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Top 10 Insights from the Experts: Automation 101

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It can feel as though there aren’t enough hours in the day, especially for business owners. You’re in charge of finances, marketing, inventory, sales, and the list goes on. How can automation help add hours back to your day?

Ten ecommerce automation experts and solutionists share their best advice on how to take time back. Learn below how to automate simple tasks so you can focus on building your brand. 

1. Increase Personalization With Machine Learning

“As your business grows, you'll have more customer tickets that can be time consuming for your team, and slow replies will impact your customer experience. Machine learning can help automatically detect if a customer is asking a frequently asked question such as "Where is my order?" and trigger automatic replies that feel personalized. For example, an ecommerce helpdesk like Gorgias deeply integrates with Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce stores, allowing for highly personalized responses based on customers previous order history, and even allows you to take actions such as refunding or cancelling an order right from your helpdesk. This will save your team time to focus on higher priority projects and customer tickets that require a human touch.” - Emma Kimmerly from Gorgias 

2. Put Down Your Pen and Paper

"If you are still using pen and paper, then you are doing it wrong. If you are not automating order splitting for instance and having to manually split orders out, then you are not maximizing the best user of your team's time. A good OMS should be able to automate this process and Skubana, in my experience, is the most efficient. " - Rodolfo Villarreal of Skubana 

3. Make Longtime Customer Loyalty Simple  

“The greatest challenge for anyone in an ecommerce business is time, and knowing where best to allocate that time. We strongly advocate using the technology you have available to you to segment your customer base and ensure that you are dedicating more of your time to your most valuable customers - the ones with the highest lifetime value that repeat purchases more regularly and have higher average order values. We also recommend integrating your ESP and loyalty provider in order to respond to events with triggered emails such as reward or points available reminders, loyalty program tier upgrades or referral prompts that ensure you continually keep in touch with your customers in between purchases. - Fiona Stevens from Loyalty Lion 

4. Lower Your Bottom Line With Lean Operations

“Automation makes an organization faster, leaner and more efficient because machines don't sleep! Automation is not necessarily for warehouses and factories and so many daily tasks, procedures and administrative functions can be automated for great effect on a company' bottom line. We have been able to stay ahead of our competitors because we are able to run a much leaner operation than competitors due to the automation of procedures and administrative tasks.” - Rolando Rosas from Global Teck

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Outsource

“It's common for eCommerce professionals to wear many hats, but, at some point, you have to pick what's doable and what can be delegated. There's no shame in outsourcing parts of your business — like order fulfillment! — if that means a major boost in productivity.” - Bea Tanese from Shipmonk

6. Make Back of House Operations a Priority  

“There is a SaaS tool to do every eCommerce back-office function. Ensure your team has the mindset to look for the best SaaS tools and partners to drive efficiency and automation. While it's tempting to try to build everything yourself, as a DTC brand, your focus should be on your products, brand and customers. Don't try to re-invent the tools required to manage your business operations. Look for the best SaaS tools and providers to automate as much as you can for your back of house operations - finance, HR, inventory planning, reporting & analytics, distribution, customer service, etc... Additionally, there are great SaaS tools and providers to enhance your website and Apps. Explore these tools prior to making major engineering investments to build tools that could be better provided by a 3rd party, saving you time and money.”  - Samantha Samuels from Friendbuy 

7. Monitor Customer Touchpoints to Save Time  

“Automating customer touchpoints and greievances to deliver unique experiences saves time, effort and energy. Plus, it also ensures accuracy and consistency in results obtained. Opt for integrated software tools (like SellerApp) to streamline business processes and achieve efficiency. Besides, monitoring key business metrics like sales performance and profit loss calculation with actual values will help understand the scalability of the business and, finally, ensure capital efficiency.” - Aashi Gadia from SellerApp

8. Reuse, Recycle, and Rethink  

“Automated setups based on customer behaviors onsite are extremely effective. Abandon programs, reminders, back in stocks can be automated to send extremely relevant communications to customers. Don't need to spend a lot of time developing the creative as long as the message is relevant to their behavior.  Reusing communications is also an effective option. Reusing creative and changing the subject lines and/or headlines can still be effective, especially for automations. Adding prior calendar or bulk communications can be effective at building out automations and reducing the time needed for creative development.” - Peter Inthirakoth from Tinuiti 

9. Aggregate Your Sales and Fulfillment Data  

"Aggregate as much of your Sales channel and fulfillment data into one location. Speed is the name of the game in 2021 having one team work off of reporting data from one tools dashboard and another team working out of Excel or a different dashboard is going to cause crossed signals across your team. Decisions across the Marketing and Fulfillment team need to be in lock step. Marketing needs to share their projections based on ad spend and Fulfillment needs to dial in PO forecasts to meet that demand. Centralizing your Sales, Marketing and Fulfillment data into one place allows your team to all be on the same page and move faster since you won't have to reconcile different data sources and can focus on the next strategy or tactic that will open up the next opportunity for your business." -Jeremy Horowitz of Daasity 

10. Build Custom Integrations For Your Brand  

"Automation is not one-size-fits-all. Just because one system integrates with another, doesn't mean that the information you need automated will in fact be supported or pushed/pulled as frequently as needed. Especially if you are using an integration that was built for someone else. Further, integrating two systems can be an interactive approach/exercise. Even if all the fields we desire to have mapped to a 3rd party or not supported, it doesn't mean that the existing mappings can't help to save time and reduce error. When building a new integration, time is money. Merchant's don't have a problem with paying $200/hour or needing 70 hours to scope, build, and test an integration. It's only an issue for merchants when those numbers are multiplied. Be careful to take a cost at face value, when you may not necessarily disagree with the equation that led to that conclusion (pricing)." - Gareth Roberts from Skubana 

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