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The e-commerce process in 5 steps - and how to automate it

The e-commerce process in 5 steps - and how to automate it
February 16, 2021

An ecommerce business has many moving parts. Luckily, with the right tools, most parts of the process can be automated.

Ecommerce has become an integral part of our daily lives - and at the latest with the Corona crisis, every retailer has at least once thought about starting out in e-commerce. But even a side project with e-commerce can be quite lucrative today

Every e-commerce business has its own requirements and needs to be configured individually. However, the average e-commerce process can be roughly divided into these 6 steps: 

  1. Accept orders
  2. Process data 
  3. Provide the product to the customer 
  4. Process payment and send invoice
  5. Ask for a review 
  6. Customer Support

These steps can all be automated and you can devote your time to other things - like your product development and marketing. 

1. Accepting orders

Of course, in order for customers to order anything from you at all, you need a website with an online store. There are great tools that already do a lot of the work for you: The top dog Shopify offers you almost everything your business heart desires, depending on the pricing model - but there are also great (and cheaper) alternatives. If you already have a Wordpress site, WooCommerce is the most popular plugin and offers you some options to build your store the way you want. Another alternative for e-commerce platforms is Gumroad. They are great for digital products especially for creators. And the good news: all of them got a native Zapier integration. 

2. Processing data

Once you receive an order, you should process the data in a structured way. That can happen in the e-commerce platforms themselves, but it can also make sense to store your customer data in an additional CRM like Hubspot

With Zapier, you can build a Zap that stores your customer data from your ecommerce store in your CRM if there is no native connection. 

  1. Logging the purchased product

Next, you should log the product you ordered. This happens either directly in your e-commerce tool, or you tie in another payment processor like Stripe. In Stripe you can create your different products as well as the tax amount applicable to your country. Stripe is a good payment provider for SaaS solutions or subscriptions. 

If you sell a subscription, there are special NoCode tools for this as well. Memberstack and Memberspace are certainly the most popular, but Outseta is also worth a look. Outseta is priced a lot cheaper than Memberstack and also offers a whole CRM including campaign management. 

  1. Sending a confirmation email

After the order data has been successfully processed, your customer should receive a confirmation email about the order received. This is also offered by many platforms, but you can of course also run the whole thing through your CRM / newsletter tool like Mailerlite, Active Campaign or Cleverreach. You can also easily connect them via Zapier. 

3. Deploying the product to the customer

If your product is a digital one like subscriptions, e-books or access to a tutorial, you can also send the product or the access data to the purchased account directly with the confirmation email. Then your customer can directly access the product. If you sell a physical product, of course, your logistics providers must also be informed here.

Services like ShipStation aim to take care of the whole dispatch process for you, and integration with Zapier.

4. Creating an invoice

After you have processed the order data, you should create an invoice. Most e-commerce platforms or payment providers offer this service, but the invoices are often insufficient, especially for the European market. Here FastBill is a great alternative, with which you can also do the complete accounting. Invoices can be customized with everything you need - and can be sent automatically via Zapier. Other apps to check out include Freshbooks & InvoiceNinja

After these steps, your ordering process is usually complete. However, two points are still essential for any e-commerce process. Both are aimed at providing the best experience for your customers. 

5. Asking for a review

Assuming you've looked after your customer post-sale, within a period of a few days you should send your customers an email to ask for a review of your product. On the one hand, this increases the engagement, on the other hand, it gives you insights into how your customers like the product and what you can possibly improve. And - good reviews polish up your store enormously ;) 

You can send review emails via the common CRMs by including a link in it, which then in turn processes the review and saves it for example in a Google Sheet or Airtable, from where you can then again save good reviews as testimonial on your site. All automated of course ;) 

6. Providing customer support‍

Another important point in your customer journey is customer support. In e-commerce, a live chat that is integrated directly on your site is particularly suitable for this. There, customers can ask questions and you can help them directly. There are many great tools on the market, for example Userlike, Landbot.io or Intercom. If you have a small business, it makes sense to push new messages in your live chat directly to your messaging tool like Slack or Microsoft Teams via Zapier - so you can get all the messages right away and respond directly. 

If you need help setting up automations for your e-commerce store, feel free to contact us! 

And if you want to know which automations can boost your sales process, take a look at this article


This post was written by Lilith Brockhaus

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