How to Scale Ecommerce Business Operations with Automation
Optimizing your ecommerce business operations to scale can seem daunting at first. However, ecommerce automation offers many benefits to help your company meet its goals.
- Grow and scale your operations.
- Efficiently kick off new online sales channels.
- Eliminate any human errors that impact your customers’ experience.
- Self-service troubleshooting without depending on IT.
- Eliminate out-of-stocks through timely inventory updates.
- Fulfill orders faster.
What if you’re an expanding business with multiple sales channels and warehouses? Inspired by one ecommerce enterprise’s story, discover in this article how you can build a system architecture that supports your growth.
Challenges for a Growing Ecommerce Organization
Founded in January 2020, Body Art Alliance is a collective that provides quality piercing, tattoo, and body jewelry supplies.
Between this family of four independently operated companies – FK Brands, World Famous Tattoo Ink, NeoMetal, and Painful Pleasures – they have manufacturing and distribution centers in Maryland, Florida, South Carolina, New York, California, and Washington. Besides managing fulfillment through self-operated warehouses, they currently conduct wholesale and direct B2B and B2C sales through multiple channels.
While there’s strength in numbers, the newly formed alliance had to find a way to manage their much larger ecommerce business operations:
- 45,000 SKUs
- 17 ecommerce storefronts
- Multiple online marketplaces
In the face of increasing order volumes, they needed to keep up their order processing speed and quality. On top of that, they wanted to maintain up-to-date visibility into their inventory levels and finances. New processes and systems had to be put in place to automate order-to-cash.
Scaling Ecommerce Business Operations with Automation and Integration
Fortunately, one of Body Art Alliance’s companies had already adopted an integration platform (iPaaS) when they were a small business. The right iPaaS enabled Painful Pleasures to automate their business processes and holistically manage their integrations on a platform.
Back in 2015, Painful Pleasures wanted to find a cloud-based solution to streamline their scaling operations for growth, especially monitoring the 30,000 SKUs they had at the time. With integration, an ERP system can centrally manage products, inventory, financials, and fulfillment across ecommerce storefronts and online marketplaces.
After adopting an ERP, Painful Pleasures looked at Celigo for implementing integrations, opening up the ability for them to launch multiple sales channels and have them all integrated into one system.
Because of Painful Pleasures’ success, they provided Body Art Alliance with a structure for adopting an ERP and utilizing an iPaaS. Celigo’s marketplace contains pre-built integrations between NetSuite and Shopify, Magento, eBay, and Amazon. The alliance also recently built an integration between their ERP and RF-SMART for inventory management.
The end result? During a turbulent 2020 with increasing online orders, Body Art Alliance became more flexible and agile instead of manually updating inventory. Additionally, they launched three ecommerce sites this year and also started on Amazon, FBA, and a few other Amazon channels.
“We did it because we have Celigo in place. We did it because we have NetSuite in place. We did it because we have the technology to be able to launch ecommerce sites relatively quickly. And we did it because we have the right people and infrastructure in place and critical time-to-launch for new online sales,” said President and COO of Body Art Alliance Melissa Gagnier-Solis in this webinar on how integration helped her company’s workflows.
3 Tips for Automating Ecommerce Business Operations
How do you create an ecommerce automation architecture when you don’t have a lot of systems and processes already in place? Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Start your digital transformation with a major cultural shift. To increase the likelihood of success, help your team get on board with your changes. Communication is key for any change management initiative, including technical projects. When you put your new system in place, expect a gradual mindset shift instead of an instant one.
- Enable all your business units to conduct self-service troubleshooting. As part of a federated model for integrations, teach and empower your team to manage their daily operations. This includes addressing errors. The right iPaaS for your company should be accessible to both IT and business users.
- Keep an eye out for other areas of your business that can benefit from automation and integration. Besides addressing ecommerce automation, Body Art Alliance is now looking at HR automation by integrating ADP with their ERP.
Want to enhance your ecommerce business operations to handle an increased order volume while helping you scale efficiently? Then, check out this eBook, The Executive Guide to Best Practices in eCommerce Integration.
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