The eCommerce industry is exploding worldwide. In 2022, the e-commerce market in the U.S. is expected to generate $986.10 billion in revenue.
Retail sales were already in decline before COVID-19. But as the pandemic continues and more customers are staying home, eCommerce is going to continue to dominate.
It’s never been a better time to launch an online store. But as your business starts to scale, however, you may notice that you have less and less time on your hands.
Let’s use the example of shipping, for example. You can afford the time to create individual shipping labels when you’re only shipping 10 boxes a month.
But if you’re shipping 1000 boxes, it’s a whole nother story.
Stores must find a way to automate repetitive tasks so they put all their attention on growth. That’s where automation comes in.
Benefits of Workflow Automation for DTC Brands
Automation streamlines repetitive tasks so you can put your attention to other aspects of your business.
It’s one of the benefits of being on Shopify, that provides you integrations that automate various business activities. You can use it to manage order fulfillment, marketing, shipping, customer service, and more.
It can make a significant difference in your day-to-day operations.
Here are the main benefits that come with using automations to run your store:
A Boost in Productivity and Efficiency
Mundane tasks such as billing the customer, creating a list of products, and counting your inventory can eat up time on your schedule.
And as a business owner, there are probably other tasks of your company you’d prefer to focus on.
Automation streamlines business processes to save you time. As a result, you’ll have more room on your schedule to focus on other areas of business, such as redesigning your website or improving your product.
Store and Keep Track of Data Accurately
There’s a lot of data to keep track of as you run an eCommerce store, such as purchase details from customers and your stock inventory.
You can try to store all this data by yourself, but you’re putting yourself at risk for human error. Even little mistakes can have a significant impact on your business.
For example, if you’re preparing a package, but the customer name’s has some misspellings, they won’t receive their order. Not only will you have to cover transportation costs, but you’re losing yourself a customer.
Automation eliminates human error as you process data. You won’t have to worry about any miscalculation or any errors that could block your growth.
Save Money for Your Business
Lastly, automation can save your business money in various ways.
First, it reduces the amount of time that employees dedicate to their tasks. You’ll be able to reduce their hours, while they’ll get to have more time to focus on more significant areas of their job.
Secondly, by automating repetitive tasks, you reduce the amount of people you need in your company.
The Best Automation Workflows That Save You Time and Grow Sales
As you can see, automation comes with many benefits for your business. From boosting your productivity to saving money, it offers the tools you need to take your store to the next level.
So without further ado, let’s get into the best automation workflows that grow your business and save you time:
Winning back lost customers
Losing customers can be a frustrating experience.
There’s nothing worse than getting a customer to purchase, only for them to drop their cart at the last minute. Over 69% of online shopping carts get abandoned.
Yep, you heard that right. That means that for all of your orders, almost ¾ go to waste. That’s a tough stat for many eCommerce brands to hear.
On the other hand, you may have customers on your list that have stopped engaging for whatever reason. Maybe they bought a product from your store a couple of months ago but have yet to make another purchase.
You may be scratching your head on what went wrong and how you can bring them back to your store. Thankfully, automation comes with various workflows to help you re-engage customers:
1. Launch Win-Back Campaigns
At some point or another, a portion of customers are going to lose interest in your brand.
One way to catch the attention of inactive customers is through a win-back email campaign. It’s a series of emails you can send to the customer to re-engage them and get them to purchase once again.
Let’s say that the customer bought some form of older equipment four months ago, but has yet to buy another product. You can send them deals via email on the latest upgrades to bring them back to your store.
2. Send an Abandoned Cart Email
It’s not the end of the world if a customer abandons their cart. To win them back, you can send them an abandoned cart email and get them to follow through.
For example, you can include in the email a discount or promotion on the item they added to their cart. It’s going to give customers an extra incentive to go to checkout and finish their purchase.
You’ll be able to recover lost sales that normally would have never happened.
Customer Experience & Loyalty
The key to eCommerce success isn’t just to acquire new customers. It’s also to optimize their experience, so they’ll always be coming back to your store for more.
Here are the best automation wo you can set up to improve the customer experience and boost loyalty:
3. Segment Your Customer List
To maximize your revenue, you can’t use the same messaging to target all of your customers.
After all, each customer is unique and at a different stage of the buyer journey. Some are already familiar with your brand (and may have bought from you before), while others are new and still need a bit of convincing.
Going through and segmenting your customer list by yourself, however, is going to be too time-consuming. Automation can segment your customer list based on different factors, such as:
- Purchase history
- Brand engagement
- And more
As a result, you’ll always be able to send the right message to the right person each time.
4. Identify Your Most Loyal Customers
To go further in your segmenting, you can use automation to help you identify your best customers and potential brand advocates. You’ll get answers to questions such as:
- Who’s frequently buying your items, even when they’re not on sale?
- Who’s spreading the word about your brand to others around them?
Once you know who your best customers are, you can find ways to reward them so they continue buying from you. For example, you could offer them exclusive discounts that no one has access to, or put them on a VIP list.
5. Send Post-Purchase Surveys
Brands are so focused on sales that they tend to overlook the post-purchase process. It’s the perfect opportunity to get to know the customer better and find ways to improve your service.
With automation, you can directly send a post-purchase survey once your store fulfills an order. You can ask the customer to rate their experience on a scale of five stars or comment on their feedback.
It’s going to show customers that you value their satisfaction and take the extra step to meet their needs.
6. Send Upsell Offers
Upselling is one of the most effective tactics to boost your average order value. It consists of encouraging the customer to buy complementary products that go along with their purchase.
For example, let’s say that you’re a men’s grooming brand, and a customer buys a pair of razors. To complement the purchase, you can offer them shaving cream and cologne that complement the order.
It helps you win extra sales, while the customer gets the most out of their purchase. It’s a win-win for everyone.
You can use automation to create upsell products once a customer makes a purchase. This can take the form of an email or a popup on the checkout page.
The best website and products in the world could never make up for a poor shipping strategy. To satisfy customers, you need to make sure that their order gets in front of their door safely and sound.
At the same time, taking care of shipping can be a time-consuming process. There are so many things to handle, such as counting your boxes, finding the best shipping rates, creating your shipping labels…
The list just goes on and on.
Here are examples of automation workflows that make the shipping process a breeze:
7. Create and Print Shipping Labels
Dealing with shipping labels manually can be a headache. A simple misspelled letter on the label is all it takes for the package to not arrive to the customer.
Automation helps you print shipping labels instantly and make sure that each order is accurate. Not only will it save you time, but you’ll gain peace of mind that your order is shipped properly.
8. Offer shipping Tracking Information
More and more brands are including shipping tracking inforùmation as part of their service. It gives real-time updates on the package, so customers can know exactly when they expect to receive their order.
Many shipping automation tools come with a track and trace feature on all orders. Customers will be able to follow the path of their package and be reassured that their package is on its way.
You won’t have to manually answer questions such as “when is my package coming?” ever again.
Inventory and Logistics Management
Aside from shipping, how you manage your inventory is what could also make or break your eCommerce store.
If you’re low on stock, you won’t be able to meet the needs of your customers. On the other hand, if you stock too much, you’ll be spending too much money on inventory costs.
It can be tricky to predict the demand for your product. Retailers lose over $1 trillion in sales and revenue each year to stock-outs alone.
Here’s how automation helps you prepare in advance before your inventory runs out:
9. Reorder Product When Stock is Low
Stock-outs can be challenging to deal with. To save yourself time, you need to be able to predict when a product is about to sell out, so you can proceed to order and avoid the dreaded “out of stock” message on the product page.
Automation can alert you when you’re about to run out on a product so you can stock up more items for your store.
10. Update Your Warehouse When An Order is Not Fulfilled
Fulfilling orders can be bumpy at times A customer may have made a purchase, but the warehouse didn’t get the memo.
With automation, you can automatically send a message to the warehouse to let them know that an order needs to be processed. They can then proceed to fix the issue and fulfill the order.
11. Hide Sold Out Products From the Store
Automation identifies products that are sold out and hides them from your website. You won’t have to manually look at each of your products in the database and take them off from your store website yourself.
Handling Returns and Customer Complaints
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to satisfy every single customer.
At some point or another, a customer will buy a product from you, only to return it a couple of days later. Or, they might get disappointed by your service and post a negative review online.
90% of US customers believe that the way a brand handles customer service determines whether they’ll continue purchasing from them. So yeah, it’s not something you can take lightly.
Tracking every single customer request and complaints on your own is a long process. Thankfully, automation provides you with various workflows that reduce your customer service workload:
12. Automate Your Returns Procedure
Each eCommerce store needs an effective way to handle returns: 30% of online products are returned, compared to only 8% for brick and mortar stores.
To save yourself from future hassle, you can use automation to streamline the returns process. It can integrate with your 3PL, and customers will be able to return their item without having to reach out to you.
On top of that, some returns automation tools provide you with returns data so you can improve your brand’s products and marketing.
13. Identify Negative Reviews and Solve Them Quickly
When it comes to negative reviews, time is not on your side. You must respond to the customer right away and solve their issues as fast as possible.
Automation allows you to set up rules based on customer review feedback so you can track negative reviews the minute they show up. For example, you can create a rule to monitor all ratings below two stars and send them to your customer service.
Final Thoughts: Leveraging Automation From the Start
Automation not only improves the customer experience but helps you run your business more efficiently. With the extra savings, you’ll make in time and money, you’ll find countless ways to grow your eCommerce store.
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