For a small or medium online business, success is based on being able to easily perform a number of functions. To make things easy, many companies are turning to eCommerce automation to save time and money and increase sales.
Automation can be applied to all parts of a business, from marketing and sales to fulfillment and customer services. Since the retail business can be repetitive, managing all these functions automatically can make things run much more smoothly and improve the quality of the service you provide.
Small businesses don’t have the resources that large companies have and working with limited resources means a lot of labor-intensive work. By investing in eCommerce automation, you can streamline your business process.
What is eCommerce Automation?
Simply put, this involves using software applications or tools to complete tasks automatically rather than doing them manually. By using these programs to do most of the heavy lifting for your business, you can focus on more important tasks and decision-making processes. Not only will this complete a lot of work for you, but it will also be done faster and cheaper. You can use an eCommerce automation system to simplify different aspects of your business such as:
- Inventory management
- Selling on online platforms
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- Order fulfillment
- Customer service
- Returns and refunds
- Email marketing for cart abandonment
- Analytics and data collection
- Workflow management
What Are The Benefits of Automation in eCommerce?
Automation can smooth and solve a lot of issues in eCommerce. Small companies can benefit from automation the most as they often have few financial and human resources. Here are a few ways your business could benefit by using eCommerce automation tools.
- It saves a lot of time
- It makes your business processes faster and easier
- You can easily manage your inventory by linking your ERP and POS systems
- You can offer a better customer experience with multiple fulfillment, drop-shipping, easy returns, and improved customer service
- It reduces business costs as you’ll need fewer employees and less training
- You can focus on more important aspects of your business that involve decision-making and strategy
- It helps increase sales
- It makes marketing easier with automated emails and scheduled social media
What Are The Best eCommerce Automation Tools?
The online retail process begins the moment your customer goes online to search for a product. Whether your customer becomes interested in buying from you depends largely on how your product is marketed. Luckily, you can automate most parts of this process to make it more efficient and cost-effective. Here are some of the top eCommerce automation tools you could consider using:
- Contalog: This powerful tool helps with inventory and order management. It can monitor stock levels and communicate with your sales channels so you always know what your inventory looks like.
- InfusionSoft: This all-in-one tool can be used to access some 200 apps and platforms and is particularly useful for eCommerce marketing automation.
- OptinMonster: If you want to easily improve conversions, this could be a very powerful tool for your business. Its scroll boxes and exit intent popups can help you get more subscribers and conversions.
- MailChimp: A popular email automation program, Mailchimp is great for managing your email campaigns.
- ZenDesk: This is a popular CRM tool that can help you integrate different functions of your online store. Plus, it has very powerful customer service and engagement features.
- Google Alerts: In the competitive world of eCommerce, it’s important to keep an eye on your competition so you always have a gauge of how your company is doing in the market. That’s why signing up for Google Alerts can be useful - you can keep track of what your competitors are doing by getting an email alert for updates on their internet mentions and stores.
- IFTTT: This easy-to-use eCommerce marketing automation tool lets you push out posts to various social media channels and allows you to schedule them so you can simply set and forget.
9 Steps for Automating Your eCommerce Business
Now that you know what eCommerce automation is and how it can help your business - and even what tools you could use - it’s important to understand exactly how to implement automation into your business. Here are a few steps you can take:
Cart abandonment is a problem for every online business. But eCommerce automation can fix this by identifying when visitors leave your store without adding anything to the cart and then automatically sending out emails or push notifications to encourage conversions. You won’t convert all your abandoned carts into sales, but you can certainly improve your numbers.
2. Automate reviews
Customer reviews can be a very useful marketing tool as they have more power to convince than the average marketing campaign. You can automate the review process by setting up automatic emails requesting reviews as part of the post-purchase process and integrating these into your product pages.
3. Automate inventory management
Managing inventory can be tricky, especially if your stock is stored in different places. By integrating automation tools with your CRM and POS, you can automatically keep an eye on your inventory in real-time.
4. Automated invoicing
There are many payment gateways like PayPal and tools like Due and Quickbooks that allow you to automate invoices. Most of these can also be integrated with eCommerce platforms and are useful for record-keeping. It’s a very efficient way to keep track of your finances.
5. Use AI to automate customer services
Artificial intelligence can be used to automate your business’s interactions with your customers. For example, you can use live chats on your websites. Not only does this make managing your customer service easier, but it also improves the customer experience because they can easily get the answers they need.
6. Marketing automation
This is becoming an increasingly important part of any online business’s marketing strategy. There are numerous tools to help you automate your emails and social media, giving you an easy omnichannel marketing strategy that can help you achieve 90% higher customer retention and 250% higher purchase rate.
7. Automate accounts
This is linked to automating your inventory. Accounts are the part where finances are handled for procurement, investments, and sales. All this data is centralized and linked for better data sharing. Translation: you’ll easily find everything you need come tax time.
8. eCommerce fulfillment automation
Fulfillment is the part of the eCommerce business when you have to pick and pack the order and deliver it on time to the correct address. Using eCommerce fulfillment automation tools can save you a lot of time, money, and effort. You can easily scan and print shipping labels, send tracking information, and streamline returns.
9. Handling refunds and replacements
Returns are an inevitable part of any online business, but how you handle them can make a big difference. If you help your customers handle returns easily, you may find they return to your store for other products. Set your store up so that you can automatically identify what returns are eligible for replacements or refunds, for example.
Grow Your Business With Automation
Automation makes your business workflow efficient, cost-effective, and convenient. eCommerce automation enables you to run a small business with limited resources in a way that will help you compete with bigger companies. Easyship allows you to automate many parts of the shipping process, including labels and customs documents. Sign up for free to see how we can make your fulfillment process easier.