In the retail world, especially in the realm of e-commerce, there are a plethora of small, individual tasks that have to be completed every day. For business owners, and their employees, these tasks may not seem like much on their own.
Upon taking a closer look, you’ll see that these tasks end up taking up an unnecessary amount of time. There is a solution to this problem, the process of e-commerce automation. In this article, we’ll go over what exactly e-commerce automation is and how you can make use of it.
E-commerce Automation: The Definition
E-commerce automation, at its most basic definition, is this: the use of software or other technology to help your e-commerce business grow sales while also increasing the productivity of your employees and improving customer experience.
To put it into slightly more simple terms, you’re freeing up time for your employees so they can do more with what time they have. Many online stores are using automation to fix the age-old problem of growth.
But how can growth be a problem? You might ask. Well, as your business grows, you’ll have even more aspects and repetitive tasks to manage. Whether it’s more branches, employees, or other aspects, things will continuously get more convoluted.
With automation, you’re able to cut out any time-consuming aspects of operating a large-scale e-commerce business. By automating your e-commerce business, you’ll be able to cut out the tedious process of hiring new people to fix time-consuming problems.
That being said, if you’re interested in automation, you shouldn’t begin to see your employees as time-wasters. People are a very powerful resource and should never be taken for granted.
What Exactly Gets Automated?
Not having to worry about certain aspects of running an e-commerce business sure sounds like a sweet deal. But now you’re probably wondering just what aspects of your business will get automated. Here are some prime examples of features you can expect to be automated, should you proceed on this path:
- Inventory management will be made easier as your website will automatically list popular items that were once out-of-stock once a new shipment comes in or from return orders.
- The automatic tagging of loyal, important customers via CRM software. By doing this, you’ll be able to give these high-value customers discounts and other benefits. In turn, it will ensure these customers keep coming back to your business.
- Cyber-security teams can be automatically notified if an order comes through that raises a red flag. For instance, if a bot buys the entire stock of an item or someone leaves an abandoned cart full of high-demand merchandise.
- Automation software allows you to schedule sales on specific products and can set up promotions for your website. Additionally, it will automatically set the desired prices on your website. The software can even automatically apply discounts for certain customers.
These examples are but a few of the many things that automation can do. In the right hands, automation software can do much more to benefit not just your bottom line, but your employees as well. Ultimately, any online business can benefit greatly by using automation in some fashion.
How E-Commerce Automation Works
Now that you’ve seen some examples of automation in action and know more about it, you’re probably wondering how all of it works. Firstly, you must remember that e-commerce automation tools will always be AI or software of some sort.
Therefore, the AI looks for certain triggers that cause it to perform an action. For example, if a customer spends a lot of money on a single purchase, the AI will recognize this and immediately send out a follow-up email with a discount attached.
The AI is also capable of detecting cart abandonment. This is when a customer leaves products in their online shopping cart but doesn’t actually checkout. This is a huge problem for online retailers, so an AI or program that sends out abandoned cart emails is a huge boon.
However, this is just scratching the surface of what AI can really do. There are other, advanced tasks that AI is capable of doing, but the more impressive thing is that an AI can actually approve upon itself through a process known as machine learning.
Essentially, the AI can absorb information by observing interactions that the customers have with your e-commerce store and the products. In the end, it will give your customers a more personal experience.
An example of AI learning is the use of keywords for a search bar. If a customer searches for something like a t-shirt and clicks on a product from a particular brand, the AI will pick up on that.
Using the information from consumers, the AI can then learn which products match with the keyword that was used for searching. Then, it will move the appropriate items to the top result for that particular keyword.
Another excellent example of machine learning is showing recommended products to customers. This is something you’ve seen before on plenty of other websites. Essentially, the AI monitors what products a particular customer tends to buy or look at.
It will then recommend products to that customer, usually in the form of a special section on the store’s front page. With an expanding business, it can also become very difficult to manage the needs of all of your customers.
Thankfully, automation has a solution for that with machine learning. Some websites and companies use what is called a chatbot for customer service needs. These bots simulate a live chat with a customer service representative.
As smart as the AI is, it cannot replicate a conversation with a human. Therefore, they cannot do complex interactions but they do have some very convenient uses. For instance, they can redirect customers to an appropriate item or department.
The Benefits of E-Commerce Automation
Seeing what e-commerce automation can do for you and your company must certainly be enticing. However, you still might have some doubts about how exactly your business benefits from its usage. We’ll lay out all of the benefits of using e-commerce automation so you know what exactly you’ll be getting.
As the old saying goes “time is money.” With more time on your hands to do other things, you’ll be able to get a lot more done and keep your business moving forward. Automation is really the key to getting more done in less time as time-consuming tasks are automatically done for you.
With all of the extra free time, you’ll be able to focus on more important business aspects such as marketing strategies.
The great thing about automation is that it can be applied to most aspects of your business. Whether it’s email marketing, sales, order management, or order fulfillment, automating your e-commerce business can make these things a breeze.
Automation can streamline many of the tedious business processes that you’d normally have to do by yourself or have an employee do. Because of this, you’ll be saving more money and can reinvest it in other areas.
Recent statistics have shown that automation tools can help your business save up to 30% on resources while ensuring that your business will hit its growth targets.
Because you’ll be using an AI to manage tasks for you, you’ll find that it is far more consistent and accurate than its human counterpart. The process of automation only requires you to set up the tasks for the AI to handle and how you’d like them to be completed.
Once the AI has its directions, it’ll complete them to your specifications with precision and accuracy. Additionally, you’re cutting out the possibility of human error and creating a stable automated workflow.
Because e-commerce automation offers AI learning, that means your marketing can be tailored to individual customers. Your customers will receive recommendations for new products and you can set up marketing campaigns that the AI can run by itself on social media to reach new customers.
All you have to do is set a few things up and tell the AI when you’d like to run the campaign. Additionally, you can set up email campaigns that the automation software or AI can send out.
With so many aspects of your e-commerce platform simplified and the extra free time you and your employees time, you’ll no doubt see an increase in productivity. You’ll have an opportunity to take a closer look at how you and your team members can be more productive in a variety of ways.
For instance, you’ll have more time to worry about building stronger relationships with your customers and working closely with suppliers. To add to this, it’s important to have all of your automation applications or services synced in order to keep productivity high.
At times this can be pretty technical, and automation services, such as ours, do this syncing for you so you’re not overwhelmed by issues due to inexperience.
Another upside of automation is that you can have a lot of your business data easily compiled in some way.
When you have all of your data easily accessible and it’s accurate, it can be a lot easier to make informed decisions as to what direction you should take your business in. Additionally, you may find yourself in need of further automation tools as your knowledge of e-commerce grows, combined with your data.
Something else that isn’t always talked about is the convenience of having all of your different data systems compiled. Without an automation service or application, it’s not uncommon for businesses to have multiple departments that each have their own sets of data.
However, these departments or sections usually have to wait to for another one to give them some sort of information before performing their job. When you use automation, things are made easier.
All of the data can easily be compiled and stored together where the automation software can take care of the job in a unified, streamlined manner. Having all of this data is key to allowing your business to be ready for drastic changes.
Finally, and probably most importantly, the use of automation has the added benefit of increased customer satisfaction and retention.
By using automation, you’ll be able to easily see the trends that your customers create and make an informed decision as to what you can do for them. By using automation, you’ll find that customers will have a much more enjoyable experience during online shopping.
Why Automation Is Your Next Step In Business Growth
As a marketer, there will come a point where things will likely get too overwhelming or complicated for you and your employees to manage all on your own. There’s a certain point where you’ll hit a metaphorical ceiling where you really won’t be able to grow, this is where automation comes in to save the day!
As we’ve talked about, there are so many benefits to automating your online business operations. When you finally take the leap, you’ll certainly see some accelerated growth and increased profits.
The data you gather when your business becomes automated will lead your operations to operate at maximum efficiency where you won’t be hindered.
How To Automate E-Commerce
Looking at all of the benefits of automation, it’s safe to say it is hard to turn down such an amazing opportunity. But, how does one actually automate their e-commerce business? By following a few simple steps, you can get your e-commerce business fully automated.
1. Identify Problem Areas
As we talked about, the e-commerce world has a lot of processes and minor jobs that can easily be taken over by an automated process.
Look for activities within your business that take up too much time or are very repetitive such as inputting data manually. Once you’ve identified the parts of your business you can proceed to the next phase of the automation process
2. Consult With Us Or Use An Appropriate Tool
With your problem areas identified, go ahead and get a hold of us on our website! You can request a free consultation and tell us about what parts of your business you’d like to become automated.
If you’re looking to automate the entire thing because you don’t have the time or manpower to manage it, that’s something we should be able to handle as well! Alternatively, you can do things yourself and look at tools like Shopify or Mailchimp.
It’s very important to take a good, hard look at the tools that are available to you and to do your research. You’ll need to consider how the different tools, software, and AI will work together and if they can integrate well into your system.
At DFY Walmart, we take that seriously and will always pick the right tools that will most benefit your business
3. Keep A Close Eye On Your Data
This step is especially true when you first start automating your business.
One of the big points of automation is that you won’t have to worry about sales representatives having to compile data manually on an Excel spreadsheet that’s a mile long. However, you should still check to make sure that the data between your tools is synced up and is flowing in real-time.
4. Have An Efficient Support Team
While e-commerce automation is amazing, there can still be hiccups from time to time. That’s why you should always make sure that you have some sort of efficient customer support team on standby.
This team should be able to access your integrated tools or software at a moment’s notice so they can fix things and ensure your customers are informed.
The Final Verdict
As you can see, automating your online business is a very crucial step when it comes to selling on any online marketplace.
Automation takes care of a lot of manual tasks that take a lot of work. By doing this, you’ll have more time to invest in your employees, business strategies, and most importantly, your customers