E-commerce automation will revolutionize how you do business online. From simplifying repetitive tasks that steal your precious time, to actively creating more sales, it’s an essential tool for success. Here’s what you need to know.
A small business owner understands that time is money, and there’s never enough of it. Various types of automation were created for this exact reason. Instead of splitting yourself and your team into 100 different people, just use technology to do the heavy lifting for you.
Today automation helps you keep up with the ever-changing economy. It gives your company the agility it needs to grow, change and pivot whenever market circumstances change. In a COVID-19 world, any technology that can improve your agility is considered essential.
Let’s take a look at what e-commerce automation is, and how it will work for your small business. By integrating these systems into your store this year, you’ll save time, money and a lot of effort.
What is Business Automation?
If you’ve heard the term ‘digital transformation,’ then you’ve heard of business process automation.
The concept is easy enough – to automate processes that are usually manually done, with intelligent systems. These days, this means using smart software to simplify and speed up a range of activities you otherwise would have to do yourself.
A Digital Transformation Study by the SMB Group noted that almost half of all small businesses surveyed said they planned to engage in activities that would help them adapt to a digital future.
So business automation makes complex business processes a lot easier, thanks to technology-driven workflows. Its main strength is in automating repeatable, mundane processes with incredible accuracy.
Why Does My Online Store Need Automation?
Automation is the activity that most facilitates digital change, and supports your efforts to attract new customers, improve productivity and streamline operations. It’s also essential for cost reduction and ongoing revenue creation.
When you have the right business automation tools, it frees up a lot of time for everyone. For a small business owner, this means that you can spend your time where it counts, as opposed to working endlessly, and tirelessly, on robot-like admin.
Manual data entry is problematic when you’re trying to expand. Automation guarantees accuracy, efficiency and data collection, which can later be used to improve your marketing practices. If your online store wants to grow, then it’s the only path forward!
Where Does E-commerce Automation Fit In?
Ecommerce automation involves putting the right people, processes and systems together to create the best workflows for your online shop. At its most basic level, it’s about the software tools you choose and how they automate tasks for you.
Your e-commerce workflow involves many of those little internal processes that keep your business running. These need to be mapped out and analyzed in order for important areas to be highlighted, modified and then – automated.
Workflow automation is the key to efficient e-commerce processes. A great workflow builds a strong system of accountability for your team and it positively impacts your outcomes. It will use all the e-commerce data available to you to consistently streamline site processes, which gives you flexibility.
5 Types of E-commerce Workflows and How They Work
So, what do e-commerce workflows look like and how do they impact your business? Here’s how you can implement e-commerce automation in your online store.
#1: Inventory Management
Your online store can automate your inventory management process, for quick and easy product listings and updates. When your supplier is integrated into your system, you’ll be able to change product details in real-time, and it will immediately reflect on your website.
A good inventory workflow takes you from the tedious task of manually adding purchase data, to having a system do it for you. When a shopper buys a product, your system will automatically create a sales order and will update your inventory and on-site stock quantity.
With automation, your stock levels are constantly monitored and adjusted – and when a product sells-out, it’s made unavailable with an ‘out-of-stock’ notice.
#2: Order Management
Order management workflow is a type of e-commerce automation that focuses on customer orders.
When automated, your order process seamlessly accepts purchase requests from customers, then organizes, tracks and fulfils them. There are many areas in order management that are positively impacted by automation.
- Sending abandoned cart emails
- Automating shipping label printing
- Sending back in stock notifications
- Reminding customers to reorder products at the right times
- Automating order fulfilment based on product demand
With order fulfilment, your incoming sales will help you determine what needs to be ordered, and you can set thresholds that trigger the submission of a new purchase order.
Once your stock is low enough, your system will automatically reorder – according to your rate of sales. You’ll never have to deal with standing stock or under-ordering again. Skunexus reports that as many as 50% of businesses still manually process their orders!
#3: Customer Experience
A customer experience workflow is an amazing tool for improving how your customers feel about your online shop. Gathering customer analytics gives you insight into their buying habits, which means that you have the power to influence the customer journey for the better.
This data enhances your marketing automation!
- Gain more customers with automated lead nurturing
- Collect feedback after product purchase (product review requests)
- Automatically schedule social posts for publication
Your customer support operations will drastically improve once the bulk of the work is automated. Then you can concentrate on dealing with individual customer concerns and overall improvements.
#4: Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty workflows use the data you have to retain existing customers by offering them perks and special discounts. Much of this can be automated in your eCommerce business, like instant price adjustments during checkout when promo codes are used.
- Automatically send emails to customers with discounts, offers and codes
- Set specific times when offers will be triggered (holidays, birthdays)
- Set automatic surveys to find out how to improve your business
- Encourage advocacy by referring perks to friends
The customer relationship that you develop with each consumer is reliant on your attentive communication. Your CRM systems will benefit from marketing automation because it keeps customers loyal. The more they buy, the more you know about them!
#5: Customer Satisfaction
Did you know that you can measure customer satisfaction? With the right data, an automated customer satisfaction workflow will result in a boost in engagement and quality of service.
These workflows sometimes use chatbots that can reach out to your customer in real-time. The chats of course, are run by bots that are programmed to direct, help and discover. You don’t have to be there!
- Use customer chats to engage customers while they’re shopping on-site
- Find out which products customers are lingering on, and why they don’t buy them
- Use customer online shopping to find out critical data in real-time
By catching customers as they shop, you’ll discover what makes your site good or bad. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the journey a buyer makes through your shop, which will inevitably improve your customer service.
The right e-commerce automation software will give your small business all of this valuable functionality. Your online store will experience an enhanced capacity to collect and use actionable insights for business growth and marketing.
You’ll understand where your customers spend time on your site, and where your most valuable traffic comes from. Best of all, you’ll be able to monitor your customers in real-time, and support them throughout the customer journey.
With a strong eCommerce platform on your side, business automation will take your shop to a new level of success. It’s time to ditch those outdated manual processes for something that makes running your online store easier. Choose automation and transform your small business today.