t be captured in order to send out birthday emails but another technique often used is to send the customer an email on the anniversary of their first purchase, thanking them for their loyalty. It’s always worth including a special birthday offer to stimulate sales from this type of email.
Onsite marketing automation
Personalising the customer experience
Website Personalisation can help brands make their online store fit the individual needs of the customer with personalised content, offers and product recommendations.
- Create personalised homepages – Using website personalisation tools, the homepage can be customised to each visitor based on their browsing history and previous purchases. Personalising the website can be done for all visitors (including those that have not visited the site before) based on their geography, device, channel that they have arrived from and a multitude of other elements. With the use of website cookies, website personalisation can tailor almost every aspect of the site for each individual visitor. Examples of tools that you can use to personalise the site are VWO (visual web optimiser) and Google Optimise.
- Personalised guides – The website experience can be personalised to visitors based on some simple questions that are asked to them. Once these questions are answered, tailored on-site assistance and guidance can be provided to visitors – giving them the sense of an exclusive and unique shopping experience. A good example of personalised guides is Topshop’s online store. Based on their answers, website visitors are guided through products that match their favourite style, size and budget.
- Display recently viewed items – Displaying recently viewed items and items that are related to the items that the user is currently viewing are hugely beneficial in simplifying navigation for the user. If they ‘lost’ the product that they were looking for, they can conveniently navigate back to it. If they want an alternative but in a similar style, it is one click away.
Social media automation
Customer’s expectations of brands on social media are high. Being responsive and quick are therefore vital and automation is a crucial aid in meeting those customer expectations
Social CRM – Hootsuite has always been one of the top social media tools but it has evolved over the years to become one of the most flexible and reliable tools to manage customer relationships. Brands can use this tool to monitor brand mentions, customer queries and feedback. Hootsuite is one of the best tools that brands can use to listen and respond to their customers.
Auto-Post from RSS – Some tools like dlvr.it, OneUp and SmarterQueue can be used to set up RSS feeds that automatically publish new blog posts as updates to various social media accounts. This approach completely removes the need to manually manage social media.
Use IFTTT for publishing posts – IFTTT stands for “If This Then That”. Online, it is the equivalent of having a telephone exchange which allows brands to connect their various web applications to each other. IFTTT is a free tool with hundreds of apps and uses, one of which is to automate social media posts.
ContentStudio.io – this is an integrated cloud-based social media management and content curation tool that helps brands automatically generate social media posts using their AI algorhythm. It also allows brands to identify influencers, schedule posts on blogging platforms like Medium and WordPress and provides analytics that brands can use to track their content performance across all social media channels.
Sync the blog to social media – For brands that use WordPress, the Jetpack plugin (made by the WordPress team) allows brands to sync their blog posts out as updates onto social media channels on an automated basis. It also embeds social sharing buttons onto blog post pages.