While ecommerce marketing automation was once a solution only reserved for the biggest businesses (with the biggest budgets), the recent arrival of powerful, affordable and accessible automation software has essentially made it a must-have for almost every modern brand.
In 2019, 75% of marketers say they regularly use at least one type of marketing automation tool to grow and manage their stores.
But what exactly is marketing automation? And more importantly, what’s so great about it?
Today, we want to walk you through some of the main ways you could benefit from investing in the software that’s transforming the way ecommerce managers do marketing.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation is all about using powerful tools to streamline, speed up and simplify your routine marketing processes across multiple different channels.
These processes might include (but aren’t limited to):
- Sending out instant emails, texts and social messages to customers
- Following up via email or text post-purchase, after cart abandonment and to notify customers of new promotions
- Updating social media pages
- Managing website widget content
- Creating and managing loyalty campaigns
- Capturing customer preferences (via forms)
- Placing ads online
- Collecting, analysing and reporting on marketing data
Essentially, it lets you automatically take care of some of the most time-consuming and repetitive responsibilities of the modern marketing world.
At the same time as taking the weight of these repetitive tasks off your shoulders, ecommerce marketing automation also enables your customers to enjoy a consistently connected and personal experience with your brand.
As a result, it has far-reaching benefits for your customers, your staff and your revenue.
Let’s break down 13 of the biggest benefits, as we examine why marketing automation is important.
Why marketing automation is important
#1 Time savings
First things first – marketing automation will save your team hours every day. Just think what you could do with all of that extra time!
With all of their daily chores automatically done and dusted, your marketing department will be left free to get creative and drive strategy – increasing your staff productivity and boosting sales as they go.
#2 Personalised experiences
Secondly, ecommerce marketing automation allows you to build rapport with your customers – and in turn drive more sales – by reaching out to them in a way that stands out and feels personal.
One prime example of this is the opportunity marketing automation gives you to send out behaviourally triggered emails which create a highly personalised customer experience.
Using a powerful automation tool like dotdigital or Klaviyo, you can also automatically address all of your messages to your customers using their names, remember important dates (such as birthdays or how long ago they signed up to your loyalty program) and use their search and purchase history to recommend new products that match their interests.
Giving your customers this kind of VIP treatment can have a massive impact on your revenue.
According to Econsultancy, 93% of companies see an uplift in their conversion rates after personalising their customers’ experiences – while 49% of customers say they have purchased a product that they did not initially intend to buy after receiving a personalised recommendation from a brand.
#3 Advanced reporting and testing helps you refine your marketing and sales campaigns
Thanks to the clearly defined processes and accurate reporting features of all good automation tools, you can now see exactly where you’re going wrong – and right – with your marketing strategy.
As a result, ironing out the creases in your campaigns has never been easier.
#4 Reduced staff costs
As we covered earlier, marketing automation saves you hours of time on your various marketing responsibilities every day.
This also means you won’t need to hire as many staff to get these repetitive tasks done. Instead, you can spend less on employing new staff members and invest more in new campaigns that will actively grow your business.
#5 Increased revenue
Ecommerce marketing automation doesn’t just save you time and money. It helps you make a lot more of it.
This extra revenue largely comes from upselling and cross-selling – which, according to Forrest Research, account for 10-30% of ecommerce revenue on average.
Personalised product recommendation emails like this one are a form of cross-selling which can boost your store’s revenue significantly. (Image source: clearvoice.com)
But it doesn’t stop there. You’ll also see an increase in your revenue when you use marketing automation software to target customers via personalised social ads, to remind them of the products they’ve left in their baskets, to reach out to them on platforms they check more often than email (such as SMS) and to contact them to announce relevant, exciting store promotions that will keep them clicking and converting.
And those are just a few of the ways you can use marketing automation to give your profits a boost.
#6 Reduced cart abandonment
Another big part of why ecommerce marketing automation is so effective for growing businesses is that it helps you recover lost revenue – largely through sending out automated cart abandonment emails.
Chances are a large number of your customers never make it to the checkout page. But don’t worry – you’re not alone. According to SalesCycle, around 75.6% of customers abandoned their carts back in 2018 – meaning that every year you’re losing more than half of your potential revenue to customers simply forgetting or changing their minds.
But the good news is that with automated cart reminder emails, you can ensure you’re doing all you can to get potential buyers back on board.
And the statistics show that these little ‘reminder’ emails really work. Omnisend recently reported that 46.1% of people open cart abandonment emails, 13.3% click on them, and out of those clicks, more than 35% end up making a purchase. Never underestimate the impact of giving customers a little nudge in your direction!
Top tip: You can also retarget customers by automating your social ads to display their recently viewed products on any of their social feeds.
Retargetting potential customers with social ads like this J. Crew Facebook ad – which evokes a sense of urgency and highlights huge potential savings – can be a highly effective way of tempting customers back to your store. (Image source: wordstream.com)
#7 Increased scalability
One of the crucial perks of marketing automation is that not only does it drive growth – it makes rapid, exponential growth possible.
Could you keep up with manually sending out emails and texts to each customer after they’d abandoned their cart or earned a discount code? Of course not.
As your business scales, you’ll need powerful software to keep up with your influx of customers, organise your campaigns and minimise company growing pains. Marketing automation is by far the most efficient way to adapt your marketing strategy accordingly.
#8 Stay relevant and competitive
With more than half of all companies now using some form of marketing automation software, installing marketing automation has become nothing short of a necessity when it comes to keeping up with – and getting ahead of – the competition.
Rather than getting left behind a crowd of marketing pioneers, make the most of the wealth of resources available to you by following a marketing strategy which puts you five steps ahead of the game.
#9 Improved customer experience
We’ve covered quite a bit of ground in terms of how ecommerce marketing automation can help boost your sales. But it’s not just a win for you. Marketing automation can also improve your customers’ happiness.
This is because personalised experiences leave your customers feeling more appreciated and more connected to your brand. And of course, everyone loves being the first to hear about an amazing sale online.
When your customers are happy with their experiences, it’s a win-win situation, because you can rest assured they’ll be back again for more.
MyProtein gave their customers a pleasant surprise with this simple, bold automated email advertising a huge sitewide promotion.
#10 Increased customer lifetime value
As a result of this increased customer happiness, you’ll up your customer retention by building relationships with your customers that can stand the test of time.
In fact, research has shown that 44% of consumers say they’ll likely become repeat buyers after a personalised experience with a company. And when customers keep coming back for more, their customer lifetime value will skyrocket.
Nau send out this behaviourally triggered automated email to customers who haven’t visited their site in a while; increasing the likelihood of previous customers returning to their store. (Image source: campaignmonitor.com)
#11 Target customers across channels
When it comes to marketing automation, there’s a common myth that it’s all about email.
While it’s true that automating your email campaigns is one of the huge time-savers of marketing automation, you can – and should – use it on multiple other channels as well.
For example, you can automate your PPC (pay per click) campaigns, social media marketing and third party platform integrations. And we’d highly recommend you get the most out of your investment by learning how your automation software will let you do just that.
Spread the word about your campaigns by automatically sending your customers texts letting them know about your latest offers and discount codes. (Image source: vision6.com.au)
#12 Improved scheduling and organisation
With marketing automation, you can fine-tune the details of your campaigns way ahead of time. The rest will all be taken care of for you.
Using a good marketing automation solution, you can set up a whole season of email marketing campaigns, social media posts and seasonal PPC ads to go live whenever you want them to.
This will make it easier to stay organised, consistent and on top of your workload – while always keeping the bigger picture in mind.
#13 Automatically follow up with leads
A few years ago, a study by the Harvard Business Review showed that businesses were 60 times more likely to be successful with their leads when they followed up within 1 hour (compared to waiting 24 hours).
With marketing automation, you can ensure you make the best impression on your new customers by always following up with them straight away – whether you’re at your desk or asleep in bed.
Topshop have automated these colourful, engaging emails to go out all their new customers, making each buyer feel welcomed and special from the get-go and laying down the foundations for a continued relationship with each customer. (Image source: campaignmonitor.com)
What marketing automation software should you be using?
In 2019, there are a huge number of third party marketing automation platforms on the market. Enough to suit every business’ specific needs, budget and goals.
But how do you know which software is right for your unique ecommerce store?
If you’re looking for a free solution, we’d recommend trying out Klaviyo, a powerful marketing automation tool built for growing real, quality customer relationships.
Amongst other features, Klaviyo allows merchants to segment their audience and send targeted email campaigns, increase sales with pre-built win-back emails, and quickly create signup forms to collect emails. Users can also deploy automated flows such as abandoned cart, happy birthday and back in stock flows. These flows are simple – yet powerful – ways to capitalise on purchase opportunities, increase customer engagement and strengthen customer loyalty at scale.
And if your revenue exceeds £2m annually, our go-to tool is the dotdigital Engagement Cloud.
This advanced solution empowers Shopify and Shopify Plus merchants of every vertical to increase their online growth through intelligent, data-driven communications. Omnichannel automation lies at its core. Merchants can build insightful customer profiles to deliver unique, tailored messages through customers’ favourite channels, wherever they are, on whichever device.
We recently sat down with dotdigital’s Strategic Ecommerce Partnerships Manager, Justin Broomes, for a deep dive into marketing automation and customer engagement. Watch the videos from our interview here.
Ecommerce marketing automation is constantly evolving – and it’s a bandwagon you should be excited to jump on now more than ever.
Don’t be overwhelmed by all of the fancy features offered by the many impressive and powerful automation tools on the market. At its heart, marketing automation is important as it recognises the value of your time and actively drives business growth, while letting you focus your energy into the parts of your business that matter most.
With your everyday marketing processes all automated and set up to succeed, you can sit back and watch both your customer happiness and revenue rise – as your job also becomes ten times easier!
Want to chat?
Interested in learning more about how Swanky could transform your ecommerce store with a bespoke technical toolkit and expert strategic guidance?
Get in touch with our friendly team of Shopify Plus Experts today.
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