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Commerce marketing trends and tips for 2016

“Did we bury batch and blast in 2015? Hopefully.”

That’s the key sentiment from a new report released by commerce marketing company, Bronto Software, which urges marketers to put personalisation at the top to their to do lists in 2016. 

Speaking at the Bronto City Tour last month, founder of TinyMe, Mike Wilson, compared perfecting relevant email communications to trying to build a unicorn.

“Unicorns, they don’t exist,” Wilson said. “We’ve been trying to build a unicorn for many, many years and I don’t think we’ll ever build what we really want to build.”

Nevertheless, Wilson recommended tackling the problem bit by bit, starting with bringing relevance to blast emails. Basic high-level segmentation such as gender, name and addressing where the customer is on their shopping journey, can help bring relevance to commerce marketing, he said. 

Post codes can be used to add geo-based information to campaigns. For example Skymosity adds live weather data to trigger-based emails.

Bronto’s report, Commerce Marketing Gurus: Top 2016 Trends, argues personalisation tactics engage consumers, build loyalty and drive revenue.

Shannon Ingrey, GM at Bronto Software Australia, urged retailers to underpin their personalisation efforts with robust automation that will provide timely, targeted and relevant messages.

“Savvy retailers should quickly message customers who have just purchased to thank them, offer complementary items and encourage a product or shopping experience review to generate future marketing and purchase opportunities,” said Ingrey.

Five marketing tips from Bronto

  • Cart recovery is still a revenue driver. About 75 per cent of shoppers use their online shopping carts to store items with plans to revisit them later. Cart recovery emails are 100X more effective than other less-personal email tactics.
  • Browser abandonment is the next frontier of personalisation. 15 per cent of retailers surveyed say they send browser recovery emails when a shopper abandons their search before filling a cart. And the numbers are growing as the technology for automating these messages becomes more readily available.
  • Welcome message series work. They can deliver a double-digit revenue increase, Bronto argues.
  • Skip the mobile app and concentrate on delivering a top-notch mobile experience. Shoppers are increasingly using their smartphones to window shop, check prices when they are in the store, or park items in a shopping cart to review later. It’s crucial to understand how shoppers use mobile devices to refine the purchase process and deliver the mobile experience they’re looking for.
  • Make social an enhancement and extension of the e-commerce efforts. Retailers should use the customer data collected from emails to help inform their social strategy and vice versa. They can then use the information from their social media ad spend to refine their e-commerce messaging and segmentation.
Bronto Software CEO, Joe Colopy, addresses the audience during the Bronto City Tour in Sydney last month.

Bronto Software CEO, Joe Colopy, addresses the audience during the Bronto City Tour in Sydney last month.

Market smarter
In a noisy world, marketers need to move away from email blasts to more relevant and targeted communications with consumers.

Joe Colopy, CEO of commerce marketing company, Bronto Software, said commerce marketing – how email, mobile and social communications drive transactions online or offline – is getting smarter.

“The big trend is moving away from, ‘I’m the marketer and I’m going to blast out the same thing to everybody’, to much more targeted and relevant communications that are on the timeframe of the consumer,” Colopy told Internet Retailing during a visit to Australia last month. 

Relevance, or personalisation, should be scalable and determined by where the individual is in the customer lifecycle and purchase journey.

Looking further into the future, Bronto is investing in designing tools to not only to help deliver more targeted messages to consumers, but also to tie those messages more closely to retailer’s back-of-house operations.

In June last year, cloud-based financials, ERP and omnichannel software provider, NetSuite, acquired Bronto, which Colopy said will allow the commerce marketing platform to bring together back office functions and consumer communication.

“In the world of retail [NetSuite’s] offering means order management, inventory, fulfilment, all these things from a marketing perspective are just foreign concepts,” Colopy said. “But with time, the more we can take the more back office stuff and integrate it with marketing is extremely powerful.”

For example, changing communications to market products which can be shipped from a store near the consumer.

In determining which moves to make to take the company forward, Bronto opted to stay away from building within email transactions or being able to render a live video.

“It’s never been a huge focus for Bronto, and I think we’ve made that bet correctly, because there are better places to do that,” Colopy said.

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