Despite being rightfully touted as an exceptional provider of opportunities for aspiring modern entrepreneurs, the eCommerce industry is far from easy to handle. The low barrier to entry lets you get in, but it doesn’t help you succeed. What’s more, the sheer level of competition on Display networks makes it markedly harder to turn that initial entry into a lasting success. Marketers are turning to automation and insights to engender paid media prowess.
One of the most intimidating elements of moving into online retail is the remarkable workload it generates. Setting up an offline store is hard work, yes, but there’s a degree of security inherent to the establishment of a physical location. Provided there’s footfall in the area—you can safely assume that some sales will result. However, it’s not the same as an online store.
Indeed, plenty of aspiring merchants have burned out from the pressure, unable to cope or simply unwilling to sacrifice their time and effort so readily. Yet others have managed to get by relatively painlessly, building lasting and profitable careers. How is this possible? The key, as is so often the case, is the smart use of technology.
Through the advent of rich analytics and automation options, it’s become possible for eCommerce sellers to radically-change the way they do things. Automation and insights make their lives easier and allow them to retain their enthusiasm and drive. To give you an idea of how things have changed, let’s take a look at five common eCommerce issues solved by automation and insights:
Handling out-of-hours customer support
Shoppers care about prices and shipping options, but they also care about getting excellent customer support. Perhaps you arrive at a site and can’t tell the difference between the two listed products. Alternatively, maybe you want to know where your recently-ordered item is. Also, what if an item is out of stock—wouldn’t you like an update on when something will be back in stock? If you submit your question during midday, you’ll most likely get an answer, because an employee is available. However, what about during the night?
To provide customer service at night, merchants can hire virtual assistants. However, that’s a significant added expense. Especially for a time of day that’s unlikely to see many support requests. Alternatively, you could install support chatbots. Many are equipped with the functionality needed to carry out basic tasks and program them to escalate any issues they can’t handle. Chatbots are cheap, robust, and never complain, making them suited for this work.
Calculating required stock levels
When you sell a broad range of products, it can be tough to figure out when (and to what extent) you should renew your stock. How many will you sell during a specific period? How many will you need? Traditionally, this was done manually and involved much estimation and questionable predictions about the effects of different months and events.
With automation, this can be done using complex, predictive models—achieving a vastly superior level of accuracy with much less effort. Warehouse management systems hooked up to storage setups can detect when items are removed for sale and update everything accordingly. If you’ve ever found yourself with too much product (needing to offload it), or even too little, then you should start using automation to your advantage.
Optimize advertising spend with automation and insights
Smart eCommerce companies use Paid Search advertising to drive relevant traffic reliably. It’s targetable, customizable, and (with cost-per-click, at least) won’t cost you anything if it doesn’t get results. However, it’s also tricky to get right, mainly since there’s isn’t a correct tactic to follow. There only the right methodology to use is customizing your campaigns for your business needs.
So how do you optimize your advertising? You could make some manual changes, watch the results, make some more changes, recheck the results, and continue in that vein. Alternatively, you could use an automation platform to start simplifying and optimizing your Paid Search efforts effortlessly. Automation and insights platforms consistently achieve iterative improvements for as long as you use them.
Smoothly scaling to meet demand
As noted, it’s easy to get started in eCommerce, but much harder to take it to the next level. Also, when you finally have a store up and running with strong potential, you have the option of scaling it up to see how far it can go. However, so much can go wrong during the scaling phase, and the increased demand can be too much for a small seller.
Through the existence of third-party warehousing, flexible suppliers, and enterprise-targeted hosting, it’s now eminently possible for an eCommerce seller to ramp up their operation with relative ease. You can get everything in place while you’re still operating at a fairly low level. Then, when the time is right, bump up your service tiers, invest in a significant paid media campaigns, and start seeing results.
Retaining on-the-fence customers
You might notice that specific customers haven’t logged into their accounts for a while. This trend may lead you to wonder if there’s something you did to drive them away. You might see that site visitors keep putting items in their baskets and leaving without paying for them. It’s all part of a struggle that’s been familiar to eCommerce since the beginning—taking situations that could go either way and nudging them in your direction.
This issue is something that automation (more specifically, Display and retargeting/remarketing) can solve. When someone leaves your site with an item in their basket, you can target them with these ads. Display is a great channel to remind prospects about the item they abandoned. Also, all they need to do is press one button on your ad to go back and finish. If someone hasn’t visited the store in a while, maybe a discount code would be enough to tempt them back. It saves you time and makes you money.
We’ve scratched the surface about what automation and insights can do in the eCommerce world. However, these five issues are concerns that every eCommerce business must face at some point. Being able to solve them by using technology is a significant step in the right direction.
What are your thoughts in regards to how automation and insights should impact eCommerce? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, don’t forget to try a complimentary audit of any of your eCommerce campaigns with us!