Running a successful eCommerce business is a lot of work. And as your business grows, your operations expand even more. From marketing to sales, shipping, fulfillment, and everything in between, you’ve got a lot on your plate.
In such a scenario, executing every task manually is not practical. This can devour your productivity and prevent you from focusing on the bigger picture. However, as a business owner, you also can’t afford to ignore the trees in the forest. Meaning it’s important for you to oversee your everyday business processes while ensuring your business’s long-term growth.
However, managing all this together can be quite demanding and present some significant challenges.
Enter- eCommerce automation.
eCommerce automation is the silver bullet that takes much of the weight off your shoulders by automating and streamlining your workflows to allow you to focus more on other important business aspects.
This blog post discusses eCommerce automation in detail along with its benefits and how it helps businesses resolve their various challenges to maximize operational excellence.
What is eCommerce Automation?
eCommerce automation is the use of software to automate repetitive and mundane tasks with little to no human assistance. In other words, it’s a labor-saving technology that helps you get rid of tedious tasks by converting them into self-fulfilling ones. For example, sending emails with relevant offers to customers who have abandoned their cart in order to persuade them to make the purchase.
How Does eCommerce Automation Work?
At its core, eCommerce automation is driven by AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning). They together help in providing personalized experiences to customers by understanding customer interactions with the brand using the gathered data.
There are three components of the eCommerce automation process-
1. Trigger: This is what causes the automation to begin.
2. Condition: This is the prerequisite for automation to happen.
3. Action: This is the outcome of the automation performed.
For example, if you want to run a sales offer for customers who have spent $750 to get a 30% billing discount, here’s what the automation process will look like:
1. Trigger – When a customer places an order
2. Condition – If the customer has spent $750
3. Action – Send a 30% discount code to the customer during checkout
Benefits of eCommerce Automation
eCommerce automation offers a multitude of benefits to businesses. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Saves Time: Time is one of the most valuable assets for a business owner. By automating your repetitive tasks, you can get more done in less time. You can put a lot of tasks on auto-pilot including publishing website content, modifying product merchandising, and segmenting and notifying customers regarding offers.
Boost Productivity: Automation helps build a friendly environment for your team members by eliminating their mundane tasks. This provides them with the time and resources to acquire new skills and focus on the strategic part of their roles and fields.
Increase Lead Generation: eCommerce automation can simplify and expedite your lead generation process to a great extent. You can automate the follow-ups, reminders, and notifications to your prospects and engage them better with your business.
Enhance Customer Satisfaction: eCommerce automation helps you keep your promises to your customers. That is, it helps you send the right information to the right customer at the right time to facilitate on-time deliveries. Automation also helps in engaging customers post-purchase to ensure they are happy with the purchase.
Improve Decision-Making: By collecting and analyzing the right data through automation, you can get better insights into your business. This helps you make well-informed, accurate, and risk-free decisions to ensure faster business growth.
Challenges That Can Be Solved With eCommerce Automation
As an eCommerce business, you have to deal with a lot of challenges to deliver consistently great customer service. Oftentimes, these challenges are outside your scope or may take considerable resources to resolve at your end. eCommerce automation can be your savior here. Let’s take a look at some of the common eCommerce challenges that automation can help you overcome.
Marketing is essential to survive and thrive for any eCommerce business. But manual marketing processes can be quite costly and time-consuming. Hence, adopting automation is an effective way to increase your efficiency and cut down on your marketing expenses.
You can automate repetitive marketing activities like sending emails and segmenting customers to focus more on the creative aspect of the trade to promote your business.
The primary goal of an eCommerce business is to sell its products. But if your inventory is not managed and maintained properly, it’s difficult to achieve this goal. Most often, the in-demand products get out of stock quickly while the other not-so-in-demand products take up a major chunk of your inventory and tie your capital.
By automating your inventory management, you can resolve this problem easily. You can integrate systems like EPR, procurements, and WMS with your eCommerce platform or CRM to get real-time updates on your inventory.
A happy customer is a repeat customer. This makes customer satisfaction an important goal for your business. And customer service plays a major role in that. However, being available for your customers 24/7 can be a true challenge.
eCommerce automation provides you with an effective solution here. By integrating chatbots into your platform, you can count on a support agent that is available 24/7. Chatbots can help you capture customer data, resolve user queries, and enhance engagement and conversions on your website by persuading visitors to explore more.
An eCommerce business depends on several systems like the commerce platform, CRM, ERP, and fulfillment. If the data flow incorrectly between these systems due to human error, the end-user would receive the wrong information.
You can automate the data flow between these systems by integrating them with each other. Not only will this eliminate data silos but also ensure consistent data flow between systems and departments.
One of the primary goals of any eCommerce business is to get a lot of orders. But managing those orders can be a pain in the neck if you don’t have well-organized fulfillment procedures. Shipping the wrong order is one of the biggest mistakes you can make to lose the trust of your customer.
That’s why it’s essential to process every order with precision. For this, you can use automated delivery software that helps you process a large number of deliveries faster and cost-effectively. It will also reduce your manual efforts in managing orders.
Major eCommerce Automation Tools
Now that we have established a basic understanding of eCommerce automation, its benefits, and use cases, let’s talk about the popular tools used for it.
HubSpot is a full-scale CRM platform that offers a variety of inbound automation tools, including Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub, CMS Hub, and Operations Hub. It has many advanced features for lead generation, smart content management, data sync, customer service ticketing, and payment and scheduling to make the most of your various business operations.
Shopify is a well-known commerce platform that offers many automation options through Shopify Flow. With Flow, you can build custom workflows to automate activities across your store and apps to kick off solid marketing campaigns. It also helps you with customer, inventory, and order management to optimize the buyer experience.
Zendesk is a powerful customer service and sales communications solution that helps you provide exceptional experiences to customers. With Zendesk Suite, you can easily create customer service layers from self-service to live chat with agents. It also offers omnichannel options wherein you can set up various customer interaction channels like emails, chat, and text on your website to better serve your customers.
Keap is an all-in-one eCommerce solution that helps businesses automate their sales and marketing activities. It offers a range of templates that you can use to create automated emails, landing pages, reminders, and more. Additionally, it helps you organize all your client data and communication in one place for smoother operations.
Automation Is the Way Forward
eCommerce automation is all about enhancing efficiency. Given today’s customers’ need for speed, efficiency has to be at the heart of all business processes. By adopting automation, you can get more done in less time while reducing error possibilities and optimizing customer experiences. Hence, it’s a win-win for everyone and a must-have for businesses that are future-oriented.
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