When it comes to ecommerce, automation is a solution to many time-consuming tasks that overfill the typical day of an online seller. From a logistical point of view, automation literally moves data from one business system to another.
It eliminates the need for manual data entry and saves you time and money to focus on what you do best—selling. But examined from a broader perspective, the benefits of automation can be total game-changers for an online business.
For example, automation can help you increase profits and create a marked competitive advantage. There are plenty of companies that provide multichannel ecommerce software for all aspects of your business—your front office sales and marketing and your back-office operations. In this post, we focus on the back-office, specifically operations and accounting.
1. Automate order processing
Most successful ecommerce sellers use multiple systems across their business and sell from multiple places—at the very least, on a custom website platform like Shopify or Magento and on a marketplace like eBay or Amazon. This can create operational havoc as data flows through their inventory, shipping, and accounting systems.
To get this under control, you want to use ecommerce automation software to automate all processing by sending a single, accurate set of order data from inception to the bank account. With automation, you can do all of this with no manual data entry and exactly zero errors.
When there are no errors introduced during order processing, correct sales tax is charged, the correct item is chosen, inventory is kept up-to-date across all sales channels, shipping labels are accurate, and tracking information is available immediately to share with the customer.
With manual data entry, when any one of these basic tasks goes awry, the customer’s trust in the seller is lost, sometimes for good. Technology’s role in building consumer trust cannot be understated, according to KPMG’s global report The Truth About Online Consumers:
“Regardless of how many attributes a company has that will earn the trust of their customers, not having the right systems in place to protect that trust can be catastrophical.”
2. Automate tracking of revenue and expenses
As a multichannel seller, it’s easy to lose sight of the financial performance of your business and keep tabs on all the costs you’re incurring.
When marketplaces like Amazon provide bi-weekly settlement reports or platforms like Magento create complicated spreadsheets of your transactions, sellers often find themselves down a rabbit hole of data. Unless you’re planning on getting a bachelor’s degree in data analytics, you’re better off using multichannel selling software that can help you bring data and insights from across all sales channels and systems into one place.
Simply put, automating the tracking of revenue and expenses is key for online sellers who want to know their profit and grow their business. Sound like all sellers? Unless you promptly account for both the money coming in and the money going out — in payment processor fees, marketplaces fees, warehouse fees, fulfillment expenses, and shipping costs — of your business, you’re flying blind.
In fact, operating without real-time visibility into operational expenses ensures the financial growth of your business will be stunted, and puts your business at a high risk of failure.
3. Automate bookkeeping and accounting data entry
Since you’re selling online, you likely have a passion for your products. I may be wrong, but most sellers feel slightly less enthusiasm for bookkeeping and accounting.
Unfortunately, these are two of the unavoidable tasks that go along with online retail, right along tax compliance. For a business owner juggling sales channels, employees, marketing, inventory, and fulfillment, momentum is broken by spending time entering data into QuickBooks. Even if you’re the type who doesn’t mind occasional busywork, the chances of satisfying the manually data entry beast are slim to none.
Even if you’re not doing your own bookkeeping and have professional help, wouldn’t you prefer to pay them for strategic financial advice and rather than data entry? The accounting system is your system of record and holds critical insights that can help you control the destiny of your business.
Long story short: Get your bookkeeper to auto-post into accounting so your financials are accurate, timely, and in compliance—you’ll save as much as 90% on your accounting costs. What’s more, you’ll be able to track your own business analytics and key performance indicators (KPIs) on which you can build your business, happily ever after.
If these automation solutions don’t quite fit your ecommerce business, keep searching. Technology is your friend; automation improves your productivity and efficiency, which translates into more focus on growing your business.