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E-commerce automation

New Opportunities in E-commerce Automation

Part of the charm that a lot of new e-commerce brands have is that they’re small-scale and personal. This charisma is great for brand personality, but smaller-sized successful brands tend to run into some roadblocks pretty quickly, especially as business gets better — and busier.

There are loads of small and simple tasks that need to be taken care of, with customer service, shipping, and every other part of the process. Although it might be easy to look at these simple tasks and say, “this will only take 15 minutes,” these small tasks stack up, especially as demand starts to increase.

What might have been just a handful of manageable tasks to complete can quickly get out of hand, and hiring more hands for these small tasks isn’t always feasible, sustainable, or even the right move. Another option? Automation.

The pandemic brought us plenty of lessons on the nature of e-commerce. Especially as millions more people were suddenly shopping online and requesting customer service, the need to answer these demands without duplicating workforces became urgent.

For many brands, automation stepped up to the task, and the trends seem to only keep going up. Let’s take a look at some great new opportunities to use automation in e-commerce.

Customer Service

Customer service can be a touchy subject. On one hand, the task of handling countless inquiries from customers is not an easy one to handle efficiently. On the other hand, the customer service experience can make or break the brand reputation for a lot of customers. The infamous reputation customer service carries among customers doesn’t help, either.

An overwhelming demand for customer service during the pandemic made clear what had been in the works for years already: automation is the way to go. What’s important to highlight now over what has been available and used in the past is the incredible advancements in AI and other relevant technology. The sort of customer service a chatbot can offer today is indescribably more sophisticated than what was possible just a few years ago. Some chatbot technology even has customers wondering if they’re talking to actual people.

On a workload level, using new technology and chatbots to handle customer service is a great solution to the problem of scaling. Most of the questions customers might have about the brand or about their order can be resolved without talking to a person, and the more time your team can dedicate to other tasks, the better.

Delivery, Inventory, and Return

These three have always been important spots for automation, and as online demand continues to increase, this is more important now than ever.

Automating the delivery process with an efficient labeling and scanning system, as well as sending customers tracking information, does wonders to increase speed and efficiency, as well as to improve the customer experience.

As your brand grows, these processes get more complex. If you ship from multiple locations, checking which location is the most convenient for shipping can be an automated process that will save you plenty of headaches.

Being able to automatically ship from a certain location means having a stocked inventory, however, and checking an inventory is an important process, too. Automatic inventory checks and notifications are other invaluable resources to have.

Finally, if delivery times and customer service are points that can make or break customer retention, the returns process towers above them. The experience a customer has with returns is fundamental in whether or not they stick with you. Automating this process to provide a quick, seamless service and immediate in-store credit, for example, can make all the difference.

Personalization

Especially with trends doubling down on experiences tailored to customers, personalization is becoming more and more important every day. AI (artificial intelligence) and other algorithms are getting smarter each day, and making sure the customer sees exactly what they want to see is a great way to boost conversion rates.

Analyzing and learning search histories, purchase histories, browsing behavior, and other previous actions can help draw accurate patterns on what users are likely to want and purchase. The simultaneous growth of online shopping and AI technology makes automated personalization a no-brainer.

Why Automation?

The truth is, while automation seems like a “smart choice,” it’s not really much of a choice at all. Online shopping is growing, and it isn’t going anywhere. As demand increases, trying to avoid fully embracing automation is a losing game. The question isn’t whether or not you should consider automation, but what are the most important processes you could be automating right now?

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A new tech publication by Start it up (https://medium.com/swlh).

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Alex Borzo

Alex Borzo

A content contributor at Amber Engine, a software company passionate about eCommerce

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