Owning and running an eCommerce business requires a business owner to wear many different hats, especially initially.
Not only are you likely your own product developer, webmaster, marketer, and content creator, but you’re in charge of shipping, packaging, customer service, and countless other tasks.
A good eCommerce optimization strategy is necessary to manage it all, especially as your company grows. Because eventually, you won’t be able to handle everything yourself, even with a capable human team in your corner.
eCommerce marketing automation is the key to keeping your business running smoothly and growing steadily without losing your sanity in the process.
Here’s a closer look at what you need to know to get it right.
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What is eCommerce Marketing Automation?
eCommerce marketing automation is the practice of using software to automate and streamline various aspects of your business function.
Tasks that lend themselves well to automation include support ticket creation, email outreach, customer analytics, and various customer care workflows.
The idea behind adding automation to the mix is to save you valuable time by taking care of multiple repetitive tasks.
This leaves both you and your employees free to focus on tasks that really require a human touch, like one-to-one customer interactions, product development, and long-term brainstorming regarding your company’s future.
eCommerce Marketing Automation Benefits
Although the primary purpose of eCommerce marketing automation is to free up valuable time and manpower that can then be applied to more sensitive aspects of running a business, there are plenty of other benefits to consider, too.
The following are just a few examples.
Less Room for Error
Even the most astute, detail-oriented human occasionally has trouble with monotonous, highly repetitive tasks.
Sooner or later, they’ll get bored or otherwise disconnect from the process, and that’s when errors can occur.
Software programs and AI technologies don’t ever get bored, need breaks, or have off days.
That means they’re better at completing repetitive (but essential) tasks like collecting email addresses and data and keeping databases current.
Better Customer Analysis
Tasks like data collection and analysis can be challenging and time-consuming for even the best human teams, but eCommerce marketing automation makes the whole process nearly effortless.
Automated systems collect and organize data every time a customer makes a purchase or signs up for your company mailing list.
You gain valuable data about who they are and which demographics they fit into.
You can also use automation to track and analyze the behavior of your customers and web visitors once they land on your website.
You’ll gain useful insights into how long they spend on your site, which pages are the most popular, what times of day are your busiest, and more.
Fatter Bottom Lines
Most eCommerce merchants and marketers place a lot of emphasis on acquiring new leads and converting them to customers, and that’s as it should be.
But it’s just as important to focus on getting more out of your relationships with existing customers.
eCommerce marketing automation takes the hassle and guesswork out of increasing your average order value (AOV), especially over time.
You can easily determine which of your products perform best, which of your customers is most responsive to which campaigns, and analyze price hikes for best results.
Top 7 eCommerce Marketing Automation Strategies
There are many things eCommerce marketing automation can do for a particular business, so which solutions are right for you depends largely on your goals and unique needs.
But here are a few popular strategies that are great fits for nearly anyone.
1. Use email marketing to convert leads
Although it’s great when someone finds your website, falls madly in love with your products, and makes a purchase right away, this isn’t necessarily going to happen every time.
Every consumer is on their own unique buyer’s journey.
Even those who aren’t ready to buy right away may well be interested enough in what you do to sign up for your mailing list or newsletter.
Automation makes keeping in touch with these leads and slowly coaxing them toward eventual conversion easy and effective.
2. Pre-schedule your social media content
Active social media feeds that are filled with valuable, highly engaging content are the key to building brand awareness and staying connected to your customers on an ongoing basis.
But it’s not always possible to generate every post in real-time, even with a dedicated team of helpers in your corner.
There are numerous apps and software options that let you schedule posts well in advance for a variety of top social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook. (The same can be done with direct messages.)
There are products that let you select and post specific products to your feeds, as well.
3. Encourage shoppers to pick up abandoned carts
If your eCommerce business is like most, then most of the shoppers who visit your website wind up abandoning their carts at some point.
We’re talking 73 percent of all shoppers who shop via desktop systems or laptops and a whopping 86 percent who shop on mobile devices.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to stop visitors from abandoning carts altogether, but automated abandoned cart emails can help you recover some of those sales.
For many customers, simply being reminded of something they wanted is enough to convince them to buy. And adding a sweet discount to the mix helps raise your chances of closing that sale even higher.
4. Help inactive customers re-engage
Although it’s great to use automation to make sure new customers and active shoppers know how valued they are, you don’t want to leave lapsed customers or inactive leads out of the mix.
A skillfully crafted re-engagement strategy is terrific for giving your average lifetime customer value statistics a boost.
Put together an email sequence designed to let inactive customers know what they’ve been missing, stay connected, and encourage future purchases.
Then use automation to send relevant emails out at optimal intervals.
5. Easily request feedback on purchases
Nothing’s more powerful than social proof when it comes to convincing those new to your brand that you’re worth purchasing from.
But many consumers don’t take the initiative to leave reviews and feedback on their own, especially when their purchase went smoothly.
eCommerce marketing automation makes it easy to prompt and incentivize those who’ve purchased from you to review the products they tried.
Set your emails to go out a certain number of days after a purchase, request feedback, and make the process easy on the customer by providing a direct link to where they can leave a review.
6. React quickly to negative feedback
Bad reviews and negative feedback happen to every business, but savvy merchants see those occurrences as opportunities they can use to their advantage.
But time is of the essence when it comes to unhappy customers, so it’s important to be prompt.
eCommerce marketing automation makes it easier for business owners and customer care teams to address a complaint, a poor rating, or a bad review in time to diffuse any possible consequences.
For example, you can set your software to generate automated support tickets that ensure the person hears from a customer care specialist as soon as possible.
7. Automate your inventory management
No one likes it when something they want (or need) to purchase turns out to be out of stock, least of all your customers.
But you can lower the likelihood of this happening by using automation to monitor your inventory on an ongoing basis.
Generate notifications that let you know when an item is running low and avoid potential stocking issues.
You can also use marketing automation systems to prompt customers who buy consumables to repurchase when they’re likely to be running low.
The Best eCommerce Marketing Automation Tools
There are numerous tools out there that make automating various aspects of your business’s marketing function easy.
However, the following are as popular as they are for a reason. Try them out for yourself and see if they’re a fit for you, too.
Although MailChimp is best known for its email automation properties, this incredible option is about so much more than that. You can also use MailChimp to address design, CRM, and website concerns, as well as streamline entire campaigns.
If you’re interested in growing your business with eCommerce marketing automation, then HubSpot is an absolute must. It offers an entire suite of handy products designed to integrate many aspects of a well-rounded modern digital marketing campaign, including SEO, email correspondence, and analytics.
If you’re looking for an excellent automation solution you can afford on even a shoestring budget, ActiveCampaign is a terrific choice, especially if you’re very focused on customer acquisition right now. It’s user-friendly, easy to learn, and great for handling leads like a champ.
Omnisend is another terrific solution for email automation, but it also goes well beyond that for those interested in more extensive functionality. There are also several service tiers available, so it’s easy to fit Omnisend into even strict marketing budgets.
As your eCommerce business grows, it will only become more critical to run a tight ship when it comes to your marketing campaign.
Having great products and services simply isn’t enough to keep your bottom line healthy. You need an incredible content marketing campaign in your corner, as well.
Check out our list of key tactics to know when implementing an eCommerce content marketing of your own.
You’ll learn how to choose the best content types for your business, be proactive about topics your customers really want to hear about, set your brand apart from the competition, and more!