Did you know online buyers are estimated to rise to 2.6 billion by 2023? Here’s a bar chart showing the growth in online customers over the years.
Automation is the next big thing in eCommerce.
With such staggering growth, you must scale up your business to meet the growing demand. Staying up-to-date with technology will ease your work and help you roop in great profits.
Since Amazon started using AI (Artificial Intelligence) in business, several small eCommerce business people are worried about what future it will hold for them. Is AI (Artificial Intelligence) only meant for the big giants like Amazon? The answer is NO; even small businesses can take a step towards this giant leap by using automation in their small-scale business.
“10% rise in the annual revenue growth can be projected in the retail business with the help of intelligent automation capabilities.” as per IBM’s report.
What is Automation?
So what is automation?
eCommerce automation is a process of using software tools to complete several small, repetitive daily tasks automatically rather than doing it manually.
Automation can be applied to various business processes like sales, marketing, managing accounts, warehouses, logistics, generating bills and invoices, etc.
The biggest benefit of this is you get all the time in the world to concentrate on expanding your business rather than wasting your precious energy, resources, and time doing laborious things that can be easily managed by automating.
Here’s what many marketing automation users have to say:
According to McKinsey & Company, “Based on our scenario modeling, we estimate automation could raise productivity growth globally by 0.8 to 1.4 percent annually.”
Why scale up your business with automation today for a better tomorrow
The day-to-day work operations in a retail/e-tail store contain many tedious but essential tasks that are to be compulsorily performed by the staff. Automating workflow can be beneficial in ensuring the efficiency of work operations every day.
Easy implementation and use
Automation can be set up in 3 simple and easy-to-follow steps:
- Set a trigger – begin by selecting a trigger for a particular task. For example, create an order as soon as a customer clicks the order confirmation button.
- Set a condition– set a condition under which the task begins to run, e.g., When an order is confirmed in one of the sales channels, such as eBay.
- Set an action– set an action corresponding to the condition. E.g., when the order is confirmed on eBay, send a confirmation email to the customer.
Reduce labor hours and optimize your human resources
The right eCommerce automation solution will diminish a human resource’s working hours almost by half. Whether it is generating customer invoices, picking and packing list for the warehouse, or preparing shipping labels – automation can manage it all on behalf of your staff once the business rules are set in your system. This frees up their time devoted to other important tasks for growing your business.
Error-free work every time
Most of the time, document preparation and processing are prone to mistakes when done manually. This is mainly because a large amount of data is input manually.
Automation can help reduce errors by importing and exporting data from various sources, reducing any chances of making an error.
E.g., when there are bulk orders, creating a picking and packing list can be difficult, but with the help of sorting and automation, this task can become easy and fast. All you need to do is import the order into the system, and it will generate the picking list based on where a particular item is placed in the warehouse. Your staff has to take a print of the list and collect all the order items to pack.
Real-time work helps in achieving operational stability
Automation has the flexibility to run the tasks as soon as the task is triggered by a condition, which means the work starts as soon as the order is received, whether day or night. The system automatically sends order confirmations, log payments, transfer accounting data to accounting books, and ship orders in real-time.
This allows you to be on top of your business all the time. This being said, your organization achieves operational stability that is unbeatable.
Raise the bar of your customer satisfaction by using automation
As mentioned earlier, the customer gets standard care with every interaction since all the tasks are automated, like order confirmation emails, tracking shipment details, etc.
Real-time updates auto-generated from the system give your business maximum availability 24 X7 without any workforce.
This increases customers’ trust in your portal and compels them to return to you occasionally.
How to use automation in day-to-day eCommerce operations?
eCommerce automation has myriad uses, and it depends on the individual how and when to use this functionality.
Different teams within an organization can use automation tailored to their needs, as automation can be triggered to manage orders, inventory, shipping, returns, etc.
Operations use cases
The operations manager can set automation for simple repetitive tasks such as:
- I automatically tag a product according to the product SKU, type, or name for easy discoverability.
- Prepare a picking and packing list automatically every day at a particular time as and when the orders are received.
- Ship orders with a particular tag by a specific service provider automatically. For instance, if the order comes from ‘eBay,’’ set an automated trigger to ship it through USPS only.
- You can set an automation trigger that when there’s a low stock of a particular product, an email is directly sent to the supplier for placing a certain amount of quantity of that product.
- Automation rules can also be set to make the product status out-of-stock on the live website whenever the stock of a particular item gets over. This will automatically update your website, saving you from taking orders that cannot be fulfilled. Similarly, automation can serve you good and vice-versa; it will automatically display the item available once it has been restocked in your inventory management software.
- You schedule various tasks and appoint a specific timeline. For instance, automation can be set up for shipping all orders via FedEx from, let’s say, 15th July to 15th August since you are getting a better shipping charges deal for those days.
Marketing and Customer Service use cases
- You can customize your messages and emails to the customers based on customer order items, order values, etc., by automatically tagging the orders as per the order items or value.
- You can tag a customer if they are a fraud. Hence, the system will automatically cancel the order if it is placed by that customer again on your online portal.
- Send out thank you emails or messages automatically once the customer sends feedback or review.
- Send email(s) automatically to the regular customer for a product they wanted to buy but was out-of-stock and is now available again in your stock. This helps in building a good relationship with your customer.
- Send loyalty program invitations automatically to repeat customers.
Automating eCommerce processes help reduce stress on you and your staff, achieving greater customer satisfaction as the work is error-free, thereby increasing profitability. Automation will allow small and medium-sized businesses to increase throughput, decrease downtime, and rapidly expand their fulfillment capacity at a lower cost.
A 2018 Forrester report states, “Companies that master automation will take over their industries.” Hence, NOW is the time to switch your online business to automation mode so that you can work on your business rather than in it.
About the Author
As a Sr. Content Writer at Orderhive, Krishna Jani helps online vendors learn about the latest technological advancements in managing inventory, warehouse, orders, shipping, and order fulfillment.