Ecommerce

Using Alerts and Automations to Efficiently Manage Your D2C E-commerce Business

November 23, 2023

Illustration of a woman checking a stockout alert on her phone with a laptop and warehouse in the background.
💡  Inefficiencies cost organizations as much as 20 to 30 percent of their annual revenue - How Inefficiency Negatively Impacts Your Business

For any e-commerce business, securing new customers and successfully delivering orders is their highest priority. In the most crucial aspects of their business, e-commerce organizations suffer inefficiencies such as products not being available due to stock-outs, order delays, technical downtime, and many more. These inefficiencies not only affect their revenue or profit margins but also negatively affect the customer experience. Most of these inefficiencies are because of complex manual processes and not being able to detect issues on time. In this blog, we will delve into how to handle e-commerce operations efficiently with alerts and automations.

Why Alerts and Automations for E-commerce?

E-commerce operations involve a multitude of tasks, from managing inventory to processing orders and ensuring customer satisfaction. The sheer scale and complexity of these processes make manual monitoring and intervention impractical.

How to reduce these inefficiencies? Traditionally e-commerce companies rely on reports and dashboards to monitor and detect issues. This is a very “reactive” way of dealing with issues. It is not only manual and labor-intensive but also prone to errors. Relying on dashboards slows down the process of issue detection and resolution. In addition, things fall through the cracks because of the manual nature of the process.

Comparison of traditional dashboards with proactive operations management solutions

With more and more data and complex operations structures, efficient alerts and automation have become indispensable for e-commerce businesses. Alerts and automation allow proactive streamlining of operations and improve customer experience. Following are some of the benefits of incorporating alerts and automation in e-commerce:

  • Proactive Issue Resolution: Alerts enable real-time detection of issues, ensuring swift corrective action and minimizing the impact on operations.
  • High Efficiency: Automation reduces manual effort, allowing teams to focus on strategic tasks rather than routine monitoring.
  • Cost Savings: Proactive issue resolution reduces the risk of costly errors, from stockouts to delayed orders, safeguarding the bottom line.
  • Higher Accountability: With proper tracking, SLAs, and escalation mechanisms in place, it makes the whole team more accountable and serves efficient issue resolution.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Timely alerts and automated responses contribute to improved customer satisfaction by preventing issues before they affect the end user.
5 benefits of incorporating alerts and automations in e-commerce

Popular Use Cases Where Alerts and Automations Can Help E-commerce Businesses

Inventory Management

Imagine spending your Customer Acquisition Cost(CAC) only to lose your hard-fought customers due to a stockout. According to a survey that was conducted by YouGov, 65% of online shoppers have been disappointed by out-of-stocks. Once a user faces an inventory stockout, they are most likely to go to a competitor and never return. Hence, It’s important to efficiently manage inventory and get notified when any product stock dips below the threshold mark.

Problem Alert Action Impact
Stock below Reorder Point Inventory Managers or Merchants get an Alert when an SKU has breached its Reorder Point. The Inventory Manager (or) Seller/Merchant can reorder the SKUs according to Projected demand. Improves the product's availability and reduces lost business opportunities due to stockouts.
Inventory Stockout Sellers/Managers get alerted when a product/SKU is facing an OOS or Stockout event. Delist the Product (or) show stockout messages with replenishment dates to customers. Replenish the stockout Products/ SKUs. Increased transparency by providing back-in-stock dates improves user reactivation/retention and prevents loss in revenue.

Read more on how businesses can reduce stockout through alerts and automation: Alerts and Triggers on Inventory Re-Order Points and Stockouts

Order Delays

A recent survey by Convey states that “98% confirm that shipping impacts brand loyalty and 84% report they are unlikely to return after just one negative experience”. Every order fulfillment is important, one late order fulfillment leads to customer dissatisfaction, negative reviews, and a decline in customer loyalty.

Problem Alert Action Impact
Order delay Alert to the operations team when orders exceed a specified processing time. Detect where the order is stuck and get it back on track so that it can be delivered on time. Timely order fulfillment enhances customer satisfaction, reduces the likelihood of negative reviews, and fosters customer loyalty.

High Order Value/Volume

Unexpected higher volume or value orders can strain resources, leading to operational inefficiencies and potential errors. Businesses must monitor and act proactively to close such orders efficiently.

Problem Alert Action Impact
High Value / Volume Order Alert the warehouse manager about any big order. Proactively allocate resources and optimize processes to handle increased demand efficiently. Efficient resource allocation ensures smooth operations during peak periods, preventing bottlenecks and errors.

Inventory Expiry Management

When a customer receives an expired product their trust gets shattered from the website and they are very unlikely to come back to that e-commerce store. Also, for efficient inventory management, it’s important to sell out the expiring inventory before it becomes useless.

Problem Alert Action Impact
Expiring Inventory Alert to warehouse manager about the products approaching their expiration dates, signaling the need for action. Timely removal, discounting, or targeted promotions for expiring products to minimize losses. Proactive management of expiring inventory reduces financial losses and maintains customer trust.

Product Performance like Negative Reviews/Ratings

According to the PowerReviews survey, more than 99.9% of consumers read reviews when shopping online at least sometimes. Negative product reviews and ratings can impact brand reputation, resulting in decreased sales and customer trust.

Problem Alert Action Impact
Negative Product Reviews Alert the category manager for a sudden increase in negative product reviews, indicating potential product issues. Investigate and address product issues promptly to mitigate reputational damage. Timely resolution improves product perception, maintaining customer trust and loyalty.

Technical Downtime Management

As per Gremlin, Amazon incurs a loss of around $220,000 per minute of downtime. Regardless of whether your business faces the same scale of financial impact as Amazon, it is crucial to address outages with the urgency they require.

Problem Alert Action Impact
Website/App Down The technical team gets a real-time alert whenever the website/app goes down. Rapid identification and resolution of technical issues to minimize disruptions and downtime. Reduced downtime ensures continuous operations, preserving customer satisfaction and brand reputation.

Potential Fraud Alerts

Signifyd analyzed the average cost of eCommerce fraud in 2023 and found that merchants lose $207 for every $100 in fraudulent orders. Those losses include wholesale costs, shipping and fulfillment costs, along with chargeback and processing fees. Businesses need to be vigilant and track any potential fraudulent transactions.

Problem Alert Action Impact
Potential Fraud Alert the team for suspicious transaction patterns, indicating potential fraudulent activities. Investigate and prevent fraudulent transactions to safeguard financial interests and maintain customer trust. Early identification of fraud protects financial assets and upholds the integrity of the e-commerce platform.

There can be various ways in which e-commerce enterprises can enhance their efficiency by leveraging Alerts & Automations. Discover more about these strategies in the article: 15+ Alerts and Triggers to Blitzscale Your Shopify Store

How to Set up Good Alerts & Automations for E-commerce?

Monitoring Setup

  • Right Data: Ensure that the monitoring system collects relevant data for your e-commerce operations. This includes data related to inventory levels, order processing times, website performance, and customer interactions.
  • Appropriate Monitoring Frequency: Choose monitoring intervals that align with the criticality of the data being observed. For instance, real-time monitoring might be essential for order processing, while daily checks may be sufficient for inventory levels.
  • Accurate Thresholds: Set precise thresholds based on historical data that trigger alerts when predefined limits are exceeded. This requires a thorough understanding of normal operating ranges, allowing for the detection of anomalies that may signify issues.

Alert and Automation Setup

  • Preferred Communication Channel: Configure the alerts to the preferred channels of the stakeholders. This could include Email, Slack, SMS, WhatsApp, or any ticketing solution. Alerts to the right communication channel to fast-track the issue resolution.
  • Alert to the right individual: Direct alerts to the individuals or teams responsible for addressing specific issues. Assigning roles and responsibilities ensures that the right people are informed promptly, reducing response times. Dynamically choosing an individual based on issues flags the alert only to the right individual and declutters the alert noise.
  • Contextual Alert: Provide context within the alerts, detailing the nature and potential impact of the issue. This contextual information equips responders with the necessary insights to prioritize and address problems efficiently.
  • Standard Operating Procedure(SOP): Develop and document Standard Operating Procedures with each alert for responding efficiently. SOPs provide a structured approach to issue resolution, reducing the margin for error and ensuring consistent problem-solving.

Tracking & Resolution

  • Proper Assignees: Auto-assign the issue to appropriate individuals with the necessary skills and authority to resolve the issue.
  • Priority Levels: Set Priority levels with each alert to help the team decide on which issues to prioritize first. Define the priority level based on the severity of the issue.
  • Alert Tracking Mechanism: Implement a centralized system for tracking and managing alerts. This helps monitor the status of each alert, track response times, and identify recurring issues for proactive resolution.
  • Service Level Agreement(SLA): Set SLAs for the resolution of issues. Include buffer time within SLAs to account for unforeseen delays and complexities in the resolution process.
  • Escalation Protocols: Establish clear escalation protocols for unresolved or critical issues, ensuring a hierarchical approach to problem-solving. Define automated triggers for escalating alerts, considering factors such as response time breaches or increasing customer impact.

How Locale Can Help E-Commerce Automate Operations?

Locale is a no-code platform that offers a proactive approach to customer service by providing real-time updates and ensuring customer issues are addressed promptly. Locale continuously monitors data and identifies potential problems before they become critical. This allows businesses to take action early and avoid major disruptions to business.

Set up Alerts/Automations on Locale

Step 1: Connect your Data Source

Locale helps connect with the major databases, data warehouses, and SaaS tools present today. Integration of your data sources is as easy as filling out a few form fields.

To connect your Data Source: Log in to Locale, Go to Org Setting, and Connect your database from the data source.

Integration of multiple data sources with Locale

Step 2: Set up Alert Configurations

In this step, we set up rules to monitor. You can set up any rule according to your business requirements.

Go to Alerts → Create New Alerts. Choose your database → Click on Setup data to be monitored. Write your alert condition.

Setting up sample inventory stockout alert condition in Locale which alert users when product quantity goes below 10
Sample inventory stockout alert condition which alerts users when product quantity goes below 10

Step 3: Schedule your Alerts

Once you have set up monitoring rules, you can set up a frequency or schedule on which you want to check and receive alerts/notifications. Once you do this, this will automatically run the query based on the frequency you set and you’ll be able to receive the alerts.

Click on Run the query at frequency and choose your schedule.

Scheduling alert runs in Locale by setting alert frequency

Step 4: Notify Relevant Stakeholder

Connect with your preferred notification streams to ensure that your stakeholders receive all updates on time. You can assign specific results to specific people in your team who are then held accountable to monitor these results and take action accordingly.

Go to the Setup Notification section and click on Add Notification then select and set up your preferred notification channel.

Setting up communication platforms to send alert on Locale

💡 Locale also allows you to dynamically notify users based on the query result. This helps to notify the right individual and de-clutter alert noise.

You’re good to go! Once the alert is set, you will keep on getting notified of your use case.

Do More with Locale!

  • Dynamic Assignment & Notification: Locale’s dynamic assignment can notify and assign issues through query results allowing you to direct issue-based type of problem, the skillset of team members, and their availability.
  • Incident Management: Locale employs an Incident Management system where each alert transforms into a ticket, facilitating comprehensive tracking of issues and efficient resolution processes.
  • Auto Escalation: If any issue is not resolved within a specified timeframe it automatically forwards the issue to higher-level authorities or specialized teams. This proactive approach ensures that critical issues receive the attention they need, preventing them from causing further disruptions.
  • Auto Resolution: Auto-resolution is crucial to determine whether an incident has been successfully resolved. This automated approach streamlines the resolution process, reducing manual intervention and increasing efficiency.
  • Analytics to Perform Root Cause Analysis (RCA): By understanding the root causes, you can implement targeted solutions and preventive measures, reducing the likelihood of the same issues recurring in the future.
  • 100+ Integrations: Locale.ai seamlessly integrates with a wide range of tools and platforms, allowing you to consolidate your workflow and centralize information.
Complete issue management with proactive issue alerts, SOP guidance, and auto-escalation in Locale's incident management

Conclusion

As e-commerce businesses continue to evolve, the role of alerts and automation in ensuring smooth operations and customer satisfaction cannot be overstated. From preventing stockouts to managing technical downtimes and fraud, a well-implemented alert system can make the difference between success and setbacks. By adopting a proactive approach to alerts and automation, e-commerce businesses can not only improve efficiency but also optimize their operations for sustained success. In the process of becoming proactive operations, Locale would be a great partner for organizations helping them swiftly detect issues, alert the right individual with apt information, and resolve issues efficiently.

Interested in taking the first step? It takes less than 10 minutes to get all things set up: Try for free

Try Locale

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