The 11 Best Practices for eCommerce Marketing Automation

18 Jan
The 11 Best Practices for eCommerce Marketing Automation

Step one: Learn about eCommerce marketing automation and fall in love with how it helps you get more done in less time.

Step two: ???

Step three: Your marketing tasks get automatically done for you!

That’s what you may be experiencing as you explore practices for eCommerce marketing automation for your eCommerce store.

Because you’ve cleared step one with flying colors, but step two is a mystery:

  • Which tools can help you with eCommerce marketing automation?
  • Exactly which marketing tasks can you automate, and how can you get the most from eCommerce marketing automation?

We’re here to demystify the situation and level you up to step three! Keep reading as we share 11 eCommerce marketing automation best practices and the tools that make it possible.

1. Map your lead flow

How do leads get to know about your store? And what do they do after landing on your store pages?

Work with your sales team to map out the typical sales cycle and the customer journey (also known as a “lead flow”). Doing so helps you understand how to best engage your leads—and the aspects of such engagement you can automate.

For example, if leads are putting items into their carts without checking out, you could send them an email reminder of their abandoned items. You can also automate this emailing process using an abandoned cart email flow.

(More on abandoned cart recovery emails shortly!)

2. Personalize your emails using customer segmentation

Customer segmentation is the process of categorizing your customers based on their behavior, preferences, or other customer data. It’s a useful tactic for personalizing your emails and increasing their relevance to your customers.

For example, if a customer has previously ordered cat food from your pet food store, they’re likely to own a cat. You can then add them to a “Cat Owners” segment and send them emails personalized with content for cat owners.

You can also avoid sending customers offers irrelevant to cat owners, such as offers for dog food (unless they also own a dog).

P.S. An advanced marketing automation solution can automatically add contacts to prospective customer segments as they join your email list!

Sendlane's segmentation and tagging tool with example email list

3. Send cross-sell and up-sell email

Once you’ve hooked a customer into ordering something from you, take the chance to recommend them related products. This way, you incentivize them to buy more from you—which leads to more sales!

Sending cross-sell and up-sell emails work perfectly here.

Based on the items your customers have bought so far, these emails recommend other products they may also be interested in. They’re the eCommerce equivalent of McDonald’s staff asking you, “Would you like fries with that?” when you order a burger.

Tailor your cross-sell and up-sell emails to different customer segments to increase the relevance of your recommended products. And don’t take weeks to send your cross-sell and up-sell emails either.

For the highest conversions, strike while the iron is hot. This could mean sending your email as promptly as immediately after a customer has confirmed their order.

4. Rescue sales with abandoned cart recovery emails

Some customers may have added items to their cart without checking out. This is a shame because you were this close to getting new orders.

To salvage the situation, send your customers abandoned cart emails that remind them of the items in their cart, then nudge them to check out. With the right email platform, you can set up your emails to be automatically sent one or three days after a customer has abandoned their cart.

Abandoned cart automation sequence in Sendlane

Your email platform may also have dynamic content features to populate abandoned cart emails with images of your customer’s abandoned items.

You’ll have a higher likelihood of rescuing sales this way, compared to sending a generic email saying, “Hey, you left some items in your cart.”

5. Create an omnichannel marketing strategy

An omnichannel marketing strategy aims to engage customers on multiple marketing channels—such as email, social media, SMS, and more.

By maintaining a presence on the various channels your customers use, you keep your brand at the top of your customer’s minds. Then when they face an issue your products can help solve, they might just think of and buy from you. Woohoo!

As you put together an omnichannel marketing strategy, consider issues such as:

  • On which channels you will cultivate a brand presence
  • How you will keep your branding and messaging consistent across all channels
  • How you will track and measure the results of your omnichannel marketing efforts

Running multiple marketing channels sounds like a lot of work, but good marketing automation tools can help ease the workload.

Using Sendlane, for example, you and your marketing team can put much of your email and SMS marketing communications on autopilot. This frees up your limited resources for other pressing tasks. Love it.

6. Send promotional emails

Offering promotions can do wonders in boosting your revenue, but how will you get the word out?

If you have a one-off promotion that applies to all your customers, such as a flash sale, you could manually send a one-time promo email. Apart from that, you can also run targeted marketing campaigns for specific customer segments.

For example, you can send segmented promotional emails containing:

  • Cross-sell and up-sell deals for contacts who have recently purchased certain items
  • Special birthday offers during your contacts’ birth month or birthday (such as the email from St. Ives below)
  • Members-only discounts for contacts who have signed up for store membership
St. Ives happy birthday promotional email

Use your email platform to automate the sending of such promotional messages at the right time!

7. Create emails that educate your customers

You are the pro in your field, and your customers may not have the same level of knowledge as you. Sharing your expertise can boost your sales when customers regard you as an authority whose products they can trust.

Educating your customers can also help customers better understand how to use your products. This can, in turn, reduce customer frustration and the volume of support requests you receive.

You can educate your customers by sending emails as part of a welcome funnel when they join your email list. It can also be helpful to email them tutorials on how to use a product they’ve just ordered from you.

For example, check out how AWAY sends this email to teach buyers how to use their newly purchased AWAY carry-on: 

AWAY welcome email on newly purchased item

And as you’re creating your educational emails, make them part of automated funnels so they’ll be sent even while you’re managing other aspects of your store.

8. Launch exclusive offers for your most loyal customers

VIP customers deserve VIP treatment—and you can launch exclusive offers that only they can take advantage of.

To set this up, create an email segment of your most loyal customers. These customers can be those who have spent at least a certain amount with you, for example or customers who have made a certain number of successful referrals.

When customer a meet the criteria for being added to your “Loyal Customers” email segment, your email platform will dutifully do so. This addition can also trigger the platform to email exclusive offers to your newly minted VIP customers!

For example, VIP customers of BaubleBar previously enjoyed early access to the brand’s Black Friday sale:

BaubleBar Black Friday discount email for their loyal customers

Meanwhile, the brand’s non-VIP customers were none the wiser. 🤫

9. Keep your contact database clean

Over time, your contacts may stop opening your emails or engaging with them. Some may also change their email address entirely.

So just like how you need to clear out your store inventory from time to time, it’s a good practice to periodically remove inactive email contacts.

You can reduce your email marketing costs (because you send fewer emails), and you may also see improvements to your open and click-through rates!

Sendlane offers two ways of helping you keep your contact database squeaky clean.

Smart List Hygiene lets you do a one-off removal of inactive contacts, while Automatic List Hygiene periodically and automatically removes contacts who have been inactive for a specified number of days.

Sendlane automatic list hygiene tool

10. Streamline your operations management

The larger your store grows, the heavier your workload may become. When this happens, take the time to review how you can simplify your operations.

For example, if you find yourself doing tasks that take a lot of effort but produce very little value, consider eliminating them altogether.

Or if certain repetitive marketing tasks can be automated, let marketing automation software handle those for you!

As many of the tips above have shown, Sendlane can automate various email processes to free up your schedule for tasks needing more human creativity.

You’ll also increase your productivity as you can get more done within the same amount of time!


11. Design a post-purchase experience

Don’t let a successful purchase be the end of the customer journey. Keep engaging the customer to maintain the customer relationship and encourage repeat purchases.

After a customer has received their order, for example, you could send them:

  • Cross-sell and up-sell emails that recommend related products, as mentioned above
  • Survey emails to learn how you can improve the customer experience (such as the email from Ring below)
  • A weekly or monthly newsletter to share the latest deals they may be interested in
Ring post-purchase review email

Setting up and automating such a post-purchase experience is easy with email automation software, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to retain your customers for the long term.

Put these eCommerce marketing automation best practices into action with Sendlane

eCommerce marketing automation is a beautiful thing. Set it up once, and it’ll faithfully execute your eCommerce tasks without your involvement.

There’s also no shortage of tasks you can automate: the 11 marketing automation best practices and tips we’ve shared above are just the tip of the iceberg!

With Sendlane, designing powerful email workflows for your marketing automation strategy can be as simple as customizing pre-built funnel templates.

Integrate Sendlane with all the apps you use to run your eCommerce business, then get ready to engage your customers—and increase sales—at scale!

Claim your 60-day free trial of Sendlane here (no credit card required).

Marketing automation FAQs:

How can you use marketing automation for eCommerce?
Which are the best tools for eCommerce marketing automation?
What is the benefit of using email automation tools?

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