With the increasing dependence on the internet, social media, and mobile phones, the marketing landscape has largely shifted from traditional methods to make way for what we popularly know as “eCommerce.” As new and innovative marketing methods are on the rise, the eCommerce industry is flourishing and businesses can now reach a wider audience base, and drive significantly higher profits. Similar trends in eCommerce are expected to continue in the coming years with an estimated $200 billion in revenue to be generated by 2026, from $38.5 billion in 2017.
What is eCommerce automation?
eCommerce has helped businesses break geographical boundaries and expand their market with limited use of resources. They are further able to improve profits with the help of tools that can automate many of the monotonous and time-consuming tasks in the business life cycle. This is known as eCommerce automation, a winning strategy that almost every industry is subscribing to today.
By using an automation tool or automation software, businesses can leverage an intelligent approach towards marketing their products and services, and improve decision making through valuable insights gleaned from structured or unstructured data.
Take Shopify, for instance, the eCommerce platform or marketplace that allows users to own/host their shops. While most of its features are subscription-based, it offers a 14-day free trial period where users can assess its functionality and suitability to their business models. Apart from the plethora of automation features it offers, you also gain in-depth insights into your business, which can help you with the end-to-end management of your online store.
Benefits of eCommerce Automation
eCommerce website developers can help you build a platform where you can get multiple benefits as listed below.
The number of people shopping online for goods and services has increased drastically. However, since customers are spread across various regions, targeting the right audience can prove to be expensive as well as time-consuming. This is where eCommerce automation comes in. Here are the perceived benefits of eCommerce automation:
1. Saves time
Automation tools can help to get rid of boring and sometimes consuming tasks. Most of the regular tasks like the work on social media, data entry, sending and responding to emails, follow-ups and more can be automated easily to save both time and money.
2. Increases worker engagement
Workers feel encouraged to do better work if they are devoid of mundane tasks. It means they can concentrate their efforts on tasks that need more critical thinking, innovation, and efforts.
3. Higher customer satisfaction
With automation, it is possible to interact with customers in real-time. You will be able to respond to emails, enquiries, complaints and concerns instantly. This instant response will help create better customer engagement and satisfaction as well.
4. Better dealer satisfaction
The same automated response that you use for your customers can be modified and used for your dealers as well. They will also be happy to associate with you and also recognize your business potential
5. Faster business
With automation, you will speed up all the transactions in your business life cycle. It is possible to automate the complete order from the scratch. It is not only helpful in getting things delivered to your customers faster, but also avoids human errors.
Automation tools for your business
1. Customer Service Automation
Automating your customer service and responding to queries using chatbots is the first step. With the help of chatbots, you can respond to customer queries, complaints, connect with prospective customers, and more.
Some additional things that can be done in this area are:
- Reach out to customers who leave negative feedback and try to resolve the issues faced by them
- Segment customers based on the products they buy and send them related product updates
- Get feedback from customers after the purchase and analyse this for further improvement
- Sync up your customer email id with CRM or email marketing tools
Some of the most common free tools available for customer service automation include ZenDesk Chat, WordPress, MailChimp, Buffer and more.
2. Marketing automation
Marketing is an important aspect of business, and we need to find out areas that can be automated. To start, you could use tools to automate your social media posts and email campaigns. It would enable you to maintain a continuous stream of posts and campaigns, connecting better with your customers. Another area where you could take help from automation tools is in continual marketing for prospective leads. Some popular tools in this section Drip.co, Canva, Google Keyword Planner, Heatmap etc.
3. Inventory automation
As your business grows, keeping track of the inventory could be a challenge. Make use of free or paid inventory management tools to make the process easier and simpler for you and your business. These tools are designed to simplify processes like sending the order to the sales team, allocating resources, getting it ready for dispatch, printing the shipping labels, updating the inventory after dispatch, allocating the pick-up and more. Some of the inventory management tools to look out for are inFlow Inventory, Oberlo, AfterShip, Odoo, Sortly, ZhenHub, and Zoho Inventory.
4. Workflow automation
Automating your order management flow can be another very useful area for automation. There are also several tools available in the market for this category. To start, identify the areas in order management workflow that you want to automate.
It can include automating shipping label printing to avoid mistakes in the addresses, as part of continuous orders you can send automated emails to your customers with their frequently bought products, many people add products to cart and forget about it, following these up can be tedious.
Instead, send automated reminders regarding these abandoned carts. WordPress, WooCommerce, Magneto, and osCommerce are some of the other most popular tools in this segment.
5. Purchase order automation
Purchase order management is another where you can make use of automation tools. With business expansion, it becomes important to keep track of your available resources and raise PO (Purchase Order) as your inventory goes down. A tool can help you keep track of your stock and generate automated PO as per the business rule set by you. Check out Xero, QuickBooks, Unleashed, DEAR Systems, Spendwise are the tools specializing in order management.
Automate your business to drive success
Using automation tools and software can help your business to amplify sales and conversions. Streamlining your business with tools and automation software can help your team concentrate on more critical tasks and innovations that will in turn help ring in more profits. Make the right choice, onboard the right people, leverage the right automation tools, to drive growth for your business.
Rajamanickam Rajan is the director of Skein Technologies, a leading software development company in India.