June 3, 2022

8 Unique Ways to Deliver Memorable Customer Experiences with Automation

Tina Donati, Alloy

Building a successful tech stack isn’t easy. With over 6,000 apps in the Shopify App Store alone, How could you possibly know how to choose one helpdesk, ESP, or shipping tool from another?  

From your platform to your marketing tools, your payments tools, and beyond, there’s so much to consider. To top it off, once you start using various apps, you can suddenly pile up thousands of data points that easily become siloed. 

For many brands, having siloed data is due to a lack of direct integrations between one app to another. Because of this, it’s difficult to automate processes and personalize customer communication—not to mention the time it takes to comb through your data in ten different apps. 

This is why it’s essential to start your ecommerce tech stack with an integration tool, so you can sit back and let data sync between your tools in real-time, build automated workflows, and spend more time on your growth strategy.

If that sounds like something you’re interested in, let me show you eight different workflows brands are using with Alloy to automate repetitive tasks—and why they’re beneficial to your business.

Why is integrating your tech stack so important?

Ecommerce operators wear so many different hats on a weekly basis: marketing, logistics, fulfillment—oh my!

It’s never a dull moment… until you get to those pesky tedious tasks that you have to do manually. I know you’ve thought to yourself at least once before, “I wish I didn’t have to do this today.”

But here’s a secret: for a lot of it, you don’t. Some of the most successful ecommerce operators are saving time every week by automating repetitive tasks after integrating their tools.

Having more time in your day isn’t just about you, though, it’s also about your customers. By streamlining data across all platforms, your customers will get more personalized and relevant content wherever they are—whether they're visiting your website, opening their email inboxes, or asking you for assistance in your support channels

Once you integrate your tech stack, the automation fun begins.

What sort of tasks can be automated?

Just about every process and task in your ecommerce store can be automated. Because the options are endless, it’s tough to imagine what can be done. Here are the areas that typically get automated first:

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This is why it’s essential to start your ecommerce tech stack with an integration tool, so you can sit back and let data sync between your tools in real-time, build automated workflows, and spend more time on your growth strategy.

8 automated workflows to improve your customer experience

Sometimes, it’s hard to understand how you can use automation for your business until you see an example. Let’s look at a few fun ways marketers are delivering exceptional customer experiences without putting in any extra time.

1. Autogenerate purchase orders for product ingredients

Every brand operator knows that logistics is a science and an art... and oftentimes a headache. But there's one brand we know about that's making it easier to keep products in stock.

Here's how L'AMARUE is autogenerating purchase orders for product ingredients:

Since the founders oversee and manage L’amarue’s manufacturing and sourcing processes themselves, they realized they were spending a lot of time ordering the right ingredients for each product they sell.

As a beauty brand, one product alone can have around 25 different ingredients, so it’s difficult to keep track of all of the ingredients for each SKU and their quantities.

“We’re managing all the quantities based on the rate each SKU is selling at, and how much of a difference there is in ingredient usage from one product to the next. It's hard to be able to manage that and keep track of all the pieces,” said the Co-Founder, Ande Sozzi.

With Alloy, L’amarue has a single Google Sheet as its source of truth, which includes all of the ingredients the team has in stock and the quantity of each. If there’s an ingredient in the sheet that dips below a certain amount, Alloy triggers a purchase order by creating an invoice in QuickBooks. The team also gets a Slack notification about the order at the same time.

The only manual work on Ande’s end is to take the PO and send it to the supplier.

According to Ande, this process seems simple enough, but it’s time-consuming and easy to mess up: “There are wait times between purchasing ingredients and when it’s in the warehouse ready to use. It’s such a long span. Every time you’re behind, it extrapolates even more. It’s key to be super accurate.”

Who would have thought logistics could be this easy? (We did!)

Estimated hours saved per week: 4

2. Add a sample if customers purchase ⅔ a bundle

Most beauty brands sell product bundles—skincare routines, makeup looks, a haircare bundle… you get the point. These are helpful for customers to get the most out of your products.

No matter how you market your bundles, there will always be shoppers who skip out on them and purchase products individually. Sometimes, they’ll purchase two of the three items in your bundle. For these customers, create a “Missing Items” workflow to give them a sample of the third item they missed.

Using product tags, you can pull information into Alloy that tells you when shoppers purchase ⅔ items out of a bundle. Then, run them through a workflow to tell your fulfillment team to add a sample of the third item from the bundle to their order.

From there, you can enter the customer into a unique bundle campaign to send automated email or SMS notifications to educate them about the bundle, share its benefits, explain how they get the most out of it, and drive them back to purchase it again.

Estimated hours saved per week: 10

3. Reward loyalty points based on subscription order totals

Did you know that the average order of a customer who uses a loyalty reward in a purchase is 39% higher than a customer who doesn’t? Essentially, the more often a customer returns, the more likely they are to make a purchase. And rewarding them for returning can also increase AOV.

Now, combining this with a subscription program is a helpful way to upsell your customers into higher tiered plans. You can run a promotion where new subscribers automatically get a certain amount of loyalty points depending on how much they spend. 

Here’s how one Alloy customer is doing this with Recharge and Yotpo: 

When a new subscription gets created, the customer automatically receives a certain amount of loyalty points. For example, if they spend between $41-$100 on a subscription, they receive more points than if they only spend between $1-$20.

What if the customer ends up refunding their order? No problem. 

If the subscription ends up being refunded, there’s an additional workflow to take away the points a customer had earned from that order:

Estimated hours saved per week: 2

4. Opt-in customers to multiple channels from one QR code

Once upon a time, there was an Alloy customer who wanted to grow their email subscribers, SMS opt-ins, and loyalty program members.

They built a QR code to give customers who opt into SMS campaigns a free 6-month warranty on products. The goal was to send customers an SMS campaign to promote signing up for the brand’s loyalty program, but unfortunately, only 1.2% of users joined.

Disappointed, the founder wondered if there was an easy way to opt customers into all three from one sign-up point—while also not adding extra labor for the team to manually sign customers up on the back-end.

The answer is yes.

To create a workflow like this, you need a trigger event. It could be the scanning of the QR code or when a customer profile gets made in your ESP. After, a workflow in Alloy gets triggered, which pulls in basic information from each customer, such as their name and email address, to automatically create an account in the brand’s loyalty program, ESP, and SMS list.

Estimated hours saved per week: 2

5. Add upsells to your transactional emails based on customer tags

When done correctly, upselling can do wonders for your bottom line. However, it won’t do much if the products you’re choosing aren’t appealing. Consumers want a memorable shopping experience when they do business with you. They’re also well aware that brands are going to try to get them to buy more merchandise.

The thing is, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about email upsells. For instance, say your customer has acne-prone skin. Trying to sell them a rich moisturizer that exacerbates the problem won’t work.

But what if you offered them a product that helped to reduce oil production? They’d probably be more inclined to try the product in hopes that it solves their problem.

That’s what upselling is all about—subtly solving your customers' problems without being overly intrusive.

Using customer tags can streamline the upselling process. Using Alloy, you can use data that you import from their purchase history and then use it to choose the right products that match their needs.

You can then use that same information to tailor your email marketing automation strategy and feature products that they’d be most interested in. If this sounds like something you’d like to do, use this Alloy recipe to set up this workflow in mere seconds. Here’s an example of what this could look like:

Estimated hours saved per week: 2

6.  Add physical pamphlets to orders 

What if you could send customers educational material in every order based on data you collect about them in a quiz? 

L’amarue is doing this with Alloy by connecting Octane AI, Shopify, and Shipbob.

How does it work? In L’amarue’s Octane AI quiz, they ask customers detailed questions about their age, skin concerns, goals, target areas, and more. All of these questions give them valuable information about their customers and how L’amarue’s products can help them. 

Since each skin concern requires a specific product (and education on how to use that product), Ande came up with the idea of giving customers a physical pamphlet in their orders based on the skin concerns they share in the quiz. 

For example, if a customer is looking to treat their eczema, L’amarue will send educational collateral with a customer’s order that shares helpful tips, along with additional information about eczema in general.

But adding a physical pamphlet to every order—especially one that’s customized to a customer’s skin concerns—isn’t easy to do without help from an automation tool. Here’s what L’amarue set up with Alloy: 

When a customer completes L’amarue’s quiz, their profile gets tagged in Shopify. Then it gets synced with Shipbob, where each piece of collateral is picked for orders. Adding these educational pieces to each order shows customers that L’amarue deeply cares about their skincare needs. 

Estimated hours saved per week: 5

7. Put a product on hold and offer automatic text-to-order

One way to boost customer loyalty is by giving your VIP customers first access to new product drops. But what if there was a way to run this kind of campaign where the customer can hold an order of the new product and purchase it later via SMS?

The truth is that only 21% of consumers will buy a new product right when it comes out, and 63% prefer to wait a little while.

So what can you do? Automate an SMS campaign to send to your VIP customers about a new product and ask them if they want to put it on hold. If the customer replies, “Yes,” the brand can look for that keyword in the text and create a draft order. Later on, the customer can easily pay for the item when they’re ready, and the workflow will notify your 3PL to ship it.

How can you do this? 

For brands using a tool like Twilio, for example, first set up an SMS campaign announcing your new products. Tell your customers to reply “yes” if they’re interested in placing the product on hold. 

Then, Alloy can use Twilio’s webhooks to create a workflow that checks the replies from customers to find the keyword “yes.”

The next step of the workflow will create a draft order for customers who reply yes. Finally, you can schedule a final email asking the customer to confirm they want to order and tell them they will need to finalize the purchase before it’s shipped.

Estimated hours saved per week: 2

8. Automatically sync customer data from your on-site quizzes to your ESP

Quizzes are a great way to learn about customers: from their skincare concerns, favorite flavors, to their shoe sizes, you can find out everything you need to build a personalized experience at every customer touchpoint.

But it’s not super easy to take your data and sync it across all of your apps… unless there’s a direct integration between one tool to the next, and we all know that’s not always the case.

Instead, an integration tool saves you from having to manually export all of your customer data and upload it to each communication tool you use.

Here’s one example: in a one-step workflow, brands are taking their Octane AI data and creating a contact in Omnisend. These contacts come with all of the custom property tags based on how they answered the questions in your quiz, so you can start creating customer segments and robust email journeys.

If you want to try this workflow for yourself, check it out here.

Estimated hours saved per week: 2

Integrating your tech stack and automating your tasks helps you work smarter, not harder

If there’s a tedious, manual task you’re tired of doing every week, it’s likely something that can be automated. If you calculate all of the “estimated hours saved per week” from this article, you’ll see that each of these workflows adds up to 29 hours!

If improving the customer experience is top-of-mind for you, Alloy can help you integrate your entire tech stack and keep data flowing in real-time to each of your marketing tools—all integrated into one seamless system that services your entire customer lifecycle.

At Alloy, the goal is simple: make automation accessible to all business owners. Removing repetitive work allows more people to be creatives, innovators, and outstanding employees.

Have no idea where to begin? Get more done in less time with Alloy’s marketplace, which features hundreds of app integrations and ready-to-use recipe cards that may be customized to suit your business's needs. Or chat with our team here to find out how Alloy can help you.

This article was written by Tina Donati, Content Marketing Lead at Alloy. Alloy is an ecommerce integration tool that allows brands to connect their entire tech stack and create automated workflows to improve the customer experience. Alloy also offers a B2B solution, called Alloy Embedded, which is a white-labeled integration solution that enables software companies to fast track their integration roadmap and provide native integration experiences. You can try Alloy for free, or browse through the marketplace of workflow templates to find a use case that suits your brand here.

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