Guest Post By- Hemani Sehgal from Vinculum Solutions
For most entrepreneurs, building an E-Commerce business is about scalability and flexibility. Often expected to be coupled with great numbers, decent year-on-year growth, and a lot of repeat customers. The dream is to build a sustainable and an efficient e-store, which you can manage from anywhere, anytime.
But as your business scales or aspires to grow, most get caught in the daily grind of never-ending mundane tasks. A bunch of emails to answer, social listening, inventory update, shipping requirements, and a lot more. If you aren’t on top of these everyday tasks, it can really deter your brand’s reputation, even before you kickoff.
Which is unfortunately true for about 30% E-Commerce stores, who never make it past inception or fail in the first six months.
The only scalable and sustainable FIX is to automate everything you can.
This might sound like a long-tedious process, but we promise it will help you maximize productivity and opportunities for your E-Commerce business.
First Things First
To begin with, you must identify your customer’s journey. It includes all touchpoints, where your customer directly or indirectly interacts with your brand. It also includes thinking about your target persona- what your customer wants, likes, and can you deliver more than they expect?
For example, a typical E-Commerce store’s customer journey involves proactive communication across stages- awareness, acquisition, and retention. The most effective way is to pen down functions, with respect to their contribution to your sales funnel. Hence keeping track of RoI, growth statistics, performance reports, and customer success metrics.
As soon as you figure out how and where your customers engage with your e-store, you need to monitor how much time are you currently spending doing tasks, which can be automated. And you will be shocked to see how many productive hours are being wasted in doing simple mundane, everyday tasks, which you can undo with automation.
- Figure out a journey roadmap to understand your customer lifecycle
- List out time spent on all tasks, prioritizing each task based on your business goals
- Automate everything you can.
We don’t want to brag, but you can easily automate almost every aspect of your E-Commerce business by integrating several turn key solutions, which are fast, cohesive, and cost-effective.
Where do You Start?
On any given day, an operational E-Commerce store works in a round robin fashion. In a nutshell, a customer looks up your product, reaches your e-store, browses through, adds to cart, buys or exit. So to begin with, you can categorize your functions as:
- Marketing and Sales Management
- Inventory and Order Management
- Customer Success and Support
Now we will walk you through some potential tools and apps to help you automate these major aggregators for any E-Commerce business.
1. Marketing and Sales Operations Automation
There are multiple tools and apps which can help you automate most tasks related to marketing and sales operations for your business. Marketing and sales is arguably the most effective way to scale and sustain your E-Commerce business.
Reaching the customer at the right time, with personalized content and recommendations based on their order history (they also bought suggestions) makes all the difference. While it is hard to get them to buy from your store, it is harder to keep acquiring new customers. With marketing and sales automation, you can ensure that every customer gets nurtured at all stages of their buying journey.
Marketing and sales automation can apply to different channels and approaches, including:
- Email automation and drip campaigns
- Social media marketing automation
- Analytics to help you make smarter decisions
- Cart abandonment and retargeting
If you are using a marketing CRM like HubSpot, AWeber, InfusionSoft, etc. you can integrate it with other apps like Slack, Mailchimp, or Typeform and get benefited with 180 degree flow of information, across platforms and channels.
Here’s a list of some CRM apps you can explore (with turn key integrations) to get started with marketing and sales automation.
Inventory and order management for an E-Commerce business is as essential as fuel for cars. If you don’t have a robust inventory and order management system in place, you cannot scale or cater to the growing omnichannel retailing and cross-border E-Commerce trends.
With automation and by using plug-in and play applications, you can automate a whole bunch of tedious tasks, saving hours, everyday.
- Automated or logic controlled products reordering
- Tagging high-value customers and ping your customer service team to send them a personalized welcome message or ‘Happy to Have You With Us’ email
- Adjusting prices at checkout automatically based on a customer’s location, order history
- Showing and hiding different payment options related to a customer’s location, purchase history
- Identifying and tagging customers who purchase from specific sales channel like Google, Pinterest, or Instagram
- Applying auto-discounts for loyal customers using logic and conditions
- Automatically unpublishing out-of-stock items so customers aren’t met with disappointment
if you are looking to Automating Your Shipping Process, our friends at sendcloud have great resource discussing about automating your order processing here. be sure to check them out.
3. Customer Success and Support Automation
Providing timely customer support is crucial for building and growing your e-store. If your customer doesn’t feel prioritized, chances are they will bounce off to your competitor. One way to tackle this is by automating responses, using email support to cover all touchpoints for a buyer, live chat, how to tutorials, etc. are great to begin with.
The most common tools used for providing an end-to-end customer success experience are Zendesk, Freskdesk, Intercom and HelpScout. Most of which we can readily integrate with Slack, Mailchimp, HubSpot or Drip. This gives you the leeway to work in a collaborative environment, where your helpdesk is integrated with your sales CRM, email campaigns, and marketing support for retargeting and follow up activities.
In a recent study by Interactive Intelligence Group, about 75% and 55% of customers prefer short response times and cross-channel consistency, respectively.
And automation has made it possible for companies to become fast, efficient, and accessible to their customers.
To Wrap Up
We are post that stage where we can ponder whether to automate or not. Now is the time to understand how to automate, how to work smarter and save time. With tons of apps and tools to make automation and integration a cakewalk, the ball is in your court to leverage the benefits automation can have for your E-Commerce business. It might take a while, but with complete automation you can be efficient, flexible and live the dream of being a digital nomad.
For more ways to streamline your E-Commerce business, reach out to us and we can help you sort out everything that you need!
Want to know more about eCommerce and how you can improve your business online? Learn more of the tactics, strategy tips in these marketing articles below and understand the mantra of eCommerce business better.