Automation in e-commerce
What is automation?
In a nutshell, this is the use of certain software that helps to ensure the repetition of certain actions, such as shipping orders (including generating labels for couriers) or updating stock.. Automation allows you to save time, which, for example, you can spend on marketing activities.
By introducing this mechanism, you will be streamlining your store operations, reduce the possibility of human error, and thus improve customer satisfaction.
What kind of automation can be introduced
Automation of orders
For the entire implementation of automation, it can be helpful to create and integrate an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system. This will make order processing much simpler.
It will make it easy for you to check:
- payment status
- shipping status
- complaint status
- order status (e.g. cancellation, additional messages)
In addition you will:
- generate waybills
- send information to your customers about the status of their orders
- automatically refund payments in the event of a complaint
Automate your customer service
Imagine that your store offers dozens of products and you receive over a hundred orders a day (which we wish for you!). It would take you a couple of hours a day to send order confirmations, information about execution and shipment. Of course, you have to personalize each message (product, order number). Fortunately, automation comes to the rescue. It is possible to automatically generate order confirmations and send information about their status.
When it comes to customer service, it's also worth creating a section with FAQs (frequently asked questions), displaying all typical questions your customers ask (or you expect them to ask). This will help you avoid having to answer several or more of the same questions asked via email.
Customer service can also be done through chatbots. This is a relatively new tool for automating activities, but it is very popular because of a number of benefits it offers. First and foremost, it's a tool that is available 24/7, and it works based on the keywords a user uses in their message ,so that responses are automatically generated.
These days, marketing isn't just about clicking the ‘Boost post’ button on Facebook. Implementing the so-called marketing automation will allow you to see which products are most popular, how much time your customers spend on your store page or where they come to your site from. Moreover, using e.g. Google Analytics, you can learn a lot about your users' location, the device they use to view the page (computer, phone, tablet) or their age.
Thanks to automation you can also send personalized e-mails or display specific ads to users who ,for example, did not proceed with their order basket. The system will then automatically send a message to the user informing them that their order has not been finalized.
Google Ads is very helpful in marketing automation. Google Ads allows you to take advantage of dynamic ads, which display to the user a particular product they were looking for, e.g. ,on a competitor's website. Just upload a list of your products, and the algorithm will independently select the appropriate range for the keywords that the user used.
Facebook ads work in a similar way - for example, if you have a database of e-mail addresses of your customers, you can upload them to your advertising system, and the appropriate algorithm will match, using dynamic ads, the appropriate content to the user.
All personalized ads are based on the concept of remarketing. If your potential customer visited your online store, you can easily show him an ad. For remarketing to work, you will need to place the appropriate codes on the page. Mainly related to Google Ads and Facebook pixel. It is also worth adding a code allowing you to use Google Analytics and Google Tag to fully implement marketing automation.
We mentioned chatbots earlier. In our opinion, this is one of the key tools that is used in e-commerce and it is and it is gaining popularity.
There are two types of chatbots on the market:
conversational chatbot - based on artificial intelligence (AI), which learns answers to questions from prior conversations, using natural language;
block chatbot - with pre-made answers, using so-called flowcharts, i.e. a pre-prepared conversation scenario
It works 24 hours a day and partially replaces a human. Chatbots are implemented to improve customer service but also to offer other products to buyers.
The tool, sometimes called a virtual advisor, will prove useful in such areas as:
- handling complaints
- verification of payment status
- answers to common customer queries
- information on the status of an order
- offering other products
Of course, these are not all the functionalities and areas where a chatbot can be used. If we talk about the way the bot is implemented, as you may sometimes notice - it is based on Facebook's functionalities, i. e. Messenger. Imagine that, according to Facebook, in 2018 the number of chatbots created using this company's tool exceeded 300 thousand.
What do you gain by using this form of artificial intelligence?
- you relieve your employees, who do not have to answer the same questions
- you gain customer satisfaction as they receive an immediate response
- you replenish your database based on customer responses
- you build a lasting relationship with your customers
As you can see, the opportunities to automate your e-commerce activities are plentiful. Admittedly, it's quite time-consuming to set up all the variables right at the beginning, but in the long run, you gain a lot, not only in terms of typical store operations (i.e. order fulfillment and assortment updates), but also in terms of increasing customer satisfaction, who feels ‘taken care of’ by you.