If you have been in the ecommerce industry for a while, then you know that it’s important that your business is scalable so that as it grows you don’t add to your workload. The goal is to continually increase your bottom line without having to break your back to do it. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is by automating tasks.
Related: What exactly do we mean when we say “scalable?” We use Santa’s workshop to teach you how to help your business grow.
It’s likely that when you started your ecommerce store, you did most things manually. As your business increases, you can take a lot of the pressure off by automating all the tasks that you can.
Here are a few of the tasks that you should automate right now.
Inventory Management Tasks
Probably the biggest job that you have as an ecommerce retailer is inventory management. When you have a good system in place, business runs smoothly, but when you don’t, it can be chaos. Ideally, with your inventory, you will want to start automating tasks such as, your inventory syncing, order routing, and more. There are numerous inventory management software solutions available for you to use with your store. Here are some things to look for as you decide which one to use:
- If you sell across multiple channels, look for one that will sync your inventory across all of them.
- Make sure that the system you choose automatically updates in real-time. This will save you a lot of hassle because you won’t ever have to worry about overselling or running out of stock.
- If you stock inventory in multiple warehouses, you will want to make sure that your inventory management system can accommodate that.
- Ecommerce data and reporting should have a consolidated view of inventory sold in each of your stores.
If you use dropshipping for order fulfillment, there are many tasks that you should be looking to automate to simplify your order fulfillment process. Here are a few to consider:
- Make sure that your system integrates with your suppliers and that customer orders are automatically sent to them. The goal of dropshipping is for you to be able to remain hands-off for much of the process.
- You want a solution that automates shipping rate updates.
- When your supplier or warehouse ships your products to your customers, you want your customers to know about it. That means that you need to make sure that your system automatically sends shipment notifications including tracking information to them.
- You don’t want to waste time on cancelled orders. Ensure that if a customer changes their mind and cancels an order, your system handles it automatically without your manual intervention.
In addition to automating tasks in your ecommerce platforms, inventory management, and order fulfillment systems, you can also make use of automation in how your customers pay for their orders. Things to consider when choosing payment solutions are:
- Do the payment gateways you are using integrate with your other systems?
- Is the system easy to navigate for your customers?
- Are you looking for a payment gateway, merchant account, or all-in-one system?
- If you sell internationally, do you offer payment gateways for customers in other countries?
- Does the system you choose centralize your view of payment streams across all your payment gateways?
- If you need to incorporate tax calculations at checkout, does the system allow for that? And does it automatically do so for customers in different locations?
Refunds and Returns
Dealing with refunds and returns can be tedious. Unfortunately, it is something that every ecommerce business has to do. You can save yourself a lot of headaches if you employ a system that deals with returns and refunds automatically. Of course, the first thing you need to do is make sure that your return policy is clearly posted on all your sales channels, checkout pages, and invoicing. Additionally, make sure of the following:
- That your suppliers and warehouses offer returns management as a part of their services, and that their systems integrate with your inventory management software so your inventory levels stay accurate.
- That your customers are able to easily request returns and refunds online, without having to use email or other manual procedures.
- That your order fulfillment system allows for the reverse logistics of returns.
As your ecommerce business grows, you want to be able to increase your revenue without breaking your back performing tasks manually that you can easily automate. Automating tasks will free up time to allow you to work on the most important aspect of your business – growth.
Besides inventory management, dropshipping, customer payments, and refunds and returns, there are many ecommerce-related tasks that can be automated, and many solutions that can accommodate your needs to simplify. The key is to find solutions that all integrate seamlessly with one another and with other systems that you currently use. Get hunting and get automating!