Though ripe with opportunities to build your business from the ground up, e-commerce, like any other venture, requires dedicated input. The returns you receive on most tasks won't always be proportionate to the time you invested.
Like any other area of business, e-commerce relies on the Pareto principle. This rule theorizes that 80% of your effort generates only 20% of the results. On the other hand, 20% of your work will make up 80% of returns. In other words, maximizing productivity doesn't rely solely on identifying which tasks make the most impact. It also depends on how well you eliminate distractions that don't lead to meaningful growth.
Automation can be a lifesaver in this regard. Thanks to software development, you don't have to waste time and energy on low-priority jobs. Automating these tasks allow you to direct your attention to strategies that can level-up your business.
Here are the ten tasks you should automate for your e-commerce business if you're interested in boosting efficiency:
1. Email Segmentation
Email is a reliable tactic to invest in when it comes to marketing strategies that provide sizable returns. Email can be automated using the widely accessible tools available.
- First, set up email marketing to automatically record all email addresses from purchases. Double-check that these are added to the correct lists
- Second, do the same for lead generation forms
When it comes to creating a new campaign, you'll be able to generate recipient lists in a couple of clicks. Don't forget to read up on all the relevant GDPR rules, which you can do here.
2. Abandoned Cart Emails
The consensus is that 60% to 80% of website users abandon their cart without making a purchase. However, it appears that this percentage has risen significantly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some data reports that the abandonment rate in 2020 is at an all-time high of 94.4%.
There's a simple fix for this. Automated cart abandonment emails might help you get back some of that lost profit. The best thing about it? You won't have to go through all the website processes manually.
3. Review Requests
It's widely known that reviews considerably influence sales. Research shows that nearly two-thirds of shoppers consult online reviews before making a purchase. It becomes apparent that collecting social proof is a crucial strategy for boosting sales. Nonetheless, this can prove to be a difficult task, especially on platforms such as Amazon.
Still, some post-purchase emails can be automated. Consider initiating automatic satisfaction inquiries or review encouragements. Provide emails that offer tips and tricks for customers to get the most from their purchases. This way, your customer retention strategy gets a head start.
4. Lead to Purchase Email Campaigns
Website visitors further up the sales funnel may not be ready to make a purchase. That doesn't mean you shouldn't interact with them. Having an automated system to effectively capture leads, such as this one by Mannequin Mall, could help you move them through the steps more quickly.
image source: mannequinmall.com
5. Repeat Purchases
It's no news that running a successful e-commerce business requires maximizing your customer lifetime value (CLV). Don't waste resources pumping money into customer acquisition. Instead, pay careful attention to retaining the users you already have.
For the most part, this involves predicting their needs. Perhaps there's a cross-selling opportunity you could use, such as in this example by GoDaddy. After purchasing a domain, users receive several emails offering them related services, including web hosting, privacy protection, etc.
image source: from godaddy.com via email
Alternatively, in some niches, businesses may already have a solid idea of what potential customers will need down the line. If you offer consumables, why not add a subscription service, such as in the case of Gourmesso? This way, your customers won't have to return to the website every week/month for new orders. Plus, you'll gain better control over your cash flow.
image source: gourmesso.com
6. Social Media
There's no question about the role social media plays in driving sales. Whether you make use of Facebook marketplaces or link directly to your e-commerce store, an on-brand strategy is crucial to success.
However, social media is a time-consuming area of marketing; posting and engagement occur in real-time. Consequently, it is not a bad idea to consider some level of automation. For the simplest solution, implement a tool that helps you schedule posts ahead of time.
Or, take things a step further. Try using a social listening tool that'll help keep an eye on conversations happening around your brand (or your competition's). This way, you'll know what consumers are talking about. Additionally, you will have the insight to improve future user experiences and product developments.
Marketplaces such as Amazon offer plenty of opportunities for success. As these become more and more popular among sellers, you may find your brand lagging behind the competition due to pricing strategies.
Fortunately, there are automatic repricing tools that can help you win the Buy Box and still make a profit. With these, prices are adjusted based on powerful AI learning. You can eliminate hours of scanning your store's various items to ensure accurate pricing. Plus, the risk of losing profits will be much lower.
8. On-page Features
A great e-commerce website primarily offers an exceptional user experience. This work is done mostly behind closed doors. Before launching, you should resolve responsiveness, SEO, and design. Then again, there are customer satisfaction contributors that happen in real-time.
Chatbots, for example, play a significant role in serving your users' needs. Alternatively, you can add automated interactive features like this one by Anytime Baseball Supply. Dynamic social proof pop-ups display every time someone purchases on the website. This influences all other website visitors and increases their chances of also buying a product.
image source: anytimebaseballsupply.com
You likely have several repeated monthly outgoing costs as an eCommerce business. Whether intended for suppliers or service providers, it's not a bad idea to consider automation. Payment specialist companies like PingPong make it easy to pay suppliers and other invoices in domestic currencies, and significantly lower fees for VAT and FX when doing business internationally. Costs are capped at 1% and are super transparent when it comes to helping merchants save more of their monthly profits.
10. Low Stock Alerts
Many stores rely on popular or limited availability items for income. These items tend to sell out fast. You risk losing customers when a visitor doesn't find what they are looking for on your site.
However, a "Notify Me When Available" button, like the one used by Orizaba Original, may prevent losing precious business.
image source: orizabaoriginal.com
There are software solutions that work with Shopify and BigCommerce, like Klaviyo. These give you the option to add "back in stock" buttons that automatically send emails when availability changes. This way, all potential buyers are notified, without you having to do a single thing.
As you can see, there are numerous options for integrating automated processes into your website. Some will be time-saving hacks to make your job easier, while others will improve your customers’ experiences.
Look into them if you're serious about growing your ecommerce store. After all, one might just be the trick that gives you an edge over your competition. Or, they may provide you with the time needed to focus on higher priority assignments, like product development.