What’s your best sales automation tip for e-commerce startups?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
1. Deploy Personalized Emails
When a potential customer shows interest in your product, it’s vital that you engage him quickly. Whether it is inbound inquiries or abandoned shopping carts, immediately deploying a personalized email can boost conversion. Unless your sales and customer support staff work 24/7, you need to set up an automated email responder/trigger to do the heavy lifting. Virtually all ESPs provide this tool.
2. Automate the Invoicing and Statement Process
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One of the best software options for invoice automation is QuickBooks. Invoices are automatically generated and sent to your customers, and they can be customized, as well. This makes the payment process that much easier for your clients.
3. Give Your Team Discipline and Freedom
Everyone seeks to save time with system automation. What about making your people more efficient? Setting up clear parameters for your team to operate in and giving them freedom to make their own decisions within them is a form of human automation. It can save you and your people countless hours of back and forth, and it’s been shown to increase employee and customer satisfaction.
- Mark Krassner
4. Have a Plan for Those Who Don’t Buy
With modern sales automation software, you often have the ability to capture lead information before presenting the sales offer. In this case, plan out a contingency strategy for when a prospect visits a sales page and decides not to purchase. This can include FAQs, special offers and asking if the prospect has questions about the product.
5. Use Recurly.com to Help With Subscriptions
Monthly subscriptions are incredibly valuable, but they can create a huge pain point as customers’ credit cards lapse. Recurly takes this pain point away and provides tools to warn you when people are not up to date on their subscriptions. Not only will you collect more cash, but you will save untold amounts of time by avoiding follow-up calls.
6. Require a Credit Card for Free Trials
Even if your conversion from a free trial to paid subscription is seamless, it’s always easier to get the credit card information at the front end so there’s no gap in service and less customer support needed to get paid. You’ll also attract a more committed client base that is willing to share billing information to test out your offers.
7. Email Customers Who Abandon Their Shopping Carts
One of the best tools we’ve put in place to optimize sales has been automating our shopping cart abandonment emails and testing different days and times to send these emails to customers. Once you have their emails and what they were shopping for, sending them an email within a period of time with an incentive to come back and finish their transaction will give you a nice sales boost.
Segment your customers by behavioral attributes when sending marketing emails. The kind of email that will convert a highly active customer is different from the one that brings back an inactive, one-time purchaser. This kind of data-driven targeting has yielded great results for many of our clients.
9. Add an Affiliate Offer to the Thank-You Page
Add an affiliate offer on your thank-you page. Once a customer hits your thank-you page, he’s likely not going to buy anything else from you immediately, but you can get easy profits by adding an affiliate offer to your thank-you page for a different type of product than what you primarily sell. For example, if you sell physical products, offer a related e-book affiliate offer, and visa versa.
In e-commerce, it’s hard to get the first sale. But once you have the first sale, you can easily sell to the customer again in the future. However, if you don’t have an email address, that gets a lot harder. Make sure to get an email address so you can follow up with the customer about cool new products and offerings.