How to Use Automation for Your Ecommerce Website?
What is Ecommerce Automation?
Using software tools to complete various online store tasks such as order fulfillment, marketing campaigns, and customer support is Ecommerce automation.
Automating your online business helps you on multiple fronts. The obvious benefit is that you get to save a lot of time. Another significant benefit you get is the effective utilization of the workforce.
You can redirect the workforce into tasks such as data entry to other productive sections of your business. Automation also helps you to keep your product information up to date. This is extremely helpful if you have a wide range of products.
Automation also helps you enhance the customer experience. The most obvious benefit is a chatbot. A chatbot is a program that interacts with your customers and addresses their queries.
12 Tips to Use Automation for Your Ecommerce
Windows you use on your online store to advertise, offer discount codes, and capture emails are popups.
Popups float, slide in and interact with customers. You can automate popups depending on your needs. Say that you want to welcome first-time visitors with a 20% off discount coupon.
You can tell, aka command, your popups to appear before visitors’ eyes at a particular time, such as 10 seconds after they land on your site.
See how search engine journal is making use of pop-ups.
Say you want to target those about to exit the store without buying anything. You can program your popup to monitor the users’ mouse movement and scrolling behavior and crop up when they are ready to leave the site.
Fulfil Orders Automatically
Optimizing the supply chain is an Ecommerce site owner’s dream.
Manually fulfilling orders is time-consuming, especially if you have too many orders. Automating the order fulfillment process expedites product picking, packing, and shipping and eliminates human errors.
Mistakes such as double picking and not recording the orders are not uncommon in the Ecommerce world.
You can sync most automatic order fulfillment apps with your online store. These apps automatically receive your order details from your store and process them, besides notifying the customers via email and mobile phone. Some apps even choose the best shipping route for efficient delivery.
Using Email Campaigns
Email campaigns are one of the underrated marketing strategies. It is one of those few channels that give an impressive ROI.
See how Asana is sending email campaigns regularly.
Effective email marketing is impossible without the help of automation tools. A bot can outperform a human being every single time when running an email marketing campaign.
Carly Bryanna of Haitna.com says, “An email campaign does not stop with sending a welcome email to a subscriber or a customer. It goes beyond and deep. As an online retailer, it starts with reminding your customers about abandoned carts. Then comes the follow-up if someone purchases your product.”
Once your business starts scaling up, some customers will become loyal, and some will go inactive. You have to reward the loyal customers with rewards and make the inactive ones reengage.
For every strategy discussed above, you must send different emails at different times. It is humanly impossible to send 5,000 personalized emails to 5,000 people at different times within a short period.
Through Product Recommendations
Automation can help you increase the average order value by recommending the most appropriate products for customers.
It is common for stores to have a ‘You May Like’ section beneath their product descriptions. These recommendations are not recommended by staff but by intelligent programs.
See how Amazon is making product recommendations.
These programs take various factors, including but not limited to a customer’s browsing behavior, purchase history, watch history, and recommend products.
In simple terms, these tools personalize each customer’s shopping experience. According to a study by Adobe, your customers are likely to spend 40% more time if you personalize their shopping experience.
Depending on your store’s feasibility, you can place the ‘Product Recommendations’ tab beneath each product description or on the cart page.
This kind of goes hand in hand with order fulfillment. Many entities solely relying on manpower for inventory management suffer from overstocking and understocking.
Using the right automation tool will help you avoid these pitfalls. As an online store, let’s say you have 100 units of a product but sell 200 of them.
You realize the mess at the eleventh hour and hastily order another 100 units of the same product from your supplier. Your supplier charges you more for expedited shipping.
Meanwhile, calls start pouring in from customers who are yet to receive their products. Many cancel their orders. Your reputation goes south.
One of the commonly used automation tools is a chatbot. A chatbot is a tool that can interact with your customers and address their queries in real time. The best part is that it is always running and can talk to multiple customers simultaneously.
To put it in a nutshell, it has the potential to replace a live support team.
Chatbots are effective in reducing the burden of your customer support. From a business perspective, reserving your precious manpower to answer FAQs is unwise. More than 50% of internet users in the US have used chatbots.
Chatbots can also be used to collect emails. Naming chatbots with quirky names and making them converse with visitors to collect emails is a strategy many online stores follow.
Keeping your affiliates happy is extremely important if you want to scale up your business.
Having a dedicated portal for them is the first step. An affiliate management tool also helps you track and manage your brand ambassadors.
It may be easy for you to maintain a handful of affiliates. But switching to an automation tool will be an intelligent decision if the network keeps growing.
An affiliate automation tool will allow you to identify the best performers by assessing their performance. It also helps you make payments on time, which is crucial in maintaining the business-affiliate relationship.
Most automation tools allow you to assess the campaign performance in real time. An automation tool is also a sight for sore eyes for your affiliates since they can find link shortening and branding tools within the dashboard.
By Segmenting Your Customers
Segmenting customers is beneficial for online stores for targeting. As a business owner, knowing your loyal and passive customers gives you an edge in optimizing campaigns.
Since most email automation tools can do it, you do not need a separate tool for segmenting your audience.
Segmentation helps you spend your resources prudently by identifying customers with great purchase intent. It enables you to personalize the emails.
Personalizing is crucial to boosting your business. You cannot send a generic message to different audiences and expect them to behave the same way.
Sometimes you must do ‘Lead Nurturing’ to educate the indecisive customers. And if you draft your email without reasoning why they should make that purchase, they may skip that mail tool.
By Scheduling Social Media Posts
We are now in the age of social media. Your presence on leading social platforms is no more an option but mandatory to attract an online audience.
See how Adobe is making use of Twitter space.
With stories replacing text posts and short-form videos overpowering static images, being active on social media is tiring and bewildering sometimes.
Sticking to a posting schedule is challenging, even if you have an effective content strategy. Because the ideal time for posting differs from platform to platform, you need a scheduling tool to be active on social media.
Some tools are so smart that they can tell you the ideal posting time based on your target audience’s engagement. Some even have native features to make your posts go viral.
Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) is equally important as Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
If your e-commerce store is a marketplace for multiple brands, vendor onboarding is a tricky job to do.
The process involves a lot of work, from cherry-picking the suppliers to integrating their inventory.
The crucial part is screening your suppliers using checklists. Then comes the exchange of tax details, marketplace integration, and test runs to ensure that the order process is smooth.
When the vendors are more in numbers, manning them using your regular workforce is wasted labor.
For Managing Reviews
Acquiring authentic reviews is crucial for a business’s credibility. This may seem like no big deal for you if you are a marketplace selling third-party products that have already garnered reviews.
But if yours is an emerging original brand, you need reviews to scale up your business.
It is human nature to register unhappiness before appreciation. Hence, asking your customers to leave a review is a must. You also need to modify your reviews and filter out defamatory reviews.
Yes. There is a difference between bad and defamatory reviews.
Automation will help you sequence your emails to acquire reviews from your customers. Users need not go through a tedious review process since these emails have built-in review widgets and sliders.
By Automating Invoices
An invoice management system is a time and resource saver. It allows you to give your customers round-the-clock access to invoices and receipts.
They need not have to contact you for invoices. As soon as a customer places an order, the system will send an invoice automatically.
Plugins and extensions are also available in the market to create invoices automatically. These plugins automatically track sales and help you monitor the cash flow.
The market also has free software programs to automate your invoicing process.
8 Best Ecommerce Automation Tools
Look no further if you are looking for a comprehensive cloud-based inventory and order management tool. Quickbooks is a great all-in-one tool to manage your Ecommerce business effectively.
With this tool, one can purchase backorders, track pack sizes, and batches, manage products, send invoice links to customers, and do much more.
The tool effectively streamlines your inventory and eliminates errors such as double entries.
You can also get detailed reports, customer insights, and forecasts regarding your business. You can try the tool for free for 14 days.
If your e-commerce business is based on the dropshipping model, Obelro may be the right pick for you. Note that Oberlo is exclusively available on the Shopify platform.
The app syncs with your Shopify store and helps import products, images, and descriptions from sites.
Oberlo also partially takes up the burden of fulfilling the orders. Once you approve an order, the app will automatically open the vendor’s website, add the concerned product to the cart and let you fill in the customer details for shipping.
The automation does not stop there. It can update the customers on order details, product prices, and much more.
The best part is that the app is free if your shop has less than 500 products. And you can place an unlimited number of orders with the free plan.
Marketo can be your pick if you want to take some burden off your marketing team.
Marketo helps your marketing team personalize the customer experience. The tool does this by analyzing customer data and content.
Marketo has this thing called account-based experiences (ABX). It uses machine learning and predictive analytics to curate the content for each buyer.
They also help you send personalized emails and text messages. The tool also gives you insights into audiences, channels, offers, campaigns, and the like to identify the most successful ones.
The tool also comes in handy for your marketing webinars, product launches, customer service, upsell, etc.
Panasonic, one of the users of Magneto, says the tool radically changed how it markets products.
Mailchimp is one of the trusted email marketing tools in the market. It has been in the industry since 2001.
Mailchimp claims that even some Fortune 100 companies use their platform to connect with their audiences.
From sending automated marketing messages to building landing pages and creating targeted ad campaigns to facilitating reporting, the tool has all the necessary features to improve customer relationships.
With Mailchimp, going global will not be a problem since it supports 45 languages. Though it started as an email marketing tool, today, it also lets you create great content through its ‘Creative Assistant’ studio.
You can also integrate an array of apps with your Mailchimp account. Some of the key clients of Mailchimp are Vimeo and TED.
This is another CRM tool that is being used by many businesses to up their customer relationship. The platform also has tools for marketing, content management, and sales.
The platform features five hubs — Marketing, Sales, CMS, Service, and Operations.
The Marketing Hub allows you to increase traffic, optimize conversions, and run inbound marketing campaigns.
While the Sales Hub empowers you to automate tasks, the Service Hub handles tickets and customer feedback.
With the help of Operations Hub, you can sync apps and automate certain processes. The CMS Hub gives you SEO recommendations and comes with a drag-and-drop editor for crafting personalized content.
Perhaps one of the unavoidable features of your e-commerce store is the Reviews section. Since reviews influence purchase decisions to a great extent, they need to be monitored and modified.
Trustpilot can be your all-in-one tool to automate your review and feedback collection, improve your organic search ranking and increase the click-through rates (CTR).
Trustpilot accounts for over 7+ billion review impressions every month. The site also generates around 4 million reviews every month.
The company says people have reviewed over 626,000 websites on its platform.
You need an effective social media scheduling tool like Buffer if you have multiple social media accounts.
Buffer has a free version but with limited capabilities. Buffer has been in the domain since 2010. Some notable brands that rely on Buffer for their social media automation are Burrow, HappySocks, Huckberry, and Food52.
Buffer’s job does not end with scheduling your posts. It tells you when your most active audiences are, the number of times you should post for maximum reach, etc. It even suggests the best type of content, such as images and video, to post.
Buffer is also the official marketing partner of Facebook, Linked In, and Pinterest. The company claims that over 1,60,000 companies use their tool.
Zendesk is one of the famous customer support tools used by more than 160,000 businesses worldwide.
It is easy to set up and helps to streamline your customer support processes. You can handle customers’ tickets in this tool through email, phone, and social media.
Popular users of Zendesk are Uber, Shopify, and Airbnb. You can sign up for a webinar about how Zendesk can help your business.
Zendesk is customizable as per your business needs. You can modify everything from the dashboard to the chat templates to suit your taste. According to some users, though it does integrate with apps such as Hubspot, its customer support is not that great.
Ecommerce Automation FAQs
Why Should I Automate my Ecommerce Business?
Automating your e-commerce business helps you on various fronts. The apparent benefits are higher productivity and reduced operating costs.
You can also improve your availability if you use the right automation tools. Automation helps you achieve consistency in business while reducing human errors.
It also helps your employees by freeing them from mundane tasks such as data entry. As a result, they will channel their energy toward things that need human intervention at any cost.
Is There Any Downside to Automating my Ecommerce Business?
There is no downside to automating your e-commerce business. But it does cost you some money.
Automation is not your tea if you are concerned about worker displacement. Some worry about the security concerns of syncing multiple automation tools with your business.
Your concern is legit. We advise you not to subscribe to any shady automation tools. Look for reviews and reach out to the customer support team of an automation tool to know about them.
An important aspect of automating your business is the robotic nature of the process. A human can respond to situations both critically and creatively. But a machine, aka an automation tool, lacks that flexibility.
What if I Ignore Ecommerce Automation?
You will miss the boat. The very idea behind e-commerce is automation.
Take a product page, for example.
A customer does not need an executive to explain the product’s benefits. The persuasion part is semi-automated here through product descriptions and videos.
With automation, you can scale up your business faster and with minimal errors. All while reducing the overall expenditure.
Does Automating Support Affect the Customer Relationship?
No. It may make the customer-company relationship a bit plasticky. Well, not literally. But a bot will still sound mechanical unless you use a technology like Google Duplex.
Let’s get the basics right. By meaning automation, we essentially deploy a machine in place of a human to interact with another human.
A human being, on any given day, can beat a machine when it comes to emotion. People feel connected to a business through some sort of emotion. A machine cannot provide that, but a human can. Hence, use a chatbot for mundane queries like FAQs and use humans for actual conversations.
Is Automation Cost-effective?
Yes. Automation will help you cut down your business expenditure. It will reduce labor costs and improve customer experience due to fast shipping.
Your business profits depend on how much output you can bring with the limited time and resources.
Without automation, things will happen but with hiccups and a slow pace. Putting your business in automation is akin to being on steroids.