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Automating your e-commerce business

The industrial revolution saw the birth of semi-automatic machinery that allowed a massive increase in the productivity of labour. Similarly, e-commerce is undergoing a revolution of its own to overtake the traditional retail sector through automation. Ten times the amount of sales online does not equal 10 times the workforce as it does with traditional shop fronts. Increasing scale no longer requires an enormous increase in retail locations.

In some extreme cases, a team of three can build up a million-dollar business. Some have even foregone the office altogether and work off-site year round.

On the flip side, most clients we touched base with do not perceive automation to be a key aspect of their strategy, regardless of its extremely high return on investment. Automation in any sector can generate highly beneficial snowball effects, and contrary to popular belief, does not require huge efforts to get started with.

Automate generation of email marketing campaigns

Email marketing is the foundation of effective online marketing strategies, and is still the most effective way to convince consumers to buy your product or service. Not to mention, older customers and consumers are known to open emails on a regular basis. Email campaigns serve to inform your consumers of the latest product news, provide helpful information and help sell your products.

By automatically converting social media posts to emails through the use of special software, you can automate a large amount of the content in your emails. You can additionally grab content from sales emails, new products, blog updates, and hot selling products to name a few.

Look for other automated marketing techniques

Do your customers have a birthday or anniversary upcoming? Send them an automated message. Send automated messages when people sign up for your email newsletter or buy a product. Provide a well packaged reason/excuse to enjoy your product again.

Put personalisation strategy into action

Greet people by name in emails, showcase how the product is made, take lively pictures of how staff handles products. Providing a human touch and being transparent can add emotion to your brand, and help drive the customer towards purchase.

Social media automation

Schedule a full month’s worth of social posts in advance so you don’t need to worry about it. You will still need to moderate comments, but at least you do not need to switch to an editor role every couple of days.

And making a plan instead of ad hoc posting can help build a strategy; connected, coherent content can snowball the awareness effect.

Remind them of their wishlist

The wishlist is a common but easy-to-forget function. When a customer adds a product to the wishlist means they are only one step away from making a purchase. Customer does not proceed to checkout in the end? Why not remind them of the item they showed interest in, raise their awareness, or maybe even entice them with a discount?

Attract their feedback

There is no doubt about the power of real user testimonials and feedback; the difficulty stems from getting them to write the testimonial.

Other than using real money or benefits, an automated email received three days after purchase titled “How do you feel about the S100 camera?” can help attract customer opinions. Who doesn’t want to show off their purchase, right?

Win on a strategic level

Systematic automation may seem like overkill before you have a large-scale business, but the time you save can be used to focus on the ever-changing market, growing your business, and embracing the e-commerce tsunami.

This article was written by Joe Tsui, CEO at Digiology HK.

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