3 Ways to Use Marketing Automation to Improve CX
Retailers are constantly looking to improve the customer shopping experience. For e-commerce brands, it may mean implementing live chat, improving site speed, using 3D product images, and offering free returns. However, the shopping journey isn’t isolated to technical website details and store policies; it also applies to marketing.
With email marketing, brands tend to look at it exclusively as a direct sales channel — especially when it comes to automated emails. And for good reason. A recent Omnisend report shows that in 2021, behavior-based automated emails generated 29.6 percent of all email marketing orders with only 2.2 percent of sends.
But focusing automated emails only on sales and not on how they can improve the customer experience is a mistake most brands make. In today’s environment, brands need to do both simultaneously. Here are three ways e-commerce brands can use marketing automation to improve the shopping experience and increase sales:
1. Ditch the old welcome series.
A welcome series is a set of messages sent to new email subscribers. Last year, these messages generated a conversion rate of 2.8 percent compared to 0.1 percent for scheduled promotional messages, and were responsible for 43 percent of all automated email orders.
However, welcome series “best practices” are outdated. Introducing your brand story and social networks and asking subscribers to fill out preference forms are impersonal and off-putting. Instead, re-create these messages to speak to the shopping intent of the new email subscriber and guide them along their path to purchase. Send relevant messaging that introduces them to your top-rated products, complete with star ratings and customer testimonials, and highlight your value-adds like free shipping and returns.
To improve the experience further, create a click-based series. For subscribers who click on a category link in your welcome email, send subsequent messages focused on that category of products, including top-sellers, value-adds, and social proof.
The goal of a welcome series is to make subscribers feel comfortable purchasing from you. Sending relevant messages focused on their intent accomplishes this.
2. Send browse-based messages.
Browse abandonment messages are sent to shoppers who view products on your website but don't go as far as placing items in their carts. These messages generate a conversion rate of 0.97 percent and make up 6.3 percent of all automated email orders.
These messages are not only timely and relevant, but keep shoppers moving along their journey. Send messages highlighting specific product attributes or showcase customer favorites from the selected category. This content speaks directly to their recent shopping intent much better than a batch-and-blast message, can generate a return visit to your site, and make them feel confident purchasing from your brand.
3. Use data to enhance abandoned cart messages.
Cart abandonment messages are sent to shoppers who left their online cart without completing their purchase. These high-intent messages have a conversion rate of 2.4 percent and are responsible for 41 percent of all automated orders. But prefab messages are focused exclusively on driving sales, not the customer’s experience.
Instead, split your messages based on abandoners’ cart total. This allows you to communicate the appropriate message for each shopper. For example, knowing a shopping cart is under the free shipping threshold, brands can highlight the perk of free shipping and maybe offer an incentive to encourage a higher order total. For those well above the threshold, the message could focus on value-adds such as return policies and customer satisfaction. After all, there's no need to concentrate on a perk already attained.
Another way to split messages is by the shopper's purchase history. Potential first-time customer? Send a three-message series and make them feel comfortable purchasing from your brand. A one-time customer? Send two messages, remind them of their previous experience, and offer a discount to increase their average order value. Loyal customer? Send a single, gentle reminder about why they love you and that items won’t last long.
As you can see, a little data can go a long way.
Marketing automation is valuable at all stages of the customer shopping journey. However, just because it generates sales doesn’t mean it can’t make the shopping journey easier and more enjoyable. Brands that focus on customer experience and intent within their marketing automation are the ones that will find their sales and customer satisfaction increase.
Greg Zakowicz is a veteran marketer and the director of content at Omnisend, the all-in-one e-commerce marketing automation platform.
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Greg Zakowicz is a veteran marketer and the Director of Content at Omnisend. With 15-plus years of experience in email, mobile, and social media marketing, he’s helped over 100 DTC companies around the world, including numerous from the Internet Retailer Top 1000, maximize sales through their email marketing programs. Zakowicz is a frequent speaker at ecommerce events, often shares his ecommerce insights across various industry media outlets, has been retained as an ecommerce expert witness for trial, and is the host of Omnisend’s Cart Insiders Podcast.