Automation in E-commerce: 9 Simple Ways To Make Your Processes and Tasks Easier
Time is the most valuable resource. But in the world of e-commerce, many tasks are always competing for your attention.
You need to have the right products and inventory in your site, fulfill orders and payments, process, and dispatch items. On top of that, you may also struggle to stay on top of your marketing, reviews, and customer service.
As you scale your business over time, these processes have become more and more demanding. So, how do you make time to bring customers in, as you manage to keep everything on track?
The answer is in automation. Mind you; there are industries other than e-commerce that benefit from automation.
That said, we’ll talk about the nine simple ways how you can automate your e-commerce site to make processes and tasks a lot easier:
Make sure that you have a live chat interface installed on your site.
If you don’t want to hire a customer service representative, look for a service that can automate your customer support. Doing so helps you close in more sales.
2. Inventory Management
Even if you have a limited selection of products, it can be time-consuming to manually keep track of your online store’s inventory. That’s why having an inventory management system is so important.
Some business owners would rather not keep track of their inventory at all. The consequence is that orders may be placed even if the item is out of stock, which leads to refunds and upset customers later on.
As your business grows, manually updating your inventory becomes challenging. Plus, it can be prone to human error.
It would be ideal if your online inventory should match your onhand list. Also, product availability should be updated automatically when transactions and returns occur. The same thing goes when new products are added.
That’s why it’s important to choose software or programs that can scale with you over time, depending on your growth model:
It should also provide you options like:
- Multi-channel selling in more than one online store.
- Multisite synchronization for several fulfillment centers and warehouses.
- Offer segmented reporting for every location or selling channel.
If you find yourself overwhelmed with receipts, unpaid invoices, and other documents while trying to juggle different aspects of your business, then you need to try this automating process.
Manually keeping track of the numbers with sales, orders, and expenses can eat up a lot of your time.
Fortunately, many software programs can synchronize with your online store via third-party apps. This software will pull sales and your inventory automatically to the accounting program. This allows you to maintain accurate records.
Note that even if you have this part automated, you might still want to work with a professional accountant– either outsource or in-house.
These professionals are up-to-date on the tax codes and other essential government requirements that you may need. Expert bookkeeping services can take your business to new levels of success.
Doing so allows you to avoid errors in handling everything on your own and focus more on growing your business. To learn more, check out this post on how automation influences the finance industry post-COVID-19.
4. Online activities
Daily, mundane activities can eat up a lot of your time and affect your productivity in the long run. This is incredibly time-consuming in the long run.
For instance, you’re updating your profile picture in one social media platform. Doing so will require you to update all your business listings and social media profiles, which isn’t an easy task. That’s where triggered automation comes in.
Automation tools like this allow you to build or utilize your “workflow recipes” or series of tasks that you can automate to help free up some of your time.
Using our previous example, once you update your photo on one social media platform, the same thing will happen across your other social profiles.
5. Product launch
There are a lot of things that you need to manage in your e-commerce store, that it’s easy to miss something or fall behind.
To ensure the success of your product, you can streamline things by placing an automated approval workflow. This makes it easier to define your process’s steps, triggers events once you achieve certain milestones, and helps you move forward.
In a nutshell, automate dropshipping is the process where you use technology to handle drop shipping tasks.
The main goal is to remove mundane and tedious tasks, allowing you to focus on what’s important, and that is customer service and marketing.
7. Social Media
Marketing your online business takes up a lot of your time. It would help if you were consistent with your social media posts. It is also imperative to curate your content for your target audience to fill in your content calendar gaps.
Fortunately, some applications can cut down the time that you spend marketing your e-commerce store. The commonly used tools are Buffer, Mention, and Hootsuite
8. Customer Returns, Refunds, or Exchanges
When selling products, you’ll most probably be getting requests for returns, refunds, and exchanges.
Platforms such as BigCommerce and Shopify provide options within the customer’s account to automatically flag an item if it’s for return or refund.
Tapping into these options reduces touchpoints and streamlines the entire process.
It also helps that you have a clear return policy in your site to avoid repetitive questions and decrease customer service contacts.
9. Email Automation
Email remains the world’s flexible and almost universal messaging platform. With its direct and straightforward approach, you can also tap into this medium if you have an e-commerce store.
Here are the most common types of emails that you can automate:
- Welcome email: Customers always expect a friendly email when they sign up for anything online.
- Abandoned cart email: According to Business Insider data, retailers lose up to $4 trillion in cart abandonment. That’s why you need to come up with a cart abandonment strategy and emails to support it.
- Product recommendation email: This allows you to incorporate product recommendations, making it relevant to your audience.
- Post-purchase follow up: Sending a post-purchase follow up helps you know whether they’re satisfied with the product or not.
- Thank you email: If you own a brick and mortar store, this is equivalent to more store clerks saying thank you to your customers. It is also a great way to show your customers your appreciation for their purchase.
Listed above are the ways wherein you can automate your e-commerce business. By automating your business processes, your team can focus on other important business aspects. Thus, accelerating your company’s growth in the long run.
Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing at Red Stag Fulfillment, an e-commerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of e-commerce.