Everyone who runs an online shop performs hundreds of small tasks every day. Although they take an average of several minutes, on a weekly, monthly or annual basis, they take up a significant amount of time, which with the help of automation can be spent on other activities – shop development, establishing new business relations or promoting the services. What other benefits apart from time-saving can be achieved by focusing on crucial e-business issues and automation?
What is automation in e-commerce?
To put it simply, automation in e-commerce is the use of applications and tools to automatically perform tasks that have been performed manually so far.
The automation consists of three elements:
- the first one is a trigger event which gives a signal to start the process,
- the next is the condition that determines what events should be performed,
- finally, the last element is an action that fulfils a strictly defined function without human intervention.
This way, companies can do more with the resources they have. Using programmes dedicated to particular tasks, they have the opportunity to focus on key areas of e-business development and at the same time perform many more tasks, but also in a faster and cheaper way.
What areas of e-shop operation are supported by automation?
Automation in e-commerce supports such areas as:
- Inventory management – automation systems continuously monitor inventory levels and react to shortages in time so that the next batch of goods arrives on time and does not cause sales stops.
- Sales – automation of activities is also possible in terms of sales service. Instead of each stage of the purchasing process being verified independently, these activities can be significantly simplified. After placing an order, the customer will receive automatic notification of the order completion status, while in the system it will appear as «in progress».
- Shipping – the same applies to shipping service. The system can generate a waybill and order a courier to collect the shipment. It can also change the status of the order to «Ready for shipment».
- Marketing – the department dealing with the promotion can be automatically notified about new products in the shop and the lack of stocks of specific products, to stop the promotion and optimise advertising expenses.
- Customer service – based on information collected about customers (value of their shopping cart or purchasing frequency), the system can send them personalised messages to thank them for their orders or invitation to the loyalty programme.
- Data analysis and collection – modern e-commerce data analysis systems, such as Ecometrixo, can also automatically aggregate all data from advertising sources in real time. On their basis, the critical KPIs for a given e-shop are calculated.
What are the benefits of automation in e-commerce?
Automation can solve many problems in e-commerce. It is significant for small and medium-sized companies, as they often have little human and financial resources to support the development of e-business. Simultaneously, we should remember that automation in online shops works best when used by combined roles and departments within an organisation. Above all, it saves time. Additional benefits will be felt in the form of:
- reduced number of tasks necessary to perform while running an online shop,
- the opportunity to focus on the most critical aspects of the company’s operations which include making decisions and implementing strategies,
- increased efficiency of individual departments in the company,
- reduced number of human-induced errors in order handling,
- reduced number of abandoned shopping carts,
- optimised advertising budgets,
- improved customer satisfaction,
- increased brand recognition,
- much higher revenues for the e-shop.
For the vast majority of companies in the e-commerce sector, automation of online shop activities makes business sense. Although individual sales processes may vary, most of them are repetitive. Automation of some aspects of the sales, shipping or promotion process ensures efficient operation while directing resources to strategies that develop the company and improve customer service quality.