The beauty of online storefronts is that they allow businesses of any size to tap into a widening market of consumers. However, they also face competition with online behemoths like Amazon and Alibaba as well as hundreds of other, smaller e-commerce business sites that are selling nearly identical products. Flashy websites and a solid marketing campaign can help your business rise above the fold — but they can only do so much if customers are dissatisfied with the product, constantly find items out of stock or have problems getting in touch with customer service when they need a refund or assistance.
The key to generating a loyal customer base and beating the competition is to provide a consistently seamless buying experience that is dedicated to providing quality goods without any delays or headaches. BPM software can help optimize the processes at the heart of e-commerce businesses. Here are some of the top ways you can use BPM software to improve your e-commerce workflow.
Simplify Vendor Onboarding
Businesses that don’t have a standardized, optimized vendor onboarding process risk contracting untrustworthy vendors. One of the keys to maintaining a network of dependable vendors starts with handling all elements of the vendor onboarding process in one consolidated workflow managed by BPM software. Create Contract templates in BPM software to catalyze the negotiation process and ensure that vendors are held to the quality and delivery standards they promise and help smooth over conflicts. You can assign the financial and legal departments in contract revisions to make any corrections concerning payment or legal clauses. Routine vendor contracts can be entirely automated by filling in the blanks in a tested and proven contract template using information previously entered in the process.
BPM software can take care of other functions and alerts in the vendor registration process automatically. For example, use information entered into the vendor registration form to bypass bureaucratic manual approval processes. Meanwhile, you may automatically approve or reject vendors based on conditions set into the business process. You can also set up notifications for when contracts or licenses are about to expire and trigger processes to renew contracts or licenses on a specified date.
Automate Internal Processes Related to E-commerce
Eighty percent of the e-commerce process will be handled by the customer’s enterprise resource planning software (ERP). However, there are inevitably going to be certain scenarios that require more complex business workflow solutions. This is where BPM should come in as part of the stack that automates e-commerce.
BPM software can automate purchases that involve special conditions that need to be verified. Examples include a buyer being a member or having a discount code. It can also account for special business rules that need to be run to determine additional fees, taxes, and special shipping fees. Managing these conditions automatically with BPM software benefits both your company and the customer. Process automation ensures that correct pricing is applied to every purchase and helps comply with any sales taxes that apply, greatly reducing human error and complications with local tax laws.
Optimize Your RMA Process
How does your business currently handle returns and order cancellations? What happens if the order is canceled before items are pulled from the warehouse and shipped vs. after they are shipped? As you can imagine, Amazon has all of these processes in place. They have built their own e-commerce platform and systems, their own BPM platforms and their own CRM. The question is, what does everyone else do? This is where the right BPM platform integrated with the right e-commerce platform can make your systems perform as well as Amazon.
Take Advantage of AI Integration
AI is quickly taking over the world of e-commerce. Chatbots that deal with customer inquiries are everywhere. They will continue to get more and more powerful. These chatbots will feed decisions to back end processes that are run by BPM platforms. Once the chatbot captures the right information and makes initial decisions, it will initiate back-office processes in the BPM platform. It’s a great way to stay ahead of the game and take advantage of AI before your competitors do.
Enhance Customer Experience
The customer experience has become the keystone of a successful online business. But businesses often collect customer data and then store it in a database never to be seen again. BPM software may connect to databases containing customer data. This allows businesses to be proactive about their customer data, using it to not only fix problems but improve customer satisfaction. Data reporting tools can put customer data to use by allowing companies to create reports about customer interactions with products. You can easily filter the data in the reports to find connections between certain demographics or regions and purchases made.
In BPM software, customer support tickets generate cases, so you can always be aware of the status of the ticket and the support contact responsible. That way, tickets are not at risk of sitting in an email inbox unread or falling through the cracks. To keep track of the time it takes to resolve customer tickets, users can take advantage of the process drill-down functionality in BPM software. Drill downs are used to view the number of open cases per process, task or employee. This helps find bottlenecks and problem areas in your customer service workflow. Making the most of BPM functionalities reduces the time customer issues are resolved and increases customer satisfaction.
With BPM software, automatic email notifications can be sent to customers to follow up with their purchase and allow them to rate the service. Customers can enter data directly into the BPM software using online forms, so the data can be compiled and reported on all in one suite. You can use compliments and complaints to pinpoint strong or weak points in customer-facing workflows.
By streamlining the processes at the core of e-commerce businesses, BPM software helps e-commerce companies stand out from the competition. To find out more about how your business can benefit from BPM software, read about Eliminating Workflow Bottlenecks From Your Enterprise Process and HR Onboarding Solutions: Top Benefits of Using HR Process Automation.