The dynamic nature of technology has had a significant impact on the eCommerce world. Brands are gradually transitioning towards a customer-centric and agile approach.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Augmented Reality (AR), which are prominent names in the eCommerce world, are profusely benefitting both retailers and customers. The new member of the club is Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and it is being considered as a highly promising player in the retail sphere.
RPA is expected to enable retailers to move towards a highly efficient and organized business operation.
Well! Saying that let’s have a quick look at some applications of RPA in the eCommerce landscape.
1) Automating Merchandising Inventory Updates
Displaying merchandisers’ product portfolio on an eCommerce site is a manual process. Imagine repeating the process. It comprises manually uploading product images in various product categories followed by entering the product attributes for 100s, 1000s, or 100,000 images! It is quite a tedious and perfunctory task. RPA proves to be invaluable in such cases.
With RPA you can create a workflow that shall automate the process of image uploading while detecting multiple image features such as the product category, gender, color, pattern, and so on. It uses an AI-based deep learning image detection model to improve the process combined with computer vision technology. Therefore, leveraging Cognitive Automation (augmenting RPA with AI capabilities) increases the automation scope. It makes the system smarter and intelligent rather than just being robotic.
2) E-commerce content creation
E-commerce content creation for brands and the marketplace involves a series of repetitive tasks. This is especially true for product catalogs. For a website to offer information that a buyer needs, you would need content specialists to create a product page. These content specialists source data from multiple locations and aggregate them in a template file defined by the CMS. This process is repeated each day, and every step has its typical guidelines to follow.
Also, the product that you sell or manufacture needs to be added and shown on each platform, stored, and regularly updated. Isn’t it a hectic and complex task? Business owners can maintain efficiency and keep the Time-to-Market intact with Robot Process Automation (or RPA).
3) Product Categorization
Product categorization is one of the most important and ignored functions in the retail industry. Sometimes a particular product is available on an eCommerce website, but the customer can’t find it owing to poor product categorization by the retailer. Proper taxonomy is essential for a seamless customer experience. However, with millions of products being sold in eCommerce, the scope for human error is high. RPA can assign attributes and categorize products based on customized product mapping rules.
4) RPA in supply chain management
Supply Chain Management is integral since it involves products and their safe transfer from the supplier to the consumer. From inventory management to shipping and order monitoring, RPA is unmatched as it adds security and speed to the logistics process.
RPA can take care of the end-to-end process, send notifications about the order status, and alert you about the inventory and all other tasks involved with product shipping.
For instance, RPA can simplify the inventory management process by keeping a tab on inventory levels considering the historical data and sketching out patterns in demand, notifying managers when product stock levels are low, and automatically reordering products that go below a certain threshold level.
5) Returns Processing
The growing customer-oriented retail practices, especially in eCommerce, add up the tasks like product returns to the various retail processes. Processing returns manually can be a real time-consuming task and being a cost to the company manual processing further increases the costs. RPA can handle the return, which includes a series of repetitive steps: sending a message confirming receipt of the return, updating the inventory system, making the payment adjustment to the customer, ensuring that the internal billing system is updated, and so on.
6) RPA for Customer Service
According to IBM’s report, “In a 6-minute customer service call, 75% of the time is devoted to agents doing manual research, with valued customer interaction at a dismal 25%.” Repetitive tasks take a long time, including seeking customer details, sorting & connecting. RPA bots are fast and can quickly track customer information. The benefits are undoubtedly lesser lead time and a better support experience.
Chatbots are a popular choice for most retailers today. They come with the capability to fulfill customer requests instantly rather than passing them on to the service representative.
RPA bots filter junk requests as well. They defend against spammers and ensure that low-priority and unimportant customer service requests don’t consume time, allowing employees to focus on issues that require higher emotional intelligence.
Wrapping it Up
Despite the backlash of the pandemic, it’s expected that the global RPA market will grow at double-digit rates through 2024. It means that the opportunities in this domain are endless. Hence, the eCommerce world should leave no stone unturned to unleash its possibilities. With RPA adoption, benefits like lesser time, reduced costs, low attrition, higher productivity will soon come to the forefront. RPA can give a new dimension to the way the retail world functions. But before you take the plunge, understand your requirements and objectives since all use cases may not be suitable for RPA implementation.
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