Online store automation
Automation of an online store is an integral part of a company’s existence in the digital space. If 5-8 years ago it would have been possible to keep all records in an Excel spreadsheet or in a notebook, today, even at low turnovers, it is necessary to clearly control the work processes. Provided that you want to make a profit, implement new strategies for promoting the company and scale. Internet business automation allows you to simplify work, speed up and improve service, minimize errors and introduce new tools for growth. After reading this article, you will be able to understand what and why to automate and how to do it.
What tasks will the automation of an online store solve?
Regardless of the size of the company, online sales automation is an essential step for growth and profit margins. Even if you work independently, without employees, without having a large warehouse, you need to control many processes, speed up customer service, keep records and statistics of sales, and keep a history of purchases of each client. Even in some large stores where an online store automation system is not implemented, there are difficulties in working with a client. The manager does not know the history of purchases, so he cannot select a group of offered products, does not make additional sales through special offers, is poorly used, or does not have a loyalty program at all.
Automation of online store processes allows you to solve many problems, including:
Acceleration of the work process.
The automation process allows you to place an order much faster. For example, tools for automatically filling in data when ordering, simplifying the order form, choosing a department for delivery reduces the order processing time by up to 40%. On one order, this may not be too noticeable, but it saves up to several hours of time per day.
History of work with the client.
The manager sees what the client ordered, how often he does it, what groups of goods he is interested in. Then he can offer profitable purchases, sell additional goods, knowing that he is suitable for the client. History allows you to personalize offers.
Improving the efficiency of trade.
Correct and fast document flow, invoicing and invoices, effective work with clients, control over the work of personnel – all this helps to increase the efficiency of trade. And marketing research, which is easy to carry out if the automation of online store processes is implemented, allows you to offer users what they are interested in. Trading efficiency increases and profits grow.
Control of balances and availability of goods.
Connecting the base and information from the warehouse directly to the online store allows the manager to see the amount of stock in the warehouse in real-time and understand the assortment. Timely purchases, sales of stale goods are part of the opportunities that open up when controlling stocks. This task is very important for business.
Processing an increased number of orders.
As a store grows, managers may not be up to the task. Automation of an online store will take the burden off managers. For example, a block with questions and answers on delivery and payment, product descriptions, photo-video presentation of the product will help the user understand what is being offered. Due to automation, many routine processes are removed, and processing a large number of orders becomes easier.
Elimination of manager errors.
The human factor is difficult to exclude completely, but the automation of online sales minimizes errors. The misheard address or the spelled surname, the wrong ordering, the quantity, or the choice are all minimized.
Marketing research and further promotion of the company.
Automation of Internet business solves one of the main tasks of the company – improving marketing promotion and reducing advertising costs and increasing awareness. Detailed reports, statistics, collection of data on the target audience, product ranking, and other automation tools allow you to conduct competent marketing research and understand how to promote your company.
Collection of information and market analytics.
You can implement tools for comparing prices, monitoring the market, and collecting information that allows you to understand the position of the store in your segment and select methods for improving the position.
Removing objections and increasing loyalty.
Do customers have questions? Remove objections automatically. Increase the level of trust with detailed information about products, publish reviews, articles, photos, and video content. Implement a loyalty program and provide personalization tools, and the number of users will grow.
Reducing the cost of introducing new products or services.
The online store automation system helps to introduce new products faster and cheaper. Newsletters, news articles, in-store product promotion are all tools for quickly bringing a new product to market. Costs are reduced and efficiency is increased.
Control over the work of managers.
Theft and shortcomings in the work of the company’s employees are almost completely eliminated, it is easy to control activities, collect real reports on the work done, and monitor the performance and sales effectiveness of each manager. This enables the business to optimize staff and monitor the efficiency of employees.
Reporting and a clear understanding of the real state of affairs in business.
Automation of online sales includes a detailed collection of reports in various areas. The business owner does not just receive sales data, but specific numbers and facts. What is being sold and what is not very good, which manager is performing better and which is not fulfilling the plan. How many users visit the store and how many actually buy and other data that allows you to see the full picture and understand what is happening inside the business.
If the online store is small and there is no storage as such, then it is not necessary to automate the warehouse operation processes. But if the company is average, there is a warehouse with a group of goods, then this is an important process that allows you to significantly speed up the work of the store, improve the quality of service, timely control the number of items, make additional purchases and sell goods, avoiding storing them.
Imagine the situation. You have a mid-sized store and a customer called and placed an order. But you don’t know if the product is in stock. You need to tell the client that you will clarify the information and call back. Next, you need to call the warehouse, ask the employee about the availability of the goods. He will go to watch it, and after a couple of minutes he will call back to say that he is. Now you need to call the client and report it. Everything takes 4 to 15 minutes. And if there is no product? You call the client, talk about it, after which he may inquire about another product. The chain will have to be repeated again. It’s even worse if he just says he’ll order from another store.
Automation of product price calculation and invoicing
When calculating the cost of goods, special formulas are used. There is a purchase price, a number of factors, a store margin, and other parameters. Automation of online store processes allows you to do all the calculations quickly. Imagine you have 500 products. Each one needs to be counted manually. And if there are 1,000, 20,000, or more?
By automating this process, you can quickly download and update data. If the price has changed, it is enough to make changes in the program, and all formulas will be recalculated. This eliminates the possibility of errors in value and loss of money, especially at the stage of price changes.
Forming an invoice is also a complicated and time-consuming process from a technical point of view. Automation will reduce the load on managers, increase the speed of processing applications and improve the quality of service. Of course, some data may have to be entered manually. But basic template actions will be performed automatically. For example, applying a logo, invoicing on certain dates, automatically filling in parameters from the order form, creating invoices and acts linked to an invoice, adding a digital signature, and others.
Automatic sales funnel
If you want your website visitors to turn into customers, and those, in turn, into regular customers, you need to implement a sales funnel. This is a clear mechanism that allows you to accompany the user from the stage of the first communication with your store to the checkout. Although further the funnel also works, because even after making a purchase, the client must be retained, returned, and given the opportunity to make more purchases. Those who bought once are the best customers because they already trust your store. It’s easy to make permanent ones out of them. But on the condition that the funnel works.
Introduction of automation tools
Automation of online sales is to change the classic funnel, where the decision is made exclusively by the user, to an automatic one, where he is accompanied at each stage. Without the introduction of automation tools, a step-by-step sales funnel looks something like this:
- A visitor enters the site, examines the products, site pages, reads information about the company, delivery, and payment terms.
- If the user has not received valuable information for himself, he immediately leaves the site and goes to search further. It is irretrievably lost to the store. If something interested him, there is a chance that he will leave at least some of his data. Phone, mail, name.
- If the visitor is determined, he adds the product to the cart. At this stage, most of the visitors are lost. The fact is that the reason for adding to the cart can be different: a comparison of prices, a total count of goods, just such a desire appeared. In a classic sales funnel, it is extremely difficult to understand the reason.
- Units go even further and place an order. Of course, if they do not face difficulties in registration, objections, or other factors that can turn them away from the purchase.
As a result, the conversion of a standard sales funnel reaches 3-5%, that is, out of 100 people who are really determined to buy something, no more than 5 purchase goods. In the expensive segment, this percentage is even lower. Online store automation works differently.
Standard sales funnel
The main principle of an automatic sales funnel is to accompany the user in stages. The tools allow you to understand what pages he is looking at, what he is interested in, how much time he spends. For example, a person is interested in a mobile phone. If he spends a certain time on the page, a special offer with a discount or special conditions appears for him. Surely he looks at several pages at the same time and compares, so by such an action you can distance yourself from competitors.
CRM is a powerful tool that is used to simplify many tasks. Automation of online store processes is often done with the help of CRM. The primary goal is to streamline tasks. Imagine that you have a small store with 2 managers. Each has its own customer base, which is slowly but surely growing. You offer customers discounts, special conditions, and all reporting is kept in a notebook or in a table. But over time, the number of orders grows, the agreements between the buyer and the store become difficult to control. And one manager quit, but 2 new ones came in his place.
Automation of an online store
How to manage the company and organize the work process? How to set tasks, monitor the effectiveness of managers, monitor financial flows? The CRM system helps with this. Automation of an online store begins with the installation of a CRM system. You can choose a ready-made solution, it is cheaper, and there are free options. But you should know that over time you will still have to develop your own CRM for the needs of the store or choose ready-made, but expensive solutions.
Automation of Internet business using CRM is implemented through the following capabilities:
- a client card is automatically created, in which all the data of the buyer, his history, as well as the algorithm of the company’s interaction are entered;
- the data of the form of payment, delivery are recorded, the next time ordering is significantly accelerated;
- each order is assigned a status, so you can always control the quality of the work;
- a loyalty program is being introduced, discounts for clients, additional conditions are calculated;
- mailing tools allow you to contact the client in a convenient form and in automatic mode, the sales funnel is actively working;
- tasks are assigned to each manager, it is easy to track the progress and evaluate the effectiveness of employees, the likelihood of errors due to the human factor is reduced;
- reports are created in different areas: work efficiency, financial flows, implementation of the work plan, product popularity, and others.
CRM allows you to fully control the business and streamline all processes. Automating online sales using CRM allows you to solve many routine tasks, avoid mistakes and see the full picture of your business.
Automation of an online store is needed in order to reduce company costs, increase profits, distance from competitors and establish relationships with customers. Many tasks are simplified, employees get rid of routine work, and the process of organizing a business becomes transparent and understandable. Is there a need to automate small stores? If it is financially justified, it is obligatory. After all, in this case, you can expand, scale, and improve your business.