Benefits of Business Process Automation for eCommerce Retailers
Retail has traditionally revolved around human interaction, with staff engaging customers when they are looking for products, processing purchases and handling returns as they occur. However, the rise of eCommerce and new business process automation has helped many retailers automate several of these critical tasks. Although the human element of retail will always remain crucial to success, it’s just as important that merchants evaluate how well their automation technology is facilitating the order fulfillment process, inventory management, and targeted marketing.
1. Inventory Management
As Practical eCommerce noted, every item in a retailer’s inventory can be identified by SKU numbers and other codes. To track inventory on more than one eCommerce store, a retailer can implement eCommerce automation technology that keeps track of SKUs automatically when an order is placed.
If a SKU is sold on one store, causing inventory to fall to zero, the same SKU that is sold on the retailer’s other store will be removed. With eCommerce automation technology, retailers no longer have to do the math or constantly update different systems with new stock levels.
Business process automation allows merchants to micro manage less and macro manage more. Merchants don’t have to crunch numbers; they have the technology at their disposal to do it for them. Instead, they can think about more important tasks at hand, such as making key strategic decisions.
2. Order Management and Shipping
Business process automation facilitates and increases the accuracy of the order fulfillment process. By automating the order fulfillment process, pick tickets can be generated automatically and employees can use barcode scanners to ensure items picked match the items in the order with automatic confirmation from the system. Implementing automation technology enables warehouse employees to move much faster through the order fulfillment process, which contributes to overall improved fulfillment times and on time deliveries.
An automated order fulfillment process can also lower costs, provide higher accountability for movements in inventory, deliver more accurate forecasts and greater transparency.
For many customers, long waiting times from when the item is originally purchased to when it’s received is one of the leading deterrents to shopping online. By automating critical order fulfillment and shipping processes, merchants can deliver the convenience consumers shopping online expect.
Many retailers are collecting a lot of data about their customers and their customer’s online interactions with their brand. Retailers use business process automation to retrieve data from multiple touch points online and act upon it in the form of targeted emails, retargeted advertising, or personalized customer service. Using this strategy, a retailer can generate more sales without the time and effort of consolidating, analyzing, and creating new content for each customer. For example, they could setup automatic triggers to send a coupon via email to a customer if he or she looks at an item on a retail website, adds an item to their shopping cart, but doesn’t complete the purchase.
eCommerce automation technology software can come in many forms: order management software, inventory management software, customer relationship management software, warehouse management software, etc. However, business process automation works best when all of these systems are working together to support operational efficiency and deliver cost-savings that will enable the growth of eCommerce retailers.