The Power of Ecommerce Automation: What It Is and How It Works

18 December 2023

A lot goes into running an ecommerce business. Meeting a user’s needs at each point in their customer journey, fulfilling and shipping orders, crafting compelling marketing strategies, and responding to customers’ queries are just a few of the things you’ll need to tackle.

The good news is that many of these tasks can be automated. In fact, automation grew by 507% in a year in the retail industry alone.

With ecommerce automation, you won’t have to spend a considerable amount of time completing manual tasks or procedures.

Manual processes limit your growth, increase the risk of errors, and take time away from bigger and better things you and your team could be doing.

Throughout this guide, we’ll look at how ecommerce automation software can help you streamline various aspects of your business.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

What Is Ecommerce Automation?

Ecommerce automation is the process of automating manual and repetitive tasks within an online platform. These tasks include inventory management, customer support, order processing, marketing campaigns, and customer communications.

For instance, you can inform a user about the status of a purchase via automated email notifications.

The goal is to free up employees to work on higher-level tasks, like product iteration, negotiating new supplier contracts, market expansion, and engaging with customers on social media.

And as your ecommerce business grows, you won’t need to add to your headcount as much since many of your repetitive or everyday tasks will be automated.

Many ecommerce automation tools, software, and apps are available online to aid in running your business. For instance, k-ecommerce’s B2B ecommerce platform integrates with your ERP (e.g., Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Acumatica) to create an automated system for order fulfillment.

It’s crucial to note that automation can’t replace your workforce, as certain aspects of your ecommerce business will still require human input.

How Does Ecommerce Automation Work?

The ecommerce automation process involves three steps: a trigger, a condition, and an action. Let’s look at each in a bit more detail:

  • Trigger: An event that kicks off the automation process (e.g., a customer places an order or creates a new account).
  • Condition: A rule that determines what action will be taken (e.g., a customer spends a certain amount, qualifying them for a discount).
  • Action: A task that will occur once certain conditions are met (e.g., the customer receives the discount).

What Can Be Automated In Ecommerce?

To unlock the full benefits of ecommerce automation, here are the manual processes you should automate as soon as possible:

Inventory Management

Managing inventory effectively is paramount to the success of any ecommerce business. Automating inventory management allows you to keep track of your stock levels across the channels you sell on in real-time. Automated systems help with reordering, as well. Plus, they enable more accurate inventory forecasting.

Using K.ecom, for example, your inventory in the ERP will sync with our ecommerce platform. Consequently, you’ll be aware of how much inventory you have at any given moment, eliminating overselling and overstocking. And once an order is shipped, the ERP will update your inventory in real-time.

Order Processing

An order processing error (e.g., a user receiving the wrong item) increases your risk of receiving a bad review. And since 98% of local consumers read online reviews, this can pose a significant problem.

However, automated order management eliminates manual data entry, along with the risk of human error. It also makes scaling easier since the system can handle increasing volumes of orders effectively.

When you opt for ecommerce ERP integration, order processing and invoicing will be automated, allowing you to fulfill orders faster and more accurately. You’ll also get access to a real-time order tracking dashboard and integrated shipping tools to make order fulfillment easier.

Email and Social Media Marketing

Email automation can assist with crucial marketing activities, like lead nurturing, customer retention, sales, and personalization. A customized experience, for example, has been found to result in 56% of consumers becoming repeat buyers.

Rather than manually onboarding new customers, using email workflows to automate the process is a great example of ecommerce marketing automation in action.

You can also use automated emails to try to recover sales from undecided customers, which can significantly boost revenue, considering that 70.19% of ecommerce shopping carts are abandoned.

What’s more, you can deliver personalized recommendations to users based on their interests, promote new products, and remind customers of important events, like subscription renewals.

Overall, email marketing offers lots of possibilities for engaging with your customers, and automating these processes can put you ahead of the game.

It’s also worth noting that you can optimize and simplify your social media posting using automation. For example, you can schedule posts to go live at the perfect time for your target audience and set up automatic responses to queries on your social profiles.

Customer Service

A 2023 study found that 76% of customers would go out of their way to do business with a company that offers better service. The good news: Automating customer service can go a long way in boosting customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Chatbots, for instance, can quickly respond to frequently asked questions (FAQs), freeing team members to focus on complex problem-solving or inquiries requiring human interaction. These bots can also offer support outside of business hours and collect a plethora of customer data from their interactions that you can use to improve your support strategy.

It’s no wonder that Gartner expects that one-quarter of organizations will use chatbots as their primary customer service channel by 2027.

However, note that chatbots should work alongside your support team, not replace them altogether.

Fraud Detection

Unfortunately, online businesses can fall prey to fraudsters at any given moment. For instance, 53% of respondents in a 2022 PwC survey experienced financial losses (some up to $1 million) due to ecommerce platform fraud.

Manually reviewing orders to check for fraud is labor-intensive and inefficient. Ecommerce automation services, particularly AI fraud management systems, can detect and cancel high-risk orders, such as those involving multiple cards to complete a single purchase or larger-than-usual purchases. This results in fewer chargebacks, happier customers, and more revenue.

Payment Processing

Automated payment solutions can help ecommerce business owners manage their financial operations more efficiently and effectively.

For instance, the time and money spent on accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) processes will reduce significantly, allowing you to focus on delighting your target demographics. AP and AR automation can also reduce the risk of errors caused by manual data entry, as well as help you avoid a disengaged or overworked finance team.

At the end of the day, an ERP-integrated payment solution like KIP allows you to process invoices faster, reduce errors, and cut costs.

Benefits of Automation in Ecommerce

Automation in ecommerce can be a game changer for businesses of all sizes. Listed below are some of the key benefits of automating your online store:

Improved Customer Experience

Offering ecommerce customers a great experience is not just a good idea. It’s crucial to your success.

Automated product recommendations, accurate product availability information, and timely chatbot replies are just some of the ways ecommerce automation tools can help with this. In short, these tools ensure that you offer a hassle-free, memorable, and efficient shopping experience.

Greater Accuracy

Manually overseeing an online shop is not only time-consuming but also prone to human errors. Automated systems ensure business processes are executed accurately, allowing you to avoid costly mistakes and maintain a competitive advantage.

Overcoming a Lack of Resources

In essence, ecommerce automation involves automating everyday tasks to streamline business processes. That way, even with fewer resources, you can scale up your business and provide an optimal customer experience.

More Productive Business Processes

Outsourcing time-consuming business processes to ecommerce automation tools can go a long way in enhancing productivity. For instance, when looking to automate your marketing efforts, you only need to set up a workflow once. By doing so, you’ll free up valuable time and resources and maintain focus on high-value work.

The reduction in repetitive manual effort can also improve morale and job satisfaction. As a result, employees may be less likely to leave your organization.

Final Thoughts: Ecommerce Automation — 6 Tasks To Automate + Benefits

By implementing ecommerce automation, you can scale efficiently, reduce manual errors, make informed choices, and build meaningful connections with your customer base.

If you’re looking to automate your ecommerce operations, consider k-ecommerce. With our ERP-integrated solutions, you’ll be able to automate order and payment processing, keep track of inventory in real-time, and ship products quickly. Whether you sell to B2B clients, D2C clients, or both, we’ve got you covered.

Contact us today to learn more about how to use automation to propel your business forward.

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