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Do you own an online business? Then you’re probably tackling a huge amount of tasks. Tasks that take up a lot of your valuable time, and might even cause you to forgo other important tasks because you simply don’t have time to manage it all. Maybe you find yourself working during holidays and weekends, just to get all your work done. And that’s a shame! Your online business should not come at the expense of your personal life. That’s why you should look into automation. In this post, we’ll share a few ways to automate your business and greatly improve your work-life balance.

What is automation?

In short: automation means streamlining your processes. Repetitive tasks that you used to do by hand will now happen automatically. It means you’ll be working more efficiently, because you can now spend time on growing and perfecting your business. Another bonus: Your work will be less prone to errors!

Why should you choose to automate part of your business?

You probably know that no matter what market you’re in, it’s a competitive environment. Especially if you’re a small business, it might be hard to compete with large companies that have a lot of resources. If you can free up your time by automating processes, then you’ll also be able to reduce labor costs and therefore increase your profits.

But that’s not all! Did you know that 86% of buyers would pay more to receive great customer service when shopping online? So by automating your processes, you’ll be able to spend your time on more important things, such as improving your customer service, service delivery, and even the quality of your product. This will all help you give your customers a wonderful experience! Which could lead to great word-of-mouth sales.

5 useful tools to automate your online store

1. Email marketing

Writing great marketing emails is no easy feat. It can easily take you an entire day to draft a good email, or to keep track of which customers you need to email about their abandoned carts. That’s why it might be worth checking out HubSpot for WooCommerce. It’s very easy to set up, and allows you to build beautiful and responsive emails. And it also comes with over 20 pre-designed templates! What’s more, you can personalize them based on your customers’ previous purchases. This plugin has a lot to offer, so do check out their page. 

2. Order management and tracking

Luckily, you don’t have to manually keep track of your orders anymore. Still, it might be good to let your customers know what the status of their order is. That’s why we recommend using a plugin like WooCommerce Order Tracker. With this plugin, customers can easily track their orders, even if you use a third-party shipping service. This will greatly increase customers’ trust in your business. 

3. Refunds and returns

Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with refunds or returns all that often. But when they happen, it can take quite some time to manually sort it out. Especially if a customer wants to swap one item for another. That’s why we recommend you automate your refunds and returns. Luckily, WooCommerce has a powerful plugin that does just that: RM Return Refund & Exchange for WooCommerce. And don’t worry! People won’t be able to ‘simply’ get refunded. The plugin offers you the ability to restrict and deny requests. 

4. Customer service

Of course, not everything can be automated when it comes to customer service. And you shouldn’t want to either. Because ‘one size fits all’ won’t work with people. We’re simply too different! Besides, customers will notice when they won’t get tailored advice or support. This isn’t bad, per se, but it’s something to keep in mind while planning your customer service experience.

One thing you can offer customers is a chatbot. They’re great for answering straightforward questions and troubleshooting common issues. A chatbot can make your customer service more efficient and more streamlined. Another bonus: A lot of millennial customers would rather talk to a chatbot than a support person! 

There are a lot of chatbots out there, so it’s good to do your own research. However, if you want a starting point we recommend Tidio. This plugin offers both live chat and chatbots, as well as email integrations. What’s more, the chatbots also come with useful templates for various situations. And it’s 100% mobile-friendly. 

5. Invoices

This might not sound exciting, but it can be a major timesaver. Especially if you work with other professionals and businesses. If you need to manually create invoices for them, that will cost you a lot of time in the long run. So save yourself time and install WooCommerce PDF invoices & Packing Slips. Every order confirmation email will now automatically contain a PDF invoice. All you have to do is create a template or use one of the plugin’s templates. It’s super easy!

Conclusion

Automating certain processes will free up your time so you can focus on more important tasks, such as curating an amazing customer experience and perfecting your business. Automation can help you behind the scenes, making sure you are on top of emails, refunds, order tracking, and much more. So look at which repetitive tasks take over your day, and see if you can automate them! 

Want to read more about automation? Check out our How to Automate WordPress with Zapier post.

  • Tiffani Anderson

    Tiffani is a Content and SEO Manager for the Bluehost brand. With over 10 years experience across all facets of content and brand marketing, she strives to combine concepts from brand marketing with engaging content through the lens of SEO.

    Education
    University of North Texas
    Previous Experience
    Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media
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