Every eCommerce store owner knows marketing is a must. Especially now, because coronavirus pandemic restrictions have moved trade to the Internet and competition is greater than ever. That’s why it’s best to invest in tools that will bring you the highest ROI. But what tools are these? Grab a cup of coffee and read on!
eCommerce Stores & Marketing
Selling on the Internet is no longer an easy job. Regardless of what you sell, you have to fight against many elements.
First off: the competition. Online stores are multiplying – pretty much every business has thrown into the deep waters of eCommerce. As a result, more and more eStores are fighting for customer attention. And yet, only a small percentage of these businesses sell unique products.
Secondly: whatever you sell, your customers’ journey will usually be a quick one. Online shopping is a world of quick decisions. How long can one consider buying coffee beans, a new pair of shoes, or a new microwave? To sell effectively, you need to stay up to date with your customers and their needs. You need vigilance to send them targeted messages at the moment when your chance for a positive response is the highest. Your email, SMS, web push or mobile messages must make them buy. Moreover, the life cycle of eCommerce store customers is looped – today they’re buying shoes, tomorrow they will come back for pants; yesterday they bought cosmetics, and the day after tomorrow they will come back for household chemicals. Therefore, your marketing activities need to be 100% ready at all times.
This situation can be both a challenge and a great opportunity for you. If you choose the right tool for marketing communication with your customers, you will be able to build customer loyalty and encourage them to spend more each time. A marketing automation platform is an excellent marketing tool for eCommerce stores.
Marketing Automation – What Is It?
A marketing automation platform is a tool that allows you to automate and significantly reduce time spent on repetitive marketing tasks, such as sending email campaigns, SMS messages, mobile notifications and web pushes. A marketing automation platform uses customer data to send messages when they are most likely to make a purchase. Simply put: a marketing automation platform is a combine-harvester that smartly turns potential sales leads into loyal customers.
An Example of a Marketing Automation Workflow for an Online Store
Here’s an example of using marketing automation in an eCommerce store:
You sell quality tea online. But there are many quality tea eStores out there, so you need your offer to stand out. Social media ads bring a lot of traffic to your website. Some of these people will buy something right away, while others will only look at what you have to offer. A certain fraction of them can be encouraged to subscribe to the newsletter in exchange for a discount code for the first purchase and the promise of receiving unique content.
In the following weeks you send to your subscribers a series of educational emails, teaching them about types of tea, differences between them, and how they should be brewed and served. This helps you build your brand awareness and makes your subscribers more eager to buy tea – your tea. At the same time, you associate email addresses in your database with the actions of specific users taken in your online store. You know what products they browsed, whether they added anything to the cart, etc. So next you send them personalized messages – via pop-up notification or email, depending on their actual preferences – and encourage them to complete the purchase. You can go either for a simple reminder about their abandoned cart or for a notification that the product they were interested in is now available at a lower price.
Next, you divide your customers into segments depending on when they last made purchases, how much they spent, and how often they come back. Then, for each of these segments you create a separate communication workflow that uses customer data to direct only the right offers to them. The most valuable customers receive an SMS with a link to an exclusive offer from time to time. And on the anniversary of their first purchase, each customer receives a special discount code from you.
As you can see, the above example activities are based on two basic elements: user data, which you collect all the time, and multi-channel communication – because clients may have different preferences as to the method of communication.
Benefits of Implementing Marketing Automation In Your Online Store
Here are the most important benefits of implementing a marketing automation tool in your online store:
- You will better understand who your customers are and what they need. This will allow you to tailor your marketing messages accordingly.
- You will reach current and future customers through their favorite communication channels – and you will do it at the best time!
- You will increase audience engagement, which will result in a higher conversion rate in your online store. Simply put: more people will click ‘Buy’ 😉
- You will design automated marketing scenarios that will cover the entire customer shopping path. So moving people through the sales funnel will become much easier!
- You will group recipients depending on their characteristics, preferences, and behaviors (segmentation). For each segment, you will prepare personalized product offers, abandoned cart reminders, or price drop notifications for individual products.
- You will create a great shopping experience that will make your customers happy to come back to you.
- You will save a lot of time, effort, and money on marketing activities.
- You will increase the subscriber and customer base and significantly reduce the cost of acquiring a customer.
- You will free up your human resources. Your team will be able to devote their attention to more creative and rewarding tasks.
- You will gain access to detailed reports on your marketing campaigns. At last you will be able to evaluate the real effectiveness of specific actions!
How Do You Choose the Best Marketing Automation Platform?
Here are the 3 basic criteria you need to follow when looking for the best marketing automation software for your eCommerce store:
Your budget. How much can you spend on accessing and using a marketing automation platform? The costs depend, among others, on the number of channels you will be using, the size of your subscriber list and traffic in your online store, as well as on additional features. You will learn everything about the cost of marketing automation in your eCommerce store from this article.
Your long-term strategy. Do you only want to use email marketing or do you prefer to manage multi-channel communication that includes SMS, web pushes, mobile notifications and chatbots?
Your proficiency in using software. Marketing automation platforms offer many options, which require some proficiency in working with complex systems. If you lack it, you can get lost and not take full advantage of the opportunities available. If this is the case, go for a vendor that offers good implementation and onboarding process, expert technical and strategic support, and is responsive to customer queries.
If you are investing in valuable, SEO-optimized content that makes your eCommerce store visible to new potential customers, then you are doing the right thing. If you’re adding social media activities, paid PPC campaigns and remarketing campaigns to the mix as well – you’re a great marketer. Such a range of marketing activities will surely generate traffic and attract new customers to your online store.
Remember, however, that in order to make good use of all these leads and turn as many of them as possible into customers, and then build their loyalty, you need a multichannel marketing automation tool that will communicate with them in real time.