Marketing Automation
eCommerce Guide
What is Marketing Automation?

What is Marketing Automation?

By Sarah Perron, Content @Flashy

Like many eCommerce businesses out there today, yours is probably already using some form of marketing automation to communicate with your customers. You might have an email marketing platform, an SMS platform, a popups platform, and other tools through which you create, schedule, and send messages automatically.

Marketing automation is when a business targets customers with automated messages across email, web, social and text. It’s often done by using a marketing automation platform or tool.

There are two types of marketing automation:

Single-channel automation - this is where you automate a marketing message within one marketing channel, for example: sending a cart abandonment email.

Multi/Omnichannel automation - this is where you are automating on multiple channels at once, for example: sending a cart abandonment email + text message.

Your customers may be getting to know your business through these channels...but do your channels know each other? Are they connected? Are they communicating with each other about their interactions with your customers?

Multichannel vs. Omnichannel: What are Your Customers Hearing?

There's a big difference between multichannel and omnichannel marketing.

Here’s a quick example that explains this concept.

Imagine that you are attending a concert given by a symphony orchestra, and it’s about to begin. You see a wide variety of instruments – violins, clarinets, trumpets, drums, and more – each with a different sound, a different voice. They’re tuning up, getting ready to play…

Suddenly, a great, chaotic sound hits your ears. The concert has begun! All the instruments are playing…but each one is playing a different song.

At the same time.

It’s one big mess of sound. The players are clearly not listening to each other, and what comes out is just noise.

What would the audience do? Probably run for the exit…

Now. Imagine the same orchestra, getting ready to play. The violins begin the piece with their sweet, smooth voices. Then the bright tones of the clarinets enter…then the bold trumpets…then the rumbling drums. The instruments interact, play off each other, dance together. Everyone is beautifully in sync.

They’re all playing the same song.

It feels like the orchestra is playing just for you as if you’re the only one in the room. It’s a personal, beautifully crafted experience that leaves you wanting more…

So, what does all this have to do with marketing automation? It’s about multichannel marketing vs. omnichannel marketing.

multichannel versus omni channel example
Image source: Provana

Multichannel marketing is a lot like the first orchestra (you know, the one that made you want to run away). In this method, marketers use many different channels (instruments) to send messages to customers – email, popups, SMS, social media ads - but each channel is isolated from the others.

So many marketing automation platforms specialize in only one tool: only SMS or only email. The problem is that when you use several different platforms for your marketing needs, they’re not able to communicate with each other about your customers.

Your popup platform might think someone is a first-time website visitor and ask them if they want to receive 10% off on their first purchase, while the email marketing platform knows they’re actually a returning customer. Because these platforms work in isolation, they can’t see the big picture.

In multichannel, each channel is playing its own “song.” The result is inconsistency, missed opportunities, bad user experience, and lost sales.

The second orchestra – the one where all the instruments interacted and worked together to create a beautiful piece of music for the audience – is like the omnichannel marketing approach. Here, all channels are available to the customer and are connected with each other.

This is where the customer interacts not just with channels within a brand, but with the brand itself as a whole.

And the omnichannel “orchestra” knows what each customer likes. Interactions are highly personalized and relevant based on customers’ behavior so that they feel known and valued. Consistent omnichannel messaging will make them want to engage with your business again and again.

Use a marketing automation platform

The goal is to play the sweet omnichannel melody to your customers, where all your marketing channels are working together to bring one unified personalized experience to the customer.

One way to do that is to use an all-in-one marketing automation platform, like Flashy, Marketo, or Hubspot, where all your business and customer information is in one place. These platforms help you get all of your customer data in one place. They track all your website activity, can distinguish between first-time visitors and returning customers, so you know what personalized message to send to each customer.

We’ve asked Sarah Perron from Flashy to explain a little bit more about the platform.

The Flashy Way: Marketing Automation in Omnichannel

marketing automation platform graphic
Source: Flashy

So, is your eCommerce business playing beautifully orchestrated music to your customers...or just a bunch of noise?

Flashy’s all-in-one marketing automation platform for eCommerce businesses captures every bit of data on your site visitors and customers:

  • products viewed
  • pages visited
  • frequency of visits
  • frequency of purchases
  • items placed in the cart
  • emails and SMS messages opened

You can then use all that wonderful data to create marketing journeys based on your customers’ actions and behaviors. Our wide selection of personalization tools allows you to create messages that cultivate loyal, returning customers.

Use Marketing Automation across Multiple Channels

Automation can be used across many different channels:

  • email
  • SMS
  • popups
  • push notifications
  • social media ads
  • and more.

First, configure your automation in the best way for your business. Then select the triggers and conditions you want to use and power it on!

Automations aren’t just about great content, the timing is key.

Using a marketing automation platform, you can choose the exact moment when your messages will be sent. Automatically send a message to a customer who abandons their cart or to a visitor who repeatedly views a certain web page...and all while you’re focusing on product development, cultivating new investors, or enjoying a steaming cup of your favorite coffee (and well-deserved, we might add!).

Let’s take a closer look at the channels available to you in Flashy:

Email – Keep Your Customers Coming Back

Email marketing is the most powerful channel to automate. You can create compelling email automations based on your customers’ actions and interests. Choose from hundreds of beautiful email templates to get the look and feel that’s just right for your business. Add personalized fields to make your customers feel valued and include dynamic content that speaks directly to them.

Here are your standard email flows you could set up using any email tool:

  1. Send a welcome email automation series to new email list subscribers
  2. use a cart abandonment automation to nudge customers who are on the fence about a purchase…
  3. ask for feedback when a customer completes a purchase
  4. Retarget your users with complementary products
  5. Send shipping and delivery notifications
  6. Send happy birthday emails

Here’s an example of an email automation you could create using Flashy:

email marketing automation example ecommerce
Source: Flashy

Popups – Convert Visitors into Loyal Customers

Don’t let your visitors be part of the 98% who leave a website without making a purchase. Create personalized popups that convince them to stay and become happy customers.

Knowing who you’re talking to makes all the difference.

Flashy has a really powerful feature that lets you connect your popup automation to your email marketing flows that can bring your popup game to a whole new level.

Display tailor-made popups that differentiate between visitors and repeat customers. Customize specific on-site messages to welcome new customers and greet returning ones and roll out the red carpet for your VIPs.

You can choose who will view the popup, the location where it appears on your site, what actions trigger it, design and display timing. Choose between “Leads Popups” – where the goal is to convert website visitors to subscribers, and “Clicks Popups” – when you want to upsell, cross-sell, or notify contacts of a certain piece of information.

You can also use contacts’ profiles and event information to create popups that add a personal touch, like using their first name or giving them a special offer during their birthday month.

With so many popup options, it’s easy to communicate with the right person at the right time with the right message for better customer relationships and more sales for your business.

popup marketing automation ecommerce
Source: Flashy

SMS - Reach Your Customers Wherever They Are

Text messages give you another powerful way to automate your marketing efforts. SMS messaging automations give you the power of effortless interaction with your customers on-the-go.

Send customized coupons, product suggestions, and messages to your customers. It’s easy to add personalized fields, like their name or favorite product.

One of Flashy’s most impactful SMS features is individualized links. Every contact who receives the SMS gets a different link. This means that Flashy can keep track of exactly who is doing what.

If a contact clicks on their individualized link in an SMS, we can then track their activities on the website. So, if a contact adds something to their cart and then abandons it, we can start an automation aimed directly at them. Even after a contact leaves the website or closes their browser, and only revisits the site after a week or two has gone by, Flashy can still identify and keep tracking them.

Also, use our scheduling tool to choose to send an SMS now or later. Automatically send messages for cart abandonment, specific page views, or any customer action you choose.

SMS messaging is one of the best ways to keep your brand at the forefront of your customers’ minds, so if you’re not already sending text messages, you should definitely get into the game.

text message sms automation
Source: Flashy

Push Notifications

Push notifications are another captivating instrument in your orchestra of marketing channels. For businesses who have their own apps, push notifications can replace or enhance SMS with attention-grabbing messages that draw your customers in.

Here’s a great example:

push notification marketing automation example
Source: webengage

Marketing Automation Strategies for eCommerce – The Omnichannel Customer Journey

So, how exactly do all these channels work together in that special omnichannel way?

Here is an example of a customer journey automation.

  1. A first-time visitor arrives on your site
  2. When they’ve scrolled 1/4 of the way down your homepage, you display a popup offering 10% off their first purchase if they leave their email address (and remember, Flashy will only ask for email addresses from new visitors, not returning customers). They fill it in.
  3. The visitor receives a welcome email containing the 10% off coupon code.
  4. A few days later, the visitor returns to your site. They add some items to their cart and then abandon it.
  5. A cart abandonment automation is started, and the visitor receives an email reminder about the items in their cart.
  6. The visitor completes their purchase and is now officially a customer!
  7. They include their phone number in the order information. You set them up to receive an SMS automation three days after the order that contains suggested items based on their purchase
  8. 30 days later you ask them for feedback and a review
  9. You share their UGC review on Instagram and tag them
  10. You send them an email with a discount, thanking them for the review.
  11. A few months later you send them a happy birthday email

Once you set up all of these automations, everything runs automatically for you and you can focus on growing your business and expanding into other marketing channels.

Next up, let’s talk about email marketing automation.


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