There are countless ways automation helps your business, but one of the most notable benefits is that it saves time for your employees. As a result, ecommerce businesses are investing in automated solutions due to their proven ability to boost productivity and efficiency.
But how exactly does automation empower your team to do their best? The following examples show how automation helps your ecommerce operations and warehouse managers as well as your customer support and marketing teams.
From the moment a customer submits their order to the minute it arrives on their doorstep, there are many processes and moving parts involved. This provides many opportunities for things to go wrong, especially if you're relying on manual or inefficient processes.
If you use automation to integrate a reliable tech stack, your ecommerce operations managers can have complete visibility over inbound and outbound aspects of the supply chain network. This clarity is vital to protect your supply chain from serious and costly disruptions, as well as support purchasing and procurement in the demand planning process.
Example of Using Automation for Operations Managers
If a customer places an order and the item is out of stock, the most obvious consequence is lost revenue. But don't forget, stockouts have an additional cost—you may lose that customer forever. Using order management software like Extensiv Order Manager automates numerous tasks so that your team can keep track of inventory counts and keep necessary items in stock for on-time fulfillment.
When warehouse operations run efficiently, employees are happier, and customers are satisfied. But because there are so many moving parts in warehouses, problems can occur and directly impact the overall speed and productivity of the fulfillment process. Automation can help by improving the accuracy and efficiency of warehouse operations while simultaneously lowering the chance of human error.
Example of Using Automation for Warehouse Operators
If an item is not where it should be in the warehouse, a warehouse team member, such as a picker, will need extra time to look for it and this may even result in increased mispicks. This causes order fulfillment problems, leading to unsatisfied customers and negative reviews. Using the barcode scanning automation in warehouse management system (WMS) software like Extensiv Warehouse Manager guarantees that every item is scanned so you know exactly what's in your warehouse, where it is, and what items are running low.
Technology-forward companies are giving their support teams an automation makeover to cut back on manual labor without sacrificing customer service. Customer service automation takes several forms, but the most common are chatbots, surveys, and contact forms. These customer-facing tools speed up response times and collect timely and relevant information, as well as pertinent feedback. In customer support operations, automated ticket routing helps your team track support tickets in one place, separate and prioritize high-value cases, and route them to the appropriate department. Moreover, your customer support team may need to calculate NPS to measure customers' satisfaction and get insights on how to improve it.
Example of Using Automation for the Customer Support Team
Customers expect you to respond quickly to their questions and concerns. If a customer writes to inquire about your product, an automated support option like a chatbot can step in to give customers the information they need. Chatbots are perfectly tuned to answer simple, FAQ-oriented questions such as product availability, shipping costs, delivery status, and more. The bot will also direct more complex queries to your support team.
Additionally, an intelligent customer care bot can provide directions to your website for additional information or resources. The essential advantage of using various chatbot types is that they reduce the number of queries received, allowing your customer support team to focus on handling high-value and more complicated questions.
Automating the many steps of marketing can help align your overall strategy to generate and nurture leads. Advanced marketers use automated platforms to provide engaging content to prospective customers to help convert them to leads. Not only does it help the marketing team better understand their audience, but it also improves their strategy.
Example of Using Automation for the Marketing Team
One of the popular marketing strategies is drip email campaigns. These are automated sets of emails that go out based on user actions. Let's say you're running an ecommerce store and someone makes their first purchase. Your marketing team can set up a drip sequence that starts with a welcome or thank you email and follow up a few days later with links to your upcoming promotions or events. With this marketing strategy, your customers stay engaged by keeping your business in mind for future purchases.
In addition to drip email campaigns, another invaluable tool to bolster your marketing efforts is leveraging social media for automated lead generation. By incorporating this approach, you can use its capabilities to target specific demographics, re-engage website visitors through retargeting, and extend your reach to a broader audience across multiple social media platforms.
Three Tips for Talking to Your Team About Automation
Automation can be a tricky subject—it's possible that not everyone on your team will be on board or see the benefits of it right away. Some employees may feel their jobs are in danger and could see automation as a threat, not an opportunity.
To help smooth the transition and get your employees to accept—and even welcome—automation, here are three tips to get you started.
1. Start a Dialogue
Maybe you've already decided on the areas that can be improved by automation, but instead of going in and laying down the law, start by talking with your employees to get their perspective. Ask them what manual tasks are slowing them down. If you’ve already automated some tasks, ask them if it’s working, and if not, get their opinions on other options they suggest. Your team members are on the front line every day, so they're going to have a pretty good idea of the areas where automation will be the most helpful—just ask!
2. Focus on the Positives
Every business owner knows that employees are happier and more productive when they have input into their environment and trajectory of their careers. Some team members might see automation as a great way to save time so they can develop new skills and explore new training opportunities with an eye toward advancement. And some might appreciate the decreased strain on their bodies from having to walk around the warehouse looking for items that are missing. Promote how automation can free them from tedious, repetitive tasks. Even highlighting how automation helps create a safer workplace could be a huge selling point.
3. Train, Train, Train
Most of us remember what it was like the first time we got on a bike; very few of us succeeded on our first (or second, or third) try. So what did we do? We kept on trying, used training wheels, and had support from a parent when we fell down and got hurt. So it’s best not to go out and expect staff to become Eddy Merckx the first time they climb on the bike. By implementing an effective, comprehensive training program from the start, employees will feel confident and empowered when using the new systems. Be visible and accessible as you get your staff up to speed so they can avoid scraped knees as much as possible—or be there to help them get back on the bike when things don’t go perfectly at the beginning. Show that you have faith in them to learn new technology and they will come through for you.
Interested in finding out how an WMS or OMS can provide greater inventory control? Request a demo today!