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Ecommerce Automation Trends for 2021 and Beyond

Wilson Lau

Sr. SEO Marketing Manager @ AdRoll

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Competition in the ecommerce world is getting more brutal — the industry is saturated with hundreds of thousands of companies looking to accomplish similar goals. Marketers are tasked with staying up to date on marketing trends, learning new platforms and tools, and finding ways to increase productivity and improve campaign results. Sound exhausting? It is — but it doesn’t have to be. With more and more ecommerce automation tools and platforms available, marketers can optimize their time and team to stay ahead of the trends.

For a complete ecommerce marketing guide:

What Is Ecommerce Automation?

Ecommerce automation uses tools, platforms, and software to complete simple, repetitive, and consistent tasks for you. These tasks are done automatically with little to no human input needed, and workflows can be established to keep your processes running smoothly and working even when you're not. 

Benefits of Ecommerce Automation

Ecommerce automation is trending for these four good reasons: 

  • Automation increases efficiency. Get more done in less time. Automation tools work around the clock to keep you ahead of schedule and free to work on more detailed tasks. 
  • Ecommerce automation increases accuracy. Automation tools work from data and minimize human errors. For example, with automated segmentation rules, you can confidently send emails to the right people at the right time with the right message. 
  • Ecommerce automation increases productivity. Produce more in less time with automation tools that help you develop marketing campaigns and run and track them. 
  • Ecommerce automation increases positive results. Not only will your marketing team appreciate the extra hand, but you'll also see positive results in your marketing campaigns with more personalized and tailored strategies working all the time. 

Setbacks of Ecommerce Automation

It's important to note that ecommerce marketing automation isn't perfect — if you automate too much, you can lose the "humanness" of your brand. For example, many ecommerce brands choose to automate their customer support features. While this is a great way to save time and help customers quickly, systems can't provide the human touch to a conversation that a real-live person can. Because of this, it's essential to keep specific tasks in the hands of people. Or, offer both options to customers so they can choose which type of support they want and need. 

For marketing campaigns, automation can become overwhelming for the consumers on the receiving end. Automation tools make it extremely easy to communicate with customers on multiple platforms frequently. This is a benefit but can quickly turn into a setback if customers experience "messaging fatigue" and opt out of engaging with your brand altogether. Just like everything else, ecommerce automation is best in moderation. 

What Aspects of the Ecommerce Workflow Should You Automate?

With the vast benefits and successes that come with automating workflow, here are the ecommerce automation trends worth investing in today:

Ecommerce automation for customer support 

With automation for customer support, you can increase brand trust and retain loyal customers. Using automation to track customer behavior and automatically reward loyal customers will increase revenue and sales. You can decide who you consider "loyal" — whether it's customers who have been active with your brand for over a year or those who have purchased $500 or more in products. Then, set software "rules" to email your loyal segmentation with perks and personalized content regularly. 

This is just one of many ways you can automate your ecommerce workflow for customer support. Other options include segmenting and sending automated emails for cart abandonment and sales or sending surveys to gather feedback after purchasing. 

Ecommerce automation for marketing campaigns

Developing a marketing campaign takes a lot of time and energy, but you can use ecommerce marketing automation tools to minimize your tasks. With these tools, you can automate your campaign design workflow process, schedule social media posts to publish automatically on the day and time of your choosing, and automate emails to new subscribers to instantly connect with potential customers and increase sales. 

Ecommerce automation for inventory management, purchases, orders, and sales 

By using ecommerce automation to streamline your sales process, you provide an exceptional customer experience while saving yourself time. Start from the beginning and automate your vendor requests by making a "rule" that places an order automatically when your stock reaches 25% or less. 

Then, when a customer makes a purchase, make a "rule" that automatically generates and prints shipping labels. Also, set emails to send automatically for order confirmations, shipping confirmations, and a request for a review once the product has arrived. Think of all of the repetitive tasks that fall under the sales process and find workflow ecommerce automation systems that can do those functions for you. 

For a review of the top marketing automation tools:

How to Automate Your Ecommerce Workflow

If you're ready to start using ecommerce automation to optimize your workflow, take these steps:

1. Define your automation goals and identify the tasks you want to automate.

There are thousands of automation tools and software systems available. If you start researching your options without a clearly defined need or goal, you'll find yourself sifting through many possibilities to find the best solution. However, when you know what you want and need, you can research tools that do specific tasks.

2. Know your budget and who will use the tool.

Does everyone in the marketing department need access to the ecommerce automation tools you choose? What is your current budget for automation? These two factors will work together when deciding which tools you want, need, and can afford, as many programs offer different packages based on your team and audience count.

3. Research relevant automation tools specific to your industry.

Fortunately for ecommerce companies, there are many tools developed specifically for ecommerce brands. When researching ecommerce automation tools, check their integration capabilities to ensure the new tool can work with the other programs and platforms you are already using.

For more digital marketing trends to look out for this year:

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