Between creating stock reports, auditing inventory, and gathering customer feedback, a retailer must execute many small business tasks every day. Individually these small operations don’t take up a large chunk of a business owner’s time, when combined, these menial repetitive tasks tend to snuff out all the creative zeal of your team. Forcing teams to focus on repetition rather than innovation.
While repetition is an intrinsic part of business management, it does not have to be the dry cumbersome, and time-consuming process that it is. eCommerce automation allows businesses to utilize software to automate business processes and repeat them as needed. It allows business owners to revamp manual repeatable processes into digital ones that can be executed by triggers from your customers or staff. Not only does this cut down your task execution time exponentially, but it also frees your teams to focus on more value-yielding work, like crisis communication within the supply chain and improving strategies for sales and marketing, etc.
As businesses scale and grow, their ability to manually execute repetitive tasks reduces. As retailers develop, the volume of tasks starts to demand a fundamental change in how workflows are executed. This change can be implemented by transforming manual workflows into digital algorithms and processes, which can be repeated and executed in a blink of an eye.
What is eCommerce Automation?
Ecommerce automation refers to utilizing software to digitize manual tasks, processes, and campaigns of your business into automated workflows. These workflows can be executed whenever needed. Automation allows for intelligent triggers of strategic campaigns and shortens task execution time to microseconds- freeing you for more complex tasks.
When retailers scale their business, the complexity and volume of tasks they need to handle scales also. Department synergies that worked before start to fall apart as employees grapple with mounting demand and inefficient systems manual workflows. To counteract these pressures, organizations have the choice to either employ cumbersome restructuring strategies or they can choose to turn to new hires. Neither of these solutions is scalable nor do they effectively address the core problem: an acute rise in menial low-value tasks that aren’t important or complex, just necessary and must repeat many times.
eCommerce automation allows retailers to look beyond what is urgent towards what is important. By freeing your business from the responsibility of having an employee call each customer and confirm their order, automated robocalls like those offered by bSecure can ensure that the task is executed without a hitch. Such automation can go a long way in saving you costs in customer relations training and any potential issues that may occur due to human error.
An order confirmation isn’t the only task that can be automated, others include, standardizing visual merchandising, tagging customers for segmentation as well as reporting and terminating risky orders. Regardless of the task at hand, the motivation behind automation remains the same: simplification.
Some examples of automated tasks include:
Fulfillment: Triggering SMS and email alerts for upcoming items
Inventory levels: Automatically remove products that are out-of-stock and instantly inform your marketing teams so they can halt advertising.
Product tagging: Automatically mark products that have low stocks, creating an extra layer of incentive and urgency for your customers.
Best Sellers: Update products that are back in stock and seamlessly label them to highlight their popularity.
Customer Loyalty: Use metadata and customer activity to automatically identify customers for segmentation and coordinate with customer services to give special discounts to customers labeled “Loyalty Members”.
High-Risk Orders: Instantly flag suspicious buying behavior such as bots buying out all your stock for a product.
Scheduled Product Releases: Design, preplan, and upload your product releases to be published at your chosen channels such as websites and applications simultaneously.
Research suggests that FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) can drive purchasing behavior. Labels such as “Out Of Stock”, “Almost Gone” and “Limited Edition” create a sense of scarcity and motivate customers to purchase before their chance runs out. (Solt, 2019)
As for all digitization, for automation, businesses have two main options: buy something off-the-shelf or get your toolbox out and make your own! While custom-designed automation software may look enticing at first, it can become a company-wide hassle after weeks of feasibility studies and buggy prototypes. Therefore, off-the-shelf options tend to be the most cost-effective solution for most retailers.
However, it can be tricky to decide where to start with the change. It’s helpful to remember that when a complete overhaul looks difficult it’s because it is, hence starting small is the name of the game here. Identifying the critical business processes that would benefit the most from automation is a much better investment of time and company resources than digitizing blindly from scratch. One such critical business process is the payment or checkout procedure.
Despite many accounting tools being available, many finance teams still spend the bulk of their time manually processing transactions. These tasks can range from sending payments to reconciling financial data from different sources. The complex and entangled nature of the payment process makes a manual workflow tedious and error-prone. Payment automation can save your organization weeks of backtracking a mistake and make sure your money goes where it needs to on time.
bSecure allows organizations to automate their payment processes by doing something as simple as installing a plugin, irrespective of whether their online store uses WooCommerce, Shopify, or Magento. This plugin is a one-click payment method that allows retailers to streamline their checkout experience and remove as much friction from the process as possible. Consequently, customers move seamlessly from browsing to purchasing with Single CheckOut which enables returning customers don’t need to re-enter their details and can trust the shop to remember!
Automation works best when it is adopted by interdependent departments and roles. The ability to execute a diverse of instructions within an instant greatly improves interdepartmental communication and allows for greater synergy. Solutions like Shopify Flow allow companies to build and execute customized workflows that cater to the particular challenges merchants face while using Shopify. A few examples of these workflows are mentioned below:
High-risk orders are automatically identified through an IP address check, address verification system (AVS), or Shopify’s own database, then, they are instantly halted or blocked and can be flagged for review.
Flagged cases can be reviewed in depth by your security and fraud prevention teams, potentially saving your company from losses incurred from malicious activity and chargebacks.
Your marketing department can be notified instantly every time a new product has been published by your teams, giving them every second they need for their creativity to bloom! Similarly, when stocks are running low or products go out of stock, marketing teams can be instantly told to pause their advertising campaigns making sure company resources are spent wisely all the time.
Additionally, teams can schedule their sale changes in advance allowing marketing teams to strategize promotions and lower chances of errors and downtime for the team. Thanks to seamless checkout experiences customers can also be segmented and tagged for personalized marketing campaigns, ensuring that your messages hit home every time!
For those businesses that retail personalized products, order specifications can be communicated directly to the design team, eliminating the middlemen and making sure critical information reaches reliably to all stakeholders. Not only does this cut time that designers spend filling out reports and communicating between departments, but they can also use services like Flow to employ many marketing tactics like “back-in-stock” and “buy now” banners and overlays, all of which can be published or unpublished depending on the tags referenced by the theme.
Shopify Flow also allows you to tag customers depending on their conditions like acquisition channel, and order value. Customer Service can be kept updated on customer behavior and be instantly notified when a client should receive a thank you message or loyalty program invitation.
Similarly, when a customer returns and item, Customer Service can be asked to follow up on the communication channel the customer used, ensuring continued brand loyalty and order fulfillment.
Services like bSecure.pk allow retailers to take some of their most complicated processes like the Accounts Payable process and digitize them with a few clicks. Other options available to retailers and business owners in Pakistan include:
Robocalls can take away the pain of confirming orders and improve order fulfillment, with bSecure.pk you can automate your order confirmation and a part of your Accounts Payable process to prevent fraud. With the installation of a simple plugin, bSecure.pk can save your team days of filling out reports and correcting lengthy error-prone documents. Moreover, it allows your teams to focus their efforts on processes that cannot be easily digitally replicated, like designing eye-catching advertisements, analyzing customer purchasing behavior, and planning product launch for the coming season!
Solt, M. Van. (2019). FIU Digital Commons # FOMO : How the Fear of Missing Out Drives Consumer Purchase Decisions.