eCommerce automation

Over 65% of businesses have adopted automation to help them streamline their operations. If you’re not using automation in your eCommerce company, you’re missing out.

What if you didn’t need to spend so much time sending emails or reentering data? What if your product listings or inventory updated themselves?

These are just some of the ways eCommerce automation can benefit your business.

In this article, we’ll discuss eCommerce automation, how it can help your business improve, and tips for choosing the right solution.

What is eCommerce Automation?

eCommerce automation

eCommerce automation is using software and technology to automate tasks and processes related to running your eCommerce store.

The options for implementing automation in your eCommerce business are endless. However, some of the most popular are:

👉 Inventory management

Automation helps you accurately track inventory levels, restock in real-time, or receive alerts when your stock falls below a certain threshold.

👉 Order processing

You can route orders to the right vendor or warehouse, update inventory, generate shipping labels, send confirmation emails to customers, or share tracking information automatically.

👉 Customer service

Through the use of chatbots or email, for example, you can automatically send order status updates to your customers. Keeping them informed every step of the way can help to build customer loyalty.

👉 Marketing campaigns

You can use eCommerce marketing automation to streamline email campaigns, create pre-scheduled social media posts, or send automated text messages from your sales team.

How eCommerce Automation Works

The automation sequence typically follows three steps: trigger, condition, and action. 

Let’s look at this in the case of an order being placed in your online store:

  • Trigger: This would be when a customer places an order.
  • Condition: If you receive payment for that customer’s order.
  • Action: You send the customer an automated email that confirms their purchase.

The Benefits of eCommerce Automation

There are several reasons why eCommerce businesses are adopting automation:

✅ Improved efficiency

Repetitive tasks like order processing and managing inventory are essential to your business. However, you don’t have to have someone handling this process.

By automating these tasks, you can dedicate your attention to high-value tasks, like scaling your business and making your operations more efficient.

✅ Better accuracy

Manual tasks are prone to human error. Human errors can be costly and decrease customer satisfaction—not to mention create expensive problems.

An example would be sending the incorrect order to the wrong customer, which can lead to dissatisfaction and the costly process of having to rectify the error with the order.

Automation significantly reduces the chances of costly mistakes by taking human error out of the equation.

✅ Scalability

You don’t necessarily need to hire additional employees to grow your eCommerce business. Automation can help you scale your business while maximizing profit margins.

Let’s say instead of hiring an additional team member to process your orders, you can use software to manage this for you. This saves you the overheads of hiring additional employees and could result in a larger profit margin.

✅ Cost-savings

When it comes to business, you know time is money. Rather than handling tedious eCommerce tasks yourself, automated tasks free up your time to focus on more impactful work, such as growing your business and customer base, which can boost your revenue.

One example would be the time-consuming task of manually inputting pricing updates into your website, which can be automated using software, giving you one less responsibility to worry about. 

You also save money as you don’t have to hire someone to carry out data entry like pricing updates, reducing the need for larger overheads.

✅ Reduce wait times

Automation isn’t just beneficial to eCommerce stores. It can also help you create a better reputation for your brand by improving customer interactions.

An example of this is chatbots and automated messages, which can provide customers with instant support 24/7. This means they don’t have to wait hours (or even days) for someone to get back to them about a query.

✅ Personalize shopping and offer a better experience

Over 80% of customers prefer shopping with brands that offer them a personalized experience. Automation can help you do this. 

If someone makes a purchase via your online store, automation can save their preferences and display the most relevant results the next time they visit your website.

Automation can also help you deliver personalized marketing content. If a customer has purchased from you before, you can send them automated marketing emails suggesting similar products to their initial purchase, potentially getting you more sales. 

We’ll discuss how automating your marketing strategies can benefit your business later in this article.

What Should You Automate?

You may be tempted to automate every task within your business. However, there are some aspects of your eCommerce operations that should still be handled by humans. 

To help you decide what to automate, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Does the task require three or more people? If so, the process could run more efficiently. That might mean you need help with the task or communication between your team. Automation could minimize the back-and-forth to make business processes more efficient.
  • Is the task prone to human error? If a task is prone to human error—like data entry—this can lead to costly mistakes in the long run.
  • Does the task involve many platforms? As eCommerce businesses scale, it becomes more common for them to move data across multiple platforms. Done manually, this is a headache and can result in costly errors. 
  • Do particular actions trigger the task? A trigger initiates an entire automated sequence. If the task has a clear trigger, it’s easier to automate it.

If you answered yes to these questions, there’s a good chance that a task would be more efficient if it were automated.

What Can Automation Tools Do for Businesses?

From research and marketing to dropshipping, automation can play a role in many aspects of eCommerce. 

Here are just some of the ways automation can streamline your day-to-day operations: 

➡️ Manage inventory, orders, and fulfillment

One of the best ways to use automation is to ensure inventory is kept up to date, orders are routed to the correct vendor, and customers immediately receive their tracking information

➡️ Analytics

How do you know if your hard work is paying off? The secret lies in analytics. 

eCommerce automation can give businesses valuable insights and analytics to make data-driven decisions. 

For example, if you’re looking to expand your product offering, the data produced by automation platforms can help inform your decision about what new products to start stocking in your store.

Automation can collect data and generate in-depth reports that help you better understand your customers, sales performance, and overall business operations.

➡️ Customer service

Retaining a customer costs significantly less than acquiring a new one. You need solid customer service processes to retain as many shoppers as possible. 

Your customers want to stay in the loop, and automation does that for you with email marketing, for example.

You can also automate customer service with chatbots. These provide instant, around-the-clock support to give shoppers the answers they need immediately, potentially leading to better customer loyalty.

Maximize the effectiveness of your chatbots by programming them to answer common frequently asked questions (FAQs). 

Most chatbots will route shoppers to a human agent if they can’t solve the customer’s problem. This can help reduce the workload of your customer support team as they don’t need to spend time answering common queries and can rather focus on resolving bigger issues for your customers.

➡️ Marketing automation integrations

Automating repetitive tasks isn’t only about shipping and operations, it can also help you simplify your marketing efforts.

Using a marketing automation tool, you can automate email marketing campaigns, social media posts, and paid advertising. 

This means you’ll spend less time marketing your online brand while maintaining a cohesive online presence. 

➡️ Personalization

Personalization is the best way to stand apart from the competition. Provided you have the right data, your online store can easily automate customer personalization by: 

  • Sending abandoned cart emails.
  • Displaying recommendations on your website.
  • Sending thank you messages.
  • Sending marketing emails.

➡️ Fraud filtering

eCommerce automation tools can combat eCommerce fraud. For example, automation software can track and verify each order by certifying the customer's location or IP address.

eCommerce Automation Software Checklist

eCommerce automations are helpful, but it's hard to implement them on your own—you need the right software to do the heavy lifting for you. 

There are dozens of eCommerce automation software solutions on the market. But which one is right for you? 

To get the most value out of eCommerce automation, ensure your software includes these important features: 

✔️ Order processing automation

eCommerce automation

Order processing is one of the most tedious and time-consuming aspects of eCommerce. 

With ecommerce process automation, you’ll never have to manually send order confirmations, process payments, or send shipping information again.

The right automation tool will help streamline these operations while still keeping you informed along the way.

💡 A Tool to Use for Order Processing Automation

By using Spark Shipping’s automated order fulfillment feature, you can route orders intelligently. Your orders are routed automatically to the correct vendors as soon as a customer places an order from your store. 

Our tool allows you to map products to multiple vendors, enabling each product listing to track different SKUs, vendor identifiers, stock quantities, and unit costs for each vendor it’s linked to.This can help to ensure you keep products in stock, get more orders, and route orders at lower prices compared to your competitors.

✔️ Inventory management automation

eCommerce automation

Inventory management is tedious. Why spend your time restocking when software can do it for you? Automated inventory workflows can automatically restock and send you real-time updates.

💡 A Tool to Use for Inventory Management Automation

There’s nothing worse for your reputation than having to tell a customer you can’t fulfill an order they’ve placed. With our automated inventory updates, you can avoid this altogether. 

You can use our One-to-Many mapping to link a single product to multiple vendors. You’ll also receive real-time product updates from all vendors, ensuring you can route orders to an in-stock vendor. This feature also allows you to run inventory updates on-demand or completely automate them.

Additionally, you can set minimum inventory limits to ensure you can always fulfill an order. This ensures you’ll never disappoint a customer. 

✔️ Customer service automation

eCommerce automation

Customer service is essential for retaining shoppers, but it can bog down your team. Use automation to manage customer inquiries and support tickets. 

From automated responses to issue tracking, automation will help you improve your customer experience.

💡 A Tool to Use for Customer Service Automation

Salesforce Service Cloud can help you provide seamless self-service experiences to your eCommerce shoppers. The tool uses artificial intelligence (AI) to answer frequently asked questions (FAQs) and other customer inquiries. 

This saves you resources as you won’t have to spend time answering routine questions that AI can handle. You also don’t have to hire additional customer service representatives to handle higher volumes of queries.

You can integrate Service Cloud with your eCommerce store so that there is a live chat function when your customers visit your website with questions.

✔️ Marketing campaigns automation

eCommerce automation

The automation software you choose should integrate with your marketing management tools. Look for a solution that helps you automate email, content, social media, advertising, and any other aspects of your marketing strategy.

For example, your automation software should be able to seamlessly integrate with your email marketing tool so that you can automate marketing messages throughout the customer journey.

💡 A Tool to Use for Marketing Automation

Hubspot is a solution for automating your marketing activities. The software streamlines your efforts to increase the effectiveness and quantity of your campaigns without you having to put time and effort into this.

The tool lets you automate the lead nurturing process with email drip campaigns. It also automates lead scoring, follow-ups, and notifications.

This gives you (or your marketing team) more time to spend on impactful work, like developing successful marketing strategies.

✔️ Analytics and reporting

eCommerce automation

Automatic reports are a great feature that can help you generate insightful, actionable reports every month. Set up your automation software to display which metrics matter most, and it will generate quality reports you can use to improve your business.

For example, you need a tool that can produce reliable data that can help you decide which products to keep selling—because they’re popular—and which items to consider replacing. It would be hard to make this decision without the analytics provided by automation software.

💡 A Tool to Use for Analytics and Reporting

Polar Analytics is an automated custom reporting tool for eCommerce businesses. It allows you to build customized reports with ease. You can do this by connecting Polar Analytics to your store, and you’ll then receive automated reports without having to crunch the numbers yourself. 

The tool also allows you to create custom metrics in your reports, such as net profit and profit on ad spend, without having to use any code.

✔️ Integrations

eCommerce automation

Integrations make life easier because you don’t have to transfer data manually from one platform to another. 

That’s why it’s important to choose automated workflows that easily integrate with any popular eCommerce platform, accounting software, and customer relationship management (CRM) tools.

💡 A Tool to Use for Integrations

Spark Shipping helps you integrate all your eCommerce sites, tools, and sales channels. This makes connecting with vendors, uploading products, managing inventory, and accepting orders a breeze.

Our integrations include:

  • Amazon.
  • BigCommerce.
  • Brightpearl.
  • ChannelAdivisor.
  • eBay.
  • Magento.
  • SellerActive.
  • Shopify.
  • SkuVault.
  • Weapon Depot.
  • WooCommerce.
  • Zentail.

✔️ Customization

eCommerce automation

Since your online business is unique, you need to be able to customize your workflows. For example, one eCommerce brand may offer multiple shipping options, while others might not.

You want eCommerce software that allows you to customize your workflows based on your specific operations and create your own rules for automation.

💡 A Tool to Use to Customize Workflows

You can create automated and customized workflows for your eCommerce business with Jotform Approvals. This tool automates eCommerce workflows for order approvals, preventing bottlenecks for customers, vendors, and suppliers. It comes with approval flow templates, and you can also create your own unique approval workflows.

✔️ Security

eCommerce automation

From credit card numbers to addresses, you’re storing a lot of customer data. You need to choose automation software that will keep this data safe. Choose solutions with encryption, two-factor authentication, and regular patches and updates.

💡 A Tool to Use for Security

Yofi is a platform that helps eCommerce store owners automatically manage the challenges of digital identities. The tool uses AI to protect you from bad actors like bots, resellers, and serial returns, ensuring accuracy and compliance.

Tips for Finding the Best eCommerce Automation Tool

You now know how robust the right automation software can be and how it can supercharge your online business. But how do you choose the right solution when there are so many on offer?

Follow these tips to choose the best automation software for your eCommerce business: 

🤔 Identify your needs

Do you spend too much time on customer service? Or do you find lots of errors in your databases? 

By understanding your most important needs, you can choose a software solution that solves real business problems. 

🤔 Consider scalability

As you put in the work, your eCommerce business will naturally scale. Find software that can handle large volumes of data and transactions. Your business might be small now, but you need to choose software that can grow with you.

🤔 Choose ease of use

Is the software intuitive? Or does it require ongoing training?

Automation software should be easy to use—even if you don’t have any technical expertise. The interface should be user-friendly and require minimal training to get up and running.

What Makes Spark Shipping the Best Automation Solution?

eCommerce automation tools like Spark Shipping simplifies eCommerce by automating everything, including:

Uploading products.

Updating inventory.

Sending orders.

Providing tracking updates.

Our unique “one-to-many” mapping approach also links a single product listing with multiple vendors. This means you’ll reap the benefits of working with multiple vendors, like maintaining a 100% in-stock rate. We can even help you automatically route orders to the vendor with the lowest price.

Spark Shipping also provides intelligent order routing and industry-specific integrations. If you work in these niches, Spark Shipping’s unique integrations will help you do more with less: 

From managing inventory to shipping to third-party logistics, Spark Shipping integrates with everything you need for eCommerce success. 

We also integrate with other solutions to help your business thrive. This includes inventory management, shipping software, and third-party logistics.

Level Up Your eCommerce Processes with Automation 

Your eCommerce business is a massive commitment of your time. By automating resource-intensive and repetitive tasks, you’re giving yourself time to focus on the work that will help you grow and scale your business while boosting your bottom line. 

Spark Shipping goes beyond automating mundane tasks, our solution takes care of your entire business process to ensure you’re running the best possible online store.

Visit our website to get a Spark Shipping demo to experience the power of eCommerce automation firsthand.