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Ecommerce Efficiency Tricks 101: Automation

If you’re an online retailer, you’re doing hundreds of little tasks that only take a few seconds each and every day. These are only small tasks to which you likely won’t give much thought, but if Ecommerce is your career, doing them every day will soon add up. Business, even Ecommerce, is about being efficient. Your time is a finite resource, which is why it’s important for you to direct it towards processes that will grow your business. That’s why, if you want to run a truly great Ecommerce store, you need to know about automation.

What is Automation?

Automation involves using technology to do tasks and processes automatically. At a basic level, it’s nothing more than that, but modern Ecommerce solutions allow intelligent automation that allows your business to carry out certain processes automatically when the conditions are correct. This is essential for a scaling business, as traditionally you would need to hire staff to handle the complexities of a larger business. This erodes your profit margins, so if you are thinking of growing as a company, automations will allow you to retain profitability as you do so.

What Sort of Processes Need Automation?

There are many different processes that take up a business owner’s time. In the area of fulfillment, automation can help out by triggering messages to a customer when an order is ready to be fulfilled (whether it’s been delivered, dispatched, or if it’s ready to be picked up from a physical location). Automation is also great at taking out-of-stock products off the store and off the advertising focus. You can automate a product to report itself as low stock when this is the case, or if a product isn’t selling enough (or if you just want to take advantage of time pressure), you can automate your flash sales to take advantage of the huge growth that they can bring. Shopify describes flash-sale automation as generating money on autopilot.

How Does Automation Work?

The exact way to automate your online store depends on the Ecommerce platform that you use, but in general you set a trigger, a condition, and an action logic. For example, you can have some code that monitors your inventory. You can then set up a condition, stating that if stock levels are below 10, various actions can be undertaken. These include publishing a low-stock banner over the item, emailing the source of the product to ask for a new shipment, and notifying a marketing team to amend how they are promoting the product. These simple logical equations can be very difficult to engineer, so it’s recommended that you use a solution which allows you to do this with a visual builder instead of wrestling with lines of code.

Is it Worth It?

Automation is absolutely worth the time it takes to set it up, if you are planning on keeping your Ecommerce business going in the long term. It allows you to save much of your own time (imagine going through all your products that are out of stock and taking them off your site), as well as save on the costs associated with hiring additional manpower.