Do you feel like you’re losing countless hours each week on repetitive tasks for your eCommerce brand? Well, it turns out you’re not the only one: according to research by Asana, people spend over 60% of their time on repetitive tasks.
If you’re not taking advantage of automation to handle your eCommerce business, you’re missing out. It helps you do more in less time, improve employee performance, and save more money for your store.
What is Workflow Automation?
Workflow automation allows eCommerce stores to automate their entire processes, whose goal is to make life easier for both eCommerce business owners and their employees. It’s achieved via software or an application you can download on the Shopify store.
Each department in your business has something to gain out of using workflow automation to manage their tasks. You can use it in various areas of eCommerce, such as inventory, marketing, customer service, and more.
The Benefits of Ecommerce Workflow Automation
Workflow automation needs to be part of every online store’s strategy. Here’s how automation can completely transform your eCommerce operations:
Ecommerce business owners have a lot in their hands. They have employees to manage, emails to send, inventory to count, products to ship…it seems like the list never ends.
With workflow automation, eCommerce stores can automate some of their most repetitive tasks within minutes of set-up. That way, you and your employees can focus on more important tasks in your jobs and boost company productivity.
Also, unlike a human, workflow automation can handle multiple things at the same time. They can switch from task to task with perfect precision with no effort on your end.
Reduces Human Error
It’s normal for humans to make errors. However, even little mistakes from employees can have a significant negative impact on your eCommerce operations.
For example, let’s say you’re managing your order inventory manually by yourself. A customer makes a purchase of one of your products, except that it’s out of stock and you forgot to reorder. The result is a disappointed customer that may demand a refund and decide to never come back to your store.
With workflow automation, you can say goodbye to human error from getting in the way of managing your operations efficiently. Since automation uses technology to run its course, it keeps everything accurate and never misses the mark.
Decreases Costs and Saves You Money
When you’re automating all your tasks, you don’t have to hire as many people in your business. As a result, you’ll see a drastic decrease in your company costs. That’s extra money you’ll be able to reinvest into your business, such as in advertising or improving the quality of your products.
How You Can Use Workflow Automation to Improve Your Store
Wondering how implementing automation for your eCommerce store will look like in action? Here are different aspects of your business you can enhance with automation workflows:
Optimizing the customer experience consists of nurturing the shopper relationship so they can come back to your store. With automation, you can easily find opportunities to boost customer lifetime value and improve brand satisfaction.
For example, one way that automation can make life easier for your team is by identifying who your best customers are. After all, it’s 60% easier to sell to an existing customer than a new one.
In this case, what you can do to improve the customer experience is automate workflows that offer them rewards for their loyalty. That could come in the form of coupons on their next order or a free special gift.
Inventory and Order Management
Managing your inventory by yourself isn’t too much of a problem if you’re starting out and only shipping 20 boxes per month. But once you grow and start managing more orders than you can chew, however, you’ll need automation to help you out.
Let’s say that one of your most popular products is about to run out. Automation can quickly identify when a product is at risk of being out of stock and proceed to reorder more items, so it’s still available for customers.
Also, if a customer wants to track their order, automation can provide them with access to their shipping information. It’s going to help you avoid the dreaded “where is my order?” question from online shoppers.
Automation helps cut your marketing team’s work in half and improve their campaigns to customers.
For example, as an eCommerce business, you’re likely active on social media platforms such as Instagram or Pinterest. Instead of managing your social presence by yourself, you can use automation to schedule posts to get them posted with no effort on your part.
What if a customer hasn’t bought an item in a while and seems to ignore your brand? Automation helps you segment your marketing campaigns to re-engage them and win them back. That could be getting their attention with special offers or product recommendations based on their past purchases.
Delivering top-notch customer service needs to be a priority for every eCommerce business. 84% of customers believe that customer support plays a significant influence on whether they want to do business with a company.
Let’s say that a customer follows up with an issue on their order, but the customer agent isn’t the best qualified for the request. With automation, whenever a customer support ticket is created, you can pair the customer with the best agent to resolve the issue quickly.
Once the issue is resolved, you can automate email surveys to customers and ask them to rate your service. It’s going to save you time and help you determine the quality of your customer support, along with areas where you can improve.
The Best Ecommerce Automation Platforms
Whether you want to make your marketing campaigns more efficient or deliver better customer service, there’s an automation tool for that. Here’s a list of the best workflow automation tools for eCommerce stores:
Building a solid email list of customers and engaging your subscribers is a staple strategy in eCommerce: in fact, email marketing has an average ROI of $38 for every $1 invested. Automation platforms that help you get the most out of email include:
Klaviyo is an automation platform for eCommerce that combines the powers of email and SMS to create better customer experiences. It can automate countless emails, from welcome series to cart abandonment for recovering lost sales.
The platform comes with advanced segmentation capabilities to ensure that you’re targeting the right customer at the right time. To do this, it takes into your customer’s previous behavior and how they interact with your brand to personalize your message.
Klaviyo is free for eCommerce stores with less than 250 contacts. Once you surpass the threshold, the email marketing platform’s pricing starts at $20/month.
MailChimp is another email marketing platform that automates your emails to customers based on where they are in their journey. Whether the customer just signed up to your email list or has been buying from you for years, MailChimp will always send them the right email.
Your store gains insights into what’s working and what’s not in their email campaigns from the software’s analytical dashboard. You can then leverage that data and use it to improve your strategy.
With so many requests from customers to deal with at once, it’s easy for your customer support team to feel overwhelmed. Thankfully, there are many automation software solutions you can provide them to make their jobs easier:
Zendesk allows you to track your customer feedback and tickets across different channels in one place. These include live chat, text, social media, and other sources of requests.
The platform’s goal is to help you solve customer tickets faster by providing you with relevant data on their order, such as shipping, billing, and product information. Agents will have everything they need at hand to satisfy their customers.
As a bonus, Zendesk also allows stores to build their own help portals so customers can easily find answers to their requests by themselves. It’s going to help save a lot of time for your support agents.
Gorgias is a top-rated customer support tool that helps reduce your customer response time and boost your conversions. You can manage your conversations from email, live chat, and social media in one easy-to-use dashboard.
The dashboard is designed with the specific needs of eCommerce businesses in mind. It comes with integrations with Shopify, Shopify Plus, Magento, BigCommerce, which allows you to manage customer requests without ever leaving the app.
To save time for your customer support agents, Gorgias provides pre-made templates they can use for the most common requests. It also pre-fills answers with order data such as shipping date and order status.
HelpCenter by Vertex LV
HelpCenter by Vertex LV is a customer service tool that provides access to all your inquiries in one dashboard, whether from channels such as social media or email. You can use the software to manage multiple eCommerce stores at once and include an unlimited number of agents.
As a bonus, HelpCenter offers the possibility to create an FAQ page in just 10 minutes that customers can use to get answers to their questions. That way, they won’t have to reach out to your agents to resolve issues.
As an eCommerce business, even small tasks you do each day can add up and take up hours from your schedule each week. You need workflow automation software to save yourself time:
Mesa is a top-rated automation platform on Shopify that allows you to get the most out of the apps you’re using with workflows. For example, if a customer demands a refund via Gorgias, you can set up a workflow that lets everybody in your team know via Slack.
You can create a workflow for virtually any action out there. With Mesa’s point and click set up, all you have to do is fill in the blanks, and the workflow is created automatically.
If you’re unsure which tasks you want to automate, Mesa comes with pre-built workflows for some of the most common eCommerce actions. It’s also frequently updating its tool stack and implementing new integrations to the platform.
Zapier is a popular automation platform that allows you to connect various apps together, such as Slack and Gmail. The goal of the software is to simplify the process of automating repetitive actions so you can focus on more critical tasks without the help of a developer.
It only takes a couple of clicks to set up workflows with Zapier’s do-it-yourself editor. The biggest drawback that comes with Zapier, however, is that it’s not eCommerce focused.
Shopify Flow is Shopify’s own platform you can use to automate repetitive tasks. To do so, you can use the software’s visual builder to create the workflow or choose from various templates.
The tool works with some of the most popular apps out there, such as Asana, Google Sheets, and Trello. Keep in mind that this task automation platform is only available for stores on Shopify’s Plus plan.
Your marketing team is spending a lot of its time on research, finding the best ways to reach customers, and keeping with trends in the market. Some of the best automation tools to help them be more efficient in their role include:
HubSpot is a marketing and sales automation software with all the tools you need to engage customers. It comes with an easy integration on Shopify to host all of your order history, product pages, and checkout flows in one place.
Hubspot’s tools allow marketers to understand your customer’s buying behavior and patterns, so they better understand how to segment their campaigns. They can instantly automate any marketing campaign, whether it’d be to recover lost carts or target customers with special offers.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud
As part of its product suite, Salesforce has a marketing automation tool called Commerce Cloud that helps marketers engage customers at every point of their journey.
It comes with advanced analytics to help you learn more about your audience and their needs. It’s data you then use to deliver better product recommendations and A/B test different campaigns.
Flashy – Marketing Automation
With Flashy, you can automate custom marketing campaigns within a couple of clicks. It helps create buyer journeys based on various factors, such as your customer’s behavior on your website and their purchase history, so you can consistently deliver the right message.
Another great feature of Flashy is its pop-up builder. You can automate popup announcements on your website to get the visitor’s attention and drive more conversions.
Get More Done in Less Time With Workflow Automation
You don’t have to let repetitive and tedious tasks drag you down. Whether it’s marketing or customer service, you can save yourself plenty of time with automation so you can put your entire focus into taking your store to the next level.
This guest post was written by Ryan O’Donnell of ShopPad.
As Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of ShopPad, Ryan O’Donnell develops popular Shopify apps and helps Shopify merchants globally provide their customers with beautiful and innovative online shopping experiences.