Nov 17, 2022 4 Min READ

Empowering Ecommerce Ops Teams to Do More with Less Using Virtual Assistant and Orderbots

4 Min READ
Empowering Ecommerce Ops Teams to Do More with Less Using Virtual Assistant and Orderbots


The world today is not how we knew it back in 2019. Total retail sales have soared 32% and within retail, ecommerce has grown over 80% when comparing YTD adjusted totals from the US Department of Commerce. Ecommerce business launched onto the scene and new business owners found themselves asking if they were equipped to grow their business. 

 Their answers depended on the challenges the business was facing. While one business may struggle to handle order volume, others may struggle with growing costs. Early-stage businesses tend to struggle to effectively handle the rise in order volume and customer demands; later-stage businesses have already experienced increased order volume and are now focused on working smarter, not harder. 

Are Your Growth Strategies Unsustainable?

One option to solve early-stage growth challenges and manage orders is to hire additional employees. But this is a temporary solution and as you scale, your bottom line cannot sustain this strategy. The extra costs of training and providing benefits can add up quickly for young businesses. 

On the opposite end, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) may seem like a better fit for a more established organization still looking to expand but you’d be surprised at the steep cost of an ERP system and the complexities of maintaining such a custom solution. Implementation and startup costs are high and ongoing maintenance and the inability to innovate are also major setbacks to this solution. 

Businesses need technology that can serve as an additional resource, a virtual assistant, to automate mundane tasks while realizing significant value to the business. The right inventory management system (IMS) and order management system (OMS) are loaded with dynamic features that take action when triggered and continue to support your business day and night. 

Are You Using Technology to Optimize Output? 

Imagine routing every order to the nearest warehouse or distribution center to minimize fulfillment costs. A few pennies here, sometimes a few dollars there—every order, every day. Those pennies and dollars compound and before you know it you’re saving hundreds of dollars each month. But don’t forget the time it saved. Not only are employees not wasting their time routing orders but their focus can be set on more important responsibilities and customer needs. 

One simple feature can set a business on a path of profitable growth by reducing costs and increasing employee productivity. This is one of many capabilities Extensiv Order Manager offers brands—the ability to streamline mundane operational tasks and increase output without increasing the size of your team. 

 Implementing Virtual Assistants as an Alternative to Hiring More Staff

Implementing Extensiv Order Manager is comparable to hiring an additional employee but as a virtual assistant able to process massive influxes of orders and execute actions in a fraction of the time. This type of automation is driven by setting triggers to take action, or what Extensiv calls orderbots. Also known as order orchestration rules, orderbots provide immediate value by automatically performing actions that only need to be set up once and run 24/7/365. 

Similar to how you can set up a smart home with If This Then That (IFTTT) statements, orderbots have a wide range of applications. Common orderbots include splitting orders based on availability and assigning domestic backups among others. While these examples only scratch the surface of the different actions orderbots can make, the benefits are uncontested. Applying detailed actions on every order takes a serious load off your workforce and can capture incremental savings that add up. 

As we head into the holiday season, it’s a good idea to explore implementing orchestration rules and revisit a few key configurations that take your business to the next level. 

How Orderbots Can Revolutionize Your Business

Order Routing

Inflation has impacted all aspects of life and shipping costs are no exception. Reducing the distance of your orders that need to be shipped is a sure-fire way to save money, but as we’ve mentioned before, dedicating time and resources to oversee these actions may not be feasible for every business. 

Extensiv Order Manager’s orderbots make this process a breeze. For operations with multiple fulfillment locations, routing orders to the nearest location can not only save you money on each order, but you may be providing a better customer experience through faster deliveries. Set up your network of warehouses and distribution centers based on zip codes so each order will be routed to the nearest location with available stock. 

Carrier Assignments

The next great function of orderbots that can free up time and optimize fulfillment strategies is adjusting shipping carriers based on location. On top of the benefits of sending orders to the nearest location, it’s also a good idea to assign certain shipping carriers. You may notice certain carriers offer the best rates within areas of the United States or internationally. 

I came across a great example of this recently while visiting a customer who was leveraging FBM and Ontrac. The ground rates for the western portion of the United States were saving their business significant money on specific orders. Once they configured an Orderbot to intercept orders from their Amazon store heading to specific states, the operation became streamlined. The warehouse and operations manager was then able to spend his time analyzing data and overseeing his team instead of drowning in order details. 

Rate Shopping

The final Orderbot setup is focused again on shipping, but selecting the right rate based on your needs. It’s unlikely that one single carrier will provide the best rate 100% of the time. You need the ability to shop multiple carriers and rates without hiring a full-time team member or building your own proprietary technology to do so; during the holiday season here, surges can cost you a fortune. 

This becomes a challenge when you set fixed shipping costs for customers or offer free shipping when orders exceed a certain dollar limit. Your margins can shrink quickly. Orderbots will evaluate orders and allow you to apply the fastest or cheapest shipping rate for each unique order based on a combination of factors. Rate shopping is a quick and easy way to automatically apply the right shipping rate to be fulfilled. 

Scale Your Business with Extensiv

My examples above are basic, yet effective. The cost and time savings are determined from the start by the scale of your operation and will grow with your business. As order volume increases, orderbots continue to process every order, amplifying your savings. 

Order Management Systems and Inventory Management Systems have taken leaps in recent years with Extensiv paving the way for the future of omnichannel fulfillment. Extensiv’s technology platform connects over 2,000 warehouses and 4,000 businesses by processing millions of orders every day. The same technology trusted by 3PLs and businesses across the globe powers Extensiv Order Manager to be the premiere inventory and order management solution for hypergrowth businesses and beyond. 

To learn more about how an WMS or OMS can provide greater inventory control, request a demo. 


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