Marketing automation is a powerful tool used to reshape how e-commerce businesses engage with their customers. Marketing automation goes beyond email marketing automation; it is a comprehensive approach that includes personalized marketing, efficient customer segmentation, and much more.
According to a report by ResearchGate, 49% of marketers found marketing automation helpful in saving time and enabling personalization. It is crucial in today’s market, where customers highly value customized experiences.
Incorporating marketing automation into your e-commerce strategy enables businesses to deliver tailored experiences to their customers, a crucial aspect of personalized marketing.
Automating repetitive tasks frees up valuable time for businesses to focus on growth and innovation. Moreover, with digital marketing automation, e-commerce platforms can seamlessly integrate various marketing channels, ensuring a cohesive and consistent customer journey.
According to PR Newswire, the global marketing automation market is expected to increase from an estimated $3.3 billion in 2019 to $6.4 billion by 2024. Such growth shows the adoption of automation technologies and their essential role in the evolution of e-commerce strategies.
In this article, we will explore the top 8 ways to leverage marketing automation for your e-commerce store. From refining your email strategies to mastering the art of multichannel marketing, these insights are designed to equip you with the tools and knowledge important for elevating your e-commerce business.
What is eCommerce Marketing Automation?
In eCommerce, marketing automation is the strategic application of software to automate complex marketing processes. This includes automating emails or social media posts and deploying personalized content, managing customer journeys across multiple channels, and using predictive analytics to anticipate customer needs and behaviors.
The significance of eCommerce marketing automation is highlighted by a study conducted among 402 Swiss marketers. A remarkable 72% of successful companies were utilizing marketing automation, compared to 18% of the unsuccessful ones. This statistic shows the profound impact of automation tools on a company’s performance and growth potential.
E-commerce marketing automation involves deeply understanding customer data. It leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze customer behavior, such as purchase history, browsing patterns, and engagement rates. This insight allows for creating highly targeted, relevant marketing campaigns that resonate with individual customers personally.
One of the key components of eCommerce marketing automation is its focus on an omnichannel experience. It ensures a cohesive customer journey across all digital touchpoints – from email to social media and SMS to the web interface. This approach ensures that customers receive a consistent, personalized experience regardless of how they interact with your brand.
Top 8 eCommerce Marketing Automation Strategies
1. Personalized Email Onboarding Sequences
In eCommerce marketing automation, personalized email onboarding sequences are important for engaging new customers. A customer’s initial interaction with your brand sets the tone for their entire journey, making personalized onboarding beneficial and essential.
Personalized email onboarding sequences involve creating a series of targeted emails that are triggered by a new customer’s actions or sign-up. These emails are designed to welcome, educate, and guide the customer about your products and services, fostering a sense of connection and familiarity with your brand.
The key here is personalization, not just in addressing the customer by name but in tailoring the content to meet their specific interests and needs based on the data collected during their sign-up process or initial interactions with your website.
Steps to create effective onboarding email sequences include:
1. Customers Based Segmentation
To create effective onboarding email sequences using automation, start by segmenting your customers based on their behaviors, preferences, or purchase history. This segmentation allows for more targeted and relevant email content.
For instance, a customer who signed up after browsing a specific product category might receive emails highlighting products or information related to that category.
2. Mapping Out the Customer Journey
Next, map out the customer journey and determine the key touchpoints where an email would be most effective. Common stages include the welcome email immediately after sign-up, a follow-up email a few days later with additional information or resources, and subsequent emails introducing broader aspects of your brand or offer.
Each email in the sequence should serve a specific purpose: to inform, engage, or encourage a purchase. Utilize automation tools to schedule and trigger these emails based on customer actions.
For example, if a customer hasn’t purchased a certain number of emails, the sequence could shift to focus more on product benefits or customer testimonials.
3. Testing Email Sequences
Finally, continually test and refine your email sequences. Use A/B testing to see which emails perform best and analyze customer feedback to make improvements. The goal is to create an onboarding experience that welcomes new customers and turns them into loyal advocates for your brand.
An online costume store could use personalized email sequences to onboard new subscribers by sending them themed suggestions based on their browsing history or past purchases during the Halloween season.
“Welcome to our fashion family, Sarah! Since you loved our summer collection, we think you’ll adore our new autumn line. Check out these personalized picks just for you.”
2. Prompt Cart Abandonment Notifications
Cart abandonment is a pervasive challenge in the e-commerce industry, where customers add items to their cart but leave the site without completing the purchase. According to the Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate is 69.99%, based on an analysis of 48 studies.
This rate, varying between 56% and 81%, implies that only about three out of ten customers who add items to their cart proceed to checkout and complete their purchase.
Prompt cart abandonment notifications, powered by marketing automation, are a highly effective tool in addressing this issue. These automated reminders can be executed across various communication channels, each offering unique advantages:
- Email and SMS: These channels are the most commonly used in eCommerce globally. An integrated approach that synchronizes messaging across both email and SMS can create a reminder journey. The objective is to remind them of their unfinished purchase and motivate them to return to your site to complete the transaction.
- WhatsApp: For certain regions and customer demographics, WhatsApp might be a more effective channel than traditional email or SMS. As an eCommerce personalization tool, Gleantap supports WhatsApp as a native channel, allowing it to be seamlessly integrated into digital marketing strategies.
- Web Push Notifications: Often underutilized, Web Push notifications stand out for cost-effectiveness. Unlike SMS, WhatsApp messages, or retargeting ads, there is no additional cost in sending these notifications.
Each channel has its strengths, and the choice depends on factors like the target audience, geographic location, and the nature of the products. For instance, Gleantap offers an email and SMS automated journey that can be synchronized for a more impactful reminder.
An online electronics store sends SMS reminders to customers who added gadgets, like the latest smartphones or headphones, to their cart but didn’t check out. The reminder could include a special discount or highlight the limited availability of the product.
Sample SMS Reminder:
“Hi, Jordan! Don’t forget about the ultra-modern headphones in your cart. Grab them now with a 10% discount and elevate your audio experience! The offer ends soon.”
The key to success in cart abandonment campaigns is timing and personalization. Sending these reminders promptly after abandonment and tailoring them to the individual’s shopping experience can drastically increase the likelihood of recovering lost sales.
By employing these automated cart abandonment reminders, eCommerce stores can effectively re-engage customers on the verge of completing a purchase, enhancing their conversion rates and overall sales.
3. Alerts for Price Changes and Stock Levels
Automated alerts for price changes and inventory updates represent a dynamic and proactive approach in eCommerce marketing automation. These alerts inform customers about changes that could influence their buying decisions, such as price drops or restocks of previously unavailable items. Effectively implemented, these alerts can significantly enhance customer engagement and encourage repeat visits to your store.
For price change alerts, the strategy automatically notifies customers who show interest in a product when its price drops. This is particularly effective for customers who viewed a product or added it to their cart but did not complete the purchase, possibly due to pricing concerns.
An automated system can track these price-sensitive behaviors and trigger an alert when the price of the relevant product decreases, thereby reigniting their interest and potentially leading to a sale.
For instance, using a platform like Gleantap, e-commerce businesses can set up automated alerts to inform subscribers via email, SMS, WhatsApp, or Web Push notifications when best-selling items are back in stock. This approach ensures that interested customers are promptly informed, increasing the likelihood of a purchase.
E-commerce businesses can leverage an AI assistant to send price drop alerts specifically to customers with a high discount affinity. This targeted approach allows for the efficient use of discount offers, ensuring they reach customers.
An eCommerce store retargets customers who browsed summer fashion collections on their site but didn’t make a purchase. The retargeting involves ads on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, specifically showcasing the summer dresses and accessories they viewed.
Sample Social Media Ad Copy:
“Revisit summer elegance, Anna! The chic dress you admired awaits you. Dive back into style with a special 10% discount. Shop Now!”
An online home decor store alerts customers about price changes and restocks. For example, customers who showed interest in a popular designer lamp but didn’t purchase it receive notifications when its price is reduced. Additionally, customers who opted in for updates are alerted immediately when an out-of-stock vintage rug is back in stock.
Sample Price Drop Alert Message:
“Great news, Emily! The designer lamp you loved is now available at a new, lower price. Illuminate your space with style today!”
Sample Stock Update Alert Message:
“Back in stock alert! The vintage rug you’ve been eyeing is now available again. Don’t miss out this time – add elegance to your home now!”
The strategic use of these alerts means engaging customers more effectively and optimizing marketing efforts. By targeting only those customers most likely to respond to specific types of alerts, businesses can avoid unnecessary discounts and ensure that their promotional efforts yield the best possible return on investment.
4. Retargeting Through Social Media and Search Ads
Ad retargeting is a powerful marketing strategy that involves targeting customers who have previously interacted with your online store but did not complete a purchase. This strategy is crucial in e-commerce marketing, as it helps capture potential buyers’ attention by displaying relevant ads to them on other platforms, such as social media and search engines.
According to Vibe, approximately 37% of consumers appreciate retargeted ads due to their genuine interest in the featured product. This insight highlights the potential of retargeting ads to resonate with and engage customers effectively.
These ads are strategically placed where they are most likely to be seen again by potential customers, such as on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, as well as on Google search and Google’s Display Network.
According to Didio, in 2023, approximately 63.5 million people bought something through Facebook, a number expected to grow to 80 million by 2025. This trend shows vast opportunities for e-commerce businesses to engage with a large and growing audience on social media platforms.
The process of ad retargeting starts when a visitor comes to your website. Their visit triggers a cookie, allowing your retargeting platform to follow them to other sites. When they browse social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, or when they use search engines like Google, they are shown ads for your products or services. These ads remind them of their initial interest and aim to draw them back to your website to complete their purchase.
According to Invesp, the global average website conversion rate is 3.68%. More specifically, in the e-commerce market, the average website conversion rate decreased from 1.65% to 1.64% in February 2023 compared to the same month in the previous year. These statistics show the need for effective strategies to boost conversions.
An eCommerce store can retarget customers who visited their Halloween collection but didn’t make a purchase, using ads on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, showcasing specific products they viewed.
Sample Message for Social Media Ad:
“Still thinking about those stylish boots, Jordan? They’re just a click away. Complete your fall look today and walk in style! #FallFashionFinds”
Given the potential cost associated with digital ads, optimizing your retargeting efforts is crucial to ensure a high return on investment. Platforms like Gleantap offer a solution to this challenge by allowing the use of predictive audiences for more precise ad targeting. This approach ensures that your ads are not only reaching a wide audience but specifically targeting those most likely to convert.
5. Conversational Chatbot Integrations
Chatbot automation represents a shift in how e-commerce businesses interact with their customers. With advancements in AI and natural language processing, the capabilities of chatbots have expanded significantly, enhancing the customer experience and streamlining interactions.
Despite their growing importance, chatbot adoption in the eCommerce sector is still emerging. According to Statista, 9% of online stores worldwide have implemented chatbots on their websites. By providing timely, relevant, and personalized assistance, chatbots can improve the user experience, leading to higher engagement, better customer satisfaction, and increased sales.
According to Juniper Research, chatbot transactions in eCommerce will reach $112 billion by 2024. This projection shows the immense value chatbots bring to online stores, indicating a future where their role in eCommerce is supportive and substantially contributive to sales.
Modern chatbots are adept at handling a wide range of customer inquiries. For common questions like “Where’s my order?” or “What are your shipping options?” chatbots can provide instant responses, reducing the need for live agent intervention. They are also sophisticated enough to recognize more complex queries and guide users through pre-set flows designed to resolve specific issues efficiently.
Implementing chatbot automation can significantly improve product discovery and increase the conversion rate on your site.
Here are some effective chatbot automation tactics:
- Targeted Discounts: Deploy chatbots to offer limited-time discounts to users browsing certain product pages. This can incentivize immediate purchases, especially for users who are already considering buying.
- Policy Reminders: Use chatbots to remind website visitors about beneficial policies, such as free shipping, to encourage them to complete their purchases.
- Product Recommendations: Program chatbots to nudge users towards best-selling items or products that match their interests, enhancing the shopping experience and potentially increasing the average order value.
An online sports equipment store integrates a chatbot to assist customers in real time. The chatbot helps users find the right running shoes based on their preferences and running habits. It can also answer product availability, sizes, and order tracking queries.
Sample Chatbot Interaction:
Customer: “I’m looking for running shoes suitable for marathons.”
Chatbot: “You’re in the right place! Based on your marathon needs, I recommend our latest endurance running shoes. They provide great support and comfort for long distances. Would you like to check them out?”
By integrating such solutions into your eCommerce platform, you can harness the power of chatbots to provide immediate customer support and actively contribute to converting visitors into customers.
6. On-site Personalization Techniques
On-site personalization is a key strategy in maximizing eCommerce conversion rates. The essence of this approach is to make the most out of the budget allocated for attracting visitors by enhancing the chances of their conversion into customers. This is crucial for improving profit margins and optimizing marketing spend.
Personalizing your store’s content, messaging, and product recommendations according to each visitor’s behaviors and interests is one of the most effective ways to boost conversions. This customization enhances user engagement, improves customer satisfaction, and significantly boosts conversion rates.
According to Oberlo, 91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that remember their preferences and provide relevant offers and recommendations. This preference shows the critical importance of personalizing the online shopping experience to meet customer expectations and drive loyalty.
On-site personalization makes the shopping experience more relevant and engaging for the customer, encouraging them to make a purchase and fostering brand loyalty and repeat business.
Automation plays a key role in enabling on-site personalization. By leveraging data collected from customer interactions, such as browsing history, purchase behavior, and search patterns, automation tools can display personalized content to each visitor. This could include product recommendations, tailored banners, and customized offers that resonate with the individual’s specific interests.
For instance, if a visitor frequently browses a particular category of products, your website can automatically display similar products or relevant offers on their next visit. Similarly, for returning customers, the site can highlight items related to their past purchases or show them their recently viewed products for easy navigation.
An online retailer could personalize their website’s homepage during the Halloween season to display themed products or special offers based on the visitor’s past browsing behavior or purchase history.
Sample Pop-up Message on the Website:
“Welcome back, Olivia! We’ve got some bewitching new arrivals in our Halloween decor section. Take a sneak peek and make your home spooktacular!”
7. Customer Re-engagement and Churn Reduction
Customer retention presents unique challenges, particularly in an online environment where competition is just a click away. Engaging customers and reducing churn, which refers to customers ceasing to use a service, are essential for long-term business success and profitability.
According to a report by Oracle, 57% of purchase decisions are already complete by the time customers actively engage with a business. This highlights the importance of understanding customer behaviors and preferences early in their journey to re-engage them and reduce churn effectively.
This statistic indicates the need for proactive strategies in identifying and re-engaging customers who are at risk of churning. By understanding customer behaviors and preferences early in the decision-making process, eCommerce businesses can implement targeted re-engagement strategies that resonate with customers’ needs and interests.
Effective customer re-engagement and churn reduction strategies often depend on the ability to understand and predict customer behaviors. This is where marketing automation becomes invaluable. Automated systems can identify patterns indicative of waning interest or potential churn, such as decreased engagement, reduced purchase frequency, or cart abandonment.
One powerful method for re-engagement is through personalized email campaigns. Automation tools can segment customers based on their interaction levels and send targeted messages designed to rekindle their interests.
This could be an email highlighting new products or offering a special discount for a customer who hasn’t made a purchase in a while. For someone who frequently browses but doesn’t buy, it might involve sending tailored product recommendations based on their browsing history.
Another effective strategy is implementing loyalty programs, which can be automated to reward regular customers and encourage continued engagement. Points systems, special member discounts, and exclusive offers for repeat customers are examples of tactics that can be automated and tailored to individual customer profiles.
An online gourmet food store uses marketing automation to re-engage customers who haven’t made a purchase in the last six months. They send personalized emails to these customers featuring new arrivals or exclusive recipes, along with a special discount for their next purchase.
Sample Re-engagement Email Content:
“We’ve missed you at Delish Delicacies, Alex! Check out our newest artisan cheeses and exclusive recipes for you. Enjoy 15% off on your next culinary adventure with us. Use code WELCOMEBACK at checkout.”
8. Cross-Channel Customer Journey Automation
Cross-Channel Customer Journey Automation is an important strategy in eCommerce, emphasizing the importance of providing a seamless customer experience across all channels.
The key to successful cross-channel automation lies in its ability to deliver a unified message and experience, regardless of the touchpoint. Customers expect their interactions with a brand to be consistent, whether they are browsing a website, reading an email, or engaging through social media.
To automate and optimize the customer journey across different platforms, businesses must employ tools that allow for integrating and synchronizing customer data and interactions across channels. This involves collecting and analyzing customer data to gain insights into their preferences and behaviors and then using this information to deliver personalized experiences.
For example, if a customer shows interest in a product on a website but doesn’t make a purchase, an automated system can send a follow-up email with more information or a special offer related to that product. Similarly, if customers interact with a brand on social media, their preferences can inform the content they see in subsequent website visits or email communications.
An eCommerce store could automate a cross-channel journey where customers who showed interest in Halloween products receive follow-up emails, SMS messages, or social media platforms.
Initial Email After Website Browsing:
“Hey Chris, thanks for checking out our Halloween collection! We noticed you eyeing the vampire costume. It’s just a click away – and with a 10% discount, it’s irresistible!”
Follow-up SMS if No Email Response:
“Still thinking about that vampire costume, Chris? Make it yours tonight with an extra 5% off! Use code SPOOKY5 at checkout. Hurry, the offer ends at midnight!”
Social Media Ad if No SMS Response:
“Transform into the star of the night with our vampire costume. Order now and enjoy exclusive savings. Don’t miss out on becoming the talk of the party!”
An online fitness apparel store automates a cross-channel journey for customers who showed interest in a new line of yoga pants. After a customer views the product but leaves without purchasing, the store first sends an email with detailed product information and customer reviews. If the customer doesn’t respond, they follow up with an SMS offering an exclusive discount. Lastly, the customer sees targeted social media ads featuring the yoga pants and testimonials from satisfied customers.
Sample Email Content:
“Find Your Zen in Style, Taylor! Our new yoga pants collection blends comfort with elegance. Don’t just take our word for it – check out what fellow yogis have to say!“
Sample SMS Content:
“Still thinking about our yoga pants, Taylor? Stretch into a special offer: 15% off just for you! Use code YOGA15 at checkout. Namaste!”
A sophisticated automation system can also trigger specific actions based on customer behavior. For example, if a customer frequently browses a certain category, the system can automatically send targeted promotions or content related to that category across various channels.
Throughout this article, we’ve explored the top 8 strategies that harness the power of marketing automation to revolutionize e-commerce businesses. Each strategy offers a unique advantage, from personalized email onboarding sequences that welcome and guide new customers to prompt cart abandonment notifications designed to recover lost sales.For those looking to implement these transformative marketing automation strategies, Gleantap emerges as a comprehensive solution. Explore Gleantap to learn more about how our automation services can benefit your e-commerce business.