5 Automation Tools to grow your eCommerce Business

In one day, a small eCommerce business might post twice on four different social media platforms, field 25 different customer service inquiries and publish three pages of new sales content including promotions. Of course, this doesn’t include the tasks associated with payment, shipping and stock.

In fact, running an online store involves many processes, which have to be carried out dozens of times per customer.

There doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day…unless you have eCommerce automation tools in your bucket. Automation tools cut down on redundant and manual tasks so you can focus your time on high-priority needs, helping you ultimately to increase the value of your company.

Find more time in your day

Even more, automation tools streamline your workflow and centralize all your tasks on one platform.

For example, for small to midsize businesses that interact with a large number of users, automation tools empower them to easily set up live chat for their customers, a ticketing system, a help center and team collaboration all from one dashboard.

For content, companies can now more easily manage their multiple promotions by setting automated timers to schedule and publish sales and holiday discounts, new product entries and expiring price points.  

Sometimes it’s hard to navigate all the options on the market. Below is a short list of automation tools, which can help you eliminate those repetitive and draining tasks.

1. Marketing automation – Dotdigital

Online vendors must reach customers through different channels and tailor those experiences to the customer. But managing customers across platforms can be complicated without a tool that provides a centralized location for marketing management.

Dotdigital offers this and many more features such as:

  • Customer data unification across channels to ensure satisfactory customer journeys
  • Customer segmentation to prioritize customers based on demographics and engagement as well as to ensure each customer gets personalized interactions
  • Drag-and-drop templates for cross-channel campaign planning such as email and SMS marketing
  • Integration with Google Ads, Facebook and customer analytics.

Kissed Earth, for example, has struggled with a stagnant customer database. Dotdigital is improving Kissed Earth’s re-engagement strategy by triggering a reminder email to customers who haven’t ordered a product in four months. If the customer doesn’t engage with this email or place an order, Dotdigital automatically retargets them using its feed into Facebook and Google to remind them about making another purchase.

2. Email automation – Mailchimp

Email marketing is one of the pillars of online selling. But despite having large email lists, many businesses suffer from insufficient email marketing strategies resulting in low conversion rates.

Mailchimp is one among many email marketing tools that help businesses keep up with the demands of eCommerce marketing. Some of its key features include:

  • Predictive segmentation to target high-value customers and encourage them to return
  • Easy to use design templates with catchy designs to attract customers
  • Prebuilt email automation for situations like abandoned carts and lost customers
  • Content Optimizer tool to analyze and improve email campaigns

Let’s look at an important point in the digital sales process: connecting and nurturing a new customer. Once a new lead purchases a product, it’s crucial to connect with them almost immediately by sending out a “welcome” email sequence. Here’s how that might work:

a. A week after “Jean’s” first purchase from your company, your system sends her a survey, offering her a 20% discount on her next purchase if she completes the survey.

b. Informed by her survey responses, you can now segment her into a particular email group (newly married, decorating a house for the first time, looking for high-end home décor, etc.)

c. Mailchimp will automatically send her (your pre-written) email sequence that targets her segmented audience.

d. You can also tag your new customer during her birthday month and on the channel where she first heard about your business.

Even if you only sell 10 products in a day, email marketing automation saves you hours of tedious work and prevents you from making serious mistakes. All the more so if you’re a large business making hundreds or thousands of sales a day.

3. Workflow automation- Zapier

Zapier is a workflow automation tool that lets you create custom workflows for all kinds of customer journeys across multiple applications. It optimizes workflows by connecting different apps using “zaps”. Zaps integrate two or more different systems like SMS with ShipStation or Shopify with Twitter.

Here’s what Zapier can do:

  • Create customized workflows with up to 100 steps and ‘if/then’ logic to account for all stages of a customer journey
  • Quickly format data formatting applications
  • Schedule automated workflows based on customer actions or when certain conditions are met
  • Integrate Zapier across over 5000 different applications.

For example, if you run a Shopify store, Zapier’s “zap” will automatically post a new message to your Slack account whenever you receive a paid order in Shopify. If you connect Zapier to your Paypal account, you’ll receive automatic updates in Slack each time you’ve made a sale through Paypal. These zaps will help you remain up-to-date in your billing.

You can also connect Stripe to Zapier. If there’s a failed customer charge, Zapier will automatically post that information in Slack to prompt the right team member on the channel to act.

4. Social media automation – Buffer

Social media is one of the most powerful ways to grow your audience, advertise your products, and interact with your customers. Unfortunately, many businesses lack effective strategies to accomplish these goals.

Buffer is an automation tool that helps with every aspect of social media management.

Some of its key features include:

  • Social media analytics to view your engagement levels for different posts and campaigns
  • Engagement navigation on a central platform with notifications ranked by priority for easy handling
  • Content planning, post scheduling and automated posting
  • Start Page tool that helps to create an attractive landing page to link users to all your social media, websites, and other digital products.

With Buffer’s new engagement tool, you can view on one dashboard all the unanswered comments on your recent Facebook post. Buffer will highlight the most important ones.

Smart alerts also allow you to see if your post has questions, negative sentiments or product issues. With a quick review, you can determine the priority messages, which require your immediate response.

5. Shipping automation – FenixCommerce

Properly managing shipping and delivery is critical for eCommerce stores. Customers will abandon their carts due to unclear or unsatisfactory shipping details.

Fenix solves this problem with the following features:

  • Customer geolocation to calculate accurate delivery times
  • Carrier syncing to ensure cost-effective shipping
  • Order operations customization to manage products, inventory, carriers, customer data, and more
  • Personalized shipping options for customers.

Save time and money with eCommerce automation

Most automation tools charge a monthly fee. However, when you consider the amount of time and manpower required to complete the endless tasks associated with your eCommerce business, the fee is insignificant.

If you need help choosing the right automation tools for your eCommerce SMB, get in touch. We help eCommerce businesses to strategize and scale for an eventual exit.

Meny Hoffman

Meny Hoffman is the CEO and founder of Ptex Group, the Let’s Talk Business podcast, and the Let's Talk Exits podcast and blog. He's been dedicated to building brands and advising business owners for the past 20 years. More recently, he has started educating and advising within the Amazon seller and e-commerce entrepreneur space.

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