Ecommerce marketing is on the rise as more and more consumers continue to go the internet to make purchasing decisions. And since there are millions of online shops offering a wide variety of products and services to consumers at competitive prices, buyers are likely to patronize these e-tailers than the traditional retailing shops. Using ecommerce marketing automation, especially for your content marketing distribution channels, has a lot of benefits. Instead of doing most of the menial jobs by yourself, the machines can help save time and sanity while you focus your energy on something more productive.
However, these helpful bots, when used wrongly and excessively, can do more harm than good to your business and you could lose your customers one after the other.
Ecommerce Marketing Automation – the Basics
You probably will want to ask questions like “how much automation do I need? ”Or“ “when and where should I use automation?” While there are no straight answers to these questions, using the right approach when implementing automation for e-commerce businesses (which you’re about to learn in this article) will keep things at a moderate level.
But before we go further, here is an outline of what you will learn in this piece.
Ecommerce automation means automating the workflow of your e-commerce business. This automation improves the accuracy of the processes while running them repetitively, which ultimately saves you a great deal of time and resources.
Time is money, but sadly, money can’t buy time. This is why it’s crucial as a business owner to know how well to manage your time, knowing what to do, and what not to do at a particular time. Lack of effective time management could send your fast-growing business to its early grave.
Truth be told, the more your company grows, the more tasks you get. So while employees focus themselves on the revenue-generating aspect of the business, you can use scripts, apps, bots, and software on your e-commerce shops to execute some necessary and custom actions automatically.
Why Automate Ecommerce Marketing?
E-commerce marketing is an aspect of digital marketing that focuses on your e-commerce business. Digital marketing is the process of using digital channels to promote and advertise a product or service. Automation in this process helps to take your business due to the many benefits it offers which include the following.
Automation marketing is a great way to save time. You can use apps and other automation tools to do all your repetitive tasks while you use your time to grow your e-commerce business. These bots and apps don’t only help save time and decrease your workload, but they can also help to optimize email marketing campaigns.
Manage a Large Audience
With the continuous increase in the number of content marketing distribution channels, such as social media and email marketing, it becomes easier for you to handle your growing audience without wasting all your time. You can reach the right people at the right place and time when you adopt a multichannel strategy.
Improved Customer Experience
With automation in email marketing, you can send emails to customers base on the activities they do on your ecommerce platform. Once you activate these marketing campaigns, each customer will automatically receive behavioral triggered emails that will give them a personalized experience. When you offer your customers this kind of experience, and they are satisfied with it, it helps your business to generate more money.
More Leads and Conversion
Generating leads and converting them into prospect is important for every e-commerce business. You can approach your leads with an ecommerce marketing automation program and appropriately connect with them.
You can track and report every step of your marketing campaign with ecommerce marketing automation. You can determine if the campaign is doing great or if it needs optimizing after running the email marketing campaign.
Instead of employing a staff who will do all the repetitive marketing campaign tasks, you can use ecommerce marketing automation which will help to cut recurring employment cost, and you possibly invest the funds into other aspects of your business.
Automation can Cause Harm too
That’s the whole point of being here. You want to know how much ecommerce marketing automation is too much. If the bots and apps you’re using are not adding value or helpful to you or your customers, then it’s putting your business at risk.
For instance, email marketing is one of the aspects of every business that requires automation because it saves time when sending offers to both existing customers and potential customers. But what if the emails you’re sending don’t give them value because you’re promoting already sold out products; using the wrong tone; or giving them invalid discount coupons? The average customer gets annoyed and quickly look for the “unsubscribe” button.
Is the information you want from your customers helpful to your e-commerce business? You may be asking for too much personal information from your audience which could force them to use the digital back door.
Another instance is using a new order management tool for your warehouse automation. If the machine isn’t designed for small warehouses like yours, it could omit some items, and your employees have to do a manual check every time to make sure nothing is missing. You’ll likely stop using the system after experiencing some incorrect orders because your customer service, business reputation, and profit are at stake.
How to Decide What to Automate
This is the most complicated part of ecommerce marketing automation. However, following the rules below will help you a great deal to decide what you should automate.
Is It a Repetitive Task? Use Automation
Repetitive tasks can be very stressful, even though they are, sometimes, not big or complex. As long as you have to repeat the job over and over again, it makes perfect sense to automate it. A good example of this kind of task is sending regular emails and calls to colleagues, clients, and potential customers. Let the bot handle the stress while you do something else.
Is It Time-Consuming? Use Automation
Some tasks just eat up your time unnecessarily without adding much value to your business. If you have any job that takes hours to complete, then call out to the bot for assistance. This could be labeled as “job polarization,” which means automating low-value and tedious jobs.
Does It Require a Large DataSet? Use Automation
Over the years, groups and survey are some of the methods of getting data from your audience. After gathering this data, you will try to break it down into useful information to determine trends, preferences, and spending habits of the audience. This requires a lot of effort, so it’s best to use automation for such jobs that require vast data set in order to achieve accuracy and timeliness.
Does It Tie You down? Use Automation
Technology has given us so much opportunity, especially mobility. You don’t need to be in one place all the time as an e-tailer. So if you have any task that ties you down in a fix working place for a long time, then that’s your cue for automation. Start looking for ways to bring in the bots to do the dirty job in order to reclaim your freedom of movement.
Areas where You should Use Marketing Automation
Now that you know that when to use automation and that too much automation for e-commerce is a time bomb, here are some aspects of your ecommerce business that you could automate.
Content Marketing Distribution Channels
Marketing is the lifeblood of every e-commerce business and content is everything. If you fail in content marketing, you fail in your e-commerce — no two ways about it. Automating your content marketing distribution channels is an effective way to take your business to your potential customers.
Blogs are unarguably the best type of content marketing distribution channel due to their versatility. Having a blog tailored towards the taste of your customer is a huge plus for your business, especially when you have an effective “call to action” button at the end of your posts. You can use ecommerce marketing automation tools on your blog for finding the right keyword for SEO.
Email is still the best way for consumers to communicate with companies. Today, almost all existing digital businesses use automation for their email marketing campaigns.
With so many templates and offers, you can use bots to send bulk emails to your audience, regardless of the size. You can send welcome emails to new subscribers, you can reach out to those who load their carts but forgot to check out, you can ask for reviews, and even send them coupons they can use for their next purchase.
Everyone loves social media, and according to stat, the number of users has been estimated to reach 2.95 billion by the year 2020, which makes it a perfect place to promote your e-commerce business.
With so many tools designed for social posts automation, you can share posts and photos with your audience and even create custom replies for customer’s query. Some bots will automatically share new products across all social platforms the moment you add them to your store.
Combating Cart Abandonment
When talking about e-commerce development, cart abandonment is one of those terms we hear frequently. It is used to describe a potential customer who visits an online shop but fails to complete the necessary action. This could be exiting the website without checking out after adding a product or service to the shopping cart.
There are many reasons why a visitor would abandon their carts, but whatever their reason may be, it’s a great strategy to reach out to them reminding them about their pending purchases. An extra perk would be offering them mouthwatering coupons.
All you just have to do is adjust who receives the message. Try to avoid sending more than one reminder about an abandoned cart so that your emails will not be reported as spam.
Have you noticed that something pops up offering to assist you or asking if you need anything when a website? Those little bubbles are automated chatbots and you can use them too.
You can customize your chatbot so that it provides relevant answers based on the FAQ on your site. This helps to make everything a lot easier and faster for your customers when they visit your site.
There are also chatbots that are compatible with live tech support which you can use for complex stores and products.
Some automation tools are designed to notify your audience whenever there are new coupons available for your products and services, and sometimes these are applied automatically at checkout. Your customers will likely visit your store to purchase something since they know they will be saving money when they use your coupon codes.
Refunds and returns are inevitable in online marketplaces. And it’s stressful and time-consuming to manage the returning process, especially when didn’t integrate your frontend and backend systems. However, that shouldn’t be the case, all thanks to automation.
Automating your return process will not only make things easier and faster, but it will also track the process and eliminate the risk of human errors. And when a customer is satisfied with your return process, they will likely shop again.
With accounting software, you can track your expenses and orders. The bot automatically tags each new item in the right category, making it easy for you to sort and review your business growth.
Aside from tracking stuff, you can also use these business tools to create receipts for your customers and order which makes it things more convenient for everyone.
Whatever you do, make sure that the automation you choose to use is adding value to your business. If it doesn’t, then get rid of it.
2 Golden Rules for Ecommerce Automation
While there are so many rules that you must follow when using ecommerce marketing automation, here are the two golden rules you must always stick with.
1. Machines and Bots Are Impersonal
Automation is great. It makes life easier than ever and lets you escape an enormous workload while saving time and energy. But you must understand that personal connection with your customers is important for the growth of your ecommerce business. So it’s a bad idea to leave your customer service in the hands of a bot that is rational and impersonal.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give part of the customer service responsibilities to the machines. Just make sure you don’t over do it, or else it could lead your business to self-destruction.
Your customers have feelings so when they report an issue about your product or service they expect a warm and assuring response from a professional, not a cold, heartless one from a bot.
So address your clients’ concerns as promptly and directly as possible because if you don’t, they will leave bad reviews about your product and customer service. If you don’t already know, about 66% of customers go online to read reviews from past users. Now you know what happens when your unsatisfied customers leave poor reviews. Potential buyers would take to their heels because they don’t trust you and your emotionless machines.
2. Social Participation Really Matters
Social media is one of the best content marketing distribution channels you can utilize as an e-tailer. And just because we said earlier that you could automate your social media channels doesn’t mean you have to give up participation. You can reach millions of people through social media, but you will only meet the right ones if you participate.
You should have this rule stamped on your walls, your wrist, your computer and everywhere possible so that you don’t forget it, not even for a moment.
If you have any doubt, then see yourself as a consumer (you’re one at some point) and ask yourself this question: “Would you follow a social media account that has nothing to offer?” Of course, a big “NO” is the right answer to that question.
There are no two ways about this. You must participate as a member of your social media networks. Engage your followers. Give them value. And watch as you reap the results.
Here are some tips on how to participate with your followers.
Add New Value
This mustn’t be about your product or service. You can provide information about your business, the industry as a whole, or something interesting about life. It just has to be unique and something that your audience isn’t familiar with.
What’s Your Opinion?
Your audience wants to know your opinion. Voice it out to them because it’s valuable.
Show Your Followers You’re Real
Your customers and followers will prefer a real person to a bot. When you participate in discussions with your audience, you’re sending a message that your company is real and cares for its customers.
3 Best Practices for Ecommerce Marketing Automation
1. Welcome Email Workflow Is Important
When it comes to email marketing, you only have one chance to make a good first impression. If your automated welcome emails fail to do the job well, then you’re losing one of the few opportunities of securing the trust of new subscribers with your email marketing campaign.
You may ask, why are welcome emails important? Why should you care? Welcome emails are powerful tools because…
They leverage more engagements
Customers don’t just sign up to receive your business emails except they have intent. So if you send them a welcome email immediately they sign up, they will likely want to read your content. And when you have a great welcome email, the levels of engagement will skyrocket.
They help you make a strong first impression
Your welcome emails will help create the foundation of your business relationship with customers. Welcome emails give you an opportunity to do things right the first time. You can use some of the following tips to make your emails a blast.
Offer a reward for signing up: Your welcome email should include a special offer or a coupon code because customers are likely to open your first email and possibly leverage on the reward you offer.
Tell your customer what to expect: It not really nice to bombard your audience with unwanted emails. Let them know how often you will send them emails and what the content will be.
Send only valuable content: Your emails should contain helpful and accurate articles as this will make your audience see your business as a reliable source. Doing this will help customers remember your business if they need answers to questions bothering them.
2. Know VIP Customers and Offer Exclusive Gifts
When your customers are happy, they will sing your praises with joy in their heart. But how do you make them happy? Aside from offering quality products and services to them, it’s a great idea to make them feel special.
Use marketing automation to create a loyalty program with rewards such as exclusive offers and discount codes, and invite your most engaged customers to participate. This will make them feel connected as part of your business.
Once they take the desired action, your bots automatically forward their gifts to them, which in turn, will encourage them to come back for more.
3. Don’t Ignore Less Engaged Customers
Don’t get carried away with your VIP and loyal customers that you neglect those who are not engaged. Their minor engagements could be for some reasons which include loss of interest in your business or lack of adequate attention to their emails.
Whatever their reason may be, it’s important to try and spice up things when their engagement oil runs dry.
Identify your unengaged customers with automated workflow and do a follow up to get them back into the game.
However, if after trying to re-engage them, and they still aren’t opening your emails, you have to let them go to maintain a clean email list. You can automate the process to make it easy.
Ronak Meghani is a serial entrepreneur and who has worked with small-medium-large companies. He is having an 8+ Years of expertise and closely working with eCommerce ventures since 2009. He is a Co-Founder of Magneto IT Solutions, a full service of full service of eCommerce Development in the USA, UK, and India. He’s enthusiastic about fitness, start-ups, entrepreneurship, and all things marketing
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