Automation in e-commerce
Benjamin Franklin once said "time is money“.
And he was correct, we are still using this phrase until this day.
Especially as a self-employed individual or as a store owner you surely are aware that every minute counts. Whether it's marketing, communications, accounting, order processing, shipping or follow-ups. There are numerous tasks that require lots of attention. Saving time and making more money is the reason why automation exists. It's also the reason why it's becoming more and more important.
Do you want to learn how to automate your online store? Let's take a look.
What is e-commerce automation exactly?
In e-commerce automation, tools like Flow Builder and Rule Builder can be used to automate certain tasks and processes.
To do this, you need to set up a workflow, which means that you first define a trigger and then define actions to be executed.
With an automated, personalized customer greeting, you can increase customer satisfaction without additional effort.
The following ShopStudio extension helps you with personalized customer greetings: https://store.shopware.com/en/shops89766260925f/personalized-customer-greeting.html
Here are some pros of automation
Save time and promote effectiveness
Optimize your business processes to design an effective workflow!
Everyone has time-consuming, everyday tasks. It's a great idea to automate these in particular.
Increase the productivity and satisfaction of your team
Completing daily tasks better, faster and more satisfactorily prevents you and your employees from getting bored by those tasks and thus increases satisfaction and productivity.
Increase customer satisfaction
Satisfied customers will buy your products again. They are responsible for your success. Therefore, it's important to provide outstanding customer care, build meaningful connections to achieve long lasting brand loyalty.
Support your marketing strategy
Automation can help you to divide your customers into groups. For example: VIP customers, first-time customers, only interested in certain products. Based on this data, you can determine which customer group should see which products, content or even discounts. This is where Shopware's Flow Builder can help you. https://www.shopware.com/en/products/flow-builder/
Prevent or reduce human mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes. Especially when we are stressed.
The introduction of automation can remove or reduce the need for control of some processes and thus an enormous amount of work.
Improve supplier interaction
Do you want to build a long-term and profitable relationship with your suppliers? - Automate the communication with your suppliers with e.g. Flow Builder. You could create an automatic trigger which informs you or even creates a direct message to your suppliers if your stock reaches a certain level.
When should I use e-commerce automation?
- Identify problems: Where does congestion occur in your business? If you can't think of any, check the latest customer complaints and reviews. These are the areas you should optimize first.
- Focus on strategy: Looking at the hollistic strategy can sometimes helps you to stay on top of things and to find problems.
- If in doubt, start with communication: If you are still unsure in which areas automation could be used, you can start with marketing.
E-Mails and E-Mail-Marketing
As soon as you start talking about automation in e-commerce, you can't avoid the topic of emailing. No store operator whose store is growing will sit down and send all potential customers a personalized message.
It doesn't matter if it's a newsletter, an order confirmation or information about the receipt of payment. Standard messages can easily be automated.
A side tip: Set up triggering emails.
For example: If your customers are interested in a sold out product they will receive an email, as soon as it is back in stock with the info. For this purpose, the following extension of ShopStudio is suitable for Shopware: https://store.shopware.com/en/shops49235613194m/back-in-stock-notification.html
Or your customers have left the store without completing a purchase and items left in the shopping cart. Send them an email with the reminder to complete their purchase.
Create invoices with less effort
Automatic creation of invoices is a real classic. There are many different options you can chose from. Many are already integrated into the store system. Some providers charge a commission for the work, but take over the complete invoicing including the dunning process.
Merchandise Management Systems - Indispensable Automation Tools
An inventory management system is indispensable when it comes to automating processes around your products in store. The merchandise management system reports when stocks are running low and manage all incoming and outgoing goods. For this, the merchandise management system must be coupled with your own online store.
Accounting: Hell for many, child's play thanks to automation
Through adapted interfaces, suitable programs can link bookings and invoices automatically to the corresponding entry. Also the advance VAT return up to the reminder of orders that have not yet been paid and so on.
Automate customer support with FAQs
You get the same questions over and over again? You are annoyed about it? Then answer these questions once in your FAQs and make them clearly visible on your site. This will reduce support requests significantly and save you time.
Which automation program is suitable for you?
Finding the right automation program depends on your needs. Sometimes you need to experiment, here are some helpful suggestions.
Mailchimp is a program for sending newsletters and your marketing efforts.
HubSpot is suitable for any business. This Software offers Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub and a Content Management System. With the free version, you can already create email templates, set up customer tickets, generate new leads, and create smart content.
ZanDesk is the solution for anyone experiencing bottlenecks in sales communication or customer service.
More time, more efficiency, more satisfaction. Automation = Optimization
At first, it will surely be difficult for you to hand over your processes to tools and algorithms. However, you should definitely try it out. You will quickly notice the relief that comes along with automated processes.
And remember, automation is a form of optimization! Especially if you want to grow your business, it makes sense to check which areas you can automize.