Take a look around you! Chances are, except for the walls & ceiling of the room, most of the things were purchased or procured online. This is how much e-commerce has entered into our lives. From a safety pin to the appliances in your house to even the car parked in your garage, everything is now available online. The world of eCommerce is growing fast and global B2C e-commerce sales are expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021 (Source: Shopify Plus).
With the promise of great revenues comes the demand for equal efforts. Running an e-commerce business is not an easy task as there is a huge amount of data flow in the form of inventory management, product placement, marketing, order processing, etc. Unless you have a process in place along with appropriate tools to refine the data to use it to give a better customer experience, expecting a slice of the $4.5 trillion revenue pie is a lost dream.
Whether you are an online retailer, e-commerce shop, multichannel brands, or even e-commerce Marketing Agency that manages different e-commerce clients, Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a platform that can streamline your e-commerce business. This article will help you make an educated design of how to make the best use of SFMC for your e-commerce business.
Prerequisites to using SFMC for e-commerce
SFMC is a marketing platform that can accelerate your marketing efforts in the right direction but before you can utilize it optimally you need to complete certain prerequisites.
1. Integrate with the e-commerce Platform.
While you get the maximum benefits if you are a SalesForce Commerce Cloud user as this simplifies the overall integration process significantly, API integration support is provided for all popular e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce.
2. Integrate with Social Media Platforms.
SFMC provides a centralized dashboard to monitor individual activity and it would be helpful if you have integrated your social media accounts to track social media posts.
3. Create Standard and Custom Email Templates.
Emails play a pivotal role in e-commerce marketing, especially the triggered and automated ones. So, it is advised to have all the necessary email templates designed and integrated beforehand.
USPs of SalesForce Marketing Cloud & How to use them
In order to learn how to optimally use SFMC in e-commerce marketing, it is important to be acquainted with the main features of it. Some of the most commonly used Marketing Cloud Products and the best practices to use them for e-commerce marketing are listed below:
The journey of a customer from being a mere visitor to making the first (and subsequent) purchase can be planned and built using this product. Based on the uniqueness of every customer’s interaction, individual customer journeys can be created that are customized for 1-to-1 engagement. Communications with individual customers from all the different channels for communications such as emails, social media posts, SMS, push notifications can be viewed here.
How To Use It For e-commerce: Irrespective of the e-commerce platform you use, you have the option to assign a unique identifier based on the location and device used for visiting your store. This identifier can be used to create a new customer profile in the journey builder. Based on the further interactions, information can be filled into the customer profile and on achieving certain predetermined criteria, the journey can be altered or progressed. E.g. If the visitor is browsing men’s footwear and they abandon the search midway, as per the journey, they can be sent offers regarding the same to lure them back.
As we previously stated, emails play a pivotal role in e-commerce marketing. You can create custom segmentation criteria, create sophisticated email templates, and set up automation campaigns in the email studio.
How To Use It For E-commerce: E-commerce email marketing is all about sending the correct email message at the correct user action and automation is very much needed. Create transactional emails for different stages of the purchases, set up automation to reward loyalty, and celebrate anniversaries & personal milestones by automatically sending relevant emails. Pair up with a recommendation engine or Einstein AI (discussed in detail later) and you can send personalized recommendations for upselling and cross-selling opportunities.
Collect all the data about individual customers, from various sources, on a unified data management platform (DMP) for providing a personalized marketing experience. With the plethora of customer data available, you can implement better segmentation criterias, gain better customer insights, and provide the raw data for Einstein.
How To Use It For e-commerce: When all your customer data is present at a single point of contact, it is easy to monitor the progress of each prospect through the buying cycle. Vital information about customer behavior such as the pages browsed, the products seen, the last opened email, past orders can be pulled when needed to create a personalized marketing campaign for a similar customer base. This also helps you keep track of the dormant customers and activity levels of the loyal customers.
Listen to the chatter and engage with your prospects on social media with the Social Studio product. Social studio allows you to create topic profiles to get alerts from custom keywords or fresh topics and trends. Any mentions are automatically displayed on your dashboards and you can provide customer service via the social channels.
How To Use It For e-commerce: Social promotion and customer recommendations can work wonders for improving e-commerce sales. Grow your audience by creating promotional social posts and boost the visibility of best-performing posts by turning them into Ads. Segment your followers into chunks and show them posts related to their product preferences. You can as well use the social studio to track customer interactions, monitor the brand health, and campaign results as custom dashboard sections.
The brains that can crunch in huge customer data and provide refined insight, the Einstein AI is what sets SFMC apart from the competition. Salesforce Marketing Cloud Einstein helps you process your data to discover patterns, predict customer behavior, suggest the next steps to be taken, and automate your marketing workflows. Einstein is built with bleeding-edge technology including (but not restricted to) Machine Learning, predictive analytics, natural language processing, voice recognition (Spring 2020), and visual pattern identification.
How To Use It For e-commerce: When implemented correctly, Einstein can be an extension of your marketing team. It can identify hidden potentials and provide custom solutions to the marketing and sales team to serve the customer better. As mentioned earlier, Einstein can monitor the ongoing trends and behavior patterns to suggest products that your customers may be searching for. Visual pattern identification comes as a great help in suggesting similar products based on browsed products.
E-commerce is one of the booming industries and may someday be the only option of shopping as more and more brands are jumping the bandwagon. In case you are on the fence about SFMC being a good fit for your business, this is probably the best time for you to consider digital transformation. All our Salesforce certified experts are at your service for any kind of migration or usability issues. Get in touch for further information on scenarios where SFMC is helpful for e-commerce.