Posted by Aleksandar Semeraj on Sep 28, 2020 10:25:00 AM
Aleksandar Semeraj
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For most people, online shopping has become the regular way of shopping and the user experience has become almost stale. Consider the following process: after you successfully register with the online store, you receive a confirmation e-mail. Once you complete your purchase, you are sent an automated message confirming your purchase, followed by another message informing you that the order has shipped and will soon arrive at its destination.

Sounds familiar?

Some retailers make the effort of adding in your name or include a sentence or two in the attempt of sounding more personal. However, that's not true personalization that would drive business results. For the elements that deliver the improved user experience modern consumers expect, you need to look elsewhere.

The answer lies in marketing automation.

What is marketing automation?

At its core, marketing automation is the use of software to automate marketing activities. You can use it to gain two clear benefits. The first is the improved productivity of your employees, who no longer have to perform time-consuming tasks, such as e-mail, social network messaging, and online chat.

Another benefit is the personalization of the user experience. Instead of interacting with all customers in the same way, you can leverage marketing automation to customize your communications based on past interactions.

A great example of this is sending automated e-mails based on specific events in the sales funnel. I have prepared seven messages that can make your marketing communications more customized, personal, and attractive.

1. Welcome, dear Customer!

Imagine you are going out to dinner. As you enter, the waiter welcomes you warmly with a big smile on his face, suggests specialties, thanks you nicely after the meal, and asks you how you enjoyed the steak à la chef.

Why not deliver the same experience when shopping online?

Marketing automation makes creating personalized greetings a snap. When your customers order something, you can send them the following message:

Dear Alex!

I am very happy that you chose our online store to buy [product model]. I hope you are happy with your purchase.

If you need any advice, you can always contact us by email, phone, or chatbot.

Thank you and best regards.

[Your shopping assistant]

2. Dear Customer, we have not heard from you in a long time.

It happens to everyone. Even the most loyal customers may stop using our services or buying our products. Maybe they got tired of our products or were lured away by the competition.

Why not remind inactive customers why they liked shopping with us? It’s a nice feeling when a barista asks you how you are and why you were not around when you return after a long absence from the cafe where you used to drink your morning coffee every day. The same effect can be achieved by sending a personalized e-mail instead of a generic message listing an uninspired selection of discounted products.

Dear [David]!

We noticed that you have not been in the mood for our [dish they often ordered]. We would be happy if you share your reason for stopping ordering your favorite dish with us.

We hope to see you soon!

Kind regards,

[Your shopping assistant]

3. You left this product in your cart.

Let's return to the restaurant we visited in our first example. We are full and also on a diet so we politely decline the dessert offered by our waiter. In just a minute, a beautiful chocolate cake and tiramisu are delivered to the table next to us. We quickly give in to temptation, convince ourselves that a couple of bites will not have any effect, and wave to the waiter to bring the dessert menu anyway.

The same thing happens with online shopping when we are not entirely convinced by a shirt and we merely save it to our shopping cart without completing the purchase. At some online stores, this product is waiting for us in the cart when we next visit while some retailers move it to the wish list. Only rare retailers welcome us with a greeting like this:

Hi, [Sasha]!

You probably had places to be and left [product name] in your shopping cart. Do not worry, you can still complete your purchase by clicking this link: [link to the cart].

If you change your mind, you can return or exchange your products.

Kind regards,

[Your shopping assistant]

4. You bought rims last year, so maybe you need new winter tires this year.

One of my pet peeves with online shopping is that retailers advertise or send me e-mails about the same or a similar product I just bought from them. How many laptops does one need in a month? A second monitor, mouse, keyboard, or printer would be more useful.

If an online merchant sends me irrelevant offers and content, I quickly unsubscribe from their messages. I am much more likely to respond to a personalized and relevant message that offers me something I need:

Hi, [Neil]!

Those alloy wheels you bought for your [car brand] probably really need new winter tires. This year we a running a great promotion on the best [tire brand] tires.

Your car deserves the best. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. ;)

Drive safely!

[Your shopping assistant]

5. The baby carriage you liked is back in stock.

It often happens that an online store does not have a product in stock. It is usually the product that we urgently need and simply cannot be replaced by an alternative. Of course, there is no precise information about when the product will be back in stock. We might visit the store once, twice, or three times but when the product is still not available, we begin looking for an alternative. I assure you that everyone will be delighted with the following message:

Hi, [Monica]!

Are you still interested in [product name]? I know that the product was not in stock when you last visited, so I am happy to inform you that the product is available again at this link [link to the product in the online store].

Kind regards,

[Your shopping assistant]

6. Dear Customer, we reward your loyalty!

We all know that a discount on the first purchase is a very effective way to gain new customers. There is also a broad range of loyalty programs and cards most of which are based on the idea of rewarding customers with points for every purchase they make. These points can then be redeemed for certain products that are currently on sale.

While these promotions are fine if you are a klutz and need a new set of glasses every three months, they are nowhere as personal as the following message:

Dear [Peter]!

Today is a very special day! You have been our loyal customer for [the number of years since the first purchase] years. Your loyalty counts double and we are sending you a discount code that you can also apply to products that are already discounted.

Kind regards,

[Your shopping assistant]

7. Happy birthday!

While it takes your family and friends to throw you a surprise birthday party, every online merchant can afford to show a small token of appreciation.

Happy birthday, [Julia]!

Today is your day and we have prepared a small gift you will receive with your next purchase. You can redeem your gift by clicking this link [link to the product].

Kind regards,

[Your shopping assistant]

Why consider marketing automation?

You might ask why should you do all of this if your online sales are already good anyway?

The answer is simple: we want to provide our customers with the best user experience possible. This plays an important role in business success, as many surveys show that:

This means that long-term success largely depends on the user experience we provide to our customers. Only a personalized and genuine approach can forge and maintain the trust and loyalty of customers.