Running an eCommerce business is a lot more than building an eCommerce website, uploading products to it, and waiting for sales to pour in.
To get sales, you need traffic. To get traffic, you need to deal with competition from thousands of eCommerce and physical stores in your target market, region, and niche. These days, building an eCommerce website is probably the easiest job. You can use any popular saas software to set up your online store in minutes. However, the actual fight to make your venture a successful one begins with your entry in the market, where you feel the need for competitive strategies to drive visibility and then sales to your online store.
One such strategy is eCommerce automation, which boosts your competitive advantage and makes the business future-ready with scalability and growth hacks. Interestingly, eCommerce automation is not limited to expensive marketing, CRM, and customer support tools. You can adopt a plethora of inexpensive automation hacks in your day-to-day business process, ranging right from eCommerce product upload to payouts to sellers, email campaigns, push notifications, marketplace integration, social media posting, and a lot more.
In this post, we are going to discuss five easy and affordable eCommerce automation hacks that you can adopt today for your business and boost its growth exponentially. Here is the list-
Automate Your Competition Research
It doesn’t matter what niche you are in, you will always have competitors stealing away attention from your website to theirs. With so many options available to the customers, it’s more likely that some or most of your target customers might not even know about your business, as they keep shopping on your competitor’s website. Considering your niche and trends in 2020, the list of such competitors could range from one to a dozen of them.
How do your competitors steal away sales from your website? It’s simple – they compete on your products, traffic, target keywords, target customers, social media followers, marketing channels, and most importantly, content marketing. The only way to deal with them would be to knowing them from inside out. What are they selling, what keywords they use, which customer demographic they target, what marketing channels they use, and if they are successful in their strategies?
That’s where you can automate your SEO and competition research at the same time using certain tools. You can use SEMrush to track your competitor’s entire backlink profile, keywords they rank on, and who else is competing on your target keywords. Another tool that you can use is Ahrefs, which enables you to track any URL for high-ranking organic keywords. Besides, you can also get a detailed view of estimated traffic accumulated by the URL for certain keywords, its ranking blog posts, and backlink profiles.
Some more tools that you can include in your arsenal are MozBar, BuzzSumo, and Uber Suggest. The best part about these tools is you can set your project once and automatically monitor your competitors for the set metrics. Before you set up your online store, make sure to evaluate the best ecommerce platforms and sites.
Automate Your Email Campaigns
Email automation is not just an automation hack but also a necessity if you want to keep your business competitive. Businesses have been using emails for a long time to retain their customers, keep them informed, and marketing from time to time.
An average eCommerce business sends thousands of emails to customers for necessary communications and marketing campaigns. While it’s not possible to send so many emails manually at the right time, it’s even trickier to track the performance of every email sent. You wouldn’t know how many users are opening your emails, how many of them are going in the spam folder, how many users are clicking on the CTA button, and what should you do to improve your emails on these grounds.
Besides, marketing is not the only application of email. You would be sending a massive amount of these as welcome notes to new users, receipts of sales, important announcements, engagement communications, and communications to your B2B partners.
You can automate your entire email channel using a simple email automation tool. You can use several email automation tools. A few of the most popular ones are MailChimp, Constant Contact, Drip, ConvertKit, Mailjet, and Infusionsoft. Starting from capturing and creating different email lists to triggering automated welcome messages, bulk campaigns, user segmentation, and tracking the performance, metrics, you can get started with your complete email automation quite easily using these tools.
Automate Your Push Notifications
Traditionally, mobile app publishers use push notifications to engage their users. However, they are not limited to mobile apps alone as websites too can use push notifications for a plethora of jobs. You can trigger automatic web push notifications from your eCommerce website in the same way you can automate your email campaigns.
The best part about web push notifications is you don’t need your user’s phone number, email address, or any private information to send push notification. Visitors can subscribe to your web push notifications by simply allowing them from their web browsers on mobile or desktop using a subscription dialog box, which looks like in this image below:
Once allowed, you can start sending push notification to your subscribers for almost every type of communication as sent via emails. You can send new product updates, back-in-stock alerts, price drop alerts, order success messages, coupon codes, and a lot more.
There are several push notification tools in the market you can use on your eCommerce website. However, I would suggest you use the tools with notification scheduling and automatic triggers. Such tools will allow you to set events for triggering notifications based on a user’s activities. Besides, it must also provide detailed analytics of the performance metrics to track if you are helping your users or just irritating them with useless notifications.
A few examples of most popular push notification tools with trial offers are Push Crew, Push Engage, Pushmaze, Urban Airship, Kahuna, etc. You can try any of these tools as per your requirements.
Automate Your Social Media Posts
I don’t recommend full automation of your entire social media strategy. Especially, you should avoid automatic responses on social media mentions or comments. Here is why:
The consumer in the above screenshot was being sarcastic and was not happy about their services. However, the social media automation tool tracked the mention and positive words like “congratulations” to think it was an appreciation post. Thus, it automatically posted a ‘Thank you’ response, which is a blunder.
So what should you automate in your social media channel?
Well, one option could be manually tracking your social media mentions and responding accordingly, which is not possible when you have a big brand name with thousands of followers.
Instead, you can automate three important aspects:
- Track the mentions using a tool, but don’t post automatic replies.
- Fetch social media feeds on your back-end dashboard for all the mentions.
- Create an automatic post thread synchronized with your eCommerce blog.
It’s a tedious task to create individual social media posts for every blog content you publish. Instead, you can use a tool like Hootsuite, Buffer, SproutSocial, HubSpot, or Zapier to schedule your posts in advance. For example, you can create events that automatically create a Facebook post for every new content you post on your blog.
Besides, you can also add social sharing buttons on your blog to let your readers share the same in their social media circle with a click on the button.
Automate Your Content Marketing
Content marketing automation is not a single-step process that you can adopt by using a specific tool. You need a combination of automation and tools to automate your content marketing process. Fortunately, if you achieve the above four automations, you would automatically achieve 90% of the content marketing automation:
- Email automation will automate content distribution via newsletter subscriptions
- Push automation will automate the content distribution via push notifications
- Competition research tools will tell you about the keywords to target in your posts
- Social media automation will drive the readers from your followers base
The only thing that is left now is the automation of the content calendar and publication schedule, which you can accomplish easily using WordPress or any popular CMS solution. I know that your eCommerce software might already have a static page management system or blogging feature, but these features are not enough if you want to go full-fledged with your content marketing.
Instead, you should use a standalone CMS like WordPress or Drupal to run your eCommerce blog. To get the SEO benefits, you can integrate your blog in a sub-folder of your eCommerce domain, something like “yourestore.com/blog”. Avoid integrating your blog within your sub-domain (blog.yourstore.com); SEO experts don’t advise this method.
E-Commerce automation is not a one-step task and it’s not limited to these five automation hacks alone. You can achieve dozens of more automation using the right tools. However, don’t overdo it. Automate only the parts that you think are not possible to manage manually or are too repetitive. As I explained in social media automation, you shouldn’t automate everything blindly. Analyze your case, make a list of requirements, consider your budget, and then pick the most important verticals that need automation.
Jessica Bruce is a professional blogger, guest writer, Influencer & an eCommerce expert. Currently associated with ShopyGen as a content marketing strategist. She also reports on the latest happenings and trends associated with the eCommerce industry.
Follow her on Twitter @Jessicabruc (https://twitter.com/Jessicabruc)