In 2020, automated emails drove 29% of all sales generated by email marketing, despite accounting for a meager 2% of email sends. And during the busiest time of the year, nearly 30% of all orders generated in November 2020 came from marketing automation. The facts are clear: marketing automation generates more revenue than stand-alone promotional emails—holiday season or not.
Customers respond to messages that are personalized based on their shopping behavior, and this is something only marketing automation can deliver at scale. Four of the most impactful sales-generating customer journey workflows for brands are:
- Browse abandonment
- Product abandonment
- Cart abandonment
In this piece, we’ll explore how brands can use these four automation workflows to increase their email sales and create an experience that strengthens customer relationships.
#1. The Welcome Series: Bringing Your Customers Into the Fold
Many marketers underestimate, if not underutilize their welcome series, despite it consistently earning some of the highest open, click, and conversion rates. In fact, on Black Friday 2020, when brands were welcoming in more new customers than ever before, welcome series automations earned a whopping 75% conversion rate.
Sure—we could argue that Black Friday is exceptional and that customers are looking to spend. While conversion rates were amplified on Black Friday, we can also see that marketers earned a 52% conversion rate from their welcome series for the entire year.
So how can you leverage this powerful automation workflow to get similar results for your own store?
- Start at sign-up: Your email and data capture is going to be just as important as your welcome series. If you can, start by incentivizing the email (and SMS) sign-up. Next, think about the data you’ll ask for (if any) and how you can target your pop-ups based on what they’re viewing on your site.
- Use the data you gathered for personalization: Based on what your customers were browsing and what data you gathered at sign-up, you can personalize your welcome messages to make them more relevant. For example, if you have a customer checking out your gardening supplies, send your promised incentive and show a few gardening-related product recommendations that can help them to make a first purchase.
People respond better to personalized, relevant messaging and are 2.6x more likely to buy the items that are recommended based on their purchase history. Go ahead and show that you’re aware of their needs and interests from the very beginning to build trust and familiarity.
#2. Browse Abandonment: Keeping Products Fresh in The Mind
Continuing with the goal of increased relevance and personalization in email marketing, we turn next to browse abandonment emails. These automated emails, which are sent to those who view products but never cart an item, clearly hit the mark with consumers, registering an impressive open rate of 34%, making it one of the three most-read messages of 2020.
Why are these messages so effective? Again, it comes down to leveraging customer intent. When you’re aware of the pages and categories on your shop that a customer is most interested in, you can target them with relevant content and offers in your emails. Many retailers do this with paid search and social retargeting, but with automated browse abandonment emails much more effective and a fraction of the cost, it’s easy to see why more businesses are turning to them instead.
Here are a couple of ways to keep your products fresh in the mind with browse abandonment:
- Include product recommendations: Browse abandonment emails are aimed at the 89.1% of customers who leave your store without making a purchase or putting a product in their cart. The idea is to re-engage them with a friendly reminder and some product suggestions based on their browsing history. Incorporate personalized product recommendations into your browse abandonment emails to entice customers back with image-rich content and unbeatable offers.
- Use short, persuasive copy: With browse abandonment, you’re sending the right offers at the right time to the right people. However, these are just friendly reminders, not a cut-throat campaign, so keep your copy short and sweet. Something like, “Hey, do a double-take,” or “Did something catch your eye?” is perfect for this.
#3. Product Abandonment: Taking Personalization to the Next Level
Similar to browse abandonment, product abandonment re-engages visitors to your site who left without placing an item in their cart. But while browse abandonment emails are triggered when a visitor lands on any particular page or product category, product abandonment is even more focused and targeted, being sent only when a visitor lands on a specific product page.
So while this hyper-targeted approach means that you’ll send fewer product abandonment than browse abandonment messages, those that you do send have greater potential for conversion—even during peak shopping and email periods like the holidays. The conversion rate for these emails on Black Friday 2020 was a massive 37%, following up with 27.5% on Cyber Monday, marking a year-over-year lift of 129% and 139% respectively.
Use product abandonment similarly to browse abandonment and make sure that both of these automations are fine-tuned and optimized not only for year-round conversion but for busy shopping periods.
4. Cart Abandonment: Winning Back The Ones That Got Away
Finally, let’s talk about the nearest misses of them all—visitors who browsed your site, found the right product, added it to their cart, but, for one reason or another, left during the checkout process. Abandoned carts are the greatest source of frustration for ecommerce retailers, with the average rate across all sectors approaching 80%.
Smart retailers are taking steps to address the cursed issue by sending carefully-timed, personalized cart abandonment emails on autopilot. These emails are one of the stars of automation—consistently achieving conversion rates of over 30% and rising to an impressive 44% in the holiday season. Imagine how your bottom line would look by recapturing even 3% of those lost carts.
A couple of things to think about when setting up your abandoned cart emails include:
- Get your timing right: Abandoned cart emails are best sent in a sequence of three with the first one sent early, maybe around an hour after the cart has been abandoned. This means that the product is still fresh in the customer’s mind, but the immediate reasons for the abandonment might have abated. If no action is taken, the second and third messages should be sent at 12- and 24-hour intervals respectively.
- Highlight the abandoned product: Include a large, prominent image in your email, along with a persuasive call to action that clicks directly back to the checkout, ready to seal the purchase. You could also include some similar product recommendations here, including different models, sizes, and colors, just in case the customer’s first choice wasn’t quite right.
- Add in SMS: To increase your chances of success, consider sending one of these, or additional, follow-ups as an SMS. SMS is a channel on the rise for ecommerce merchants, seeing a 400% year-over-year increase in sends and more than a 100% increase in conversion rates.
The statistics are clear—marketing automation is no longer optional. In fact, with an upward trend in both the number of retailers turning to automated emails and the revenue that they are generating, it has become an essential component of every ecommerce marketer’s toolbox.
Automation doesn’t have to be complicated or hard work either—a good email marketing platform will allow you to create revenue-driving workflows, like the four mentioned above, with the minimum of effort. Add them to your marketing strategy today and watch your clicks, opens, and, most importantly, your conversions increase on autopilot!