- Self-serve transactions are AT the heart of e-commerce. Advances in intelligent automation are key to providing more choices to more customers in less time.
Professionals in every field are swimming in a sea of automation. Temperatures in the workplace adjust themselves, lights fade up and down in response to motion sensors, and backups protect the company’s most valuable asset, customer data.
Customer support, for example, can increase your digital revenue by automating and optimizing customer service interactions. Here are the main factors to consider for scaling digital revenue with e-commerce automation.
Automation: Table of contents
- Critical automation for e-commerce
- E-commerce Automation Results
- Decide What To Automate
- Best Use Of Automation In E-Commerce
- Automation Scales Business Units
- The On-Demand Engine
Critical automation for e-commerce
An online store’s strength lies in its ability to take advantage of a global, mobile customer base. The potential size of the customer base also enormously amplifies the volatility of customer demand cycles. Successful e-commerce firms must find a way to scale up and down instantly. The market favors companies that respond in microseconds and standardize their processes to minimize human error.
That’s why the future is unquestionably a place where AI, robots, and IoT will take on more responsibilities, allowing humans to do what they do best, use their intuition. The future now for e-commerce companies.
E-commerce Automation Results
There are plenty of ways to operate more efficiently and grow the company without getting bogged down in long-term capital investments.
Four ways automation helps e-commerce companies:
- Collapsing the effort required to complete repetitive, time-intensive tasks
- Integrating conflicting software platforms that require manual adjustments
- Digitizing analog systems that slow down the revenue recognition cycle
- Providing a virtual space for business model experimentation and A/B testing
Technology is advancing rapidly in both the intelligence of automation agents and the ease of use by non-technical managers. There are many more tasks eligible for digitization and automation than ever before.
Many business owners put off a deeper investigation because there are just too many options. Here are some simple, practical questions to get started in a way that can help automation projects pay for themselves.
Decide What To Automate
The primary goal here is determining which tasks to automate to see what makes the biggest initial impacts on profitability and productivity, which can then uncover more hidden inefficiencies:
- Which recurring management tasks soak up the most significant amount of time on a daily/weekly basis? Don’t worry about whether it’s possible to automate them yet. Just select the top five time sinks for now
- Which actions have brought back the most significant returns in terms of customer satisfaction? The goal of automation projects should be to provide more time for these tasks.
- List tasks that are necessary but extremely unpopular for managers and staff. Automation in these areas may not bring immediate quantifiable gains, but it can significantly improve motivation and productivity.
- Where are the most prominent blind spots in the business? Where there is no data about the state of the company? Usually, this involves categories such as inventory, receivables, field service, and so on. Automation in these areas gives leaders better visibility into the business, offering them greater market agility and smarter course corrections.
- How does the company stay in contact with customers after the sale? Referrals, up-selling/cross-selling, and recommendation engines are propelling e-commerce sites to record profits. Investigate methods that help e-commerce sites scale up personalization.
Best Use Of Automation In E-Commerce
Consider variations on the following implementations of automated routines:
Manually changing prices for online inventory can be extremely time-consuming. Look at rolling dates that modify the price point on specified categories of items and services.
Everyone should have access to new offerings at the same time. An API or similar development project can push new updates to the online store at the same time it sends messages to social media, apps, and other channels.
Following the 80/20 rule, paying special attention to the best customers can deliver outsized revenue impact. Keep them on board and engaged by integrating lifetime customer value data with customized email automation for tighter retention numbers.
For customers buying online, shipping is not an afterthought. When and how their order is delivered can make all the difference in who wins the sale. Automation can apply personalized shipping rules based on customer preferences and order size.
Automation Scales Business Units
Every e-commerce company must follow its own path to automation, but these three functional areas are the ones that most frequently bring back rapid ROI.
Reducing cart abandonment must be one of the central tenets of any successful e-commerce strategy. In 2017, global cart abandonment rates sat at 75.6 percent. That’s an average across industries, with fashion sites enjoying lower rates (68.3 percent) and finance sites enduring a much higher one (83.6 percent).
Recapturing the interest of customers who were committed enough to fill up a cart can make a huge impact on revenues quickly. Automation can track trends in abandonment, suggest reasons for it, and schedule communications to reconnect with customers with relevant messages.
Chatbots made enormous strides during 2018. Research indicates that more than 10,000 companies are in the process of adding chatbots to their customer service arsenal. The financial feasibility is already evident and, by 2022, chatbots are on track to reduce business expenses $8 billion per year overall.
There’s a cultural aspect to this as well, in that the top four messaging apps now support more monthly active users than the top four social networks. E-commerce leaders have already moved to provide more customer service options through chatbots and more purchasing options in messenger apps.
The critical problem of establishing trust in anonymous transactions has proven crippling for too many e-commerce companies. Too little protection leads to fraud and customer data loss. Too much protection drives away customers who can find an easier path to purchase at a competitor’s site in a click or a swipe.
A study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found that half of all small businesses fall victim to fraud at some point in their business lifecycle, which costs business owners $114,000 per occurrence on average. Automation has proven to be a powerful tool in preventing fraud and assuring customer data security in compliance with PCI standards.
The On-Demand Engine
The 21st century has been characterized by a cultural shift from push to pull technologies across all industries. E-commerce giants have upended their verticals by allowing customers to drive the interaction and giving them more freedom to make choices.
Consumer willingness to embrace digital commerce is being further amplified by the rapid pace of technological change.Deloitte
There’s no doubt that self-serve transactions are the heart of e-commerce. Advances in intelligent automation will be the key to providing more choices to more people in less time.