It’s no secret that the popularity of online shopping is growing by leaps and bounds! The convenience that ecommerce offers for consumers and entrepreneurs alike has led to an increasing number of stores on the web.
With the multitude of options available to accommodate consumers’ diverse shopping needs, you’ll want to ensure that your own online store is able to stand out from the crowd.
What’s more, your site needs to be simple to run so that you can devote ample time and attention to the most essential tasks.
Most or all of your ecommerce business’s critical tasks may currently be completed manually. This could include tasks such as tracking inventory, marketing, and even providing great customer service.
However, if you’re looking to scale your ecommerce business, you may want to look into automating various aspects of your store.
What are the advantages of ecommerce automation?
When you launch an online store, there are bound to be unexpected challenges that arrive. To make running your website as smooth as possible, one of the best ecommerce tips is to use automation whenever possible!
When you employ proven, well-planned automation strategies to various aspects of your store’s operations, you can enjoy some great perks. In fact, achieving your goals for business growth may hinge directly on your ability to access these benefits.
While many manual tasks that you complete regularly are relatively mundane and repetitive, they’re also important to different aspects of your ecommerce business. However, these activities often require significant amounts of time.
When you automate these tasks, they’ll be completed more quickly, allowing your store to run more efficiently. This then ensures that your customers have a better experience, which can lead to an uptick in product sales for your business.
Human error is unfortunately relatively common when tasks are completed manually. Data is constantly being generated, including product and order information, customer details, and more.
If entering or reviewing this data yourself, you’re bound to miss something or input the wrong information at some point. Errors can result in serious issues that impact your ecommerce business’s finances, reputation, customer satisfaction, and more.
Automating tasks when possible can help you to reduce the number of inaccuracies and human errors, allowing for smoother operations.
Makes your business more productive
When you automate certain aspects of your online store, you’ll be able to focus your efforts on other areas of your business. These might include activities that need critical thinking or personal attention to successfully complete.
Through automation, you can free up considerable amounts of time and energy that could be better used on tasks that require your full attention.
Whether these involve developing new products, improving customer service, or brainstorming marketing campaigns to get customers for your ecommerce store and increase sales, you’ll be better equipped to do so.
How to automate your ecommerce business
Automation clearly should be at the top of your to-do list as an ecommerce business owner, but which specific tasks should be automated?
Through a thorough look at the many possibilities available through automation, you can tap into exciting opportunities to improve your ecommerce business on many levels.
1. Track and reward customer loyalty
Nurturing relationships with satisfied customers can yield tremendous returns. However, you must first identify who your store’s satisfied customers are.
Then, you can incentivize customer loyalty through a rewards program. This is a time-consuming process when it is completed manually, but there’s a better way.
Smart automation solutions enable you to quickly identify customers who meet specific trigger criteria. This might include flagging customers who have made a certain number of purchases or who have made purchases over a predetermined dollar amount.
When the system identifies customers who meet your parameters, it can automatically dispatch a coupon, a discount code, or another special offer to them. These automated emails can foster loyalty and spur repeat purchases of your products, leading to a boost in sales.
2. Synchronize your email list with your CRM system
Maybe you already use a system for customer relationship management (CRM) to track your customers and manually segment your database. You may also have a separate platform for managing and distributing email marketing messages.
With this setup, you might be required to manually adjust or segment the list that you use for email marketing to align with your CRM database. You could save time and also ensure that your lists are properly segmented by linking your CRM solution to your email platform.
This automation would allow you to deliver targeted marketing emails related to customers’ specific interests, which could help increase your store’s conversion rate.
3. Send post-purchase emails to obtain feedback
For you to improve the customer experience that your ecommerce business delivers, you must understand where your current weaknesses are. You can quickly gain direct feedback from your customers by simply asking them about their experiences.
However, manually dispatching post-purchase emails at the most opportune moment is a time-consuming chore that may not receive the full attention that it deserves.
Automation improves this process so that you can get the information you need to improve your operations intelligently. Automated emails can be triggered after a specific number of days have passed since the purchase.
This is the perfect way to get valuable feedback and insight that you may have otherwise not been privy to. Once you obtain this data, you can use it strategically to determine how to better the customer experience and increase sales in the future.
4. Create support tickets for negative reviews
Whether your ecommerce business receives a negative review through solicited feedback or elsewhere, it’s good practice to address all outstanding issues directly with the customers quickly.
Besides improving relations with the disgruntled customer who left negative feedback, your other customers will likely appreciate the extra effort that you took to make things right.
Your customer service department should communicate personally with unhappy customers, but you can automate some stages of this process.
For example, a customer support ticket can automatically be created when specific trigger words are typed into a review or when the star rating is low. This eliminates the step of having to manually read each review posted by your customers.
5. Improve customer support
Live customer support is often viewed as being preferable over automated solutions, but this isn’t always the case. Some of your customers may simply want to get a quick answer via a chatbot or be directed to the answer they are looking for on your FAQ page or forum.
This delivers fast, convenient service to customers. It also enables your support staff to concentrate on helping the shoppers who have unique or significant needs.
When you automate your ecommerce customer service, incoming messages can be filtered based on trigger words or phrases. The customer would then be escalated to a live professional immediately or offered automated solutions first based on the triggers.
As your store’s customers may have different preferences, always allow them to continue using the automated system or to reach a live person if they desire.
6. Analyze buying behavior to tag and segment customers
If you’re currently creating segmented email lists manually for your marketing campaigns, you’re likely wasting valuable time and energy.
Automated workflow tools can assist with tagging customers on your list based on a variety of factors that you want to use when segmenting your marketing emails.
This may include gender, geographic location, age, and many other factors. Once tagging is completed through automation, segmentation can be completed accurately and quickly.
7. Trigger low-stock notifications
Maintaining inventory at a predetermined level is essential to establish reasonable delivery times for your customers. However, a higher-than-necessary inventory level impacts your ecommerce business’s storage or warehousing costs.
Through automation, you can receive low-stock notifications so that re-orders are completed at the most opportune moment.
You could even automate the entire inventory management process. For example, once the system has been triggered to reorder a specific item from a supplier, it can search for the best price from your preferred suppliers. It can then place the order and track the shipment.
8. Send abandoned cart emails
If your ecommerce store has an abysmal rate for abandoned shopping carts, rest assured that you’re in good company. This is one of the more common and significant problems that ecommerce stores must contend with, and it can be addressed head-on through automation.
You can automatically detect shopping cart abandonment in real-time through a range of available tools.
For instance, when you use the WiziShop ecommerce website builder to create your online store, you’ll have access to a complete emailing tool, Auto-Mail Booster. With this feature, you’ll be able to dispatch automatic emails for a variety of situations, including when customers abandon their shopping carts.
Once the trigger has been detected, an automatic yet customized email can be sent directly to the customer. This can specifically detail the items that were abandoned and offer enticements to finalize the purchase order.
9. Produce invoices
Creating customized invoices for outstanding funds and sending them to the appropriate recipients can be frustrating when these actions are completed manually. There are now numerous automation solutions that take this heavy burden off of your shoulders.
Perhaps you don’t currently accept payment plans or operate with invoices. However, the ability to automate this process may make payment plans and other financial services easier for you to offer to your customers.
10. Manage shipping and tracking needs
Processing and shipping orders are critical to the overall customer experience that you deliver. A small oversight or even a typo on a shipping label can have a detrimental impact on customer experiences, leading to a loss in future sales.
Fortunately, these issues can be eliminated through automation. For example, printing shipping labels and scheduling pickup with your preferred delivery provider can be automated as soon as the order is received online.
11. Send reorder reminders
Does your business sell products that are consumed in fairly regular intervals? No need to wait for your customers to reach out to you for another order. You can remind them to place their next order shortly before you anticipate them running out of the item.
Remember that each customer may have a slightly different consumption pattern. Your automation system can make things easier for you by tracking consumption on your behalf.
Your automation process may include a follow-up reminder or special discount if the customer hasn’t placed a follow-up order from you within a specific time period.
This can also encourage customers who have decided to try products sold by other businesses to return to you.
12. Use email marketing to turn leads into customers
In an ideal world, your marketing would reach your target audience on the first attempt. Each customer would visit your website, place an order, and become a satisfied customer with minimal effort required on your part.
In reality, however, your business may need to reach out to a lead multiple times before that individual decides to make a purchase.
Through automation, you can actively track and segment your leads list. These individuals can receive customized messages that may be based on previous browsing history or other factors. Emails can be sent in a timely manner to avoid causing annoyance.
13. Schedule social media posts
Social media marketing is direct and affordable, and it produces fast results. However, managing a social media campaign is time consuming. An effective campaign requires you to craft and post meaningful, engaging content on a regular basis.
While you’ll still need to create your posts manually and focus on communicating with your target audience, you can automate the posting process. In fact, through some automation solutions, you can create and schedule posts for up to a month or farther in advance.
14. Manage tasks for your team
Automation is essential for tracking inventory, shipments, customer activity, and more. In some cases, automation must still co-mingle with manual efforts from you or your team.
How can you ensure that none of those important to-do items do not fall through the cracks?
Task management automation enables you to swiftly and easily create and share to-do items with various teams or with individual team members.
15. Schedule new product releases
Even if your online store currently only offers one product, there’s a great chance that you’ll decide to expand your business further down the road.
Note that there’s a lot that goes into launching new products, and even more so if you have multiple sales channels. Not only do you need to add the products but announce their arrival to your current and potential customers.
To help your product launch go all-the-more smoothly, opt to automate as much of the process as possible.
With automation, you can add your new products to your store and schedule them to be made available at a certain time. In addition, you can share these items on your various social media platforms and other sales channels simultaneously!
Automation can dramatically improve many critical aspects of your ecommerce business. In the process, it can save you time, improve productivity and efficiency, and even promote a better customer experience.
As you’ll hopefully have learned from this article, there are many opportunities to automate your ecommerce business. Get started in improving your online store today by researching the solutions that could yield tremendous benefits to your unique operation.