The ecommerce industry continues to grow and grow. Since the earliest days, it has been on an upward trend and there’s no sign of slowing down.. In fact, Statista predicts that the industry will grow to more than $6 trillion by 2024:
Not only does this industry present an incredible opportunity for entrepreneurs, but it’s also rife with innovation. One of the most exciting innovations is automation. Let’s take a look at ecommerce automation and how it could benefit your business.
What is ecommerce automation?
Ecommerce automation essentially means using technology to automate various parts of your ecommerce business. From automated shipping to using chatbots for customer service, the aim is to create a business that functions with minimal human interaction. In effect, you will have removed any manual processes from your ecommerce workflow and replaced them with smarter tech.
The integration of ecommerce automation requires extensive planning and preparation. However, once it’s in place it can free up time and resources for your team and help your business become more scalable.
Where do you start?
Identify what to automate
The first step is to identify what processes in your business can be automated. A great place to start is by thinking about any repetitive, manual tasks that you currently complete as part of your workflow. This could be anything from packing orders, processing refunds, or shipping products.
Some tasks are easier than others to automate. For example, there are plenty of tools that enable order process automation. However, if you want to automate HR, you will need to focus a lot of resources on the integration phase – and you’re still going to need human intervention at certain points throughout.
Choose the right solution
Once you have a clear idea of which processes to automate, the next step is to select a solution. Here are some different tools that will help you automate your ecommerce business:
- Inventory management tools help you simplify the process of managing product listings and keeping an eye on what you have in stock. They often include inventory forecasting, which enables you to predict when stock levels are low and re-order accordingly.
- Automated order fulfillment enables you to print shipping labels automatically while fulfilling orders using your existing logistics providers. You can even track your shipments in real-time.
- Picking and packing tools help you automate the order picking and packing process. When integrated with an order management platform, they can automatically trigger automated shipping labels and send customers notifications about their orders.
- Customer service software can provide intelligent customer service solutions. Options like live chat on a website and self service options in phone calls can make your customers happier, and reduce your costs.
- Data automation covers quite a broad range. From automated data entry, to sharing product information over multiple departments, you can use this to simplify many aspects of your ecommerce business.
Look for pre-built connectors
Once you’ve picked your solutions, it’s worth looking for pre-built connectors that integrate easily with your order management platform. Consider looking for low code no code platforms. These are a great way to ensure everyone can use the options available, no matter their skill level. The more everything works together, and the easier it is to use, the more successful your implementation will be.
Monitor and validate your data
Another important thing to look for in a system is data validation capabilities. With a well-designed system you should be able to monitor your ecommerce business and make changes if necessary. For example, ensure that all your product listings are up-to-date and complete.
Establish a winning support team
Once you know what steps to automate, the next step is to begin implementation. A great way to kickstart this is by forming a support team that will help your business scale as it begins automating processes. This would include people who are experts in implementing automation solutions, and can readily help wherever necessary.
The benefits of ecommerce automation
But why would you want to go through these steps? There are lots of benefits to ecommerce automation, including:
By automating your business processes, you will be able to scale up your operations and increase revenue without adding employees or overworking your existing ones. By hiring a few analytics and software specialists, and investing your resources into automation, you can ensure all repetitive, manual tasks are taken off your employees and their time is freed up for more important work.
Automation also helps you provide more options for your customers. Customers love feeling valued, so use automation to reduce delivery times, provide better service, and personalise their interactions with you. This will result in an increase in your conversion rates. If you want to keep track, it’s worth setting some ecommerce KPIs and using your automation system to track them.
Reduction in human error
No matter how great your staff are, there’s always room for errors to slip in. Issues like inaccurate order processing, delayed shipment of products, or wrong product shipments can provide a bad impression. You can avoid these errors by automating your business processes and streamlining them in the early stages.
Better customer service
Automating the order processing process will ensure that orders are not delayed or misplaced. It can also help you provide accurate and up-to-date information to your customers about their orders. This will improve your customer satisfaction rate and increase your brand value in the long term.
Automated systems are also able to handle customer orders quickly and ship more accurately. On top of that, you can improve the customer experience with features like online personalized recommendations.
So what now?
Ecommerce automation is becoming an essential part of every business. Whether you invest in order process automation, customer service solutions, or something else, it’s time to look to the future. With the right tools, you’ll be able to increase revenue, reduce costs, and stay at the forefront of your field.
Tammy Wood is the Director of Technical SEO at Automation Anywhere, a cognitive RPA platform. She also has 20+ years in the SEO industry and with this experience she often takes a leadership role by mentoring and training newer search engine optimization experts. Here is her LinkedIn.