In the age of omnichannel eCommerce, customers are more empowered by choice and information than ever. They want a seamless experience while shopping on multiple devices, and sellers need to develop interconnectedness to keep up.
Bigger retail companies can afford to hire teams of developers and marketers to create the ultimate shopping experience. But for those of us who aren’t Walmart or Target, producing this cross-channel selling experience takes a lot of elbow grease.
Many online sellers don’t take advantage of time-saving automation software. Maybe it’s because they like being hands on, or maybe they’re just not aware of their options. Streamlining your ecommerce tools and platforms not only makes your business easier to run, but easier to grow as well.
Automation makes your business scalable
If your orders doubled tomorrow, could you keep up? Aside from obvious bumps in the road, could your current process sustain you at least long enough to develop new processes? If not, your process is actually holding you back.
Automation is scalable in a way manual workflows aren’t. Here are four key omnichannel eCommerce tasks below that you should be automating.
Sales Order Management
The real weight to managing your sales orders when you’re multichannel selling is overwhelming. Regardless of what tools you’re using, it’s tedious to manually shift information back and forth from channel to channel. The more manual a task is, the greater the risk of human error. No matter how much you check and double check your work, some errors are bound to happen.
Automation software for sales order management can save you time and money. These tools automatically communicate multichannel sales into one system. When you make a sale on one channel, such as Amazon, a sales order manager will automatically update your inventory on all your other marketplaces, route your orders to FBA or your supplier, and even forward tracking information to your buyers.
Customers who use ecomdash for their order management tend to increase their revenue by an average of 23 percent quarter over quarter. The removal of human error and employing a more straightforward process to expand into new marketplaces lead to a boost in revenue.
You can have the best product in the world, but if your customers can’t find you, they’ll buy from someone else. That “someone else” is always just one click away. A killer strategy for search engine optimization, or SEO, that keeps your website pages ranking high on Google, Bing, and other search engines is the only way to beat your competition to the punch. You can use Google Trends to evaluate the popularity of keywords and figure out what your customers are searching for, but are there further ways to automate SEO?
SEO toolboxes like those created by Sistrix can gather SEO reports about not only your website, but your competitors as well. The disadvantage of Google Trends is that you have to know where to start, whereas with Sistrix, you can jump right in by learning what keywords are already driving traffic in your industry. If your website is powered by WordPress, the Yoast plugin automatically scans your content for SEO strength indicators such as keyword density and meta data optimization. It’ll identify red flags in your content as well, like not having your keyword in your URL, or not breaking up the content in readable ways.
eComDash CEO Nick Maglosky recently wrote for Young Upstarts about how to make digital marketing more human. He spoke about how robotic, canned copy in your newsletters, social media, and blogs is not going to create the kind of engagement that lead to conversions. I agree, so keep in mind that I’m not suggesting you go out and buy followers or tweet bots. Digital marketing automation should be used to supplement, not replace, your digital marketing strategy. The basis of your digital marketing should always be producing useful content for your audience. The goal of automation on this front should be to find simpler ways of sharing and promoting that content.
One of my favorite automation tools is Hootsuite. I use it for managing my personal brand as well as accounts I’ve managed professionally. Hootsuite’s auto-schedule functionality is a lifesaver, allowing you to produce content for your social channels and schedule it to be posted at a later date.
Automation application If This Then That allows you to create “recipes” that make sharing content easier. Useful recipes for digital marketing include automatically embedding Instagram photos into tweets, and receiving an email digest from the Reddit subreddit most closely related to your industry.
Having trouble getting media contacts together for your press release distribution? Try prweb.com. They’ll handle distribution for you and create buzz surrounding your press release. They even provide a press release template that offers live support as you write.
Google Analytics is a great program for monitoring the traffic and behavior on your website. Although, I don’t like how that’s often the end of the discussion when it comes to analytics. Google Analytics is a tool, and like any other tool, it only works as well as you know how to use it. If you handed me a power drill right now, I still wouldn’t know how to build a deck. Google will give you loads of data, but what do you do with all of it? The true value of Google Analytics comes from learning how to use add-ons to automate the conversion of the data into something digestible you can put into action.
The Google Analytics spreadsheet add-on allows you to schedule automatic analytics reports directly into Google Sheets. You can instruct Sheets to compute custom calculations. From there, Sheets makes it easy to create appealing visualizations of your analytics data for you. You don’t have to spend your time staring at numbers, scratching your head, and trying to make sense of it all anymore. Sheets can be shared, edited, and downloaded by multiple users, which makes bringing more people on board a simple task, saving you more time.
Omnichannel eCommerce is here to stay. I’m hoping that the tips and resources here go a long way in equipping you to handle the workload. This is only a small sampling of the areas of your eCommerce business that are ripe for automation. I encourage you to explore and experiment with additional automation services and software. It keeps your business nimble and it keeps you sharp as a business owner.