Time is money, but anyone with an e-commerce website knows that there are a million different places to spend it when managing an online store! The e-commerce industry is booming; customers have really taken to the online shopping experience, many preferring it even over physical shopping due to its convenience and dynamic offerings.
Between maintaining your website, updating your inventory, marketing and staying in touch with customers, the tasks at hand when managing an e-commerce store may seem never-ending. The laundry list of tasks just goes on and on.
As an online shop owner, you may have access to a universe of specialist apps that take care of everything from your inventory, to building and hosting your website for you but the duty of staying on top of each app still falls on your heavy shoulders.
E-commerce automation is basically automating your e-commerce tasks using APIs in order to streamline your workflows. Automation helps entrepreneurs maintain the balancing act of juggling between a dozen tasks with ease.
What Exactly Is E-Commerce Automation?
E-commerce automation refers to automating e-commerce applications and systems using APIs. What are APIs? APIs stands for an application programming interface. These are basically system intermediaries that facilitate inter-app communication. In simple terms, APIs help you connect different applications and systems together allowing you to connect features, and transfer data between applications seamlessly.
E-commerce automation includes:
- Automating customer experience: Communicating with customers is the key to building your brand, and most people fear that automation will drive customers away, mistaking it impersonal. Automation, however, when implemented, thoughtfully can help you improve customer engagement. You can build email databases, automate segmenting your clients based on their tastes, automate promotional offers and cyclic conversations by setting up reminders for subscriptions, reorders, provide essential product and service information and provide your customers with a wider range of services with automation.
- Automate your daily operations: With the access to website builders, making your own website has become a breeze, but managing one is still a task. Use automation to align all your applications and keep them in sync. Integrate your website with your shipping services, and inventory management apps to manage order tracking, refills, analyse product performance, handle fulfilment issues,automate creating shipping labels, manifests and orders when a purchase is made.
- Integrate your marketing efforts: A brands digital presence reflects on the brand's image. You spend so much time and energy into your digital marketing, it's only fair to sync these efforts and drive traffic from your website back to your socials. Integrate your marketing efforts with your website; this way your customers can see all the user-generated content on your social media accounts on your website itself. Your social media platforms act as first-hand testimonials, showcase them with the help of automation. Marketing automation also includes setting up drip campaigns and automating staying in touch with your customers.
- Automate business tasks: Automation can help you take the busy out of business. Delegating tasks to team members and staying on top of all the requests can be overwhelming, especially when you have requests flowing in from multiple channels at any given point. This is why you need automation! With automation, you can delegate customer queries, or raised tickets directly to specific team members to deal with.
Why should you care about automation?
Now that we've dealt with what e-commerce automation is and how it can affect the daily workflow for any digital business let's focus on why it's important and how it can benefit you!
Automation is the future of the e-commerce industry. We are all living in a data-driven world; automation helps collect, report and analyse this data in a more systematic manner, making it easy for a business to understand what is working, what isn't! Here's all the areas that automation can help you improve your efficiencies in:
- Customer service: With automation, you can send out highly personalised communication at every stage of communication. Automation also helps you connect with customers quicker and in real-time, enabling you to provide quick solutions to their problems. Customer segmentation helps you understand your audience better, which on a large scale means that the quality of interaction with each customer improves with time as you employ automation in your silly activities.
- Order fulfillment: Losing track of orders and inventory is one of the major issues when handling everything manually, with automation you can keep track of your low inventory reminding you to make timely refills, check on order statuses and in turn streamlining the process to an extent where you have a lesser margin for error and more room for understanding product performance. This allows you to make smarter inventory choices.
- Reduce cart abandonment: With marketing automation, you can reel in customers you've lost due to cart abandonment by pushing offers, reminder messages and notifications. Automation, in turn leads to a higher rate of sales recovery.
- Managing multiple channels: Handling multiple channels can be time-consuming and confusing. With automation, you can integrate all your channels and view things in one place. You can integrate your inventory management, shipping and website with your email to receive updates on important tasks, this way you never miss a notification!
- Get rid of data entry: Keeping a record of your inventory, accounts, customers database, etc. can be a cumbersome process. Bid farewell to all those hours you've lost doing data entry.With automation, your data is automatically updated anytime a sale occurs without you having to lift a finger!
How do I automate my e-commerce website?
Now that you know what e-commerce automation is and what it can do for you, you're probably wondering how you can get started with it! Here’s a plan! We’ve listed down a few simple tasks that will help you list down the problem areas of your day and understand exactly what you need automated and why!
The Automation Checklist:
- List down all your repetitive tasks
- Rank your tasks in priority
- Note down the frequency of these tasks
Once you have this breakdown in place you'll notice just how much time is being spent on each task; accordingly, you can figure where and how you want to start saving time, energy and cost by automation!
Get in touch with us to kickstart your business on its journey with automation!