A Quick Guide to Retail Marketing Automation and How to Make It Work for Your Business
By Grace Lau
Automation is here to stay. A rebellion by our soon-to-be robot overlords notwithstanding, everything from payroll processing to sustainability efforts will remain in the hands of software solutions for the foreseeable future.
Retail marketing and automation have seen a huge synergy recently. With a whopping 42% of organizations only adopting marketing optimization in the last one to two years, the bus is still well and truly running on adoption for clued-in businesses.
So how exactly can your business jump aboard and make automation work in their favor? You’re about to find out.
Select Your Segments
Knowing your customer is key. How you choose to categorize your customer base and form segmented, data-driven demographics is the foundation of any and all retail marketing automation.
Lapsed, legacy, one-off, or high-value customers can be treated individually and campaign strategies defined based on their funnel characteristics. Once these profiles are in place you’ll be able to increase personalization and build more effective, nuanced customer relationships with less effort than you were putting in before.
Key data insights can and should have added benefits beyond the customer journey on your website or via email campaigns. Automation can evolve your social media marketing, for example, into direct social commerce with surgical targeting and experience-based product/service suggestions.
Compare Your Campaigns
Automating your marketing strategies will allow you to diversify your marketing opportunities and be less selective over the types of campaigns you run. Suddenly what was previously cost-ineffective is now top of the agenda.
Loyalty campaigns are a great way to periodically engage and recognize the patronage of returning customers. However, if your product range or service portfolio doesn’t encourage multiple return visits, you may benefit more from single post-order campaigns. These can help with everything from application onboarding to upselling additional product features with one-time “add-on” discounts.
Also, automation will increase your ability to exploit omnichannel campaign opportunities. While omnichannel integrations might have been out of reach previously, a potential reduction in overheads and cross-channel scripting capabilities means they are now a very real option.
Customers expect this kind of multi-faceted commerce experience wherever possible. Exploiting the possibilities automation provides for omnichannel is a no-brainer!
Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
Having visibility and understanding of your key product dates and sales cycle milestones is vital.
Are your customers dipping out of subscriptions after a first full-price renewal? Automate weaning renewal discounts. Do your sales historically take a hit during particular months? Create a seasonal reminder brochure with a cart abandonment offer to cover the exits.
Further, if your products are largely high value or more SaaS-based, data will allow you to offer renewal-date-based discounts or version upgrades based on significant onboarding anniversaries.
Creative use of automation like this is where having the best online marketing software for the specific needs of your business is vital.
Reorient Your Resources
Automation frees up a lot of hands. While understanding which workflows can benefit is necessary, don’t forget to get involved with positive secondary benefits too.
Brick-and-mortar businesses have gone through the wringer in the last few years. Between the uptake in ecommerce and the advent of automated fulfillment models of increasingly-popular dark stores, physical stores have moved down the pecking order.
If your business has physical requirements that limit online migration, automated marketing in this regard can trim your marketing budgets and allow sales staff additional resources to close deals and chase generated leads.
Don’t be afraid to look at your workflows and sales funnels with fresh eyes given your new automated lease on life.
Indeed, integrating further with bespoke sales automation means that your workforce can focus on more complex or previously out-of-reach leads with a lot of the leg work already done. That’s the very real concept of automation in action.
Heck, combine bespoke automation for your retail marketing efforts and a solid mobile app for business and you might be able to ditch your desk altogether!
Finally, Script It but Don’t Ditch It
So you’ve taken the plunge. Your pipelines are positively brimming with automated functionality and you finally have the time for that team-building day four years in the making.
While it might well save you time and resources, the most effective way to get the most out of your retail marketing automation is with your constant vigilance. The “set it and forget it” myth of automation sees many users fall into the trap of apathy when it comes to keeping their content timely, relevant, and up to date.
The human element, therefore, remains the most important. Your key business insights, experience, and desire to build customer relationships will serve you well if you carry that care into your automation strategies.
Automation will free up your time. Just remember to use it wisely.
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and ops teams to build and nurture content. Lau has also written for sites such as WebSitePulse and Multibriefs.
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