Automation: Your Best Weapon in the eCommerce Survival Game – A guest post by dotmailer
A hero is only as good as his weapon, and an eCommerce business is only as good as its digital marketing strategy. In an ever-evolving, ever-crowding industry, the tools you use in your everyday work need to be slick, fast, and powerful. We’re not saying you’ve got to go full-on Hunger Games to survive, but having a strategy that carries some clout is going to put you ahead of the pack. Automation is one of the most effective tools available to you; harnessing its power is the best way to update your marketing approach quickly, affordably, and on a mass scale. As a B2C marketers, you should be using an intelligent platform that handles your data effectively, so you can send more relevant emails to customers and get on with your day!
dotmailer recently sponsored the DMA’s Consumer Email Tracker Report 2017. According to the research, over a third of consumers claimed to receive more than 41 marketing emails from brands per week; that’s a lot of noise to cut through! In today’s crowded inbox, automation ensures that your business is getting the lion’s share of the attention.
Need convincing further? Here’s five ways in which automation provides a more assured path to purchase:
Today’s consumer might discover your item on Instagram, check it out in more detail on your eCommerce site, make the purchase on your mobile app, and then return some items in-store. This butterfly behaviour can make lifecycle engagement a challenge, but automation can lend a hand. By obtaining a preferred mobile contact, you can set up a program within your marketing automation platform that sends triggered SMS alerts, creating mass-scale multichannel campaigns. For example, dotmailer has a pre-built SMS node; when purchased, it allows you to automate order confirmations, cart reminders, and offers via text, ensuring that your customer gets the information they need wherever they are. And if your emails are being viewed on a smartphone – and we know that 70% of all emails are – you should have mobile responsive templates and campaign landing pages that don’t require coding each time; complexity made simple!
Know your USP (and tell everyone what it is)
Having a clear idea of what sets you apart from the competition facilitates faster, better, smarter targeting, and the best way to impart your USPs is with a strong welcome campaign. It’s important to address a pain point, even if it doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone on the planet; niche doesn’t equal unnecessary.
dotmailer clients, US dorm décor brand Dormify, have taken niche success to a new level, both with their USP and with their automation practice. The brand provides on-trend décor solutions to college students, but have developed a welcome program that tugs at the heartstrings of parents whose children have flown the nest. Dormify segments its customer data by age and gender, and uses automation to make sure its personalized campaigns go to the right people. The brand is then able to tailor everything, from the subject line to the promotional code, to match each demographic in its contact list. The result? Wonderfully dynamic and relevant welcome campaigns for all the family. Read their case study for further inspiration!
Social and email make great bedfellows, and can work in tandem to strengthen your eCommerce strategy. Adding buttons to your campaigns that link to your brand’s various social profiles aids cross-pollination between the channels. You can also use this close relationship to better nurture your single customer view; consider those “social influencers” who support your brand through these channels when creating your VIP segments. This will help you convert social followers into email advocates, and give you smarter, better data on their purchase behaviour.
In a saturated marketplace, it’s the little things that set you apart from the competition. It’s vital that your business’s customer service experience adds value to your brand’s reputation. When it comes to email, there are some practices we recommend. For example, contrary to popular opinion, DO establish up a reply address for marketing campaigns (e.g. email@example.com), as it will maximize business opportunities and show that you’re a responsible marketer. Set up a general, friendly reply-to address that can be monitored by the customer services department; this ensures that customers get instant engagement, and means that you don’t have to be monitoring the inbox 24/7!
Automation programs allow you to deliver intelligent and consistent customer service emails to every customer at the perfect moment. Consider that as soon as that first transactional email is sent after a customer-initiated action, such as a purchase, the post-purchase campaign has automatically begun. With this in mind, make sure these transactional emails that drive a high click-through rate are trumpeting your brand; from order confirmations to feedback requests.
With so much to choose from for today’s shopper, the reviews and experiences of other customers matters more than it ever did. You can use your emails to showcase other people’s opinions of your business through real-time dynamic content; this is really useful for an abandoned cart campaign, where pulling in positive reviews of the product could encourage your customer to reconsider their decision. Automation is also a useful tool in gaining positive reviews from those you’ve recently converted. Use an independent site like Trustpilot or Feefo to obtain the review, and embed the external content into your own template to maintain your branding.
It might be tough out there for an eCommerce business, but one thing’s for sure. Automation is one tool that can help you turn survival into success. What are you waiting for?
By Rebecca at dotmailer