As an ecommerce business expands its customer base, scaling all aspects of the company to keep up with this growth can be very challenging.
The need to keep track of thousands of orders, deal with hundreds of customer queries, manage large inventories and more can give rise to a large volume of repetitive tasks. These new tasks must be dealt with quickly, or disorganization and dysfunction can take root.
Fortunately, advances in software capabilities are allowing more and more tasks like these to be automated across the company.
We’ll discuss three key ways automation software can help an ecommerce business grow successfully.
Time efficiency and productivity
It is often the case that mundane tasks require little brainpower but can take a lot of your team’s time.
With automation, however, tasks like these can be completed quickly compared to when they’re being done manually.
For example, customer service teams have traditionally had to spend a vast amount of time answering very simple inquiries, leaving less time to deal with complex problems that require more attention.
This can now be resolved very quickly through software like HubSpot’s Chatbot Builder that integrates a customer service chatbot into your website, allowing routine inquiries to be rapidly dealt with without human assistance.
More and more business leaders are beginning to recognize this benefit: 78% of business leaders believe that automation can free up three hours a day on average for their workers, according to a 2020 WorkMarket report. This time-saving directly equates to increased productivity.
Moreover, workers benefiting from automation software spend much less time doing dull admin, leaving more time to devote to more intellectually demanding or creative tasks. This leads to better job satisfaction and a more motivated workforce.
Reducing data errors
When data has to be manually entered and saved in software systems, mistakes or accidental deletion of data can occur very easily. The consequences of this can be very costly.
For example, if such errors are made in your accounting records, they may lead to a failure to complete tax returns properly, leading to potential fines. This is one of the most common tax compliance mistakes.
Or you might one day accidentally delete a number of orders from your system, leading to angry customers demanding to know where their products are and a huge blow to your reputation as a company.
Invoicing software like Sufio uses automation to create and send invoices, meaning that harmful errors like these are much less likely. Although we’re still a long way from having technology with human-like intelligence, automated software is undeniably superior to human labor when it comes to completing repetitive tasks rapidly without making errors.
Separate trusted solutions that provide comprehensive backups for your data also now exist. With Rewind, automation is used to ensure that everything is backed up, meaning that any loss or deletion of your data can be undone.
This protects you from many frustrating scenarios, such as an app integration accidentally leading to all prices being deleted from an ecommerce store. It’s estimated that 90% of data loss incidents are due to “the human factor”; mistakes happen to us all. With a reliable backup and recovery system in place, you don’t need to worry about a minor error causing disastrous effects.
Smarter sales and marketing
Automation is allowing ecommerce companies to do sales and marketing with a much greater degree of sophistication.
Without automated software, it isn’t easy to optimize something like post-purchase marketing emails, which are most effective when sent 7-10 days post delivery (or receipt of the order).
However, with modern sales and marketing software, an email offering a discount or another incentive to become a repeat customer can be automatically sent at the optimal time.
Other ways that automation software can enhance sales and marketing include:
- Automatically gathering and analyzing data from marketing campaigns and then providing recommendations for your strategy going forwards.
- Allowing product releases or promotions to be scheduled and timed alongside their announcements.
- Sending personalized, conditional discounts to customers for orders or an abandoned shopping cart above a certain amount, as with UpOrder.
Trying to do this without automation would be difficult and time-consuming. For this reason, using the right software can boost sales by as much as 10%, according to a report by consulting firm McKinsey.
Scale up successfully with automation
We’ve explored three of the most common ways that automation can help an ecommerce business, from saving time to reducing data errors and facilitating more effective marketing.
However, automation software is a multi-billion dollar industry and one that is growing rapidly. This means that there are too many types of software out there to cover in one article.
Therefore, ecommerce business leaders should evaluate which workflows would make the most sense to automate according to their own business model and investigate if a solution exists. There’s a good chance that it will.
That being said, almost all ecommerce businesses will benefit from using automation to bring greater organization to their accounting processes, and this is what Sufio does.
Sufio saves you time and prevents costly errors by allowing you to automatically invoice customers from your Shopify or BigCommerce stores and automatically send invoice reminders to get paid faster.
Conclusion: when NOT to automate
While automation offers a myriad of benefits for ecommerce businesses, it’s not a magical cure for everything. Silver bullets are only good for werewolves, after all. Always carefully consider the function of an automated process vs. the potential security risks it involves. Every flashy new app you install on your store is another vector for bad actors and another chance for something to go wrong. Always protect your investment in your store with a quality backup and recovery plan for your data. Then, if an app integration doesn’t go exactly as planned, you can revert to an older version without downtime, lost sales, or losing your customers’ trust.
When applied with an understanding of the risks and a solid backup plan, automation can help you increase productivity, ramp up your marketing efforts, and scale your ecommerce business.