6 Reasons Ecommerce Marketing Automation Fails (And How to Avoid Them)

6 Reasons Ecommerce Marketing Automation Fails (And How to Avoid Them)


For quite a while, automation (alongside personalization) has been hailed as the next big thing in marketing. What most ecommerce businesses still fail to grasp, however, is that automation does not equal pressing the on button. Automation is not letting a piece of software do its thing while you sit back and watch products fly off your warehouse shelves. 

To make automation work for you, you still need to do a lot of things, well, manually. Let’s take a look at six of the most common reasons ecommerce marketing automation efforts fail and what you can do to avoid that 

1. You’re Automating the Wrong Things 

There are some things that simply can’t be automated. For example, a lot of content writing and copywriting is still very much a manual job. Even though there are software solutions that can help automate keyword research or even provide an outline for your articles, valuable content still needs human research and creativity. 

There are also marketing tasks that can be automated but you might be better off doing them on your own. 

For example, you can automate a lot of your email marketing efforts. A tool can automatically send out emails for you, but you’ll still need to track the open and click rates of those emails. Otherwise, you may be achieving absolutely no results and not be aware of the fact. 

Or, you can automate parts of your social media marketing. However, you are still much more likely to achieve higher engagement rates when interacting with followers in real time. 

2. You Are Using the Wrong Tools 

Gears on virtual screen. Business strategy and technology concept. Automation process

Source: depositphotos.com

Since marketing automation is such a hot topic, a lot of businesses are trying to capitalize on the interest by developing their own software solutions. 

This does in no way mean all of them do a great or even a good job. On the contrary, the market is flooded with sub-par tools that simply don’t get the job done. Many of them don’t have the right code under the hood to back up their founders’ extensive claims. 

If you’re looking for an automation tool, look for: 

  • those that have already established a reputation
  • those whose beta testing has gone really well
  • those whose claims you can trust 

You are in the business of marketing, after all. You know exactly how copywriting and web design can be used to cover up major product flaws. 

3. Your Inventory Can’t Keep up

The fact that you’re working with real-life products is what makes ecommerce such a dynamic field. However, the logistics involved are often incredibly complex. Failing to stay on top of your inventory and warehouse management can very quickly shoot all of your marketing efforts in the foot.

For example, you may decide to run an ad on Instagram. Your targeted audience shows above-average interest in your product, and it sells out in less than a week. Yet you keep running the same ad, so all potential customers eager to convert get to see is an “out of stock” notification. 

A way to circumvent this issue is, first, to use reliable barcode software that will allow you to at all times have a clear overview of the items you have available. And second, to use a project management tool that will ensure every member of your team is aware of the bigger picture. 

Thus, your marketing team will know they need to pause an ad when your warehouse team flags a product as sold out. 

4. Your Personalized Content Is Not Really Personalized 

Source depositphotos.com

The term personalization, while a great umbrella term, certainly leaves a lot of uncovered ground. For starters, it’s not just about using a lead’s first name in your emails.

In fact, modern shoppers have been so exposed to all kinds of digital marketing that they have become completely desensitized to emails that greet them by their name. They know the chances of an actual person having written the email are slim to none. 

What you should actually be aiming for when it comes to personalization is segmentation. Classify your audience based on: 

  • Interests
  • Demographics
  • Previous purchases
  • Items they have abandoned in their cart, etc. 

When you send out an email saying, “We know you were interested in this product – it’s now on sale,” you have a much better chance of converting than with a “Hey Anna, here’s our latest offer” email. 

5. You Have Simply Gone Overboard 

If you’ve seen some initial success with your automation, you may want to automate another process. And another process. And another process. 

This can result in too much of a good thing. If you’ve found a way to use automated email follow-up sequences to boost your click-through rates, you shouldn’t now send out twice as many emails. 

And you can also fall into the trap of automating too many varied processes at the same time. 

To get it right, you need to allocate some time to researching the right solutions, setting them up, testing them, and allowing everyone involved to get used to the new way of doing things. 

If you were to do this for several processes all at once, you’d only be generating confusion and chaos. One task at a time, make sure each solution is producing the desired results before moving on to the next one. 

6. You Fail to Give up 

Automation is like SEO – it can be an incredible way to take your business to the next level, but it won’t work for everyone

Maybe your store and business are still so small that automation wouldn’t save you any time? Maybe you can’t afford the tools you need at the moment, and that money is much needed elsewhere? Maybe you can beat your competitors without the need for automation?

If you’ve set off on an automation adventure but you’re not seeing any results, it may be time to reconsider. Perhaps you’ve chosen the wrong tools or the wrong processes to automate? Or maybe your way of doing business is just not suitable for automation? 

Whatever the case may be, knowing when to give up is a trait of successful business owners. Trying until you succeed is one thing, but not knowing when you need to stop trying to force a solution on a problem is quite another.

Final Thoughts 

Process Automation on the Mechanism of Metal Gears.

Source: depositphotos.com

Hopefully, you’ll be able to avoid these ecommerce marketing automation blunders, and any ventures into the field you do choose to undertake will only bring bountiful results. Remember to test everything and do some careful research before making a commitment.