E-Commerce Automation

Overview & introduction to e-commerce automation and the areas it affects

Running a striving e-commerce business can be both exciting and challenging. With customers flowing in and deals closing in equal measure, the prospect of the next day is more exciting than the last. However, as is expected, behind such a level of success there is hard work. And as your business grows bigger, you become busier.

When e-commerce teams look at their work processes as a whole, every person executes at least hundreds of small tasks that take only a few minutes to complete. When analyzing the time and effort invested into completing those tasks individually, it may appear insignificant at first. It then becomes a significant waste of time and energy. 

Be it customer service, handling returns or writing content for the online store; often, those day-to-day tasks that must be completed are repetitive and monotonous - and that is precisely where e-commerce automation has great potential.

In this article, we will answer the following questions on e-commerce automation:

1. What is e-commerce automation?

2. How does e-commerce automation work?

3. What e-commerce workflows can be automated and how?

4. What are the challenges of e-commerce automation?

5. Who uses content automation?

6. What advantages does e-commerce automation offer?

7. Is e-commerce content automation for me?

1. What is e-commerce automation?

E-commerce automation is the use of technology to convert tasks, processes, workflows, or campaigns within your business  by automating them intelligently and in a timely manner, as needed/required.
Frankly, a lot of businesses suffer from growth issues. As a business grows, the demands, complexity and repetition of everyday tasks increase. Most companies address these challenges by resorting to time-consuming workarounds. This essentially means hiring more people to get the job done.

What e-commerce automation does is perform these repetitive tasks a lot more efficiently than a human could. The biggest win for you and your staff is that by automating your e-commerce processes you gain the most priceless asset: time.

2. How does e-commerce automation work?

E-commerce automation tools and platforms are smart systems that are capable of responding to the actions, inputs, and feedback of the website user. Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), these e-commerce tools mimic human actions and thought-process in their decision-making.
Machine learning has raised the bar a notch higher in terms of what these eCommerce tools can do. Nowadays, these tools are so advanced that they can improve their intelligence' by learning from the user’s previous choices. This enables them to tailor the experience to the particular visitor.
You can easily notice such intelligent systems in action when you visit a website that displays recommended products that are similar to the results of search queries you have made before.

3. What e-commerce workflows can be automated and how?

Enough feeding you with appetizers already. It is time to show you some great ideas on how you can elevate your business workflows by incorporating e-commerce process automation whenever possible.
The following ways can help to take your business to the next level:

Automate product descriptions: Marketing is a crucial component of any e-commerce business. There are multiple facets to any online business marketing strategy. However, a company's products are the focal point of marketing. After all, it is what the customer is most interested in. In an online business, one of the first things a potential buyer looks at is the product description. Beautifully crafted product details are a powerful tool to convert prospects into customers.

With larger product portfolios of several hundred or a thousand products, writing unique and high-quality product descriptions is hardly possible. Some eCommerce tools, like the AX Semantics content automation software, are a great relief for editors and content managers, as they make copywriting a scalable task.

Automate category descriptions: High-quality category descriptions are the perfect way to gain more visibility in search engines and thus generate more traffic via organic search. To provide both users and search engines with relevant texts, the quality of the content is essential. Content automation software enables e-commerce companies to create high-quality category descriptions very fast.

Product price adaptions: In addition to automating price changes and promotions for predetermined periods, automatic adjustments to prices can also be made based on product combinations, quantities, or other conditions.

Stocks: When stocks are empty, their marketing staff can be automatically notified and stop promotional activities for the relevant products. In the same way, customers can also be informed about products that are sold out or have a low stock level via automatic markings on their website. Displaying a low stock level can be an additional incentive for the customer to buy.

Procurement: B2B purchases are complex and are usually negotiated on an individual basis. Through a pricing-engine, each offer can be calculated correctly and prices for each customer can be personalized and calculated automatically based on different customer or company criteria.

Fulfillment: When a product requested by the customer is back in stock, the customer can be automatically notified of its arrival by a notification sent to the customer's preferred communication channel.

Checkout processes: There are many reasons for purchase cancellations. Most notably: missing product information, a long and cumbersome checkout process, inappropriate payment methods, long delivery times, requiring a customer account, and so on. It is usually sufficient to improve the checkout pages in order to offer the customer a faster & easier shopping experience. Above all, this includes a clear presentation of all products in the shopping cart. Including photo, title, product description and link to the corresponding product. One of the most common reasons for abandoning a purchase is unexpected costs. Therefore, pay attention to cost transparency and promote not only the trust of the customer, but also improve the customer journey. Integrate checkout with your factoring or credit approval and improve cash flow as well.

Shipment tracking: After placing an order, the customer wants to know whether the order was successful, whether it has left the warehouse, and where his order is. The customer should be automatically informed about changes and delays via a communication channel preferred by him.

Returns: By automating returns, the support departments can be notified, but also the return can be processed. Besides, the CRM-, inventory- and stock-data can be updated, and lastly the corresponding amount can be credited to the customer.

Customer service: With the help of customer service automation, your customers can be served 24/7. Customer queries can be handled by implementing AI technology and chatbots. Chatbots are able to perform simple tasks, provide information and initiate processes. Among other things, they can answer recurring questions and support customer service employees by providing suggested answers that only need to be approved or rejected by the employee. They are also able to prepare work for customer service employees by requesting the missing information.

Customer loyalty: Loyal customers can be marked and specifically contacted by customer service with an automated, personalized thank you message.

Email automation: Notifications and follow-up emails are incredibly important to customers. In addition to information about order acceptance and order status, the emails can include notifications about abandoned carts, inventory updates, and personalized promotions.

4. What are the challenges of e-commerce automation?

Challenge 1: Connecting sales-, marketing-, CRM-, ERP-, and fulfillment-systems. Data transfer between systems must be automated using integration. This makes processes more efficient by eliminating duplication of systems and reducing the risk of inaccurate inventory, untraceable orders, or incorrect shipping dates.

Challenge 2: Reducing manual activities and processes that require multiple steps. Creating faster and simpler business processes saves time and money and reduces the workload of e-commerce sales staff.

Challenge 3: Collecting and process relevant data for better decision-making. With the right tools, you can process reams of financial-, operational-, inventory-, and customer data and use it to create contextual, relevant reports for your employees. As a result, customer expectations can be better met.

Challenge 4: Seeing the potential and discovering new ways. The automation of content writing is often underestimated and of great potential. 0(e.g. product descriptions as described above). We will go into this in more detail below:

5. Who uses content automation?

In today’s highly competitive online business environment, automated content can help any companies in e-commerce and is already used by many e-commerce companies. Automated content is of particular use for sellers who have a large volume of products which are virtually impossible to control and update manually.

Thanks to automation, your content can be more responsive, accurate and relevant than that of the competition thanks to automation. Automation can ensure that data and content remains relevant and up-to-date.
Whether businesses want to improve the quality of the information they give customers or widen their use of automated content to enhance other areas of the customer experience. The software is a versatile tool that can make a positive difference in a variety of ways.

AI and increasing automation are strong trends within the eCommerce environment.
The rise of content automation is seen as a way to “do more with less” whilst letting AI take the strain. Driven partly by a need to keep pace with customer demand. As well as the necessity of enhancing the customer experience, keeping overheads to an absolute minimum and optimizing sales in a demanding and sometimes hostile setting. It is expected that automation is likely to take over a growing share of work which is currently completed manually. Automated content is a good place to start a more efficient and high functioning future.

6. Advantages of e-commerce automation

Automating eCommerce processes makes life easier for executives, managers, teams and entire departments.

By integrating the eCommerce system with ERP, CRM, PIM, eProcurement and other systems, visibility can be maintained across systems. Once connected, managers can view data in an easy-to-read format and make decisions that drive the business forward.
The automations can improve the effectiveness of day-to-day processes such as sales, inventory tracking, shipping and product management within the company, thereby reducing the burden on the operations manager. Operations can also automate quoting, contract negotiations or automatic reordering of inventory, low-inventory products and more.

The marketing department is supported by automation & can use it to better personalize promotions, products and pricing, among other things. Customer service can adapt and improve their support based on collected data through the added value that automated eCommerce provides.

Finally, through these measures, their customers also benefit indirectly from automation and the average order value and sales can be increased, as well.

7. Is e-commerce content automation for me?

If you think automated content in eCommerce might be the ideal choice for your requirements, you’re not alone. Join countless businesses bringing AI into their day-to-day processes. Contact us today to find out more, or take a look at our existing content and articles to learn a little more about what automated content in eCommerce could do for you.

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