What is eCommerce Automation?
eCommerce automation is a combination of software, processes and mindsets that allow businesses to remove manual action from the order lifecycle.
From content distribution to process consolidation, eCommerce automation helps businesses save time and money. Furthermore, this approach reduces redundant tasks and manual workflows to help you focus on moving your business forward.
Automating your eCommerce process improves accuracy and ensures it can run reliably and consistently. eCommerce automation is most often used for customer service, payment and invoicing, inventory management, refunds/returns, email workflows, order management and shipping.
What Can You Automate?
Clearly and promptly communicating order information can help customers feel more confident in your company and your process. We typically recommend that brands set up four key external automation workflows for high-frequency activities:
- Order receipt and confirmation
- Shipping and delivery notifications
- Returns processes and documentation
Although this list is not comprehensive, we see many clients benefit from establishing a baseline with these worfklows and building based on their specific needs.
Behind the scenes, there are many aspects of the purchase process that help your business save time and reduce headaches. Among these, we recommend merchants automate the following:
- Inventory levels across sales channels
- Order processing between eCommerce platforms and fulfillment systems such as 3PL, ERP or POS
- Accounting updates and processes
Although these aren't quite as flashy as the externally facing workflows, they can provide significant value in a short amount of time. If you haven't considered implementing internal automation for your business, we strongly encourage you to explore your options and see what makes sense for your business.
Although marketing automation isn't a new concept, this field has truly blossomed. Marketing automation in eCommerce allows businesses to immediately respond to customer issues and nurture over time to encourage repeat purchases.
Possibilities for eCommerce marketing automation are endless, but we have outlined a few below that are a solid starting point for many businesses.
- Post-purchase email marketing
- Abandoned cart email workflows
- Contact property updates based on items purchased or behavior
- Retargeting advertising
- Customer win-back campaigns
- Customer feedback workflows
- Customer service chatbots
Each of these forms of marketing automation can help businesses build relationships with more customers in less time. Although there isn't a true replacement for human interaction, implementing eCommerce automation can help many brands achieve their marketing goals.
How Can It Help?
Automation improves operational efficiencies and the customer experience. Specifically, eCommerce automation helps businesses achieve the following:
- Prevents overselling by keeping inventory levels accurate
- Displays consistent and accurate product information
- Guarantees orders are delivered as promised
- Makes returns efficient and easy
- Allows customers to track the shipping process
What Tools Can You Use?
eCommerce automation tools vary based on the objectives and problems they aim to solve. When it comes to marketing, we typically recommend either HubSpot abandoned cart or Klayvio.
Both of these tools enable businesses to automate abandoned cart emails, run promotional campaigns and integrate with eCommerce platforms with ease.
We also recommend exploring our HubSpot eCommerce application HubShop.ly. This too integrates with HubSpot to connect your store to update contact information with purchases, trigger automated emails and more.
If you're interested in exploring this topic further, we strongly recommend exploring our our eCommerce inbound marketing guide, which covers email marketing and more.
On the business side of things, automation tool options are more varied. BigCommerce features native automation throughout their tool in different areas. If you aren't finding what you're looking for, custom extensions can almost always achieve desired functionality.
Still have questions? Feel free to reach out through the form below and we'd be happy to help!
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