For Business

Is automation a pathway to growing your ecommerce business?

Insights on what to automate and tools to help you get started.

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For many small and mid-sized ecommerce brands, growth can be a double-edged sword. The faster you scale and the bigger your operation gets, the more complexity you have to manage. Before you know it, small, repetitive tasks and processes that you used to be able to handle yourself snowball into an all-consuming drain on time and resources.

And what’s one of the most coveted things entrepreneurs want? More time. Rather than manually managing repetitive tasks that can leave you wondering ‘what have I achieved,’ tapping into the right automation tools for the right business functions can give you and your employees the gift of time.

The ability to focus on the bigger picture strategy is why businesses are turning to automation to streamline their workflows and increase productivity. According to a recent McKinsey Global Survey, 70% of organizations around the world are adopting automation solutions, up from 57% five years ago—and they’re doing it while improving both customer and employee satisfaction.

For online stores, automation software can perform some of the manual, repetitive daily work that eats up valuable resources, such as customer experience tasks, inventory management, fraud prevention, price setting, and sales and order tracking. The more you can automate, the more time your employees have to dedicate to creative or complex work.

What is ecommerce automation?

Ecommerce automation is any software that allows repetitive, manual tasks to be executed on their own with very little human intervention or maintenance. Automation is transforming the way most businesses operate, and for online stores in particular, the potential benefits are vast.

Nearly every aspect of ecommerce operations can be impacted by automation.

  • Automated customer engagement and loyalty technologies are experiencing rapid adoption.
  • Automated fraud detection, filtering, and order verification are identifying issues faster and reducing losses.
  • Customer service automation, whether through the immediacy of AI chatbots or sophisticated self-service options, can reduce wait times for customers and free up human agents to handle more complex issues.

But for most ecommerce businesses, automation will have the most immediate impact in three crucial areas:

1. Marketing
According to one study, every dollar spent on marketing automation returns $5.44. At least 65% of marketers now employ automated solutions in their email channel, and 50% use automation for social media management.

From order status updates to discounts, personalized content, and promotions, email marketing automation is one of the most effective and low-cost ways to stay connected with your customers, drive sales, and strengthen loyalty.

Automated product recommendation engines, based on purchase history and customer behavior, as well as data-driven automated pricing tools, are another powerful set of levers in your automation-toolkit.

Three tips for getting started: Identify the right tasks that can provide the biggest time savings from automation, research to find the right automation tool for your business, and get your team trained early in the implementation process. Learn more.

2. Fulfillment
Automation helps streamline the order fulfillment process, from the time an order is placed to the time it’s shipped, allowing you to manage what can be an overwhelming logistical challenge. You can track from the picking and packing of orders in the warehouse and auto-generate shipping labels, delivery estimates, and fulfillment emails.

Three tips for getting started: Document your automation needs to find the right fulfillment software, identify the workflows and data transfers across your existing tech stack, and integrate the workflows into your ecommerce platform.

Learn about how Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) can help streamline fulfillment.

3. Inventory management
Inventory management is always a balancing act. By automating monitoring tasks like inventory tracking, stock replenishment, and demand forecasting, online stores can reduce the risk of stockouts and overstocks, improving their overall efficiency.

You can do things like unpublish out-of-stock products on your website and automatically notify your team to pause advertising. (Learn more about Amazon’s inventory management system, built on machine learning.)

Three tips to getting started: Audit your inventory across all your sales channels to identify gaps and inconsistencies, research to find the right software that can easily integrate with your existing systems, and establish the processes to measure the impact your selected software has on inventory visibility, forecasting and time savings.

How can automation help your ecommerce business?

Ecommerce automation can save time, and helps business operations run more smoothly, allowing you to prioritize your big-picture strategy and creative solutions to problems. Here are four ways automation can help your online business:

  1. Track orders and monitor sales, gaining insights that lead to opportunities.
  2. Improve your customer experience with auto-segmentation and engagement tools.
  3. Auto-publish and manage website, product, email, and social media content.
  4. Automate form creation, lead nurturing and scoring, workflows, integrations, and marketing analytics.

Three-fourths of Amazon sellers use Amazon’s powerful automation tools, including Brand Dashboard, Brand Analytics, and the Amazon Seller app, to run their businesses. Our Selling Partner API allows you to coordinate processes and sync data. You can find even more automation tools in our Seller Central Partner Network.

Testing your ecommerce automation tools

As crucial as ecommerce automation can be to your business, it’s equally important to systematically test your automation solutions to ensure they don’t cause more problems than they solve. The process of choosing the right automation tools for your business among the thousands available doesn’t just stop at implementation. They have to work well for your business.

For critical marketing efforts like email personalization, customer segmentation, and customer experience, ensuring your data is clean, updated, and integrated properly with your tools is key. Testing automation can also be as simple as placing a sample order to determine whether the specific tasks you expect your systems to perform are functioning correctly.

How can Buy with Prime support automation?

Today’s online shoppers expect fast, free delivery and easy returns. In fact, according to an ongoing Baymard Institute study, 48% of shoppers abandon their carts because of additional shipping fees, and 22% more bail on a purchase because the delivery time was too slow.

Amazon handles the fulfillment and logistics for Buy with Prime orders made on your ecommerce site, including inventory storage, packing, shipping, delivery, and returns. Buy with Prime also allows you to tap into Amazon MCF network to provide fast, free shipping for Buy with Prime products on your own site.

Businesses using Amazon to manage their order fulfillment get reliable, cost-effective automation that scales, industry-leading backend logistics and automated inventory management. Amazon’s fulfillment centers can also store products closer to customers to keep shipping costs low and help scale to meet seasonal surges.

Buy with Prime orders are easily trackable through the merchant console, and Buy with Prime purchases automatically trigger a series of email notifications, including order confirmation, shipment status, and order delivery. And the Buy with Prime checkout button is programmed to provide estimated delivery information to customers before they place an order, making it more likely they’ll complete the purchase.

Ecommerce automation tools for Buy with Prime

Choosing the right third-party integrations can be tricky. More than half of all Buy with Prime merchants use apps from Alloy to automate key business functions. Here are two popular tools from Alloy:

Order connector app
The Order connector app from Alloy syncs Buy with Prime order and customer data with your ecommerce site, allowing you to manage all of your site orders and customer data in one place. With support for popular ecommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and Magento/Adobe Commerce, the app seamlessly links your Buy with Prime data to your provider of choice, so you can always have the latest order information at your fingertips.

Catalog updates app
The catalog updates app from Alloy allows you to keep your product catalog synced effectively across ecommerce sales channels. The app helps you manage product listings automatically by updating product variations and pricing from your ecommerce catalog to your Buy with Prime catalog, delivering a consistent shopper experience across listings that helps build shopper trust

For more Buy with Prime apps from Alloy, visit our knowledge center article.

Buy with Prime not only simplifies fulfillment and logistics, it also helps boost conversions and customer satisfaction with a secure and familiar Prime shopping experience, free 1-2 day shipping, easy returns, and transparent delivery estimates.

For ecommerce businesses, the automation that Buy with Prime provides can lead to fewer abandoned carts and more returning customers—but above all, it can result in time and resources saved, the most valuable commodity for a small business.

Learn more about Buy with Prime.

Chris Redhead