Managing the tasks that are performed daily in an eCommerce store is laborious. Of all of them, there are many that are repetitive, and, therefore, you have to automate to be more efficient. Jose Duarte, an entrepreneur and successful eCommerce operator from Costa Rica, discusses the importance of automation in an eCommerce environment to achieve greater success.
Customer service, preparation of orders or shipments, management and shipment of inventories, integration of data between channels, payments of customers and management of their data, calculation of the payment of collaborators are some of the tasks that must necessarily be done. They can all be automated through solutions that collect data from different sources within the business and use this information to perform processes automatically. Automation allows you to control complex omnichannel operations and facilitates the task of the entrepreneur and the work team.
In short, the daily workload is reduced by automating those repetitive tasks, and that is already an advantage in itself, but it also frees up time to dedicate to more productive tasks, such as finding new formulas to reach customers and thus boost the growth of the business. It transforms less productive time into money.
The first step in automating processes is to know them. “Analyzing how you work in the company,” explains Duarte, “describing in writing what is being done, you already achieve some advantages, even without having automated anything.” You can define the methodology, which helps you improve it, by discovering inefficient steps or processes. If you have methods, it is easier for others to develop that work, both the company’s staff and the new additions. You keep improving in efficiency.
To automate processes, you may need to develop complex software or systems. Part of the work can be done with your own resources, but it is interesting that you have specialized help. Creating some spreadsheets or databases can even do it yourself or someone on the team, but if you go further, you must be careful so that the solution does not pose more problems than you want to solve.
If you have to turn to external resources, there are a couple of issues to consider. Asserts Duarte, “Work with suppliers who are aligned with the way you work. It is important that philosophies are compatible with organizations and objectives. You might find that to automate certain processes you need to pass certification processes or implement excessively complex methodologies. Go little by little; therefore, choose those who propose flexible solutions, which you can develop even over several years.”
After the process of creating the solutions, it will be the staff who must learn how to use the new tools. Ideally, they will have participated in the development process. It is important that they feel it as their own, to avoid friction or a rejection that could result in serious problems. In the most serious cases, it can end in the loss of the investment made and especially of the time spent.
All of this could apply to any organization, but it is even more important in the case of companies engaged in eCommerce. In the eCommerce environment, you must face constant challenges, and you have to be as efficient as possible and find a way to be more efficient than your competitors. Scaling up the business is a must for any organization, but much more in the wild territory of the Internet. In most cases, growing is the only way to survive.
Customers are increasingly demanding, demanding more services and better care. Tools that automate repetitive and cumbersome tasks reduce the complexity of operations and save time. These solutions bring us closer to customers, help us better understand their needs. And all this translates into opportunities, allowing you to focus on growth strategies, knowing that the most “mechanical” part is correctly oiled.
At a basic level, it’s just about analyzing how your business works – can you really afford to invest that time or hire someone to do it. If so, something isn’t working in your business and it’s even more important that you take time to analyze because you can’t function like a modern company. What’s more, if you ask yourself this question, it should be only from a purely temporary point of view. Let the only condition be the opportunity to start today. Because it must be obvious to you, that it is not possible for you to compete without improving your processes to some degree. And that will involve more or less automation, but that improvement is not part of your business philosophy is not an option, because it is simply a guarantee of failure.
It makes no sense to perform tasks manually when there are tools to do it automatically and waste very valuable time that can be devoted to other things. In addition, in many cases, it is not even a great investment. It is simply not reasonable not to want to be more effective, more competitive, to make a greater profit.