Influence Of Automation In Your E-commerce Business

A few years ago, if we ever heard the term E-commerce, all that one would think of is the procurement and selling of goods using the internet. But today, there is so much more to it, other than just buying or selling. On the other hand, imagine we had to compare the olden days’ commercial activity. For instance, from the 90s to today’s, wouldn’t we think of a man writing on paper and gradually processing the activity? But then, could people have imagined that robots or drones would reach the doorstep of the customer’s house to deliver the products a few years later? Well, whether we thought or not doesn’t really matter. The reality is that it has become possible now.

Well then, the development of E-commerce has reached different levels in quite a short span of time. And there is much more to expect in the coming years regarding E-commerce automation. Oh wait, did we just say ‘automation’? Yes. That’s how significant the growth of technology has become in almost every aspect of human life. And in this, E-commerce is definitely not an exception. With that said, could we spend the next few minutes discovering a little more about automation in E-commerce?

A brief explanation about e-commerce automation

E-commerce’s ever-changing landscape is recognized to be both scary as well as highly exciting due to the constant changes that this field experiences. And yet, it is thriving to be one of the most consistent in its growth and has remained to be as bright as ever. Refer to the following image that represents E-commerce’s excellent and consistent growth over the past few years until the present year.

Retail e-commerce sales worldwide from 2014 to 2024 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Source: Statista.com

Not just that, it was also predicted that by 2021, E-commerce would account for about 17.5% of the total retail sales globally. Doesn’t such a significant market deserve something better? That’s where automation comes into the picture. Automation is something that is gaining tremendous significance in the past decade. And businesses are automating almost every task for the overall betterment of the company. This includes activities such as online purchasing, employee onboarding, feedback analysis, web-based payroll solution, expense management, etc., for which all that one needs to do is just a few clicks. With this said, isn’t it clear that the combination of E-commerce and automation could together work greater wonders?
Moving forward, time, money, and effort are considered to be the most valuable resources for any businessman. The more a businessman tries to be effective in these resources, the more the efficiency will be enhanced along with the success of the business. And recently, the adoption of automation has proven to be the right solution for business effectiveness. Before we could dive deeply into the concept, let us understand what exactly E-commerce automation is that we are discussing about.
The practice of employing various software and related tools in order to create an unhindered sequence of commercial activities is basically called E-commerce automation. The ultimate motive to use these tools is to eradicate the work redundancy along with enhancing the connectivity among the customers. Once this motive is achieved, efficiency and growth fall in their place due to the simplified workflow. Isn’t this what every manager looks for?
Another factor that highlights E-commerce automation from traditional activities is that the former contributes to a higher level of hands-free operations. Unlike the traditional methods, this, in turn, enables the managers to concentrate more on generating revenue rather than being concerned about the activities related to it. This importance is gradually being understood by many companies, who have now begun embracing automation for better functioning.

Benefits of e-commerce automation

As the scope of Ecommerce automation is witnessed to be increasing globally, its importance is also recognized, which has led this market to be one of the most prominent ones with a consistent growth rate. Refer to the following data.

Global Marketing Automation forecast 2017-2023 (in US$ Billions)

Automation forecast from 2017 to 2023
Source: emailmonday.com

As represented in the image, the rate is constantly increasing year to year, and the major reason for this is that companies have begun to understand the benefits. But don’t we want to know what these benefits are which are driving E-commerce automation’s adoption? Well, here are a few discussed.

It helps improve product information

Other than inventory details and orders, E-commerce automation plays a key role in improving the information of the product. This can be observed when those who shop online wholly depend on the description of the product listed in the advertisements. These descriptions kind of instill relevance and confidence in the product as well as stimulate the decision of the client in buying the product.
Updating the E-commerce platforms accurately involves a lot of time for the workers. However, with the help of automation, you can be ensured that the E-commerce platform would be enhanced with clean as well as accurate data for all your products that are enlisted. This would be more effective if the product’s data is kept in the Enterprise resource planning (ERP) or the point of sale (POS) systems.

Helps Save Time And Efforts Tremendously

Time-saving is an obvious benefit of E-commerce automation that everyone is aware of. Certain tasks that could take a number of days are now proved to be accomplished in a few minutes. Moreover, human beings have the tendency to get bored or tired, and especially with repetitive tasks, the dreadful effect is sure to increase. And towards the end of the tasks, the feeling of being relieved from the task remains to be greater than the satisfaction gained.
For instance, imagine reviewing the feedback of the customers. If it is done manually, the time and effort are comparatively much greater than that it could be when it is automated. It is just a matter of a few minutes. And so are the other tasks such as sales promotion, adjusting the prices, posting on social media, tracking the purchases, etc. All these can be automated and scheduled as per the requirements for a better reach among the public, along with another benefit of reaching them at the right time.

Ensures Safety And Handles Complex processes

In the past 30 years, there have been only 27 robot-related workplace deaths, according to the OSHA incidental reports. And this shows that automation is an inevitable factor that leads to the right direction. Moreover, another department for labor’s safety also states that there is a huge reduction in the cost up to 20%-49% by simply enhancing safety measures with automation. Apart from the safety measures, E-commerce automation also contributes to simplifying the complex processes of businesses. This includes the following:

  • Making the purchase or the sales returns easier.
  • It enables the clients to shop with the available stock and reduce overselling.
  • The product’s assortments are expanded by integrating directly with the suppliers.
  • Cover most part of the locations starting from the cost-effective ones to the closest ones.
There could be many more added to this. In the end, E-commerce automation allows the business to expand its abilities and ultimately enhances the experiences of the customers and related operations.

Data security and accuracy

Most of the data dealt with on the E-commerce platforms are sensitive for sure. And the very fact that it includes certain data of the customers calls for stronger security. A report stated that 70 million+ data records were either stolen or leaked in 2018 due to poor configuration. And moreover, sometimes unnecessary access to important files may lead to data breaches. In order to avoid such undesired consequences, the security of data is a must.
In addition to this, accuracy is something that cannot be compromised with anything. Moreover, human beings are capable of making errors, although not intentionally. But then, once the errors are made, the consequences are inevitable too. Therefore, in both these cases, one of the right solutions is to adapt to automation. This can ensure the accuracy of the data that is collected and analyzed, as well as ensure the safety of the data by limiting access to it in various ways.

Improves Workforce Engagement

As discussed earlier, it is indeed dreadful to work on repetitive tasks. It is one thing that kind of brings down the excitement and morale of the employees. But then, just imagine telling them that it is not going to be the same anymore. The rise to satisfaction and excitement would be so instant. Wouldn’t it? And obviously, this liveliness can be brought back to the employees when the company embraces automation. With automation in place, employees are relieved from literally following the same process unendingly.
However, the benefit is not only that the employees are relieved. It provides them with ample time to focus on more important tasks that can help them make a difference in their career for their own enhancement. And when the employees can experience such satisfaction and support from the organization, it is evident that their engagement is a definite thing. And this definitely doesn’t end here. When the employees are engaged, it is proven that their productivity increases automatically. Once productivity is increased, profitability is more evident. And thus, a little effort and willingness from the businesses in embracing automation can contribute to the - engagement, productivity, and profitability cycle for the benefit of the company.

Employee engagement matters

Best Ecommerce tools for businesses to rely on

The development of technology has given rise to many software companies that come up with different solutions and tools. But this has also led to a lot of confusion as to which ones to use. It indeed has taken a few experiments, and as a result of those, some best tools for E-commerce are listed out here.

Zendesk

Zendesk is the highlighted automation tool for E-commerce, in case the most definitive solution you are looking for is communication. It has all the solutions needed to integrate the internal as well as the external reach of the customers.

Keap

Keap is one of the commonly used all-in-one solutions for E-commerce platforms. This application’s target is to provide a helping hand for small businesses with automation. Keat will be one of the best choices if your business has to deal with a lot of spreadsheets and notes that you do not want to risk losing. It has a great handling capability right from the already existing customer base to the prospect clients, along with the way you communicate with them.

Hubspot

Hubspot is one of the significant tools for businesses that look for better sales. Although there are paid versions of the automation tool, many necessary features are available for free. These features enable you to create email templates as well as lead generation, etc.

Let’s Wrap Up

As we reach the end of the article, it could be clear as to what E-commerce automation can do for our businesses. No doubt there is all the excitement of transforming the company on a digital platform. However, wise decisions are more important than anything else when we talk about embracing automation. Take your time in analyzing what the requirements are to be addressed first and then the later ones. And with that, choose the right ones that best fit your organization with the least disruption in the transition process.

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Author

David Dorr, Head of eCommerce

David is the Head of e-Commerce at CodeCoda where he is responsible to lead several teams of eCommerce specialists. In his previous role as a data scientist for London Metropolitan Police, he was developing deep learning NLP algorithms as part of the Crime Prediction initiative. He then switched over to combine AI with e-Commerce.
He received a B.Sc in Physics from the University of Surrey, Guildford in 1996. With this scientific background, he switched relatively early in his life towards Neural Networks and e-Commerce and has ever since been fascinated with what AI and Machine Learning can do for Online Commerce.