"Automation" can save bags of time and bring in new customers while you sleep. A Wishpond study even suggests 75% of all businesses that use a marketing automation solution see a positive ROI within the first year. But being the end-user is sometimes frustrating. Automation in customer support has to be implemented very carefully so as not to irk an already tensed customer. And similar can be said about automation in marketing. It has to be implemented very carefully so as not to get ignored and wasted. So in this post we dive deep into ecommerce marketing automation. And cover five of the best and most effective techniques to boost ecommerce sales and conversions on autopilot.
- Email marketing
Welcome mail...Thank you email...Followups for abandoned cart... Automation lets you automatically send targeted messages at the exact right time. Whatever progress happens in increasing the number of marketing channels, email marketing is still one of the most preferred. According to a 2018 Radicati Group study, there will be more than 3.8 billion email users before the start of 2019 - over 100 million more than the previous year. In other words: Over half of the entire planet uses email right now. At some level, automated emails are considered impersonal and annoying. But when done cautiously and carefully, it would give you the desired result. What’s best is that the tools available can make your automated emails personalised. For instance: In MailChimp you can use tags to make sections of your email specific to the recipient: Most other email service providers have automation features as well, with many alternatives to MailChimp providing lots of flexibility and options that can fit your business model. Your customers are probably aware that they are getting an automated mail. But being addressed in the email can grab their attention. Moreover, the tools would allow you to segment your subscribers. Meaning you can choose which segment should be receiving which particular mail. For example, you might want to segment based on:
- Specific items or web pages they've shown interest in.
- How engaged they've been with your emails so far.
You can then send them customised information and content that's more likely to appeal to them - and have the desired effect for you. Of course, email marketing is preceded by the need to acquire subscribers. And one of the best ways of doing this for online retailers is to offer some form of discount or shipping perk in exchange for someone's email. Check out Veeqo retailer Sinners Attire's use of a popup on their site: There’s another catch to this though: The more personalised you want your emails to be, the more information you need to collect when people sign up. And generally - the more information asked for on a sign up form, the fewer people you'll get to successfully fill it out. For instance: If you know your subscriber's birthday then you can send Happy Birthday messages and special offers - which can be highly rewarding and satisfying for them. But adding this to your form fields could have an impact on conversions as people might get piqued to fill out unnecessary information.
- Rewarding your loyal customers
It’s vital to keep your loyal (AKA regular) customers happy - the recurring revenue they provide can be crucial to your store's success. And one way of doing this can be to roll out special offers exclusively for regular customers. These offers can be either in the form of discounts or free gifts along with their purchases. Plugins like Dynamic Pricing and Discounts for WooCommerce and Loyalty, Personalized Discount Pricing for Shopify allow you to give discounts based on email IDs or user roles or even on previous purchases. These automate your discounting without needing to start and end individual discounts manually. There are a whole host of settings to play with. All appearing on the product page for the relevant users: You can even automate a "Price drop alert!" to appear whenever your products get a new discounted rate.
- Personalised product recommendations
Personalised product recommendations don't have to be based on assumption or speculation - and are a prime candidate for ecommerce marketing automation. In fact, BigCommerce reports that leveraging the experience of shoppers currently on your site (rather than focusing on new shoppers) can increase your:
- Store revenue by 300%.
- Conversions by 150%.
- And average order value by 50%.
This comes from collecting user data to strategically place recommendations around your site and entice browsers into bulking up their shopping carts. Amazon are a master of doing this through their famous Customers Also Bought section: There are two types of personalised recommendation:
- Based on items “frequently bought together” overall (like the Amazon example).
- Based on each individual's browsing history.
Giving your customers the best possible recommendations comes from collecting hard data. And as with every marketing effort, the more data you have the more accurate and effective your recommendations will be. Some of the commonly used parameters to determine which products should be recommended are:
- Purchase history. Your recommendations can be solely based on what the customer has previously purchased. The downside here can be that a customer won't purchase certain kinds of products again once they already have one.
- Search queries. This piece of data can be invaluable and provide one of the most effective results. You are literally taking note of what a person is interested in buying and can recommend on-site or remarket to them again if they don't go ahead and purchase.
- Shopping cart. Product recommendations based on items in a customer’s cart or wishlist can also be very effective. Again, you can also use remarketing tactics or even invest in using Artificial Intelligence solutions like chatbots.
- Location. This is a very broad classification. But in combination with other data, you can determine a customer’s taste based on their geographic location. For example, if it's December and a customer is visiting your site from northern Canada, you could benefit from recommending winter related items.
The most effective sites usually use a combination of all the above factors: Personalised recommendation solutions need a lot of user data to make accurate and useful predictions to customers. And so utilising some form of app or tool to help is the best option for most. Using tools like Recommendation Engine for WooCommerce, Wiser for Shopify or ContactPigeon for either of these platforms makes this process a lot simpler.
- Real-time sales notifications
Sales popups are an ecommerce marketing automation tool that encourages customers to purchase by showing them notifications of other recent purchases. When a customer visits a new site without any prior reference, they're sometimes not willing to trust and go ahead with a purchase. Adding real-time notifications of other people buying from the site can negate (or at least weaken) this initial lack of trust. And can help convince new visitors into making a purchase themselves. A tool like Sales Pop can be used to easily do this across a variety of sales platforms. Since the sales popup plugin would mention the purchased product’s name too, this automation would also help provide shopping ideas to your customers as they browse your site. Meaning this is also a way of increasing product discoverability and improving conversion rate. The plugin also intelligently loops through all your orders as well as products and display the orders randomly alongside product suggestions. So your shop never looks like it's low on orders and sales.
- Sale countdown timer
A timer counting down to the end of a sale or current event can create urgency among potential buyers and drive sales from people who have perhaps been sat on the fence previously.
Apps like Countdown Timer from POWr.io make setting these up easy. You can use countdown timers to create urgency on a variety of things across your ecommerce site. For example, to indicate limited availability of a product, the upcoming end of sales or discount periods (like Black Friday offers) or even the end of a limited time personal offer for first-time visitors: It's worth keeping in mind though: Placement of the timer plays an important role in its effectiveness. Too many timers placed everywhere on your site will become distracting and give the impression of being pushy and spammy. Hopefully these five strategies and ideas will give you a great start to ecommerce marketing automation. But no doubt you'll find various more ecommerce tools available once you start digging even further. If you're a WooCommerce store owner, checkout this article on top WooCommerce marketing plugins.