The first benefit of eCommerce automation becomes clear once you answer the question: what is it?
Automation is replacing human work with physical or digital machines. In eCommerce, automation refers to software that can perform tasks without human input. It is a cost-efficient, reliable alternative to having employees perform repetitive and mundane tasks. Instead, automation can free up time for value creation, allowing your business to scale to new heights.
Here are eight benefits of eCommerce automation.
When your business is young, and your team is small, employees need 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 keep having to perform the same task. Autopilot makes it difficult to be thorough. Likewise, with automation, employees are freed from constant small decisions in the office or warehouse.
How does software perform compared to human workers? The answer varies. But software can perform inventory management, order fulfilment, and data collection tasks. The software can do these quickly and with few mistakes.
Your main challenge? Find 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. Some tasks can be automated totally, some partially, and some will still demand human oversight.
When it comes to your workers, time is money.
Imagine a situation: you hire a capable, gifted employee. They come to work eager to learn and help you grow your business. Shortly, they get bogged down in mundane tasks. They have no time and energy to flex the creative muscles you hired them for.
Do you have humans doing work that software could do? You are leaving a lot of money and untapped potential on the table.
A great example of this is customer support. Not all functions are created equal. Some customer service tasks don’t benefit much from a human touch. For example, a chatbot can greet a customer and categorise their query about as well as an employee can. The chatbot can answer immediately, no matter the time of day or the workload.
Cutting those jobs out of the customer service workload can free up time and bandwidth. Employees can focus on questions requiring a particular answer, creativity or emotional intelligence. With automation, fewer employees can tend to more customers. They can even increase attention on customers with complex asks, strengthening your brand image.
A simple formula:
Better inventory management = better customer experience = more customer loyalty.
One of the best uses of automation in eCommerce is inventory management software. When you use a platform that can automate your commerce operations, you get a one-stop-shop. You can then track inventory across sales channels and marketplaces.
The benefits of automating your inventory management processes are immense. According to research from Linnworks, almost half of customers will trade savings for convenience. Sixty-two per cent of customers 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 make your customer experience easy and transparent. This is easier when you can trace stock and provide accurate tracking information.
Even if you take human error and bandwidth out of the equation, there will always be a substantial delay. It takes time between data collection and the moment when your employees can articulate the takeaways.
That delay certainly exists in marketing. It’s nigh impossible to execute a personalised, segmented and targeted marketing campaign manually.
The same is valid for inventory management. No matter what channel a sale takes place on, inventory management software will give you a centralised dashboard. Here, you can view stock records, data and insights for orders as soon as they are processed. This helps you forecast and make critical business decisions without delay.
Customers expect personalisation in more and more places. Artificial intelligence and machine learning help you reach a deeper level of personalisation. The advantages of this are manifold. Personalisation can set your business apart and create a seamless, personal cross-channel experience.
So, what does automated personalisation look like? First and foremost, the software can segment your customers based on demographic data and shopping history. Then, you can use these to design campaigns or emails for specific customers.
Automation can put accurate metrics in your hand, day in, day out. It will help you visualise your business processes across all channels. In short, you will have a better understanding of your business. Understanding makes it easier for you to make decisions and find areas for improvement.
Nowhere is this more than with order fulfilment. With automated software, you can get your hands on all kinds of metrics. The more data you have, the better you can identify and fix issues in your processes. The better your processes, the greater your customer satisfaction will be.
You can see how long it takes products to get to customers. You can also see if there are shipping delays in any of your channels.
You can assess turnover to set your stock. Return rates, retention rates and satisfaction levels all give insight into customers’ thinking. Some of these might be tedious to collect without software. With software, you can tap into them and enhance your business in an instant.
Whatever business process you automate, you’ll likely avoid a handful of obstacles.
For example, inventory management software helps streamline processes. Particularly those that waste money or frustrate customers. Do you have a simple means of tracking your stock? You are much less likely to fall short of customer expectations. You can avoid stock level depletion. The risk of failure to optimise your supply through overstocking or underselling is also lowered.
When you can immediately analyse and observe customer behaviour, you gain priceless insight. This insight speeds your decision-making and helps you make the right choices.
Cutting costs. Better utilisation of human resources. More effective use of data. Improved inventory management and order fulfilment
Stronger and more personal relationships with your customers. What do these benefits have in common? They make way for a smoother process and potential improvements to all of your business.
More importantly, all the benefits complement each other. None of them exists in a vacuum. Once you see improvements in one area, it allows for increased productivity and efficiency in others. Start your automation journey with Magecloud today, and reap the results tomorrow.