5 Ways Automating Your E-Commerce Business Can Drive Growth
It’s hard to work on your business when you’re busy working in your business. I remember in the early years being immersed in the day-to-day to the point that I couldn’t focus on growing my business. It was frustrating, and I questioned how to get out from under some of the tasks that were necessary but time-consuming.
Fortunately, you don’t have to manage every aspect of your e-commerce business any longer, because numerous tools exist that help automate some of the most critical areas of your business operations. CRM can easily store and manage your prospect and customer data to drive better engagement. Marketing automation helps you save time by automating repetitive tasks like lead capture and follow-up. Payment processing automation allows you to set daily, weekly, or monthly payments based on your business needs and send reminders to help you get paid. Automating fulfillment processes ensures that orders are processed in a timely fashion and customers are notified automatically when orders are shipped.
By combining CRM, marketing automation, payment processing, and fulfillment processes, you can scale the services and products you sell online while providing a seamless, personable journey for your customers.
Let’s examine five ways automating your e-commerce business can help you increase conversion rates, close more sales, drive repeat business, and maximize revenue.
When a customer makes it to the checkout process, you want to eliminate any distraction or challenge that might keep them from completing the purchase. Conversion experts call this friction. For example, are you asking for just enough to complete the transaction, or are you using your checkout form to collect information—a task which could be better accomplished in another format? Does your website allow return customers to store their information for faster ordering? Identifying and eliminating friction points during the checkout process is one of the most important steps you can take to increase conversions.
Who doesn’t love to save money, right? Leveraging promotion codes to new and existing customers can increase conversion rates. Seasonal promotions are some of the best to capitalize on because you can plan for them in your forecast, and consumers have come to expect them. For example, you can send a text to a segment from your customer list—or to the entire list—in preparation for Black Friday, offering a 30 percent discount on your most popular product or service. Customers receive a text to “Use code SAVE30 at checkout” during the seasonal promotion.
Checkout provides the perfect opportunity to maximize revenue by offering customers an additional product or service while they’re already in a purchasing mind frame. You can embed a bonus buy directly into the checkout form so customers can purchase the additional item or service. Upsell offers are most often associated with the product or service the customer is purchasing. Common examples include suggesting a complimentary product, offering a discount for a second item, or providing a limited maintenance agreement or product warranty. Making it easy for customers to add to their purchase is an easy way to increase revenue.
A key factor to your success is ensuring your business has a consistent revenue stream. If you offer subscription services or products that customers order on a regular basis, you can automate invoice and payment processes by establishing recurring payments. You can easily set up a recurring payment vs. a one-time payment directly in the checkout form, and you can set the billing occurrence time frame (i.e., monthly, quarterly, etc.). Depending on the service or product, you may select an end date for the recurring payment or choose to leave it recurring on an annual basis until the customer chooses to cancel. Ensuring this can be done for each individual product or service offers a lot of flexibility based on your business needs.
We’ve all been guilty of placing an item in our online cart and then getting distracted before we can complete the purchase. Sometimes we remember to go back and finalize the purchase, but all too often, we forget. This can add up to a significant loss of revenue for a small business. When every sale counts, utilizing automation to send reminder texts asking customers to return to the site and complete the checkout process can help capture revenue that would otherwise be lost.
As e-commerce continues to grow, it’s vital to keep up with advancements in technology. The way you interact with your prospects and customers is what enables you to build long-term commercial relationships that bolster the bottom line. Automation enables you to combine CRM, payment processing, marketing, and fulfillment processes to set yourself apart in the online marketplace. Leveraging automation, you can create an exceptional customer experience that will lead to greater engagement, improved sales, and more loyal customers.
Clate Mask is the founder and CEO of Keap (formally Infusionsoft), a maker of sales and marketing automation software for small businesses. He also is co-author of Conquer the Chaos: How to Grow a Successful Small Business Without Going Crazy.