All eCommerce businesses, whatever be their size and the vertical in which they operate, are looking to boost their bottom lines. It is a fact that eCommerce businesses operate 24×7. But that does not mean you have staff taking orders and fulfilling them every hour of the day and every day of the week. eCommerce businesses are automating key processes and adopting technology wherever possible to streamline operations and reduce the dependency on people. Workflow Automation is one such step in the right direction.
When you run an eCommerce business, you come across many tasks that are repetitive, time-consuming, and prone to error. These tasks are handled better by technology, for example, Inventory management. Keeping track of inventory and updating the stock details as and when sales happen can be tedious, cumbersome, and prone to error. When stock levels don’t tally, there are instances of stock-outs and overselling. It can result in a bad customer experience and lost sales. So in workflow automation, you replace a human activity with a digital alternative. If done correctly, this minimizes errors and frees up your resource, who can then engage in more meaningful work.
Many repetitive processes like email marketing, purchase order management, and customer support can get automated. In this blog, we will explore the benefits of workflow automation and some of the main processes that are getting automated.
eCommerce business owners often find themselves strapped for time and resources. Any improvements in the workflow that will enhance efficiency are welcome. For example, the fulfillment of orders can be quite time-consuming and repetitive. For order fulfillment, the same order details need to get updated in multiple locations for updating the inventory data, the back-end ERP system, generating shipping label, sending an order confirmation to the customer, etc. It can be a drain on the resources. The best way to increase efficiency here would be to automate the entire order management process.
eCommerce businesses handle large amounts of data regarding customers, inventory, transactions, etc. Consider the scenario where you have to enter the same data multiple times in various systems. You can be sure that errors will creep in, resulting in lost sales and a bad customer experience. Workflow automation eliminates manual data entry and reduces errors.
Freeing your staff from doing repetitive jobs can help save time and enhance their productivity. They can focus on doing more important things that will help you grow your business.
With automation, you can complete tasks much faster and more precisely. For a small business with limited resources, workflow automation can help cut down on staff costs significantly.
So, in an eCommerce business, what are the areas in which we can use workflow automation?
All eCommerce businesses deal in hundreds of products. Keeping track of inventory and managing it plays a crucial role in the success of any eCommerce business. Adopting workflow automation in inventory management can be a lifesaver. There are automation solutions that connect the back-end ERP with the POS and the eCommerce store. It means that when you update the inventory in the back-end, it automatically gets updated in the POS and your eCommerce store. And, when a sale happens online, the information is captured, and the inventory gets adjusted in the POS and back-end. It ensures that inventory data gets updated in real-time and there are no instances of stock-outs and overselling.
Once your inventory management is automated, you can set alerts to get notified whenever an item in stock falls to a predetermined level. You can then use automation to generate purchase orders automatically. You can even set first choice suppliers for each item and have the purchase order mailed to them. It ensures that stocks get replenished well in time. You don’t have to sift through stock sheets, vendor agreements, and emails every time you need have to reorder a product.
eCommerce businesses deal with multiple vendors for every product on their product catalog. Identifying the vendors, forming a relationship, working out payment and tax details is a long process. To further simplify, businesses are developing supplier portals that automate supplier identification and onboarding. All information regarding a vendor gets captured in the supplier portal along with the transaction details. With such supplier portals, managing vendors become easy, fast, and more accurate.
Order Management involves all the steps in between receipt of an order and successful fulfillment. With workflow automation, you can automate many of these steps. Generating shipping labels is one of them. When you create shipping labels manually, errors are likely to creep in. Even a minor mistake can result in lost sales. Automating order management allows you to handle multiple tasks with a single click. You can send order confirmation emails, track the orders, and on successful delivery, the order gets marked as completed in the system.
You need to spend time and effort in getting customers back to your site even if they are loyal customers. Regular customer communication is required to make this happen. But how do you keep track of customers, their purchase history, and what relevant communication will you send that will ensure that they come back to your site for more purchase. Here automation comes to your help. Automation helps you keep track of products that customers regularly buy from your site and send out reminders to reorder right when they are running out of it. That’s an effective way to nudge them to buy from you again. Yet another way to reach out to customers is by automating abandoned cart emails. Very often, people add products to their carts but don’t end up buying them. Cart abandonment emails are successful in getting a few of them at least to complete the purchase process.
Product returns are part and parcel of the online business. What makes the difference is how you handle them. With automation, you can facilitate easy returns. You can mark products that can get replaced and those for which refunds will be processed. Automate the process for immediate action. How fast you respond to product cancellations will determine if the customers will return to your store for future purchases.
According to estimates, by 2021, 85% of customer service interactions will get automated. It applies to eCommerce as well. Today you can configure your help desk to do an array of tasks. We are familiar with chatbots who answer customer queries effectively. But, automation can do much more than that. You can prevent canceled orders from getting into the fulfillment stage. You can send out relevant canned emails immediately based on keywords identified from customer emails. For example, delivery not received, wrong product delivered, etc. An immediate response helps pacify irate customers to some extent while the customer support gets about solving the issue.
To know more about how you can improve your eCommerce operations with workflow automation, connect with Arizon Digital.