Perhaps you know this feeling: it's been a while since you launched your new webshop. It was quite the task! In the end, some details still needed to be taken care of. But you succeeded! Your site scores well for several relevant search terms, and orders are trickling in nicely. Of course, there's no time to sit back if you want next-level results. They will not come on their own.
Especially when you run a somewhat larger shop, there are bound to be several tasks you can automate. Small, recurring tasks that you or someone on your team currently do. Somewhere, you know it could be done more efficiently. What kind of tasks do we mean? Well, for example:
- Your supplier has adjusted their prices. Now, you want to know which products offer the most margin so you can advertise them. You calculate this yourself.
- You'd like an overview of the products that sold the most around Christmas. And by the way, how was that last year? You create a spreadsheet for this yourself.
These are precisely the tasks you could automate. Because a computer can do them faster, cheaper, and more accurately.
And then there are things that only a computer can do. What about:
- An API connection (this is a system that enables two computer programs to communicate with each other. For example, the webshop can communicate directly with your CRM system so that the data in both systems matches).
- A front-end (which is a system that unlocks certain data from the "back end" of the webshop and makes it visible to you, your customers, or suppliers).
Why would you apply automation?
Sure, automation is convenient. You don't have to worry about it anymore, but that's not the only reason! Consider:
- Your team works much more efficiently and productively. Tasks that take a lot of time no longer have to be done manually.
- Because the team has to do less manual work, the number of errors will be reduced.
- The system always performs business processes in the same way. So the results are uniform and easy to compare.
- You keep insight and overview. Your system can store all kinds of data while performing a task. This allows you to create handy tools that provide insight. For example, about the status and outcome of a task.
- Your team sometimes wants to go on vacation, can get sick, and has the weekend off. But a computer system also performs tasks outside office hours, on weekends, evenings, and holidays.
- Once you have a foundation in place, you can often easily scale up. For example, by applying the system to get more data. Or by adding extra functionality.
- It is possible to set who has access to which data, tasks, etc. This way, everyone can access data that is relevant to them, but no data ends up with the wrong employee.
- Your tools can map all kinds of customer data. This makes it easier to work customer-oriented and offer the service the customer prefers.
- And perhaps best of all: a 2017 study by ServiceNow shows that highly automated companies are seven times more likely to achieve revenue growth of 15%. This compared to companies that are only moderately automated.
All in all, plenty of reasons to start automating. But we don't just want to tell a success story. There are also some disadvantages to automating. Whether they outweigh the benefits, you can only weigh for yourself. Some disadvantages are:
- Automation requires upfront investment costs.
- Systems do not work flawlessly right away, and you will have to deal with teething problems.
- It requires a shift in your team's way of working. That’s why it’s important to get your team on board with this change, so that they will embrace it.
- Information must be well documented. When you don't do this, it can sometimes be a mystery why the system is not working. Especially when the original developer(s) are not or not easily reachable.
- There is less human contact. In a world that is becoming increasingly digital, this is a disadvantage for some people that they are increasingly dealing with.
In many cases, the benefits of automation far outweigh the drawbacks. And by automating, you can build a great system that takes more and more work off your hands and performs flawlessly. Are you curious about the possibilities for your company? We are happy to explain them to you. Simply contact our development team, and we will look at the possibilities for your webshop together.