The automation of e-commerce businesses has become much easier and more efficient in recent years. More and more online retailers are choosing to automate their activities and workflows, and for a good reason. Automation can positively affect multiple areas of your business, including marketing, sales, customer service, order fulfillment, inventory management, accounting, and much more. Let’s see how this works in more detail.
Why is automation key for ecommerce?
There are many substantial benefits that different automation software can bring to your online shop. Here are some of the most important effects of a well-executed automation strategy:
- Speeding up all kinds of processes and streamlining workflows in the company.
- Saving time: your marketing, sales, IT, customer service, and operations department will be rescued from performing a number of tiresome, repetitive tasks on a daily basis, which will give them time to focus on strategic and creative aspects of their work.
- By saving time, it cuts your expenses, so it saves you money, too.
- Increasing conversions by improving customer experience and optimizing the sales process.
- Minimizing the potential for all sorts of human errors.
- Collecting, storing, and interpreting loads of customer data and putting them into action. These data can be vital for gaining a slight but crucial edge over your competitors.
All in all, automation can improve the way your company works on many levels. In this article, we’ll deal with some specific areas of your business you should look to automate. We’ll explain how to make the best use of automation tools in these areas and take a brief look at some of the concrete tools you can utilize for this purpose.
Email marketing automation – Klaviyo
To this day, email marketing remains the most cost-effective digital marketing strategy. Different automatic emails can generate a lot of revenue if they’re being sent to the right people at the right time.
For instance, the cost of automatic welcome emails is next to nothing, yet these can significantly affect your bottom line. On average, welcome emails bring five times more sales than regular bulk emails.
Of course, welcome emails aren’t really enough. You’ll have to be more specific and carefully set triggers that will prompt the software to send different follow-up emails. Take cart abandonment, for example – as much as 70% of all online carts end up abandoned for various reasons. And it turns out that a brief reminder about the abandoned cart can be that little nudge in the right direction that a shopper needed. If you automatically send them emails as soon as they give up on purchasing a product, these will generate 36 times more sales than ordinary bulk mails – especially if you offer discounts or other incentives.
In general, emails can open up a whole world of upselling and cross-selling opportunities with consumers that have already shown interest in some products. Sending follow-up messages with related products can boost your sales substantially. Here it’s important to send the right offers to the right people, which basically comes down to accurate customer data and smart segmentation. You need to set the parameters and triggers right, and the automation software will do the rest.
A great tool to consider for this purpose is Klaviyo. It offers fast integrations with a huge number of ecommerce platforms, which will save you tons of time, as everything can be controlled from a single dashboard. Klaviyo also provides great segmentation and personalization features, including dynamic data blocks that will ensure that different sections of an email are shown to different carefully targeted groups. More than 30 thousand users who choose Klaviyo may be a good indication that it’s a very useful tool to automate your email marketing efforts.
Inventory management automation – Cin7
Not having the right amount of control over your inventory can hurt your business in many ways. In an era where UX and CX are only getting more important, making a customer wait for an additional week or two because you don’t have the product in stock is nothing short of a disaster. To put it in numbers, 24% of all shoppers reported having canceled their order because of slow delivery, while 38% of them said they’d never buy from a retailer again after a negative delivery experience.
Updating info about your inventory manually may be possible for some very small businesses. But in ecommerce, every business can become an overnight success, and every business needs to be scalable. Manual updates are not a scalable solution.
That’s why some sort of inventory management automation software is becoming a must for most companies. The right automation tools will ensure you continuously have a detailed real-time overview of your stock. This approach is much more efficient than periodical updating, as selling online is an unpredictable endeavor, and you don’t want to leave anything to chance. The software can monitor your inventory and automatically order products you need more of, unpublish out-of-stock products and even pause advertising for these products until you replenish your supply.
Now, it’s hugely important that an inventory management tool is customizable enough to properly support your business. Cin7 is a tool that offers a wide range of functionalities and solutions, based on your industry, business size, business type, your specific role or particular goals you’ve set. Simply, different companies need different inventory methods. In addition, Cin7 can integrate info obtained from multiple channels and let you know your actual profitability and costs, not just average inventory value.
Live chat tool – Drift
The introduction of modern technology into the field of customer service has resulted in consumers asking more from brands in this respect. Instant responses and constant availability are big priorities for shoppers. As much as 90% of consumers have labeled an immediate response to their customer support issue as “important” or “very important.”
Users also expect you to be available via all possible channels. If they have a question about a product on your website that they’d like to buy, they may not be in the mood to search for your brand on social media in order to DM you. Additional few clicks or taps can make all the difference in the world here. That’s why you should think about a live chat automation feature on your website.
Now, very few chatbots today can engage in a truly complex conversation and solve complicated issues, as they still have trouble with properly processing natural language. Still, they can be very useful for answering basic questions and routing the right customer service rep into the conversation once things get too tricky for them. This tactic reduces costs, employs a “worker” that will be available around the clock, increases the average order value, and can boost your conversions by up to 20%.
Drift is the world’s leading conversational marketing platform with some very useful advanced live chat features. For instance, you have multiple inboxes at your disposal to manage different types of conversations, and you can save replies on common questions. A great thing about Drift is that you can see who’s browsing your website even before they choose to engage in a conversation and you can easily import all leads from Drift into your marketing automation platform. Finally, detailed chat analytics will help you learn whether you’re doing things right and make improvements accordingly.
Repricing automation software – Aura
If you’re selling on Amazon, then you understand the importance of continually updating your prices. Readjusting your prices based on the prices your rivals offer makes you more competitive and gives you a better chance of obtaining a Buy Box, which can substantially increase your sales.
In short, only the top sellers can win a share of the BuyBox, and the Amazon algorithm decides who the top sellers are based on several factors. Among other things, top sellers are supposed to provide reliable and fast shipping, quick responses to customers, stable inventory levels, and low order defect rate. Finally, one of the most important factors is the price.
That’s why you need to be up-to-date with price trends among your competitors and update your prices on a regular basis. It can get very difficult, if not impossible, to constantly check on your competitors’ prices and manually modify yours whenever needed. If you fail to adapt to prices offered by other sellers, you can get pushed out of the BuyBox almost instantly.
Here, repricing automation software can solve your problems. Aura can be a great tool of choice in this case. It will follow other designated retailers, register any changes in price, and react based on the values that you set previously. For instance, you can aim to be the FBA seller with the lowest price or simply target the current BuyBox price. Aura offers many different strategies and strategy templates and lets you easily define your competitors. It updates your prices just a minute or two after a relevant change happens and thus helps you maximize your time in the BuyBox.
Order fulfillment automation – ShipStation
Simply put, order fulfillment is the process that starts when the customer clicks the “order” button and finishes when the ordered product is at their door. It incorporates many different activities, like order processing, sending the confirmation email, printing labels, packing, shipping, and even managing returns. To fulfill the order successfully, businesses also have to handle some issues prior to the actual order, such as receiving inventory shipments or storing and managing the inventory.
Obviously, this whole process has a lot of moving parts, many parties are involved, and managing everything manually can be a nightmare. Automating these procedures can save a lot of time and money, and serve as a safeguard against human error.
It’s vital that all these processes are integrated and that they can all be controlled by a single tool. If you use one app to process the order, a second one to find a carrier, a third one to print labels, and a fourth one to handle returns, it can still get very confusing. That’s why ShipStation is a great order fulfillment solution, as it can do all this and it integrates with more than 100 different stores and marketplaces, which is more than any other app of this sort.
ShipStation will also enable you to monitor your inventory and optimize your stock. It provides you with a quick and effective rate browser that will help you find an affordable and reliable carrier. Finally, there’s a geo-tracking feature that allows your customers to follow every package.
Karl Kangur founded his first business as a teenager. He’s a digital marketing nerd and loves delivering amazing results to his clients.