October 12, 2020
eCommerce is perhaps the best way merchants can grow today. In June 2020, eCommerce grew 76.2 percent YoY, and it’s likely to grow faster still. Today’s eCommerce market is also getting crowded, with more than 7.1 millions online retailers worldwide. Winning in this competitive environment requires sophisticated and personalized eCommerce marketing. According to Gartner, companies that invest in online personalization technology are outselling their counterparts by approximately 30 percent.
But eCommerce marketing can be both tricky and time-consuming. Many marketers spend hours each day attempting to personalize and perfect different aspects of their brand’s eCommerce experience. This can involve creating content for each of their personas, hand-crafting product recommendations, testing tens of new promotions, and more.
Fortunately, smarter and more automated eCommerce features can help you adopt advanced marketing strategies with less effort. For example, artificial intelligence (AI) can enable you create personalized product recommendations that actually get better over time — with no manual intervention. You end up selling more while freeing up time to plan your next big product launch.
As a marketer at Adobe, I know firsthand how eCommerce technology can help you reach and nurture new digital customers. In this blog, I will share seven ways Magento Commerce makes online marketing smarter, more personalized, and a lot more effective.
#1: Serve fresh, personalized content
Content helps consumers find you on Google, and it’s a critical part of the customer experience. But content alone is not enough — it also must be personalized. The more personalized your content is, the longer visitors will stay on your site — and the more likely they are to buy. Thirty-seven percent of executives say that personalized content and product recommendations increase customer lifetime value.
Page Builder, available only with Magento Commerce, is a suite of content creation tools that makes it easier to quickly build content and tag it for different audiences and stages of the customer journey. It lets business users create, edit, and publish content pages without a developer. Key functions include flexible drag-and-drop layouts, reusable content blocks and templates, video backgrounds, and point-and-click button creation.
Plus, Page Builder is integrated with Adobe Stock, so you can search for and license Adobe Stock assets right from the Magento Admin. It’s a fast and affordable way to build web pages without the hassle of searching multiple royalty-free stock libraries for photos, videos, and other rich media.
Overall, Page Builder allows online businesses to craft more personalized content in less time and for less money. Plus, as I tell our customers, it really pays for itself. On average, companies that switch to Magento Commerce spend 61 percent less time creating content.
#2. Provide personalized product recommendations
In addition to personalized content, online shoppers want personalized product recommendations. Research suggests the vast majority of consumers (84 percent) will look at brands’ product recommendations at least sometimes.
A great example of this phenomenon is shopping on Amazon. Depending on what you do on the site, you’ll see product ratings, “also bought” recommendations, “also viewed” recommendations, and more. This strategy is a big part of why Amazon accounts for 40 percent of all online commerce in the U.S. Customer expectations are also being set outside of their shopping experience. Netflix, for example, delivers individually-curated content recommendations and “binge-worthy” suggestions to viewers.
It’s no surprise, then, that product recommendations account for up to 31 percent of eCommerce site revenues. Adding product recommendations to your site, however, requires intelligent technology. Manually developing product recommendations for each persona and each stage of the customer journey can be extremely time-consuming. And manual product recommendations can quick get stale as seasons and market conditions change.
Automated product recommendations that rely on machine learning, however, actually improve over time. And they can increase your conversions by up to 70 percent. I recommend them to anyone who’s marketing online.
#3. Coordinate strategies across channels
For best results, your marketing strategies should connect multiple channels. For example, customers could earn loyalty points for your web store by sharing your content on social media. Your website could feature content from user communities. Or customers who return products to your store could get coupons that are redeemable online.
I’ve found that an eCommerce platform with support for omnichannel commerce is essential for effective cross-channel marketing. Otherwise, cross-channel marketing can be almost prohibitively labor-intensive and error-prone.
#4. Build custom sites for different brands, markets, and segments
As your business grows and your product catalog expands, your site will get bigger and attract more people — maybe a lot more people. At some stage, you may want to group some of your products into their own branded stores, so you can offer a more targeted experience to your customers. Or you may want to add new sites with local language and cultural cues for customers in different geographies.
But growing your business can be difficult if you have to install and configure new software every time you add a new online storefront. Magento Commerce allows you to manage multiple websites for different brands, customer segments, or geographies from a single admin interface and database. It greatly simplifies administration of your digital stores and lets you analyze your business across channels.
All this means you can easily add and administer all the sites you need to deliver a high-quality personalized experience. In my experience, this kind of capability is critical to your brand’s ability to scale.
#5. Give visitors a concierge-like experience
eCommerce marketing is not a one-way exercise in which your brand talks and customers listen. Ideally it’s a two-way interaction, or at least it should be. Today’s customers are frustrated with slow email and call center response times when they have questions — and those response times are only getting longer. In fact, a recent study shows that 62 percent of companies ignore customer service emails.
This is where live chat comes in. Live chat can help you engage customers who are stuck and help move them down the funnel to purchase. Magento Commerce integrates with dotdigital Chat, Drift, and other live chat software so you can offer help exactly when your buyers need it. Chat agents can be triggered by customer behavior on your website or initiated by visitors who need assistance. Or you can use chatbots for simple questions. Already, almost 60 percent of live chat interactions involve chatbots in some way.
With live chat and chat bots, you can answer customers’ questions quickly and accurately, eliminating barriers to purchase without a lot of extra time, effort, or cost. I believe it is one of the easiest ways to show customers that you’re putting them first.
#6. Get people onto your mailing list
Email marketing is still around for a reason: It works. On average, every dollar invested in email marketing generates a return of $42. And email marketing is a critical part of most companies’ eCommerce marketing plans. You can use it to keep customers informed and to alert them to new, personalized offers. Email can also help you reach customers who have abandoned their shopping carts.
For email marketing to really work, though, you need to continually grow your list with qualified new prospects. Ideally, every page of your eCommerce site should have an email capture form that blends into the rest of your shopping experience. When you capture email addresses, your marketing team can send personalized offers to customers and direct them back to your website. I also suggest that an email address capture field should be part of the checkout process for new customers.
#7. Continually analyze what’s working and what isn’t
eCommerce marketing is a moving target. What works today will not necessarily work tomorrow. That’s why continually analyzing how customers interact with your promotions, content, etc., is critical. Magento Commerce is available with a Business Intelligence module that lets you analyze customer behavior across all your brands and websites, uncovering insights that will help you improve your eCommerce experience and drive conversions and growth.
While it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day operations if you’re growing fast, I recommend that marketers dig into business intelligence reports monthly or quarterly to spot trends and evaluate strategies. In these dynamic COVID-19 days, more frequent analysis could help customers stay ahead of mercurial customer shifts.
I believe that high-quality eCommerce marketing doesn’t have to be painful. With better automation, you can actually adopt more sophisticated strategies and get better results in less time. Instead of constantly tinkering with individual campaigns, you can look ahead towards your business’s next new opportunity.