Be honest: have you reached the point when you have performed several tasks in the same order that you feel like a robot? This feeling is common to many other ecommerce business owners. The reason for this is simple: an ecommerce business has a limited range of activities and most of them are highly predictable and occur at specific times.
And this is why these activities are ideal for automation. That’s right, instead of doing them in person, a series of computer tools and online services can perform them for you, accurately and in a timely manner. You can gain more time to focus on your marketing and sale strategies and have the peace of mind than none of these tasks is forgotten.
Business automation is a trend which is taking over the world, even at the highest corporate levels. The human resource is now valued for talent, intelligence and creativity, and not simply the ability to perform X tasks in Y time. And this is how you should also value yourself, as the owner and administrator of your ecommerce business.
Not sure what exactly you can automate in your business to save time? Here are five suggestions:
- Inventory Management
Stocktaking is a boring, but necessary, activity. You don’t want to end up unable to fulfil an order because you forgot to change the product status to “out of stock”. At the same time, manual stock taking is fraught with errors. You get distracted and bam!, you double count an item.
By comparison, automated software like Finale Inventory or Fishbowl can perform this task automatically, with 100% accuracy. These software solutions are also very useful if you sell your products through various marketplaces (like eBay, or Etsy). The software will retrieve sales data from all these online stores and keep your stock levels accurate all around the clock.
- Shopping Cart Abandonment
You know the procedure – when a customer abandons the shopping cart, you must try to recapture them by sending an email. Now, you do not have to worry about this. Thanks to updates to the most important ecommerce software suites, you can simply tick off an option to enable the automatic sending of the email reminder within an hour after the shopping cart was abandoned. This initial message can be followed up by another within 24 hours, also fully automated.
Studies show that these emails are effective – 48% of these emails are opened by their recipients. And now that you can schedule them and stop worrying about them, your business will run smoother than ever.
- Customer Care
Chatbots, FAQ sections and interactive Q&A are just three simple ways of making sure that your customers get answers for their questions, even if you are not physically present in front of the computer to answer. Most ecommerce websites employ at least one of these automated customer care tools, eliminating the need of an actual person monitoring the activity on the website around the clock.
- Automated Workflows
If This Then That (IFTTT) is an extremely helpful tool which helps you create automated workflows for certain activities. For example, whenever an order is placed, your bookkeeping software must issue an invoice, and the emailing software must send a message confirming the order, total price and delivery date.
IFTTT can connect your website to the accounting software and the email client and generate this flow of events without you being actively involved in them. All you need to do is programme the logical sequence of events for each activity. This tool works with almost all the online business, marketing and social media apps you use for your business.
- Client Purchase Follow-Up
It is important to send your customers a Thank You note for buying your products. In this note, you should also include a short survey and ask the client to share their opinion of the product, and post the purchase on their social media accounts.
In this way, you can collect testimonials and reach more potential clients (the customer’s social media friends). The entire process we described above can be automated with the help of the built-in tools of your ecommerce software. Once you activate the process and define it (the content of the message, the survey questions, etc.) it will run automatically every time a customer buys products from your website.