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How To Nail Your Retail Marketing Automation [Tools, Examples]

The key to retail success lies in offering exceptional products and services and delivering a seamless and personalized shopping experience to customers. 

Successful retailers are harnessing the power of retail marketing automation to achieve just that. Imagine engaging with your customers at the right time, with the right message, and on the right channel, all while saving time and resources. 

Studies have shown that marketing automation can boost sales productivity by 14.5% while cutting marketing costs by 12.2%. 

The good news is, you can do the same. This guide will walk you through the essential steps to get started with retail marketing automation, empowering you to unlock the potential of omnichannel excellence and take your retail business to new heights. 

Let’s dive in. 

What Is Retail Marketing Automation? 

Retail marketing automation refers to a set of tools and technologies designed to streamline and automate various marketing tasks and processes within the retail industry. These processes include task management, campaign management, personalized content delivery, etc. 

It empowers retailers to engage with customers more effectively, personalize marketing efforts, and enhance the shopping experience. 

According to Statista, the global retail marketing automation market was estimated to be worth 12.2 billion US dollars. The market is forecast to grow to 33 billion U.S. dollars by 2030, highlighting the increasing adoption of automation technologies across industries. 

retail marketing automation market size
Retail marketing automation market size

The Role of Retail Marketing Automation (With Examples)

Today, consumer behaviors and expectations constantly evolve, making staying competitive and relevant a daunting task. However, retail marketing automation has taken center stage, enabling businesses to adapt and thrive.

Let’s explore retail marketing automation’s role with real-world examples to illustrate its impact.

Seamless multichannel engagement

Today’s consumers interact with brands across various channels, including websites, social media, email, and mobile apps. Retail marketing automation helps break the barrier between different marketing channels and maintain a consistent and engaging presence across these platforms.

The purpose is to ensure customers receive a personalized experience, regardless of which channel they choose to interact with your brand.

Example

Barista uses its mobile app to send personalized offers and promotions to customers based on their location and purchase history. This omnichannel approach keeps customers engaged and encourages in-store visits.

Personalized customer experiences

Salesforce reports that 88% of customers expect personalized experiences from companies they engage with. Retail marketing automation enables retailers to create highly personalized experiences for their customers. 

Retailers can tailor marketing messages and product recommendations by analyzing customer behavior, preferences, browsing and purchase history, and other customer data.

It allows retailers to run targeted email campaigns with relevant content, increasing the chance of conversions. 

Example

Amazon’s product recommendation engine analyzes a user’s browsing activities and purchase history to suggest products they are likely to be interested in. This personalized approach drives higher conversion rates and customer loyalty.

Customer lifecycle nurturing

Retail marketing automation allows businesses to nurture customers throughout their journey, from the first interaction to post-purchase. 

Using a marketing automation platform, you can automate the process of lead nurturing based on the actions they take on your website or app. For instance, you can automate workflows that send triggered welcome emails whenever a user signs up on your website. 

You can similarly automate the pre-purchase and post-purchase email flows that allow you to nurture your leads and convert them into loyal customers. 

Example

Nykaa sends personalized offers and product recommendations to members based on their beauty preferences and purchase history, fostering long-term customer relationships.

Social media engagement

Retail marketing automation tools make it easy to maintain constant communication with your followers on social media platforms. In other words, it streamlines the social media efforts for retailers. 

You can schedule and publish social media posts, respond to customer inquiries, and analyze engagement data. This enables your retail business to maintain an active and responsive online presence.

Example

Indian eCommerce giant Flipkart automates the process of replying to their followers whenever they receive a direct message on their Twitter account. It allows them to send out automated responses before a support agent jumps into it and offers to resolve the issues. 

This ensures that customers do not have to wait for responses and businesses always stay engaged with their audience.

Read also: 17 Cool Free Marketing Automation Platforms Reviewed

Cart abandonment recovery

Cart abandonment is a common challenge in eCommerce business. However, sending cart abandonment emails enables retailers to recover a significant portion of these potentially lost sales.

Retail marketing automation can automatically send reminders and incentives to customers who leave items in their shopping carts, encouraging them to complete the purchase.

Example

Online fashion retailer Nykaa sends abandoned cart emails with product images and enticing discounts to remind customers of their abandoned items. This retail marketing strategy recovers potentially lost sales.

Inventory management and demand forecasting

Automation can extend beyond customer-facing activities to optimize inventory managementRetailers can use data-driven insights to predict demand and ensure products are in stock when customers want them. 

It provides the marketing team with information on which product is selling well, allowing them to optimize their campaign efforts accordingly. 

Example

Walmart uses an inventory management system that combines historical sales data and real-time demand to adjust product orders automatically. This reduces out-of-stock situations and also allows them to promote the best-selling products.

Customer feedback and surveys

Retail marketing automation can facilitate collecting and analyzing customer feedback and satisfaction surveys. 

Collecting surveys and feedback makes customers feel their opinions matter and helps retailers make data-driven improvements to their products and services.

Example

Myntra, an Indian fashion retailer, sends automated post-purchase surveys to guests, collecting valuable feedback to enhance the shopping experience and drive higher sales conversions. 

Read also: Email Marketing Vs Marketing Automation: A Marketer’s Guide

How to Get Started With Retail Marketing Automation 

Retail marketing automation enables you to engage and nurture your customers efficiently. In fact, a survey revealed that about 17.4% of marketers consider marketing automation one of the most impactful digital marketing strategies.

However, it’s noteworthy that 54% of marketers believe they are not fully optimizing their marketing automation tools.

This is precisely why I’ve outlined a foolproof blueprint for getting started with retail marketing automation. This blueprint will help you harness its full potential for your business.

Step #1: Define your objectives

The first step to diving into the journey of retail automation is defining your objectives. What are you looking to achieve with automation? 

Here are some questions that you can ask yourself – 

  • What are your specific goals for marketing automation? (some common goals include lead generation, increasing sales, reducing cart abandonment rates, enhancing customer experience, etc.)
  • Who is your target audience, and which communication channel do they prefer? (e.g., social media, emails, mobile apps, etc.) 
  • How will you measure success? (e.g., revenue growth, conversion rates, customer satisfaction, repeat customers, etc.)

Clear objectives will serve as the foundation for your automation strategy.

Step #2: Choose the right tools

Marketing automation offers automation of various processes. With its rising popularity, vendors offer an all-in-one marketing platform or bespoke solutions as per your business requirements. 

Here are a few basic marketing tools

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

A CRM software acts as a centralized database platform whereby all data about your customers are stored and organized. 

It allows you to easily create a list based on different filters, such as location, age, behavior, preferences, etc. This helps you segment your audience and run a targeted campaign. 

Email and SMS marketing tool

Email and SMS marketing tool is designed to help you streamline and automate the process of sending emails and text messages. You can send personalized, automated email and SMS campaigns to your customers based on their behavior and preferences. 

eCommerce platform

If you run an online retail store, you need eCommerce platforms that offer built-in automation features for order processing, abandoned cart recovery, and more. Some popular platforms include Shopify, Magento, etc. 

Landing page and web forms

Landing page builder helps you create powerful landing pages with all the right elements to drive traffic and conversion on your page. Similarly, web form builders enable you to create and embed forms anywhere on your website. 

Step #3: Build your customer database

Once you select your marketing automation tool, you must start collecting data. A customer database is the lifeblood of retail marketing automation.

Generally, two steps are involved here –

1. Data collection

Capture customer information through online forms, surveys, and purchase histories. Implement cookies and tracking pixels to gather data on website visitors.

2. Segmentation

Categorize your audience based on demographics, purchase history, browsing behavior, and engagement level. This segmentation will enable personalized messaging.

Read also: The Future Of Marketing Automation: 12 Trends For 2024

Step #4: Develop automated workflows

To set up automation, you need predefined workflows that trigger actions based on customer behavior. Some examples include: 

  • Welcome series: As soon as a user signs up on your website, it triggers an action and automatically sends a series of welcome emails. 
  • Abandoned cart recovery: You can set up an abandoned cart email automation that triggers when users add items to their cart and leave without placing the order.
  • Order placed: Set up an automation that triggers when a customer completes a purchase on your site. 

You can set up this automation to send emails or text messages on any preferred channel. 

Step #5: Monitor and optimize

You need to monitor your automation strategy continuously. Regularly analyze your performance data and make adjustments as needed. 

Start by keeping track of various metrics, including conversion rates, click-through rates, and revenue generated from automated campaigns.

Based on these reports generated, you can run A/B tests and experiment with different email subject lines, content, and send times to determine what resonates best with your audience.

Also, collect customer feedback and adapt those changes to your automation strategy accordingly.

Read also: Data-Driven Marketing Automation For Maximum Impact

Benefits of Using Retail Marketing Automation

Lenskold Group revealed that 63% of companies outgrow their competitors using marketing automation, and 78% of successful marketers cite marketing automation as the primary reason for improving revenue.

By harnessing the power of retail automation, here are the following benefits you can enjoy.

Improved ROI for marketing efforts

Retail marketing automation helps you maximize your marketing campaign’s return on investment (ROI). 

By automating repetitive tasks and delivering personalized messages to the right audience at the right time, you can significantly reduce marketing costs while increasing the effectiveness of your campaigns. 

It also saves time for employees to focus more on complex times, such as strategizing the next marketing campaign. This means that every marketing dollar spent generates more value and revenue.

Increased customer engagement and retention

A study revealed that 79% of top-performing companies have been using marketing automation for more than two years, emphasizing its role in enhancing customer engagement and driving business success.

Automated workflows enable you to send relevant and timely messages to your customers, keeping them engaged throughout their buying journey. You can send tailored messages, product recommendations, and promotional emails by analyzing their behaviors and preferences

This whole process of nurturing your leads increases the likelihood of repeat purchases and long-term customer loyalty.

Read also: Marketing Automation For Dummies: Top 10 Takeaways From The Classic Book

Personalized customer journey

Personalization is at the heart of successful retail marketing automation. By leveraging customer data and behavior, you can create highly personalized experiences for each customer. 

Whether it’s personalized product recommendations, tailored email content, or customized offers, automation allows you to make every interaction with your brand feel unique and relevant to the individual customer. 

Access to data-driven insights

Retail marketing automation provides valuable insights into customer behavior and campaign performance. You can track key metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and revenue generated from automated campaigns. 

These insights help you refine your marketing strategies, make informed decisions, and continuously improve customer engagement efforts.

Read also: Marketing Automation For Financial Advisors: Beyond The Basics

5 Mistakes to Avoid in Retail Marketing Automation Setup

When implemented effectively, marketing automation can be a potent force for business growth. However, if you are not careful, it has the potential to drain your company’s resources without delivering the desired returns. 

To ensure a successful retail marketing automation setup, here are the common mistakes you should avoid. 

Failed to define clear objectives

Most retailers struggle with automation implementation because they dive into it without a clear strategy. Don’t automate for the sake of automation. 

Without clear objectives, you won’t know what success looks like or how to measure it. 

Ensure your automation efforts align with your overall business objectives, whether it’s increasing sales, improving customer retention, or reducing cart abandonment.

Eliminating the human touch

While automation can streamline processes, you do not want to rely on it completely. It shouldn’t completely eliminate human interactions; it can alienate your customers. 

Avoid bombarding them with too many automated messages or irrelevant content. Maintain a balance between automated and personalized, human interactions.

Read also: CRM For Retail: Strategies And Software To Drive Up Loyalty

Poor data management

Automation relies on accurate and up-to-date customer data. Ignoring data quality can lead to inaccurate customer profiles and ineffective automation. 

Regularly clean and update your customer data to maintain a clean and reliable database. Without clean data, personalization efforts fall flat.

Lack of testing and optimization

Until you measure the performance of your campaign, you won’t be able to measure the ROI of your automation strategy. 

Thus, you should always ensure to track and optimize your automated campaigns. A/B testing different elements of your emails and workflows, analyzing performance data, and making data-driven adjustments are essential for continuous improvement. 

Without these efforts, you miss opportunities to enhance your automation strategy.

Read also: Marketing Automation For Manufacturing: Beginner’s Guide

5 Best Retail Marketing Automation Tools to Choose from 

Now, let us take a quick look at some of the best marketing automation tools, especially if you have a small business in retail.

1. EngageBay 

EngageBay - retail automation tool

EngageBay is an all-in-one retail marketing automation platform encompassing many functionalities to help grow your retail business. 

Using tools like landing page builder and web forms, you can easily generate leads and nurture them using email marketing automation. It offers tools to help segment your audience and run targeted, personalized campaigns to boost conversion. 

The best part is that it makes for an affordable solution for small businesses. Up to 250 contacts, it gives you a free platform. Once your business starts to grow, you can easily upgrade to its plan for $11.04 per user per month (Basic), $42.49 per user per month (Growth), or $67.99 per user per month (Pro) as per your requirements. 

Here’s a testimonial from a customer –

engagebay's client testimonial

Read also: EngageBay vs HubSpot: Market Leader or Emerging Powerhouse?

2. HubSpot 

Marketing Hub - HubSpot retail tool

HubSpot is one of the most popular marketing automation tools in the market for its robust functionalities. However, owing to its pricing, it’s best suited for medium to large enterprises. 

Once you are past its Starter package (starts at $45 per month), the price goes up to $800 per month (Professional), which might not be feasible for medium-sized to growing businesses. 

Its Professional plan has advanced features like custom reporting, SEO, social media, and more, which makes it one of the best choices.

Besides, you can easily connect HubSpot to Salesforce for a fast and reliable sync. It helps improve the overall retail experience with live chat options designed to help site visitors with targeted welcome messages and chat automations.

Top companies like Reddit, Casio, and Monday.com trust HubSpot. 

Read also: Is HubSpot CRM Free? An Unbiased Guide (with User Reviews)

3. Mailchimp 

mailchimp email marketing automation

Mailchimp is a marketing automation platform that specializes in email marketing automation. They offer full-fledged tools required to carry out highly personalized campaigns. 

It boasts of generative AI to help with content creation, segmentation of audiences, and reporting capabilities to keep track of your campaign performance and optimize it further for better results. 

If you want to expand its functionalities, it seamlessly integrates with top popular tools such as Google Analytics, Squarespace Commerce, Zapier, Instagram, etc. 

Mailchimp’s regular pricing starts at $9.99 per month for up to 3 users and 5,000 contacts and goes up to $274.61 per month for its Premium plan. Its pricing varies based on the number of contacts. 

Read also: How Does Mailchimp’s Pricing Compare To Its Competitors?

4. ActiveCampaign 

ActiveCampaign marketing platform

ActiveCampaign offers a full-fledged retail marketing automation that allows you to automate the entire customer lifecycle journey. From automating a welcome email series to running campaigns that nurture your leads, this software takes care of it all.

Besides, ActiveCampaign boasts of seamless integration across various platforms to ensure a smooth marketing operation in your organization. From creating landing pages to embedding web forms and dynamic content, it has a vast range of features. 

Given its pricing structure, it is suitable for large enterprises. Its Lite plan starts at $29 per user per month and can go up to $149 per user per month. It also offers custom pricing for enterprises. 

Read also: ActiveCampaign Pricing and Comparison with Other Alternatives

5. Klaviyo 

klaviyo retail tool

Klaviyo is a retail marketing automation platform that specializes in email and SMS marketing. Its intelligent marketing automation platform enables you to automate your workflow across marketing channels efficiently.

Using this tool, you can easily set up loyalty programs and collect customer reviews to understand how your product is performing in the market. You can use customer data like location proximity and average order value to create segmented experiences for your customers. 

Klaviyo has a free plan for up to 250 contacts. Its pricing plan starts at $45 per month with limited monthly emails along with 150 free monthly SMS/MMS credits. You can check out their full pricing plan here. 

Read also: Top Klaviyo Alternatives: Propel Your eCommerce Business Growth

Wrap Up 

Retail marketing automation stands as a beacon of opportunity for retail businesses. With the power to enhance customer engagement, boost ROI, and streamline operations, it has become an indispensable tool for success.

While numerous options exist in the market, EngageBay is the best choice for small businesses seeking an affordable and comprehensive solution. Its all-in-one marketing automation platform empowers retail businesses to automate their marketing efforts without breaking the bank. 

With EngageBay, small businesses can harness the full potential of retail marketing automation and chart a course toward sustained growth and success. 

Contact us for a free demo

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