E-commerce automation: 6 key processes you need to automate

E-commerce automation is the key to making your business work for you rather than the other way around. With competition only getting larger by the day, finding ways to stay ahead is a necessity. Automation involves using software that does manual tasks for you in the background. It allows you to save time and spend it on what actually matters.

By creating an ecosystem of digital tools that automate workflows and speak to each other, you can become more productive, avoid human errors, improve customer experience and gather accurate, timely data. In this article, we’ll go through automating your accounting, email campaigns, social media, customer loyalty, customer support and inventory management.

Bookkeeping and accounting

To start, set up a cloud-based accounting solution. This allows you to access your books from anywhere, at any time, and by multiple people. Then, you can link it to your e-commerce platform by using an accounting integration. For instance, you can connect Shopify to MYOB, Xero or QuickBooks Online.

The accounting integration will automate and speed up many accounting processes. First of all, it will sync sales and payments data into a single invoice every day. These transactions are automatically mapped into relevant categories as well. Secondly, transactions are matched to those in your bank, meaning bank reconciliation becomes lightning-fast.

Amaka’s e-commerce accounting integrations are completely free for up to 60 orders if you have one store. For those with basic needs, you can use our 2-Minute Express Setup. If you want to customise account mapping, you can use the Advanced Setup. Finally, our Guided Setup option allows you to book a 30-minute video call with one of our experts.

Email marketing

Though there are many different areas of e-commerce marketing that can be automated nowadays, one of the best ones to start with is email marketing. Using a tool such as Klaviyo or Mailchimp allows you to automate the entire customer journey through a range of different criteria and triggers.

Just a few of the criteria that can trigger an email:

  • Someone joins your mailing list, send a welcome email
  • Someone abandons their cart before checking out
  • Customer makes a purchase
  • Shipping status is updated
  • Customer has received the item, ask for a review
  • Customer leaves a review, send a discount code
  • Customer’s birthday month
  • Customer has made multiple purchases

Email marketing automation can entirely take care of or assist with many different points of customer engagement. It can help convert customers who would’ve otherwise left, encourage customers to make a second purchase, reward repeat buyers, increase your number of reviews and overall nurture your customer base.

Social media marketing

Following on with the theme of marketing, many more social media marketing processes can now be automated in 2021. One of the most common ways involves scheduling your posts with something like HootSuite or Sprout Social. This way, you can schedule posts weeks in advance and avoid having to post individually on each platform, multiple times a week.

Other ways to automate your social media marketing involve using social media monitoring tools that alert you when your business is mentioned, chatbots that automatically reply to messages, and AI tools that optimise posts and even write posts for you. These help to free up time so that you can spend more of it directly engaging with customers.

Loyalty programs

Another way to improve customer engagement through automation is by automating your store’s loyalty program. In most cases, encouraging existing customers to make a purchase is significantly easier than encouraging someone who’s never visited your store. Tools like Yotpo or ReferralCandy can be integrated with your store and used alongside your email tool.

Your loyalty program might be based on a point system, a referral system or both. You can offer points for purchases, follows, reviews, birthdays or more. These points can then unlock discounts or products. Many e-commerce businesses introduce a tier system as well. For example, those at the highest tier might get a larger discount code or more valuable reward.

Customer support

Automation in customer support or customer service has evolved significantly over the years. If you’re having trouble meeting the demand manually, using a chatbot such as Zendesk or Freshdesk can help dramatically. As mentioned above, chatbots can answer messages flowing in from your social media as well.

These tools can be set up to ask people a few questions and find the right answers most of the time. Chatbots will help you to save time on the most common questions such as shipping prices, return policies etc. You can filter out the tedious issues and spend more time answering people with more unique concerns.

Inventory management

As your store grows, your inventory management is bound to get more complicated. Fortunately, there are now great inventory management tools that can assist with automating more manual tasks. Avoid common issues such as understocking, overstocking, inaccurate levels and other human errors that come up.

Inventory automation tools can help to update all your various systems automatically at different points in the inventory cycle. For example, when stock arrives at your warehouse, when items are shipped out to customers and when items are returned. You can set up rules that trigger an alert when stock is low and even automatically make a purchase order to your supplier.

Key takeaways on e-commerce automation

Start streamlining your e-commerce business by automating the workflows that don’t demand a human’s attention. The six processes we’ve gone through are just a select few. See what repetitive tasks are eating up too much of your time and look into the tools available to you. Now, you can use your time where it generates the most value.