Marketing automation is being used in more and more online stores. Increasing sales is always the goal. Marketing automation tools help with this. They can automate processes in the store. Time savings and sales increases are the result. The following article shows how online stores use such tools in practice.
A store operator must constantly take care of his online store. New products, purchasing, warehousing, flexible pricing and much more is part of the daily routine. Moreover, as a store owner, you should offer a newsletter. After all, you need to contact your customers regularly. But lumping everything together doesn’t work today. Customers need to be served individually. They need individual offers. The more customers the online store has, the more difficult it becomes to treat all customers individually. There is a solution for that nowadays! With the help of automation, you can better respond to individual requests. Depending on how the customer moves through your store, you can offer them products and services that match. But what actually is Marketing Automation?
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing Automation stands for the automation of marketing processes and sales processes. When you receive an inquiry from a customer, you can answer it manually. The customer then responds and asks another question. You answer this one again as well. The longer this dialog lasts, the more time and money you invest. Such dialogs can be automated in many cases. Artificial intelligence is also increasingly used in this process. With software, you can automate communication on many channels from social media to chat to the classic telephone. With the help of marketing automation software, it is also possible to greatly reduce the workload of sales staff and even replace them in some cases. However, the replacement depends, among other things, on how high the prices of the products are.
Practical tips for marketing automation in e-commerce
Tip 1: Fishing for store visitors with lead magnets
Marketing automation starts well before the actual sales process. Let’s look at the customer journey. What is the entry point into the world of your online store? Those who are immediately looking for a product will find it on the product details page. But what about those who want to find out more first? Many stores rely on digital magazines and blogs. Content marketing is the name of this discipline. In these places, you should lay out so-called lead magnets. These are, for example, a checklist, a whitepaper or another mostly digital document that you offer for download. However, the visitor of the website must leave his e-mail address for it. Sometimes also a few data more, as far as this is legally permitted. Here you have to pay attention to the DSGVO.
Definition: A lead magnet is a piece of content that is of high quality from the point of view of the target group, that solves a specific problem for a specific market and that is offered in exchange for (personal) data.
Functions of a successful lead magnet:
- Creates positive impression and builds trust
- Stands out from competition and competitive products
- Is quick and easy to consume/use
Tip 2: From lead magnet to shopping cart
Once the email address has been collected, the potential customer can be contacted again. But be careful: every communication should have an added value for the addressee. In addition, the potential customer should be guided step by step further to the sales process. Think about what might interest the customer next. What content do you already have on the website? With the help of the so-called funnel, you can design a communication plan over weeks and months. So the customer receives emails, SMS, letters or Facebook messages. Depending on how he reacts, another message follows. You guide the customer along their customer journey to purchase and beyond. It is important to offer the right content for each part of the journey. At the beginning, he may be interested in market studies. Later, he is interested in the experiences of other users and a product comparison. Finally, he looks for coupons and discounts. At this point, at the latest, you should make concrete offers to bring the customer all the way to the shopping cart and checkout.
The special thing about automation: unlike a newsletter, you can respond to each customer individually in terms of time.
Tip 3: Retrieve shopping cart abandoners automatically
According to Connexity, 18 percent of shoppers abandon purchases in the shopping cart, and another 32 percent in the checkout. We’re talking almost realized revenue! With the help of automated retargeting functions, these dropouts can be brought back. If a pixel is placed on the relevant web pages in the online store, advertising platforms such as Facebook can be used to target this group. For the former online shoppers, there is now the chance to be reminded of the “almost purchase” with an advertisement. With one click, they come back to the store and can finish the purchase. If shoppers don’t respond to the first two ads, offer a small special discount in the ad space after all, valid today only. In many cases, the shoppers are already known. If you already have an automation solution in place, you can use it directly. Tag or score the shopper if he has already visited the shopping cart. If he doesn’t complete the buying process, create a funnel – the so-called reactivation funnel. Depending on which channels you may use to reach the user, offer special deals or simply ask why he didn’t want to buy.
Tip 4: Whoever buys A also buys B, but automatically.
We have known the Amazon phenomenon for many years. We receive purchase recommendations among the products we are interested in. With the help of automation, we can “go one better.” To do this, understanding about the Customer Journey helps again. We should place various products from our own portfolio along the journey. What does the customer typically buy first? What does he buy later?
Let’s take an example. In a barbecue store, the customer usually buys a barbecue first. Later, he needs additional products that fit his grill exactly. A special grate, a pizza stone and much more. Finally, he needs a grill workshop to bring his grill competence forward. If he has invested a lot of money and 2-3 years have passed, he needs a new and even better grill.
So every store owner can check when a customer would buy which product. He should accompany this process with the help of automation. In this way, he uses the competitive advantage of being better informed than his competitors. He can then make an offer when the customer does not even know that he needs the product. Other influences such as an upcoming birthday or Christmas can also be taken into account in automation.
Tip 5: Attention Price – The Handover from Automation to Distribution
As of 2020, 85% of relationships will be maintained without a face-to-face conversation.Source:Gartner Research
The automation of marketing and sales processes typically has a limitation. If the price of a product is too high, the potential customer will look for a physical contact. A chatbot and even automated email cannot replace a personal relationship. Especially in the B2B industry, it is important to use marketing automation in the right places. In the end, a handover to sales must be organized. Within the funnel, it is therefore necessary to check when a potential customer – the so-called lead – is “hot” enough to be passed on to sales. In this context, we also speak of the Sales Qualified Lead. For online stores that offer very high-priced products, the use of telephone sales can therefore make perfect sense in order to generate more sales.
One can combine the marketing automation solution with other solutions like business intelligence in the company. The more tools one combines in one’s technology stack, the greater the possibilities become. In this way, the marketing intelligence solution can automate the budgets for advertising on the channels in such a way that the stored goals can best be achieved. Performance first! In any case, when choosing the right marketing automation solution, focus on how the solution fits into the wider software architecture now or in the future. Also, keep in mind that you need to develop a strategic concept of how you want to use Marketing Automation in the company and in your store. Otherwise, Thorsten Dirks, former CEO of Telefonica Deutschland AG, is right.