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9 ways to simplify your e-commerce business processes in 2023

Picture Credit: Unsplash

Running an ecommerce business requires countless skills, one of which is juggling. 

Before you run off to join the circus – we mean tasks. What might look like a simple operation for those visiting your website, is actually a machine with thousands of moving parts. 

Simplification is the oil that keeps that machine running smoothly. Proactively making processes in your business easier instead of more sophisticated, might not be on the top of your to-do list. But it’s exactly this that will save you tons of time, resources and energy in the long run.

In this article, we’ll explore nine ways you can make your business processes simpler. And we won’t just look at internal processes and the tasks you and your team deal with on a daily basis. We’ll also look at what your customers do, and how you can simplify that for them.

Processes to simplify for your team

Simplifying the processes in different departments feels great: it gives clarity, removes frustration and allows people to focus on the most important tasks and customers. Here’s how you can drastically eliminate wasted time and optimize your internal processes.

  1. Look for tools that integrate with each other

Don’t fall for huge tech stacks and tools that individually promise to be the fastest tool on the market, but then don’t integrate with other commonly used tools. You want to go for versatile, well-connected tools – not for ‘exclusivity’. 

Build a foundation with tools like SAP Business One Cloud that seamlessly integrate with almost any ERP and tech stack. Integrations like these don’t just save you time, they also help you make the most out of the data your business is collecting. 

While you’re at it: go over the tools you’re currently using and could eliminate. Check in with your team too to find out what is just creating clutter in your tech stack and clean it up. 

  1. Implement automation

Automation and AI isn’t going to replace humans – it’ll only replace people who refuse to work with it. Here are some top tips on how to cut down on busywork in your business.

Accounting and finance

Look for tools that help you cut time spent on accounting and finance, and for humans who master these tools. The numbers side of business easily takes up a massive chunk of your resources. Yet investing in automation tools can not only help you save time, it also reduces errors. 

Choose to work with a top global payroll provider to make sure your employees get paid on time every payday, without your smartest accountant having to manually check timesheets and payment slips, allowing them to focus on other pressing things. 

Marketing automation

Marketing automation is a must for ecommerce businesses. An example of what works great in ecommerce marketing strategies is personalized content, but you don’t want to have to write every customer or website visitor individual emails. That’s where marketing automation tools come in handy. 

They crawl your CRM to find who to send what e-mail, and basically do it for you. They make sure people are addressed correctly, and receive content that is relevant to their stage in the buyer’s journey. All you have to do is write the email sequences.

AI and automation like the new and improved ChatGPT is not meant to eliminate the need for marketers on your team, but to empower them: by saving time on repetitive tasks, they can use their creative spirits to think up even more powerful campaigns and actions. 

Automated customer service

More about that later, but here’s the gist of it: only automate the most common requests that really don’t need human interference. You want customers to feel like they’re being helped in the best way possible, so only implement AI where that is the best solution – not the cheapest one. 

Automated inventory management

Keep track of inventory levels, reduce the risk of stockouts and overstocking. 

The first level is setting up an inventory management system that automatically updates your inventory whenever a sale is made or stock is received.

The next level is implementing an inventory management system that tracks trends and helps you forecast, so you can optimize your inventory and be prepared for high and low seasons.

Automatic shipping system

Chances are, you’re working with more than one carrier. The best thing to do then, is to set up a system that automatically chooses which carrier is right for each order, based on the location, order size and timeline. This can help you control shipping costs and improve the customer experience by making sure they get their order in a timely manner. 

  1. Use a centralized CRM

The foundation of practically all the recommendations that follow is a solid CRM. 

  1. Track analytics

How does tracking your analytics count as simplifying anything, you’d might ask. But the information found in your analytics is a goldmine for identifying bottlenecks and spotting what can be simplified. This goes for both analytics in your CRM, and for your website in general. 

Being on top of this data allows you to be proactive, instead of reactive. You’ll spot what processes are slowing you down or are costing you business, and make adjustments accordingly. Do this before conducting a broad and expensive internal investigation – sometimes the answers are right under your nose. 

Picture credits: Unsplash

5. Optional: outsource non-core functions

For some businesses, it could be particularly useful to outsource some processes. From social media to customer service: if you really want to focus on your core business, consider hiring external parties to take over the rest. Do make sure that it is a perfect match: your customers shouldn’t be noticing this in a negative way.

Processes to simplify for your customers

Don’t neglect your customers when going over your processes. Here’s what you can do to make shopping at your ecommerce store easier than ever

6. Streamline checkout process

From Stripe to Klarna, payment technologies have developed rapidly. There are now dozens of ways to pay for products online, but that doesn’t mean the process has become better because of it. 

A staggering 27% of shoppers say they’d abandon their shopping carts if the checkout process is too complicated. Yes, even if they really wanted your product. Arguably one of the best things you can do for your business, is to simplify and streamline your checkout process. 

Make sure you cut down on the steps people need to go through, and don’t ask them too many things. Allow people to order with a minimalistic profile – aka: don’t ask them information you’ll never really use. Even better: allow customers to go for a guest checkout option. After all, you want more completed orders, not more half-complete profiles. 

And last but not least: enable people to save their payment information, to save them time. Who hasn’t abandoned a shopping cart because they had to get up to find their credit card? You can also look into smart payment solutions connected to mobile apps for even more comfort.

Picture Credit: Unsplash

7. Offer self-service features

It’s not laziness to give some responsibility back to customers. Providing them with self-service options such as order tracking and returns processing will speed things up, both for your customers and for your team. It will reduce the pressure on customer support, so you have more resources available for questions that are bigger than ‘where’s my package?’. 

It also helps to provide your customers with an FAQ section on your website in which you can answer all questions – even the simplest ones. 

8. Implement chatbots

If you want to step things up a notch, you can also provide all these answers in the form of a chatbot, but make sure people can easily reach a human when needed. For instance, you could offer human support automatically after somebody has typed in more than three questions or search queries.

9. Optimize your website

Three out of four consumers shop from their smartphones. The last thing they need is dropdown menus or funky headers that won’t load.

Optimizing your website to simplify the steps your customers need to go through is a great way to boost conversion. Make it easier to buy from you than to go to the store around the corner, in any way possible.

From making sure your search bar delivers laser-focused results, to making sure your menu bar is easy to navigate: put usability first to enable your visitors to find the product they need in just a few clicks.

10. Offer subscription services or a loyalty program

This is not just a way to sell more – it’s also a service you can provide to simplify the lives of your customers (and some internal business processes). If it’s likely that people will buy your products regularly, set up a service that automatically takes care of new orders, perhaps with a discount for people who choose these plans. It’s less work for them, and will eventually be less work for your team. 

What’s one thing you could simplify today?

Simplifying processes in your ecommerce business doesn’t have to be done overnight. In fact, it’s best to take your time and figure out exactly what the best way of doing this is, so you don’t run into problems later on. With that in mind, you probably already thought of one process that could do with a makeover in your business. Go tackle that today!

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