Tough Ecommerce Data Questions Your Marketing Automation Provider Should Answer to Stay Out of Data Jail

According to Forbes, Ecommerce’s share of commerce will be double compared to 4 years ago. So if you plan to grow your ecommerce business this year, you’ve made a smart decision. As you evaluate the pros and cons of different marketing automation providers, what are the must haves on your list?
There’s nothing worse than buyer’s remorse, especially when it affects your bottom line.

Items such as cost, customer support and deliverability, are essential to consider. But before you jump onboard a new vendor, be sure to gather as much information as you can. Make sure you haven’t left out any of the crucial questions.

Here are five key questions to ask to ensure that you get the most out of your provider. Keep these handy and you should be on your way to making the best choice for your company.

What data can I use from my ecommerce solution?

Integrated systems work best when they share, in both directions, the data that matters most to your business.

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When Poundland integrated its marketing automation provider with its Magento ecommerce platform, it quickly discovered that its customers shop differently online than they do in stores. The Poundland’s website has an average of transaction value six times higher than in store.

According to Poundland’s head of ecommerce, Paul McDermott, the integration helped them spend less time moving data between their marketing automation provider and their website.
Consider these types of data:

  • Demographic and location data — Simple segmentation is a money-maker. Then, once you import data from third-parties you can create dynamic segments that increase conversions.
  • Order, cart and product data –These can help you with recover campaigns and product recommendations.
  • Recency, frequency and monetary – Knowing when customers last shopped, how often they shop and how much money they typically spend will help you with re-engagement and loyalty rewards.

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It’s great when your CRM and your marketing automation platform are integrated, but if that email to ecommerce integration lacks a product feed from your ecommerce platform, it’s not enough. Integration of the data and platforms that matter most to you is exactly what makes automation successful and worthwhile.

Can I customize product info with my marketing automation?

Your marketing automation solution should allow you to define the custom product attributes that matter to you so you can collect and analyze the data that’s important to your business. After all, you know your business best and, and you work hard to gather the data you can use to increase revenue.

By defining the types of data you need for more sophisticated marketing programs in advance, you can deliver a much more accurate, relevant and personalized set of product recommendations and offers.

This makes it easier to monitor your shoppers’ behavior to target particular consumer segments for special deals, higher margin products and categories you haven’t had time to consider yet.
Predictive modeling helps you automate personalized product recommendations.
With the data you gather on your customer’s previous purchase history, it’s a snap to give suggestions on their next favorite product.

The Swedish retailer Coolstuff calculated that customers make their second purchase after 143 days, so they send a win-back series two weeks prior to that to prevent them from lapsing. The first message is a “we miss you” email, using a recommendation algorithm from their email system to display recommendations. The second has a deeper selection of new products and recommendations. They’ve already seen a much higher conversion rate from the personalized recommendations.

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What is the cybersecurity approach of the Marketing Automation platform?

When you purchase software as a service (SaaS), you’re entering a partnership. A partnership is built on trust. But you can’t just rely on trust that everything will be alright, every company should be aware of the steps their vendors take to ensure security of the system.

Innovative tech partners provide more functionality and feel more like a one-stop shopping experience. They build their infrastructure, operations, and support to scale dynamically with their customers’ growth. But that is not enough when it comes to addressing security risks.

Proactive cybersecurity will better protect your company against outages and data breaches. Taking proactive measures to address cybersecurity is doable, but not every marketing automation provider does it. Gartner predicts that 99% of vulnerabilities exploited through 2020 will be ones known by security and IT professionals for at least one year.

Can you assist our ecommerce team with new campaigns and integration?

The best successes come from a total solution with a team of experts and strategists who are available when you need them. Don’t count on what you or your team alone can accomplish with marketing automation.

Particularly if you are a marketing team member responsible for multiple customer touchpoints or if you have profit and loss (P&L) responsibility, you want to get the most out of it.

You need an ecommerce team that can:

  • Scrub your email list down to group of engaged subscribers
  • Offer you an intuitive and easy-to-navigate email platform that connects seamlessly with your existing ecommerce platform
  • Track and report on valuable metrics, such as redemption rate, average redemption time and revenue per coupon.
  • Not only drive online sales but lift sales at brick-and-mortar stores as well.

The Gro Company worked with an external marketing strategist firsthand while trying to solve a common revenue riddle: increasing holiday online revenue without cannibalizing their retailers’ in-store promotions.

How could The Gro Company execute a Christmas email campaign without stepping on the toes of the big box stores that carry their products, including the wildly popular Gro Bag? The strategist recommended an email campaign consisting of an increased number of sends during the week of December 15. The sale ended up producing 57% of The Gro Company’s December online revenue, which was up 28.8% year over year.

Before the campaign, The Gro Company’s email cadence was simple (maybe way too simple) – just one weekly send on Sunday. This may have easily been a case of its in-house ecommerce team growing too comfortable with its strategy. There needed to be an external push to bump things up a little. In addition to that campaign, The Gro Company also enjoyed success with abandoned cart messaging and remailing. All it needed was a marketing vendor that could successfully integrate with its Magento ecommerce platform.

The metrics from the first 24 hours of the send to the remail were particularly impressive. The abandoned cart messages also performed well. You have to choose an ecommerce marketing vendor that can handle being put through the rigors if you want to see positive results like these.

What peace of mind can you provide that my business will not be interrupted?

Look for a vendor that includes customer support in your contract. If it’s not included, be sure you know how often you may contact the technical support team.

If you are evaluating a global marketing automation provider, be sure the vendor provides support hours in your geographical region and emergency support around the clock. The best way to identify a partner who will provide great support is to ask questions. What is the provider’s history of down time? What protections does it provide in its SLA against outages and breaches?
It’s important to have reliable access to support via the channels (phone, live web chat, email) that works best for you. You may prefer the instant gratification of live web chat over the potentially delayed response of support tickets.

Conclusion

Once you have the answers to these questions, you should be more prepared to make the right choice for your business. Remember: Your choice will have a critical impact on your team’s productivity, your company’s revenue generation, the cost to market your products online and your overall business success.

Saima Alibhai

About Saima Alibhai


Saima Alibhai is Managing Principal Consultant at Oracle + Bronto. She has over 10 years of experience in the marketing technology industry, working alongside clients internationally in the UK, Europe and Latin America. She has helped leading brands, including Sony Europe, Vivienne Westwood, Nine West, French Connection, Walmart and Abril Media Group optimize their digital marketing strategies. Alibhai published a guide on email best practices when on the DMA UK Email Council.

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