Ecommerce business owners often find themselves swamped with daily manual tasks. From keeping track of inventory to answering customer questions, the workload can feel overwhelming.
This constant juggling act makes it hard to focus on growing your bottom line. Luckily, that's where ecommerce automation steps in. It's a game-changer for ecommerce sellers, helping you streamline operations and burn through your to-do list faster than ever before.
By using technology to automate away repetitive tasks, you can save time, minimize errors, and concentrate on expanding your business and keeping your customers happy.
In the guide that follows, we'll explore all the ways that you can use automation tools to take your ecommerce business to the next level.
What is ecommerce automation? 🚀
Ecommerce automation leans on new technology to handle the manual aspects of running an online store. It puts the boring and time-consuming parts of your business on autopilot.
This means using software to do things like update inventory, process orders, and send out emails without ever having to lift a finger. This lets you focus on the bigger picture, like accelerating your business and building brand loyalty.
Whether it's restocking items when they run low or sending a welcome message to new customers, automation gives you back more of your time and gets rid of costly mistakes.
How does ecommerce automation work? 🤔
Here's how ecommerce automation typically works: You first download the automation tools you need, and sync them with your storefront. You then spend a bit of time setting up rules and conditions based on what you're looking to accomplish.
For example, you might set a rule to automatically reorder inventory when it falls below a certain level. The automation software you're using constantly monitors your store for these conditions. When a condition is met, like your stock getting low, the software then takes the action you've set up, such as placing an order with your supplier.
Automation runs quietly in the background. It handles tasks like managing inventory, processing orders, and blasting out emails without you having to be physically present.
This way, you're free to focus on more important things, like generating revenue, developing new products, or growing your core base of customers. When it comes down to it, automation is designed to make the day-to-day workload that surrounds running an online store smoother and less time-consuming than before.
Why should I automate my ecommerce business? 🧰
Save time & money
Automating your ecommerce business can save you endless hours and eliminate wasteful spending. By handling routine manual tasks with the snap of a finger, you cut down on the need for manual labor and lower the risk of things going wrong.
Make more money
When you're not stuck doing mundane tasks, you have more time to focus on things that actually grow your business, like creating new products or amplifying your store on social media.
Automation lets you respond to customers instantly, like sending a discount code right after they abandon a cart, or delivering a digital product to download immediately after purchase. This timely and personalized response can significantly boost your sales.
People make mistakes, but automated systems follow the rules exactly. This means fewer errors in things like orders and inventory counts, customer communication spelling and grammar, and your business running like a well-oiled machine.
How to automate your ecommerce business 🙋
When looking to automate your ecommerce operations, it's best to start small, and work your way up from there. Begin with the areas of your business where you're spending the most time.
Ask yourself: where is most of my day being spent? And then also ask yourself: is there a software tool that I can use to save time and take a massive load off my plate?
If so, that's where you should look to automate first. Below, we highlight some of the many areas where you can use automation tools to save time and minimize manual effort within your ecommerce business.
Email and SMS automations
Set up automated emails and SMS for different customer actions – like viewing a product, abandoning a checkout, or confirming an order. These marketing automations keep your customers engaged without you having to send each message one-by-one. In our experience, Klaviyo and Postscript are some of the best ecommerce automation tools for this purpose.
Automatically ask customers for reviews, or ask them to publicly share their experiences with your products. We recommend a tool like Loox or Okendo to easily remind shoppers to leave feedback. (You can even schedule your requests based on the delivery time of your items.)
User-generated content is some of the most powerful media in ecommerce. It shows customers actually using your products in the real world – and compels other shoppers to want to do the same. You can use a tool like Okendo to automatically collect and curate your UGC from across channels, highlighting it front and center on your storefront for maximum impact.
Use tools like Aftersell to suggest complementary products or upgrades to customers, boosting your average order value without extra effort. By tapping into customer data – and reaching buyers where they are – you can use precise targeting to increase revenue.
Leverage Shopify's AI product description generator for quick and engaging product descriptions you can embed directly into your store catalog. Use tools like ChatGPT-4 for fresh ideas for social media content – from posts on Facebook to captions on Instagram – saving time on brainstorming and content creation.
Automate split testing of your website elements using apps like Shoplift. This helps in optimizing your site based on what resonates with visitors the most, without the need for constant manual monitoring.
Customer Experience Automation
Implement a chatbot that can automate common replies in a way that feels authentic. Tools like Gorgias are designed for this purpose. This speeds up response times and frees up your support team to handle more complex investigations.
Some chatbots – like Rep, which creates a personalized, guided experience – can also help in driving sales. It uses a chat concierge to recommend products on the fly, offer discounts, and coax customers through their purchasing decisions.
Inventory Management Automation
Tools like SkuVault can be incredibly helpful. They synchronize your inventory across all selling channels. This means your stock levels are always up-to-date, regardless of where you're selling. Plus, it can automatically update warehouse bin locations, making it easier to manage and locate your physical inventory.
Inventory Planning/Forecasting Automation
Using a tool like Inventory Planner can improve how you handle the management of your goods. It uses past sales data to predict future inventory needs, helping you to order just the right amount of stock and avoid both overstocking and stockouts.
Order Management Automation
A platform like ShipStation can automatically print shipping labels in bulk. It can also decide the best shipping method for each order, saving you time when fulfilling items and reducing shipping delays for customers.
Reporting & Analytics Automation
Keeping track of your performance can be a headache, but it doesn't have to be. With a tool like Triple Whale in your back pocket, you can streamline the process of measuring your analytics.
Instead of spending hours pulling together countless spreadsheets from different places, this tool does it for you. It gives you easy access to all the important data about your sales, traffic, and conversions, so you can make quick decisions and double down on the strategies that are working best.
Fighting Chargebacks Automatically
Let's face it: dealing with chargebacks can be a hassle, even though it's an important part of protecting your business. A tool like Disputifier takes over this task. It handles the documentation and dispute process for you, which can save you time and help recover money that might have otherwise been lost to fraudulent claims.
Final Thoughts 🕵️♀️
At the end of the day, automation can make your life ten times easier. It's like having an extra set of hands (or several) doing work behind the scenes.
With automation, things like keeping track of your inventory, sending out emails, and even managing your customer support requests become a breeze. Automation also means you're less likely to run into errors – the kind that can cost time and money.
When you're not bogged down by routine work, you can think more creatively and strategically about your business. You can spend more time dreaming up new products, refining your marketing strategies, or just connecting with your buyers on a personal level.
In a marketplace where things move fast and competition is cutthroat, setting up a system that works tirelessly in the background can make all the difference in the world. Using any of the apps we've highlighted in this guide – in whatever combination suits you best – can set you up for long-term success.