The Ecommerce industry is booming, and it’s been booming for a while now. As more and more people opt to do their shopping from the comfort of their homes, both due to the pandemic and because it’s simply more convenient, the growth of the Ecommerce Industry is not likely to slow down any time soon. In fact, projections show it steadily increasing year after year. Is it any wonder though that would-be entrepreneurs and established businesses alike are trying to capitalize on this highly lucrative market?
For this very reason, understanding how Ecommerce automation can help grow you business is essential. Whether you’re a start-up or a business looking to get a foothold online, understanding how you can automate certain parts of your operations can also lead you to dramatically improve efficiency, increase traffic to your site, and even boost sales.
In this article, let us explore some ways on how you can utilize Ecommerce automation for the benefit and growth of your organization:
What is Ecommerce Automation?
Before we delve into the ways you can automate your Ecommerce operations, we must first define what exactly Ecommerce automation is and what it entails.
Look at Ecommerce automation just as another way of making things more convenient, faster, and easier for you and/or your workforce. Before – businesses relied on manual labor to produce their goods, then – with advent of the Industrial Revolution – machines tailored to the task were built to increase productivity and save on the cost of labor. This paved the way to generating more profit in turn. Now in the digital age, the constant need for human supervision is almost completely eliminated as computers can act as the brain operating all the machines at once.
The same essentially applies for an Ecommerce business – software and tools are used to streamline repetitive tasks, condense and summarize information, and afford you the time needed to focus on other endeavors just important to growing your business. Some of the commonly identified advantages of Ecommerce automation is that:
- It saves time. Automation helps reduce enough of the work load that you have the time to focus your energy on more pressing tasks.
- It consolidates information. Running a business can easily get the most organized of persons flustered as the amount of data to keep track off from different sources can get quite confusing. Investing on Ecommerce automation tools can streamline and organize the information into a neat and easy-to-read report. This also has the added benefit of having readily available information during meetings and audits.
- It provides more accurate data. Automation technology can provide real time updates and precisely computed data that will allow you to more easily identify areas of improvement and/or take swift action in cases of immediate concerns.
- It helps utilize labor more efficiently. Contrary to popular worries, automation isn’t always going to put people out of work. Automation allows you to put somewhat repetitive task to the machines and software so that you can use the workforce in ways that bring out their true human potential. Allowing your workers more opportunities to explore their own potential can only be beneficial for the business since this is where cooperation, out-of-the-box solutions, and creativity are nurtured and used.
What Areas of the Business Can be Automated?
There are more advantages to Ecommerce automation – many of which aren’t obvious from the onset. But as important understanding the benefits of Ecommerce automation is, it is just as important to identify the areas of your operations that can be automated in the first place. Knowing how much of the workload can be entrusted to software can also help you know how much of the workload still needs the skills of an actual human being. Balancing both is essential as it directly affects the efficiency and quality of the business’ production. There are 4 basic areas in your business that can be entrusted to automation:
- Human Resources – Automation can perform the heavy lifting for the Human Resources Department with regards to information collection, filling, and backing up of data for safe keeping.
- Marketing – Ecommerce automation aids greatly as a marketing tool as it can perform marketing actions automatically and at regular intervals. An example of this is the well-known automated emails to the subscribers of the website. This aids greatly in maintaining product and brand awareness while potentially scoring sales conversions.
- Competitive Analysis – In the case of young businesses, Ecommerce automation can help in the analysis of the offerings of competitors in the market. For example, if you are Food Service Consultants, you would want to know what the other food service consultants are doing? One way it can do this is by conducting price analysis of similar offerings to your product or service online. This can go a long way in your forming of pricing strategies that can give you the edge on competitors.
- Supply Chain Management – Managing supply chains can be cumbersome at best. Luckily, things like order entries, inventory forecasting and tracking, and supply chain partner requests can be automated – this takes some of the tediousness and hassle out of the supply process.
Ways to Automate Your E-Commerce Business
Now that we have the basics of what Ecommerce automation is and what it can do for your growing business, lets dive into the specific ways business automate their operations :
1. Automated Workflow
There are numerous ways a business can automate their workflow depending on the nature of its operations. Marketing, contact information collection, and customer acquisition for instance can benefit greatly by apps and software – some of which that can post on social media automatically. According to the Global Web Index, 54% of social media users use their respective platforms to look up products they wish to purchase. social media automation affords the business owner a way to maintain an online presence while minimizing the time needed to make posts and think of witty captions.
Another way is by Lead Nurturing – when a potential customer has continuously shown interest in the product and brand. Automated emails and prompts can do the heavy lifting of converting sales by discounts, promotions, and anything else to ensure that the window shopper is converted into a buyer who always has the brand in the back of his/her minds.
It could also notify customers on informational articles such as blog posts and listicles which are great for overcoming apprehensions and getting them to come back to the site regularly.
2. Automated Emails
A good email marketing strategy can continuously bring in sales conversions and help retain customers. By keeping the customers informed about the latest happenings of your business, you’re ensuring the long-term stability of your business and building stronger connections with customers that hopefully might lead to brand loyalty.
One example of this is the automated abandoned cart email. This auto-generated email reminds the customer of the things still left on the cart the last time they came shopping in your online store. This can save sales since customers might have left their carts initially due to poor internet or lack of funds but are now able to go through with the purchase.
Automated emails can serve you well internally too as they can regularly remind workers on pending tasks, set new tasks, and ask for updates.
3. Automated Inventory Management
This is one of the essentials of Ecommerce automation, especially once a business reaches a certain size because inventory management can be one of the most taxing parts of running a business. One constantly has to keep track of the products in-stock and ensure that they do not go below or go out of stock. A good business person also ensures not to overstock as this can waste precious space and, if the goods are perishable, lead to spoilage and loss of income.
With a Inventory Management Tool, keeping track of orders and stock numbers become a walk in the park as it can account for every single unit and alert you if stocks are getting limited. It can also send notifications to suppliers or the production team if stocks need to be replenished soon.
4. Automated Invoicing
Creating an invoice for every customer can be a tedious and, depending on the size of demand, just down right impossible. This is concerning since tracking and receiving payments is the life blood of your business. The good thing is, Ecommerce automation allows you to handle large volumes of orders and receipt issuing with ease.
An automated invoice tool does the issuing of receipts as the payments are made while also filling out the invoice for you at the same time.
5. Automated Sales
Apart from the jobs usually done by a team of outbound sales agent, Ecommerce automation can also make locking in sales a whole lot easier. Automating some of the repetitive tasks that the sales team must perform is a good way to increase sales efficiency and free up some time for the team members to score on outbound sales.
Auto-generated follow-up emails on deals can also been automated especially if there’s a risk of the deal not pushing through. This increases the chances of minds changing and deals or sales being approved. An automation of the sales department can also track calls from prospects which can also be followed-up on.
6. Automated Order Management
The volume of orders you business may vary, but what is certain is that more orders can only mean better for your business. That in mind, the ability to manage a high volume of orders efficiently is a must.
Ecommerce automation can help and even fully shoulder that responsibility whether it be the creation of an accurate shipping label, the sending reminders of reorders or for similar products to customers, or in the sending of the previously discussed Abandoned Cart Emails. With a single click, as soon as the order is placed by the customer, everything from the shipping label to the notification of the warehouse and booking of a currier can be done automatically. An automated order management system is an important part of any long-term Ecommerce automation strategy.
7. Automated Reviews
Favorable customer feedback can do wonders for the credibility of the site and of your business as a whole. By collecting customer reviews with the use of automated emails of product delivery, the customer’s glowing reviews can be used as quotes or testimonials posted on social media and in the business website itself.
If the reviews are less than favorable though, fret not. Always welcome customer inputs, especially those that keep recurring, as it can help you make the necessary revisions that can improve customer satisfaction.
8. Automated Customer Support
Customer support can and has always been a costly and stressful department to handle but automation can aid in lessening the burden. It can do this by the creation of a chatbot that can respond to easy customer concerns. Today, there are a number of tools that are letting you create your own chatbot without needing to know how to write code.
A live chatbot can handle the basic questions and concerns and transfer the more complex issues to a live agent. They can answer simple inquiries and refer customers to an FAQ page where their questions might be answered. This can greatly save you the cost and resources of having a legion of live agents on standby.
Ecommerce automation is a modern solution to the already modern market. Though some apprehensions exist regarding the consequence Ecommerce automation, and automation in general, might have on job security, it always depends on how a business owner goes about using it. Its true that the goal of any business is to realize profit and garner a loyal customer base, but it can have the purpose of bringing out the most in its workers and helping them lead fulfilling careers too. With Ecommerce automation, all you are doing is lightening the load of mundane tasks and allowing you and your workers to focus on the bigger picture,
If you are running the business on your own, that automating of your workflow and other operations can only make things easier for you – letting you focus on growing your business faster. On that regard, Ecommerce automation might even be an essential to get your startup up and running.
Well that was all the ways to automate your online business and more. We do hope this article was of great help to you and your business aspirations. Good luck!