From manual to automatic: how automation saved Minor Entertainment 50 hours’ admin time

When I ask clients why they’re not yet using marketing automation, the top reasons are either data gaps or a lack of available time/budget.

Minor Entertainment Ltd was one of those organizations who hadn’t yet realized the potential of marketing automation. The company specializes in spectacular family theater events, with its most famous being In the Night Garden Live which typically tours UK cities from May to August.

Before introducing marketing automation to its communications strategy, Minor Entertainment Ltd used to collect ticket information via a third-party data warehouse which offered a limited integration with dotmailer. The lack of integration meant that its marketing team were forced to manually send emails to ticket holders to let them know about the event, location and merchandising available, which was becoming extremely time consuming.

After an initial data assessment, we identified a way to improve the current custom integration so it’d provide the data we needed to build our marketing automation. We named the program the ‘Get Ready automation’ because the communications it delivers are aimed at prepping ticketholders about their upcoming show. Using dotmailer and the newly enabled flow of data, the program automatically triggers a series of personalized emails providing people with the right information at the right times.

What were the results?

The Get Ready program has resulted in huge efficiencies, reducing human error to zero. We’ve estimated that the company is now saving around 50 hours of admin time a year; not only a significant cost saving but it’s enabling the marketing team to focus on more fun and productive activities.

Jenni McNally, who’s the Marketing Manager at Minor Entertainment Ltd, commented on the results of the work: “We are delighted with our new automation program. It has saved us an enormous amount of admin time.”

How can I get marketing automation off the ground?

If you’re an extremely busy team, making time to save time is often the hardest part. Here are a few things to consider to help you on your journey to smarter marketing:

  1. Find the right tool: the program builder is available in every dotmailer account and it’s easy to use. Here’s a link to our automation videos to show you how to get started.
  2. Plan: if you’re super busy, draw up a priority list of automations and build them into long-term plan. Having a roadmap will help you to keep on track and avoid getting overwhelmed. As they say, a goal without a plan is just a wish!
  3. Improve: start simple and build up as you go. Build, measure, learn and repeat.

Here’s a list of automations to get your started:

  1. Welcome series: introduce new subscribers to your brand, with a series of emails that move prospects closer towards a purchase.
  2. Transactional programs: spice up functional transactional emails, like order confirmations, so they’re inspiring and better promote your brand.
  3. Post-purchase programs: build trust in your brand and help new customers get the most out of their product with helpful, relevant content.
  4. Abandoned cart program: rescue lost sales by reminding customers who’ve left items in their cart to come back and complete the purchase.
  5. Abandoned browse programs: use web behavioural tracking with automation to send follow-up emails with content based on what users have browsed.
  6. Product replenishment programs: remind customers to re-stock with automated emails when you have a good idea that their supplies are dwindling.
  7. Customer retention programs: from loyalty programs to brand-building content, you can automate emails that keep your brand front of mind.
  8. Recommendation and upsell programs: use customers’ past purchase and web browsing behaviour to automate product recommendation and upsell emails.
  9. Lost customer programs: reduce your attrition rate by using automated programs to send incentives to buy again or capture why they left.
  10. Date-driven programs: use the valuable data you have to get in touch during different times of the year, such as ‘happy birthday’ emails.

Get your free copy of our ‘Making time to save time’ guide which’ll put you on the path to marketing automation:

Should you need any help to create your automation roadmap or in getting your programs set up, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Account Manager. We offer Automation Kickstarters, custom integrations and collaborative implementation workshops.

The post From manual to automatic: how automation saved Minor Entertainment 50 hours’ admin time appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Marketing automation just got a little bit sweeter

Let’s start with those of you who are timid towards marketing automation because, frankly, you are missing out.

Free automation templates to start you on your journey

Automation not only gives you time back (cue cuppa time), it waves goodbye to the ancient ‘spray and pray’ approach your contacts loathe.

Don’t believe us? In the DMA’s 2016 Consumer Email Tracker report, 68% of consumers ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ with the statement ‘Most of the marketing emails I receive include no information of offers that are of interest to me’. You don’t want to be tarred with the same brush, do you?

On our crusade to empower marketers, we’re now offering three free automation templates to get you on the path to smarter more relevant communications:

  • The welcome program – say hi to new contacts and give them the lowdown on your brand with an automated welcome email that gets delivered on sign-up
  • The birthday program – wish your customers well by automating celebratory emails on their day of birth or birthday month
  • The re-engagement program – automatically win back wavering customers with a killer campaign that rekindles the love

 

Free automation templates available in your dotmailer account

Psst! Our free ‘Navigating the 5 stages of marketing automation’ guide is also jam-packed full of inspo.

We’ve doubled the number automations you can create in your account

To some, 25 automated campaigns might sound like a lot – but there were some customers who were crying out for the ability to produce more programs. And we’re all about empowering marketers, not hindering them.

All of our customers now have free rein to create up to 50 automations in their dotmailer accounts. You might be thinking “Woah, that’s a lot of dragging and dropping!” So, to make that part easier, we’ve made it possible to copy your program nodes meaning you won’t need to keep rebuilding those complex decisions.

And it doesn’t end there…

If you’ve logged in recently, you may have noticed that things look a little different – and you’d be right. Our product team have been working tirelessly to bring you a new ‘elastic’ UI which makes it quicker, easier and more fluid to create campaigns and navigate the platform.

The Segment Builder’s got speedier, too, which makes it faster to generate key groups of contacts to target.

All in all, dotmailer’s slicker all around and these are just a few of the new improvements we’ve put in place. Watch the release video below or read all about it on the 17three page.

dotmailer 17three from dotmailer on Vimeo.

The post Marketing automation just got a little bit sweeter appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotmailer.com

The welcome program: the first step towards data-driven email marketing automation

However, given the sheer quantity of data brands are leveraging, automation programs are becoming necessary to win the email marketing game. Consumers’ expectations are rising, and highly personalised, 1:1 communications are becoming the norm among brands who wish to establish and maintain a good relationship with their customers.

Fret not, however!

Automation doesn’t have to feel like jumping into the deep end — we all start learning how to swim with a little paddle. A welcome email introduces your brand to new subscribers and sets their expectations with regard to your email marketing; this is a great place to test the automation waters.

As a customer, I want a timely response to my sign-up and more information on what I’m going to receive. It’s also worth noting that – according to Big Commerce – 75% of email subscribers expect a welcome email after joining a mailing list. This positive first impression helps a customer maintain their interest and trust in your brand; both of which are crucial for your sending reputation and deliverability.

Nevertheless, according to a 2017 Econsultancy survey on UK & U.S. marketers, only 44% sent welcome emails, despite them delivering higher open, click and conversion rates than ordinary promotional emails (Big Commerce**). Brands are subsequently losing revenue by not implementing a welcome series.

Equally, a welcome program is a great opportunity for brands to drive engagement and get to know their customers. It’s like the beginning of any relationship, whether it’s a colleague, a friend, or a partner: when we meet people, we want to find out more about them so we can understand their interests and eventually nurture a mutually beneficial relationship. Enriching your customer insight during a welcome series will help you to build a data foundation to leverage, ultimately driving lifetime value.

Here’s an example of a three-part welcome program that can help you to boost your brand at the beginning of the relationship.

3-stage welcome program with a preference center

  1. Online sign-up

It’s important to keep the sign-up simple (e.g. via a pop-up) to drive organic data acquisition. Save the preference center for the welcome series, as asking for too much information at this early stage can increase the drop-off rate.

  1. WELCOME 1 – Thanks for signing up!

This email should be sent within a few minutes of the sign-up, and include brand visuals so that the subscriber recognises who it’s from and what it’s about. It’s also important to incorporate a double opt-in link so that the email account can be verified.

  1. WELCOME 2 – We’d like to get to know you 😊

In this email, it’s key to engage the subscriber and incentivise them to do something. My advice would be to invite them to complete a preference center, allowing them to dictate their own email journey. This stimulates interest, builds trust, enriches your data and ultimately helps you create a profile of your subscribers. Off the back of subscribers’ responses, you can put them into segments and opt them into different programs for targeting purposes.

  1. WELCOME 3 – Thanks for updating your preferences!

This is the reward bit. For those who haven’t update their preferences, I would send them a reminder to do so. For those who have, say ‘thank you’ and let them know what emails you’re going to send them (this can be done using dynamic content). In terms of reward, this could be anything: a complementary product, free delivery, money off their first purchase, some downloadable content etc.; it totally depends on your business and what’s important.

Remember: you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

According to Digital Commerce 360, retailers that generate the most revenue from new subscribers typically send three welcome emails, incorporating a discount within the series. Although discounts are not always advisable (as they can devalue the brand), you should always offer some sort of reward off the back of the subscriber fulfilling an action.

Nowadays, a welcome program is an essential component of your email marketing strategy. If you’re not doing one, you should be! Driving brand value and customer engagement from the off will pay dividends. Remember, a first impression goes a long way!

The post The welcome program: the first step towards data-driven email marketing automation appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotmailer.com

5 ecommerce automation programs that make email an essential marketing channel for retailers

Customer relationships are like any relationship – you need to put in the effort to make them work.  After the initial excitement of meeting, it’s important to keep letting them know you care and are there for them.

This is tricky enough in a 1 to 1 relationship.  When you, a retailer, have hundreds, thousands or possibly even millions of relationships to maintain, it’s impossible to do so manually, so use the tools available to you to take out the heavy lifting without letting engagement suffer.

Luckily, using customer data – their actions or inaction – you can send messages to your base tailored to where they are in their relationship with you, not where you are in your marketing plan.

Event triggered marketing and automation is highly effective way of keeping the love alive, while saving you time and money that you can reinvest in moving your business forward.

Here are 5 simple programs that will help your relationship tick over…

Thank you for subscribing

The first email any retailer should send their customers is, very simply, a thank you.

We’ve all seen stories and statistics on inbox overcrowding, so, if a customer has given you their email address you should recognize this is a privilege and thank them at the point of sign up.

You can extend this ‘thank you’ and send a short, automated welcome series, and use this opportunity to get to know each other better.  Retailers can use this opportunity to educate your new subscriber on the full range of your products, and in turn, invite your customer to provide further data and preferences on your site.

Automated Thank you or Welcome programs, when used effectively, help build brand engagement, trust and set expectations for a positive buyer seller relationship from the start.

Abandon cart

The people over at the Baymard Institute have compiled a survey review of the various reports available on online shopping behavior, and have concluded the average number of people abandoning their shopping cart is just over 69%.  This is a huge amount of potential lost revenue.

Reasons for customers abandoning vary.  They need either more time, more money, or more option to compare so make sure to send a timely reminder that you’re still there when they’re ready to purchase.

Depending on your product, the consideration cycle will range from 30 minutes to 30 days.  Use the insight you have available to target customers with an automated reminder message before they’re enticed away by your competitors. Around 63% of baskets are recoverable – find out more here.

New Information

If, like most retailers, you want optimum brand engagement through having your customers to engage with you across several online avenues then, there should be channel specific benefits to them doing so.

The same is true with email, and retailers can effectively make their beloved customers feel they are getting value from subscribing by automating worthwhile information for them.

Providing that you can get the product feeds into your email platform, you can send customers notifications on new stock, price drops or reviews to keep them engaged during the sale cycle.  Keeping them up to date on what matters most to them is a great way to show you that you really care.

It’s your birthday

As with any good relationship you’re trying to nurture, anniversaries are important.

You can choose what anniversary you want to acknowledge based on what makes sense for your business – sign up date, purchase date (high ticket items),or a customer’s actual birthday.  Using the date provided you can send a short personalized message to commemorate the date and given them a voucher, upgrade or other incentive you see fit.

This personalized touch of surprise and delight creates a deeper relationship and is a quick win to keeping your customers happy.

We miss you

If it looks like your customer is losing interest, you don’t have to let them walk away.

Convincing them to stay is easier when they’re still with you than once they’ve unsubscribed.  If a loyal customer has stopped buying from you then treat this like anyone else you’re trying to win over.  Make the effort to get in touch, help them feel special, remind them why you’re good for them, and if needs be, maybe give them a little incentive to come back to you.

Done well, the act of recognizing the relationship isn’t what it was will reignite the feeling that were once there, and if not, then, you tried and you know it’s over.

 

The Golden rule is that if you’ve got the data, you can automate the message. Start simple and scale, it’ll make all the difference to your relationships.

The post 5 ecommerce automation programs that make email an essential marketing channel for retailers appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 5 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

8 reasons why your ecommerce business needs marketing automation

Here are eight solid reasons your ecommerce business needs marketing automation:

  1.      Easier to personalize marketing campaigns

Consumers want to see and hear things that are personal to them, especially in a world where they’re faced with increased noise and distractions. By being able to ask questions and collect more data, and make offers that are specific to that customer and their purchase history, you’ll have a better chance of gaining repeat business. With dynamic content and email marketing automation, these steps are accomplished without actually having to personalize each email individually; instead, it just requires an initial setup with a top marketing automation platform.

  1.      Easier customer targeting across multiple channels

These days there are so many channels across which you can market, with email, social media and SMS providing just a few examples. One of the best things about this variety is that your multichannel strategy can be devised so that you reach out to the right people, at the right times and in the right places. However, taking this job on manually can prove inefficient and time-consuming. Marketing automation enables you to send targeted marketing across all channels, reaching your intended audience when and where it suits them.

  1.      Improved lead generation and conversion

While repeat business is always important, generating new leads and turning those leads into new customers is just as critical. When your business obtains a new lead, it’s wise that you connect with them immediately. Running manual lead engagement means that often, some potentials will inevitably slip through the cracks.

You can set up your marketing automation program to target all leads that come in and connect with each one in a way that matters to them. All lead engagements will be tracked and can be further targeted as they interact with your communications.

  1.      Better opportunity for cross-selling and upselling

One of the key tactics to increase sales and drive repeat business has always been upselling and cross-selling. Ensuring customers know about upgrades or accessories that go with the product they purchased can be a quick win.

With marketing automation, you can use customers’ order data to send personalized emails that let them know about additional products that are relevant to them. For example, if you were selling a pair of suede shoes you might want to recommend a suede protector spray. This will increase the average order value and lifetime value of your customers, and ideally keep them coming back for more.

Marketing automation saves time, enables scalability and drives up incremental revenue

  1.      Management of cart abandonment

Cart abandonment has become an epidemic in the world of ecommerce, with consumers abandoning a whopping 68% of carts. Marketing automation can help by allowing you to send out triggered abandonment emails.

You can target a customer who has abandoned their cart and send them an email after it’s remained neglected for a specified amount of time. When crafting the email, it should not only remind someone that they have items in their cart, but also encourage them to complete their transaction.

  1.      Improved post-transaction marketing

Marketing to the customer who has already purchased your product is as important as marketing to potential customers. The idea behind post-purchase marketing is to provide incentive for repeat business, and marketing automation makes this easy to do. You can promote products that are related to what the customer just bought, you can personalize the email to better relate to their purchase behaviour, and provide personal replenishment or loyalty discounts.

  1.      Improved analytics

Investing in email marketing automation means better analytics. Every aspect of your marketing campaign can be tracked and reported on, as the majority of marketing automation platforms can be integrated with analytics platforms, such as Google Analytics. Every aspect of a marketing campaign can be broken down so you can analyze the data and see where you’re doing well and where you need to optimize.

  1.      It’s a time-saver

This might be one of the greatest benefits to marketing automation. In reality, you have probably experienced the realization that manual marketing communications can become a major time-suck. With automation tools, your time can be better used searching out new products, developing new services, or devoted to some other aspect of your ecommerce business strategy. Simply put, when your marketing communications are automated, you will not only decrease your workload, but also have a stronger, more efficient, and completely optimized marketing campaign.

If you’d like to find out how you can go about introducing email marketing automation to your business, download our free ‘Making time to save time’ guide. Alternatively, check out our ‘Find the right marketing automation tactics for you’ document, which includes inspiration and real-life success stories.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Growing your agency with email marketing automation services

According to a 2015 report by VB Insight, only 5% of businesses are currently using marketing automation, yet those that do are generating outstanding leads, conversions and revenue. There are a number of common reasons why companies are yet to introduce email marketing automation to their businesses, ranging from lack of in-house knowledge and confusion over vendor selection, right through to budget and time constraints.

All of these hurdles are simple to overcome with the right piece of technology and the right people to recommend it. And that’s where you come in.

Cost-effective and delivers ROI quickly

As we know, email is the veteran among the digital marketing channels but there are good reasons why its popularity hasn’t waned. Thanks to constantly-evolving technology like dotmailer, it’s easier than ever to create, test and send marketing emails – whether orchestrated by in-house teams or as part of an agency service. This makes it extremely cost-effective compared to other marketing channels, such as Facebook advertising and PPC.

Email also drives outstanding return on investment – VB Insight’s report found that 80% of marketing automation users saw their number of leads increase, and 77% saw the number of conversions increase. The fact that it’s straightforward to measure ROI and prove the value of email within almost any business makes it an easy sell for you. We all know that if you can start demonstrating amazing results in just a few days or weeks, your clients will become happier and, more importantly, stickier.

Ties channels together

In this multichannel, always-on age, brands need to be where their customers are to ensure they’re delivering the experience they expect. That puts pressure on any business, as being across all the necessary platforms can be time- and resource-consuming. That’s where automation can help.

Email is at the core of marketing automation, because it’s the glue that binds the other marketing channels together and has the ability to deliver personalized mass communications at scale. Of course, dotmailer also provides the flexibility to extend its automation tool with a selection of channel extensions, such as SMS notifications or the ability instruct your printers to send a brochure.

We believe marketers should have the flexibility to choose the technologies that suit their business, and not be stuck with the ones that don’t. The dotmailer platform offers companies the opportunity to take a phased approach, which saves SMEs from ripping everything out and replacing their setup with an expensive, all-in-one marketing cloud.

We’re also a Magento Premier partner because we offer the most feature-rich Magento extension for email in the market, which offers seamless connectivity and is Magento 2-ready. There are also our Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce connectors, offering a similar experience.

Why is dotmailer the real deal?

First, we offer a competitive US Partner Program for agencies wanting to resell our product or even use it to execute clients’ campaigns as a service. That includes commission of up to 20%.

dotmailer isn’t just an email marketing automation platform. With every license you get a whole package of extra tools, including landing pages and surveys & forms – so you can deliver more revenue-driving services without additional costs to you.

As a dotmailer reseller, we also give you the chance to work on and deliver the email marketing strategy, which increases your services and offerings.

For you and your clients, the opportunity that the dotmailer platform and email marketing automation presents as a whole is undeniable. To find out more about our US Partner Program and to get in touch, visit our US Partner page.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Darryl, the man behind dotmailer’s Custom Technical Solutions team

Why did you decide to come to dotmailer?

I first got to know dotmailer when the company was just a bunch of young enthusiastic web developers called Ellipsis Media back in 1999. I was introduced by one of my suppliers and we decided to bring them on board to build a recruitment website for one of our clients. That client was Amnesty International and the job role was Secretary General. Not bad for a Croydon company whose biggest client before that was Scobles the plumber’s merchants. So, I was probably dotmailer’s first ever corporate client! After that, I used dotmailer at each company I worked for and then one day they approached a colleague and me and asked us if we wanted to work for them. That was 2013.  We grabbed the opportunity with both hands and haven’t looked back since.

Tell us a bit about your role

I’m the Global Head of Technical Solutions which actually gives me responsibility for 2 teams. First, Custom Technical Solutions (CTS), who build bespoke applications and tools for customers that allow them to integrate more closely with dotmailer and make life easier. Second, Technical Pre-sales, which spans our 3 territories (EMEA, US and APAC) and works with prospective and existing clients to figure out the best solution and fit within dotmailer.

What accomplishments are you most proud of from your dotmailer time so far?

I would say so far it has to be helping to turn the CTS team from just 2 people into a group of 7 highly skilled and dedicated men and women who have become an intrinsic and valued part of the dotmailer organization. Also I really enjoy being part of the Senior Technical Management team. Here we have the ability to influence the direction and structure of the platform on a daily basis.

Meet Darryl Clark – the cheese and peanut butter sandwich lover

Can you speak a bit about your background and that of your team? What experience and expertise is required to join this team?

My background is quite diverse from a stint in the Army, through design college, web development, business analysis to heading up my current teams. I would say the most valuable skill that I have is being highly analytical. I love nothing more than listening to a client’s requirements and digging deep to work out how we can answer these if not exceed them.

As a team, we love nothing more than brainstorming our ideas. Every member has a valid input and we listen. Everyone has the opportunity to influence what we do and our motto is “there is no such thing as a stupid question.”

To work in my teams you have to be analytical but open minded to the fact that other people may have a better answer than you. Embrace other people’s input and use it to give our clients the best possible solution. We are hugely detail conscious, but have to be acutely aware that we need to tailor what we say to our audience so being able to talk to anyone at any level is hugely valuable.

How much of the dotmailer platform is easily customizable and when does it cross over into something that requires your team’s expertise? How much time is spent on these custom solutions one-time or ongoing?

I’ll let you in on a little secret here. We don’t actually do anything that our customers can’t do with dotmailer given the right knowledge and resources. This is because we build all of our solutions using the dotmailer public API. The API has hundreds of methods in both SOAP and REST versions, which allows you to do a huge amount with the dotmailer platform. We do have a vast amount of experience and knowledge in the team so we may well be able to build a solution quicker than our customers. We are more than happy to help them and their development teams build a solution using us on a consultancy basis to lessen the steepness of the learning curve.

Our aim when building a solution for a customer is that it runs silently in the background and does what it should without any fuss.

What are your plans for the Custom Tech Solutions team going forward?

The great thing about Custom Technical Solutions is you never know what is around the corner as our customers have very diverse needs. What we are concentrating on at the moment is refining our processes to ensure that they are as streamlined as possible and allow us to give as much information to the customer as we can. We are also always looking at the technology and coding approaches that we use to make sure that we build the most innovative and robust solutions.

We are also looking at our external marketing and sharing our knowledge through blogs so keep an eye on the website for our insights.

What are the most common questions that you get when speaking to a prospective customer?

Most questions seem to revolve around reassurance such as “Have you done this before?”, “How safe is my data?”, “What about security?”, “Can you talk to my developers?”, “Do I need to do anything?”.  In most instances, we are the ones asking the questions as we need to find out information as soon as possible so that we can analyse it to ensure that we have the right detail to provide the right solution.

Can you tell us about the dotmailer differentiators you highlight when speaking to prospective customers that seem to really resonate?

We talk a lot about working with best of breed so for example a customer can use our Channel Extensions in automation programs to fire out an SMS to a contact using their existing provider. We don’t force customers down one route, we like to let them decide for themselves.

Also, I really like to emphasize the fact that there is always more than one way to do something within the dotmailer platform. This means we can usually find a way to do something that works for a client within the platform. If not, then we call in CTS to work out if there is a way that we can build something that will — whether this is automating uploads for a small client or mass sending from thousands of child accounts for an enterprise level one.

What do you see as the future of marketing automation technology?  Will one size ever fit all? Or more customization going forward?

The 64 million dollar question. One size will never fit all. Companies and their systems are too organic for that. There isn’t one car that suits every driver or one racquet that suits every sport. Working with a top drawer partner network and building our system to be as open as possible from an integration perspective means that our customers can make dotmailer mold to their business and not the other way round…and adding to that the fact that we are building lots of features in the platform that will blow your socks off.

Tell us a bit about yourself – favorite sports team, favorite food, guilty pleasure, favorite band, favorite vacation spot?

I’m a dyed in the wool Gooner (aka Arsenal Football Club fan) thanks to my Grandfather leading me down the right path as a child. If you are still reading this after that bombshell, then food-wise I pretty much like everything apart from coriander which as far as I’m concerned is the Devils own spawn. I don’t really have a favorite band, but am partial to a bit of Level 42 and Kings of Leon and you will also find me listening to 90s drum and bass and proper old school hip hop. My favorite holiday destination is any decent villa that I can relax in and spend time with my family and I went to Paris recently and loved that. Guilty pleasure – well that probably has to be confessing to liking Coldplay or the fact that my favorite sandwich is peanut butter, cheese and salad cream. Go on try it, you’ll love it.

Want to meet more of the dotmailer team? Say hi to Darren Hockley, Global Head of Support, and Dan Morris, EVP for North America.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Is Australia the land of opportunity for your retail brand?

Australia has a resident population of more than 24 million and, according to eMarketer, the country’s ecommerce sales are predicted to reach A$32.56 billion by 2017. The country’s remote location in the APAC region means that unlike European countries or the USA, traditionally there have been a lack of global brands sold locally.

Of course, we also know that many expatriates, particularly from inside the Commonwealth, have made Australia their home and are keen to buy products they know and love from their country of origin.

All of these factors present a huge and potentially lucrative opportunity for non-Australian brands wanting to open up their new and innovative products to a fresh market, or compete for market share.

But it’s not just non-Australian retailers who are at an advantage here: Australia was late to the ecommerce party because native, established brands were trading well without it. Subsequently, Australian retailers’ ecommerce technology stacks are much more recent and not burdened by legacy systems. This makes it much easier to extend, or get started with, best-of-breed technologies and cash in on a market that’s booming. To put some of this into perspective, Magento’s innovative ecommerce platform currently takes 42% of Australia’s market share and the world’s first adopter of Magento 2.0 was an Australian brand.

The GST loophole

At the moment, local retailers are campaigning against a rule that exempts foreign websites from being charged a 10% general sales tax (GST) on purchases under A$1,000. And in 2013, Australian consumers made $3.11 billion worth of purchases under A$1,000.[1]

While the current GST break appears to put non-Australian retailers at an advantage, Australian-based brands such as Harvey Norman are using it to their advantage by setting up ecommerce operations in Asia to enjoy the GST benefit.

Australian consumers have also countered the argument by saying that price isn’t always the motivator when it comes to making purchasing decisions.

It’s not a place where no man has gone before

Often, concerns around meeting local compliance and lack of overseas business knowledge prevent outsiders from taking the leap into cross-border trade. However, this ecommerce passport, created by Ecommerce Worldwide and NORA, is designed to support those considering selling in Australia. The guide provides a comprehensive look into everything from the country’s economy and trade status, to logistics and dealing with international payments.

Global expansion success stories are also invaluable sources of information. For instance, it’s not just lower-end retailers that are fitting the bill, with brands like online luxury fashion retailer Net-a-Porter naming Australia as one of its biggest markets.

How tech-savvy are the Aussies?

One of the concerns you might have as a new entrant into the market is how you’ll reach and sell to your new audience, particularly without having a physical presence. The good news is that more than 80% of the country is digitally enabled and 60% of mobile phone users own a smartphone – so online is deeply rooted into the majority of Australians’ lives. [2]

Marketing your brand

Heard the saying “Fire bullets then fire cannonballs”? In any case, you’ll want to test the waters and gauge people’s reactions to your product or service.

It all starts with the website because, without it, you’re not discoverable or searchable, and you’ve nowhere to drive people to when running campaigns. SEO and SEM should definitely be a priority, and an online store that can handle multiple regions and storefronts, like Magento, will make your life easier. A mobile-first mentality and well thought-out UX will also place you in a good position.

Once your new web store is set up, you should be making every effort to collect visitors’ email addresses, perhaps via a popover. Why? Firstly, email is one of the top three priority areas for Australian retailers, because it’s a cost-effective, scalable marketing channel that enables true personalization.

Secondly, email marketing automation empowers you to deliver the customer experience today’s consumer expects, as well as enabling you to communicate with them throughout the lifecycle. Check out our ‘Do customer experience masters really exist?’ whitepaper for some real-life success stories.

Like the Magento platform, dotmailer is set up to handle multiple languages, regions and accounts, and is designed to grow with you.

In summary, there’s great scope for ecommerce success in Australia, whether you’re a native bricks-and-mortar retailer, a start-up or a non-Australian merchant. The barriers to cross-border trade are falling and Australia is one of APAC’s most developed regions in terms of purchasing power and tech savviness.

We recently worked with ecommerce expert Chloe Thomas to produce a whitepaper on cross-border trade, which goes into much more detail on how to market and sell successfully in new territories. You can download a free copy here.

[1] Australian Passport 2015: Cross-Border Trading Report

[2] Australian Passport 2015: Cross-Border Trading Report

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com