According to a study by eMarketer, the median email marketing ROI is a whopping 122%. This number is proof that no matter how many other marketing channels come into play, email will remain at the core of a business marketing strategy for growth. But email marketing has changed a lot in the last few decades – there’s more personalization and focus on making them engaging and interactive. For instance, it has come to businesses not being afraid of using GIF emails to reach their subscribers and customers.
Email marketing has been continually evolving over the last few years. What used to go out as broadcast messages, are now targeted and personalized on a 1:1 basis for each subscriber. Businesses are experimenting with different tactics and approaches to make the age-old emails more interactive.
Enter, GIF emails.
Why should you even use GIFs?
Google recorded millions of searches for GIFs every day. In fact, Tenor, a GIF platform that was acquired by the search engine, shared that it has more than 300+ million monthly active users. The searches on their platform alone run into billions!
Channel loyalty is a myth. Even with promos, your ideal buyers will check and compare on other channels. Hence, eCommerce cannot stay put on one channel. This is exactly why eCommerce needs to be on multiple marketing channels and be selling on every channel where their customers are interacting on. And this is also why we have designed this multichannel automation guide for mobile eCommerce businesses specifically.
What is Multichannel Automation?
Multichannel marketing refers to using more than one marketing channel to acquire, nurture, and convert target buyers. Broadly, it can be classified between web and mobile. However, with the evolution of marketing automation, multichannel automation includes automation campaigns across mobile, web, landing pages, emails, SMS, push notifications, and social media. Businesses want to be everywhere to create digital touchpoints for their target buyers on all channels.
Multichannel automation for mobile eCommerce – An Overview
The B2C realm has undergone a huge shift in the past five or six years. And, just like the B2B buyer journey, the B2C consumer journey is also no longer a straight line path. It’s nothing new to say that the way consumers shop online has drastically changed, involving multiple touchpoints.
Because they have access to multiple devices and are exposed to multiple channels, they will without a doubt, choose the most convenient platform to browse and/or buy. This change in the way we as consumers shop has perched marketing automation in the B2C realm.
In this multi-channel Automation Guide, we’ll take a look at how B2C automation has now become indispensable for successfully engaging, re-engaging, and converting the complex, spoilt for choice online shopper. In times when everyone is looking for the best service, tailor-made experiences, and wants to be absolute satisfaction out of their purchase experience, marketing automation cannot be ignored in B2C, at any cost.
Part 1: Why mobile eCommerce businesses should be doing multichannel automation?
A number of e-tailers are taking to mobile to attract shoppers on the go. With more than half of the whole internet traffic shopping on their mobile devices, if you aren’t on mobile, you are missing out on half the share of the pie. Moreover, in 2017 mobile eCommerce accounted for nearly 35% of total eCommerce sales. By 2021, this percentage is expected to hit 54%. Going by what these stats say and predict, going mobile is the only way to go strong.
However, when you carefully gauge customer buying behavior, you’ll realize that most people only browse products on their mobile. When it comes to making the final purchase though, they’ll take to the good old laptop. This doesn’t mean in any way prove desktop’s superiority over mobile in eCommerce though. A strong takeaway here though is how can you use mobile marketing better to get more traction.
A multi-channel marketing approach is a must where you can run email campaigns for those who’ve visited your mobile eCommerce store but haven’t added any products to cart, push notifications for those who’ve shown interest to buy something on your mobile eCommerce store by adding it to wishlist, or a retargeting ad on Facebook to someone who might have visited and browsed, say, category ‘plus size clothes’, and then bounced off.
Your shopper isn’t thinking of mobile as a ‘separate’ channel. He is viewing it as a ‘point’ in a multi-touchpoint journey. So should you. Mobile, desktop, tablet, Facebook, Twitter, or any other – it’s all just one thing – a unified, seamless shopping experience!
And, this holds true beyond the online realm as well. If you are a mobile e-tailor with a brick and mortar store as well, don’t miss out on the vast potential that mobile marketing has to increase your in-store footfall. All this brings us to two conclusions:
- Mobile eCommerce needs a multichannel approach
- A multichannel marketing approach depends on B2C automation in times when customers demand truly personalized, seamless shopping experience.
Part 2: Using multichannel automation for mobile eCommerce businesses
Instant service is the need of the hour, or else people will switch. Personalization is no longer a luxury; everyone’s entitled to it. Plus, there are tons of other mobile eCommerce brands eagerly waiting to snatch away your customers in case you fail to constantly engage with them with the right messages that keep their interest alive. It’s too much work. It’s challenging work also. Thankfully, B2C automation (and this Multi-channel Automation guide) can be of help. With automation at your side, you can:
- Engage with your customers relevantly, contextually, and on a highly personalized level.
- Access a pool of user data to create immaculate customer profiles based on their demographic and behavioral data.
- Facilitate one-on-one communication with your customers, at the right moment, using the right channel.
The idea of multi-channel marketing is to create a seamless experience, and thus a seamless brand story, across platforms. It all begins with identifying the most ideal marketing channel to create automation templates, and then create an identical experience across all the other channels – emails, landing pages, social media, push notifications, and SMS.
Before we start building an ideal automation flow, here’s a catch.
Despite all the hype and praises, mobile eCommerce can be frustrating for consumers and businesses alike. If we go by the reports, last year, mobile shopping was the fastest growing segment, with a 54% y-o-y growth. Again, desktop accounted for 44% of traffic and still saw 61% of sale during the holiday season last year, as reported by Adobe Digital Insights 2018. This brings us to one of the surprising conclusions:
Mobile browsing does not mean mobile buying
However, one brand did prove otherwise. Shopify, last year, saw 64% of all sales on mobile on Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2017. It reported a 10% increase in sales y-o-y.
Confused now? Well, let me help here.
Mobile buying can happen only when you are focusing on the right kind of mobile optimization. Your eCommerce platform may offer endless discounts, but if the user experience is not good, sales will not happen even if you have visitors flocking into your application.
Going by this note, it is mandatory to understand that mobile optimization does not mean mobile responsive. Although responsive design is essential, it still does not optimize your portal for mobile visitors. Yes, your visitors won’t have to pinch and zoom all the time, but it continues to fail the specific needs of your mobile visitors. At its core, I’d say, responsive mobile design only goes about to make your desktop version look good.
What you need to do here is, put your consumers’ need into your need for building a mobile portal. These two should align pretty well, with not a single straw out of the hay. One amazing resource you can use here is the matrix that Inflow released in its last Mobile eCommerce report, stacking up how top eCommerce brands host mobile design and optimization criteria.
Part 3: How And Where to Start With Multichannel Automation?
To grow and scale your mobile eCommerce business, it is essential that you understand your buyer’s journey. Ideally, your buyers will pass through four inbound stages – awareness, consideration, decision and purchase, and post-purchase.
You will have to identify the most fruitful channel for each of these stages based on your buyer profiles and business requirements. For instance, the awareness stage can happen over social media. Post this, they may choose to visit your website, check reviews on other platforms, and then proceed to decision and purchase stage. Alternatively, they can simply not choose to purchase at all.
Your buyer’s journey can never be a straight line. Each of your buyers will interact on multiple channels until they reach the decision phase. Chances are they will hit the purchase button, or they may make an exit as well from that point.
This reinforces the fact that your mobile eCommerce business HAS to be on multiple channels. You need to monitor each of these channels, do cross-channel marketing, and understand what and how your customers are interacting with you across all these touch points.
Another challenge is to STAND OUT. It is not just you who is aware that a buyer’s journey includes multiple touch points. Competition is high, and your multichannel strategy has to stand out; not just that, it has to be effective for your mobile eCommerce platform.
Thinking that a mobile eCommerce customer will visit only on a mobile device is the biggest blunder you can make.
Your customers will look for information about your platform on all available resources. It includes web-based reviews, social media ads, search engine ads, landing pages, emails, videos, and mobile messaging.
You must have your multichannel automation strategy in place.
Building a multichannel automation strategy using Aritic PinPoint
You’ve seen so many eCommerce platforms merging their online and offline stores. For instance, Sephora, a cosmetics brand, has an offline store as well as online beauty tutorial videos for its users. It is an indirect way of showing how the Sephora products work real-time, how skin-friendly they are, and obviously, give a slight nudge into buying the same, either online over its mobile app or website or simply walk into the offline store. If you see minutely, the entire shopping experience is maintained across all the channels. You will find Sephora ads on your social media channels based on the products you’ve viewed earlier or a purchase you made or a tutorial you’ve watched.
That’s how multichannel automation works. If I take Sephora’s use case – Sephora probably has segments based on only offline consumers, both online and offline users, only mobile users, behavior-driven, purchase history driven, video watching based, and so many more. And it surely automates its messages for each of these segments, to drive engagement and conversions.
The first thing to do is to opt for an advanced and integrated marketing automation tool. I’ll save your time here because you’ve already got Aritic PinPoint. [If you are not yet subscribed, quickly take a tour of how multichannel automation works, and get your free account asap.]
If you are not living in another dimension, you must by now have understood, Derek is a bot.
This is a classic example of a chatbot workflow.
The B2B eCommerce market is becoming more competitive by the day. As buyers seek an increase in efficiency and optimized processes, B2B sellers are now expected to continually innovate to win new business and keep their existing customer base engaged. But with their global worth reaching a whopping $6.6 trillion by 2020, there are a number of challenges that B2B eCommerce companies are facing.
In this article, we are going to talk about the different challenges in B2B eCommerce as the industry grows. Additionally, we’re sharing how automation is the answer to these challenges along with examples.
B2B eCommerce challenges
1. Creating pricing structure for bulk deals
A typical B2B eCommerce company will base its product/service pricing on the volume of the order. While the pricing structure is created to improve customer satisfaction, it often challenges the order processing systems and requires manual intervention for completion. The going gets tougher as the business increases its inventory.
But businesses can automate their pricing structure for bulk deals with a content management system. All they need to do is define what discount they want to offer to customers ordering a specific amount of a product.
2. Establishing advanced logic
Most B2B eCommerce companies need to set up an advanced logic for their products and services. It is to help them offer different discounts, deals and shipping options on different product ranges and services. But the process gets more overwhelming as the B2B eCommerce company increases its inventory.
With automation, these companies can keep track of inventory and what products/ services are the most loved. This way they can offer discounts and shipping options based on demand to increase conversions and also improve customer loyalty.
3. Longer sale completion cycles
A B2B eCommerce sales cycle is as long and complicated as that of enterprise software. It often requires the business to meet the search needs of the B2B buyer as they conduct research, and then create multiple quotes to suit their needs and approval processes. This requires timely follow-ups from the business to ensure smooth nurturing till conversion.
Here’s where a B2B eCommerce business needs a smart CRM. It helps them keep track of prospects and current accounts, and also makes processing large transactions easier.
4. Maintaining client relationships
Another common challenge that most B2B eCommerce companies face is keeping their customer base engaged. They are not able to keep track of different customer accounts and their activity, often resulting in a churn or losing them to competing companies.
By integrating CRM into the system, a B2B eCommerce company can automate client relationships. Based on their last activity or engagement, the company can have a follow-up strategy in place to remain at the top of their minds. Additionally, they get an opportunity to understand their changing needs and behavior to offer better services.
5. Creating a user-friendly experience
In B2B eCommerce, every customer is different and they have different purchase behaviours based on business requirements. Some might prefer setting up automatic purchase orders to restock inventory, while others may ask for 24 hours shipments for immediate needs. In addition, they also expect a business to offer flexible payment options for larger orders.
Setting up a self-service system in this scenario takes care of efficient order fulfilment. Having to manually keep track makes things only complicated.
To conclude it all, B2B eCommerce now needs automation.
There are multiple business processes that can be automated. Right from marketing to supply chain optimization, technology can make it all efficient.
But we’re going to get you started ten simple automated campaigns and programs that will help you nurture leads, welcome new clients and even get repeat purchases with increased engagement.
10 must-have B2B eCommerce automations
1. Welcome your new clients
Whether you’re making your first outreach to a lead or touching base with a new client, welcome campaign automation sets the tone of your relationship. It helps your B2B eCommerce business start a conversation.
Let them know what to expect of you and how to reach you when there’s a need, introduce your brand’s USP or simply take the opportunity to understand their challenges and preferences better.
Here’s an example from Ferguson. It lets their newly subscribed or converted customers know what to expect from them in the upcoming emails, and the benefits of being associated with the brand.
You can build a welcome automation workflow easily. Aritic PinPoint has set templates to help you get started. For instance, below is a simple welcome automation sequence that you can replicate for your B2B eCommerce:
2. Nurture your leads
Not all visitors turn into leads, and not all leads turn into customers. The reason being that each one of them is at a different stage in the B2B eCommerce sales cycle. While some are aware of their needs and need only a little nudge to convert, there are others that are still exploring what they need. That’s where automating your nurturing campaign becomes critical.
The automation ensures that the moment a prospect registers as a lead, they are fed the information they need to turn into a buyer. The campaign uses different content formats to walk the user through the different stages of the sales cycle. But more importantly, it ensures the message reaches the right person at the right time – be it promotional, educational or editorial.
[Also Read: Effective Lead Nurturing Setup for Modern Marketers]
Here’s an example of Lumi. They use email to share resources that will further help their prospects with an educational approach. This also lets their subscribers and customers know of the content they frequently share on the blog.
Now, it is not just an email campaign that you require to nurture your leads. There are several stages of monitoring, tracking, and multichannel automation campaigns to activate a lead from one buying stage to another. Below is a lead nurturing workflow template that you can use for your B2b eCommerce. It starts with the welcome email to scheduling a sales call.
3. Browser abandonment recovery
The way a visitor interacts with your website is a clear indication of what they’re interested in and what they’re looking for. But more importantly, it lets you know what stage they are at in the buying cycle.
Let’s take an example. The prospect was last seen browsing through your bulk pricing deals. You can then set up an automation to trigger an email or retarget them on social media with a campaign that nudges them to contact you or book a demo. Based on what you offer, you can even ask them to give a free sample a shot to start your relationship and bring them back to the site to convert.
But remember that a visitor who has abandoned your site while browsing can be brought back with a contextual campaign only.
4. Abandoned cart recovery
Similar to B2C, B2B eCommerce can benefit from automating their cart recovery campaigns. These are campaigns that get triggered in a hyper-targeted manner to reach only those who have placed items in the cart but not completed the purchase before leaving.
These are prospects who should be sent an automated email within 24 hours. The campaign should be simply targeted at reminding them of what they’ve left behind by pulling in product imagery and details for better recall. The first recovery email should then be followed up at least two more timely emails creating a sense of urgency around the products they showed interest in.
You could additionally add an offer that your B2B eCommerce business can give to make the cart total friendlier. Here is a cart abandonment requirement automation workflow for your reference.
Here’s an automated cart recovery email from New Pig. They quickly remind the customer of what they’ve left behind. The email also includes a clear call-to-action button that takes them straight back to the cart to complete the purchase. They also add their contact number to let the shopper know they’re around to help if they need any assistance in making an informed purchase.
Another important B2B eCommerce automation that often gets overlooked is the post-purchase communication. This is the period where you need to ensure that a prospect who has just converted, is happy with the purchase. If not, it is your responsibility to help them out so that they don’t churn.
Pay attention to what the newly acquired customer does or how they interact with you post-purchase. Thank them for trusting your brand, ask them if they need help with something or even request a review so that you can make the experience better for them. You can use the below automation workflow to request for feedback.
Here’s a quick post-purchase email from GoDaddy. They let share important information about the order placed and use the remaining space to make an offer on the next purchase. This seals the deal to ensure that the customer comes back for more.
Remember that the more valued the customer feels, the more likely they are to continue with your B2B eCommerce business.
Similar to B2C, there’s always an opportunity to upsell products/ services in the B2B eCommerce industry. All you need to do is put the customer’s data to use and make recommendations that further add value to them.
Promote products/ services that complement their previous purchase and match their interests, preference and purchase behaviour. Be customer-centric when making these recommendations to not sound all too salesy and offer to give them a demo to show why you’re making a suggestion. We call it recommendation-based automation. A typical automation workflow for this scenario looks like this:
You see, it’s more like going back to where everything started. A thank-you email, upselling or cross-selling, or exclusive coupons can win your clients/customers back. For instance, look at this email from Groove. It is a classic way of pulling in your existing customers once again by offering an exclusive discount to celebrate one year of association.
Upselling is a proven way of initiating purchase cycle for a B2B eCommerce. After the first sales, it is important that your clients come back again to make a purchase from you or rather have an upgrade in case of a B2B eCommerce. Check out Amazon’s technique of comparing items showing “the better version” side-by-side right when you are looking through products. This is Amazon’s way of upselling or in simpler terms pushing you to buy the product with the highest price but simultaneously justifying why – by showcasing the features and added benefits.
7. Customer loyalty
Acquiring a new customer is five times more expensive than retaining an existing one. In fact, an existing customer is more likely to convert on your campaigns at a higher average order value. Simply put, a loyal customer brings more revenue to the table for your B2B eCommerce business.
Automating your customer loyalty campaign is hence, a must. Award your repeat customer with bonus points or a special gift to acknowledge their faith in you. You could also invite them to exclusive events or offer them special discounts on bulk deals to strengthen your relationship. Incentivize their loyalty to keep them hooked to your brand.
8. Customer recovery
With the increasing competition in the industry, you’re bound to lose some customers over time. They could be simply exploring a new brand and its products/services or finding their pricing a lot better than yours. But that doesn’t mean you’ve lost your chance to re-engage this customer and bring them back.
Nudge these dormant customers with attention-grabbing automated campaigns. Tell them you miss them and then take the chance to show them what they’ve missed out on. You could use the opportunity to show how a similar business has benefited from yours in the period or ask these customers for feedback.
Remember to continually check how these customers are responding to your campaigns. If they remain inactive over a prolonged period of time, don’t hesitate to move them to your cold pipeline.
9. Data-driven engagement
Don’t stop at the above campaigns to keep your prospects and customers engaged. Use more of their data to create custom campaigns and automate them.
For example, if you’ve seen the customer show more interest in other products/ services that you offer, start educating them about what they’re meant for. Let them know how they benefit from them in the long run.
Similarly, you could also use their location data to promote events close to them. It lets them know that your B2B eCommerce business wants to interact with them. Face-to-face interaction always goes a long way.
Now while you’re automating campaigns for your B2B eCommerce business, remember to follow a customer-centric approach. Read our article on the 9 deadly marketing automation workflow mistakes you must avoid.
Do you need B2B eCommerce automation?
An average of 51% of companies is currently using marketing automation. In fact, 58% of B2B companies plan to adopt automation in the coming future. The reason being that automation helps them optimize their resources and generate 15% more revenue.
So no matter how big or small your B2B eCommerce business is, you need automation. The more you keep your resources optimized and your prospects and customers engaged, the more consistently you grow in your target market.
Marketing automation has been the buzzword for marketing and sales personnel in the last few years. The rise of marketing automation is attributed to the advent of new technologies and sophisticated tools along with an increased need for personalization in marketing. The sheer size of this market is predicted to reach $32.6 Billion by 2024 with a compound annual growth rate of 13.6%.
Marketing automation is nothing but automating repetitive marketing tasks such as emails, social media, website messaging, and text messages et cetera. Nowadays, every other team is leveraging some or other form of marketing automation to grow their business. So, how do you stand out?
At times, we tend to overlook marketing automation at various stages of the customer’s lifecycle. Most of the businesses use marketing automation for nurturing the leads, some use it post-sale and others at different stages of customer’s lifecycle. The full extent of marketing automation can be realized if you widen the horizon and include automation at most of the customer touchpoints.
The realms of email marketing have transcended to being more interactive and user-friendly for the leads. In addition to valuable content, your emails should impart a smooth user experience and easy-to-use interface. Of course, drafting personalized communication according to behavioral history is important, but it is equally important to focus on sending a well-designed email.
Here are 15 simple and actionable tips that will help you with email design, which will render a flawless lead experience and enhance engagement.
(1) Always have a recognizable sender name
Your sender name determines the credibility of your emails. Make sure it is familiar and trustworthy so that the lead does not have to think twice before opening your emails. Avoid sending emails from a “noreply” email address as it makes the lead feel like you do not want to hear from them.
A conversion funnel includes both marketing and sales efforts. Using a marketing automation tool to propel conversion is exactly what every business needs in the present hour.
A marketing automation tool can help you put your efforts in place and trigger higher conversion rates. However, if you believe a conversion funnel begins at the SQL (sales qualified) stage then you are wrong.
Infact, a conversion funnel begins right when a stranger comes in contact with your brand, and continues until it has become a customer and an advocate.
Optimize your conversion funnel with Aritic PinPoint
Rather than randomly stating that a marketing automation tool can help you trigger your conversion funnel, we will show you exactly what features of a marketing automation tool actually helps you (with direct reference to ofcourse, Aritic PinPoint).
Important Conversion Funnel Metrics
Before we dig into understanding a conversion funnel, here are three important metrics that you need to measure your lead generation funnel:
- Interaction metrics: This comprises of how your leads are engaging with your campaigns and your content. Metrics like website visit, page visit, click-through rates, unsubscription rate are measures. This metric is measured throughout the conversion funnel but they are actually mere pointers of success.
- Performance metrics: This measures the effectiveness of your campaigns. Metrics that indicate whether a lead is an MQL or SQL or sales opportunity are used.
- Revenue metrics: Lastly, this involves measuring the valuation and return on your campaigns against your investments. It includes customer acquisition cost, customer’s life value, total income generation, churn rate, and conversion rate.
Yesterday I was browsing for monitors on Amazon that I can use with my MacBook Air and work on a larger screen. I liked this particular model from Dell, but I wasn’t still sure about the VGA cable and compatibilities. So, I exited. Today morning, while browsing through my Facebook feed, this is what I see after a few seconds of browsing:
The exact monitor I checked out last day was there on my social media newsfeed as a sponsored ad. Just to add, I was browsing on my mobile and this ad I see on my desktop. Apparently, it is not about which device I am using – it is about the simplest fact that my browsing is monitored to bits and pieces.
The social media battle has mostly between major platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, until now. There is a new name in the block and the growth rate of this application is insane. TikTok, also known as Douyin, has surprised marketers with its immense growth in a very little time. A short-video-making app, formerly known as musica.ly, is winning hearts leads to an insane and massive user base. TikTok growth chart is impressive as well as a pointer to the impending future that marketers are looking at – TikTok ads.
While TikTok has already started testing ads quietly, it is yet to be available to the global masses. TikTok growth is not a one-day wonder, there is a lot of history and controversy that this app has seen to reach where it is today.
Push notifications are engaging messages that gently reminds you that you have an app installed on your smartphone. These are short messages that are sent based on your app-behavior (as well as behavior on the website). They are non-interruptive and does not interfere with your browsing even if you are not on the app.
Push notifications have become sophisticated and targeted now. However, it dates back to the time when Blackberry became the first one to launch simple alert messages targeted at business contacts. Blackberry was followed by Apple who launched push notifications for iOS users. Later Google followed suit when it launched its Android devices.
Today, push notifications have become an integral part of an automation strategy. Marketers are clubbing push campaigns with other marketing campaigns like emails, Facebook ads, and SMS campaigns. Infact, the new-age marketers are creating touchpoints across multiple marketing platforms to ensure that engagement keeps happening throughout.
In a time when consumers have so many options and so many distractions, push notifications serve the innate purpose of nurturing leads and customers. After all, marketers can’t take the risk of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ in business.