Time. How much do you spend on things you’d rather not be doing?
You know, those time-consuming things like: manually transferring data from service to service; remembering to print shipping labels at the end of the day; and even just ensuring that your inventory is up-to-date across channels.
Unfortunately, necessary and very important tasks like inventory, orders and subscribers can eat up hours of every work week and cost volumes in wasted potential.
But they don’t have to! Let your technology work for you by setting up automation.
Automation for ecommerce might sound intimidating, or invoke pictures of assembly lines at car factories and all that, but in reality it’s remarkably simple and intuitive.
In a nutshell, automation does the heavy lifting for you. It handles all the data-related things you would normally have to manually.
Here’s a few real world examples of where you can automate your business.
Example 1: Adding subscribers to both your mailing list and ERP at the same time.
Whether it be adding names to your newsletter or for a product launch, building lists is an important part of most marketing strategies.
The time-consuming part isn’t so much in the creation or collection of these lists but in compiling them across multiple services.
Often, you’d have more than one service which makes use of these lists – you wouldn’t want newsletter subscribers to just end up in MailChimp, you’d also want them to make their way to your CRM where marketing teams can gather insights from them.
With automation, getting those subscribers from one list to the next is completely effortless. The moment one service has a new name added to its list, the automation platform carries that data over the other. This way, multiple services using the same customer list are accurate and up-to-date at all times.
Quick Solution: Many storefronts have pre-built connections to mailing services like MailChimp available in their app marketplace.
Example 2: Creating both invoices and shipping labels each time a new order is placed.
When an order is placed in a storefront, think about all the paperwork, emails and other odds-and-ends that come with it.
Unless you’re exclusively selling downloadable products like apps or ebooks, you’re going to need an invoice and a shipping label.
Most storefronts and accounting services can generate invoices separately from their shipping labels.
Using an automation platform to connect your storefront, accounting, and fulfilment service together cuts out the manual work of exporting CSVs or copying and pasting the address over to your label maker. Instead, the moment the invoice is generated, the shipping information is also passed along to your fulfilment service and boom – instant shipping label and invoice!
Quick Solution: Many e-commerce platforms will have an app store for different functionalities. For instance, you can connect to Shippo’s shipping dashboard directly through Shopify. Your orders will be automatically imported, and tracking numbers will be sent back to your Shopify dashboard after the shipment has been created.
Example 3: Keeping your inventory up-to-date across multiple storefronts and services.
As your business grows, there’s a good chance that you will have more than one storefront or channel, and an ERP, both relying on the same inventory.
What happens when it’s not automated? Well, at the end of each day you’ll need to make sure your numbers match up across platforms. The last thing you want is to oversell or undersell because of mismatched inventory numbers.
An automation service middleman, on the other hand, will ensure that your numbers stay consistent across platforms at all times.
Quick Solution: This can be big work, so you’ll want to look into a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform like Mulesoft, Jitterbit and even Core. These SaaS platforms will act as the bridge between your storefronts and apps, sending the right data to the right place.
Conclusion: Your own inventiveness is the only limit
And there you have it. These were just three examples of how automation can improve real-world ecommerce platforms. But that’s really just a peek behind the curtain.
The best part about ecommerce automation is that the possibilities are nearly endless. Virtually any workflow and any path that you can dream up for your data and applications can be automated. All you need is a platform and the desire to do more with your business.
So, as a few parting thoughts: How many other parts of your team’s work week are being taken up by micromanaging actions you’d rather have automated? What values can those recouped hours bring to you? What problems do you need solved this year?
Alexander Nachaj is the managing editor at Core. He’s passionate about good stories and good business – especially when the two go hand-in-hand. He also writes and manages the upcoming Voices storytelling series. Core is the do-everything automation platform designed specifically for e-commerce. If you’re curious about automation, but not sure where to start, take a spin with our demo page. Do more with Core today!
Shippo is a multi-carrier API and web app that helps retailers, marketplaces and platforms connect to a global network of carriers. Businesses use Shippo to get real-time rates, print labels, automate international paperwork, track packages and facilitate returns. Shippo provides the tools to help businesses succeed through shipping.