An e-commerce store is open 24/7. It should be functioning and ready to take commands. Every e-commerce company requires some amount of automation since it is impractical to have a team constantly monitoring the store.
E-commerce technology innovation allows business owners to remove or reduce employee duties. Newcomers may see it as a pleasure, but afterwards, they will realize it is a need. Those that operate B2B e-commerce sites or more complicated marketplace management scenarios frequently experience increasing pains. Large order amounts, inventory management challenges, and lower customer satisfaction are examples.
The bulk of internet firms would benefit greatly from incorporating automation into their operations. While individual sales procedures vary, the majority are repetitious. While directing resources to process & build the business with such a better purchase experience, automating some areas of your business helps keep the e-commerce firm running. This article will cover every facet of automation inside the e-commerce industry:
Automation in E-commerce:
E-commerce automation, as defined, is the use of technology to increase your company’s sales & team members’ efficiency. Businesses may cut operating expenses, reorganize worker activities, and provide a better service to customers by implementing automation.
The e-commerce automation includes a set of operations that may be specified and adjusted. E-commerce automation has three primary components:
- An event is triggered, signalling that automation should begin:
- The condition that determines whatever the automation will perform comes next.
- The ultimate result is indeed an activity that performs a function without requiring human intervention.
Between the moment an order has been placed and also the date it is delivered, several stages occur. First, the transaction will be obtained and processed, then it will be shipped and logistics will be completed. As a result, a B2B e-commerce site with substantial automation may assist to sell more successfully, enhance order accuracy, and boost staff productivity.
How does e-commerce becoming automated?
Automation in e-commerce has several advantages, including reduced workload, higher productivity, happier consumers, and more revenue. And where do you even begin with automation? To start automating your e-commerce business, follow these steps:
• Determine the areas for automation:
Several e-commerce processes can be automated. In general, any operation that needs physical labour requires a while, is repetitive, and must be automated. Activities like processing orders, order tracking, and inventory management were examples of possible automation prospects. Similarly, product information including price, payment, and so on may be automated across many e-commerce channels. Knowing the domains of automation allows you to determine which connections and integrations are necessary.
• Choose the appropriate solution:
There are several e-commerce systems on the market. This makes it tough to find the best option with all of the essential features and functionalities for successful automation. As you investigate suppliers, you will learn about their strengths and limitations. You might learn how to handle product, order, client, inventory, & fulfilment data between platforms. When selecting vendors, look for case studies and feedback from prior customers.
• Seek existing connectors:
If you can locate pre-built connections for the same purpose that can link with the existing e-commerce platform, automation becomes much more accessible. You don’t need to recruit an entire team of developers to integrate; instead, a single developer will be enough. This is particularly the case if your vendor offers connections that may move products, orders, customers, and some other data across your systems in real-time time.
• Data processing in real-time:
A large sales crew is in charge of getting follow-ups, updating inventory and shipping, and so on. This team will be free of all such manual repetitious activities as switching between applications and recording data in Excel spreadsheets thanks to real-time automation. Make certain the data is synced and delivered in real-time, rather than in periodic batches since this might lead to a bad user experience.
• Monitoring and data confirmation:
In the e-commerce business, a vast amount of data passes inside and between systems. Each transaction’s data stream is recorded using automatic audit trails & logs. You will identify systems that manually resend, recheck, and repeat actions. There must be a mechanism in place to assure the accuracy, quality, and safety of your data.
• Recruit a successful team:
Usually, your systems should be operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, if there are any glitches, issues, or obstacles, you must have a backend crew in place to manage things if things go wrong. As a result, if a purchase or return does not perform as planned, you should respond swiftly & work on the solution.
E-commerce Automation overcomes typical issues:
1. Marketing, sales, ERP, fulfilment, and logistics teams are not linked:
Multiple systems are used in the e-commerce industry including branding, marketing, order processing, and delivery. Customers may obtain faulty stock or inventory information, untraceable orders, or incorrect delivery data when there is duplication across various systems or if it is problematic.
Following the integrations, data synchronization across various systems becomes automatic, resulting in a uniform and consistent data. When data is up to current throughout all platforms, there is a key resource and no problems occur.
2. The team is unsatisfied with manual repetitious tasks:
The majority of e-commerce sales staff spend only half an hour dealing with customers. In another half, individuals just shuffle paper or enter data manually, particularly when the selling process is repetitious or requires numerous manual stages. You spare time, money, & human resources by making business procedures faster and easier, which you can use for other important duties in your company.
3. Poor data for educated decision-making and growth management:
The expenditures and effort are necessary to maintain your e-commerce firm’s rise as it grows. Similarly, there is an increase in financial, operations, inventory, & customer data.
However, if you use the correct e-commerce solutions, you will have no problems with large amounts of data; it will help you make better decisions. When you have a large amount of correct data, you may develop reports that aid with intelligent decision-making. This equips your e-commerce personnel to meet client expectations, provide customized content, and make sound business decisions.
4. You want to enhance UX through personalization, transparency, and a self-service model:
Customers prefer to have control throughout their online transactions. They desire order status transparency, transaction history, and the ability to amend their orders. They also desire effective interaction. They do not want to answer superfluous questions or go through many checkout stages. Such an encounter leads to bad UX and disillusionment.
Self-service assistance that is automated frees up corporate resources. It enhances the user experience and boosts sales.
Advantages of E-commerce Automation:
All of these advantages are available with e-commerce automation:
According to Oro’s study, more than 85 per cent of B2Bs feel believe their e-commerce plan is underused income potential.
Every operation inside the e-commerce ecosystem seems critical, yet tasks like filing and data entry are tedious, time-consuming, & prone to error. You may believe that your present procedures are extremely successful, even though there are undisclosed bottlenecks within your operations. If the team spends time on these duties, other important jobs will be overlooked. Automation removes numerous time-consuming manual operations and decreases bottlenecks. This boosts team productivity and influences other areas within the business.
• Accuracy of data:
Gartner estimates that the average yearly cost of poor data quality for enterprises ranges between $9.7 million – $14.2 million.
In the e-commerce market, correct data management is critical. Order details, client information, and inventory counts are examples of ever-changing data. There is a high risk of mistakes if you send this info manually. In the e-commerce market, even minor mistakes may cause major issues that affect consumer experience and your capacity to fulfil orders.
• The team's productivity is as follows:
According to a RetailTouchPoints study, B2B e-commerce automation may boost team efficiency by 45 per cent and overall revenue by 49 per cent.
A savvy e-commerce organization is continuously looking for innovative methods to maximize the value of its resources, including human resources. Businesses may maintain their employees’ productivity using e-commerce automation solutions, which drives higher engagement and a much more rewarding work environment. Employees have had more time to process consumer concerns, enhance the product, or develop their skills by automating manual processes. It would be beneficial to your company if your staff are given the flexibility to test and adopt innovative techniques.
• Customer Service Experience:
A user experience promoter does have a lifetime worth to a firm that is 600 – 1,400percent that of a detractor, according to Bain.
Customers want to buy memorable, simple experiences that save them time and money. They also like transparency, order monitoring, obtaining up-to-date inventory, and fulfilment information. If you can make it simple for your consumers to verify orders, and track progress, shipment, and returns without involving personnel, you will save money and increase consumer loyalty and trust run.
• Average order value and sales:
According to a Forrester analysis, product suggestions such as upselling and cross-selling account for approximately 10-30% of e-commerce income.
Personalization & incentives are essential variables in increasing sales and average order value, and automation facilitates the implementation of these techniques. For example, you may provide customized product suggestions based on the user’s prior experience or region, as well as promotions, shipping alternatives, or any perks by the customer or customer class.
Mckinsey found that B2Bs having digital automation skills provided an 18% overall returns to its shareholders, compared to 10% again for the rest of the industry.
If your team is free of time-consuming activities, they may focus their energy on a more artistic process like expansion or growth plan. Sales reps and e-commerce professionals have a lot of consumer information, which they may use in conjunction with market research to make the best strategic decisions.
Types of Automation in the E-commerce Industry:
1. Automation of Workflows:
Here is the first step a visitor does when they enter an e-commerce store? Create an account, of course. Visitors to certain e-commerce shops must sign up with their password, whilst other stores may have extra restrictions. Furthermore, authorization from many stakeholders may be required during the purchasing process, particularly in the B2B company. Onboarding vendors and suppliers can differ and may require approval from other decision-makers. A strong workflow engine, on the other hand, may configure whatever process you desire. Here are a few examples of e-commerce process automation applications:
• Automation of RFQs and quotes:
B2C transactions are often straightforward, but B2B purchases are fairly complicated. There are opportunities for individual negotiation or unique pricing. Giving buyers the ability to get quotations & arrange for payment automates the process. You may also tailor the cost for each client and have it calculated automatically based on the customer or corporate parameters.
• Automation of the checkout process:
The checkout process is critical in an e-commerce shop. Customers are discouraged from finishing their purchases when the checkout process is lengthy. Checkout automation allows you to execute numerous checkouts simultaneously, allowing us to A/B test & determine which is better.
• Automation of Order Processing:
When it concerns order fulfilment, clients like to view the status of their purchases. At the absolute least, consumers want to know if the order was successfully placed, if it has left the warehouse, or if it is on its way to them. All of these features should be communicated automatically through automation.
• Automation of Product Catalogs:
When you’re in the B2B sector where rates, payment, and delivery items are discussed with clients, you must provide logical procedures for your bespoke product catalogue. You must provide each customer with a catalogue of things they desire at the agreed-upon price, with no extraneous extras.
2. Automation of Sales:
By automating your e-commerce store’s sales funnel, you can maximize lead generation, optimize the sales funnel, & close more purchases. The most significant advantage of automated sales is that sales personnel no longer have to spend time communicating to prospects or customers, training them, including answering their questions. Here are a few instances of sales automation:
• Automation of email notifications:
Customers value notifications and e-mails on events including placing orders, order status, and order cancellation. It might be as basic as a message or as complicated as a rule-based procedure. These e-mails might range from abandoned basket alerts to stock changes to time-sensitive promos that customers value. E-mail automation in e-commerce enterprises is a must, not an option.
• Automation of sales opportunities:
Maintaining the sales pipeline filled necessitates a focus on new possibilities and repeatable techniques. Your e-commerce store’s parts, such as retail sites, landing pages, and forms, should all operate together. Data also should move easily across systems. It is simpler to conclude sales when an e-commerce store will be well synchronized with your CRM.
• Automation of customer service:
It would be ideal to get a support crew that can operate nonstop 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and reacts to any concerns without the need for outside assistance. This is a form of customer service automation. Using a human resource as help might be expensive and impractical due to the 24 x 7 availability. All of these concerns may be resolved with a Chatbot application. Chatbots have grown clever with the assistance of AI and can now collect client requests in the CRM.
3. Automation of Fulfillment:
Following the customer’s order placing, the fulfilment operations commence. To handle customer orders and them to clients swiftly, efficient order processing is essential. Fulfilment automation allows sales representatives and customers to avoid lengthy back-and-forth. Customers will receive automated status updates or can monitor the order status via the e-commerce site. Here are some methods for achieving automation:
• Automation of Inventory Management:
If you want to keep your customers and employees up to date on orders & inventory status, you must maintain many systems, including the ERP, warehouse management, and other interfaces with your CRM & e-commerce platform. These connections will include updates to all key entities, such as sales agents and customers.
• Automation of Warehouse Management:
The warehouse management monitors your inventory’s stock levels on the ground. Integrating such a system using your e-commerce system will allow your website to display up-to-date stock information and avoid any confusion about out-of-stock items. Our warehouse management system also assists in automatically transferring goods across warehouses to maximize fulfilment if there are numerous warehouses.
• Automation of Returned Items:
No client wants to return goods, but they must. It is a component of internet business. Managing refunds, like delivering an order, may be difficult. Different product kinds have different return policies. Some items may even need permission from various bodies, while others may not. Automations can alert the appropriate department about the return procedure and approvals
Who is benefited from E-commerce Automation?
Everyone, from executives and managers to lower-level staff, benefits from e-commerce automation. Here are some examples of how e-commerce automation may help various company scenarios:
Managers need up-to-date sales and customer information to make effective choices and expand their firm. They need insight across all company functions, which may be achieved by connecting e-commerce platforms with ERP, CRM, PIM, eProcurement, as well as other systems. Managers may make better judgments if indeed the information is well-connected and presented understandably via tailored reports and dashboards.
Everyday procedures like sales, inventory, and shipping require automation as well. The task is to automatically separate, categorize, and route items or orders depending on specific criteria. They can also automate quotation, contract negotiation, reordering supplies, limited items, and other processes.
Marketing departments want reliable data on consumer actions and product information to create better marketing strategies and choices, as well as maximize ROI. Personalized advertising, promotions, product recommendations, and delivery alternatives are all aided by automation.
• Customer Service:
As previously said, providing 24 x 7 customer support is impossible without automation. Automation not only assists you in giving prompt assistance to consumers but also allows you to customise responses based on unique customer information, order values, as well as acquisition criteria.
• Customer Success:
Customer success managers must be able to determine the best moment to cross-sell, upsell, or give additional assistance to clients. They should contact clients after important events, such as the marketing of a certain product or service.
Last but not least, e-commerce automation directly benefits customers. Brands can provide fast support, individualized encounters, and much more with the aid of automation.
We have covered all areas of automation inside the e-commerce business in this post. Ceymox Technologies specializes in developing e-commerce businesses with high-level automation for simplifying operations across departments. We can create complex e-commerce shops with cutting-edge features and functionality. Please let us know what you need.