Shopify is one of the world’s leading eCommerce platforms with over 6,00,000 stores across 175 countries and $50 billion in gross merchandise sales last year. The platform offers a range of tools for users to create a fully customized and feature-rich online store, as well as features designed for offline retail. Businesses can customize their marketplace with a variety of design templates and themes. The Shopify app store, with over 2000 apps, recommends the solutions every business needs to support and grow their venture. The Shopify platform takes care of hosting, optimization, security and integrates with Google Analytics along with the most popular payment solutions and is backed by 24/7 customer support. In short, Shopify offers a comprehensive list of tools, services and support systems that enables even non-technical users to get their marketplace up and off the ground in no time at all.
The Challenges of Scale:
And then the business begins to scale, creating a situation that can be as problematic as it is gratifying. Even modest increase in the sales volumes can often stress the most diligently orchestrated eCommerce supply chains to within breaking point. Simple processes, for updating product, order and inventory data for instance, that formerly proved to be quite adequate turned out to be rather ineffective. These inefficiencies can then cascade across the different components and systems of the eCommerce value chain and have a drastic impact on service quality and customer experience.
Businesses often respond to this scenario by resorting to new hires and piecemeal workarounds, neither of which are either conclusive or scalable solutions. Merchants will still be constantly distracted into fixing errors and fighting fires when they should be focused on business growth.
The Value of Ecommerce Automation:
Ecommerce automation addresses these issues by reducing manual workloads, eliminating unnecessarily complicated workarounds and simplifying workflows. It can help streamline the entire order life cycle across inventory management, order management and shipping, invoicing and payments, and customer support. At the same time, automation also increases efficiencies, helps businesses cope with the scale and frees up manpower to focus on strategic business tasks. Most importantly, automation allows businesses to experiment by incorporating more complex process capabilities into their business model in order to bring in a new value in terms of productivity, efficiency and customer experience.
Automation is a critical technology lever for scalable and sustainable eCommerce growth. There are three key value drivers that define a best-in-class eCommerce automation solution. First, solutions should provide pre-built integration connectors that make it easier for users to connect multiple systems on the supply chain. Second, they must be able to process and sync data in real-time without any lag or need for intervention. And third, they must be capable of validating and providing audit trails for data transfers across all systems.
Here are three solutions that can help users automate every eCommerce business process in a Shopify marketplace, from front-end store design to back-office ERP systems.
1. Automation Through Flow:
Shopify was one of the first eCommerce platforms to offer a comprehensive eCommerce automation solution. The Shopify Flow eCommerce automation platform allows users to automate almost any manual business process with just a few clicks and without writing a line of code. An intuitive visual workflow builder simplifies the automation of even complex processes by breaking them down into triggers, conditions and actions. For instance, users can set up an inventory management workflow with a low stock trigger to send a reorder email to the vendor, a notification email to the inventory team and add a low stock tag to the product at the store to create a sense of urgency.
Shopify estimates that in less than a year since its release, more than 2000 companies have used Shopify Flow to offload 200 million decisions and reclaim 1.6 million hours of productivity.
2. Automation Through the App Store:
While Shopify Flow is only available for customers of its enterprise-level platform, the app store offers a range of automation solutions, including workflow automation, for users of the standard platform. Take shipping, for instance. Shopify’s Oberlo platform connects eCommerce sellers with suppliers who can receive orders and fulfill them on the seller’s behalf. Even sellers with their own supply-chain network may automate their workflow with the help of third party apps on the Shopify platform like EzySlips and Intuitive Shipping.
The Shopify app store hosts hundreds of such third party apps across multiple departments to automate every critical process across the eCommerce value chain. A quick search for automation brings up nearly 600 apps covering everything from store design to marketing, shipping, inventory management and reporting, to name a few.
3. Automation at Scale Through Back-Office Integration:
For users looking for more streamlined end-to-end automation, Shopify’s compatibility with smart iPaaS solutions allows users to connect their marketplace systems with back-office business applications. One can easily Integrate the Shopify store with the back-end ERP, CRM and POS systems. iPaaS solutions provide eCommerce businesses with full workflow-based orchestration that is quick to implement and involves no capital expenditure.
Leveraging these smart platforms for real-time process integration with business-critical applications can yield significant benefits in terms of accuracy, efficiency and productivity. Consider for instance an ERP-Shopify integration; every eCommerce order automatically flows into the ERP system, improving order-processing efficiency and streamlining fulfillment. The ERP also captures every Shopify sale in real-time, facilitating a more dynamic approach to supply chain planning. Similarly, a CRM-Shopify integration automates the delivery of real-time data across eCommerce and enterprise systems resulting in lower operational costs, more accurate sales forecasting and an enhanced customer experience. This degree of seamlessly end-to-end integration also opens up brand-new opportunities for business process automation at scale.
Shopify empowers users with automation solutions that are easy-to-use, effective and fit to scale and purpose. The app store provides a curated collection of solutions that are perfect for point-to-point integration at the level of tasks and functions. With Shopify Flow, business users are able to tackle more complex and sophisticated cross-process workflows without the need for specialized technical skills or expertise. With smart iPaaS compatibility, Shopify addresses businesses that require streamlined end-to-end integration across eCommerce and enterprise systems.
Now, you can easily integrate your Shopify store with the back-end ERP, CRM and POS systems to automate the business process!