Inside ecommerce marketing automation. Ecommerce marketing automation is the software equivalent of hiring someone to do all those tedious marketing-related tasks for you. Ecommerce marketing software is the ideal employee: trainable, reliable, punctual, resilient, efficient, and easy to communicate with.
Human beings get bored doing anything, let alone repetitive tasks; ecommerce marketing automation software stays enthusiastic and doesn’t require overtime pay.
Types of Marketing Automation Seen in Ecommerce
Several different types of ecommerce marketing automation exist. Some simplify workflows, while others tackle analysis. Let’s take a closer look at four of the most useful types of automation software.
1. Email marketing automation.
Email marketing strategy used to depend heavily on coding and manual testing. Not any more. Email marketing ecommerce software can help you create, test, and monitor email campaigns with ease. Cloud-based email marketing providers (ESPs) , like Campaign Monitor, Mailchimp, and Constant Contact, are intuitive and incorporate a range of tools to help you gauge how campaigns are doing.
Taking it a stage further, predictive personalisation solutions, like SwiftERM, offer personalised product selection, which not only handles all the sending elements, but it also uses a sophisticated algorithm to work out what products are most likely to be bought by each individual consumer next, populating your stylesheet with total accuracy.
Imagine being able to show every customer exactly the product they want, when they want it, every time. Hardly suprising both McKinsey and Statista rave about this level of delivery, offering twenty times the multiple of standard email marketing.
To see the biggest return on investment (ROI) and the healthiest increase in average order value (AOV), most industry pundits now advocate using predictive personalisation as it far outperforms any other form of marketing solution.
2. Automated workflows.
Automated workflows help keep customers happy and save you a whole lot of time too. Because they work autonomously, they can handle tasks 24/7. Payment gateways process credit cards all day and all night, so orders go through even while you sleep. Automatic customer relations management (CRM) workflows sync consumers with central databases to make email marketing for ecommerce easier later on.
You can use workflow automation software to liaise with negative reviewers, tag and sort customers based on their purchase histories, nurture leads to schedule Instagram posts, for inventory management, and print shipping labels.
3. Customer analytics.
Automation software channels data into a central directory, making it much easier to find. Many programs also provide users with a range of analytics tools, which make it easier to gain consumer insights. With automatic customer analytics tools, you can monitor purchase histories, lead conversion rates, email engagement stats, and website hot spots.
You can also use analytics programs to track product performance and identify promotion ideas, future sale items, cross-sell items, and potential product groups. Conveniently, you can use the same programs to monitor the results of the promotions, sales, and groups you come up with.
Hot tip: The bigger your ecommerce business gets, the more complicated your metrics become. Automation increases data accuracy, so you can build a much clearer picture of where your company stands in the marketplace.
“You can’t just open a website and expect people to flood in. If you really want to succeed, you have to create traffic.”—Joel Anderson
4. Creating and maintaining landing pages.
Stumped for a design idea? Landing page builder tools help you create effective and attractive landing pages that complement the rest of your sales funnel. If you have several campaigns going at once (for different products or different product bundles), you can use drag-and-drop editors to create custom landing pages for each one. Many page builder programs include high-converting page copy, which you can customise to suit your product or service.
After your launch, landing page builder tools let you monitor pages and make design changes to increase conversion rates as each campaign progresses. With a little coding knowledge at your disposal, you can send data from your editor software to your CRM via a RESTful API.
Hot tip: Standard homepages contain a lot of information, so they scatter leads in various directions like a prism. Targeted landing pages provide focused messages to extend specific sales funnels, increasing your overall conversion rate.
Advantages of Adopting Marketing Automation Software for Ecommerce
In a nutshell, marketing automation platforms boost your bottom line. In it’s infancy (2018) artificial intelligence (AI) in email personalisation software helped companies improve their email marketing click-through rates (CTRs) by 13.44%. In the end, they experienced a 41% growth in revenue over previous non-AI ecommerce email marketing campaigns.
Here are four more marketing automation software advantages:
1. Reduces human error.
When real people perform repetitive tasks, they inevitably disconnect to some degree. The result? Human error. Marketing automation platforms use a logical algorithm to tackle tasks — and they never get bored. Essential jobs get done, email addresses are collected, databases stay up-to-date, and marketing initiatives happen without a hitch.
2. Increased average order value (AOV). Many ecommerce companies focus on customer acquisition to the detriment of another major revenue driver — AOV. Continuously locating, targeting, and converting new customers is expensive; working on your AOV is far cheaper. By using marketing automation software, you can identify products that perform well, segment your consumer base, and perform split testing to analyse price changes. Higher prices, loads of ways for a higher AOV. Simple, but true.
3. Better customer insights.
Marketing automation makes consumer analysis virtually effortless. You can track user engagement, things like bounce rate, note product visits, time spent on a product, busy times of day, unique visitors per month, and visitor location. All of those insights can help you generate more effective marketing campaigns.
4. Saves times and increases efficiency.
With its streamlined workflows, marketing automation software can handle information far more efficiently than a human being. Programs create analyses and offer suggestions almost immediately after receiving appropriate data. By reducing the need for manual data input and analysis, automation software improves your company’s overall annual ROI.
Marketing Automation Campaigns Suited For Any Ecommerce Store
There are lots of ways to use marketing automation in ecommerce, but the predictive personalisation email is arguably the biggest game-changer. Traditionally it was always “the more emails you send, the more customers you gain”.
Now it has changed to the more accurate the email content is to the individual receiving it, the higher the return, greater the AOV and bigger the CLV, so an enormous hike in your profits, and the better your marketing software ROI. Here are four traditionally effective campaigns that work for nearly any ecommerce store, which you should adopt alongside your predictive personalisation software (PPS):
1. Welcome potential customers.
First impressions are vital in any type of commerce, especially online. Welcome emails provide a perfect opportunity to introduce your brand and offer a first-time subscriber some type of discount or gift. Quality is key; after all, recipients who find your first email compelling and useful are far more likely to open future mailings. Rather than a single email, many ecommerce companies, like Skullcandy, craft a “welcome series” email campaign to keep consumers engaged over a few months.
2. Re-engage inactive customers.
Don’t forget about dormant customers; instead, try to get them to re-engage with your brand using ecommerce marketing automation.
Craft a subtle win-back email series, like Naturally Curly, and use software to send it out automatically on a series of thirty day intervals after a customer’s last purchase. Essentially, win-back emails say, “Hey, we’re still here.” When successful, re-engagement campaigns greatly increase customer lifetime value (CLTV).
3. Win back customers with abandoned cart emails.
Abandoned carts are a major pain for ecommerce companies across the board. Almost-but-not-quite-purchased products upset inventory management systems, skewing stock levels and upsetting metrics. According to Barilliance, about 73% of all carts are abandoned when consumers shop on desktop computers.
Mobile stats are even worse — nearly 86% of all carts are left to gather dust when people shop via smartphone. There’s no sure-fire way to prevent basket desertion, but you can reduce your losses with automatic abandoned cart emails, which win back more than 10% of customers.
An online furniture retailer, Burrow, sends customers abandoned cart emails with a nice discount to the entice customer to complete the purchase.
4. Offer personalised promotions.
Remember all that data you gathered earlier? Well, here’s when you put it to use. First, you identify which products customers buy most frequently; then, you create personalised offers based on their preferences. According to an Epsilon report, 80% of shoppers are more likely to buy from an ecommerce store that provides personalised experiences. Custom offers also boost customer retention as well as overall store revenue.
How to Choose the Right Ecommerce Marketing Automation For You
Marketing automation software is both useful and popular — and there’s a lot of it around. So, which programs actually perform well? Here are some strategies you can use to sort the wheat from the chaff:
1. Determine your business needs.
Before you begin looking for marketing software, try to figure out what your particular automation needs are. Sit down with a pencil and paper, and think about:
Marketing channels: What are your marketing channels? Do you sell your items exclusively via one website, or do you have seller accounts on sites like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay as well? Will you use affiliates to shift stock in the future?
Maybe you just want to automate emails. In that case, do you need a solution that will work in tandem with Google Ads, social media platforms, or a CRM provider?
Integrations: What features do your current sales and marketing platforms offer? Your new ecommerce marketing software must be able to integrate with the solutions you already have in place. Some SaaS providers work seamlessly with automation platforms and plugins; other programs require a RESTful API.
Metrics and analytics: Pick out some marketing key performance indicators (KPIs) and make sure the software you choose can measure and create reports based on those metrics.
2. Do an initial search on software and reviews.
You have a list of must-haves in your hand — now you need to find software to match that list. Google is a good place to start, but it’s not the only place to look for solutions. Don’t forget to:
Look at reviews: Software companies all claim that their programs are the best. Real-world appraisals posted on independent review platforms cut through the hype. Sites include:
- G2 Crowd
- Software Advice
Take advice from friends and mentors: Chat to as many merchant peers as you can, and get as much tech advice as possible. If you belong to an ecommerce forum, ask other users which marketing automation softwares they prefer. Your question will probably kindle some pretty strong opinions. Ask them why they like (or don’t like) the programs they use.
3. Take the free trial or book a demo and try the software.
At this stage, you probably have a software shortlist written down. Time to test drive your front-runners. Create accounts with two or three of the providers on your lineup, and give each software a thorough trial run. Connect it with your existing tech infrastructure to see how it performs under pressure and then compare and contrast until you find your favourite.
What to look for in Marketing Automation Software
Some programs take a little longer to learn than others, and that’s okay. Still, make sure you keep these four points in mind as you put your top software contenders through their paces:
1. User interface is easy to follow.
What does your test software’s interface look like? Is it difficult to navigate, or is it intuitive? The benefits of an easy-to-use backend are countless, especially if the program has a learning curve or you’re busy and need to complete tasks quickly. As you explore your new marketing platform for the first time, keep the following questions in mind:
- Can you navigate easily? Are the program’s menus where you’d expect them to be? Try accessing analytics or composing an email to see how easily you can move around the marketing platform.
- Are there contextual pop-ups? Do explanatory pop-ups appear when you hover over interface titles? Sometimes these can be very useful — especially when you’re learning or in a hurry.
- Can you complete tasks efficiently? Can you move from one assignment to the next easily, or do you have to bend over backwards to complete tasks?
You’re an ecommerce professional with a lot on your plate, so it’s important that your marketing software doesn’t hamper your workflow. Simple navigation, contextual information on demand, and streamlined task management features can help you get up to speed.
Big-data solutions are of course, by the very nature, commonly devoid of any requirement for human interface. These are ideal, as you need only enjoy the results and calculate the ROI for yourself. They always outperform any solution not in this top echelon of Martech.
2. Native integrations and unique features.
Here’s where that list of must-haves comes in handy. A lot of marketing programs are quite generic, but a few (Hubspot, Omnisend, and Drift, for example) have proprietary perks that make them desirable. Go through these unique features and think about which ones make sense for your company.
At this stage, it’s also important to consider what your current ecommerce software can do and how your new program will connect with it. Does your current system have an open API for custom assets? If you can get your ecommerce platform to play nice with your new marketing software, you’ll be able to nurture leads and run campaigns more easily.
3. Customer support.
Open-source programs usually have enthusiastic forums full of users who can give newbies advice if they run into trouble. SaaS platforms generally have dedicated tech support and customer service teams available via email, webchat, or phone.
What type of assistance do you think you’ll need during the software setup process? Are you comfortable learning the ropes by yourself, or will you require guidance? If you select a SaaS provider with on-demand tech support, how quickly will you receive answers — on the spot, within 24 hours, or longer than that?
4. Set-up and onboarding.
Speaking of setup, what does each software’s onboarding process look like? Some providers are self-service — you create an account and get going for free. Others demand a setup fee, which can range from affordable to thousands of pounds. If there is a fee involved, how quickly are you likely to make that money back in future profit?
If you plan to migrate from one marketing program to another, you may need help from an expert to ensure that you don’t leave data behind. Usually, this can happen remotely. If you’re a larger ecommerce business with an on-site server system, however, a physical engineer visit could be on the cards.
Marketing is such a vital part of ecommerce, and automation can help you stay ahead of the game. With a powerful marketing automation platform on your side, you’ll gain customers, increase your conversion rate, and boost your bottom line without burning out.
SwiftERM is a predictive personalisation software company, for ecommerce marketing, we are Microsoft Partners.