8 Processes Retailers Should Consider Automating
If you’re like most retailers, you’re always looking for ways to automate your business and operate more efficiently. And if it can help grow sales, we’ll that’s even better. Below are 8 processes you can easily automate, and you don’t have to be a programmer to do so.
Not all retail software offers all the features listed below. Before investing in 3rd-party software, make sure your POS provider can integrate.
- Drop ship. Ask your vendors if they offer drop shipping. If they do, then ask your E-Commerce provider if they integrate with those vendors. This will allow you to offload fulfillment to your vendors, speeding up delivery and saving you time. (Hint: Make sure your retail system gives you real-time alerts when an order is placed, delivered and fulfilled).
- Turn your stores into a warehouse. Fulfill orders from each store by setting rules (or fulfillment logic), so your retail software can automatically select the “best” store to ship from based on your priorities (i.e., location, stock levels, weeks of supply, planned promotions, projected sales, staffing, pickup frequency).
- Send automated POs to vendors. Generate and send purchase orders automatically to your suppliers based on predefined min/max stock levels to replenish your inventory, and receive acknowledgements back from your vendors, along with Advanced Ship Notices (ASN’s). When the shipment is received, you can simply scan the label to account for all items within your shipment, as opposed to scanning every item within the shipment and not knowing what is supposed to be included. You can also use an automated EDI solution, such as SPS Commerce, to communicate with your vendors.
- Integrate with accounting software. By integrating your POS and accounting software (i.e., Sage, QuickBooks, Microsoft Dynamics, Great Plains), you can automatically sync sales totals, cost of goods sold and payments for easy reconciliation – eliminating manually data entry and human error. Also, learn how to create and send smart invoices through QuickBooks.
- Automate email campaigns. Integrate your email marketing tool with your retail software, and use its CRM/sales data, from both your in-store and online businesses, to segment and automate personalized emails to consumers based on their shopping behavior, past purchases, brand preferences and demographics. (Example: Send a 10% coupon for a scarf to customers who recently purchased the matching hat/gloves).
- Automate abandoned cart workflows. Don’t let shoppers with items in-cart slip away. Create an automated campaign consisting of emails, popups and chatbots that offer discounts, free shipping, reviews or links to similar products to entice them to buy from you.
- Integrate with 3rd-party marketplaces. Integrate with Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Facebook and other 3rd-party marketplaces to expose your products to more shoppers. Depending on your retail software, you are able to automatically upload your products from your POS, synchronize your stock levels and pricing, offload fulfillment to Amazon, and track sales from each marketplace in a single place. If you happen to use multiple marketplaces, your retail system might integrate with Channel Advisor, allowing you to manage all marketplaces centrally through one platform.
- Automate sales tax. Not surprisingly, most retailers are more focused on revenue than sales tax. However, keeping up-to-date with sales tax can reduce overhead and risk. By integrating your retail software with a tax compliance software such as Avalara, you can more easily achieve compliance with sales tax, excise tax, and other transaction tax requirements.