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Pick your favorite! Three marketing automation platforms for online stores

Pick your favorite! Three marketing automation platforms for online stores

Using marketing automation in your online store can, at best, save you time, make your everyday work easier and boost your efficiency. Several automation platforms are available, but only some of these work seamlessly with online stores.

The three we’ve picked for comparison have the critical core functions that ecommerce marketing automation needs: product and purchase information comes automatically from your online store, they have powerful email workflows (such as abandoned basket reminders), and they offer diverse marketing testing options.

These software options work in the cloud, in a browser and as a mobile app. MailChimp, Klaviyo and HubSpot are leading platforms in this field and are used by thousands of websites, not just globally, but also in Finland.

MailChimp

MailChimp is one of the world’s most popular email marketing platforms. It fetches product and purchase data from your store, putting you just a few clicks away from advertising your best-selling products, contacting recent purchasers or segmenting your customers according to shopping history.

Its easy drag-and-drop function allows you to quickly create emails that look and feel like your brand. What’s more, it has a whole library full of ready-to-go email templates.

MailChimp can also be integrated into the most common ecommerce platforms and other systems like Facebook, Instagram and Google ad accounts. This means you can target your advertising towards your customers and carry out ad campaigns directly from your MailChimp account.

MAILCHIMP TOOLS FOR ONLINE RETAILERS

Pros:

  • Ease: you can learn to use it quickly
  • Price: the cheapest of the three compared here. It’s free to use when you have fewer than 12,000 contacts and you send under 12,000 emails a month. The next price tier, $10 a month, is not outrageous, either.
  • Instructions: The MailChimp site has full, often illustrated instructions for almost every feature or problem

Cons:

  • Compared to the other two here, MailChimp has the simplest features, especially when it comes to the combination of A/B testing, reporting and workflow triggers.

Klaviyo

Klaviyo is one of the world’s leading email marketing automation platforms aimed at ecommerce.  Like MailChimp, Klaviyo is also able to fetch any required product and purchase data from your online store. However, its tools are more versatile than MailChimp’s in terms of automation and reporting. With the segmentation feature you can use page visit data, for example, of product pages that people have visited.

You can also branch automated abandoned shopping basket workflows: shoppers who forget a more expensive basket get an email informing them of free delivery, while shoppers with less expensive abandoned baskets just get a standard reminder.

One of the best features of Klaviyo is its out-of-the-box Best Practice automation templates. Instead of creating the automated functions from scratch yourself, you can choose readymade, tested workflows for things like welcome emails and abandoned basket reminders.

Even though Klaviyo mostly focuses on emails, it also integrates well with Facebook ads, CRM systems and many other software programs. 

THE KLAVIYO WEBSITE LISTS ALL THE SEGMENTING POSSIBILITIES FOR ECOMMERCE

Pros:

  • Ready-to-go Best Practice automation templates
  • Rich tools for email automation and testing, and email marketing development
  • More detailed reports than MailChimp, especially on ecommerce sales, ROI and list comparisons

Cons:

  • Price: Klaviyo is free for up to 250 contacts, but after that it’s clearly more expensive than MailChimp

HubSpot

Compared to the two platforms above, HubSpot has a significantly wider range of marketing options. The above segmentation options on MailChimp and Klaviyo are also available on HubSpot.

As well as email and segmentation automation, you can publish all your social media content on HubSpot. You can quickly create separate campaign pages and add content to your store that shoppers will only see if they are part of target groups, such as loyalty programme members. On HubSpot, you can carry out all your marketing activities in one place.

In addition to extensive marketing features, HubSpot includes a free CRM system and you can expand your licence to sales automation. This is especially useful for a webstore with B2B clients and sales staff.

Compared to MailChimp and Klaviyo, HubSpot is more complicated,  but is still among the world’s leading marketing automation platforms, of which it is definitely one of the easiest to use. 

HUBSPOT ALSO HAS READY-TO-GO WORKFLOWS FOR ECOMMERCE.

Pros:

  • Really varied: you can personalise it and automate it to specifically suit your business’s needs
  • You can manage almost all your business’s marketing in the same place
  • HubSpot Academy with its free learning videos, instructions and free support service
  • Free CRM for sales
  • One of the world’s leading marketing automation platforms

Cons:

  • More difficult to use than MailChimp and Klaviyo
  • Price: to get the marketing automation features you have to pay hundreds of euro However, HubSpot does have a dedicated discount programme for startups. At the start of the programme the discount can be as much as 90%, after which the discount percentage gradually drops.

Whichever platform you choose...

Remember to prioritise your time and concentration on getting started with your new system. Even an easy-to-use IT system takes some learning: a new and unfamiliar system is time-consuming at first, but as you learn to use it, it gradually saves you time.

To work, marketing automation needs content, such as emails and social media updates. Remember to make time for writing this content so you can start using the automation.

The most important thing is to keep a clear goal in mind and move towards it one step at a time. First, do one email workflow. Only move on to the next when you’ve got the first one up and running. Start with the most critical automation for your online store and then gradually move towards smaller details. This way, you can avoid half-completed projects and achieve results faster.

Silja Patrikainen / Woolman

 

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