When it comes to owning a business, time is your most valuable resource – but time is limited and there are many tasks competing for your attention. You need to make sure the right products are listed on your site, that you fulfill orders and payments 24/7, and that you process and ship packages efficiently … all while keeping an eye on marketing campaigns, user reviews, and customer service.
And as you scale, your e-commerce processes become even more demanding.
So how can you make time for the work that gets more customers while keeping everything else on track?
With e-commerce automation.
Automation plays a crucial role in the future of technology – and it is not surprising that we see more of it in tools designed for e-commerce companies. As a store owner, it is your secret to put your time-consuming tasks on auto-pilot.
In this post, we explain what e-commerce automation is and then show you what it looks like with 15 ways you can automate your online business.
What is e-commerce automation?
This means using software to convert manual tasks into automated workflows. These workflows can trigger internal or external emails, messages or actions in other apps – e.g. Creating new support tickets in your helpdesk. To ensure that everything works perfectly, you can specify several conditions that must be true for the workflow to run.
Even though e-commerce automation saves you time, it does not mean that you fire your employees – or yourself. Rather, it frees up your team’s time for customer interactions, creativity, and mindset in the big picture that matters most in your work area.
To get started, here is a list of some of the best ways to use e-commerce marketing automation, whether you use Shopify, WooCommerce or another platform.
E-commerce automation software
There are several types of automation software you can use for your e-commerce business. The most popular tools are:
One of the most popular e-commerce platforms, Shopify offers plenty of powerful productivity apps in its App Store. Many of these are designed for automation, including Arigato Automation, or the “app with a million uses”, Shop Workflow Automation and Stock Sync.
This e-commerce automation package is available with Shopify Pro – which is certainly not the cheapest (you will earn over $ 1 million in annual revenue to justify it). It is workflow-based and makes it impressively easy to set up automation both in Shopify and with other apps via seamless integrations. It includes automation templates that you can copy and customize for easy configuration.
Shopify Flow automation templates are divided into buyer experience, customers, inventory and merchandising, loyalty, orders, promotions and risk.
If you use WooCommerce to run your store on WordPress, you also have many options for automation. Most of these are powered by WooCommerce’s huge number of extensions, which allow you to launch your WooCommerce site with premium features and integrations.
Other software to integrate with your e-commerce platform
You can also use automation software on top of your e-commerce platform. These include:
- Email Marketing Automation Tools, as Mailchimp to trigger emails to your customers
- Automation tools as ActiveCampaign to trigger workflows for internal process and communication with customers
- CRM tools with automation features like HubSpot
- Helpdesk tools with automation features such as Freshdesk and Zendesk
- Accounting and billing tools such as Wave Accounting, Xero or Quickbooks Online
Read on for 14 of the best ways to automate your e-commerce business, including features from your e-commerce platform as well as other automation tools that you can easily keep in sync.
15 ways to automate e-commerce businesses
Customer Experience & Management Automation
1. Track and reward your most committed customers.
Do you reward your best customers? Customer retention is valuable for all businesses, including e-commerce.
It turns out that you can increase your profits anywhere from 25-95% by increasing your holdings by only 5%.
To reward customer loyalty, you can automatically add a free gift or free delivery to orders over $ 100. With a tool like ActiveCampaign, you can also segment customers based on lifetime and send them automated emails with rewards inside.
2. Sync your customers to a Mailchimp list.
All the best e-commerce platforms – including WooCommerce and Shopify – have native integrations with Mailchimp. So if you use the popular email marketing tool to send your newsletters and email marketing workflows, be sure to sync your accounts.
An integration with Mailchimp can automatically forward email addresses to customers who show interest in your emails to a specific Mailchimp list, so you can keep them updated with your latest products and offers.
Gather feedback after a purchase.
Every e-commerce store knows how powerful reviews and honest feedback are. It can create or destroy your business. To encourage reviews, set up automated email workflows to send follow-up emails a certain amount of time after a purchase is made. Ask for honest feedback and share a link to where they can post their review.
Reach negative reviews.
If you receive an unfortunate 1-star review, be sure to respond to it. You can create an automation to create a support ticket in your helpdesk software to make it easier to reach out quickly and correct – or at least listen and understand what has happened.
5. Tag and segment customers based on buying behavior.
Segmentation can help you understand your customers and keep an eye on the various individual needs they may have. With a CRM, you can tag or segment based on demographics (e.g., gender or location), lifetime order value, milestones, number of orders, or any subscriptions or memberships, e.g.
6. Automate inventory management for items in stock.
Running out of a product can mean lost income and frustrated customers. To avoid this, automate your inventory management so you know when a product is low in stock.
With Woocommerce, you can trigger low inventory notifications (based on thresholds you specify) and sold out notifications. This way, you can immediately know when a product needs to be ordered from your consumables.
Order Management Automation
7. Send abandoned emails.
75% of e-commerce shopping carts are abandoned. Abandoned cart reminders help you bring customers back to your site – and with automation, you do not have to do anything.
Integrating your e-commerce software with a mailing provider is an easy way to send abandoned e-mails with the carts. You can also look at other native integrations between your e-commerce platform and transactional e-mail providers.
8. Try dropshipping for passive income.
Did you know that some e-commerce companies automate order execution and delivery? Dropshipping is possible – a way to find products, add them to your online store and send them directly to your customers without retaining inventory or risking yourself.
Oberlo, acquired by Shopify in 2017, is one of the most popular dropshipping tools. As expected, it integrates nicely with Shopify, and you can add dropshipped products to your existing Shopify store or create a new one for your dropshipped products.
The biggest challenge with dropshipping is finding the products that match your store’s branding and quality standards.
9. Print shipping labels and send tracking numbers with a single click.
By integrating WooCommerce with ShipStation, a single click can accomplish several time-consuming tasks:
- Sync your orders with ShipStation.
- Create and print shipping labels for your WooCommerce orders.
- Mark all orders as completed.
- Generate and send tracking numbers.
10. Send reminders to reorder consumables.
Do you sell food, health or beauty products? Your customers may be interested in buying consumables back when they have run out.
To notify them, you need to set up automated workflows to send reminder emails to these products at a specific time after purchase.
11. Attention leads to customers with email marketing.
People do not always become customers right away. Your business will have its typical customer journey where people spend time on research and consideration phases before deciding to give you money.
However, if someone has given you their email address and permission to contact them, you can nurture this process along with marketing content. Just make sure everything you send them is top quality and valuable, perhaps with discount codes or free gift offers.
12. Schedule social media posts automatically.
If social media takes up too much of your time, there are plenty of tools to streamline processes.
Use the Shopify app, Post Studio – Auto Posting, to automatically post products to your Facebook and Twitter pages every day.
Buffer is another app that lets you easily schedule messages in advance. It is also easy to rearrange content that is also well executed.
Business Management Automation
13. Add tasks to Trello, Asana or Slack.
If you have used automation to find out when a product is low in stock, or when a customer left a frustrated review, you will also want to notify your team so they can do something about it. Another benefit of using automation is that you can notify your team on the internal platforms you use the most – like Trello, Asana or Slack.
If you are a Shopify user, Arigato Automation offers 100+ pre-built automation features, including data transfer to Google Sheets, Slack notifications, Trello cards and more.
14. Choose a powerful helpdesk software.
When scaling your e-commerce business, it is important to ensure that your customer service is covered. Implementing help desk software is one of the best ways to do this.
With a help desk platform, you have the best position to centralize your customer support in one place and get a clear overview of tickets from all channels. These tools also give you many opportunities to improve your customer experience with automation, e.g. With bots and satisfaction surveys.