The retail industry is on a never-ending quest to get the right products to consumers when, where and how they want. E-commerce used to be the end-all, be-all in this regard, but it’s no longer a differentiator — it’s the norm. From 2019 to 2021, ActiveCampaign users saw a 15 percent year-over-year increase in total orders and a 91 percent increase in total orders. An increase in total orders tells us that online shopping is happening more frequently, signaling the continued value of e-commerce to retailers. However, to effectively capture repeat business, retailers’ online experience needs to inspire loyalty from the first homepage visit to the order confirmation email and beyond.
This can be a challenge when there’s so much else on retailers’ minds. Businesses had to shift overnight during the pandemic, and it didn’t come without its challenges. In a recent survey of 500 businesses, nearly 70 percent of companies that grew over the past year changed their business model in some form, whether that meant moving services online, targeting different customers, or building a hybrid model with in-person and online services. What’s the best approach for retailers that are looking to grow amid all these challenges? The answer may lie in automation — but it shouldn’t be applied in a vacuum.
The Risk of Automation Without the Human Touch
Imagine receiving an irrelevant email promoting a sale or new product from a brand after not being able to reach a customer service team about a delayed order. Personally, I find nothing more frustrating than this disconnect. Unfortunately, this is a side effect of e-commerce brands automating their marketing efforts, albeit incorrectly. This leads to poor customer experiences and unhappy consumers, and automation missteps like this can really hurt a brand’s reputation in customers’ eyes.
This is why it’s important to leverage technology like customer experience automation (CXA) that pulls in all customer touchpoints from the entire customer journey and connects to your existing tech stack. Marketers are able to orchestrate a connected customer experience and always know which step to take next to avoid any automation mistakes.
With CXA, e-commerce businesses can easily automate their sales and marketing processes with access to a library of integrated apps, pre-built automations, email templates, sign-up forms and more. This ultimately saves them time while driving greater growth — what a concept!
Perfecting the Customer Experience
A disconnected experience can lead to various automation faux pas. However, when your marketing channels and tools are unified with CXA, you can turn one-time purchasers into brand loyalists through the entire customer journey in a matter of minutes. They’ll experience marketing that's tailored to their preferences and receive them at the time when they’re most likely to engage — effectively enabling brands to create one-to-one experiences at scale.
This is a huge differentiator for brands, as 85 percent of businesses claim they’re providing personalized experiences to consumers, yet only 60 percent of consumers say they receive personalized experiences. Furthermore, six out of 10 shoppers get frustrated when sites don’t tailor search results based on their past search queries or online behavior.
Almost all (99 percent) of those surveyed in a recent CXA Impact Report agree companies grow faster by using multiple channels beyond email marketing alone. Additionally, 93 percent report using their website as an engagement channel to supplement their email marketing efforts.
In addition to creating a richer customer experience, CXA has been shown to create real business impact for growing companies by helping them deliver a consistent and connected experience across email, text, messaging, chat and social. There’s no better time than now to make a transformation.
The Impact of CXA
According to the CXA Impact Report, businesses using CXA expect to double their revenue in 2022, growing by 100 percent year-over-year. Compare that to the typical 3.5 percent growth seen from those using legacy email marketing, marketing automation and CRM tools.
With automations that send one-to-one recommendations, add-on products and abandoned cart reminders, customers are more likely to make a bigger purchase. Because of that, businesses that use CXA predict a 78 percent increase in average order value per customer.
Pre-built automation that requires very few steps to set up has been key for businesses to quickly deploy revenue-growing campaigns and strategies. According to ActiveCampaign’s abandoned cart calculator data, customers left $76.4 million in revenue in their carts in 2021, but customers were able to recover $10.4 million from those abandoned carts. That’s 14 percent of potentially lost revenue that was saved! This is double the abandoned cart revenue that was recovered in 2021 vs. 2020, and up from just $1.2 million recovered revenue in 2019.
Overall, as more consumers and brands move to e-commerce, meeting the expectation for an amazing customer experience will be the difference between success and failure. For small and midsize e-commerce companies especially, relying on automation can be a huge asset to support the limited bandwidth of a small team. Nearly half of businesses using CXA report that they now spend more time talking to customers because of time saved using automations, which ultimately results in a better customer experience.
It’s clear to see that there’s a big opportunity for better experiences, more customers and higher revenue through the use of automation — as long as it's implemented with the customer experience at the center of it all.
Maria Pergolino is the chief marketing officer at ActiveCampaign, the hypergrowth customer experience automation platform.
Maria is known for building world-class go-to-market teams that drive growth, differentiation, and category leadership. She has served as a senior marketing leader for global B2B technology organizations for almost two decades and is currently Chief Marketing Officer at ActiveCampaign, the hyper-growth Customer Experience Automation platform. Previously, Maria served as Chief Marketing Officer at Anaplan, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Sales Development at Apttus, and held marketing leadership roles at Marketo and Shunra Software.