8 Workflow Automation Ideas For Ecommerce Business Processes

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The internet has revolutionized the worlds of online shopping and retail. In 2020, global ecommerce sales crossed$4.28 trillion, with no sign of this growth slowing down. Ecommerce is a 24-hour business where speed is of the essence. 

  • Speed of conversions, 
  • Speed of deliveries, 
  • Speed of marketing, and 
  • Speed of returns, all drive this highly competitive industry.

Optimizing your resources is the only way to maintain the pace and stay ahead of the competition. Workflow automation facilitates just this. In this article, we’ll find out what workflow automation means for ecommerce. We’ll also look at some ideas for implementing it in your business processes.

What is Workflow Automation?

Workflow automation helps simplify and streamline business processes. It completes basic and repetitive tasks within a business with the help of apps or other software. This reduces the manual task load of your employees. They can now focus on the important aspects of business development and use their expertise where it matters.

From MarCom to IT support, automation has transformed traditional business processes. This has helped boost productivity. Workflow automation is particularly useful for a dynamic business niche like ecommerce, which involves running multiple functions at once 24X7.

For example, if you’re an e-business owner, you know how important lead generation is for sales. Consider how useful anautomated lead generation tool will be for your business. It saves valuable time and money and allows your sales team to use their skills to nurture those leads. This improves chances for conversion.

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How Does Workflow Automation Help Your E-commerce Business?

Improved Efficiency and Resource Management

Running a business involves various tasks and processes of varying complexities. Repetitive and time-consuming tasks create unnecessary bottlenecks in your business functions. As a result, important jobs get delayed. Automating smaller, basic tasks allows for prioritizing important tasks and improves overall efficiency across your business.  

Improved Accuracy

E-commerce as a business involves large volumes of data. This includes everything from order numbers to inventory and customer details. Before automation, data input was done manually. 

This naturally posed high risks of error. For example, recording incorrect customer details can prevent you from fulfilling an order. Workflow automation takes away the risk of human error and improves accuracy.

Improved Productivity

The biggest benefit of workflow automation is that it improves productivity. By automating repetitive tasks, employees can focus on those tasks that require professional expertise. 

For example, with recruitment automation tools, hiring managers can automate basic tasks like interview scheduling. Instead, they can focus on a candidate’s suitability and fit with the company culture. This improves productivity.

What Processes Can Benefit from Workflow Automation?

Here are the top eight workflow automation ideas for e-commerce business processes:

  1. Customer Support

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The emphasis of internet retail is rapidly changing toward improved consumer experiences. Over two billion individuals purchased products and services online in 2020 alone. This emphasizes the necessity of giving clients the finest purchasing experience possible so that they do not choose your competitors instead.

Workflow automation tools let you connect and engage with customers at various stages of the buying cycle. Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered automation tools collect data about customer preferences through loyalty programs, reward systems, and more. With this data, you can create a customized CX. This includes tailored emails, messages, and other engagement collaterals sent at specific times.

It’s worthwhile to find out the ways ecommerce websites can make the most of their data. For example, automation tools can use website analytics to track customer behavior and segment them into different groups. This helps tailor your CX. You can segment customers by age, gender, and any other metrics.

Automated responses are another great tool in your customer relationship program. It’s most helpful to track and respond to negative feedback. You could have a rating system for customers to leave feedback. Your automation tool can be set up to flag any ratings that are two or under out of five. 

You can use an automatic dialer in response to any negative reviews. Make sure it is personalized and understanding in tone. Keep it brief and to the point. By responding promptly to reviews, your customers will feel valued, and their opinions heard.

These reviews can also be automatically directed to your customer service team. According to a recent report,30% of customers are willing to change their negative reviews if their issues have been addressed by the business.

2. Marketing

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Marketing is another function that benefits from automation. Customer needs and preferences are changing all the time. It can be challenging to market products that match these needs. 

This is why businesses are now trying to predict customer behavior. It helps them make these marketing decisions. AI gathers user information from their browser history to produce insightful findings. Predictive analytics aid businesses in creating tailored marketing strategies for potential clients.

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These can include product recommendations and custom emails about specific products. For example, when you buy a book on Amazon, it shows you a message that says: “customers who bought this book also bought X title.” This sort of tailored service is what gives your business an edge in a competitive market. It also boosts customer experience.

Workflow automation tools are also great for social media management. They can schedule posts, track and manage influencer engagement, and promote offline conversion.

Whether your marketing campaign is run across social media or online, automated tools such as a UTM builder allow you to seamlessly track and analyze the impact of your campaigns. Integrated with analytics platforms, this valuable information can help guide your future marketing strategies.

3. Inventory Management

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Inventory management is one of the most important functions of an ecommerce business. You can’t fulfill your orders without an accurate record of your stock. If you’re overstocked, it’s a waste of warehouse space. Automating your inventory management lets you always stay on top of your stock levels. This facilitates the smooth fulfillment of orders.

With an automated inventory management tool, you can achieve the following streamlined process:

  1. Sales team receives an order
  2. The automation tool allocates the relevant stock to the order number
  3. A “Ready for Dispatch” tag is assigned to the order on your system
  4. Shipping labels and other order details are generated
  5. The order is packed and sent
  6. Stock removal is recorded, and the new stock volume is updated

Running a warehouse is a team effort, and a task management app for team enhances its efficiency. 

4. Purchase Order Automation

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You can now automate more complex tasks like ordering inventory from suppliers. A purchase order automation tool can raise a purchase order with your supplier when your stock volume drops to a certain level. Manual stock checking is both time-consuming and prone to errors. If you don’t order new stock in time, you’ll be unable to fulfill orders.

With purchase order automation, your stock levels are monitored automatically. Requests for reorders are placed in time, so you’re never understocked. Before automating your purchase order, take the time to map your current process in its entirety. You will then be able to see if your business is ready for automation and be able to make any necessary adjustments.

5. Order Management

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Order management refers to the process of tracking and completing a customer’s order from start to finish. It involves several steps, including:

  • Generating shipping labels 
  • Printing and assigning labels to the right orders
  • And more 

Automating this process greatly increases its efficiency.

Consider a warehouse employee who is manually recording and assigning shipping labels. The smallest mistake in the recipient’s address details can result in the order not being fulfilled. Software for business process management removes such risks of human error.

6. Supplier Onboarding

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If you run an ecommerce business, you know the amount of information you need every time you bring in a new supplier. You need large volumes of sensitive information, from tax details to payment methods. This is both for legal and administrative reasons. When you’re dealing with multiple suppliers and bringing on new ones, the volume of data gets multiplied.

This is where an automation tool like a supplier portal can be invaluable in simplifying new supplier onboarding. Create comprehensive digital forms to collect all necessary information to minimize admin and the chance for human error. Again, map your process before digitizing; this will help you optimize your system and identify any bottlenecks in your current process. 

With a supplier portal, you can share relevant details with your suppliers on a web-based interface and securely store all data. This is a quicker and more efficient process and lets your team focus on other tasks.

7. Sales

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Automation tools can provide sales teams with useful insights into consumer behavior. This can boost sales functions. They also take care of repetitive tasks like scheduling meetings and email follow-ups. This increases efficiency and also enhances the customer experience.

Sales automation tools also help sales teams stay on top of which clients to follow up with. These tools track and log customer calls, so you always know where you stand with which client. For example, you’ve made an initial phone call to Prospect A and scheduled a face-to-face meeting with Prospect B.

Sales automation tools record this data, so it’s at your fingertips when you’re following up with clients. When you know exactly which stage of a client’s buying cycle, you find ways to personalize your selling.

8. Accounting

Ecommerce businesses deal with large volumes of receipts and invoices. Recording and processing these are time-consuming and vulnerable to human error. Accounting automation tools can keep track of your invoices and refunds. You don’t have to devote human resources to these tasks.

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Instead, finance managers can concentrate on higher-level activities which need their expertise. This boosts productivity.

In Conclusion

Workflow automation is the future of all business process management. The growth forecast for ecommerce, similarly, points only one way. Online retail sales are expected to cross$969 billion by 2023

In this article, we explored how workflow automation boosts efficiency and productivity in ecommerce. We also looked at some of the business functions that could get automated to deliver significant benefits.

Take note of the values of customer support, marketing, and inventory forecasting to keep the wheels of your business turning. Meanwhile, automation in purchases, orders, and onboarding of suppliers can help make everything centralized and efficient. With these, you can ultimately reap benefits when you look at your business’ sales and accounting reports.

As more and more businesses take their operations online, they can broaden their reach. Capitalizing on this opportunity needs a sound strategy. By automating the smaller tasks in your business, you can drown out the “white noise” and focus on the strategy, driving growth.

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