India is moving at a very fast pace to become digitally empowered. According to Financial Express report, the Indian e-commerce industry is growing at an annual rate of 51% and is expected to reach US$ 120 billion by 2020, beating all the countries in the world. The availability of smartphones, push for e-governance, and internet connectivity, thanks to JIO, has given accessibility even to those living in the remotest of locations. While few giants are doing extremely well in the e-commerce segment, some of the players are getting “Phygital” (physical plus digital). FirstCry and LensKart have opened over 300 and 500 stores respectively till now. Where some of the giants are already working for their next 5-10 years plan, few of them along with a lot of mid-size firms have to plan for closure.
The Government policies, negative margin per delivery, sales by the rulers of the industry, poor inventory management & the logistics ecosystem, study of consumer behaviour, buyer’s journey, after-sales scenario, and lack of financial backing by angel investors are few reasons that led to the e-commerce business failure. Small to medium size companies see the opportunity in e-commerce but miss the deep and analytical research; research which talks about the engagement where marketing and customer come into the picture. They fail to hit the customer relationship chain of acquiring, maintaining, upselling and cross-selling, loyalty and retention from the beginning. Later on, it becomes difficult to initiate the process as they have already missed the golden period of engagement.
Another reason that they couldn’t scale and grow further is the lack of “MarTech Infrastructure”. They couldn’t compete with standards set by every rising Amazon or Walmart owned Flipkart and the user experiences provided by these e-retailers.
What is MarTech Infrastructure and what does it have to do with the failure of e-commerce?
MarTech infrastructure is nothing but a combination of large data and machine learning which enables brand advertisers to efficiently expand their targeting efforts. While the machines take care of the execution of campaigns and learning, marketing team focuses on planning and strategising by analysing the reports with these tools.
Problem statements for e-commerce:
- Single Sign-on (SSO)
- Abandoned cart
- Referral drip
- Standing upright in touch competition
- Focusing on long term vision to be profitable
- Low human intervention
- Faster sales
But why are these the problem statements? Here’s why – the execution team is busy with traditional digital advertising tactics, including campaign creation optimisation, media mix modelling, media buying, and reporting. They spend about 90% of their time in execution and 10% on reporting.
And how do they analyse anything? They basically share an overview of the reports. But analysis is not just an overview; it has to be an in-depth detail-based journey of a single user, from a single keyword to a post, ad copy, and landing page. It’s about finding every single minute area from where ROI can be achieved!
There should be a valid reason why conversions are low or why the existing customer is not coming back. We can easily debate that it is because of industry trends and rising competition, which is simply an escape. The execution team doesn’t plan as that is done by the senior management. So, the marketing plan and strategy has to be developed taking the execution team’s insights.
So, why don’t they do so? You might ask! Well, that’s because they have:
- Bandwidth issues followed by an immediate backup plan for the failure of the campaign
- Lack of training and motivation to participate in planning and strategising
- Deadline issues
So, how can we help the marketing teams? - With Marketing Automation!
Marketing technology grabs 29% of 2018 CMO budget, survey says! And as opposed to the widespread notion that marketing automation platforms are expensive, they are actually not when you look at the Return on Investment they provide your business later on. It will help CMOs and marketing heads to align marketing metrics with business priorities, favouring customer value and return on investment (ROI), removing focus from brand awareness as their most important strategic measure.
Marketing automation particularly helps the marketing team concentrate on the strategic delivery of value to customers, dive deeper into important reports and data, and at the same time, learn and execute tasks with the help of AI. Now, I know your next thought! What are the capabilities of Marketing Automation tools, right? Listed below are the digital marketing areas where automation can ease up your load:
Managing Social Accounts With Ease
One of the most problematic areas for small and mid-sized e-commerce firms is not being able to reach out to their target audience on social platforms. So, right from list building, managing sign-ups and subscribers to scheduling your social posts and blogs as early as six months, marketing automation can do a lot for you than your earlier imagined
Effective Email marketing
As among the oldest forms of digital marketing and now inbound, believe it or not, it holds specific value in the world of e-commerce. 30% of online business is driven through the existing database. It is extremely important to pamper the existing users at every single stage. Marketing Automation can help you do that. Right from setting up the workflows and landing pages to being on top of personalisation, marketing automation has got your back. However, as HubSpot puts it, “In a time when data privacy runs high on an internet user's priority list, not every commercial email is welcome in that user's inbox. E-commerce marketers need to be careful when and how they add website visitors to their mailing list.” Take notes marketers!
One Word: Attribution!
The buyer’s journey is worth 100%. It needs to be tracked in every possible manner. Every one has sufficient knowledge of tracking link clicks and web behaviour but we still find it hard to connect the dots between someone who views our ad, visits the website, takes an action and falls in our customer list. To calculate the ROI, we must connect all these dots to reap the revenue.
Automation tools help you in such situations. From tracking each touchpoint to analysing which generated the highest revenue, marketing automation can do that for you. No attribution model is the “right” one. It depends on the context of your business and how you prefer to measure. Reporting all of these things will give you a complete picture of the journey from an anonymous visitor to customer.
Marketing automation tools have custom dashboards which can be modified in accordance with the needs of the prior data. Large organisations have larger budgets for big data and predictive analysis but mid-size companies can tweak their business models according to the information and data offered by advanced attribution technology to optimise return on investment (ROI). Without the right insights, everything you do will be in vain. Setting the right KPIs will give you better insights into what you are doing right or wrong, how you can track progress, and what financial implications your business is gaining.
Meeting the targets and beating the competition has taken over our minds. With more and more technologies, businesses become less and less human. But still investing in a humanistic approach and latest market tech strategies will certainly offer higher ROI. Data and tracking are useless if not seen as the big picture. Like they say, "Marketing Automation is not only about technology, but it's also about the mindset of the leaders.”