eCommerce automation is no longer a novelty reserved for the likes of eBay and Amazon, it is a necessity in an increasingly fast-paced global market. Think of your eCommerce business as an organic system that grows and needs its infrastructure to grow proportionally and adequately. If sales increase and your backend gets strained, maintaining the quality of service can become challenging.
Business automation is a key element of being vigilant, proactive, and of having a long-term vision. Every automated routine process lays the foundation for sustainable growth. That is why it is important to plan your data and inventory management systems with your end goals in mind. Think strategically, keeping the upward eCommerce trend in mind so you avoid missteps, service interruptions, and unhappy customers.
Sustained eCommerce automation can transform you into a leader in your category and drive sales as your processes and quality of service get smoother. The continuous improvement of the customer experience combined with reduced labor cost and streamlined business processes ultimately create a competitive advantage.
Reduced Process Variations Boost Efficiency
Start with the backend and you will gradually see how process improvements blossom into improvements across the board. Business automation and consolidation of workflow into content and inventory management systems, that communicate seamlessly with vendor databases and your sales platforms, reduce process variations and errors.
Automated data and eCommerce inventory management lead to streamlined processes and better communication both between systems and between systems and your team. Key benefits:
- Reduce the risk of errors
- Accurate real-time inventory tracking
- Seamless price and content updates
- Smooth multi-platform integrations
- Speedier data validation
- Complex processes accommodation
Sustainable growth is rooted in continuous incremental improvement of your systems and processes. Responsive systems reduce risks, send alerts, and are scalable so you can accommodate larger volumes like, say, seasonal spikes around the holidays. This leads to more satisfied customers, retention, and ultimately more future sales.
If you are running your operation on multiple platforms a single umbrella system that communicates effectively and error-free with all of them is essential. Think drop shipping automation and of the challenges often encountered in transferring massive product bundles from you fulfillment partners to different platforms like Amazon, Shopify, eBay, or Fnac.
Furthermore, if you are running your own fulfillment the supply chain you have to manage becomes even longer. In both scenarios, you can cut cost, save time, and minimize errors by employing a central hub-like solution that is tailored to your needs and communicates effectively with your vendors and your customer-facing platforms.
Efficiency Invites Growth
You have reduced process variations and sped up routine tasks. When repetitive tasks like data entry, inventory transfers, price and content updates, and troubleshooting are automated you are empowering your team. You make them more efficient and give them an opportunity to be proactive.
Efficient systems lead to simplified communication and time economy. This, in turn, allows your team to be more growth-minded and creative which further fine tunes your operation and leads to synergistic growth. The time you are saving can be allocated to growth initiatives.
You can invest time in mining your data, finding your strengths, researching marketing niches that you can add to your portfolio. You can focus on getting better deals from your fulfillment partners and improving your margins. When you automate your inventory and processes you free up time and resources to intelligently grow.
Automation Improves the Customer Experience
Better eCommerce inventory management improves both your relationship with your fulfillment partners and with your customers. This creates a synergistic system in which products and data flow better and communication is streamlined.
Your supply chain is your bread and butter. Keep in mind, it is essential to treat your vendors the same way you treat your customers. The quality of the service you provide depends on these relationships regardless of their complexity. Automating the routine paths of communication like inventory updates, data transfers, availability schedules, and order placements can remove a lot of the friction and lead to improved customer satisfaction and retention.
This backend automation combined with error-free front end system integration, and reliable technical support projects on your customers. Finally, combined with your team’s ability to allocate more time to the front end operations, automation can lead to improvement in your key customer touch points:
- No downtime
- Accurate displaying
- Better customer service
- Timely follow-ups
- Improved tracking
- Improved delivery times
- Smoother returns
- Increased trust and retention
You can see examples of these principles in seasonal surges when you have to accommodate more orders. Here you can usually notice limitations and strain in legacy systems.
Additionally, adding seasonal products in batches quickly, before the competition, gives you an advantage and establishes you as a leader. eCommerce is in an uptrend and automating processes puts you at the forefront of your niche. Furthermore, better execution leads to happier customer and snatching a bigger slice of this rapidly expanding ecosystem.
Data Automation Drives Better Decisions
Your eCommerce data is an informational treasure trove that can serve as an engine to drive growth. At the same time, it can be challenging to give your data enough structure in order to get the insights you need to fine-tune your product selection and optimize your inventory.
Accessible eCommerce data is the additional benefit of a well-integrated system. This enables you to make better decisions. It is key to use your data proactively, generate reports, and use machine learning or algorithms to uncover trends and find opportunities to boost revenue.
If you are selling shoes and notice a decline in demand for leather shoes in urban centers because of the vegan movement, you can refocus on products that are in line this market. Better data management and its application is a product of eCommerce automation. It gives you growth insights and helps you focus on your key revenue drivers.
eCommerce in Numbers
- eCommerce is projected to reach 17.5% of global retail sales by 2021. (Amasty)
- Global eCommerce sales will reach 3.3 trillion in 2019 and 4.5 trillion in 2021 from 2.8 trillion in 2018. (Statista)
- 57% of online shoppers shopped online in the past six months from an overseas retailer. (Statista)
- 67% of millennials prefer to shop online rather than in the store. (Big Commerce)
- 33% of eCommerce businesses consider the improvement of their fulfillment operations a top priority. (Access Group)
- 65% of retailers plan to invest in inventory and supply chain automation by 2021. (Intelligence)
- 72% of retailers plan to invest in machine learning by 2021. (Intelligence)
- 40% of AI & ML software investment in 2018 was in data analytics and 20% in eCommerce. (Amasty)
eCommerce is steadily on the rise and maintaining a well-oiled operation is critical to keeping and expanding your market share. Business automation can no longer be a side project but should be central to your long term strategy. The right degree of eCommerce automation tailored to your needs combined with a proactive team can significantly kindle the fires of growth. As organizations grow they become more complex and using the right solutions to simplify this complexity sets you up to outpace long-term challenges and make your mark.