Automation has been the talk of the town for years now, but while many businesses have taken it on and flourished, some have not yet managed to implement it in any particularly meaningful way. That’s plenty of missed opportunities, because automation can help you streamline processes, save time and resources, and become more efficient and productive.
Let’s look at the case for e-commerce task automation.
What is e-commerce automation?
E-commerce automation means utilizing a piece of software to turn tasks you now perform manually into automated ones. Once you automate a certain task or set of tasks, the software will be triggered by a certain action: an email you receive, a notification, or a support ticket, for example. It will take over the tasks automatically, leaving your hands and mind free to tackle other tasks.
Without automation, you are forced to handle all the mundane e-commerce operations that require no particular capability but take up time. With it, you’re able to clear your metaphoric desk and refocus on growing your business.
11 e-commerce tasks to automate
There are all kinds of tasks you can automate in an e-commerce business. Here’s our list to get you started:
1. Email segmentation
Lead generation and email list building is a very important part of e-commerce, and so is email segmentation. But if you have to manually check every lead or conversion, add them to the appropriate list, and send out all the necessary emails, you’ll be spending a lot of time in your inbox.
You can automate email segmentation with the use of an email marketing tool like ActiveCampaign, which will sort all of your leads and customers into the proper segment based on the parameter you choose: demographics, number of purchases, amount spent, etc.
image source: activecampaign.com
2. Cart abandonment emails
Whenever someone fails to complete a purchase and abandons their cart, sending an automated email is a great way to nudge them to change their mind. Some companies choose to offer discounts, while others just send a friendly reminder that there are items in the cart. You can create your own custom copy for the task. But instead of sending out the email yourself, let an intelligent piece of software take care of it for you.
image source: shopify.com
3. Post-purchase emails
Post-purchase emails are there to inspire a customer to leave a review for the product they’ve purchased, which you then use to inspire other visitors to make the same purchase. They can easily be automated and serve as a very simple and straightforward way to gather social proof.
You should also automate all other post-purchase emails, such as thank yous, dispatch information, any user guides you may want to share, and so on.
4. Conversion-centered emails
When a lead has signed up for your newsletter for a free trial or through any other form you have on the website, without actually making a purchase, they shouldn’t be left to hang. They need to be encouraged to convert.
Automate your lead-to-conversion emails and set up a step-by-step campaign that will lead to a conversion over time. Be patient here, and don’t look to get someone to make a purchase after a single email. Instead, play the long game.
5. Purchase-centered emails
If you’re selling consumables, a “buy again” email can drive your sales up considerably. Try to figure out a decent timeline when you can reasonably suspect a customer might need to get their hands on your goods again, and set up an automated email reminder.
You can also do this very successfully when cross-selling, but make sure the suggestions you send out make perfect sense. You can base your recommendations either on items that go well together (shoes with socks, tops with bottoms, and so on) or on purchases other customers have already made.
6. Social media posts
Social media is an incredibly important aspect of e-commerce, but it can eat up a whole lot of your time if you allow it. Instead of doing all of your posts manually, reach for an automation tool (like Buffer or Hootsuite) and set up at least some of your posts to go out automatically.
You will, of course, still need to engage with your followers manually, but there will be much less work to do.
7. Mentions and keywords
Tracking your mentions both on socials and the general web is very important. So is tracking the mentions of your competitors (so you can get featured in the same spaces). You can also track keywords you’re trying to rank for or keywords relevant to your industry and industry trends.
You can easily track keywords and backlinks with a tool like Ahrefs, without having to do it manually.
8. Pricing changes
Making sure you stay up to date with price fluctuations is incredibly important in e-commerce. What if a competitor lowers their offer and you stick to higher prices without even noticing their alteration?
Staying on top of prices can give you a competitive edge, and with a tool like Aura, you can eliminate the need to track prices manually.
image source: goaura.com
9.Automatic low stock alerts
When you’re running low on certain stock, you need to get your hands on more – that much is clear. However, if you need to check your stock manually, you won’t be seeing much more than the inside of your storage facilities, which is why automation is always better.
Your customers will also benefit from automatic notifications telling them a product is available again, which you can do with Klaviyo & Shopify. When a product is not available, the usual Add to Cart button will change into a Notify Me When Available button, so they can come back when their desired item is back. This kind of user experience is what can make your store stand out and lead to higher sales & happier customers. See this example from clothing brand Orizaba Original.
image source: orizaboriginal.com
10. Payment and invoice alerts
Getting paid and sending out invoices is undoubtedly one of the more important aspects of running your e-commerce business, yet this task alone can eat up a lot of your time. If you opt for a tool that can help you send them out automatically and keep track of your payments, you’ll be breathing much more easily. Look for one that integrates with the payment methods you offer on the website, like Stripe or PayPal.
Also make sure you have an inventory management software you use, such as InFlow, that will help you stay on top of the items you carry and enable you to order whatever stock you’re running low on.
image source: inflowinventory.com
11. Scheduling calls and other events
Finally, you want to be able to seamlessly schedule all calls and meetings with your staff members and suppliers. This task is usually a time-consuming and stressful one, especially when you work in different time zones and with a whole host of different teams.
A tool like Woven can help you automate this process, making scheduling calls and virtual meetings that much easier – no more missed calls and no more confusion about who is available when.
image source: woven.com
Automation in e-commerce can be a lifesaver, especially if you choose the right pieces of software and use them properly. Remember that you’ll need to set these tools up, teach them how to do what they do, and check on their performance every once in a while. Don’t just leave them to it with zero supervision – but do let them do what they were designed for, and focus your energies and creativity elsewhere.
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