Business Process Automation for Digital Marketing and Customer Experience
Ecommerce businesses are embracing automation around their most critical business processes, with 75% currently incorporating automation into their workflows. The benefits of automation, such as reduced costs, shorter timelines, and decreased risk of human error, make it an attractive option.
Automation also helps companies to do more with less—a practical necessity in today’s economic climate.
While process automation used to be extremely developer-heavy and resource-intensive, next-generation, low-code, and no-code options are now readily available. “In fact, more and more ecommerce businesses are taking an ‘automation-first’ mentality,” says Mark Simon, VP of Strategy at Celigo. “Automating key business processes is critical to achieving scale and velocity.”
The wider availability and accessibility of today’s automation and integration solutions means ecommerce companies can move beyond the basics. Most ecommerce businesses start their automation journey by implementing a few foundational integrations around fundamental processes like order management and 3PL. However, just about every business area can benefit from automation.
In this article, we’ll go through two increasingly important examples: digital marketing and customer experience.
Drive your digital marketing investments
Digital marketing activities, including paid search ads, SEO, social media (both paid and organic), influencer marketing, and email marketing are important channels for getting customers in the online door of many ecommerce businesses. In this section, we’ll discuss the areas of digital marketing where automation can deliver the greatest impact.
Optimizing ad spend and campaign reporting
According to Shopify’s Commerce Trends 2023 Report, return on ad spend (ROAS) has been declining steadily since the start of the pandemic, and cost-per-click has increased year-by-year in just about every product category. These trends make visibility into ad spend and marketing ROI especially essential.
By leveraging automation, teams can integrate and visualize data from disparate digital advertising sources, including Facebook ads, Google analytics, and CRMs to gain performance insights on multiple ad campaigns, allowing them to see where every advertising dollar is spent, then allocate their budget as efficiently as possible. Automation and integration tools also allow this data from multiple sources to be viewed in a single report or dashboard in order to quickly identify both high and low performers and adjust campaign strategy accordingly.
Updating customer records
Today’s ecommerce consumers are looking for personalized communications and online experiences. In fact, more than 70% of ecommerce customers will be annoyed by a shopping experience that isn’t personalized. By automating the integration of updated fields across different systems (Netsuite, Salesforce, Hubspot, etc.), teams can rest assured that email and re-engagement campaigns are correctly addressed and properly segmented.
Improving audience insights
Just about every ecommerce business would like to know more about the individuals interacting with and purchasing their products. With the correct automation integrations in place, these organizations can do just that. Integrated data ingestion ensures all data across all ecommerce sales channels, advertising channels, customer review sites, and apps are imported into a company’s data warehouse in near real-time, delivering important insights to support critical business decisions.
In addition, these integrations deliver in-depth information regarding audience demographics—gender, age, income, family status, occupation, geography, language, etc.—so teams can better target their marketing efforts. They’ll also gain visibility into customer acquisition and behavior on online marketing channels, helping them answer key questions like: How did your visitors find you online? How did they land on your website? Where do they click once there? What do your customers end up buying?
Deliver an excellent customer experience
Customer expectations of ecommerce retailers are higher than ever. Large, multinational enterprise companies like Amazon have set high standards when it comes to shipping, availability, returns, and overall convenience. At the height of the pandemic, consumers were a bit more understanding of supply chain issues and slower shipping times. Not so anymore; according to Shopify’s Commerce Trends 2023 Report, shoppers are done with being patient, even as supply chain problems are expected to worsen this year.
Fortunately, automation options exist that can help ecommerce companies of any size improve their customer experience and meet these shopper expectations. Below, we’ll cover some areas of customer experience where automation makes a big difference.
Effective returns management is an integral aspect of any ecommerce business. According to Shopify, 20-30% of all online purchases end up getting returned. If an ecommerce retailer has a complicated or inflexible return policy, customers may be discouraged from making a purchase in the first place. However, by putting the proper systems and automated processes in place, merchants can improve customer service, save time and resources, and help boost profits by repurposing returned products.
In addition, returns data can be used to inform product strategy. With integrated and automated processes between ERP, helpdesk, CRM, and warehouse management systems, ecommerce companies receive critical insights into why customers return an item. With greater visibility into why specific items were returned, companies can turn that knowledge into better product marketing, improved product offerings, and fewer product returns in the future.
Keeping customers in the loop
Those online memes of shoppers waiting outside or looking out of their window to see their online order be delivered do have some truth to them. Customers prefer full visibility into order status, from processing to shipment to delivery and everything in between. Through automation, merchants can keep customers informed about their order status, sending them regular updates on the progress of their order, including tracking information. These notifications also serve to set expectations around delivery and processing times. Should there be a significant delay, the system can inform the customer beforehand, reducing dissatisfaction and frustration.
Setting the stage for repeat business
The customer experience doesn’t end when the individual receives their order. A well-thought-out post-purchase shopper experience can be a strong differentiator and contributor to customer loyalty. This is especially true when it comes to customer service. Merchants can streamline their customer service processes by integrating communications apps into their help desk; for example, by integrating Zendesk to Slack. Then, they can automate workflows by synchronizing ticket statuses between Zendesk and Slack.
Should a customer need to reach support or open a ticket post-purchase, a well-designed experience demonstrates attention to detail and thoughtfulness and leaves the customer with a positive impression of the brand—and, therefore, a greater likelihood of buying from them again.
Automate ecommerce business processes, end-to-end
An iPaaS solution like Celigo can serve as a hub for an ecommerce business’s various integrations and automated processes. Unlike the developer and code-heavy integration platforms of the past, these tools are easy-to-use and intuitive enough that anyone, regardless of technical ability or experience, can access, manage, and maintain these connections.
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