How automation can gain you 23% of your time back.
Automation is usually seen as a great word in a business context, because it often means that some of your processes will be aided by technology, becoming easier and faster. But the level of automation that your business needs to become more efficient depends on several factors, such as your industry, the services you provide and, as importantly, your business’ current development stage.
For example, when we look at the eCommerce industry alone, more specifically, to online stores, we can already see a massive change in the automation level between business stages. On the logistics side, for instance, larger companies can have their own distribution infrastructure or local warehouses in their main markets, to better attend their clients’ needs. But due to these solutions’ difficulty to manage and high costs, they are usually out of reach for small and medium size businesses.
However, this doesn’t mean that SME are without logistical solutions. There are ways in which you can automate several parts of the process, from the moment your webshop sells an item, to the instant where the client receives said item – and even to the potential scenario where the item is returned to the store.
It all kicks off from the moment you receive one or more orders in your eCommerce platform. After you get all the orders physically ready to go, you’ll need to print the shipping labels to be able to actually ship the packages. And here you have a potential automation.
Instead of going through this whole process manually in the carriers’ website, copying and pasting all the necessary shipping information for all 10 or 100 of your orders, you can simply create all labels with one-click.
After the shipping label is printed and glued to the package, it’s time for the packages to go to the carriers’ hands. Once that happens, you’ll receive updates about the stages of the delivery process of the package – depending on your contract with the carrier, that is.
So, if you want to communicate to your client what is going on with their order, normally you need to manually create a new email to every single client whenever something changes with an order.
Well, you don’t have to. There is software that allows you to automatically send these updates to consumers.
Finally the package arrives safely in the hands of the consumer. That’s it, right? End of the road.
Well, not exactly. The thing is, around 30% of times, your orders will come back to you. And although a return isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s still important to offer a quick and frictionless return process to your consumer.
And one way in which you can do that, is by automating the creation of return labels.
So, what if something doesn’t goes as smoothly as expected? What if some problems pop up during the delivery process, whether those are delays, address mistakes, or other glitches along the way?
Well, there’s nothing to fear – it has happened to everybody.
That just means that your online store needs to jump on it and fix the situation. Which, more often than not, implies speaking with both clients and carriers to solve the situation at hands. So wouldn’t it be nice to have a button that simplifies that process to the maximum? To automate it, almost? Keep reading and you’ll see that this is actually possible in a way.
Automation is a buzzword. But can also be the key to your business development. Here’s an example.
Ok, so there are several ways to automate the logistical process of an online store. But what does automation means tangibly? What are the advantages for a small and medium size online store to have these processes shortened and simplified?
Well, by our experience in automating the processes above, it all comes down to time.
As an example, let’s take the shipping label automation that our clients have access through our shipping platform.
On average, webshop owners take approximately from two to four minutes to copy the clients’ shipping information into a shipping label. This means that, if you receive, on average, ten orders per day, you spend 20-40 minutes doing this. Which, in itself, is not a bad time. But let’s look at it from a broader perspective.
Per week, you would spend between 1h40 to 3h20 making shipping labels. That’s approximately around 4% to 8% of your time spent on that one task.
Now, imagine that you can spend in less than a minute per day doing that. With just one click, you would gain back at least 4% of your time. Every week.
And it’s not just about the time that you gain directly with this automation. In a way, it’s what comes (or doesn’t come) afterwards.
Having this process automated means that you don’t have to manually copy shipping information. And by avoiding that, you are also avoiding any typos or other human errors that might come from that. And there is more to that than it looks like.
For example, these typos usually generate problems with deliveries, because if the address or other essential information for a shipping is wrong, it will cause extra time in the delivery process – or a failed delivery all together. So, by minimizing the chances of these errors occurring, through automation, you’re also increasing the delivery quality of your orders and, consequently, lowering your chances of bad deliveries happening. Avoiding the misuse of your time ends up having a positive cascade effect, as you end up also avoiding other problems that would also become a misuse of time.
And you know how you can use that time you gained back? Yep, you can actually spend it on growing your business.
Now back to customer service…
Ok, that is a lot of problems automation can avoid. But, as we said before, problems can still occur. And if there is a bad or failed delivery, you will need to take some time out of your day to speak with carriers to fix the situation.
By our own experience, there will be some sort of problem with around 3% of an online store’s orders. And although we don’t have concrete numbers on the time spent by webshop owners with these issues, we believe it’s safe to assume that they spend anywhere from two to four hours per problem. Of course that depends on the issue itself, the carrier, the client, the response time in between, among other factors – but two to four hours is a safe estimate.
By putting things in perspective, if you deal 10 orders per day, in a working week you’ve dealt with 50 orders. And if 3% of orders have some sort of problem, you’ll be dealing with 1.5 problematic deliveries per week. That translates into two to six hours per week, around 5% to 15% of your weekly time.
And that is why we also provide automated customer service to our clients. That way, they don’t have to use from 5% to 15% of their week to deal with these situations.
Which means that, in addition to the 4%-8% of time they save on shipping labels, they can get from 9% to 23% extra time per week.
To put this into very real numbers, depending on the size of your business, this is the time that you can potentially save with just the two automated solutions mentioned above.
As the saying goes: time is money.
We hate to fall into the old “time is money” saying. But it is, you know? So, the natural conclusion we can have here, is that by not having to manually create shipping labels, by not having to manually send track&trace to all your clients when there is an update and by not having to deal with failed deliveries, you would be effectively gaining back anywhere between 9% to 23% of your time.
Time that you could use to focus in other areas of your business, in growing it instead of sustaining it. Which will, without a doubt, benefit you and your company in the short and in the long run.