E-Commerce Marketing Automation and Its Benefits
By Katie Monk
Aug 04, 2022
16 min read
E-Commerce Marketing Automation and Its Benefits
Table of Contents
Online is now the main method for consumers to buy from brands. Global retail e-commerce sales hit $4.9 trillion in 2021 — a figure that’s estimated to rise by 50% over the next four years. So business owners and marketers need to know how to take advantage of developments such as e-commerce marketing automation to give their online shoppers the best personalized digital experience, and to both build brand loyalty and increase sales.
Traditionally, marketing was a costly and time-consuming affair. But with the rise in new automated e-commerce technology, many of the labor-intensive processes can now be handed over to technology tools and systems to execute automatically. E-commerce marketing automation can leverage customer and product data to create personalized campaigns for online shoppers, which both enhances their experience and drives businesses' top line.
What Is E-Commerce Marketing Automation?
Essentially, e-commerce marketing automation allows a business owner or marketer to replace manual marketing tasks with a marketing automation software or tool that can both manage and monitor repetitive workflows. These workflows might span multiple channels, such as mobile, web, email, and in-app, and may include tasks such as lead management, email nurturing, remarketing ads, personalizing content, and retargeting messages.
By using a marketing automation tool, employees, marketers, and business owners can make specific data-driven decisions about nearly every aspect of their communications, and offer unique experiences to each customer based on their habits and preferences.
Put simply, they can put their marketing efforts on autopilot, so they can get on with other jobs or focus on other areas of the company.
According to the 80/20 rule (otherwise known as the Pareto principle, after philosopher Vilfredo Pareto), 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions. So if you want to work smarter, not harder, you need to apply the right technology to the 80% so you can work on the 20% that truly needs your time.
That 20% might include branding, user experience (UX), negotiating product promotions and exclusive deals, and anything else that requires a personal touch.
How Can E-Commerce Marketing Automation Benefit Your Business?
E-commerce marketing automation can free up a considerable amount of time and energy for your marketers, customer relationship management (CRM) managers, and merchandisers so they can focus on more relevant tasks that need "the human touch." This results in a higher "time to value" (TTV) within the company, and at a time when budgets are being reduced and teams are being squeezed and having to be more creative with their resources, automating as much as you can within your company makes good business sense.
Using automatic platforms also minimizes the reliance on IT departments, which are often busy or slow to respond to requests, putting more power in the hands of the people who know how to do the marketing. The best tools will feature intuitive interfaces that allow you to quickly personalize online campaigns, without the need for technical support.
E-commerce marketing automation also makes it easier to segment customers based on preferences and past actions. You can create future-focused campaigns based on specific scenarios, instead of using guesswork or sending campaigns based on unknown preferences or actions. Customers want e-commerce personalization, and with automation, you can create personalized messaging at scale.
Another benefit of e-commerce marketing automation is that you can automatically keep customers engaged by setting up real-time triggers. These might depend on a variety of scenarios, behaviors, or timelines. You simply program them to send personalized messages at certain points in the customer journey. Artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) can find the best time and the best channels to message your customers to achieve the highest engagement, and A/B testing can further optimize for purchases or average order value. All of this can result in an overall better outcome for the customer, greater conversions, better retention, and increased brand loyalty.
E-Commerce Marketing Automation in Practice
By using the platform to automate your marketing efforts, you can create future-focused marketing campaigns across multiple channels. The platform gives total control over every aspect of the customer journey. These channels may include:
Email. There are many different ways that marketers can engage with customers via email. Needless to say, all communications should be personalized and relevant, otherwise, they get sent to the trash or unsubscribed from. Consider personalizing the subject line (your email's prime real estate), as well as creating automated welcome messages and follow-ups. Email is more important than other forms of marketing in a recession, so this is one key area to focus on over the coming months. Read more about how to create the best email marketing campaigns.
Mobile. Marketers can utilize built-in application programming interfaces (APIs), collected customer data, and messaging software to send personalized and product-specific automated messages via MMS, SMS, and push notifications. This connects their customers to the brand in real time, re-engages them, and guides them through the customer journey.
Web. Automated marketing tools allow you to make data-driven decisions about the unique content you display to each customer. You can optimize the customer experience (CX) and create or edit web pages that move a prospect or returning customer along their purchase journey. This is key because according to a PwC report, 73% of customers point to experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions.
Examples of Effective Marketing Automation Campaigns
There is so much potential with how and when you use e-commerce marketing automation tools that you really can apply it to any aspect of your marketing strategy. Here are a few examples of where you might initially consider applying the technology, then you can get creative with your own ideas based on your unique business needs.
Welcome series. Create personalized, highly targeted welcome emails for your new customers and prospects and keep them coming back for more. Read about how Bloomreach helped beer company Brewdog increase its conversion rate and revenue by tailoring its onboarding journey to new customers.
Reminder and follow-up emails. Customers now expect personalized communication — whether it be to remind them of an item waiting in their shopping cart or to ask if they received and liked the product they were sent, effective marketers can design tailored and automated follow-up messages based on specific user journeys.
Birthday offer. You may want to contact your customers on their birthday, name day, or some other kind of special anniversary, and wish them congratulations or send them a gift such as a voucher or special offer. To do this, you have to first collect the relevant calendar data, then you need to create a scenario and triggers that will send out emails to the right people on the given day. These can be a great way to delight your customers and have them keep coming back to you.
First purchase anniversary offer. Sending a first purchase anniversary message via SMS or email can increase the lifetime value of your regular customers and prevent customer churn. The anniversary message might include something like a special offer or gift, or it may just be a simple written message. The point is, you're telling your previous customers that you haven't forgotten them, that you're grateful they bought from you, and gently reminding them that you're there if they need you.
Re-engagement/win-back campaigns. When customers lapse and stop purchasing from your site, you can re-activate past customers with communications based on their personal site activity and purchase history. The key here is to choose the channels that will make the most impact based on the data.
Abandoned cart campaign. Nearly 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned, leading to the average e-commerce business losing more than 75% of its online sales due to cart abandonment. Create an abandoned cart campaign to automatically send an email to customers who have left your site without purchasing the items they added to their cart. That reminder might just be the timely reminder they needed to press the buy button.
Surveys/feedback and reviews. It's always a good idea to ask your customers what they think of you. After a customer purchases something from your site, you can ask them to rate the product or leave a review. Or, try sending out a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey to better understand your customer’s overall satisfaction with your company.
These are just a few campaign ideas to help you get started. With the right marketing automation tool, you can unlock plenty of other use cases to help you drive customer loyalty and repeat purchases.
Come Out Ahead With E-Commerce Marketing Automation
With digital commerce not showing any signs of slowing down, and actually set to increase in popularity, e-commerce business owners and marketers need to stay ahead of the game to make sure they don't lose customers and drive greater success with existing ones.
E-commerce marketing automation is the wisest choice for any savvy marketer, and the amount of time saved can be spent on much more productive tasks that really need that human touch. With choppy economic waters ahead, the more tasks you can automate, the better. And the more you can give your customers an experience to remember, the healthier and more resilient your business will be. Get started with your own effective marketing automation tool by checking out this interactive demo of Bloomreach Engagement.