Business automation has reached a new peak. According to Statista, the size of the overall business process automation market reached $6.6 billion in 2017, will reach $8.2 billion in 2018, and is expected to be $12.7 billion in 2021.
Marketing automation industry itself has topped $3.3 billion in 2017, which is half the volume of this industry, with 30% growth annually. From B2B users’ perspective, 9 out of 10 marketers or 88% of them use more than one marketing automation tools on a regular basis. It’s also expected that in the next 2 years, an additional of 21% of marketers will be using automation platforms.
In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of automation in e-commerce and the 9 ways to automate your store.
Automation is the way of the future, as the human civilization continues to progress, which requires better time and resources management. This technology works in sequences in which multiple data points are used to trigger the following pre-determined steps that reduce redundancy, inactivity, and disconnectivity in light of increasing efficiency and effectivity.
With business and marketing automation mushrooming among competitors, e-commerce stores must adopt it or perish. Below are at least 9 ways to automate an e-commerce store.
1. Automate the Creation of Business Name and Slogan
These processes are often overlooked, as people tend to focus on the products to sell. With a memorable business name and the right tagline, a business can reach far and wide in the long run. Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan, for instance, has become so legendary that it has become a popular phrase worldwide.
2. Automate the Research
In the past, before starting a business, entrepreneurs conduct a feasibility study. Today, e-commerce retailers can conveniently tap into the existing data available for use via online tools, like Jungle Scout, SEMRush, Ahrefs, and ShelfTrend.
With these comprehensive tools, you’d be able to understand the target markets and the competitors better. This way, you can offer products and services that better match their needs and wants.
3. Automate the Storefront Platform
Turn-key e-commerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, or PrestaShop provides various useful features to sell your products online, which aren’t available in a typical blogging platform. These platforms offer efficiency and convenience, which include multiple plugins for numerous automated purposes.
Some examples of storefront automation include a product review, SEO, bulk discount, free shipping, ALT text, receipts, coupons, shipment tracking, push notifications, upselling, cross-selling, retargeting, and others. You can include a variety of automation plugins to increase sale, which is valuable for the bottom line.
4. Automate the Operation
The best e-commerce business is the one that allows you an almost hands-free approach in operation. And one of the most convenient business models is dropshipping, which enables you to start with virtually zero capital, free from warehouse rental expense, and the hassle of order fulfillment and shipment. Considering its benefits, dropshipping is the choice of more than 33% of e-commerce stores worldwide.
5. Automate the Employee Tracking
Tracking onsite and remote employees can now be automated with tools like ClickTime and Asana so hours used will be accounted for to ensure engagement and increased productivity. This type of automation is especially useful if most of the employees work remotely who work in teams for numerous projects.
6. Automate the Fulfilment
If you sell physical products that you create in-house or purchase from suppliers, fulfillment can be quite a headache. However, there are automated fulfillment tools like ShipMonk and ShipBob. Once you’ve shipped all stock inventory to them, whenever there is an order on your store, they will ship it to the customer on your behalf. This fulfillment automation is especially useful when you ship hundreds or thousands of orders per month. It’s a real timesaver.
7. Automate the Marketing
Marketing automation is very popular, and it has become a significant industry. Social media scheduler, like Buffer and Later, and e-mail marketing provider, like MailChimp and Constant Contact, are to mention a few marketing automation tools. In 2018, at least there are 6,829 marketing technologies available.
8. Automate the Data Analytics
Without data analytics, you can’t leverage the best information out. Google Analytics is the minimum tool that any e-commerce business should use, which is free and straightforward to utilize. Optimizely and Neatly also provide reliable analytics to complement Google Analytics.
9. Automate the Accounting
Using a manual system can be time-consuming and quite costly. However, for an e-commerce business with customers from all 50 U.S. states and many foreign countries, you must pay the corresponding sales tax, which can cause a headache without automation like TaxJar.
For built-in inventory management, order tracking from various sources, exporting data to other tools, synchronizing bank accounts, and payroll management, QuickBooks, Xero, and Freshbooks provide reliable automation. While they offer similar features, some slight differences do occur, so it’s recommended to experiment with more than one tools.
In conclusion, regardless of the product sold and the business model adopted, automation in e-commerce will be likely to stay and continue to advance for a very long time. In fact, using automation tools strategically is a crucial component to succeeding in this highly lucrative and competitive business. The better you leverage such technologies, the more likely you can increase revenue and reduce costs.
You can run an almost hands-free e-commerce business with automation tools, which help with the business name and slogan creation, research, storefront platform, operation, employee tracking, fulfilment, marketing, data analytics, and accounting/bookkeeping/taxation. With automation, you can expect to reduce redundancy, decrease inactivity, increase productivity, heighten engagement, and eliminate disconnectivity.
Image Source: Pixabay
Jennifer Xue is an award-winning author, columnist, entrepreneur, and digital strategist for Oberlo based in Northern California. She has published 2,500+ articles and 100 e-books/reports worldwide. Her byline has appeared in Forbes, Fortune, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Business.com, Business2Community, Good Men Project, and others.