Keep it simple. Automate

It’s true that more and more we need to answer to the individual and not the group. There is no reason why we should send a message at 9am when the customer prefers to receive it by late afternoon. Or during weekends. Why should we send a campaign about a product to a customer that is simply not interested in, or is not the target market for it? Sending the same email to thousands of people at the same time, is a thing of the past.

We already have tools in the market that allow us to establish different degree of communications with our customers. We are not just trying to increase momentarily our sales, we are also trying to increase our customer loyalty and its value.

We are not just talking about email communications; we are talking about the whole cycle pre/post sale. Offering solutions that meet the specific necessities of every customer should be a corner stone in our store management. Knowing our customer is important. But more important is to know what to do with that information. How to manage it and make it useful for the customer and to our success.

Communication trough different channels is commonplace nowadays. The client wishes to be informed by SMS or email. And that decision shouldn’t be taken by the customer. We have indicators in our store that tell us the type of device the user is using. To what type of action and in want periods of time.

No, no need to profile data from any social network, does not need to resort to any person’s psychic abilities or buy advanced knowledge services with top secret analysis. If companies were to use in the right way, even a small part, of the information customers are willing to give, they would have a much higher conversion rate.

Give our customer the information he needs when he needs it it’s a giant step to increase its value.

Have you ever realized when you go the to shop in the corner the lady already knows what you are buying? And if needed still gives you information about a possible product or warns us that that product is not the one we used to buy?

That nice lady is capable of all that, but your online store is incapable of telling you your tonner is running out or you need a new perfume bottle? Most online shop doesn’t seem to realize people grow, and still recommend that same type of articles they recommend when we were 18.

Sure, the number of on-line customers and transactions is much bigger, but that’s no excuse. Imagine increasing your customer retention rate by 20%. You would soon realize that is cheaper to keep existing customers than to acquire new ones.

Maybe companies would understand that ads are a cost to the company. Yes, that’s right. And that it should be accounted for in Customer Equity and LTV. It will decrease the results, but still, we must account that cost.

What should we do?

It’s simple. We need to automate the communication process with our customer in a way we can serve him better. This action will have a positive impact in the future of our store. To note, that we don’t want to initiate a robot like relation with our customer, but most of our communications can be made in an automated way without losing the personnel touch, we care so much to give.

These automated actions should replace the existing ones. Forget general campaigns, same time communications, global recommendations, global prices, and all others global.

It can be a slow process sometimes, but automating tasks that can only be achieved through automation, should be a hard choice to do by a company. We can’t manually analyze each customer and recommend him some products, we can’t manually check every order to calculate the next re-order time. Let machines do their work.

But automation is not only for the communication with customers. It would be good if companies already did that, but automation goes a long way and affects, especially, stores with physical frontend.

We are talking about invoice integration, stock management, warehouse management, shipping, CRM, and all others abbreviations you might find.

We want to be perfectly clear on this: It’s fundamental that you do and integration as autonomous as possible between your online store and the software you use in your physical store. There is no other way. If you update a product stock level, that change must be replicated online. The same goes for prices, invoicing, CRM, etc.

We can’t be inserting tens of invoices, shipping labels, customers, prices and other information on a daily basis and expect errors not to happen. In out of every 100 actions one error is made, how about reduce the number of actions?

If your current software does not allow communications with third-party software, why are you using it? Do you want to spend the rest of your life manually inserting duplicated information in your system?