While growth is something most eCommerce businesses aspire to achieve, it does come with its caveats.
As your business scales, processes will become more complex and demanding; tried and trusted tactics will stop working, requiring you to regroup, adjust and learn on the go. You should find ways to make processes more efficient as you grow to allow you to rake in revenue at a return you once deemed impossible.
At some point, it becomes important to consider new approaches. It might be time to turn to eCommerce automation, which is an effective – in some cases necessary – next step.
Automation is much more than just a way to cut labor costs. If integrated effectively into your business process, the benefits of automation can improve far more than just productivity and sales.
The first benefit of eCommerce automation becomes apparent once you answer the most basic question: what exactly is it?
In most cases, automation refers to the implementation of software that can perform business processes automatically. It is a cost-efficient, reliable alternative to having employees take on repetitive and mundane tasks.
Here are 8 benefits of eCommerce automation.
When your business is young and your team is small, it’s important for employees to get first-hand experience with the details of your business model. Once you grow, you’ll find your team becoming bored with the tedious work on their table.
Employees will go on autopilot if they have to constantly perform the same task, making it difficult to be thorough. Likewise, with automation, you don’t put the onus on your employees to constantly be making decisions in the office or warehouse.
There’s also the question of whether software can do certain tasks better than humans could. The answer varies, but software can absolutely perform inventory management, order fulfillment and data collection tasks quicker and with fewer mistakes.
The only challenge is finding a way to seamlessly integrate the new software into your business process and get the rest of your team on board. You will still need employees to work in tandem with the automation software.
When managing human resources, time is valuable.
Imagine you hire the most capable, gifted employee. They come to work eager to learn and help you grow your business, but before they get so bogged down in low-skilled, essential tasks that they have no time and energy to flex their creative muscles.
When you have humans doing work that software could do, you end up leaving a lot of money and untapped potential on the table.
A great example of this is customer support. Certain customer service tasks don’t benefit much from human touch – an artificial intelligence chatbot can greet a customer and categorize their query about as well as an employee can.
Cutting those tasks out of the customer service workload can free up time and bandwidth for aspects of the job that call for emotional intelligence and precision of a human. With automation, fewer employees can tend to more customers resulting in a stronger brand image.
One of the best uses of automation in eCommerce is with using inventory management software. When you use a platform that can automate your commerce operations, you essentially invest in a one-stop-shop for tracking inventory across selling channels including marketplaces.
The benefits of using automation for your inventory management process are immense. According to eCommerce trends based on research from Linnworks, almost half of customers will sacrifice cost savings for convenience and more specifically, 62 percent of customers say they are more likely to stay loyal to a company that is honest about shipping and delivery.
The Future of Omnichannel & Inventory Management [Webinar with Linnworks]
With that in mind, it’s becoming critical to find ways to make your customer experience more convenient and transparent, which is much easier when you can trace stock and provide accurate tracking information.
Even if you take human error and bandwidth out of the equation, there is always going to be a substantial delay between the moment data is collected and the moment your employees can articulate the takeaways.
This is certainly true for marketing – it’s hard to imagine executing a personalized, segmented and targeted marketing campaign without the help of automated marketing software.
The same is true for inventory management. No matter what channel a sale is taking place on, inventory management software will give you a centralized dashboard where you can view stock records, data and insights for orders as soon as they are processed. This helps you make forecasting decisions and make important business decisions without delay.
Personalization is becoming a standard expectation from customers. Artificial intelligence and machine learning help you reach the deep level of personalization that can set your business apart and provide a seamless, cross-channel experience designed for specific customers.
So what does automated personalization look like? First and foremost, the software can help you segment your customers based on important demographic and shopping history data. Then you can design marketing campaigns or emails for specific customers around that data.
With automation, metrics become more accessible, accurate and broad. This will make your business process more visible across all channels, making it easier for you to make nuanced decisions on how to speed it up or make it more efficient.
This is especially true when it comes to order fulfillment. With automated software, you can get your hands on all types of metrics, allowing you to identify issues in your process, fix those issues, and therefore improve customer satisfaction.
You can see how long it takes products to get to customers, on average, and see if there are shipping delays in any of your selling channels.
You can assess turnover to set your stock or tap into your customers’ minds through return rates, retention rates and satisfaction levels. All of these might be too tedious to collect without software, but with software, these can be tapped to enhance your business in an instant.
Whatever business process you automate, it is likely you’ll avoid a handful of obstacles.
Inventory management software, for example, is especially useful for targeting the parts of the process that waste money or frustrate customers. When you have a simple means of tracking your stock, you are much less likely to fall short of customer expectations with a stock out or fail to optimize your supply through overstocking or underselling.
When you can immediately analyze and observe customer behavior, your observations will become more accurate and your business decisions will yield better results.
Cutting costs, better utilizing human resources, more effectively using data, improving your inventory management and order fulfillment, forming stronger and more personal relationships with your customers – what do all these benefits have in common? They all make way for a smoother business process and potential improvements to all elements of your business.
More importantly, all the benefits complement each other and none of them exist in a vacuum; once you see improvements in one area, it frees up space for better productivity and efficiency in another.
MageCloud offers a range of ways to make your business processes more efficient
Thanks for reading! We hope you will find this post useful and get something out of it for your business.
If you need any help with your eCommerce business, please contact us to start discussing your requirements. We’re always happy to help.