How to Effectively Automate an Ecommerce Site
Whether you’re looking to scale or increase the productivity of your existing workforce, automation is often the solution. While automation can come in a variety forms, if you’re looking to improve your online business, you’ll need ecommerce automation.
Much like the more often discussed business process automation, ecommerce automation takes work off of your plate by automating some of the processes associated with running your online store. In many ways, with ecommerce automation, your site can do more to run itself, so you and your employees don’t have to.
If you’re interested in taking your online business up a notch, here are just a few examples of how to automate an ecommerce site.
1. Welcome new customers.
When you walk into a physical store, a friendly cashier may greet you with something like, “Good morning! Welcome,” immediately setting a positive tone. While you can’t wave hello to every customer that visits your site, you can use automation to instigate a similar experience.
You can emulate that friendly employee with the help of a chatbot, who can both greet your customers and ask if they have any questions. If chatbots aren’t for you, you can use an automated pop-up to ask customers to sign-up for your newsletter, and from there, send them a “Welcome” email.
2. Provide product recommendations.
Once a customer starts looking around on your website, you’ll want to ensure that they know you have products that they’ll enjoy. Amazon, and most major ecommerce sites, do this using product recommendation engines, which suggest products based on customer behavior.
Amazon does this because it works: In fact, product recommendations account for an estimated 35% of purchases on Amazon (MarketTech). And on average, purchases resulting from product recommendations accounted for 31% of ecommerce revenues (Barilliance), and they could increase your potential revenue too.
3. Detect fraudulent orders.
Unfortunately, fraud is a very real issue in the ecommerce market, and in recent years, it’s been a more extraordinary problem than in the past. In 2017, ecommerce fraud increased almost twice as rapidly (30%) as ecommerce sales (16%) (Digital Commerce 360), but thankfully, these issues can be circumvented.
Rather than manually verifying that every order you process is legitimate, your site can automatically detect and cancel fraudulent orders for you. Moreover, it can immediately notify your team of these failed order attempts, multiple failed order attempts, and more via push notifications.
4. Retarget potential leads.
If you’ve ever browsed the Internet for a product, then logged into your Facebook to discover multiple ads for similar items, you’ve been retargeted. Retargeting is similar to product recommendation engines but it focuses on customers that left without making a purchase.
Just like product recommendations, ecommerce sites use retargeting because it’s effective: 70% of retargeted website visitors are more likely to become a lead (Spiralytics). In this way, retargeting is a great way to capture leads you may have otherwise lost.
5. Save abandoned shopping carts.
In line with retargeting, abandoned shopping carts are a recurring issue for ecommerce businesses. Based on 41 studies containing shopping cart abandonment statistics, the average rate of abandoned carts is 69.57% (Baymard Institute). That means, about 7 out of 10 of your potential customers could be leaving your site without making a purchase.
The good news is that you can use automation to turn those abandoned shopping carts into conversions. By sending reminder email of their abandoned shopping carts, such as "Hey, you have forgotten something in your cart...," you can turn an abandoned cart into a purchase—find 29 templates and examples here (ROIFoundry). In fact, 50% of those who click-through emails like these will make a purchase (Moosend).
6. Segment your customers.
Customer segmentation can help you to get to know your customers better and improve your marketing strategy. By segmenting your audience, you can increase your chances of sending the right customers, the right messages, and at the right time.
Unfortunately, organizing your customers in a spreadsheet can be a bit of a time-consuming mess. Instead, your website can automatically organize your contacts into segments for you. These segments can help you to better assess customer behavior, where customers are at in the marketing funnel, customer satisfaction, and more.
7. Nurture customer relationships.
In ecommerce, it can be easy to get caught up in acquiring new customers, but it’s almost more valuable to spend time retaining the customers you already have. In fact, existing customers are known to spend 67% more than new customers, and acquiring new customers can cost up to 10 times more than selling to customers you already have (Business.com).
A few ways that you can reach out to existing customers is by sending them relevant content or product recommendations, sharing the latest news or deals for your business, or offering them rewards. Your site can select the appropriate content based on the customer segments it generates.
8. Manage your inventory.
Another time-consuming task you’re probably familiar with is inventory management. Between keeping track of how much you have in stock, creating sales forecasts, ordering stock based on those forecasts, someone at your business (if not you) is spending a lot of time making sure that everything’s in order.
In addition to processing orders on its own, your site can automate most inventory management. For instance, it can update inventory information when you’re low or out-of-stock on items—not to mention, it can re-order popular items on its own. Even better, if you outsource your shipping and fulfillment to a company like ShipStation, your site can send order information to them, and they can process the order from there, freeing you of most of the inventory work altogether.
Depending on the size of your online business, you should consider implementing a few (or even all) of these features on your ecommerce website. Before doing so, you’ll want to evaluate the potential return on your investment. If you find that ecommerce automation could save time and money, it’s time to hire a web developer and start making changes.
To find out how we can help your team, reach out to us today.