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Business Development

5 Mistakes of Online Stores Solved by Sales Automation

  • Written by Igor Kovsher

#1 Recordkeeping is done in office programs (like Excel)

Let’s suppose that you own a small online store with some 20-30 items in the assortment, and you make two or three sales per day. Perhaps it is enough for you, as well as for 63% of other businesses, to use Excel for bookkeeping, also because you have mastered this system long ago. Certainly, it is cost-ineffective to invest in automation when your business is at its initial stage.

But the bigger the business is, the more difficult it becomes to work in Excel: mistakes and inaccuracies may occur. It is also necessary to be able to control the product turnover and the invoices from different computers and even from your home PC.

You can solve this problem by installing special recordkeeping programs.

#2 Synchronization between the online store website and the suppliers is not set up

In most cases, online stores do not have their own warehouses and deliver goods directly from the supplying companies. The managers receive information on stock balances from the partners every day or according to their own agreement.

As the business grows, the number of suppliers increases, but the timeliness and accuracy of the received information decreases.

The problem can be solved by the implementation of an ERP system and its integration with the database of suppliers.

#3 Automatic notifications about the order dispatch and delivery are not sent to the customers

If automatic notifications about the status of the order are not set up, the managers have to spend their own and other employees’ time on phone conversations, which is extremely inconvenient.

It may be pleasing in case you want to inform the customer about an extra discount on a product. But if you distract people with text messages and calls for any reason, they will experience inconveniences, and the workers will find this task burdensome as well.

We recommend implementing CRM and integrating it with ERP in order to reduce the number of calls to the customers. You can learn more about this in this guide.

#4 Recordkeeping of orders is done in different places

To place an order, the customer can:

  • * visit the corresponding page of the website and fill out the form (this is what the majority does);
  • * call or send a message in the chat (option for those who need help).

If the company also sells offline, the recordkeeping is likely to be separated. Consequently, the cross-selling is complicated, since there is no information about previous purchases.

The implementation of a CRM system and its further integration with the offline and online stores will help overcome this challenge.

The second and similar problem happens when the manager places an order using the website form while talking to a customer. This creates difficulties for the marketing specialist, as in this situation he or she cannot identify the channel that the customer came from. What should you do in this case? Demand from your employees to fill the orders in CRM and link them to the clients.

#5 The analysis of sales and returns key indicators is not carried out

The reasons behind such a mistake are as follows:

  • * The company has not implemented either a CRM system or an ERP system, which give the detailed information about the orders;
  • * The data is collected, but the company does not use it for optimization of the work, arguing that it is of little importance for small businesses.

However, the experienced marketers recommend to analyze the operations of the store from the very beginning. Wouldn’t you like to understand, for example, why customers make orders and then leave them unpaid? The metrics collected will help you examine the target audience and customize your contextual advertising, electronic mailing and the rest of advertising tools better.

Let’s assume that you have these systems but do not analyze them. Consider the following metrics that the marketers typically work with:

  1. Returning customers
    The higher the number of the same returning customers is, the cheaper it is for you to sell every single item.
  2. The average check
    The average check value should cover operational expenses, advertising costs and bring profit.
  3. ROMI
    ROMI = the company’s profit - expenses / investments * 100%.

It is recommended to calculate ROMI for each advertising channel separately.

  1. Segmentation by interests
    If a person only buys a smartphone, you may cross-sell him or her a protective case and film, headphones or earbuds, a wireless charger and power bank. In a year, you may offer this person to upgrade the case and protective film, and in two years – to buy a new smartphone, and so on. That’s a good strategy, right?


Conclusion

If your online store starts gaining momentum, begin to automate the processes right now. This article will provide you with the basic knowledge that you will need to launch automation. However, take your time: automation should be done for a business, not for the sake of automation itself.

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