Benefits of B2B eCommerce Workflow Automation

What is eCommerce Automation?

When we say ‘automation’ we mean just that. Automating “work”, functions and tasks that can be done through your software. In other words, utilizing the data available to you within your eCommerce platform to automate certain functions in order to better serve your customers and your business without manual intervention. With today’s eCommerce solutions it’s not only possible to do so, but it’s essential for your marketing endeavors.

Simply put, workflow automation is a way for you to streamline your business. The idea is to identify repetitive tasks or manual processes that can now be passed off to your eCommerce system. Save your time and let a commerce platform do the work.

Why Automate?

There are several reasons why any B2B company should consider automating some of their systems. As we know, one of the biggest benefits of going with an eCommerce platform is to develop customer relationships. However here are a few more:

  • Efficiency
    Let's face it, many day to day tasks in our business are tedious and time-consuming. Automation makes that go away. With the right amount of automation, tasks can be done at any time and more consistently than ever before. 
  • Cost-effectiveness
    This is an easy one and goes hand-in-hand with the first. Using automation, you’ll no longer be paying for hours to accomplish those tedious tasks. You’ll also be empowering your team to take on other projects. 
  • The ability to provide customer insight
    Using automation, you’re better able to develop a relationship with your customers by offering them products you know will fit their needs even before they do.
  • The ability to leverage data more efficiently
    Now that your eCommerce platform is providing you with a plethora of data, you are automatically now more efficient and can spend time deciding how to use that data. In other words, your time is now spent on using the data as opposed to gathering the data.
  • Enjoy the rewards of a full marketing team without employing a full marketing team
    Utilizing automatic features in your system, you can launch entire marketing campaigns with your current staff.

What Features Can/Should I Automate?

So we now know a few of the reasons why you should automate, let’s talk about what features you can and/or should automate and where to get started with automation on your storefront.

Smart Order Confirmations

In the old days, confirming a customer’s order would have to be done manually. Possibly an email from an employee who had to go down a list, check the order was made then confirm via email. With automation, that’s no longer a time-consuming process. Using automation you can now confirm an order immediately. But that’s not all.

Consider this. Was this a first-time order? Was it a first re-order? Was this your customer’s 20th order? Using the data from your eCommerce system, you now have the answers to these questions and can respond accordingly with a better (and more personalized) ‘Thank you for your first order response. Or a, ‘We’d like to thank you for being such a faithful customer’ response. 

These responses are highly efficient as you create the response once, set up the automation and your system sends it out. In addition, they build your relationship with your customer.

Things to consider automating around the customer's order:

  • Order confirmation / Thank you email or text
  • Shipping confirmation
  • Tracking number
  • Delivery confirmation

Customer Groups

Many B2B or B2C businesses offer discounts or new pricing tiers to customers reaching certain thresholds. If you’re one of them, this is a great place to incorporate that automation. Using the date from your platform, you can create automation to inform customers of their new pricing and even automatically show them their pricing when they login to order.

This is a huge time saver for your staff. No longer will an employee have to keep track of that data and address orders based on it. You can also automate the upgrade process and internal notifications as well - think of notifying the sales and account teams when their customers or accounts have hit certain milestones. 

Order Follow Ups

As we all know, customer relationships are key in today’s world. It is vitally important that you know how you’re doing based on customer feedback. Therefore you need to ask for it. Enter automation.

We mentioned above how you can use automation to send order confirmations, shipping confirmation and even delivery confirmation. Why not ask for feedback?

Once you have confirmation that a customer’s order has been delivered, automate an email saying that and asking, ‘How did we do?’ This will give you immediate feedback on customer service issues or may bring up other concerns you need to address.

You can also use automation to get a review on a particular item. If it’s a complicated or expensive purchase it’s that much more important to find out how the customer is using the product or service. 

Things to consider automating around order follow-ups:

  • How was your experience ordering?
  • How was our shipping?
  • Were you satisfied with a, b, c?
  • How can we improve our service to you?

Product Specific Follow Ups

One of the best uses of automation in your B2B eCommerce system is the ability it gives you to follow up on a customer's purchases. However, in a different way than stated above. Using the data derived from your eCommerce system, you now have easy access, via reports, to all of a  customer’s purchasing history.

With that data you can now determine if other products may be of interest to them and put those products in front of them. Via automation, you can ask a customer how they liked a specific purchase and then suggest another based on the first.

For example, you can send a communication asking “How did you like your purchase? Based on that order we feel you may benefit from this product.”

This is even more important if you’re selling big ticket items that require maintenance, upkeep or supplies to keep them running. By building a dataset of customers who have purchased these items, you can help them see those supplies thereby ensuring they continue to purchase from you. You’re keeping your items in their line of view. 

Last Order Notifications

As we’ve mentioned, one of the biggest and best features of your eCommerce system is the amount of data you have access to. Your system not only tells you what your customers have ordered, but when. Using automation, you can reach out to those who haven’t ordered in awhile.

In other words, you can create a data report that looks at the date of your customer’s last purchase. Then email, ‘Hey, we haven’t seen you in awhile”

You can also use automation to target smaller groups of customers. Think about those that have been inactive for awhile or those who have only purchased a certain number of times. How do you want to market to them? Remember, you don’t have to use your entire customer list for everything.

To Wrap Up

When it comes to automation in your eCommerce platform, the sky's the limit. Because you can so easily manipulate the massive amount of data gathered via your system, you really can increase your marketing efforts. Take the time to decide how you want your system to work for you. What can be automated? How can you then utilize employees? Make it happen and watch your business grow. To learn more about how Slatwall Commerce can help you optimize your eCommerce automation, contact us.

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