How Much of an Online Business Can You Automate?

Amazon Warehouse

Amazon Warehouse

In today’s online world it’s all about being personal and getting social. This means one to one interaction with your customers, clients and prospects.

Time and again we have seen businesses that really care, like Zappos for example, win through with unlikely e-commerce models because of their ability to engage with customers.

The original online business dream was of a Virtual Business Lifestyle; a fully automated business that took care of itself whilst you relaxed on the beach. If these two ideals clash, and social interaction is the one that produces a more sustainable long-term business, why do businesses large and small think they can still automate it all?

It’s all down to the data

To some extent you can automate large parts of your online business. If your data collection is rich enough and your algorithms robust enough, presenting logical offers and information to visitors can, technically, be easy.

When you have the business intelligence of someone like Amazon making offers at the right time, to the right people it can be very effective. No wonder that Tesco are looking to copy this model using their loyalty program, “Clubcard”, as the basis for it.

They are likely to produce an amazingly intelligent web site. With years worth of learning’s to be gleaned from Amazon and other e-commerce giants.

Could they go one better though?

Keeping it personal

It’s okay to automate in this way, and it can be of tremendous value to the end consumer, but personal interaction is still required.

In my view before Tesco runs off and starts marketing to customers it thinks it knows, it could gain a bigger advantage by engaging with them. As I highlighted in an earlier post, Tesco seem to be very reluctant to engage in the Social Space, yet have an enormous resource, in terms of local staff, that would make them a star in this arena.

They could easily become the Zappos of the UK. Certainly their in-store customer service is excellent; extend this online and they could be the first offline Brand to seriously trouble Amazon.

All they need to do is get social.

About Sean Clark

Building successful online companies since 1999, we help you market your business online. Whether you need help with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Paid Search (PPC) or Social Media Marketing call us today on 01603 343477 for a free initial consultation.

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