Running an eCommerce business can be challenging. For one, you need a process for accepting your customers’ orders. The same thing goes with processing their orders, as well as shipping and delivery. Not to mention that you need to coordinate your fulfillment process with couriers, inventory managers, manufacturers, and more. Luckily, you can streamline your business operations with the help of ecommerce automation. Read on to learn how to automate your ecommerce business.
Defining Ecommerce Automation
Ecommerce automation is the process of using tools or software applications in order to fulfill a function or task relevant to your online store.
For instance, instead of manually accepting and listing down your customers’ orders, a tool can do that for you. Moreover, you can set up a system wherein the orders are automatically forwarded to your fulfillment team. From there, they will be the ones responsible for locating, picking, packing, and shipping the orders.
One way to do that is to install chatbots on your eCommerce website that can automatically ask a potential customer about their order, as well as forward this information to your inventory manager, saving time for your team so they can focus on other tasks.
In a nutshell, these tools and applications do the heavy lifting for you. Not to mention that you get to do it faster and a lot cheaper. In turn, you are able to focus on what matters most ‒ and that is making your business grow.
Why You Should Automate Your Ecommerce Business
Aside from streamlining your processes, eCommerce automation allows you to save money and increase your sales.
Think of it this way: Because you no longer need to spend hours upon hours to accept, record, and forward your customers’ order, you can now focus on things that can make your eCommerce business grow.
On the other hand, automation allows you to set up a system that can keep your business up and running even while you sleep. Imagine, being able to receive, list, and forward orders 24/7! And the best thing about automation is that you can implement it in various parts of your online store.
Now that you know what eCommerce automation is, it is time to understand how you can automate your ecommerce business.
1. Inventory Management
It can be tricky to manage your inventory, more so when you do international shipping, and you have warehouses in various places. Luckily, you can use automation tools to do any or all of these:
- Forward customer order to a relevant stock inventory
- Monitor your inventory in real-time
So, instead of listing down and sorting your orders and then forwarding them manually to your international storage facility, you can fully automate this process.
An inventory management tool also lets you successfully achieve customer satisfaction. You do not want to disappoint your customers just because they ordered an out-of-stock item, do you?
2. Product Pricing
Automation tools also allow you to automatically update your product pricing.
There are tools that show how much your competitors are pricing their products, all in one dashboard. That way, you can easily and quickly make an informed decision on whether to mark down some of your items.
On the other hand, there are tools that allow you to update your product pricing depending on how many items your customer is willing to purchase. For example, if you are providing a discount for bulk orders.
This also includes automatically computing the checkout price, meaning the price of items with tax and shipping fees.
Nowadays, there are tools (such as PayPal) that allow you to send an invoice, as well as send and receive payments. And these tools can be integrated into your eCommerce website.
Doing so allows you to achieve two things:
- To automatically send an invoice to your customers
- To automatically record your sales
4. E-commerce Fulfillment
Ecommerce fulfillment is one reason why an online business succeeds. After all, your responsibility as a retailer is not to finish the moment you forward the order to your stock manager. You have to ensure that it is packed well, shipped, and delivered properly.
This part of the business includes picking and packing the product and making sure that it is shipped and delivered on time to the right customer.
Fortunately, you do not have to spend too much time in order to get this task done. You can use an automation tool to streamline your fulfillment process, from accepting a customer’s order to shipping. This also includes scanning and printing shipping labels.
That way, you are able to guarantee customer satisfaction without spending too much time and money or exerting too much effort.
5. Fraud Prevention
If you are on Shopify Plus, you can use Flow to prevent fraud from happening to your online store.
Mind you, about 50% of small businesses fell victim to fraud at some point. And this can occur either through phishing or identity theft.
What happens when you use an automation tool for fraud prevention is that you are able to identify high-risk orders through IP address check or address verification. From there, you can easily flag down and review whether an order is a fraud.
You can also use this system to notify your fraud specialists. Doing so allows you to save tons of money in chargebacks and lost revenue.
Do you know that more than 71% of online shoppers get frustrated with the impersonal shopping experience? Hence, personalization is integral when running an eCommerce business.
One way to do that is to segment your customers based on where they are in the buyer’s journey, purchase history, the type of products they bought, and many more. This is where eCommerce automation tools such as CRM could come in handy.
You can even leverage personalization with your site search solution. Most providers offer this option and once turned on, Autocomplete recommends relevant product and keyword suggestions based on previous user searches. For example, if a shopper had been browsing women’s sweaters, and they enter ‘sw’ into the search bar, Autocomplete will suggest ‘women’s sweaters’ as a term or category to enhance the shopper journey.
Find further ecommerce search optimization strategies here.
Alerts and Notifications
Speaking of notifications, you can also use an automation tool if you want to receive notifications whenever you receive negative reviews.
Why would you need to know if a customer left with negative reviews? That’s because it is a great opportunity to showcase your customer service practices.
This lets you demonstrate that (1) you take customer complaints seriously and that (2) you know how to take corrective steps to pacify a customer. When done right, customer service is another great way to attract more customers and improve your revenue.
7. Real-time Merchandising
Is one of your products running on limited stocks? If yes, how do you update your eCommerce website accordingly?
It is important to receive real-time updates of your inventory and make sure that it reflects in your online store. That way, you are able to set your customers’ expectations.
Good thing, eCommerce automation allows you to set up a system wherein an item is automatically marked as “limited” or “out of stock” whenever you are running low in inventory. That said, this tool should work with an inventory management tool.
8. Reduced Card Abandonment
According to the Baymard Institute, about 70% of cart abandonments are documented. This can be due to various reasons like unexpected costs, cumbersome checkout process, trust issues, and more.
Good thing, this is one issue that eCommerce automation can fix.
There are tools that allow you to install an exit pop-up, which will then notify them that they have some items in their shopping cart. You can also use strategies to salvage those abandoned carts like offering various eCommerce payment methods.
9. Refunds and Replacements
It is inevitable for businesses to have product returns. However, the way you handle them can make or break your eCommerce business.
Hence, you will need a tool that will allow you to handle it with ease. This includes identifying which items are eligible for refunds and replacements. As a result, you get to make sure that you are providing a great customer experience.
And this can be one reason why your customers would still opt to buy from you.
10. E-commerce Integration
Once you have implemented a Fulfillment solution, ERP, CRM, EDI system, and other applications to enhance efficiency within your eCommerce business, it’s time to consider eCommerce integration. This means tying all the important ‘pieces’, systems, and applications of your eCommerce business together.
Integration platforms like VL OMNI enable Merchants to easily unify and consolidate their sales channels and eCommerce applications on a single platform, solving the problem of integration and channel visibility for scaling Merchants. With its point-to-multipoint iPaaS service, VL OMNI is able to incorporate business rules into an integration solution, allowing for a better custom data flow throughout the supply chain. Got any questions about ecommerce automation software? Contact VL OMNI.
Make Your Business Grow With Ecommerce Automation
To recap, you can automate your ecommerce business with the help of the following automation tools:
- Inventory management
- Product pricing
- eCommerce fulfillment
- Fraud prevention
- Real-time merchandising
- Reduced cart abandonment
- Refunds and replacement
- Ecommerce Integration
Overall, eCommerce automation allows you to streamline your process and be efficient at what you do. Plus, you are able to save money and boost your revenue.
Sure, it may sound expensive to install and integrate these eCommerce automation tools. However, setting these in place will allow you to save time in the long run, especially when it comes to providing the best customer service that you can give.
Ultimately, these automation tools can help you run and make your eCommerce business grow despite any limited resources.
About The Author
[vc_column width=”3/4″]Jake Rheude
Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing at Red Stag Fulfillment, an eCommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of eCommerce. He has years of experience in eCommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.