Ecommerce Automation: How Does It Work?

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Have you recently created an online store? If so, you may already be discovering that you have a long list of tasks competing for your attention. Whether you’re fulfilling orders, experimenting with product listings or staying on top of marketing campaigns – all of these processes take up time. And whilst it’s the best feeling to watch your business grow, more customers and more demand means you’ll find yourself getting busier by the day.

We know this can start to create challenges, particularly when it comes to finding enough hours in the day to keep everything running. Our solution? Ecommerce automation. Never heard of it? Don’t worry, we’re here to explain how it works and ultimately save valuable time! Read on to find out more.

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What Is Ecommerce Automation?

Ecommerce automation is a way for you to streamline processes, taking the repetitive tasks and allowing them to be handled by software, tech or apps. This means they can be done automatically. Not only will this continue to help support sales, it’ll increase staff productivity, too, giving them more time for the important stuff.

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What Are the Benefits of Ecommerce Automation?

As mentioned, a key benefit of using ecommerce automation is, of course, increased efficiency. Repetitive tasks can create bottlenecks within a business and slow things down as labor-intensive tasks take over. Automation can open up these bottlenecks – which is a big win! We wouldn’t be surprised if you saw an immediate lift in efficiency across your business.

Secondly, there’s consistency and accuracy to consider. Once you start letting a computer handle certain tasks, it reduces the chance of human error. In ecommerce, there’s so much data to filter through: stocks, order details, customer information… it can get pretty overwhelming at times! Allowing automation to manage these details instead of doing it manually can reduce the risk of mistakes. Ultimately, this should lead to an increase in customer satisfaction, as orders are fulfilled with more accuracy.

Another key benefit? Boosting sales – which is likely why you set up your website in the first place!  Personalization and incentives can lift average order values, and automation allows you to set these up with minimal fuss. For example, you can personalize discounts, promotions, and shipping options, as well as create many other incentives to make your store and products more attractive to potential customers.

Finally, a key benefit is, of course, increased productivity. Embracing automation doesn’t mean replacing people or taking away their jobs. Instead, it means your staff can focus on the more important elements of the business. Instead of being bogged down by menial jobs, they can concentrate on incentives that are likely to drive engagement, such as creativity and customer service.

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What Tools Can You Use to Automate Your Ecommerce Business?

So, what software and tools could you use for automation? There are several you can explore but here are some of the most popular:

  1. Shopify: One of the most popular Ecommerce platforms is Shopify, thanks to all the productivity apps it has, many of which are designed for automation. For example, Shop Workflow Automation and Stock Sync will both help you get off to a strong start.

  1. Shopify Flow: This is available to access if you have a Shopify Pro account, so it’s better-suited to those who have been running their business successfully for some time. Its workflow-based and makes automation very simple, providing adaptable templates for you to set up. It’s key focuses are buyer experience, customers, inventory, loyalty, orders and promotions – in fact, it covers all the most important elements!

  1. WooCommerce: It’s easy to see why WooCommerce is so popular, thanks to it’s large number of extensions, premium features and integrations. If you run your online store through WordPress, there are a number of options for automation here to explore and experiment with.

An additional process that we also recommend automating is email marketing. Mailchimp is one of the most popular brands that provides this service, making it easy to build and automate email sends to your loyal subscribers.

But the possibilities don’t stop there. From CRM to social media, there are a ton of automation tools out there waiting to be discovered. Below, we’ll dive a little deeper, and highlight some of the other key process you should consider automating for your ecommerce business.

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#1. Marketing Strategy Automation

Marketing is key if you want to keep your business growing but it’s also one of the most time-consuming elements – so automation here can be hugely beneficial. There are a variety of ways of marketing and reaching people – here’s how you can use automation to make it easier.

Schedule Social Media Posts

Social media can be time consuming, but there are a multitude of tools to streamline scheduling so you can post across channels consistently. We’d recommend using the Shopify app, Post Studio, to automatically post products to Facebook and Twitter. This will keep you in the forefront of customer’s minds whilst also encouraging them to browse and shop daily.

Nurture Leads With Marketing

People don’t always become loyal customers instantly, but automation can help hurry the process along. Automating lead management is similar to customer retention via email. If you have the contact details and permission to contact people of interest, you can set up processes to send them useful marketing content periodically. This could be discount codes, gift incentives or simply content that you know they’ll find valuable and useful.  Whatever you decide to send, it can be very persuasive in turning leads into customers! There is a bunch of email marketing software out there to make this job easier.

Schedule Sales and Discounts

Scheduling sales in advance is key to planning promotions, and amping up team organization. This kind of automation allows you to take the chaos out of managing sales, giving you the tools to auto-publish content online, such as blog posts or stories, as well as applying discounts or uploading new products to sales categories. And you can do it all with just the push of a button!

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#2. Fulfillment Strategy and Inventory Management Automation

Low-Stock Items Tracking

Running out of a product can be irritating for both you and your customers. Automating your inventory management will minimize the risk of this happening, as you’ll be notified when a product’s stock levels are low. This means you can stay on top of reordering items when necessary, and your sales won’t suffer! If your inventory is getting too large for you to cope with, you can also choose to outsource your ecommerce fulfillment, which will streamline the process for you.

Send Emails to Customers When Products Are Back In Stock

Maintaining contact with customers is key anyway but a great way to reach out and encourage sales is to notify them when products are ‘back-in-stock.’ Automating this process means you can retarget customers who were interested in the product originally, but you won’t have to make a conscious effort to send those emails yourself – it’ll happen without you having to lift a finger!

Re-Stock Best Seller Products

Identifying your bestsellers and employing automation to ensure these get restocked is a key tactic, and will also boost your sales. Customers often come to associate businesses with their signature products and will be coming to your website specifically for them – keep stock levels high to avoid disappointing them!

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#3. Customers’ Orders Management Automation

What is order management? It basically means the process by which orders get tracked and progressed. From placing the order to the experience after the sale, many businesses choose to use automation to support at each stage.

Abandoned Cart Follow Up Emails

As a shopper yourself, you probably already know that many people who add products to their carts don’t follow through and purchase them. We’ve all been there! But that’s a lot of customers and sales you’re missing out on. So, how can you draw them back to the site to make that purchase? Abandoned cart emails are a key way to do this and even better – you can automate them.The good news is these messages can still be personalized, referencing the specific products they’d browsed and the USPs. This means they’ll still feel engaged!

Shipping Labels and Tracking Numbers

Dispatch and delivery is key when it comes to ecommerce. Sales and deliveries that aren’t completed can lead to extra expenses, as well as reduce customer loyalty and satisfaction. These errors can occur because of small human errors such as mistyping an address or inputting something inaccurately on a system – all of which can be avoided with automation.

Automation means you can get multiple tasks done efficiently, including printing your shipping labels, accurately marking orders as dispatched and generating tracking numbers for deliveries.

Re-Engage Customers With Emails to Re-Order Consumables

Maintaining communications with customers is important and it shouldn’t stop after a single purchase. Automation is crucial for retargeting, and with reminder emails and discounts at just the right time, it can encourage visitors to purchase again!

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#4. Customers’ Experience Automation

Using automation to support customer experience won’t just save time, it’ll increase customer satisfaction and likely boost sales. Everything related to customer experience can be time consuming, so automating some processes here will hugely help your business. There are a few ways to start trying this.

Ask Customers For Product Reviews

Asking customers for reviews of your products can help you see what’s working and also provide inspiration for improvements. You can also segment and target customers based on their buying behaviors once you know what they’re likely to be looking for. All of this can be done via automation, rather than getting staff to reach out manually!

Reward Your Most Engaged Customers

You can also identify high-value customers through segmentation and automatically send personalized thank you messages. You can also give them access to special discounts or shipping rates. Syncing customers to your newsletter mailing list will also help you maintain communication with the ones that matter and single out those who are consistently engaging with your brand.

Ecommerce Automation: How Does It Work? Summary

So, whether you’re an established ecommerce business or you’re just at the start of your journey, ecommerce automation isn’t something you should overlook. The key to a thriving business is accuracy and efficiency – automation can help you get there! And most importantly, it gives you the space to focus on the elements that matter most in your business.

Here’s a quick look back on the top ways you can start automating your business:

  1. Marketing strategy automation
  2. Fulfillment strategy and inventory management automation
  3. Customers’ orders management automation
  4. Customers’ experience automation

Read our guide on how to scale your ecommerce business to find out how to achieve your full potential.

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