Given the explosion of both mobile and social into the eCommerce world, one might be inclined to think that the death of human interaction is afoot. Has our friendly corner-store owner who knows his customers by name, their favourite brands as well as the neighbourhood gossip, been replaced by analytics and segmentation platforms, crunching ‘big data’? Well, yes. However, we are seeing that today’s conversation in retail is moving away from simple return on investment, to one of a ‘return on relationship’.
This is a huge opportunity that many retail brands are missing out on. At its heart, is a question of environments, ecosystems and expectations.
How do we humanise the digital shopping experience?
Given the standardisation of many eCommerce platforms how is a brand’s humanity realised through digital? Well, it should come as no surprise that we feel email marketing automation has an important role to play – the tool that can close the loop between digital and physical. The Direct Marketing Association reported that 60% of consumers had also made a purchase as a result of receiving campaigns, additionally citing that email referrals represented 56.8% of shopping cart traffic, with average ROI for UK eCommerce companies breaking through a whopping 2500%.
Marketing automation can replicate the traditional touch-points of the physical world – starting conversations through newsletters and welcome campaigns; a canvas to create a brand personality; personalisation through data segmentation and dynamic content; and being able to listen and use purchase behaviour.
However, the tools that we have in the online space allow us to go that little bit further, enhancing the users’ specific digital environment, as well as being able to push footfall back to brick-and-mortar.
It’s difficult to monitor exactly where customers are in the buying cycle – and without sufficient data capture in-store, virtually impossible to actively reengage them. However, a ‘Post purchase’ automated email campaign, for example – a follow-up to an online purchase, takes customers on a journey, specific to their buying behaviour, allowing a brand to easily re-engage at any point.
The Single User View
But how can we achieve this? The first thing needed is a single-customer view, combined with purchase data to help automate the delivery of such campaigns. It sounds like a contradiction in terms – employing automation to further a brand’s humanity. Given the scale of most retail brands’ data lists, the technology offered by the integration of an email service provider and an eCommerce platform such as Magento can help take a big step forward, in personalising digital experiences based on information such as product interest, average order value. In an instant, we can get a deep and meaningful understanding of a vast population of customers.
Magento, one of the most prolific eCommerce platforms, has an environment which allows retailers to build a tailored, digital shop-front. Buyer personas are realised through its cross-sell and up-sell functions. A product such as dotMailer can then import all historical sell data as well as the native cross-sell/up-sell functions and build segments. These RFM segments then form the basis of simple, yet extensive automation programs, dynamically delivering content and reengaging customers past the point of sale.
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