With rising inflation adding to the general climate of market uncertainty, data by Trading Economics suggests that British consumer confidence in 2022 is 40% lower than in 2021. eCommerce traffic is down 13% in Q2 2022, with the category of home improvement being hit the most with a 30% decline in demand (Source: Gene). Hence, many businesses have had to pivot or adapt their operations in order to stay afloat. This blog serves as a fundamental guide for your eCommerce businesses to thrive during the recession.
Automate your businesses
It is without saying that automation is the first thing you should consider if you want to increase business efficiency and consistency of tasks at a low cost and within a short period of time. There are many eCommerce business processes which you can leverage on automation to improve.
Order processing: Automation can be used to streamline the process of order processing, from receiving and confirming the order to preparing and shipping the products. This allows your business to better manage orders in a more organised manner which supports easier tracking and faster responses if any problems arise. Research has shown that when operations upgrade their pick/inventory systems from paper-and-pencil to a more integrated form of order processing, they enjoy on average a 25% gain in overall productivity, a 10-20% gain in space use, and a 15-30% more efficient use of stock.
Inventory management: Automated systems can help eCommerce businesses keep track of their inventory levels and reorder products when needed. There will less likely to have errors and mistakes in records which significantly enhances the accuracy and efficiency of business management. Additional analytical tools in these management systems may also provide useful insights into your business performance.
Marketing and advertising: there are more and more businesses that utilize automation to send and even create targeted email campaigns, track the effectiveness of marketing efforts, and optimize advertising campaigns. Although creativity is still a big problem to be solved in automated marketing, it greatly reduces the time and effort needed if your business is trying to personalize campaigns and marketing strategies for different types of customers.
Financial management: Automated systems can handle invoicing, billing, and bookkeeping tasks. Nearly 88% of recorded cybersecurity breaches are human errors, most often caused by a distraction or poor decision-making. Computers make decisions based on statistics, thus increasing your company’s efficiency and leaving little to no room for future mistakes. In addition, by allowing computers to do all the tedious and repetitive work, automation helps your businesses to focus on other more important and higher-end aspects of operations.
Use automation for customer service
eCommerce is one of the main customer service application sectors for chatbots around the world. By 2023, chatbots are expected to generate over $100 billion in eCommerce transactions. Your business will definitely not want to lag behind in this general trend.
Customer queries for eCommerce businesses tend to be simple and repetitive which makes chatbots extremely useful and effective in providing more accurate customer service with quick responses. The integration of a chatbot gives your business another boost to grow during a recession since a chatbot is helpful to your customer service regardless of economic conditions.
What is so good about getting a chatbot for your eCommerce business? First of all, it retains customers. According to Forrester, 53% of online shoppers abandon their carts if they do not receive instant answers to their questions. This loss of sales can be easily solved by using a chatbot since it draws on a huge information pool to answer customer queries accurately 24/7. You no longer have to worry about not being able to service customers in other time zones trying to reach out for customer service.
In addition, just like the chatbot by Algomo, many chatbots provide analytical services that gather a substantial amount of information from the conversations happening through chatbots. These data can be turned into insightful trends in suggesting how to further improve your businesses, whether it is about your payment processes or your shipping policy etc.
Human agents are important
it's important to note that automation is not replacing human intelligence. While automation can handle certain tasks more efficiently, there are certain tasks that still require the unique skills and expertise of humans. It's important for businesses to find a balance between automation and human labour to maximize efficiency and productivity. Hence, you should still take the empowerment of agents seriously.
During the recession, the morale of employees can be low and their health conditions may suffer as well. To deal with this, no matter what size your business is, you may start to consider more flexible working policies as 77% of remote workers say they’re more productive when working from home. Given the online nature of eCommerce businesses, working from home is a feasible approach and should not cost too much time for workers and businesses to implement and adapt.
To keep employees motivated during difficult times, there is a trade-off between saving costs and offering more rewards to employees. Showing appreciation for hard work and contributions is especially important. You can do this through bonuses, promotions, and gift cards. Offering improvement opportunities is also a win-win strategy since this allows employees to develop skills that guarantee them higher pay in the future, at the same time, it boosts your talent pool. 47% of employees find that new growth opportunities are a better way to reward them for their achievements.
Technology is the key to surviving through any difficult times. Looking for growth opportunities during a recession is not easy for any type of business. The online nature of eCommerce businesses provides an advantage for you to implement automation more easily and quickly. Customer service plays an important role in retaining customers in eCommerce businesses. Chatbots are your best business partner in transforming your customer service quality at low cost and high efficiency.