4 Ecommerce Business Processes That Benefit From Automation
During an unprecedented year, ecommerce experienced exponential growth in 2020 – more than 40% in the U.S. alone, for example.  Amid COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and social distancing protocols, consumers increasingly relied on online shopping for their purchases. This development will impact the way we shop moving forward. In fact, experts estimate that the pandemic accelerated the shift from physical stores to ecommerce by 5 years. 
As you can see, the future has already arrived – is your business ready for it?
Now is the time to invest in your business’ digital transformation, evaluating where you are now and where you want to go. With all of the tools and applications your team uses on a regular basis, automation can help streamline key business processes. Since your data needs to be seamlessly transferred from one application to the other, integration has to go hand in hand with automation.
Integration Roadmap for Ecommerce Business Process Automation
To accelerate your automation strategy, you need to create a plan – an ecommerce integration roadmap. Start to identify which of your business processes should be automated first. Then, list the related tools and applications that you use along the way.
Here are four examples of ecommerce business processes that are ideal automation candidates:
First, a typical ecommerce integration roadmap begins with order processing, also known as order-to-cash. This business process is at the heart of ecommerce, starting with a customer’s order and going all the way through billing, processing, and order fulfillment.
Syncing your orders, inventory, and fulfillment between your storefronts and enterprise resource planning (ERP) or order management platform can help reduce errors while speeding up this process.
When it comes to fulfilling orders, many ecommerce companies rely on 3PL fulfillment, or they split their inventory between third-party logistics and their own warehouses. A lack of real-time inventory visibility across these various warehouses often results in delays and errors, which can then lead to unhappy customers.
By taking advantage of automation, you can produce massive operational efficiency gains by having accurate data for making decisions.
Depending on the amount of SKUs and sales channels your business has, item management may be one of your top concerns. Manual data processing can slow down your time to market if you’re working with a large number of products across multiple channels in various currencies.
With automation, you can automatically and accurately update items across channels while reducing operational costs.
Finally, payout-to-reconciliation is often one of the last business processes that’s automated, but you shouldn’t overlook it. For many, payouts reconciliation is a manual accounting process of comparing payment gateway payouts against your financial records to ensure matching amounts.
Automating this time-consuming task can help your team identify discrepancies sooner and close the books faster. That way they can shift their attention toward more higher-value priorities.
Ecommerce Integration Roadmap Next Steps
When preparing for your business’ digital transformation, keep in mind your potential return on investment. Besides improving efficiency and reducing operational costs, your team will be better prepared for the unexpected. Not only that, you’ll be able to focus more on innovation and creativity when you’re free from tedious tasks.
To avoid wasting time and resources, you need to identify the right investments to make and design an integration roadmap. Learn more about creating a long-term strategic plan by watching the on-demand webinar, Ecommerce Integration Roadmap for Digital Transformation.
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