As we come to the end of another year, now is the time to plan for the next 12 months and take your marketing to the next level. Are you looking for a platform that can be a one-stop solution to all your marketing needs? Congratulations! You have taken the first step towards success. But did you know there are more than 7,000 marketing automation platforms available to merchants? Choosing the right platform can be tricky business.
Email marketing is the most effective channel to reach customers – share your message, sell your goods, and build strong relationships with your audiences. But it’s not the only channel at your fingertips. When looking for your next automation platform, it is important to carefully consider these factors to ensure you’re getting the most out of your chosen solution. So, how do you know which platform is right for your ecommerce business? Here are some essential tips to help you arrive at an informed decision.
Immediate needs, future wants
The world of ecommerce doesn’t stand still for long. Choosing a platform that can grow and adapt to the ever-changing demands of an ecommerce marketing team is essential. Before you begin searching for a new automation platform, make a clear list detailing your future marketing needs and goals you want to accomplish in six months. Having a clear idea of your goals will help you choose a platform to meet current requirements and prepare for whatever the future may bring.
To meet immediate needs, ensure that the new platform offers:
- Easy-to-use email and automation builders
- Data import capabilities
- Mobile-responsive email templates
- Campaign reporting
- On-boarding and deliverability support
- Support for integrations to ecommerce platforms, ERP and CRM systems, onsite personalisation platforms, and more
As you look toward the future, consider whether the platform provides:
- Additional channels such as SMS and chat
- Comparative reporting capabilities
- Strong relationships with technology partners, i.e., loyalty, personalisation, payments, search and data
Email marketing is just one part of a modern marketer’s arsenal. Customers regularly jump between channels and devices, which means you need an automation platform that’s compatible across the board (channels, devices, and OS). SMS, push notifications, retargeting ads, and live chat are just a few channels merchants can use to reach always-on customers. To fully meet the future demands and create a seamless customer experience across channels, you need a platform that can do it all.
For an ecommerce merchant, the strength of a platform’s integration with your online store is the deciding factor. Platforms that require custom development or only offer surface-level integrations can hold you back. You need an automation platform with integration capabilities ready from the get-go.
The platform provider must understand your ecommerce marketing needs. Additional ecommerce-specific capabilities such as AI-powered product recommendations, ROI tracking, and eRFM (engagement, Recency, Frequency, Monetary value) are more than a nice-to-have for growing merchants–they are essential. A platform capable of innovating according to your requirements is crucial for your brand to grow and profits to soar. Ensuring your new platform can do this and more will guarantee you success in the future.
In the noisy world of the consumer email account, a platform that offers deliverability support is a must. There’s nothing worse than having your marketing messages flagged as spam and redirected to the junk folder. Look for a solution with teams dedicated to your deliverability needs to ensure your messages land in the inbox every time.
On-boarding and other services
In addition to deliverability, choosing a provider with dedicated on-boarding teams is vital to hit the ground running. Working closely with deliverability teams and on-boarding specialists responsible for warming up your IP address allows you to gradually send more emails over your new IP. It will result in establishing a good sender reputation, seamlessly transferring your marketing lists, and ensuring your integrations are ready from the start.
But that is not the only service to consider. With one eye focused on the future, you need a platform that’s ready to help you achieve your next goal. Services such as design and creative can help you with any rebranding or new campaign requirements. Moreover, it is also critical to have training teams available to educate you about new platform features or offer bespoke courses to help you achieve your goals. The opportunities are endless, so look beyond just the channels on offer by your new automation platform.
Tink Taylor is founder and president of dotdigital.