Ecommerce marketers, do you really need SMS?

SMS marketing provides brands with the opportunity to craft an immediate personal relationship with customers, but many are yet to incorporate the channel. With consumers running the game when it comes to tech adoption, those that act fast will stake a claim in the mobile inbox – leaving others at the back of the queue.

Today’s empowered consumer challenges us to provide exceptional brand experiences. Each interaction needs to be packed with all the contextual relevancy and personalization we now receive in our digital lives. Moreover, consumers are fully aware that they leave data breadcrumbs everywhere they go. And they expect them to be used to make their experience better.

To keep up with on-the-go consumers, marketers (firstly) need to utilize powerful technology and leverage the right data. Secondly, they need to compose brilliant, meaningful messages that compel customers to act fast. Adding complementary channels to support your email marketing efforts means you can reach the right customer through their most relevant channel. At dotmailer, we think this omnichannel expansion starts with SMS.

There’s no better way to reach every customer than by bringing together the two giants in communication: SMS and email marketing automation. More than 5 billion people will own a mobile by 2019. Plus, eMarketer expects total US retail mcommerce sales will grow a further 32.7% in 2018. And with email boasting a healthy £38 return for every £1 spent, the numbers paint a healthy picture for investment. Both mediums provide much more bang for their buck compared to, say, paid media, giving you back valuable resources to spend as you see fit.

Combining these two push channels nurtures that all-important 360° customer view. Plus, you can add relevance and granularity to your strategy when you tailor your engagements to the individual. Choosing a tech provider with SMS baked in means you can add the channel to your strategy with ease – and scale quickly.

We’ve put together this free guide that shows 6 prime use-cases for the SMS in ecommerce, along with some ideas for your first foray into omnichannel marketing.

Download the free guide.

 

dotmailer’s integrated global SMS service works in 156 countries, helping you amplify your automation strategy with timely and contextually relevant communication. Check it out for yourself!

Want to see what you can do with SMS? Take a quick demo.

 

The post Ecommerce marketers, do you really need SMS? appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 6 days ago from blog.dotmailer.com

6 ways to target ecommerce customers with SMS and email

SMS marketing provides brands with the opportunity to craft an immediate personal relationship with customers, but many are yet to incorporate the channel. With consumers running the game when it comes to tech adoption, those that act fast will stake a claim in the mobile inbox – leaving others at the back of the queue.

Today’s empowered consumer challenges us to provide exceptional brand experiences. Each interaction needs to be packed with all the contextual relevancy and personalization we now receive in our digital lives. Moreover, consumers are fully aware that they leave data breadcrumbs everywhere they go. And they expect them to be used to make their experience better.

To keep up with on-the-go consumers, marketers (firstly) need to utilize powerful technology and leverage the right data. Secondly, they need to compose brilliant, meaningful messages that compel customers to act fast. Adding complementary channels to support your email marketing efforts means you can reach the right customer through their most relevant channel. At dotmailer, we think this omnichannel expansion starts with SMS.

Multiracial hipster friends couple having fun with smartphone in subway train – Urban relationship concept with young people watching mobile phone in city underground area – Bright desaturated filter

There’s no better way to reach every customer than by bringing together the two giants in communication: SMS and email marketing automation. More than 5 billion people will own a mobile by 2019. Plus, eMarketer expects total US retail mcommerce sales will grow a further 32.7% in 2018. And with email boasting a healthy £38 return for every £1 spent, the numbers paint a healthy picture for investment. Both mediums provide much more bang for their buck compared to, say, paid media, giving you back valuable resources to spend as you see fit.

Combining these two push channels nurtures that all-important 360° customer view. Plus, you can add relevance and granularity to your strategy when you tailor your engagements to the individual. Choosing a tech provider with SMS baked in means you can add the channel to your strategy with ease – and scale quickly.

We’ve put together 6 prime use-cases for the SMS/email partnership, along with some ideas for your multi-channel campaigns:

1. Shipping/updates

Using automation to deliver a dual-channel transactional strategy is the best way to keep customers up-to-date with their purchases and deliver exceptional customer service. If you’re using an ESP like dotmailer, you can trigger SMS messages – like dispatch alerts – using the SMS service. Automate your key transactional communications through your email provider to keep all your analytics in one place.

2. Customer feedback surveys

If you’re looking for a quick way to gauge the experience your customer has received, a quick SMS survey could be just the ticket. Get feedback on your transactional emails by asking customers to reply with a number between one and ten. Quick, easy and informative!

3. Reminders and alerts

Slotting SMS extensions into your automation programs enables you to deliver emails and SMS at appropriate points along an individual customer’s journey – but at mass scale. Appointment reminders and expiry prompts are just two examples of SMS notifications that you can automate.

4. Personalized offers/marketing campaigns

In a recent survey conducted by Narvar, US online shoppers from every age group from 12-65 admitted to preferring to receive text messages over push notifications from retailers regarding their orders. The story runs parallel in the UK, with 67% of  internet users aged 18-34 stating they like receiving relevant brand offers and promotions via SMS.

Offer-led messages are more likely to strike the right chord with customers if they’re carefully considered and well-timed. Consider this use case: An existing customer browses and ‘favorites’ a sale item on your website; she leaves the website without buying, so your automation program triggers an ‘abandoned browse’ email to the customer to remind her of product she’s flagged – you could also include the date that your sale ends. If the customer doesn’t return after a chosen period, delivering an SMS to reminder her that her favorite item will soon be full price might just do the trick. You could even offer the customer an exclusive SMS discount to bring them over the line.

5. New product updates

Got a new mobile app or an upgrade to your service? These brand landmarks are worth telling your customers about and an SMS could be the ideal way to spread the good news. If you’re communicating your new app, including a CTA link to a download page helps the recipient instantly get the goods.

6. Loyalty

VIP customers deserve VIP treatment. They already feel affinity for your brand and, in some cases, may be true advocates who are sharing the positive experiences with their peers.

Loyalty reward emails containing time-sensitive content are often best backed up with SMS reminders. Updates about new points earned or those that are due to expire are a good way to show that you know and respect your customer; Think too about optimizing the conversion period for valuable customers with SMS alerts about exclusive sales access.

dotmailer SMS

SMS is an effective marketing tool that enables you to cut through the noise when other channels can’t. 54% of US retailers plan to expand their unified commerce (omnichannel initiatives) over the next 18 months, the top answer for those surveyed. It’s never been more important to get ahead of the competition.

dotmailer’s integrated global SMS service works in 156 countries, helping you amplify your automation strategy with timely and contextually relevant communication. Check it out for yourself!

Want to see what you can do with SMS? Take a quick demo.

 

The post 6 ways to target ecommerce customers with SMS and email appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Boost your ecommerce success with dynamic pricing

The goal of every single ecommerce retailer is to find a solid way that leads them to improve their business. Personalized and segmented emails, delivering a great user experience and customer support, publishing good performing ads… The list goes on. All of these efforts have a great impact on the success of an online business. But in this article, we would like to tap into a mysterious area – having an effective pricing strategy through dynamic pricing to boost ecommerce success.

While dynamic pricing is not a completely new approach, ecommerce retailers have been using it more of late. Most of them were randomly optimizing their prices and changing them manually based on internal decisions. However, because of the increase in online price competition, and thanks to greater market intelligence and sophisticated dynamic pricing software, ecommerce retailers have realized the importance and the impact of dynamic pricing on their businesses.

What is dynamic pricing?

In basic terms, dynamic pricing is a pricing approach that enables you to set flexible prices by taking into account your costs, desired profit margins, the demand of the market and your competitors’ prices. In other words, you’ll be able to set the optimal price at the right time in response to real-time demand and competition status, while taking into account your business goals.

Why is dynamic pricing important?

The most apparent case is retail giant Amazon, who changes and updates its prices every 10 minutes and increased its revenues by 27.2%. Another big player, Walmart, adopted dynamic pricing and changed its prices 50,000 times a month. Using this pricing model, its sales jumped by 30% in 2013.

Dynamic pricing also lets retailers have additional and valuable insights on industry trends. Ecommerce retailers can apply different price limits and analyze price elasticities before deciding the optimal product price. A great way of testing and optimizing your prices is through paid ads. For example, Google Shopping provides instant data on how online shoppers are responding to your new price. You can analyze conversion rates, impressions, CTRs and margins after changing prices. By making continuous tests, you can find the optimal price.

The benefits of using a dynamic pricing strategy are abundant: improved margins and revenues; better conversion; control on the market; personalized prices based on season, demand and demographic; and presence in price comparison engines. As such, your prices always stay competitive and optimized in the ecommerce market.

Dynamic pricing use-case scenarios

If you are managing an ecommerce store, you should seriously consider adopting a dynamic pricing model with the right technology, since it has a significant impact on business success.

Here are some proven dynamic pricing use-cases that you can face in your industry:

  • Demand-based pricing

If the general or seasonal demand for your product is at low level, then you have to eliminate the excess stock in order to get rid of the extra costs. The most common practice is to drop prices as low as possible to increase sales.

On the other hand, if demand is high in the market (it can be a seasonal effect or instant hypes), it would be great to increase your prices for the purpose of boosting profits.

So in a nutshell, demand-based pricing lets you benefit from demand fluctuations in the market like increasing prices when demand is high or when your competitors’ products are out of stock.

Identifying your competitors’ out-of-stock products – through a competitor price monitoring tool, Amazon Bestseller, or tracking Google Trends – would give you great insight in understanding market demand and the most popular products over a certain time period.

Moreover, ecommerce retailers can apply a dynamic pricing strategy for some seasonal opportunities that occur during the holidays or shopping frenzies.

  • Time-based pricing

Time-based pricing is a dynamic pricing approach which enables ecommerce retailers to optimize their prices based on certain times of a day, month, year or the lifespan of a product in the market.

Different to demand-based pricing, as time is the core element rather than instant hypes in demand, the time-based pricing model is more predictable.

Let’s go through some real examples. The most popular industry using the time-based pricing approach is airline ticket providers. You should definitely notice that airline ticket prices are much higher in holiday seasons when compared with a regular season in the year.

Time-based pricing also works well if a product is outdated. Electronics brands use this strategy to increase the demand for an old version of a product. Whenever Apple releases a new version of a product, the price of an old version is marked down for the purpose of attracting more customers.

Through time-based pricing, you’ll always be aware of market trends as well as what your rivals are offering. With that intelligence you can always know where and when to decrease or increase your prices.

  • Competitive pricing

There are hundreds of competitors in the market and they adjust their prices continuously. That’s why you should also monitor them and take actions based on the pricing competition in the market.

If you deny your competitors then you won’t know if you’re priced too high or too low among them. That lack of information causes you to detach from the market.

In that scenario, you’ll face low conversion rates or slim margins which harm your sales and business growth. This is because your competitors are acting competitively and are more aware of market trends.

Do you know why?

The statistics show that majority of online shoppers compare prices before finalizing their purchase by visiting at least 3 online stores. Moreover, most of them name price as the very first criteria for their purchasing decision.

In a nutshell, because of price competition in the ecommerce space, online pricing becomes one of the key elements that influences the purchasing decision. So, retailers should be very attentive with their management and optimization.

Think about a scenario in which one of your competitors applies discounts and undercuts your pricing. With dynamic pricing, you can automatically react to its discounting strategy and regain your competitive status again.

Your prices may be too competitive when compared to your closest rival. So, even an increase of 10% or 20% won’t harm your competitiveness in the market. To grab at this opportunity, you need fresh competitor intelligence and dynamic pricing. By investing in both, you will be able to retain your competitiveness and increase your profit margin.

How to ‘really’ apply dynamic pricing to your strategy?

As mentioned above, Amazon is a huge fan of repricing!

Now let’s see how to apply this smart strategy!

Having tons of data is great. But, the crucial thing is to convert data into actionable insights. Fortunately, there are dynamic pricing and repricing software in the market that help you to generate recommendations from the data that you’ve collected from competitors. Then, the technology lets you calculate optimal prices through repricing rules that you’ve set based on your competitors’ prices, market demand and costs.

Once the optimal price rules are set, then you can enjoy the rest! The repricing engine works all day and your prices will be changed according to the fluctuations in the market and, of course, based on the rules that you’ve set. With the mix of competitive intelligence and repricing ability, your business can gain a seamless competitive advantage in the market. As you’re able to react to every single move in the market, your prices will always stay competitive or optimized.

Let’s give an actual example:

There are two different retailers competing in the same category:

  • The first retailer named ‘Great E-Commerce Retailer’ is selling all types of products from almost every category (electronics, home & kitchen appliances, fashion products, sports products,… the list goes on…)
  • The second retailer named ‘Super Sport Retailer’ specializes in the sports category.

Then, imagine that these retailers are competing harshly over price in the ‘football shoes vertical’. To take advantage of repricing technology and find the most optimal price, the below rule for Super Sport Retailer can be set;

My prices for every product under ‘football shoes category’ should be 10% lower

+

than ‘Great E-Commerce Retailer’

+

but they should be at least 15% higher than my costs

After setting this rule and assigning it in the repricing engine, ‘Super Sport Retailer’ will always have competitive prices in the football shoe category that won’t veer lower than its costs.

Repricing in ecommerce is key to remain competitive and grow your business online.

So, what are your thoughts on dynamic pricing and repricing? Have you ever tried it on your ecommerce store? If yes, what are your experiences? Please don’t hesitate to share all of them with us at Prisync.

The post Boost your ecommerce success with dynamic pricing appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotmailer.com

10 winning automations for B2B ecommerce

B2B ecommerce sales will experience explosive growth in the coming years, eclipsing the revenue generated from B2C markets. Just think about the average value of a business order when compared to that of a consumer. And yet, B2C brands seem to dominate digital channels, harnessing the power of marketing automation to reach the right customer, with the right message, and at the right time.

In this year’s Hitting the Mark, B2B brands scored 26% below their B2C counterparts across all criteria. With their global ecommerce worth set to reach an eye-watering $6.6 trillion by 2020, B2Bs need to put their foot of the gas.

Email still remains the most popular tactic employed by B2B marketers, perhaps down to the returns on investment: £32 for every £1 according to the DMA. To take their ecommerce to the next level and capitalize on this predicted growth, companies need to digitalize their marketing activities and adopt smarter tactics.

Marketing automation is the answer. B2B companies can dissect the lifecycle of their customers and create powerful, data-driven programs to complement every stage of the buying journey.

Food for thought:

  • Make context the source of everything you do
  • Define your audiences
  • Blitzing your contacts with emails is a dead end
  • Content is hot right now

1. Welcome program

The welcome program is widely considered by industry professionals to be the most important automation in the marketer’s armory. Its importance rests on one single factor: the initiation of the customer relationship and the ability to influence future perceptions. Whether you’re onboarding a new client or introducing your brand to prospects, the welcome program is your vehicle to drive a positive relationship from the start.

In your welcome program, you’ll need to:

  • introduce your brand and its USPs
  • ask for preferences to tailor the customer experience
  • set expectations and reinforce any special benefits of signing up: i.e. exclusive content

2. Nurture Program

Nurturing prospects into customers – and customers into repeat-buyers – is the essential ingredient of business growth and success. From the moment an assistant registers interest to when a c-level buyer signs on the dotted line (and beyond), nurturing contacts is a non-stop marketing effort that delivers the goods. This is the ‘right people, right time’ element of your marketing mix.

When scoping out your nurture program, consider the following:

  • Product-specific information, i.e. promotional and editorial
  • Base this on your web insight, preferences and where customers are in the buying cycle
  • Set-up of various newsletter automations, per category and audience segment for example

3. Abandoned browse program

A prospect’s browse behavior is a great indication of where they sit in the buying cycle – viewing a price page might suggest a high intent to purchase, for instance. Triggering an email off the back of this action could spur the prospect to return to the website and review the pricing page again – they might even book a demo, request a sample product or buy from you.

Best tactics to lure web visitors back:

  • Ensure the email is 100% on brand and reflects your website
  • Include some inspirational content that’s relevant to what the subscriber was browsing
  • Recommend the right product or service based on the data you hold

4. Abandoned cart program

The cart recovery program is a tried-and-tested quick win for B2Bs, delivering sensational results every time. It’s a simple triggered campaign to implement and is proven to get deals over the line. This is due to the hyper-targeted nature of the communication – you’re nudging prospects who, having dedicated time to place items in their cart, have a very high propensity to buy. Not sending these emails is throwing money away. Madness!

Top tips for an effective B2B cart recovery email:

  • Send the email within 24 hours of the abandoned action
  • Pull in product details and imagery to contextualize the message
  • Direct subscribers back to their cart with an eye-catching call to action that’s above the fold

5. Aftersales program

The post-purchase period is a delicate timeframe where expectations hang in the balance. Overdelivering on your promise will keep customers happy, while falling short can jeopardize your retention.

Being super-attentive to new customers will build enthusiasm over the products or services they’ve acquired. In the long term, this level of care can abate churn and generate brand advocacy.

To deliver a smooth aftersales journey, you should:

  • thank customers for purchasing with you over a competitor
  • ask for a product rating and review of the service experienced by customers
  • be transparent. From once an order is placed right through to delivery and usage, it’s important to provide relevant information that adds value to the customer experience

6. Upsell Program

There’s an art to upselling and it’s wise to be subtle in your approach. As is often the case with many email programs, the devil is in the data. Pushing random products to contacts after they’ve purchased could cause them to unsubscribe and makes for an altogether unpleasant email experience that could tarnish the business relationship.

Tailoring the experience on the other hand can boost a customer’s lifetime value and keep them in your good books.

To get the balance just right:

  • promote complementary products or services that will enhance a customer’s account and improve their business processes
  • base these recommendations on past-purchases, web behavior and preferences
  • be customer-centric, offering contact details should subscribers want to discuss a particular product or feature over the phone

7. Replenishment program

This program isn’t for every B2B. Brands that sell products with a short lifespan will need to ensure their customers’ stocks are replenished. An effective way to remind them is to enrol contacts onto a replenishment program – this would work particularly well for stationery brands that supply their clients for monthly or annual events, for example.

Employing this program will depend on both your business and the products/services you offer.

If it’s relevant to you, don’t forget to:

  • calculate the frequency of purchase based on the needs of customers
  • use a loyalty scheme to make replenishment worthwhile to clients
  • offer more for less: it might be an idea to inspire customers to bulk-buy at a reduced cost

8. Loyalty program

Inspiring loyalty is a must, as failing to make customers sticky can have serious consequences for business continuity. Unhappy customers, even indifferent ones, will move through the funnel at a quicker pace – eventually there won’t be enough business coming in to compensate for clients slipping through the net.

To generate loyalty among customers:

  • award them with bonus points or a special gift every time they buy
  • invite them to exclusive events that will add value to the business relationship
  • offer perks that incentivize them to spend more or upgrade their package

9. Lapsed customer program

Sustaining engagement is a challenge faced by many businesses. But customers that drop off the face of the earth aren’t lost forever. You should try, at the very least, to win them back and rekindle some brand love. Simple re-engagement programs are tried and tested sources of revenue – and every B2B should be implementing them.

Top tips:

  • Nudge dormant contacts with an attention-grabbing subject line (i.e. ‘We Miss You’) and reveal the content they’ve been missing out on
  • Ask these subscribers whether or not they’d like to continue receiving emails from you
  • If after several attempts contacts remain inactive, perform a health-check of your database and filter them out – this should improve your deliverability

10. Data-driven program(s)

Conceptualizing email campaigns off the back of data is a winning tactic for B2Bs. Why? Because extracting powerful insights from customers will deliver more targeted emails, inspiring readers to engage and buy with you.

Examples include messages (triggered by geolocation) promoting a specific event or store sale that’s relevant to the individual; another would be a triggered email following up a form submission or demo request. In both cases, the high level of relevancy exhibited in these campaigns will tap into readers’ emotions and spur action.

When planning your data-driven programs, think about:

  • context: will subscribers realize who you are, what you’re saying and the reason why?
  • relevancy: does the content pair perfectly with the context of the message?
  • calls to action: don’t waste time. It’s all about captivating the audience at the right moment – send them somewhere and get them to do something.

 

Want to see some killer examples of B2B automation? Download the full guide to find out more.

10 winning automations for B2B ecommerce

 

The post 10 winning automations for B2B ecommerce appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 2 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

What top ecommerce experts love about Magento 2

While some were intrigued by new tools and improved content structures, others seemed reluctant to join the bandwagon. After all, Magento 2 was a significant departure from the original version. Many weren’t prepared for such a big leap, which is why there are so many ecommerce websites still powered by an older version of this platform.

From today’s perspective, it’s safe to say that Magento 2 managed to push the entire ecommerce industry forward. This is one of the reasons why we wanted to engage the community of Magento experts and learn their opinions on this platform. If you continue reading, you will learn what top ecommerce experts have to say about Magento 2 when we asked them to tell us what they loved about Magento 2.

“More powerful than you think”

Many individuals believe that Magento 2 is overly complicated – at least until they try the platform themselves. Other ecommerce platforms are doing an excellent job of marketing their user-friendly features. As a result, inexperienced online store owners become overwhelmed once they decide to try one of those platforms. Magento seems to be doing the opposite. It appears overly complicated at first, especially since it involves working with highly-trained professionals, however anyone can master Magento 2 with a little bit of effort.

Here is what Ryan Street, a trainer at Magento Commerce, says:

Magento is a robust and complex platform. Many times, I receive questions about ‘Can Magento do this?’ More often than not, I am able to tell clients that Magento has their requested feature right out of the box. This usually comes as quite a surprise to many of them. Magento 2 is more powerful than you think.

“Magento has no competitors in the market”

Only a couple of years ago, there were a few powerful ecommerce platforms. However, the competition grew quickly and now there are currently more than a dozen heavily-marketed platforms battling over each and every online store owner. However, we often forget that Magento is one of the oldest platforms in the market.

The most significant limitation to ecommerce platforms is their flexibility. We believe that Magento is an example of freedom in design and development to other platforms. The truth is that you have unparalleled freedom with Magento 2 as you can design an online store of your own custom design and implement features found nowhere else.

Take a look at this quote from Miguel Balparda who is a senior Magento developer:

In my opinion, Magento has no competitors in the market. Shopify, for example, is a fine platform but it’s not as flexible as Magento. Other platforms are also easy to use, but the flexibility of Magento can’t be compared with any other platform at the moment.

“A Magento 2 website can grow with you”

When choosing between different ecommerce platforms, scalability is one of the most critical factors. This is easy to understand since every online store owner wants to know that their website can easily grow, but you might be surprised to know that scalability is one of the biggest strengths of Magento 2. The newest version of this platform brings dramatically improved performance while reducing server load. At any moment, online store owners can work within their website’s backend without affecting the performance. Powerful design features make this process as effortless as it can be.

Rebecca Brocton, a Magento 2 developer and project manager, recently spoke on this matter:

If you are serious about ecommerce, growing your business, and having a scalable website that can grow with you, then the first choice has always been Magento.

“Issues can be identified and fixed quickly”

Support is of the utmost importance when it comes to any ecommerce platform. Unlike traditional websites, technical difficulties can greatly impact any online store. Every second an online shop displays an error or becomes inaccessible means losing a potential customer, but this can be avoided by having a reliable support team or a dedicated community of users.

As you surely know, Magento 2 is drastically different from the original version. This change didn’t happen overnight. Instead, many developers all around the world have had prepared for this step. Today, there are armies of highly-skilled develops that can help you resolve technical issues in no time.

This is what Sean Breeden, a certified Magento developer, says:

So much effort has gone into the development of Magento 2 that I do recommend it for store owners. Magento 2 has a much larger community than Magento 1 in the beginning, which means that many of the problems that are encountered will be identified and fixed quickly.

“Great built-in functionalities of Magento 2”

Even though other ecommerce platforms can be a fantastic solution for small online stores, Magento is the only platform with incredibly capable functionalities that are built into the system. Different platforms offer premium-priced extensions to make up for this but Magento 2 brings it all at once, right out of the box.

Eugene Zubkov is a senior Magento develop with years of experience under his belt. Here is how he feels about built-in functionalities of Magento 2:

One of the most significant advantages of Magento are numerous helpful built-in functionalities of the platform. After installing the system, we get a fully-functional store with multi-currency, localization, a lot of store views, marketing, and reports.

“New improvements and new functionalities every few months”

Security and implementation of advanced features are what concerns every online store owner. Upgrading to Magento 2 is a complex process that takes meticulous planning and execution. However, this is also a vital and rewarding process. One of the most important reasons to make this leap is the constant and rapid development of this platform. After upgrading to Magento 2, you can be sure that you have access to the latest security patches and newly introduced features. Luckily, upgrading to a new incremental update within Magento 2 is as easy as it gets.

Check out what Nestor Gonzales, a developer with 12+ years of experience, says about applying updates within Magento 2:

The main selling point of Magento 2 is that it’s easy to upgrade because the upgrades are extremely simple with the new releases every quarter. It’s going to be like a new store with improvements and new functionalities every few months.

“Sheer amount of customization possibilities”

Online shoppers don’t care about the technology that is powering ecommerce websites. Instead, they are focused on visual design and user-oriented features. Magento 2 is diverse as it gets when it comes to visual design as this platform thrives on customization.

You will hardly find two Magento 2-powered online stores that look and work the same way – even if they use the same template. With a bit of effort, inexperienced online store owners can experiment with different layouts without sacrificing functionality and performance. The truth is that Magento 2 can be used to create an optimized website for just about any purpose and business model.

Josh Cameron, who is a Magento developer and consultant, recently stated:

Personally, I think the sheer amount of customization possibilities is a huge factor. Businesses can fine-tune Magento to fit their business model, instead of the other way around.

Final thoughts

There isn’t a better way to learn about an ecommerce platform than to see what experts have to say. You can find thousands of Magento 2 experts in every corner of the world, which is the ultimate proof of this platform’s capabilities. Make sure to use their knowledge and to engage with the vibrant community of Magento developers and users.

 

Uwe Weinkauf is the CEO of MW2 Consulting, experts in Enterprise Application Development, eCommerce, IT Outsourcing, and IT Operations that delivers valuable solutions for global business needs. 

You can learn more about MW2, discover dotmailer’s Magento integration, or follow Uwe on LinkedIn.

The post What top ecommerce experts love about Magento 2 appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 8 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

How to use your email marketing software to prevent ecommerce fraud

From local newspapers to Facebook’s global network of two billion users, your campaigns can be seen by nearly every person in the world. Need to target flannel-wearing lumberjacks in Washington? Done. How about cat-loving motorcyclists in Texas? Easy. But with so many eyeballs on your marketing, it’s bound to draw the attention of some bad people; people trying to defraud your company. If you’re like most marketers, the thought of fraud has never even crossed your mind. And why should it? Your goals are aligned with increasing revenue, promoting customer delight, and improving your brand’s image. Fraud couldn’t possibly impact these metrics, right?

Unfortunately, the effects of ecommerce fraud can creep into every department, including marketing. Your revenue goals will suffer due to chargebacks and associated fees. Your customers’ satisfaction will drop as they’re forced to endure longer review times. Even your brand’s image could deteriorate from a public’s perception that your site facilitates fraudulent activity. When viewed in this light, perhaps it’s easier to see why you should pay closer attention to the fight against ecommerce fraud. So how can you continue to reach, and even exceed, your marketing goals while also helping to prevent fraud? Your email marketing software may hold the answer.

The email address

If you’re running an email campaign, then you already have one of the most valuable data points in the fight against fraud: an email address.

In the 46 years since the first email was sent, email marketing has evolved from a simple method of communication to a sophisticated system for connecting, engaging, selling, and, yes, protecting your business from fraud. In fact, when fraud rates are compared to other marketing channels such as ads on Facebook or Instagram, customers who come via your email marketing are four times less likely to be fraudsters, according to data from Riskified, a leading eCommerce fraud prevention company. You can thank the old reliable email address for this.

For years, fraud-prevention professionals have been using email addresses as a form of identity verification. They know that certain characteristics of an email address are typically associated with higher risk customers. For example, the age of an email address can be helpful in understanding whether your customer is a known and trusted member of the internet community or a swindler. Tools such as emailage exist to help you quickly recognize an old friend from a new enemy. And while the age of an email is important, so too is the provider, as some are safer than others.

Gmail, for example, requires each user to verify their identity, which makes it a less likely choice for an individual committing a crime. Also, the naming convention of the email can be a strong indicator. If you notice an address that looks odd or resembles a keyboard smash like asdf123@gmail.com, proceed with caution, as this can be a sign of a charlatan waiting to strike. When taken together, the email age, provider, and name can help you separate a customer from a thief.

Promotions

Customers love promotions; fraudsters don’t.

You’ve learned about the four Ps of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place. The four Ps are what drive customers to consider your product and, ultimately, purchase. But one of those Ps – promotion – can also help you avoid fraud.

We often think about promotions as a way to advertise a product or brand, quickly sell inventory, and create loyalty among new and existing customers. Promotions also happen to be extremely effective at verifying legitimate, loyal customers. As a matter of fact, ecommerce transactions that don’t include a promotional code are three times as likely to be fraudulent as transactions that do include a code, according to Riskified. Why? Because when a fraudster is using someone else’s credit card, he doesn’t care about entering a promotional code to save money.

So when you’re designing your next email campaign to promote the launch of a new product, consider creating a unique promotional code to accompany it. Not only will your customers thank you, but so will your fraud prevention team.

Behavioral tracking

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

In marketing, the more you know about your customer and their behaviors, the better. Well, the same is true in fraud prevention. Thankfully, many email marketing platforms automatically capture and store behavioral data about your customers through the use of cookies. One important piece of data your marketing system captures is the pages your customer has viewed and the order in which they have viewed them.

Pageviews, and, more importantly, the order of the views, can be vital in differentiating a customer from a crook. Just like your legitimate patrons have buying journeys, so do your fraudsters. While a faithful shopper will typically compare prices and read reviews resulting in a lengthy pageview history, fraudsters will not waste their time learning about your products. Instead, they will quickly go to your site’s product page and purchase the highest value item. So next time your fraud team is scrutinizing an order, share that customer’s pageview history with them. It could determine whether a loyal customer gets their goods or a fraudster’s attempt at a quick take is thwarted.

Bringing it together

By leveraging what’s already available in your email marketing software you can fight ecommerce fraud while improving your performance metrics.

Reviewing your database’s email addresses, including promotional codes in your email campaigns, and tracking the behavior of your customers are all effective ways of using your emailing platform to increase revenue while also fighting fraud. And, sure, it’s easy for us marketers to turn a blind eye to fraud, as on the surface our goals are rarely aligned with preventing it. But when you realize the impact fraudsters can have on your marketing efforts, it can quickly change your view. So before you get started creating that new marketing campaign, consider implementing some of the suggestions above. Hitting your marketing goals could depend on it.

This post was written by one of dotmailer’s partners, Riskified, a technology company focused on leveraging data and innovation to ensure brands are always one step ahead of online fraudsters.

The post How to use your email marketing software to prevent ecommerce fraud appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 9 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Powering ecommerce success with the best tech stack

dotmailer recently gathered at the inaugural Shopify Plus meetup in New York City for an evening of fun, networking and education on this very topic. We brought together some big minds and bright ideas from retailers Minbie, dormify and Campus Protein to touch on firsthand lessons learned when negotiating contracts, getting the most out of your partner/vendor support teams, and learning about best-of-breed Shopify Plus technology partners (including Nosto, Addressy and TVPage).

The panel theme ‘Picking Your Ideal Tech Stack’ was moderated by Ben Staveley, dotmailer’s VP of Operations. One of the common pain points shared by the merchants was that they all have relatively small teams that need to wear a lot of hats. They offered some valuable tips that businesses of all sizes should consider when evaluating a technology solution.

When evaluating partners and their technology solutions, Russell Saks, CEO & Founder, Campus Protein, said:

The product needs to be one that is fairly intuitive. Before we actually schedule a demo it needs to be something that we are highly considering. Time is valuable and what typically follows is a lot of sales calls. We also evaluate what kind of extra customization we can add to an out-of-the-box piece of software. This allows us to have a better fit for our business and also gives us a competitive advantage. You have to remember everyone has the same access to the software that you do so it’s really how you utilize and fit it into your business that will truly give you that edge.

Our VP of Operations, Ben Staveley

Nicole Gardner, Chief Operating Officer, dormify suggested:

As partners evolve, others become irrelevant. We are always watching this so we are not wasting time/money as a company on non-performers. Look not just at what the tool does, but what is planned, how quickly the vendor/partner is releasing new features, and how often they have in the past. We expect everyone to be regularly releasing new features – in this day and age, an aggressive roadmap is essential.

 

According to Torquhil Anderson, Co Founder, Minbie:

There is always the temptation to gravitate towards the shiny new thing. Avoid this by applying a framework to rank which tools will actually move the needle most for your business. Once you have made your decision, don’t deliberate, just get in there and get your hands dirty. It’s only through testing the platform that you will truly see whether it adds value to your business.

To summarize the evening, merchants are looking to evaluate solutions that deliver the best ROI and those that continue to evolve as the needs of their eCommerce businesses evolve. For more information, check out why merchants are moving to Shopify Plus.

Not just education, we also said fun, right? Some refreshing Tipsy Scoop ice cream was a welcome treat on this hot summer night shared by many of our friends, partners and colleagues. We look forward to the next outing!

The post Powering ecommerce success with the best tech stack appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 11 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Email marketing for ecommerce

As a marketer you know the importance of data. Without it you don’t know who your customer is, how to target them and, even worse, you don’t know how your activity is performing.

When you sell online your ecommerce platform collects a lot of data. Your chosen platform knows who your customers are, where they live and what they buy. It also knows about all your products.

Wouldn’t it be great to use all that data in your email marketing, without having to get a team of developers to do all the work to integrate the platforms? Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could do it all yourself, and have the data flowing in minutes?

Well today might be your lucky day.

Introducing Commerce Flow

We’ve built our new Commerce Flow platform to make it easy for retailers to get data from their online store into dotmailer. By using Commerce Flow your customer, subscriber, product and order data will be made available in your dotmailer account without the need to bribe your developers to get the work done.
Once that data is in dotmailer you can use it to target your customer with laser-precision; personalise emails, easily showcase your products and power automation in record time.

The platform is currently compatible with Shopify Plus, Shopify and BigCommerce, but we’re not stopping there. Soon Commerce Flow will be compatible with over 50% of the world’s online stores, with additional support for WooCommerce and Shopware.

We look after the tough stuff

A welcome email is one of the most important emails for a new customer. Use our drag and drop Program Builder to design a welcome program, and you can use Commerce Flow to automatically enrol every new subscriber. You’ll be able to easily visualize the customer journey and engage every new contact without lifting a finger.

Set-up is super easy, and once it’s done you won’t have to worry about it again. Choose the data fields you want to sync and enjoy automatic targeting for both new customers and checkout abandoners.

“But I use Magento”

As a Premier Technology Partner of Magento, our integration with Magento 1 and 2 offers an even deeper connection. dotmailer for Magento gives you advanced data sync, along with detailed sync reports and single sign on. Plus, if you ever have a problem, our team of experts are on hand to help 24 hours a day, five days a week.

Drive your business with smarter targeting

Having seamless access to your ecommerce data allows better targeting on a mass scale. Score points for personalization and deliver relevant messages by using order history and customer information to create highly focused content for every contact.

Whether you’re using Commerce Flow or our Magento integration, our ecommerce partnerships allow you to better drive store revenue with your email marketing.

If you want to use Commerce Flow, we can help you get started. If you’re using Shopify, Shopify Plus or BigCommerce, you can get going today. If you’re using another platform, let us know.

The post Email marketing for ecommerce appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 year 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 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

5 ecommerce content hacks that give you a competitive edge

In fact, it feels like the same thing happens every time you launch a promotion. Every holiday. Every deal. Every product. The big retailers can just drop price to win more customers. And then they throw on free shipping to sweeten the deal.

You can’t follow that race to the bottom. But you also can’t keep losing customers to larger competitors. It’s frustrating. Your business offers so much more than price. That’s where your expertise and great content marketing comes in…

Non-product content is your competitive edge

The Content Marketing Institute found that conversion rates for businesses that use content marketing strategies are nearly six times higher than their competitors’. If that wasn’t enough, content marketing leaders experience 7.8 times more site traffic than non-leaders.

You need to go beyond product descriptions and manufacturer specifications to get that type of performance. Blogs, how-to videos, customer stories, and social proof are excellent ways you can provide value, increase loyalty, and stand out from the competition.

You may already be producing some or all of those types of content. You may even be seeing some results. That’s great!

Now you need to take it to the next level to win against the mega stores. Here are five ecommerce content hacks that can give you a competitive edge. Better yet, these tips are easy to execute and are proven to get results.

1. End every email with a “P.S.”

Here’s a simple tactic to upgrade your next email campaign. Add a “P.S.” after the signature or call-to-action of your email.

A P.S. at the end of your email says “Psst. There’s even more good stuff.” The P.S. is the perfect place to stop selling and start sharing your valuable stories and cool how-to information. Doing so will drive more traffic to your site.

You can link to relevant how-to and tutorial videos. Show the joy of an existing customer unboxing the product. Or give away valuable examples of the product in action, like look books, recipes, or wish lists.

2. Make your search box a rich experience

The search box for your online store should be more than a place where shoppers type in some keywords and hope for the best. You want to speed up their search by presenting suggested keywords as they type.

You can make your search box even more productive when you show relevant non-product content in search suggestions. That’s rich search autocomplete that shoppers love.

 

Adore Beauty has always loved to show beautiful product images to attract shoppers. But they needed more. They created a winning strategy by displaying targeted shopping guides in their autocomplete.

For example, start typing “lipstick,” and you are presented with The Ultimate Guide to Lip Care, and articles on The Best Lip Care Options for Men (… how did they know? J) and The Best Natural Lip Products for Everyone. Now, more than 30% of the site’s revenue comes from the 10% of Adore Beauty shoppers who use site search.

3. Display non-product content in search results

If non-product content works as shoppers type into the search box, then do the same thing in search results. The search results page is ideal for building excitement for the products your shoppers are looking to buy. Customers are more likely to buy if they can get information before they get to the product page.

For instance, Andersen Windows serves up product search results with support information and technical documents. Customers see the spec sheets, installation guides, and how-to videos so that they can better choose the right product for them.

No need to surf around to get that helpful info. It’s right there. Andersen Windows has just shortened the path to purchase.

4. Repackage existing content into episodes

It is time to begin to release your own, episode-based content. A YouTube series, Instagram stories, or a podcast are much more than producing visual or audio content. It’s a story. And everyone loves a good story.

You may be familiar with Gary Vaynerchuk and how he started with Wine Library TV. He talked passionately about great wines and labeled each video with a number. He produced over 1000 episodes. That helped transform his family’s local wine store into a massive online business.

Episodes have two advantages. First, you can simply repackage the stories, tutorials, and examples that you already have into a series. So it’s easy on you to produce.

Second, your audience grows accustomed to the style of information you’ll be providing. You build expectation for what’s next. That makes you stick out in their memories.

Your audience loyalty goes way up with episodic content. As a result, open rates for promotional emails go up, traffic is perpetually increasing, and repeat customers keep buying again and again.

5. Turn FAQs into sales

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages are notoriously dull. They usually don’t change often either. Yet you field great questions from customers every single day.

Don’t be afraid to display questions that customers actually have and in their language. That’s the best way to help customers make a choice faster. Answer the questions in a creative way. Your responses help engage your customers, demonstrate your knowledge, and show your brand’s personality.

Plus, customer questions can also fuel ideas for other content across all your site and marketing channels. Try these:

  • Create shopping guides for product categories or sub-categories
  • Dive deep into product-specific questions on the product pages
  • Publish a themed playlist on your YouTube channel
  • Go live with a Q&A session on Facebook Live, Instagram or Snapchat

REI is one retailer that makes great use of FAQs. The outdoor retailer fields actual questions from its customers and turns them into expert advice videos on its REI Find Out YouTube channel. The effort positions the brand as an authority. And shoppers are more likely to buy.

These five content hacks are simple to execute. You already have the knowledge. You love your customers. Just show it in the most impactful locations of your website and communications.

As a result, your customers will love you back. They’ll purchase from you and not just go price shopping at the mega retailers.

 

This guest post was created by Bob Angus from SLI Systems.

The post 5 ecommerce content hacks that give you a competitive edge appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com