The modern world of business relies heavily on automating all kinds of processes. And while a couple of years ago, automation could give you an edge, today, you need to rely on process automation just to keep up with your competitors.
Automation tools are everywhere, and when used correctly, some can save your hours in a single day. Freeing up your time and energy, they might allow you to get more creative or simply to invest more time in scaling your business.
To help you scale your e-commerce business faster, we’re looking at seven tools that can automate different tasks, enabling you to focus on growth rather than on the mundane.
1. Email Marketing Automation Tools
Email marketing is a process built for automation. There are simply so many aspects of it that a tool can take over.
First, there’s email collection. Then there’s the part where you send out emails at different times, to different people, prompted by different actions. There are follow-ups, and there is the fact that you have to keep track of all of these separate tasks. Throughout the whole process, you need to know what stage of the funnel a lead is in and what stage of the purchasing process a customer is in.
You can rely on MailChimp to automate these processes – it’s an oldie but a goodie, and it can truly take on the task of sending out the right email to the right person. Another good option is Drip, a more modern tool that’s especially loved by B2B businesses.
2. Inventory Management Tools
To ensure scalability, an e-commerce business needs to consider its inventory management very carefully. After all, your success in the e-commerce sphere will rely heavily on being able to provide a product as fast as you can.
A tool will help you stay on top of inventory shortages and prevent over-ordering. It can also help you determine ordering patterns and identify your most popular, your least popular, and your most lucrative products.
3. Social Media Automation Tools
Along with email marketing, social media marketing is a tactic most e-commerce businesses use. It has the potential for great ROI, and if you use a clever tool to help you out, it doesn’t need to take up too much of your time.
For starters, it can help you schedule your posts, so you don’t have to keep popping online every once in a while. It can also
-help you identify profiles that compete for the same audience segment,
-allow you to identify influencers you might want to work with, and
-provide valuable insight into your campaigns.
4. Order Fulfillment Tools
Another major part of running an e-commerce business is order and fulfillment. Whether you are in charge of it yourself or you work with another company that does this for you, you need to keep track of orders, their state of fulfillment, and how this affects your inventory.
There’s simply no way to do this manually, so a tool naturally comes into the picture. Ship Monk is a great option, but you can also use Zoho Inventory for the purpose. Of course, it might be best to choose the piece of software the company you work with recommends.
5. Advertising Automation Tools
If you’re looking to do some paid advertising for your e-commerce business, consider automating this process as well.
True, you can always hire an agency for the job. But if you want to keep things in-house, and if you want to be able to tinker with the process yourself, there are plenty of tools that can help you out.
Do bear in mind, however, that some of these tools will require you to understand how advertising works, so you might want to consider getting a helping hand on board.
6. Accounting and Bookkeeping Tools
If you’ve been in the e-commerce business for a while, you’ll know just how important it is to have the right accounting software. Trying to keep track of your expenses and invoices manually will very soon become practically impossible. We suggest you don’t even try to do it by hand in the first place.
There are plenty of accounting and bookkeeping solutions available, and some of them were designed specifically for e-commerce stores. This does not have to be your main criterium, though, and you can just go for some of the largest tools in the industry.
Freshbooks and Quickbooks are by far the two most popular options available, and with good reason. They are secure, easy to use, and they provide integrations with a whole host of other apps. Xero and Gusto are also popular, and you can always ask your accountant for advice on which one to choose.
7. Workflow Management Automation Tools
Finally, you will want a tool or two to help you manage your workflow. Anything from a productivity app to a to-do list app will be useful. Additionally, you can rely on mediation and workout apps to help you deal with the stresses of growing your e-commerce empire.
You might also want to look into a digital asset management tool that will help you keep track of everything important about your business through all your videos, images, documents, and files. It can help you save time having to search for something scattered across hard drives and cloud drives.
You should also have a calendar and scheduling app in your arsenal to help you ensure that you never miss an appointment. But more importantly, an app like this will help you truly grasp where your business is and where it’s heading. Try to go for an app that you find easy to use, and preferably one that you can access from all of your devices.
And finally, there’s Zapier – the automation tool that will keep all of your other tools in check. Zapier will move information from one tool to the other, ensuring you’re not missing a key piece of information just because you’ve failed to look at one of your apps today.
Take a good look at your e-commerce business and figure out what the bottlenecks are. Where are you spending a lot of time? Can this process be automated? Is there a tool on our list that can help you out?
You can also consider the tasks that are the most mundane and that you would enjoy getting rid of. If there’s a tool that can ease some of the stress and take some of the load off, you will love using it.
Not all of these tools will be for you, and you most likely won’t have the budget for all of them. Scale up your automation just like you would your business – and enjoy the benefits of more time on your hands.