How to Boost Marketing Automation Results for Retail

While there is no doubt that marketing automation offers results for any type of industry, it is especially useful within the retail space.

A 2015 study done by Forrester Research shows that email makes up a large percentage of the online budgets of marketers, second only to search in its reach. Considering the huge number of benefits, this is not surprising. A US study done by eTail and presented by eMarketer showed that email comprises 17% of the total digital budget, accounting for 24% of revenue. Additional research from Custora, a lifecycle marketing platform, indicate that 15% of their retail clients’ e-commerce sales came from email marketing. Custora notes that email is one of their biggest revenue-driving channels for customers, making up as much as 40% of total revenue.

The following statistics show just how much value marketing automation can add to retail businesses:

  • Sales productivity increased 14.5% when automation tools were used, while businesses using automation tools saw an average 12.2% reduction in marketing costs. – Nucleus Research
  • Automation users have noted an average increase of sales by 34%. – Pardot
  • B2C marketers using automation for everything from cart abandonment programs to birthday emails have seen conversion rates as high as 50%. – eMarketer

That does not mean that all email marketing will offer results. With the constant growth in ecommerce over the years, it is impossible to guarantee an increase in revenue. What will most certainly help however is knowing exactly what sort of campaigns are most likely to drive more sales to retail businesses with the help of marketing automation software.

Powerful Marketing Automation Programs for Retail

To boost performance in a way that dictates long-term growth, it is essential to have a strategy that is focused on data. Generic mail blasts and non-segmented campaigns have given rise to highly targeted, behaviour based campaigns that reach customers at every stage of the buying cycle. Whether you are crafting abandoned cart emails, welcome emails or even post-purchase emails, segmentation, personalisation and data driven triggers are all essential to ensure a higher open and clickthrough rate.

Once you identify the segments that have the highest potential for conversion, it will be far easier to create highly relevant, focused email campaigns that are designed to convert. To help get you started, here are some ideas on the most useful retail campaigns for optimal marketing automation success:

Welcome Email Campaigns

Image: campaignmonitor.com

This is the very first encounter that customers will have with your store. As such, this type of email can leave the most lasting impression on new customers. The most effective way to ensure that you get optimal benefit from welcome emails is to create a welcome email series that adds genuine value. Rather than using this to try and sell, aim to offer useful tips and information that will make it easier for your customer to use your product. The first email should be sent as soon as a customer subscribes or completes their order. By presenting customers with exclusive deals or offers, you will almost certainly help to turn a new customer into a returning customer.

Likewise, if your customer has subscribed without making a purchase, a welcome offer will help to entice them into making a purchase without taking a hard sell approach. This type of email is designed to increase open rates, clickthrough rates and sales, as you are targeting consumers while your store is fresh in their minds.

Cart Abandonment Emails

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What happens when a customer leaves their cart before making a purchase? You have a few choices when this happens. You can either let the customer go, losing the sale forever. Or, you could target that customer strategically to lure them back to your store.

This type of email is an incredibly effective way of bringing back customers who may otherwise be lost forever. Emails are designed to show either the products that have been left in the cart of very similar products. Personalised data is used to make it easy for clients to complete their purchase. A number of studies have shown that online shoppers are more likely to make a purchase after receiving a personalised message. One case study that illustrates the benefits of this type of email is Choxi – an e-commerce site that brought in an extra $3 million in sales after implementing behaviour-based browse and cart abandonment emails. A number of other e-tailers have had similar success with these emails, including Amazon.

Anniversary and Birthday Emails

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Another effective way to use marketing automation to drive more sales while also increasing customer experience is to create special offers on customer birthdays or anniversaries. Whether you create unique birthday offers, or a discount that is only available within the month of a customer’s anniversary at your store, these emails drive loyalty and engagement.

A small discount or voucher can also drive more revenue as well. To get this type of email set up, you first need to collect customer birth dates and add this data to your mailing lists. Most ecommerce stores include this field as a required field in the checkout process. Some ask for this information once customers subscribe to email lists. Once you have this data, you can create a personalised campaign to send on customer birthdays.

You could also focus on the customer’s anniversary of their first purchase or sign-up, as an alternative to birthday loyalty rewards. Small touches such as this can leave a lasting impression, letting customers know that you value their patronage and loyalty.

Post-Purchase Emails

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Having a good post-purchase strategy in place will aid your marketing automation efforts significantly. This creates an excellent tool for customer retention. There are a number of campaigns that work well for post-purchase, including useful tips and tricks that help customers enjoy your product, exclusive offers, relevant related products, customer generated content such as photographs and reviews, invitations to leave reviews, contact information to make it easier for customers to reach your store and even automated sequences designed to retarget customers who have not made in a purchase in a specified time.

You could also use these emails to cross or up-sell products relating to the customer’s order. Whether that is a newer version of something purchased a few years earlier, accessories for a newly purchased product or even related gear, such as hiking boots that can be brought along with the tent your customer ordered.

Reminder Emails

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Finally, we have the reminder email. This is typically triggered to be sent after a specified time. If the customer has not made a purchase, visited the site or engaged in any way for a month to a year, you can send them triggered reminders that entice them back. These can be part of your post-purchase emails, or they can be uniquely created to prompt customers to return. You can include a limited time offer, such as a discount or coupon, or you could remind them of features your store offers, such as free shipping.

These help to send a friendly reminder to customers in a way that adds real value to them as well. You can set triggers such as those who opened the first email but did not click, or those who browsed without purchasing, those who subscribed without adding goods to their cart or those who have not been to your store in a while.

Ready to get started with marketing automation for your store? Get in touch with the Grapevine team today for more information on our marketing automation tools for retail businesses and other industries.

 

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