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    March 11, 2022
    6 minute read

    Why Ecommerce Automation Is Essential for Digital Shelf Success

    by: Doug Bonderud

    Automation is now an essential part of business operations. As noted by a recent Harris Poll, 92% of businesses say that the use of automation is now critical to meet customer expectations in a post-COVID world.

    But what does this mean for ecommerce? With automation often tied to physical processes such as inventory management and warehouse operations, how can ecommerce brands recognize the same benefits at scale?

    In this piece, we’ll tackle the basics of ecommerce automation and examine three core benefits of deploying effective automation. 

    What Is Ecommerce Automation?

    Ecommerce automation applies these operational principles to your digital shelf. This makes it possible for your teams to achieve marketing and sales goals more quickly while simultaneously reducing total complexity.

    Consider the labor-intensive process of product data entry and review. It’s easy for teams to get bogged down in the process of inputting, reviewing, and correcting product data, especially with more products being developed and deployed at speed to meet consumer demands, and the customer expectation that ecommerce sites will always offer the most accurate and up-to-date product information. 

    This creates a critical sales gap: If teams are spending all their time tracking down information and correcting data errors, they don’t have time to focus on the bigger picture of digital shelf development.

    Ecommerce automation makes it possible for teams to focus on what matters, like increasing sales and improving customer retention, without sacrificing speed or accuracy. In practice, effective automation delivers three key benefits. Let’s explore each in more detail.

    1. Increase Your Speed to Market

    First up is increased speed to market. The ecommerce space is extremely competitive.

    For example, Forbes says that online sales will likely top $4 trillion this year as consumers shift to online-first purchasing and new business niches emerge. Your brand must get new products and services to market as fast as possible.

    Keep in mind, speed is often bound by existing processes. If every new product launch or update requires dozens of hours of work by teams to ensure product pages, images and details are ready to go, time to market naturally suffers.

    Here, automation solutions that offer no-code workflow improvements can help companies bridge the gap between speed and specificity.

    Your best bet is to start with something small — a particular process that frustrates your teams or hampers sales goals — to show your teams a quick win. 

    For example, if automation can help quickly collect customer transaction and service data and make it easily accessible, you can boost overall retention without adding extra work for your team. 

    Seeing these processes in action can help build trust and encourage adoption, in turn setting the stage for broader implementation.

    2. Improve Your Data Accuracy

    It’s often said that data is the “new oil” — the fundamental resource that drives success across organizations. 

    And while this is true for organizations at large, it’s especially relevant for ecommerce brands; by replacing physical storefronts with digital shelves, data becomes the only window into sales, marketing, and conversion success.

    As a result, data accuracy is paramount. If teams are using outdated or inaccurate information, or if data inputs are incorrect, the results could be disastrous. 

    Consider a problem with digital pricing data. If prices for a specific product are set too high, they could cause a decline in sales. If they’re set too low, companies could find themselves canceling orders and issuing apologies, which could, in turn, drive customer churn.

    Here, automated tools that provide complete visibility into product data, lifecycle history, and any revisions or changes made to production information make it possible for teams to significantly reduce the risk of inaccurate data inputs. 

    In addition, automated checks and balances can help identify areas of concern before the information goes live on ecommerce sites.

    3. Support Your Ecommerce Teams

    While automated processes offer significant benefits for speed and accuracy, they also play a critical role in employee satisfaction and morale.

    Forbes reports that 94% percent of workers are under significant stress that’s continued even as pandemic pressures slowly subside. 

    So, it’s worth doing whatever possible to make their jobs easier and let them focus on what matters: Making your brand better.

    Ecommerce automation tools let you reduce the amount of “busy work” required to complete key tasks — such as double-checking data or completing tasks twice because critical information is missing. 

    While this does require staff and management to embrace change at scale, the right tools make it possible to find new efficiencies that help reduce overall staff stress.

    Embracing Ecommerce Automation at Scale

    Of course, it’s one thing to recognize the benefits of ecommerce automation — it’s another to deploy the process end-to-end across your ecommerce stack. 

    Achieving this goal requires three components.

    Identifying Areas of Concern

    Ecommerce companies need to pinpoint areas where current processes aren’t living up to expectations.

    Determining Key Metrics

    Brands must determine key metrics that can be improved by leveraging automation.

    These can include: 

    • Time spent on repetitive tasks
    • Time to market
    • Customer satisfaction

    Deploying Effective Tools

    Finally, businesses must deploy tools that make it possible to streamline key processes without increasing overall complexity across ecommerce environments.

    Ecommerce Automation Is a Game-Changer

    Ultimately, ecommerce automation makes it possible to reduce your time to market, boost your data accuracy and support your teams at scale.

    Request a demo to learn how Salsify’s platform powers automation and the experiences shoppers demand at every stage of the buying journey everywhere on the digital shelf. 

    REQUEST A DEMO

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