eCommerce Automation: The Star of the Show in B2B Online Marketplaces

eCommerce automation isn’t just about making work faster or easier for online businesses. It’s also about freeing up time and creating opportunities to grow the business and address other important tasks. In today’s competitive marketplace, your company must prioritize high-value work—work that promises better returns and a brighter future.

According to Hubspot’s State of Marketing Trends Report 2022, three out of every four eCommerce companies are now using marketing automation!

Automation optimizes customer data collection. Companies can use said data to market segment and deliver highly personalized content. Better targeted content more effectively converts leads into paying customers. That is why most online companies are investing in artificial intelligence and machine learning to understand what customers want.

Here are four B2B online marketplace processes that stand to benefit from eCommerce automation:

1. Purchase Order Approvals

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A purchase order (PO) officiates a transaction between a company and a supplier. As such, the PO traditionally requires lots of back and forth between departments to secure physical signatures and ensure everyone’s on the same page.

An efficient PO system guarantees that fresh supplies arrive before the company warehouse runs out of stock. This is especially important when managing product inventories for eCommerce stores. That’s because online customers dislike receiving “out of stock” notices so much that just one is enough for them to disengage entirely.

Fortunately, automating the purchase order approval process with workflow automation technology can prevent those headaches. Digitizing POs streamlines the approval process by boasting more efficient document dispersal and automating routing and approvals. It does so based on product value, item category, vendor credit rating, and other relevant factors.

2. Worry-Free Supplier/Vendor Onboarding

Adding suppliers or vendors to the marketplace is a great way to expand your product offerings and capture a new market segment. That said, you’ll need to ensure a seamless vendor onboarding process to drive sales right out of the gate. If you fail to do so, they risk losing money, and you risk losing them entirely.

The traditional seller onboarding process relies on spreadsheets and email, leaving the doors for error and delayed communication too open for comfort. Automating the onboarding process gives vendors an easier and faster way to integrate into the marketplace.

For a truly automated process, retailers must provide more than just a run-of-the-mill dashboard and portal to their sellers. The marketplace should also offer application program interface (API) software tools that can help make onboarding as quick and painless as possible. APIs help bridge the communication gap between the marketplace’s established system and the seller’s local environment.

3. Automate Your Entire Order Management Process

ecommerce automation
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Asking vendors to check their sites for new orders continually is time-consuming and inefficient. Instead, companies should look to elevate customer and employee experience by utilizing a fully automated order processing system.

Such a system automatically recognizes, processes, and verifies new online orders in real time. That very system then notifies the buyer that the marketplace is now handling their order and will provide relevant updates—you guessed it, in real-time.

Instead of depending on manual labor to verify each order, eCommerce automation increases the efficiency and accuracy of a retailer’s ordering system. You can enjoy happier customers and higher revenues with fewer errors and expenses.

4. Hassle-Free Returns and Refunds

A company’s ability to process returns and refunds strongly indicates its dedication to customer service. However, doing so too often involves agents wasting precious time verifying each request, validating the claim, and seeking approval. A long, drawn-out return or refund process will only further frustrate already unsatisfied customers and diminish your brand image.

Automating the return/refund process can help alleviate these pain points. This entails removing all the manual processes involved in documenting each request and processing the returns. Shifting to an automated system reduces the risks of human error and long response times.

Additionally, an automated system can generate insights into why certain customer segments regularly return the items they bought. These insights can help adjust marketing strategies to convince buyers to stick to their purchases ultimately.

Maximize B2B eCommerce Automation With Smart Merchandiser

Online marketplaces are now embracing eCommerce automation in nearly all of their processes. Doing so reduces the likelihood of manual errors that can cause delays in processing purchase orders, payments, order fulfillment, and item returns. It also frees employees from repetitive, time-consuming tasks to better direct their energy. In addition, eCommerce automation leverages the information that enters your marketplace by turning it into actionable insights.

Zobrist’s Smart Merchandiser is one such eCommerce automation tool that provides advanced merchandising capabilities to online stores. With Smart Merchandiser, companies can automatically arrange your entire inventory. The best part? You have as much or as little say in it as you want.

For example, you can opt to highlight specific items based on product details like price, availability, or variations. Or, you can choose to showcase products based on the seller’s criteria—such as ongoing promotions, fulfillment, or even reputation. Smart Merchandiser’s built-in analytics tool helps make it easier to rank products no matter the metrics.

With eCommerce automation on the rise, it’s time for you to take control of your storefront. Contact us to learn more about how Smart Merchandiser can enhance your eCommerce system today.