E-commerce is one of the most important industries we have.
Why? Because the industry runs more on customers' wants than their needs.
But that doesn't mean customers don't need the e-commerce industry.
In fact, it is our bread and butter. Customers now, tend to shop more online than anywhere else.
This has given a chance for many businesses to grow online and start-ups to peek out of the shadows. But with an increased number of stores comes increased competition and an increased need to automate one's online retail business.
Since the need for eCommerce automation is inevitable, let us dive directly into what it means and why we all need it.
Ready, set, let's go.
What is eCommerce Automation?
E-commerce automation is the process of strategically automating specific tasks within your business in order to cut down on repetitive processes and make an e-commerce business more efficient.
Once a business scales, so do its demand and the complexity of campaigns and tasks demanded. This also entails a drastic increase in repetitive yet time-consuming tasks. By turning to automation tools, the e-commerce industry can streamline several processes and make the best use of technology to improve efficiency and save time and money like never before.
Using automation could mean something as simple as setting up automatic emails to follow up and confirm customers' purchases. It could also mean automating the entirety of your workflow processes and using a predictive AI to send recommendations and have personalised interactions with customers.
What are the examples of eCommerce automation?
When it comes to eCommerce, you can automate a little and a lot of everything. Let us look at some common examples of what you can automate in e-commerce.
- Inventory management - Monitor inventory levels, auto-publish products out of stock, reorder and republish when they are back in stock.
- Customer Segmentation - Automatically tag customers and group them based on particular factors like demographics, location, ordered products, products searched and liked, total spending, whether they are new or existing, etc.
- CRM integration - Allow customer information to flow freely between all the applications different teams use to run the business.
- Email and SMS- Monitor and trigger targeted emails and sms' to customers. Notify them with order updates, abandoned cart emails, personalised recommendations, marketing discount campaigns, etc.
- High-risk orders - Hold and flag orders that are irregularly large, request prepayment for such orders and notify customer service via email for a manual review.
- Internal communication - Create an easy space for internal teams' communication and alert them in cases of specific or special circumstances.
- Sales campaigns and more - Schedule and auto-publish content like blogs, banners, themes and ad images. Upload newly introduced products and apply discount offers automatically.
You can practice automation across channels.
What all can you automate?
Social Media Ads
Importance of Omnichannel engagement
In a multi-channel system, teams are isolated from each other. Without any coordination between email, SMS, social media etc, messages can become repetitive and communication, redundant. An Omnichannel support system, on the other hand, connects all channels and gives everyone all the necessary content for every customer. This means that every new and existing customer can be acknowledged appropriately as they pass through the funnel right from marketing to customer support and more.
What are the benefits of using automation with your online store?
There are a lot of reasons why e-commerce automation is deemed so important. Let us discuss the most helpful benefits of automating your e-commerce business.
Saves time and boosts efficiency
By taking over most repetitive and unnecessarily time-consuming tasks, e-commerce automation can save time for all departments, right from operations, marketing and customer service to fraud prevention executives. Research has found that 45% of employee time could be automated using technology This leaves the teams with time to focus on more complex tasks like managing customer communications, proof checking important email confirmations and creating high-quality campaign strategies to move ahead of the competition.
Aids collaboration between teams
Automation helps increase overall productivity not just by automating tasks but also by availing internal communication between teams. More than that, the one-view inbox feature allows teams to keep track of a customer's journey throughout. By recording every conversation a customer has with your business via any channel, the omnichannel support allows each team the necessary information and more required for them to create a smooth sailing journey for all customers and use that information to increase personalisation during engagement and campaign creations for your e-commerce business.
Removes human error
Human error is inevitable, especially when said humans are overloaded with work.
In the e-commerce industry, a lot of information gets processed every day right from customer data to order details and invoices. As the brand grows, the information data increases, along with the possibility of error.
Automation can handle all your data-related manual work and securely store that data without any gaps or scope for human error. It can also assess the marketplace data to analyse and correct any existing human error that could end up being expensive for the company. This also allows employees to put their minds in places where it is really required.
Helps in scaling business
E-commerce automation software can easily handle all eCommerce operations with the growing workload. It also helps a business with internal processes like hiring and onboarding that would otherwise become a hassle when scaling a business.
E-commerce marketing automation and customer service automation also help businesses grow faster by facilitating personalised messaging, triggered campaigns and instant query solving to increase sales and customer retention.
One of the most important and helpful benefits of e-commerce automation is that it is extremely cost-effective. Research states that up to 60% of businesses opt for e-commerce automation tools to save money and scale their business at reduced costs. Since automation tools are more or less a one-time investment, especially when it comes to AI and ML-based automation tools, companies just have to do routine checks to make sure the updates are working appropriately.
Assists in sales and marketing processes
When it comes to sales and marketing in e-commerce, you can really get innovative with retail automation ideas. With features spanning from lead generation, customer data collection, email and sms automation, broadcasts, social media automation, omnichannel, customer segmentation and much more to creating website workflows, providing customers with personalised conversations and recommendations and tracking KPIs (key performance indicators) for marketing campaigns and sales conversations. This helps get better insights for improving marketing campaigns, understanding customer preferences and increasing sales.
Stats stage that adopting automation for sales and marketing allows a business to effectively increase its revenue by 50%.
Where can you implement e-commerce automation?
When looking at the bigger picture, many departments benefit from automation. Here are some use cases for e-commerce automation that can help boost your e-commerce business.
Schedule and post on social media automatically.
Social media has become one of the main channels for marketing, especially when it comes to eCommerce. Customers love to interact with their favourite brands on social media; it helps them keep track of new products and also receive direct and indirect updates on the brand.
Therefore social media posts are extremely important. They not only update the customer with your products and campaigns, but channels like Instagram directly allow customers to sell products via social media posts. By creating and automatically scheduling social media posts, you don't have to spend hours on end posting on social media. You can just time your posts according to when your customers are most active and devote your attention to activities that require more of your time. All while reaping the results of all your posts online.
Nurture leads with constant marketing.
Not every lead instantly gets converted into a customer. Most times, they need to be nurtured
for prolonged times.
By automating emails, SMS, pop-ups, broadcasts and notifications, your marketing can target customers and periodically pitch them the right content to slowly turn a lead into a customer. Businesses can also use discount offers and special campaigns to attract new customers or retain existing ones.
Order management Automation
Send Abandoned carts and check out messages.
Automate emails and other notifications that can be instantly sent when a customer abandons their carts. Around 75% of e-commerce shopping carts get abandoned, but most of the time, all it takes to motivate the customer to complete the purchase is a personalised message with the right discount.
By integrating your e-commerce with CRM and automation software, you can automate all of these timed emails to encourage the customers at the right time and increase sales.
Send automated shipping updates with tracking numbers.
Automatically set a tracking number for every purchase along with a thank you message and send it to your customers so they can track their order as it gets to them. Also, automate timely updates of the order status of their products right from the process, which would let them know the order progress from when it gets dispatched to when it will arrive at their doorstep. This process keeps the customer at ease and lets them rely on you more easily.
Automatically manage your inventory.
You can use automation to manage your online inventory. Unpublish out-of-stock products and republish when restocked and made available again. Get notified when a product needs to be reordered or automate the reordering of bestselling products that go out of stock very often. This allows your business to manage the product inventory efficiently and keep track of all sales and customer data that comes with it.
Facilitate onboarding for new vendors and suppliers
Use automation to ease the onboarding process for new vendors while switching or adding new vendors. This helps in a smooth errorless exchange of details and even makes the payment exchange process seamless. With automation, you can also keep the supply and operations running without any actual need for human interference, unless necessary.
Customer experience and support automation
Reward dedicated customers to increase retention
It is important to reward customers for their loyalty. According to Invesp the probability of selling to an existing customer is about 60-70% compared to gaining a new customer, which is just 5-20%. To top that an existing customer is 50% more likely to try new products and would spend about 31% more in comparison to new customers.
Reward your most loyal customers by automatically providing them with discount vouchers or adding a free gift along with their purchase. You can also create loyalty programs where your customers can collect rewards from each purchase and use them to avail more free gifts. This will help with customer retention and increase your brand's community online and offline.
Segment customers based on their buying behaviour
Segment your customers on the basis of information you have on your CRM systems to help understand them better and stay on top of your game. Improve your service by knowing the different kinds of customers you have and what they are interested in, how long have they been with you and what they usually purchase. That way, you can send targeted broadcasts, recommend and up-sell products, give loyalty discounts and also remind them to reorder their favourite products. By partnering with automation and chatbot companies, you can use customer segmentation to profile consumers and fully automate your customer interactions and intelligent workflows.
Get customer feedback
Use automation to reach out and gather feedback from customers after their purchase. By understanding what the customer feels about your product and service, you can actively improve your customer's experience. It also helps your brand understand its gaps and weaknesses and make up for them to create a better brand experience as a whole.
Automate customer support
Automate your customer support to a point where customers can get most of their answers online. Use AI Chatbots like Engati's smart conversational chatbots to drive customer support engagements. Answer all your customers' questions 24/7 and provide them with the facility to seamlessly connect to a live agent if and when required. This will help improve your service widely and give customer support executives the time to focus on real problems instead of just time-consuming ones.
Reach out to negative reviews
AI, using NLP(natural language processing), AI can track whenever your name is being mentioned with a bad review and automatically reach out to dissatisfied customers to do damage control. You can also set up an automated process to identify customers who have given you a lower review and let you know, so you can look into the problem and respond accordingly.
Use a WhatsApp chatbot to automate your WhatsApp business and connect your eCommerce business and catalogue with WhatsApp. By doing so, you can leverage WhatsApp commerce to your business's advantage by marketing and selling your product directly on the messaging platform.
Engati is an official partner of Shopify and can be found on the Shopify app store.
We are an Automation company that specialises in low code workflow automation and AI-based conversational chatbots.
With engati, you can explore Shopify automation and more types of e-commerce automation. Integrate your retail store with WhatsApp, Instagram and more and deploy our chatbots on all channels, including your website, to improve customer experience and ease your own work and internal communication. Leverage features like Omnichannel support, NLP programming, multi-linguistic conversations, low code automation, post scheduling, business analytics and much more to keep growing and always stay on top of your game.
No matter how big you grow, Engati will be there to support you.
That is our promise.
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