How Automation Can Play a Role in Customer Satisfaction on Amazon
When a consumer wants to make a purchase online, there’s a good chance they will find themselves at Amazon. About two-thirds of U.S. shoppers typically start online product searches at Amazon. The eCommerce behemoth has 38% of the U.S. eCommerce market and selling on the platform can present huge opportunities for brands large and small.
Customer satisfaction is everything when you’re selling on Amazon. Your product quality, order communications, number of returns, reviews, and shipping times all factor into your success as a seller on the platform. Not only does the customer experience impact your products’ star ratings—they can also influence your appearance on the Amazon search results pages. A few unhappy customers can snowball into a bigger problem, especially as negative reviews persuade shoppers to look elsewhere and give other sellers the opportunity to take over the buy box.
On the surface, customer satisfaction on Amazon seems simple: Offer great products, ship customers the items they expect and respond to issues right away when they arise. However, processing order data, generating labels and maintaining accurate stock levels between Amazon and your other sales channels is not easy.
Many sellers start out by pulling orders each day from Amazon Seller Central and copying the data to their own ERP/accounting systems. But there’s a better option for managing your Amazon orders than manually punching in data and printing shipping labels yourself: eCommerce marketplace integrations.
Amazon Seller Central integrations create an elevated customer buying experience by automating a wide range of B2C and B2B commerce tasks to ensure accurate listings, real-time communications and fast deliveries. Let’s take a closer look.
What is eCommerce Automation?
Integrated eCommerce automation software lets you manage your Amazon order process from beginning to end. It starts by providing Amazon with accurate inventory information, which prevents customer frustrations due to out-of-stock notifications. When a customer clicks the buy button, automated order management systems (OMS) like TrueCommerce Nexternal can import order data and send it directly to your business system, eliminating the need for tedious data entry. As each order is processed, marketplace integrations continue to update Amazon with important information, such as shipping confirmation, estimated arrival date, and more. You can even generate FedEx and UPS labels directly from the solution, which can help accelerate your fulfillment process.
By automating these workflows, businesses can save dozens of hours each week, giving them the bandwidth to scale their Amazon sales.
How to Increase Customer Satisfaction Using Automation
Maintain Accurate Inventory and Pricing
As more and more people switch to online buying, you might be straining to keep up with orders. Manually checking orders and transferring information from Amazon to your business system is inefficient, costly and leaves room for human error. This is especially true when you have to deal with volatile markets, or sharp order volume spikes like those on Amazon Prime Day and Cyber Monday.
Overselling, or selling an item you don’t have in stock, is a quick way to get a negative review and increase your order defect rating (ODR). The ODR has a big impact on your Seller Rating, and it tracks negative feedback, A-to-Z Guarantee claims, and credit card chargebacks. A customer is likely to cancel or complain if you tell them that the item isn’t in stock or won’t get there by the time they chose, and chances are, they’ll head straight to your competition. Automation can help you avoid this situation by providing near-real time inventory syncing.
TrueCommerce’s Amazon Seller Central integration collects inventory information from your ERP or business system automatically and uses that data to update product availability on your Amazon product pages. There’s no need to manually check stock levels or even log into your Seller Central Account. If you use other marketplaces, or sell on your own website, integrated software can sync them all from one portal, making it easy to manage inventory across a range of eCommerce channels.
Pricing consistency is just as important as inventory updates. With eCommerce integration, when you change a price in Nexternal, it syncs to Amazon automatically—plus any other integrated online marketplaces you’ve connected to. This means you can update pricing in one location.
Keep Shoppers Informed
For many shoppers, buying something online can provide as much satisfaction as making a purchase in store. Some people will check their email every day waiting to hear about their order status, and Amazon prides itself on consistent, top-tier customer communication. While Amazon handles customer emails, it’s up to you to provide the shipment confirmations and delivery information Amazon needs to relay. Marketplace integrations automatically notify Amazon at each step of the fulfilment process, so your customers can get timely status updates (and get even more excited about their orders).
Digital shoppers are accustomed to instant communication. If a package ships today, they want to know about it today, not tomorrow. Without automation, customers are left waiting for your team members to manually check incoming orders, lookup status information in your ERP, and enter it into Amazon Seller Central manually. Updating an order status in Amazon is one more thing automation can handle and one less thing on your to-do list.
Automated shipping integration means Nexternal can receive an Amazon order, print a label from your shipping partner, and update Amazon with the correct tracking information within moments. This slims down your processing time and gives your customers a great shopping experience. Ultimately, they will have more incentive to write a positive review when asked.
Provide “Zero-Day” Handling Time
Being a Prime seller on Amazon has its advantages. Amazon has over 150 million prime members, and many of them are loyal to the program and filter items for Prime shipping. If you can offer Prime shipping, you can tap into new customer audiences and expand your sales. But there’s a catch: Prime doesn’t settle for longer shipping times.
As a third-party seller, you must meet certain guidelines to join the Seller-Fulfilled Prime (SFP) program, and many of them have to do with quick shipping and handling times:
- Provide premium shipping options to shoppers
- Ship over 99% of your orders on time
- Have an order cancellation rate of less than 0.5%
- Show you can fulfill orders with “zero-day” handling time
Having a zero-day handling time means you send out all orders on the same day they come in before a certain cutoff time. It would be quite a feat to become a Prime seller while handling order information manually, but luckily, you don’t have to. By bringing data directly to your ERP, TrueCommerce Nexternal jumpstarts the fulfillment process by enabling your team to quickly respond to incoming orders.
TrueCommerce also speeds up processing time by offering integrated tools like Pack & Ship to automatically generate labels, print branded packing lists, and verify package accuracy. Whether you ship from one location or multiple warehouses, integrating fulfillment with your eCommerce channels can help you save time and avoid returns by shipping products accurately.
This means your customers will get the items they ordered on time, every time. Making deliveries on time is an important part of maintaining a low cancellation rate, which also impacts your visibility on Amazon. Even if you don’t want to join the SFP program, using automation can give you a competitive advantage and help keep your customers happy.
Automate a Better Buying Experience
This isn’t 1999. You don’t have to code your own programs to manage order fulfillment or spend hours punching in numbers. Instead, take advantage of modern technology to keep your business moving ahead. The TrueCommerce Nexternal automated turnkey system can make your life as an Amazon seller easier, so you can satisfy your customers and get more of those coveted 5-star reviews.
To find out how you can streamline your order fulfillment process, get in touch with an eCommerce expert for a free demo.
Author Bio: Craig Ross is the VP of Sales for the TrueCommerce Nexternal eCommerce Platform. He has been on the Nexternal team for over 20 years and has been involved with the evolution of eCommerce from its infancy. Craig lives in Redding, Connecticut, and in addition to eCommerce, he is passionate about cycling, motorsports, skiing, and music.