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eCommerce automation

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Expanding eCommerce does not just equate to more profit, but also to more work for us to do. To streamline e-commerce operations, to reduce the risk of errors and to boost customer satisfaction, it is advisable to leverage the potential of eCommerce automation to help ensure the repetition of certain actions, such as order shipment or catalogue updates.

What is eCommerce automation?

The eCommerce automation enhances in-store service, contributing positively to the reduction of risks such as delays in order processing, stock replenishment or the overall level of service and, consequently, customer satisfaction. The automation process allows the obligation to perform repetitive tasks to be partially or fully lifted from staff, thus facilitating a focus on activities that require more attention from a team. The eCommerce automation can extend from managing a product range of a store to handling orders, inventory processes, logistics, marketing, or customer service.

How does eCommerce automation work?

The eCommerce automation is powered by smart platforms that adapt to activities, input, or feedback from website users. Artificial intelligence (AI), which can mimic human actions and thinking processes to a limited degree – though not as limited as it was in earlier times – is the backbone of these abilities. The core types of automation, such as those mentioned above, are executed by basic AI with a list of criteria that triggers certain tasks, such as sending an email after a predetermined period of time following a customer action.

AI can also perform more sophisticated operations, and certain AIs can enhance and extend their internal programming by machine learning. Machine learning provides a way to enhance the ‘intelligence’ of AI by assimilating new information based on user interactions. This allows AI to improve over time and provide visitors with a more customized experience.

Machine learning, for instance, could be applied to streamline the search function of an online store, leveraging the data provided by customers when they search: the keyword they are looking for and the products they click on. With this information, AI can then learn which products in the search results are most likely to be relevant to the keyword used. These items will then be repositioned to the top of the search results for that keyword.

Machine learning technology has the potential to enable a website to customize itself. You may have noticed this yourself every time you visit a website that displays featured products. The products have been chosen by the AI based on what it has learned from you through your interactions with the site.

Chatbot for customer service is yet another great way to use handy AI in eCommerce, which relies largely on machine learning. Chatbots simulate a real-time chat with a company representative. Chatbots are not intended to replicate a conversation with a human but can collect information through a customer’s chat answers and leverage that information in multiple ways. Chatbots can address certain questions and, if necessary, refer a visitor to the appropriate department based on their responses. They can also recommend products and help the customer find what they are looking for. Machine learning allows a chatbot to refine its automated responses and feel more organic – and more ‘human’ – for customers.

Smart search solutions, recommendation engines and chatbots can be very supportive in providing a robust customer experience. As such, an online store can use these features to enhance customer interactions and boost site usability. There are other types of automation you can use on the business management side that can benefit you and your business in several ways.

eCommerce automation – types and benefits

eCommerce automation significantly boosts store performance. When it comes to order processing, especially in the case of an extended or constantly expanding store, automation helps to significantly streamline the process of expanding the product range. PIM-class systems that allow efficient management of product information will prove helpful here. To optimize product range management processes, consider integration with external wholesalers, automatic price setting based on purchase prices and margins, real-time data updates based on the exchange of data between a wholesaler and a warehouse system, or the generation and updating of an XML file for integration with marketplace platforms, price comparison sites or advertising tools such as Facebook Ads. eCommerce automation at the order processing level ensures, first and foremost, a smooth shopping experience, enhanced communication with customers, after-sales processes, including refunds and claims, the number of which automatically reduces due to providing customers with a better shopping experience and more information about a product even before the final purchase decision is made. By contrast, eCommerce automation at the level of store integration with the ERP system streamlines operations such as monitoring order payment status and posting payments, detecting orders that require reordering, informing customers of available stock, transferring paid orders to a warehouse for further processing, or printing shipping labels, and invoices. It is worth using the options of payment integrators such as DotPay, PayU, Przelewy24, etc. at this stage. The eCommerce automation also allows to streamline the complaint and returns processing, introducing, for example, a functionality in a user’s account that enables to report a return, which will significantly facilitate not only the work of the customer service department, but also shorten the communication path, which will certainly be appreciated by shoppers. So is the automation of the customer service process itself. Developing a FAQ tab with answers to the most common questions, introducing chatbots, or synchronising the various communication channels, such as e-mail, telephone, website chat and caller identification at the system data level, is all that is needed. Automation at this level ensures that a customer communicating about the same issue via another channel does not have to outline the problem from the start, which also speeds up the response on the store support side.

Speaking of eCommerce automation, one should not forget the marketing issue, i.e., marketing automation, i.e., activities that most often aim to automate email marketing communications and personalise product offers on a store’s website. Automation at this level streamlines operations aimed at saving abandoned baskets by sending messages encouraging a customer to complete the purchase, or displaying pop ups when a customer wants to leave the shopping cart page, activating inactive customers, adjusting the products promoted in newsletters selected based on customer behaviour, displaying products on the page that are in the customer’s most visited categories, etc.

Integration with courier and shipping services, automation at the warehouse and logistics support level, providing customers with comprehensive product information, streamlining customer service and the product extension process – all of these are part of eCommerce automation, which is essential not only for big business, but also for stores that are thriving, looking to positively contribute to the customer shopping experience, thereby speeding up the decision-making process and boosting conversions.

How can you automate your ecommerce operation?

1. Keep track of and reward your most dedicated customers.

When it comes to your customers, do you reward them? Customer retention is a valuable asset for all businesses, ecommerce included. It proves that you can boost your profits from 25-95% by increasing your retention rate by as little as 5%. You can reward customer loyalty by automatically adding a free gift or free delivery to orders over PLN100.

2. Synchronize your customers with the Mailchimp list.

The best ecommerce platforms, such as WooCommerce and Shopify, all feature native integrations with Mailchimp. Thus, be sure to sync your accounts beforehand should you use the wildly popular e-mail marketing tool to post newsletters and e-mail marketing workflows.

The Mailchimp integration automatically forwards email addresses of shoppers indicating an interest in your emails to a specific Mailchimp list, allowing you to notify them of your latest products and offers.

3. Collect feedback after purchase.

It is obvious to any ecommerce store that reviews and genuine feedback are extremely effective. In fact, they actually boost or degrade your business. Set up automatic email flows to prompt reviews, so that follow-up emails are dispatched after a time has passed since a purchase occurred. Request genuine feedback and provide a link to where to post a review.

4. Address any negative reviews.

Should an unfortunate 1-star review occur, be sure to respond to it. Alternatively, configure automation to generate a support ticket in your helpdesk software to facilitate rapid response and remedy – or as a minimum to listen and get an understanding of what has happened.

5. Tag and segment shoppers by purchasing behavior.

Segmenting can support how you understand your customers and keep you up to date with various individual preferences they may have. A CRM enables you to tag or segment customers by demographics (e.g., gender or location), total order value, milestones, number of orders or any subscriptions or memberships, for instance.

6. Automated inventory management for low-stock items.

An inventory shortage could mean wasted earnings and disappointed shoppers. By automating your inventory management to avoid this, you will know when a product is low on stock.

Woocommerce triggers low-stock notifications (based on your set thresholds) and out-of-stock notifications. By doing so, in an instant, you will know when a product needs to be re-ordered from inventory.

7. Sending emails on abandoned shopping carts.

Up to 75% of e-commerce shopping carts are abandoned. The abandoned cart email reminders are designed to help draw customers back to your website and thanks to automation, you no longer have to do anything.

An ecommerce software integration with a mailing provider offers a simple solution for dispatching emails on abandoned carts. Alternatively, you could explore other native integrations between your ecommerce platform and providers of transactional emails.

8. Why not try dropshipping for passive income.

Are you aware of the fact that some ecommerce companies have automated order fulfilment and delivery? Dropshipping is a great solution to find products, add them to an online store and send them directly to customers with no inventory or risks. With dropshipping, the major challenge is to find products that match your store’s brand and quality standards.

9. Reminder emails for re-ordering consumables

Do you market groceries, healthcare, or beauty products? Then your customers are likely to be looking to re-purchase consumables when they are out of stock.

Set up automated workflows to send reminder emails about these products at a specific time after purchase to alert them.

10. Leads to customers with email marketing.

Individuals generally do not always turn into customers straight away. Your business is going to have a usual customer journey where people tend to spend time on the research and consideration phase before they decide to give you any money.

You can, however, if someone has provided you with their email address and consent to contact them, nurture this process with marketing content. Simply ensure that there is top quality and value in everything you send them, possibly including discount codes or free gift offers.

11. Automatically schedule social media posts.

If social media is consuming your time too much, a number of tools exist to enhance processes. Use Shopify, Post Studio – Auto Posting, to post products to your Facebook and Twitter pages automatically every day. Buffer is yet another application that allows you to effortlessly plan content in advance. It is also easy to reschedule content that has been done well.

12. Opt for efficient help desk software.

It is important, as you scale your ecommerce business, to ensure that customer service is in place. Implementation of a help desk software is one of the best ways to do this. A help desk platform ensures the best position for you to centralize customer service in one location and to have a clear view of tickets from all channels. Such tools also provide many options for enhancing the customer experience through automation, such as bots and satisfaction surveys.

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