“Toot, toot, toot,” says the solo trombone. [Silence.] “Bum, bum, bum,” goes the bass drum. [Silence.] “Maraca, maraca, maraca,” says the solo maraca. This is how multichannel marketing would sound if it was an orchestra. Each instrument represents one single communication channel, and each plays at its own designated time. “TootBumMaraca, TootBumMaraca, TootBumMaraca.” This is how omnichannel marketing would sound if it was an orchestra. Each instrument represents one single communication channel, yet each instrument plays in perfect unison with the other instruments. Now, let’s add in the plucking of a cello … TootBumMaracaPluck … and now a shrilly Psycho-themed violin … TootBumMaracaPluckReekReekReek … and finally let’s add in a heavenly angelic choir of angels for the ultimate crescendo …TootBumMaracaPluckReekReekReekLAAAAAAAAAA! This is how multichannel marketing would sound at its finest. In this blog, we’ll take a look at the ins and out of everything omnichannel marketing. We’ll cover effective omnichannel strategies as well as examples of brands that are putting effective strategies to work. We’ll also touch on how omnichannel marketing can help your ecommerce business, and we’ll end with a few of the best resources out there for helping to build an omnichannel marketing strategy. Effective Omnichannel Marketing Strategies How does an omnichannel marketing strategy work? We’re going to venture a guess that you’ve probably heard of multichannel marketing and omnichannel marketing. But did you know there’s actually a difference between the two? In its most boiled-down sense, multichannel marketing is marketing that reaches a target audience through multiple communication channels or platforms throughout the customer journey. Marketing channels and platforms are literally everywhere you turn—from social media platforms, blogs, and email, to SMS text messaging, and even postal mail. Multichannel marketing helps a business promote and sell its products basically anywhere a customer spends their time, and for this reason multichannel is all about choice. Customers are able to interact and purchase an ecommerce store’s products through whatever channel or platform they like best, thus giving the customer the ultimate choice of how and when to buy. Omnichannel marketing, though, is like multichannel marketing on steroids. While it recognizes customers across different channels and platforms, it goes the extra step of merging all of the data from those multichannel interactions to deliver the ultimate personalized and consistent messaging—one that even has the power to change through every unique customer interaction. Omnichannel marketing provides a seamless shopping experience as it overlaps between the physical, digital, social, and mobile worlds to put the customer at the very core to ensure a consistent and unified experience at every touchpoint. Omnichannel literally means “all channels,” and it breaks down barriers between channels to create one unified whole. In omnichannel marketing, the customer’s experience lies at the very heart of the strategy. What should you look for in an omnichannel marketing strategy? When it comes to an effective omnichannel marketing strategy for your ecommerce business, a “customer-first” approach should be at the center of your strategy. After all, omnichannel marketing is all about the customer. With this in mind, here are two omnichannel marketing strategies that can help your business tackle the customer-first approach. #1 Personalization. Given the fact that a whopping 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers to them, personalized messages can help drive sales and ensure that your brand stays front-and-center in the mind of the customer no matter where they are in their buying journey. Drip’s Ecommerce CRM platform is filled to the brim with tools that allow for spot-on personalization. From deep segmentation capabilities that let you see exactly what shoppers are browsing and buying, to dynamic price-drop notifications, discount codes, and product recommendations, Drip can help your online store take personalization to a whole new level. #2 Automation. Trying to run an ecommerce store without automation is like Clark Griswold trying to deliver the most fun-filled old-fashioned family Christmas ever—both result in full-blown, four-alarm emergencies. A great time to engage with customers is when they’re opening your emails or visiting your site, and with behavior-based automations and workflows—like those found within Drip’s platform—your business can automatically engage at critical moments during the customer experience. Create if-this-then-that rules and workflows that react at the right place and time, apply and remove tags to help you gain a deeper understanding of each customer, utilize pre-built workflows to save you time— heck, the automation sky is the limit. Incorporating automation into your online business’ omnichannel marketing strategy will not only save you time AND money (a win-win combination), but it’ll also save your sanity (a win-win-WIN combination). How can omnichannel marketing improve your online business? Omnichannel marketing has the potential to improve your business a few different ways. For starters, because its main approach is all about providing customers with a seamless, integrated shopping experience, omnichannel marketing focuses entirely on the customer—which is great for personalization. While a multichannel marketing approach aims to get your business’ name into the world by utilizing channels to the max, omnichannel marketing pulls together all touchpoints to harmonize the user experience into one big, happy whole. Omnichannel marketing also improves your business because it presents a consistent brand image and voice to your customers. A consistent marketing message provides a sense of familiarity to which a customer can relate, and with a heightened sense of familiarity comes more trust and, at the end of the day, more sales. Brands with the Best Omnichannel Marketing Strategies What are some brands that are using omnichannel marketing successfully? There are numerous brands that have tackled omnichannel marketing successfully. Here are a few that stand out: REI. Recreational Equipment Inc., mainly referred to as REI, does a great job of merging the physical in-store world with the digital online world. With a focus on ensuring a personalized shopping experience, REI’s app lets a shopper scan a barcode to reveal what other users think of the product. A shopper simply scans a barcode from their smartphone and voila! instant details and reviews pop up on the screen. Additionally, REI unites the experiences you have in-store with what you’re doing online by doing things like following up about items you bought in-person. Sephora. Even if you’re not into cosmetics or skincare products, visiting a Sephora store should be on your to-do list if you’re looking to catch omnichannel marketing at its finest. The company’s mobile app utilizes location-based marketing and instantly recognizes when a consumer enters one of its stores. While inside the store, relevant info—like sweet deals—gets sent to the shopper’s phone, and shoppers can also check out different shades of lipsticks and styles on in-store tablets. Then, once the shopper exits the store, Sephora keeps its brand front and center in the shopper’s mind by sending personalized emails and mobile app experiences like new trends, new products, and video tutorials. Timberland. An outdoor-wear retailer that also has a focus on footwear, Timberland uses near-field communication (NFC) technology—a form of contact-free communication between devices like a smartphone and a tablet—to merge its physical in-store world with the digital world. Throughout Timberland stores, customers can tap on tablets and digital installations to learn more about the products and to see exactly which products are available in-store and which are sold online only. In-store engagement requires no sign-up, and no download or app. Then, at the end of the shopping spree, customers can choose to opt-in via email and receive personalized content related to their store visit. What do brands with successful omnichannel marketing strategies have in common? What’s the single most important omnichannel marketing strategy that all three of the examples above share in common? We’ll give you a hint: It appears as a 12-letter word in each descriptive paragraph … [cue Jeopardy thinking music] … it starts with a “p” and ends with an “ed” … yes, you’re correct—personalized! All three brands focus on creating a personalized shopping experience for customers. Whether it’s a detailed review of bear safety gear that pops up on your smartphone with the scan of a barcode, or in-store interactive digital installations that let you learn more about the pair of shoes or the jacket you’re eyeing to buy, a personalized experience is at the very center of each brand’s omnichannel marketing strategy. What do brands with successful omnichannel marketing strategies avoid? Because personalization is an important part of an omnichannel marketing strategy that can set your business apart from its competitors, you probably won’t see any of the above brands send generic email blasts or non-personalized messages to customers. After all, what’s worse than getting notifications about the Luggable Loo portable toilet when you have zero interest in camping or doing your business outdoors. How Omnichannel Marketing Can Help Your Business Succeed How does omnichannel marketing improve customer experience? An omnichannel marketing approach has the potential to improve customer experience because it offers a few pretty priceless benefits. 1. A consistent experience for the customer. Because omnichannel marketing is a strategy that syncs all communications channels together—from email and website to social media, storefront, and more—it provides a customer with an overall consistent brand message and experience. So whether customer Sue is checking out your store’s emails from her tablet at home, or she’s sitting on a beach in Maui sipping piña coladas and rounding down your store’s checkout aisle from her smartphone, omnichannel marketing ensures customer Sue is having a seamless and consistent experience with your brand no matter where she’s spending her time. 2. A personalized shopping experience for the customer. Omnichannel marketing also improves customer experience because it creates a completely personalized experience. Omnichannel marketing recognizes customers across different devices and channels, and it merges all of the multichannel interactions together to deliver the ultimate personalized messaging experience. Through personalized messages, customers can receive dynamic discounts, abandoned cart reminders, product recommendations, and a zillion other messages that sync together to provide a seamless experience between customer and business. 3. Brand familiarity. Great omnichannel marketing strategies lead to increased awareness throughout your target audience. By connecting with customers through personalized messages—sending dynamic discounts, product recommendations, shopping cart abandonment reminders—your brand creates a sense of familiarity with its base audience. People like to feel valued, and they love to receive personalized “hellos.” Omnichannel marketing creates brand familiarity across all channels so that your business is always in the mind of the shopper. Why is it helpful to streamline the elements of the customer experience? Friction in the customer experience can dramatically reduce repeat purchases and retention rates. In the ecommerce world, the timing of your business’ messages plays a big role in whether or not a customer will continue interacting with your brand. Did you know that 54% of consumers expect to receive a personalized discount within 24 hours of identifying themselves to a brand? And, on top of that stat, 32% expect a discount to be issued after just one hour. Talk about down-to-the-wire timing! If your ecommerce business isn’t taking full advantage of sending out automated personalized messages at the right time, you may be missing your window of opportunity to make that final sale. How can you incorporate omnichannel marketing into your existing marketing strategy? If you’re looking to incorporate omnichannel marketing into your online business’ existing marketing strategy, here are a few tips to get you started: Start small. Remember our earlier reference to Christmas Vacation and Clark Griswold trying to deliver the most fun-filled old-fashioned family Christmas ever? If you’ve seen the 1989 classic, you already know that Clark’s ambitions to tackle everything Christmas all at once leads to an uprooted Rockefeller-sized Christmas tree, 25,000 twinkle lights that cause a citywide power outage, and a squirrel that runs amuck inside a house. Don’t be Clark Griswold. Don’t try tackling all tasks at one time. Instead, start setting up interactions between two or three of your channels. For example, connect your ecommerce platform to your email marketing so that when someone buys an item from your shop, an email is locked-and-loaded with a thank you message coupon, or upsell. Once that’s worked out, integrate Facebook Custom Audiences for specific items or categories that launch only after customers open the related email. Know your audience. Are the majority of your customers spending their time in email? Are they more inclined to shop with you through their smartphone? Are they craving the smooth, tactile feel of physical mail? It’s important to know where your customers are spending their time so that your business can send targeted messages through the most relevant communication channels. See what your ecommerce platform offers. For example, Shopify offers some handy built-in features and tools to help get you started with an omnichannel marketing strategy straight away. While these built-in features are somewhat limited in the apps (after all, these apps are focused on creating the best selling platform, not the best marketing platform), they’re a good place to try which channels you want to explore more. Automate. Marketing automation helps a business connect with its customers in more personal ways. It helps a business grow its lists and drive new leads, it helps to nurture leads through email marketing, it allows for segmentation capabilities, it lets a business track website analytics, and it helps to manage the overall relationship between ecommerce business and customer. Invest in an Ecommerce CRM platform. Drip’s Ecommerce CRM platform is designed to help you build better, more profitable relationships with your shoppers by connecting all of your ecommerce data to your marketing strategy. Get a full understanding of every person who interacts with your ecommerce brand, send automated personalized messaging, engage with people at the most impactful moments by sending a welcome campaign or an abandoned cart email reminder, and keep up-to-date on all of your marketing efforts with engagement metrics (opens, clicks, and unsubscribes), overall revenue, and everything in-between. Resources for Building an Omnichannel Marketing Strategy Where can you find resources for building an omnichannel marketing strategy? So, let’s just say that after reading this blog you’ve decided you’re interested in omnichannel marketing (excellent!), you think it’ll be great to implement into your ecommerce business (more excellent!), but you’re not entirely sure how to get an omnichannel marketing strategy up and running. No worries! We’ve done our research and put together a few top resources that can help to guide you along your omnichannel path. Shopify. We’ve mentioned the ecommerce platform before, but it’s worth mentioning again because the platform is filled with insightful omnichannel marketing blogs, tips on how to pick an omnichannel commerce solution, in-depth looks at brands that use effective omnichannel marketing strategies, and a whole boatload of other tools to help your ecommerce store move in the direction toward omnichannel marketing. Digital shops and agencies. If human interaction is what you’re craving, reach out to a small digital shop or agency that specializes in omnichannel marketing. Agencies will have whole teams dedicated to identifying your strongest channels and setting up your strategies. A quick Google search will probably reveal marketing businesses you had no idea existed right in your neighborhood. Drip ECRM. As a platform designed to bring a brand closer to its customers—and one that’s 100% designed for the buying and selling of anything online—Drip ECRM is loaded with tools and knowledge on all things omnichannel marketing. From blogs (like this one!), our learning hub MyDrip, and a customer service base with live humans, to big-data dashboards that measure revenue and customer stats, behavior-based automations, split testing in workflows … we could go on and on. What resources could be useful to marketers looking to build an omnichannel marketing strategy? We’ve mentioned a few omnichannel marketing strategy resources before—such as knowledge bases, blogs, and digital agencies—but another great way to build an omnichannel marketing strategy for your ecommerce business is to see what other companies are up to. Sephora, REI, Timberland—we listed those brands as omnichannel marketing standouts, but those are only the tip of the iceberg. Other notable brands with great omnichannel marketing strategies include Disney, Crate and Barrel, Starbucks, and more. You might also consider your own “undercover” testing. For example, check out a brand or company you admire, load a few items into the ecommerce store’s shopping cart, leave the site, and see what happens. Do you get a “you forgot this!” automated shopping cart abandonment message within an hour? Within 3 hours? Do you find a 25% off coupon in your email the following day? Are the ads on your Facebook account suddenly advertising exactly what you were “undercover” shopping for? Sometimes testing the waters is all it takes to generate new ideas for your business. Now Is the Time to Build Your Own Omnichannel Marketing Orchestra While the idea of implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy into your current business strategy may seem daunting and overwhelming, it’s an effective marketing approach that, when done correctly, can give your online business an advantage over the competition and reel in the big bucks of success. So if you’re ready to make the jump to omnichannel marketing, simply “toot, toot, toot” your horn, and Drip will be ready to help orchestrate the transition.
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If cartoon thought bubbles existed in the real world, there’s a 99.7% chance you’d see one with a money symbol hovering above an ecommerce business owner’s head. Whether you’re chin-deep in the ecommerce business world, or you’re new to the game and ready to wade into the kiddie pool, we’re willing to bet that money is on your mind. In this blog, we’ll cover exactly how ecommerce businesses make money, what it takes to start a successful ecommerce business, and how ecommerce strategies can help your online business save more money. How Does Ecommerce Make Money? From a formal standpoint, ecommerce is defined as commercial transactions conducted electronically over the internet (ya know, electronic commerce). From an informal standpoint, ecommerce is simply the buying or selling of anything online. From physical goods like T-shirts, pie tins, and hermit crab huts, to services such as online courses and consulting, to digital goods like software and ebooks, ecommerce is the word that sums up online buying or selling. There are a variety of ecommerce models, including:
Making and Selling This model is just what it sounds like. You own the entire product and brand by making your own products and selling them through your own store.
Working with a Manufacturer Have a great idea but aren’t able to produce it yourself? This is the model for you. Work with a supplier to make the product you have in mind, then sell through your online shop.
Wholesaling/warehousing Curate and buy great products, store the inventory, and sell the goods through your online store for a bit of a profit. You have total say over which products you sell, but you do have to buy them upfront.
Dropshipping This method puts your store as a sort of middleman between consumer and supplier. Sell products from a variety of suppliers without ever having to buy products upfront or store loads of inventory. Once an order is placed, the supplier handles the fulfillment and shipping.
White/private Labeling White/private labeling involves an ecommerce store purchasing premade products, then applying its own private label to the product to make it a part of their brand. This is great for stores that specialize in making one product but want to supplement it with related products.
No matter which revenue model is chosen, making real money with ecommerce comes from sourcing goods for cheaper than they’re sold for. While that sounds like a simple enough strategy, consider that healthy profit margins only gets tougher to achieve when extra costs are added into the equation. Costs to run an online store while acquiring and retaining customers could take a significant amount of revenue. Ecommerce Revenue-generating Strategies When it comes to actual strategies that successful ecommerce stores put into play, ones like these are almost ubiquitous: They embrace multichannel marketing.Multichannel marketing is marketing that reaches a target audience through multiple communication channels and platforms throughout the customer journey. Basically, the main purpose of multichannel marketing is to help an online business promote and sell its products anywhere a customer spends their time, from Facebook to emails to their actual, tangible mailbox. According to Shopify, multichannel marketing and selling increases revenue by an average of 38% with one channel, 120% with two channels, and $190% with three channels. With these numbers in mind, it’s clear that an ecommerce business has the potential to rake in some serious dough when the right mix of channels is in play. They make personalization a #1 priority. According to global professional services company Accenture, 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations. Ecommerce businesses that connect with customers through highly personalized methods of communication cater to exactly what online shoppers are craving—a personalized experience with a brand. Whether it’s sending emails that highlight product recommendations, tailored ads that remind customers of items left in their cart, or postcards that arrive via snail mail, an ecommerce business that goes the extra mile to make personalization a priority brings in more revenue than a business that puts personalization on the back burner. They cozy up with an Ecommerce CRM platform. Another way ecommerce businesses make money is by utilizing an Ecommerce Customer Relationship Manager, like Drip. While a traditional CRM can help a business organize its customers and make a few sales along the way, it just wasn’t built to benefit customers—it was made for sales teams. But an Ecommerce CRM is built specifically for delivering the best customer experience to online shoppers. Designed to hold millions of records, Drip ECRM keeps tabs on exactly what customers are up to 24/7 so that ecommerce businesses can use all of that customer data to effectively market to any customer using unique journeys. Starting an Ecommerce Business How do you start a successful ecommerce business? Are you ready to embrace the world of ecommerce? Great! Are you ready to sell, sell, sell and make money, money, money? Excellent! Are you nodding your head in agreement to all of these questions and suddenly realizing that you have no idea whatsoever on how to get an ecommerce business up and running? Well, guess what … you’ve stumbled across the right blog post. Here are a few of the top basics you’ll want to cover at the start to get your ecommerce business rolling down the runway toward takeoff: Decide on the product to sell. If you’re going to start an ecommerce business you’re going to want to sell something. Are you interested in selling physical goods like baseball caps, cribbage boards, or coffee mugs? Or are you looking to sell digital goods like new software or ebooks? Or perhaps selling services such as online courses, consulting, or freelance services is more your style? Trying to figure out what to sell can be a big brain-drain for some ecommerce newcomers. To help narrow the playing field down a bit, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Consider selling something that’s timeless. Sweatshirts, household essentials, and inflatable toys make great gifts and probably won’t rot or spoil in the back of a refrigerator (if they do, we have questions).
Be cautious with items that have expiration dates. By the time you finish reading this sentence, those electronics and college-course medical books you were thinking of selling are already obsolete and outdated.
To everything (turn, turn, turn) … there is a season (turn, turn, turn). Products pertaining to a particular season—bunny-shaped “Hoppy Spring!” throw pillows, beach-themed garden gnomes, melty face jack-o-lantern candles, and a giant inflatable Krampus—will likely only be purchased during a specific time of year. To keep the cash flow coming in year round, it might be wise to turn, turn, turn away from selling seasonal goods.
Choose your audience. Who are you looking to target? Camping enthusiasts? Humans looking to expand their education? The dog parent who spends 62% of their income on greyhound Gromit’s fashion wardrobe? Narrowing down your audience before your ecommerce business gets up and running has the potential to influence your marketing and selling strategies further down the road, so be sure to plan ahead. Study the competition. Knowing what your competitors are up to—what they’re selling and how they’re marketing their product(s)—will help you determine the best way to set yourself apart from the crowd. Check out how to conduct a competitor analysis. Set up a website. Once you’ve decided on what to sell and who to sell it to, it’s time to roll out a website. When it comes to website musts, the best sites are those that cater to the customer. Keep the layout clean, include images, keep the content interesting and to-the-point, and make it easy for shoppers to contact you. Pick a shopping cart platform. Shopify is a great platform that lets you sell from anywhere (online through your ecommerce store, through social media and online marketplaces, even in-person at retail spots and pop-ups!). The platform even lets you build and customize your ecommerce business through simple interfaces and templates. There are a lot of platforms out there, though, like WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and Magento, so be sure to study which fit your needs right now. Are you setting your store up alone or do you have the luxury of a developer? How many SKUs will you have? What’s the rest of your tech stack look like (and does it integrate)? Consider all of these questions before locking in. Get an ECRM. An Ecommerce CRM platform (ahem, Drip) will help you collect, organize, and put that gold mine of customer data to good use all from one platform. Connect your ecommerce store to Drip, and suddenly you can see what all your customers are up to and create the most relevant, personalized marketing strategies based on their real-life actions. From personalized content to behavior-based automations to dashboards that display the full scoop on how your marketing efforts are performing, Drip helps your ecommerce business snuggle up nice and close to its customers with an experience they’ll want more of. Saving Money by Using Ecommerce Strategies Throughout this blog we’ve touched on how ecommerce businesses make money as well as what it takes to get an online store up and running. Now that you’ve been enlightened and have come to terms with two important points—1) that there IS money to be made in the world of ecommerce, and 2) that it IS possible for you to start your own ecommerce business—we have one additional topic to cover: how you can save time and money by using excellent Ecommerce CRM strategies. The right Ecommerce CRM strategies can help your online business collect valuable information about its customers. From what products customers are browsing through and looking to purchase, to what pages they’re visiting and links they’re clicking through, successful Ecommerce CRM strategies gather critical customer information that can help your business tailor its marketing strategies. Getting your ecommerce business up and running can be a bit nerve-wracking, especially from a financial standpoint. But there are ways to effectively save your precious dollars. The following three strategies are a great place to begin: 1. Start small. When your ecommerce business is just beginning to flap its little wings and catch a few drafts of air, conserving time is equivalent to conserving money. Consider utilizing cheap, pre-built site templates or user-friendly apps so that you can avoid having to hire outside help. 2. Take advantage of automation. Drip is loaded with automation tools that are guaranteed to put more time (time = money!) back into your busy day. Create one-step if-this-then-that rules inside the platform as well as workflows and campaigns that automatically reach customers with personalized content at every stage of their journey for the right message at the right time, every time. 3. Utilize segmentation and personalization capabilities. The more you personalize, the more ROI your ecommerce business will see with every email, which means wasting less time on ineffective strategies. Drip uses tag- and event-based segmentation which lets you add visual identifiers to your customers so that you can better understand their behavior or engagement level. And with one of Drip’s latest tools—a new Shopper Activity API—your business can even segment customers based on the items and brands they’ve purchased. Successful Ecommerce Strategies: There’s Money Waiting for You The ecommerce business world doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon, so if you’re interested in setting up shop there’s no better time than now. All it takes is a desire to sell, a few good ecommerce strategies, and a four-letter Ecommerce CRM platform that always has your back: Drip.
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You know what the real land of opportunity is? Ecommerce. I kick myself for not having the foresight to start an online store the second dial tones started humming on home computers, but the World Wide Web was just too new and overwhelming for me at the time (and I was only 7 years old). The good news is that the ecommerce well is far from drying up, and there are still heaps of online potential up for grabs. If you’re just getting into the whole “selling stuff online” thing, you might be wondering how to get started. Let’s run through some ideas for where to start, what to sell, and which strategies to get started with from social media to ECRM so you can start making money with your very own ecommerce endeavor. Why You Should Start an Ecommerce Business If you’re looking for some extra income or even a rad replacement for your full-time 9-to-5, starting an ecommerce business is one of the best opportunities to explore. In fact, there are more than 110,000 online stores raking in annual revenues beyond $1 million, and the average new ecommerce store makes roughly $39,000 during its first month of business.
Compared with a brick-and-mortar storefront, ecommerce stores require less upfront capital to get off the ground and inherently involve less risk than a retail location. Without the need for brick and mortar or hefty startup costs, ecommerce might be just the business you’re looking for. Setting up an online store doesn’t require location permanency, operational costs for a building, limited selling hours, set working hours, in-house inventory, hiring staff, or any of the other typical barriers to getting in the traditional retail game. While you can find great success selling online, there is one big caveat: People have to know your store exists. Unlike a tangible storefront, folks can’t walk by your sign on the street and wander in your doors. Instead, you have to put together an online presence that’ll appeal to search engines and shoppers alike. So while ecommerce can reap huge benefits, success is truly found when the right mix of products, people, and ecommerce marketing is found. Ecommerce Business Ideas for Newbies Some folks have it made in the shade when it comes to figuring out what to sell online. If they’ve been a long-time producer of hand-crafted bags and purses, selling those online is an obvious move. The same goes for people who’ve been making online tutorials and courses, or those who’ve been making money in their own brick-and-mortar shop. But if you haven’t been crafting away or running your own four-walled business, deciding what to sell online is a tough first hurdle to clear. Types of Ecommerce Store Models There are several types of ecommerce business models, and there are pros and cons to consider with each. Before starting any online store, we recommend doing a little bit of legwork first. Research trending products or, conversely, search for a niche that isn’t being met as you’ll have a guaranteed and devoted audience. Once you’ve decided what to sell, here are a few models for how you can sell it: Make and Sell Your Own Products This model is for the particularly skilled and driven sellers. Creating and selling your own products is arguably the most time- and labor-intensive business model on this list. No matter what you’re making, from leather bags to online music courses to clay pottery to handmade jewelry, your biggest limitation will always be “you can only sell as much as you can make.” However, these items can usually be sold for premium prices, unlike many mass-manufactured goods. High-dollar price tags on these goods reflect the cost of materials, time to make the product, inventory storage, studio space, and, of course, profit. If you choose this model, you also can have entire ownership over the entire brand and customer experience. You control the product, the quality of the product, and how it’s sold to customers. No other model provides the seller with 100% control like this one.Strey Designs is an example of a store knocking it out of the park when it comes to total brand ownership of a beautiful product.
Manufacture and Sell Your Own Products with a Supplier If you have a great idea for a product but don’t have the means to manufacture it on your own, this is a great ecommerce option for you. Popular stores include enamel pin sellers like Pinlord. This shop works closely with suppliers by overseeing the entire process from design to production.
Working with suppliers to manufacture original products still enables online stores to have complete control over the brand. Similar to making your own goods or wholesaling, this route often requires sellers to store inventory. Another risk you take with this model is seeing a product not sell and having to either steeply discount (and potentially lose money) or have stagnant stock hanging around your warehouse. If you do your product research, though, this situation is often avoidable. Wholesale: Buy and Sell Someone Else’s Products Wholesaling (or warehousing) works much like the traditional retail model you’ve (probably) been consuming your whole life. If you’re a wholesale shop, you’d purchase someone else’s products at a reduced price, then sell those goods for a profit on your own ecommerce site. This model takes the weight off your shoulders when it comes to producing and manufacturing your own products, and lots of wholesalers see great success. Sellers like Forage Modern Workshop or Rabbit Heart have curated goods from multiple vendors and crafters, then sell them through their site.
While this model does require curating, negotiating wholesale prices, purchasing, and storing the inventory (often done in a warehouse for larger shops), it gives you control over your entire customer experience. You can control which products you want to sell and how you sell them without worrying about any uncontrollable factors. Dropship: Sell Someone Else’s Products Dropshipping puts your ecommerce store in the middle of the purchase, between the customer and the supplier. This is often perceived to be the quickest way to get a shop up and running because it doesn’t require sellers to make, purchase, or store inventory—all of that is taken care of by whichever company is making the products you want to sell. If you’re dropshipping sunglasses, for example, you don’t actually ever have to see any of your inventory. You simply pass the order and customer details onto the manufacturer when someone places an order. When you finetune your automated strategies, a dropshipping business could be a steady stream of passive income. While dropshipping might seem easy-peasy, it can be tricky. A lot of factors are out of your control while dropshipping, such as product quality, speed of shipping, and overall customer experience. If the manufacturer bungles any part of the journey after the sale has been made, you might not see many second purchases. Additionally, since the manufacturer is the one collecting most of the revenue here, you have to be careful with your marketing spend. If your multichannel strategies don’t hit the mark, you could face quickly losing your slim profit margins.
One shop doing it right, though, is BlueCrate. This store sells a wide variety of trendy and kitschy (but totally unneccesary) goods from desktop punching bags to mop socks. The entire online store has an overarching theme across products: things you didn’t know you needed.
Building a Successful Ecommerce Store (and Where to Start) When it comes to putting together an online store destined for success, it’s not easy to point to a starting place. You want to start off strong, which means planning—and lots of it. Without a plan, you risk wasting two of your most valuable resources; time and money. To avoid squandering either, let’s hop into details you should plan for when starting your ecommerce store. Have a product and a plan. As mentioned earlier, it’s important to choose what you’re going to sell and how you’re going to sell it. If you aren’t making and selling your own product, it’s important to build a relationship with your manufacturer so you aren’t met with any surprises after you’ve built your ecommerce site or put money into marketing. Pick an ecommerce platform. There are a lot of options out there, but you’ve probably heard of the four major players for building your ecommerce website: BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Shopify, and Magento. Explore your options and consider pricing and the amount of time it takes to start selling. If this is your first ecommerce rodeo, consider picking a platform that’s user-friendly and won’t require you to hire a developer to get up and running. Also, keep in mind that your store is a reflection of your brand. Make sure you’re able to customize it how you need to best display your products and company. Prioritize your marketing strategies. Don’t spread yourself too thin when it comes to marketing your ecommerce store. There are many channels you could chose to adopt such as social media, direct mail, email, SMS, radio, print, and more—but what do you choose first when getting started? Our advice is to start with one or two channels, then grow into additional channels as your business gains traction. Marketing Strategies for Online Stores Selling more products means getting them in front of more people online. Without exposure or acquisition, your site could sit stagnant for a while. In order to get your acquisition and repeat purchase rates rolling, here are some ecommerce marketing must-haves. Ecommerce Search Engine Optimization (SEO) In order for people to find and buy from your store, search engines need to know what your site is actually selling. A major piece to the acquisition puzzle is search engine optimization. SEO means optimizing your ecommerce site around keywords and phrases that you want to rank for in search engines so that people can find you when they search for what you’re selling.For example, if you’re selling fanny packs, you’re going to want to mention “fanny pack” and any related keywords across your website. This means creating relevant titles and descriptions for your products, and even creating supporting content through blog posts or videos. By doing this, search engines will know what your website is all about and show it to people when they search for “fanny packs.” Where your site ranks is determined by algorithms that are different between search engines and are continuously evolving with the internet. Ideally, your site would rank on the very first page of search engine results for your desired keywords since most people don’t click beyond page 1. If you’re brand new to SEO, I recommend this comprehensive guide to SEO for ecommerce. It will help you understand how to decide which keywords you should optimize for as well as often forgotten yet integral parts to the SEO puzzle, such as meta descriptions or alt text. Ecommerce Customer Relationship Management (ECRM) A big, fat 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers to them. However, most brands still rely on batch-and-blast marketing that isn’t personalized to the individual customer. (Show of hands: How many of us have been shown a Facebook ad for an item we already purchased weeks ago? I can’t see your hands, but I’m assuming they’re up.) Drip Ecommerce CRM helps any ecommerce store stand out in the crowded industry by empowering them to create better, more personalized customer experiences. When connected to your store, and Drip ECRM can track and store pretty much everything your customers are doing. And when you can see what pages they’re visiting, how many times they’re looking at an item, what they’re buying (or abandoning), and more, you have the power to create the most relevant marketing possible. Which is especially important when you consider that half of shoppers are even willing to pay more for products and services from brands that provide relevant content. You can recognize when someone has abandoned a cart, then offer them a perfectly timed discount code to lure them back. Or when you can see someone has looked at the same baseball hat six times, sending them a beautiful email with images of your hats and retargeting them on Facebook could be just what they need to cross the finish line. With priceless and deep customer data stored in one place, you can send customers relevant marketing based on their real-life behaviors with one tool. Customers will notice the top-notch experience your store delivers, and they’ll come back to you instead of competitors just to get some more. Multichannel Marketing Campaigns While email marketing has one of the best ROIs around (for every dollar invested in email marketing, the average return is $32), don’t forget about the entire world of ecommerce marketing channels available to you. Consistent posting on your blog is a great way to get more traffic from organic search, but the power of social media, influencer marketing, display ads, direct mail, SMS marketing, and more should be considered. When shoppers are delivered a multichannel campaign for a product they were just looking at or a discount for their shopping cart, they’ll take notice of and appreciate an engaging and personalized relationship with your store. To make multichannel marketing a seamless strategy from customer behavior to marketing action, consider Drip ECRM’s automated workflows. Connect any of your marketing channels to your ecommerce store in one workflow, then automatically trigger marketing messages at the right moment for every unique shopper.
The Future of Ecommerce If you’re in the ecommerce industry, you’re well-aware of its unending growth. More than 10% of retail sales in the U.S. are made online, and total sales are expected to reach nearly $740 billion by 2023. I could go on with the stats available to back up this claim, but every single one points to this: Ecommerce has been steadily growing, and there’s no limit to how far it will go. With the endless possibilities for what you can sell, how you can sell it, and marketing strategies you can adopt to get your products in front of the right audience, starting an ecommerce business right now seems like the right opportunity for anyone looking to get into the industry.
Want to see how you can get your ecommerce store to stand out and succeed? It only takes 5 minutes to start trying Drip for free for 14 days. Start my free trial
Since 1957, one local coffeehouse-and-spice-shop combo has been a hub for peppered conversation and unbeatable aromas for folks across Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For nearly six decades, The Spice House has been pioneering how people buy spices, from in-store to mail order to online. Brick-and-mortar Spice House stores deliver a memorable (and unbeatable) in-person shopping experience. Before snagging any of the 400 spices, rubs, blends, or extracts off the shelves, you can waft, taste, smell, and, in some cases, grind exactly what you’re going to swipe through the checkout. Since expanding to ecommerce, the folks at The Spice House have been battling the disparity between the unforgettable in-store journey and the cold, impersonal online experience. How did The Spice House hurdle the gap to get closer to customers online? See for yourself. See the whole spicy story Drip Ecommerce CRM Outloves Ye Olde ESP The Spice House had revamped their online shop to make the buying process smoother, but they just weren’t able to effectively chat with and care for their customers how they wanted. When people are perusing the store in person, it’s not uncommon for the owners to come out, describe the spices and their backstory, and fill out a full-bodied spice-buying experience. And, to no one’s surprise, the impersonal, one-size-fits-all emails The Spice House was sending with their traditional ESP just weren’t able to replicate the experience. Without the ability to segment their customers, personalize messages, craft relevant experiences—and do all of this automatically—The Spice House’s ecommerce growth was starting to get stunted. The Spice House needed a shift in their ecommerce marketing strategy if they wanted to keep customers close and loyal.
“We were in a situation where we needed to change quickly, and we needed to see results quickly.” — Charlie, CEO The Spice House
Drip is an ecommerce CRM, which means it’s built to help ecommerce brands use customer data to build timely, relevant, and memorable experiences from email to Instagram at scale. The Spice House needed a solution that would help them understand their customers, see what people are doing along their shopping journey, and make every experience more personal. They found that all of this (and more) was possible with Drip. See How The Spice House Put up Big numbers in Just 10 Months Plugging The Spice House into Drip ECRM was a quick process. They anticipated the move would take months, but instead, The Spice House was fully set up and ready to run free in a couple weeks. With all their customer data (dating back to 2004, when they first started selling online) organized and accessible, the sky was the limit for any email marketing automation strategy they could cook up. Suddenly, The Spice House could pick out customers and personalize messages around what people are looking at, what they’re buying, how much they’re spending, and beyond. The Spice House was empowered to send millions of emails and create relevant, holiday-focused campaigns (let’s talk about their President’s Day campaign that drove $93,000 in revenue over three days). Even adding simple, yet comforting touches like a “Welcome to the newsletter!” email drove more than 20,000 conversions in just 7 months. And they’re just getting started. Wanna see what other big numbers and ecommerce marketing automation strategies The Spice House has been posting since starting with Drip? Hit the button below and get blown away by what they’ve been able to accomplish since discovering Drip ecommerce CRM. See the whole spicy story
In everything we do at Drip, we’re thinking about how it helps the people browsing, shopping, and buying from you day in and day out. We’re only quarter-deep into 2019, but it’s already shaping up to be the Year of the People. Everything that’s popped out of our brains and into the product has been about making life better for folks who shop all over the web. And with new opportunities to reach, engage, and understand your customers with Drip ECRM, selling more online is becoming easier while shopping online is becoming a bit more pleasant these days. Take a peep at how Drip has been making an impact with people in 2019 through each and every one of this year’s newest features. Before we begin, a quick roundup of all our biggest updates:
Subscribers became people (finally!)
Engage with all people outside the inbox
Get more revenue insight with dashboards
Personalize deeper with the Shopper Activity API
Make an impact with personalized content
Test entire experiences with Split Testing
Subscribers Became People: A Little Word with Big Meaning Our first move in 2019 was a small change with big meaning: “Subscribers” turned into “People.” This change was our firm declaration of who we’re helping, who you’re helping, and where the ecommerce industry should head. First, we wanted to shift how online brands think about their shoppers. The increasing majority of online consumers are after personalized, relevant, human-to-human connections when shopping. But if online stores keep going the way they’ve been going—cold, irrelevant batch-and-blast marketing to subscribers—there’s no way the shoppers’ needs would ever be met. Swapping “People” in for “Subscribers” is a way to change how we think and close this disparity. Secondly, subscribers are folks who’ve signed up to receive emails. And while Drip started life as an email collection widget, the platform today is much more than just email. Drip is an ecommerce CRM bent on bringing online brands closer to every customer across all your marketing channels, not just email. Engage with ALL People (Not Just Subscribers) Beyond the Inbox As an ECRM, Drip is focused on helping you know and engage with all your customers, not just those who are opted-in to your marketing email. The truth is that some people just aren’t that into email, and that’s OK! Whatever their reason for not being a subscriber, you now have the opportunity to reach your customers beyond the inbox. So, if customer Joe (some very fictional character) unsubscribes from your marketing emails, you can still trigger automated workflows that reach and engage him in other ways so your brand can continue to build a relationship with him wherever he’s spending his time. With Drip, you can engage with all of your customers through:
Hyper-personalized transactional emails
Social media retargeting (Facebook and Instagram)
Third-party integrations like SMS and direct mail for all people
Big-data Dashboards Shows Where and How You’re Raking in Revenue Before these dashboards, Drip users were able to see the must-have metrics for their emails—opens, clicks, and unsubscribes. But when you’re in the world of ecommerce, you want to know how much everything you do is contributing to your bottom line. Which is exactly why we cooked up these revenue dashboards so you have more full-color insight than ever over what’s driving business. Dig into how your customers are engaging with your brand and how you’re moving the needle for your business. You’ll now see everything from email engagement to average order value for each of your Drip marketing activities, courtesy of our new Account, Broadcast, Campaign and Workflow Dashboards.
(Psst, revenue data will populate only if you’re reporting revenue in Drip through the Shopify integration or the Shopper Activity API, so don’t forget to hook those up.) As you can see, 2019 has been busy so far — we rolled out new ways to reach, engage with, AND understand your customers. But we didn’t forget the importance of continually tweaking and optimizing your ecommerce strategies, so we rolled out Split Testing for Workflows. Shopper Activity API: The Next-gen Orders API Any ecommerce platform can hook up to Drip using our new Shopper Activity API. This API opens up big-money opportunities for our non-Shopify customers and makes it possible to easily segment, automate, and email based on shopper activity in their store. The new Shopper Activity API allows ecommerce brands to:
Add product details and images to cart abandonment emails
Segment people based on items ordered
Sync historical order data
View the commerce dashboards with automatic revenue reporting
Trigger automations based on items ordered
Automatically attribute revenue to their Drip marketing activities
Personalized Content Makes Every Ecommerce Email Mean More Personalized content is a big piece to the differentiation puzzle, and it’s key to delivering the most relevant messages to each of your customers. With easy-to-tailor content, it takes just seconds to make every email personal to each person you send it to.As of right now, your email copy is able to automatically update for each customer and show them:
Top-selling Products: Reaching out to a newcomer? This dynamic content is an awesome option for any welcome email or campaign. This options shows shoppers your current top-selling products in your store, which gives them an idea of what’s hot while familiarizing them with your brand and products. (Note: This is only available to Shopify users right now.)
Dynamic Discounts: Coupons are good stuff for consumers and can drive steep spikes in conversions for brands. But while discounting is a powerful tool, it runs the risk of being abused by folks who use your same generic SAVEME10 code over and over again.Dynamic Discounts solves this. When this content is dropped in an email, a unique code will be generated for everyone who gets it. With every person having their own unique code, online brands can start running their promos again without fearing the whole world double-dipping on a good thing. (Note: This is only available to Shopify users right now.)
Product Recommendations: This copy shows people products based on their unique order history, and when you consider that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant offers and recommendations, Product Recommendations is a no-brainer. Show shoppers more of your goods, encourage second and third purchases, and boost brand loyalty with content like this. (Note: This is only available to Shopify users right now.)
Price-drop Notifications: For folks using Shopify or the Shopper Activity API, this is the ultimate feature for enticing shoppers to come back to their abandoned carts and make a purchase. When you add a Price-drop Notification to a cart abandonment workflow (or install one of the pre-made Product Price Drop Shareable Workflows), shoppers will be sent a message when something in their cart has gone down in price (and drive more folks right to the checkout).
Split Testing Reimagined: Test Entire Ecommerce Experiences in Workflows You may have heard some hype around one of our heaviest-hitting feature updates this year: split testing. You might be thinking that split testing is old news, plus, Drip’s already had the capability to split test email campaigns for a while now. But this is release is absolutely split testing reimagined. You can now test multiple strategies in a single workflow to see which experiences drive the most revenue, highest average order value, most conversions or total site visits. It’s a billion steps beyond just testing subject lines and you’ll never have to guess what’s working—and what’s not—again. Always know exactly which path has the biggest impact to your business, and keep optimizing along the way. 2019 Is off to the Races (and There’s No End in Sight) While the first half of 2019 has been pretty rock-solid, we have even more updates coming your way soon. You and your customers are always at the top of our mind, and our goal is to get your store being an incomparable experience in relation to every other shop on the web. Because once your customers get hooked on a great experience tailored to them, they’ll never even look anywhere else.
Are you an online business owner? A seller of goods? A vendor of hot-ticket must-haves? An ecommerce pro? If so, the following Super Colossal Business Goals are probably right up your alley.
Super Colossal Business Goal #1: Sell more on your site.
Super Colossal Business Goal #2: Make more money.
Super Colossal Business Goal #3: Keep goals #1 and #2 on repeat mode FOREVER.
If you gave one, two, or three thumbs up to any of the above goals, you’re going to need a heckuva good ecommerce customer relationship management (ECRM) strategy to succeed. Lucky for you, you’ve landed on the right website. In this blog, we’ll cover four important ecommerce business topics: why ecommerce CRM strategies are important for ecommerce retailers; successful ecommerce CRM strategies; how ecommerce CRM strategies can be used to update customer profiles; and how ecommerce CRM platforms are revolutionizing B2C selling. Why Do Online Retailers Need an Ecommerce CRM Strategy? Let’s face it, the online world of today is jam-packed with competition, ecommerce is constantly growing, and customers have more shopping options than ever before. Plus, as an online brand, you're being pulled in more ways than ever when it comes to tools for your marketing campaigns, sales funnels, and the customer journey—ya know, all the good ecommerce lingo you’ve been hearing. So, what exactly ecommerce companies supposed to do to attract more customers, sell more products, and stay competitive in a growing industry? The secret to success lies in creating better connections with your current and prospective customers so that your store stands out by providing the best experiences possible. If you’re on board with the three Super Colossal Business Goals (mentioned above), and you’re looking to take your online business to the next level, an ecommerce CRM strategy is going to be your best friend. Ecommerce CRM strategies help to collect valuable information about your customers. Gather deep insight about what pages customers are visiting, to what products they’re looking to purchase, to what they’re clicking through, these ecommerce strategies collect boatloads of information about your customers so that you can connect with them on more personalized levels. An ecommerce customer relationship management platform (ECRM), like Drip, is a marketing automation platform designed to help your business understand its customers on a deeper, more personal level. The platform is designed to hold millions of records so that you can see exactly what your customers are up to both day and night, then connect with them across your marketing and sales channels with spot-on personalized messages that create more meaningful connections. The more places your brand pops up to deliver meaningful messages to customers, the more you’ll be able to differentiate from your competitors that are banking on low prices to win customers. A great experience will outsell a bad cheap one any day, and an ECRM strategy will help you make more great experiences a reality. Ways to Make a Successful Ecommerce CRM Strategy When it comes to successful ecommerce CRM strategies, connecting with customers through personalized communications should be at the top of your business’ to-do list. But what does effective multi-channel communication with your customer base look like? Is it incorporating social media? Optimizing your ecommerce website? Or is it just honing in your email marketing campaigns? Well, you won’t be surprised to hear that your most powerful ECRM strategy is a combination of all of those solutions. But finding a platform that can centralize all your data and channels for your strategy can be a challenge—until you find Drip, that is. Drip taps into the power of the email address to collect, organize, and use all your customer data in the most effective ways possible. With deeper insight into what your customers are doing, the more opportunities you have to tailor your marketing campaigns around different customers. Here are a few ways ECRM strategies in Drip can help take your marketing campaigns to the next level:
Cart abandonment. A whopping 70% of online shoppers who add items to their carts don’t follow through with a purchase. But get this: Cart abandonment emails have the power to convince upwards of 10% of those abandoners to take the final step through the checkout aisle to complete a purchase. An ECRM is your solution to reaching people at critical moments in their customer journey. They’re on the precipice of purchasing, and now is not the time for your brand to go silent. Drip’s workflows are able to pick up when someone has abandoned a cart and can automatically deploy a multi-channel approach to get them back to the checkout, whether that’s in the inbox or across social media channels. Sending cart abandonment emails and utilizing Drip’s cart abandonment guided workflow feature are two ways your business can nudge ghosted shoppers into making that final purchase.
Coupon welcome series. What do shoppers love even more than the products they purchase? Coupons! Nothing says a friendly “hello” to a potential customer like a golden ticket that leads to a discounted product. Drip’s Coupon Welcome Series workflow makes it easy to grow your email list by dishing out discounts in exchange for email addresses. Not only will you encourage a potential customer to make a purchase, but you’ll also be able to promote new products and send more offers their way in the future.An effective ECRM strategy also enables you to track who capitalizes on the coupons and who doesn’t, so you know who your prime audience for future coupons will be.
Personalized Recommendations. Staying engaged with a customer after they’ve completed a purchase helps build trust in your brand. With Drip’s Recommendations, Shopify stores can add product recommendations inside their emails to promote revenue growth and help customers choose which of your products to buy next.
Recommendations are based on a customer’s past purchase, product views, cart events, or other Shopify events, so they’ll always be spot-on in both customer wants and good vibes.
Using Customer Timelines in Your Ecommerce CRM Strategy As we mentioned earlier, an ecommerce CRM collects tons of information about your customers. When you combine all that customer data with your strategies, your online business has the power to utilize all of that customer information for spot-on, personalized marketing automation that reaches customers anytime, anywhere. Because your customers are as numerous and diverse as the fish, crustaceans, and marine mammals living in the sea, you’re going to want to know everything you can about them in an easy-to-understand format. Enter: visual customer timelines.
Visual customer timelines let you see what emails a customer has received and opened, the workflows they’ve started and completed, individual tags that have been applied to them, how long it takes that customer to get from signing up to making a purchase, what ads they’ve clicked on, and more. These timelines are full-color customer profiles that help you understand how and when people are engaging with your brand, which is priceless information when developing your multi-channel ECRM strategies. You can examine the differences between your most engaged customers and customers you want to become more engaged, and make according adjustments to your marketing strategies. When you start to understand where and when your customers are engaging with your ecommerce brand, you can use that customer data to fine-tune your strategies and determine:
When to send welcome, abandoned cart, or promotional email campaigns.
How many emails is the ideal number for your audience.
Which channels have the most impact from social media to email and more.
What marketing channels have the most attributable revenue.
How Ecommerce CRM Platforms Are Revolutionizing B2C Selling What is B2C selling? B2C (business-to-consumer) selling, also known as B2C sales, is where a store sells directly to people like you and me—just your regular consumer buying goods for personal use or consumption. Think the local coffee shop or your favorite online underwear store. In contrast, B2B (business-to-business) selling revolves around transactions done between two businesses. Cooking up a strategy for B2C selling means having to appeal to each individual person. Using personalized approaches is being more crucial because of all the mounting online competition in the B2C ecommerce arena. How is ECRM revolutionizing B2C selling? Until recently, options for ecommerce stores with limited resources (time, money, employees) were few and far between. But now, with Drip ECRM—the first and only ecommerce customer relationship management platform—ecommerce stores are finally able to create the personalized experiences customers are longing for. What makes Drip’s platform so special and unique is the fact that, unlike a traditional CRM software system that’s bulky, complex, and rooted in basic and boring communication methods, an ECRM platform is easy-to-use, ready to bring a brand closer to its customers, and 100% designed for the buying and selling of anything online. Instead of focusing solely on making the sale (like a CRM software system), an ECRM pays extra close attention to the customer experience as a whole so that your business can send more targeted and relevant marketing for increased engagement, conversions, and sales. Three Thumbs Up for Ecommerce CRM Strategy Your ecommerce business probably has its own Super Colossal Business Goals. Whether they’re to sell more inflatable beach toys (notably the giant lifesize replica of Nessie), or to gain 17.5 additional loyal customers before the month is over (your mother becoming a loyal customer only counts as .5), tackling whatever goals you’re after is just a hop, Drip, and an ecommerce CRM strategy away.
Ready to put your store where the people are looking? It only takes 5 minutes to start trying Drip for free for 14 days. Start my free trial
Name/age: Amanda, 22. Likes: early-morning shower karaoke; nacho cheese; cardio kickboxing. Most recent online purchase: microphone-shaped shower sponge. Favorite communication channel: text messages. Name/age: Emilio, 39. Likes: caffé macchiatos; church basement Bingo; snuggles with Miss Clementine (Boston Terrier). Most recent online purchase: 1000-piece OMG Kittens! puzzle. (Don’t ask.) Favorite communication channel: email. Name/age: Pat, 67. Likes: 17 out of 18 grandchildren; cow décor; Marlon Brando. Most recent purchase: cactus-shaped inflatable sauna. Favorite communication channel: social media but mostly Instagram (because all the grams are doing it). Just because your online customers are as vast and (sometimes) otherworldly as the stars doesn’t mean you can’t market to them on their planet. Multichannel marketing campaigns are all about connecting with customers on whatever medium they prefer, thus putting the customer in the driver seat. Today, we’ll cover the basics of multichannel marketing for ecommerce, why it’s important for your online business, and how you can incorporate it into your next big marketing strategy with Drip. What Is Multichannel Marketing? In today’s supersonic-paced, digitally driven world, ecommerce customers have more control than ever over the buying process. Thanks to an ever-growing expansion of available marketing channels, customers have the opportunity to be as selective as they wish when it comes to how they want to receive information Sure, ultra-selectiveness is great if you’re the customer—it’s omnipotent shopping control! But what if you’re the online seller? How the heck are you supposed to get your brand’s message in front of the eyes of a customer who bounces between 872 different marketing channels within a 10-minute time span on a daily basis? Enter: multichannel marketing. Multichannel marketing is marketing that reaches a target audience through multiple communication channels or platforms throughout the customer journey. Sometimes referred to as cross-channel or omni-channel marketing, multichannel marketing helps a business promote and sell its products basically anywhere a customer spends their time. And, according to Shopify, multi-channel marketing and selling increases revenue by 38%, 120%, and 190% on average with each additional channel.
Marketing channels and platforms are literally everywhere. Marketing touchpoints exist wherever you want them to, really, like social media platforms Facebook and Twitter, to search engines, blogs, email, SMS text messaging, heck, even good old-fashioned postal mail fits the bill. Thanks to an ever-expanding universe of channels and platforms to reach people, multichannel marketing has become an essential marketing strategy that every online business needs to embrace in order to stand out, build brand awareness, create customer loyalty, and thrive in the face of a growing industry. Why Should You Use Multichannel Marketing in Your Ecommerce Strategy? Today, marketing through one or two channels like email or a blog isn’t enough to get your brand noticed. And, even if your business is currently utilizing a few channels (Twitter, a website, Facebook, email, etc.), if they aren’t playing nice together and marching to the same tune, it’s difficult to attract and convert customers and prospects. When your online business utilizes multichannel marketing, you’re giving your shoppers the choice and freedom to buy what they want, wherever and whenever they want it. Not only does multichannel marketing make it easy for customers to make a purchase, but the strategy also helps to spread rampant brand awareness and gets your business front and center of where your customers are spending their time.
If you’re only hitting your potential customers through one marketing channel, they’ll probably be swayed to buy from your competitor that’s showing up everywhere they’re looking.
As the number of marketing communications channels continues to rise, now is the perfect time for your online business to embrace multichannel marketing. Here are a few top reasons why multichannel marketing is a must for ecommerce: 1. The world becomes your playground. Multichannel marketing lets your online business spread its wings and fly (even literally if you’re selling glider planes). By connecting with customers at various stages in the buying process across multiple channels, your message is reaching audiences far and wide and dishing out more opportunities for customers to purchase your products. 2. Stand out in the crowd. Set your business apart from others by sending targeted, personalized messages that hit your audience wherever they are. Connecting with customers through their favorite channels and platforms is a great way to say hello and jog their memory about the sweet backpack, ballcap, scuba fins, or whatever it was they were looking at or left in their shopping cart. 3. People love options. When you spread your business’s message across multiple channels, not only are you connecting with customers on their own preferred communication method, but you’re also giving customers a choice as to how they want to make a purchase. More purchase options lead to happy customers and more bucks for your business. 4. Brand awareness to the max. With consistent messaging and storytelling across marketing channels, people will get a good feel for who you are and what you’re doing. Your presence will help build trust and customer loyalty for the long haul, especially if you keep learning about your customers and personalizing your campaigns. Establishing Multichannel Marketing Goals: Making a Seamless Customer Experience If you’re just getting into creating bigger, broader multichannel campaigns, this whole idea can seem a little overwhelming. So many possibilities are suddenly at your disposal, so where do you begin? We suggest starting with thinking about your goals and, most importantly, your customers and where they are. After peering into our magical crystal ball and consulting the stars up above—we’re especially fond of the up-and-coming constellation known as The Big DRIPper— we’re going to go ahead and predict that you, the savvy online business owner that you are, have goals for your store. And we’re also willing to wager that your numero uno business goal is to sell more stuff so that you can make more money. More socks, more buttons, more dog collars—more selling of whatever products you’re dishing out. Drip ecommerce CRM is ready to help you achieve that number one goal. The platform provides insight into exactly what your customers are up to (what they’re eyeing to buy, what they’re clicking on, where they’re browsing), and makes cross-channel marketing automation stress-free. Here are a couple of ways how Drip can help you reach that ultimate golden goal: Third-party Integrations. What good is having a CRM platform if it doesn’t integrate with the essential channels your customers are spending their days and nights on? Drip gives online store owners loads upon loads of options. Our platform gets along with pretty much any marketing strategy you’re looking to put in motion. We natively integrate with nearly 100 different online marketing tools (and counting) with even more possibilities through tools like Zapier. Drift, Fomo, Shopify, Salesforce, Yeti Text—you name the tool and the chances are high that Drip integrates for building a true multichannel marketing platform. Split Testing. It’s time to kick best guesses to the curb and say hello to spot-on marketing with split testing. Split testing takes the guesswork out of what marketing techniques are and aren’t working for your online business. Drip’s newest split testing feature lets you see which customer experience is earning the highest order conversion, the highest revenue, or the most site visits—the numbers that indicate which strategies are having real impact on your business. Test an entire workflow or just a few bits here and there to lift the veil on customer information you never knew existed.
How to Create Multichannel Marketing Campaigns for Your Store How do you build multichannel marketing campaigns? With Drip, creating multichannel marketing campaigns only requires three ingredients: relevant integrations, campaigns, and workflows. Oh, and your imagination for creating a kickbutt strategy in the first place. Like we said before, Drip offers a deep variety of integrations. Maybe your ecommerce platform is already integrated with some of the options, or maybe you’re just getting started. If you’re already working with, say, Facebook and Instagram, just follow the process for integrating. If not, explore the integrations page to see which channels could be possible marketing opportunities for you. Next, consider the power of timely and relevant campaigns. A campaign is an email series that automatically deploys when triggered by a customer or prospect. In Drip, campaigns can hold as many emails as your heart desires, and they work great for ongoing communications like a welcome series, online course delivery, product marketing, and evergreen content. Campaigns are of the best ways to ensure the email channel is always running. And the true crème de la crème of multichannel marketing is the workflow. A workflow is an automated path a customer is guided down depending on their real-life behaviors—what they do, click, open, add to their cart, buy, return, or whatever trigger you want. When someone does something that triggers a workflow, they’re seamlessly guided down the path you built. For example, if someone visits your page selling fanny packs three times in a week, they could trigger a workflow. And since workflows can incorporate any integration, campaign, Facebook ad, and beyond, this prospective customer will automatically be entered into your custom audiences, sent a coupon via post card, sent an email campaign revolving around fanny packs, or whatever channel your mind can cook up—automatically. And what happens when a campaign is utilized inside of a workflow? The result is limitless marketing automation and continued customer engagement across all channels far and wide. How do you measure multichannel marketing efforts? What’s the point of embracing multichannel marketing if there isn’t an accurate way to gauge how your online store’s marketing efforts are performing? After all, you’re in the business of making money, so you need to know exactly which workflows are driving revenue, how many first-time visitors are hitting up your website, and which campaigns are bringing home the most bacon. Drip’s four latest revenue dashboards let you see exactly how your business is performing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so that you can keep tabs on all of your multichannel marketing efforts.
The Account Dashboard provides a bird’s-eye view of traffic analytics such as first-time website visitors, subscriptions analytics like web conversions and cohort subscription rates, and it keeps you updated on key metrics that show how your marketing strategies are performing.
The Campaign Dashboard lets you monitor the overall performance of your campaign. From revenue performance to average order value to revenue attribution for each email in the campaign, this dashboard will highlight your most effective email content as well as content that might not be performing at par.
Drip’s Workflow Dashboard provides a deep analysis of how workflows are performing and driving the cash flow. Stats include revenue per subscriber, the number of subscribers active in the workflow, the average time it took for a subscriber to make a purchase, and more.
While the lifespan of a broadcast is short, the list of perks associated with the Broadcast Dashboard is long. The dashboard lets an ecommerce brand analyze the initial 72 hours of a broadcast to identify peak engagement times for spot-on multichannel marketing.
Ready to Make Your Mark (Everywhere)? Sure, the idea of marketing your business across an ever-expanding digital universe can seem daunting—especially if you’re a small online business. But having an ecommerce CRM platform like Drip on your side can make the cosmos seem a little more personal. From stellar automated campaigns, to integrations that play nice with your existing tools, to detailed analytics that show which multichannel marketing efforts are paying off, the possibilities are infinite with Drip ecommerce CRM.
Ready to put your store where the people are looking? It only takes 5 minutes to start trying Drip for free for 14 days. Start my free trial
Chris Bintliff, the mind behind Not Really Rocket Science, a forward-thinking digital marketing agency out of Madison, WI, conducted this rad strategy and is kind enough to share his findings with us in this guest post. Read on for some seriously good stuff! A lot of businesses struggle with making the right marketing investments because it’s easy to forgo the important work of strategy and indulge in the strictly tactical, throwing adwords against the wall to see what sticks. The tactical stuff is easier to understand; buy the ad, boost the post, download the list, send the campaign. Without broader perspective, tactics like these often just lead to wasted time and money, which frustrates everybody involved and can lead to more under-investment as leaders determine “Bah! this stuff doesn’t work.” At my agency, Not Really Rocket Science, some of our favorite conversations are with people just like this—frustrated, confused, unimpressed, maybe even skeptical. This isn’t bad, though. It means there’s a lot of opportunity for growth! Get the full case study Build Better Relationships with Smarter, Segmented Marketing Stark Financial (not their real name), a business that accommodates businesses needing to outsource some of their financial responsibilities, came to us frustrated with the poor performance of their email marketing. Like a lot of businesses, Stark wasn’t sure how engaged the people on their email list were, and their strategy didn’t include any sort of segmentation across their audiences. They were relying on mass emailing a mix of engaged and unengaged people, hoping that if they sent enough, they’d manage to collect a couple clicks. The results aren’t surprising. The open rates for their emails were in the low single digits and click-throughs were well below 1%. Yet, their email marketing was one of their most expensive marketing investments. I met one of their regional directors Pepper (also not her real name) at a workshop I delivered on email automation and Drip. She was especially intrigued with my position that effective digital marketing, which can already feel uniquely sterile and detached, must seek to build trust and a relationship first. “We know how to do that as salespeople,” she said, “why aren’t we doing that with marketing?” Working with Pepper to champion a fresh approach, we began a pilot campaign to engage a segment of Stark Financial’s audience with what we believe is a better approach to email marketing. We proposed a multi-step project, split into three sequential campaigns designed strictly to build trust. The results of one campaign would inform the next, with our goal being to identify our most engaged audience, to whom we could better and more effectively nurture a sales relationship. The sales would come later, though, and our key performance indicators for this campaign were open rates and unsubscribes.I want to share the approach and outcomes of our successful pilot so people like you and companies like yours can think differently about how you’re using Drip’s powerful features to build and deliver more impactful email marketing that’s results-driven and focused on relationships and relevance. Let’s go. Start with a Clean Email List Stark provided us with a list consisting of 1,056 cold prospects, or email addresses they’ve purchased, and only 206 warm subscribers, or people who’d actually engaged on their website and submitted their email addresses. Job number one was to run both lists through Neverbounce to identify only the most valid addresses, eliminating unknown, catchall, or invalid email addresses. Even though Stark felt confident with its lists, particularly the 206 warm subscribers, the cold list came back as 65.7% valid while the warm list was slightly worse, at only 64.6% valid. While Stark delivered more than 1,200 email addresses to us, 825 were deemed valid and put through our first workflow.Takeaway: Keep a clean list! Tools like Neverbounce are ideal for this, and with a direct integration with Drip, it’s easy to always start with clean email marketing campaigns. In addition, conduct regular pruning activities. Send emails to people who haven’t engaged in awhile and simply ask, “Hey, do you still want to hear from us?” and unsubscribe or remove those that don’t open or respond. It’s better to have a small list of highly engaged subscribers than a giant list of people who don’t care. Start with the End: Creating a Results-Focused Approach Next, we defined our strategic approach. I could write a separate article for each element of this approach, but at a glance, our project consisted of:
Three campaigns, consisting of brief, powerful educational emails. Each campaign consisted of multi-day workflows focused on distinct yet related topics addressing specific issues Stark’s clients often face.
Emails sent from Pepper and her personal email address. She provided us with the outline for each day’s topic, and we wrote the messaging to amplify her expertise while providing immediate value to the subscriber while keeping them personal.
No sales calls to action. We included a link to Pepper’s Calendly, and included her LinkedIn profile in her signature so any skeptics in the audience could check her bonafides. But remember, our goal wasn’t clicks, it was opens.
The business goals were a mix of concrete objectives and fact-finding. We wanted to:
Improve open rates (which started at under 6%) to be closer to the financial industry standard of 21%.
Identify the most engaged subscribers.
Identify the repeatable methods that seemed to work best and avoid those that might underperform.
Takeaway: Any new marketing initiative should start with knowing what you’re trying to achieve in a measurable way. This is the only way to make smart business decisions around your marketing. Ideally, these goals are connected to overall business focuses, like revenue growth or brand awareness. Deliver the Message with Intent Working with Pepper, we delivered insightful, expert advice through email marketing campaigns of five emails designed to be brief, powerful and compelling. The first campaign was focused on improving cash flow, the second campaign was about reducing costs, and the final campaign— reserved for the most engaged audience—involved techniques for improving profits. Each message was laser focused on outcomes and practical how-to advice; we avoided the strictly conceptual or philosophical and, anticipating a largely cold or unknown audience, we skipped the usual “let me introduce myself” block of boredom that is a hallmark of poor cold outreach.With subject lines like “Your financial reports are probably useless. Here's why.” we promised the subscriber a compelling and valuable lesson from each email. This helped people come to recognize Pepper’s emails as something positive and rewarding to watch out for in the inbox.Takeaway: Practice engagement empathy with your audience by asking what is this like for the person on the other side of the screen? A common mistake in copywriting is working from ourselves forward instead of from our audience backwards - impress your audience right from the start with value and get to the point quickly. Empower the Audience all the Way It’s worth exploring in more detail exactly how we constructed the first email because it delivered significant value to both the audience and us.As mentioned, we started by delivering a powerful lesson. No unnecessary warm-up, no wasted words. Even the subject line was a splash of cold water: “You’re Doing It Wrong: Saving Costs.” Then we jumped right in with this email:Hi (first name):Most companies trying to improve profit (“save money”) are doing it like we did a decade ago, before the Great Recession - by sharpening the pencil, cutting costs and slashing budgets. There are better ways, and what you don’t know is hurting your company’s financial health.Then, we introduced two easy approaches to saving costs in the email’s instruction-minded approach. We ended this section with the question, “which one are you struggling with most?” with an invitation to reply or schedule a meeting to explore the issue, but the real purpose of the question was to create a point of reflection and introspection for the reader.After the teaching, we told the reader in bold, “I have four more insights like this to share with you, and I’ll send you one each day [or every other day, depending on the workflow] this week. Here’s what’s coming up.” Because we were sending message one on Monday, we were specific on the upcoming schedule, i.e., “Wednesday: How paying for things differently is like putting money in the bank.” Then we encouraged the reader, “Don’t want to wait? Just click on an email above and I’ll send it to you immediately.” We used Drip’s trigger link capabilities and assigned one to each day of the week, allowing the reader to shortcut to the issue most relevant to them. This approach might seem simple, but it delivers a powerful experience that builds trust:1. We tell the reader to expect a message each day for the next four days.2. We tell them exactly what to expect on exactly which day.3. We empower them with a shortcut to go to their area of interest immediately.On our end, the trigger link provides tremendous value. If someone opens this first email, “You’re doing it wrong - saving costs,” we can maybe make some safe assumptions that they’re interested or possibly struggling with saving costs. If they also click on a specific day/topic / trigger link, we have an additional data point about something else that might be interesting or problematic for them. This kind of insight can help guide all kinds of things, from making a sales conversation more meaningful to delivering more relevant emails or even helping to shape future strategies about what topics to build campaigns around. We created Rules in Drip to further segment subscribers based on these behaviors, and we created additional Rules to recognize when somebody had clicked on Pepper’s LinkedIn profile signature link or Calendly link (even if they didn’t actually schedule a conversation.) All of this insight helped us identify the most curious or engaged subscribers and alert Pepper to particular people she might personally follow up with.Takeaway: Look for ways to empower your reader with questions or by inviting feedback and sharing information. In the case of an education campaign or email course, share the path ahead with your audience. Giving them options to go directly to a topic that’s most interesting will help them get more from the experience and help you get to know them better. Use Drip’s Trigger Links and Rules to progressively profile and segment subscribers based on their real-life behaviors. Find the Right Timing: How Often Should You Send Emails? In Campaign 1, focused on improving cash flow, we ran four parallel experiments. We took the cold list, consisting of 693 total people, and cut it in half. Group A received a daily email while Group B received an email every other day. We did the same with the warm list, splitting 132 total subscribers into daily and every other day.The goal was to define our rules of delivery based on what worked best for our audience. We’d take these results to define if Campaigns 2 and 3 would run daily, every other day, or something else.The results weren't what we expected: Cold Email List
Open rate for emails sent every day: 20.6% Open rate for emails sent every other day: 16.7%
Warm Email List
Open rate for emails sent every day: 24% Open rate for emails sent every other day: 20%
Interestingly, the unsubscribe rate on the Warm list was larger on both the daily and every-other-day groups, presumably because these people were simply paying more attention to their inboxes.An early finding after the first email campaign was that the open rate for our cold list daily was close to the 21% open rate goal we were hoping to achieve, while the warm list daily exceeded it. Already we were finding that a healthier list, meaningful content, and relationship-driven approach was resonating better with Stark’s subscribers.Takeaway: Avoid making assumptions and let your audience deliver insights to guide your direction. Rather than just building and adhering to a pre-determined workflow schedule, we essentially surveyed our audience to tell us what worked best for them. Our subscribers clearly preferred daily touches, so we let that inform our process for the rest of our Project. See the full case study Build on What People Are Interested In With Campaign 1 successfully showing us that we were on the right track with our messaging and approach, and that daily emails were the way to go, we waited a few weeks to start Campaign 2. Our audience for this campaign applied the criteria that anybody who opened two or more emails from Campaign 1 would be be enlisted into Campaign 2, helping us whittle our list down to a more engaged audience. We customized Drip’s Lead Scoring values to do this, assigning different points values for opening emails. Then, we generated the segment for our next campaign by defining “Lead Score Is Greater Than” our threshold score. This resulted in 328 engaged people enrolled in Campaign 2, about 40% of our original list. The same approach was taken with our final phase of the Project - Campaign 3 was was sent to the 202 most highly engaged subscribers from the second campaign.As our email list became smaller and more engaged, our email open rate performance reflected this interest with dramatic results. Over the three campaigns, we saw average open rates increase from 20.3% in Campaign 1 to 44% in Campaign 3, while unsubscribe rates plummeted from 2.3% to .4%.The best-performing email in Campaign 1 had an open rate of 28.6%, with Campaign 2's best performer having a 41% open rate, and Campaign 3's best boasting 47.3%. The worst performer in Campaign 1 was 14.2% while Campaign 3's worst performer was 39.1%. That means the improvement from the worst performing email to the best was a whopping 330%.Takeaways: Build on success by repeating what works and refining with feedback and learnings. Introducing some scarcity by pausing between campaigns can leave your audience “wanting for more”—a great marketing position to be in for any company. Use Lead Scoring to continuously segment your list based on criteria of your choice. For us, this involved email opens, but it could be clicks, visits to a web page, or another factor relevant to your goals. Finally, look for quality over quantity. In Stark’s case, Campaign 1’s 20.3% open rate meant that of the 825 people on its list, about 165 people were opening their emails, but maybe not with meaningful interest. Our final Campaign was sent to 202 people and opened by an average of 88 of them (44%). This is like having a party where half the people don’t really care to be there versus inviting only the people who can’t wait to spend time with you. The Next Steps: From Conversations to Conversions At Not Really Rocket Science, we like to say that 100% of the time, the thing you think is the issue isn’t actually the issue. In Stark Financial’s case, go way back to the beginning: Most of their email list consisted of non-subscribers harvested from purchased lists, a third of which were invalid anyway. We can trace a lot of their email performance issues simply to not attracting the right people in the first place, a symptom of larger issues in their digital marketing. With enthusiasm high from the potential this project demonstrated, Stark is taking the smart next step as we work with them to improve their website design and performance, lead generation strategies, and how automation like Drip fits into a more comprehensive, holistic sense of their overall marketing and sales strategies. Want to get started on your own segmentation strategy? Get started with a free 14-day trial of Drip. Start my free Drip trial
When it comes to creating the best marketing strategies for your online shop, you might not know where to start. You have to figure out who you’re talking to, what you’re saying, and how you’re reaching your customers (oh, and figure out when you’re gonna find all that time to do this)—all of which can be tricky to nail down for first-timers and seasoned marketers alike. You don’t have resources to waste, and you want to have positive ROI from the get-go. One way to get a leg up is to team with an agency that knows how to navigate email marketing automation and digital marketing strategy in the ecommerce world. One of our very own agency partners isn’t wasting any time when it comes to delivering big-growth results for their clients. Hawke Media is making waves as our first partner offering full Ecommerce CRM Life-cycle Services. Take a look at what they’re up to and the headaches they’re solving. Learn more about Hawke Hawke Media and Drip Craft Tailored Ecommerce Solutions We’ve partnered with Hawke Media to create marketing solutions that meet the needs of ecommerce clients using Drip. The agency has built an entire menu of life-cycle services optimized for the Drip ECRM platform and is now outfitted with offerings like:
Social media ads
Content and copy
Creative and beyond
When any of these facets are tailored to work seamlessly with Drip, clients can have total peace of mind that they’ve just ordered up a comprehensive ecommerce marketing plan that’ll set their brand apart from the competition. With total ECRM optimization, Hawke Media is able to help clients differentiate themselves online, better understand their customers, and thrive in the face of increasing competition. And when clients win, agencies win. Every. Single. Time.
"Having a platform like Drip to help streamline marketing efforts gives any brand a major competitive advantage. It creates efficiencies necessary to dramatically accelerate growth." — Marissa Jimenez, Director of Email Marketing, Hawke Media
Explore Hawke Media’s ECRM Life-cycle Services If fast and focused ecommerce growth sounds right up your alley, connect with Hawke Media anytime. Their comprehensive ECRM Life-cycle Services are tailored to get the most out of every part of your ecommerce marketing strategy and Drip. When working with Hawke Media, rest-assured you’re working with a team that knows that the ecommerce industry is changing as we speak, and they know how to stay on top of it all.
"Our team is very busy, working to pull together ideas and content for all of our daily marketing needs. When it came to building out email marketing for our store, Hawke Media came in and was able to quickly knock out Welcome, Abandoned Cart, and Win-Back email campaigns that sounded just like they came from the team here. Since Hawke has helped us create and start these strategies, we’ve seen our conversions go up in all three categories. We can always trust that the work Hawke Media does for us is on-brand and super effective while saving us tons of time." — Gruntstyle, Hawke Client
Opportunity Awaits with Drip’s Agency Program Announcing Hawke Media as our first ECRM Life-cycle Services partner is a pretty exciting milestone for both of our teams. A lot of opportunities lie ahead for Hawke Media and their clients, and we’re expecting them to smash every goal they set up thanks in part to our collaboration. We put a lot of heart into partnerships like these. From collaboration to strategic support to marketing opportunities, we’re always looking for ways to help our partners succeed in both helping their clients as well as growing their agencies.
"Ecommerce strategy, content, and copy expertise are some of the top inhibitors to success for our clients. Hawke’s proven expertise eliminates this challenge. I am very excited about Drip and Hawke helping our clients turn their aspirations into tangible outcomes." — Brian Allison, Drip VP Channels
If you want to explore becoming a Drip Agency Partner, see what it’s all about here. We love hearing from people who are always thinking, innovating, and pushing digital marketing from what it’s always been to what it can become.
Do you suffer from headaches because you spend a ridiculous amount of time comparing ecommerce marketing platforms? Does your morning routine involve eye drops to refresh excessively red eyes from lack of sleep? Do you oftentimes wish your office desk chair was equipped with an “eject” button so that you could blast into a different galaxy that didn’t offer as many ecommerce marketing platform choices as the Milky Way? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it sounds like you’re suffering from a case of EMPB (Ecommerce Marketing Platform Blues). [Distant de-escalating trombone: wah-wah-WAAAAH …]. Well friend, if you’re looking to cure your EMPB you’ve come to the right place. We did our nitty-gritty research to compare the differences between HubSpot, Mailchimp, and Drip so that you can get more sleep at night. From the pros and cons of each platform, to which is best for your business’s ecommerce marketing, this blog has all the answers in one spot.
Pros and Cons of HubSpot All-in-One Marketing Software HubSpot is a marketing automation and business growth platform that also caters to sales and customer service teams. Its three platforms—Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub—are loaded with tools that are designed to help small businesses save time through automation capabilities. Pros of HubSpot:
Facebook to the max. HubSpot is a badged Facebook marketing partner, so it works with the social media giant on a pretty stellar level. The Facebook Ads integration lets you see how your ads are performing for guess-free marketing campaigns, and HubSpot also lets you connect your business’s Facebook page to its platform so that scheduling posts is hassle-free. And, there’s an additional perk: a Facebook Messenger integration that lets you do cool things like create a customer service bot and set automatic message replies. Fold this into your sales process, and it could pay off big for lead generation.
Automation made easy. Automated workflows are a cinch to set up inside of HubSpot. The platform offers a variety of conditions, actions, and triggers to choose from so that automatic email campaigns can target the right person with the right message at the right time.
Hefty stack of integrations: HubSpot comes loaded with more than 200 integrations. From Salesforce and Shopify to Instagram and Twitter, you’ll likely find whatever integration you’re looking for.
Cons of HubSpot:
A/B testing will cost you. A/B testing, a simpler version of multivariate split testing, lets you test different versions of a campaign to see which is most effective. It’s a great tool that helps to pinpoint customer engagement so that you can create the best emails that lead to the best results. In HubSpot, A/B testing is not available in its free or starter packages, so you’ll have to dish out money for either the Professional or Enterprise package.
Visa or Mastercard? While HubSpot offers a hefty amount of features and platforms, it also offers a hefty amount of expensive payment plans. Sure, there are free versions—like some free lightweight sales tools and free digital marketing tools—but you’ll lose out on some of the better tools like marketing automation, goal-based nurturing, and custom reporting.
Segmentation that falls short. Knowing your customers is important, so having the right segmentation capabilities can make or break the personalized experience your business is looking to create. HubSpot uses list-based segmentation (referred to as “filters” inside the platform) to create email marketing campaigns for different groups of leads and customers. While list-based segmentation is okay, the real personalized experience lies in tag-based segmentation, which ensures your customers won’t be bombarded with an overabundance of emails if they’re on more than one of your lists.
Pros and Cons of Mailchimp Email Marketing Ah, yes … the email marketing software with the fuzzy chimp. User-friendly and highly talked about, Mailchimp prides itself on being a platform that’s great for any small business looking to maintain its current customer base. Pros of Mailchimp:
Affordable. If you’re looking to save dough, Mailchimp is happy to help. The platform is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and sending 12,000 emails per month. With the free stuff, you’ll have access to important features like lightweight automations, must-have analytics, email campaigns, and even A/B testing. And, if you’re ever looking to unlock additional tools in the platform, Mailchimp offers pay-as-you-go options.
Integrations galore. Mailchimp has been in business since 2001, so it integrates with a pretty diverse stack of apps and web services. From Facebook and Google Analytics to Salesforce and Zapier, there’s a darn good chance you’ll find the integration you’re searching for.
Easy like Sunday morning. With its fun colors, peppy language, and friendly fuzzy chimp, Mailchimp’s platform is down-to-earth and easy to use. Steps are clear and concise, it comes fully loaded with a drag-and-drop email builder, and pre-made email templates are ready to use with the click of a mouse.
Cons of Mailchimp:
Limited automation. If your business is looking for some powerful marketing automation platforms, Mailchimp won’t float your boat. Actions that trigger automations are limited inside the platform, and, unless you’re satisfied with highly simplified versions of cart abandonment emails and multi-day email sequences, Mailchimp won’t fit the bill.
Shopify breakup. The platform no longer integrates directly with Shopify, which is a big slap in the face. If you want to connect the two accounts, you’ll now have to go through a third-party app. Shopify is one of the biggest ecommerce platforms today, and cutting off any powerful automations between the two platforms could put a damper on any truly effective ecommerce marketing automations.
Segmentation woes. Similar to HubSpot, Mailchimp also bases its segmentation on lists (now being called “audiences”). Audience-based platforms are fine if segmentation isn’t high on your … ahem … list. But if you’re really looking to speak to your customers on a more personal level, tag-based segmentation is the secret sauce.
Pros and Cons of Drip ECRM Drip is an ecommerce CRM platform that helps businesses understand their customers on a deeper, more personal level. It uses all your ecommerce data to drive incredibly personalized marketing strategies at scale, whether you want to send emails or create full-bodied multi-channel campaigns.Thousands of brands count on Drip to help make better experiences and relationships with their customers, which drives long-term loyalty and differentiation in an increasingly competitive market. Pros of Drip:
Awesome automation. If you’re looking for a grand buffet of automation capabilities, Drip won’t disappoint. The platform lets you create if-this-then-that rules, as well as campaigns and workflows that automatically move customers along their journeys. Plus, with all the great apps that integrate with Drip, your customers can trigger automations with basically any action they take online.
Tag-based segmentation. Personalization is at the very core of Drip’s existence, so the platform uses tag-based segmentation. Tag customers based on dates, custom fields, names, actions—heck, pretty much anything you want. Tags let you identify unique actions and journeys tailored to each customer so segments can be as niche or broad as you want for broadcast emails, workflows, and campaigns.
Split testing in workflows. If you think split testing in emails is awesome, Drip’s newest feature is going to make your eyes pop: workflow split testing. If your ecommerce business is dying to see which customer experience earns the highest order conversion, the highest revenue, or the most site visits, split testing in Drip has your back. Test an entire workflow or just bits and pieces to uncover a boatload of undiscovered information about your customers.
Cons of Drip:
The learning curve. With more opportunities at your feet comes a slightly longer learning curve than, say, Mailchimp. You’ll have more capabilities with advanced workflows, rules, and segmentation filters, however, there’s no shortage of support to help you get in and get started, including the learning hub MyDrip.
Stress-free. If tension headaches, red eyes, and overwhelming anxiety are what you live for, you probably won’t like Drip. The platform takes away daily online business stressors, works 24/7 shifts, and will put more time back into your day.
Onboarding is too easy. Drip makes onboarding a piece of cake. With free resources like a Knowledge Base and how-to videos, to a great customer support team that’s ready to help in the blink of an eye, the onboarding process is way too simple—you’ll definitely be bored.
The Full Story: The Big Battle of HubSpot vs. Mailchimp vs. Drip What are the main differences between HubSpot, Mailchimp, and Drip? The main differences between the three platforms boil down to automation and personalization capabilities and costs. Automation power. If your online business is looking for some seriously powerful automation capabilities, you’ll want to steer clear of Mailchimp and head toward Drip or HubSpot. Both are comparable when it comes to smart automated rules and workflows, and each platform offers flexible and versatile automation options that will put more time back into your busy day. Going one step further though, HubSpot sneaks out just ahead of Drip along the lines of automation power because it also offers the ability to add sales teams and customer service to automations. Costs. While HubSpot is a giant all-in-one marketing/sales / customer service platform, its one main downfall is its mammoth price tag. Its free plan and basic plan both lack important and standard ecommerce marketing tools like split testing and marketing automation. Basically, to get access to some pretty standard ecommerce marketing tools that come free with other platforms like Drip and Mailchimp, you’re going to have to pay HubSpot big bucks.
Is HubSpot, Mailchimp, or Drip Best for Ecommerce Marketing? So you’ve read through this comparison blog—high five!—but you’re still torn between which ecommerce marketing platform is best for your business. All three platforms—HubSpot, Mailchimp, and Drip—are loaded with pretty stellar ecommerce marketing tools that can definitely help you increase conversions, make more money, and take care of the basic marketing tasks your online business is looking to accomplish. But which is The Ultimate Ecommerce Marketing Platform? Here are two questions to ask yourself: 1. Is your business looking to grow? If your answer is yes, then go ahead and scratch Mailchimp off of your prospects list. Mailchimp is great if you’re looking to maintain your current list of customers and keep your marketing automations basic. But if you’re looking to set sail into the seas of online business growth—and you’re searching for a platform that will help you navigate unfamiliar waters—HubSpot and Drip are the ships you’re looking for. HubSpot’s Marketing Hub platform comes with automation capabilities that can tailor personalized emails to leads, dashboards that report on marketing and productivity, and the platform works with an impressive number of integrations. Plus, HubSpot also offers platforms for sales and customer service teams. However, the main setback to HubSpot is the cost. The free marketing tools that it offers aren’t very extensive, so it’s likely that your business will have to choose between a Starter, Professional, or Enterprise plan that ranges between $50/month to $3,200+/month. Woof. Drip’s ecommerce CRM platform offers a huge variety of flexible ecommerce marketing tools designed for businesses looking to grow. From automation capabilities that go beyond email, to an ever-growing fat stack of integrations, to Lead Scoring, workflows with goals, dashboards that let you see exactly how your marketing efforts are performing … we could easily keep going. And, to top it off, you can try every single feature in Drip free for 14 days. After that, pricing starts at just $49/month. Hello, happy bank account. 2. On a scale of 1 to 11 (1 being low, 11 being “This is Spinal Tap” high), how important is personalization for your business? 1-5 scale: It sounds like your business is mostly content and personalized communication isn’t high on your priority list. If this is the case, you’ll like Mailchimp. 6-10 scale: Connecting with your customers is a big must for your business, right? In this case, HubSpot or Drip are the platforms you’re looking for. Both let you segment customers for more meaningful conversations, and both offer dynamic marketing that changes for every customer. Big, fat 11: For that extra push-over-the-cliff ecommerce marketing personalization you’re looking for, it’s time to crank up the volume to 11 with Drip. With its Facebook Custom Audience automation (for high-value audiences!), to its tag-based segmentation capabilities (you’ll never send an overabundance of emails to the same customer!), to its workflows you can set multiple goals in (you won’t have to build an entirely new workflow for each goal!), you can take personalization to the max with Drip. Declaring the Winner: Which Is The Ultimate Ecommerce Marketing Platform? When it comes to deciding which ecommerce email marketing platform is best for your online business, the choice is yours. Okay, we realize this answer isn’t great for helping to cure your case of EMPB, so here’s your recommended treatment plan: try Drip free for 14 days with a free trial, and let Drip help you see your customers in full color.