More companies are leveraging automation to outpace their competition in 2019 and beyond. Companies such as Amazon and Google are staking claims in consumers’ homes with automated digital assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant, and shipping giant UPS has earmarked significant funds to invest in automation.

If you want to compete with the big players, soon you’ll have no choice but to invest in automation. Accordingly, businesses across a range of industries are automating workflows using innovative technologies to improve operations and boost profits.

Retail Automation

Retail automation is one of the fastest growing technologies in the retail space. Retail automation is expected to be used by millions of retailers across nearly all industries and by 2023, it is estimated to exceed more than $19.5 billion. Additionally, retailers are already finding smart ways to automate repetitive tasks. Two in every five retailers are already working with intelligent automation.

Retail automation covers a variety of technologies including intelligent automation, artificial intelligence and inventory management among others. Retail automation is used to drive efficiencies, lower costs and help workers make decisions faster. While retail automation is often thought just to lower costs, it can also be a revenue driver by offering customers recommended products or providing smart upsells.

One example of retail automation in practice is Cin7 automation software which uses automation to reorder low inventory. It can also transfer stock from one location to another and generate real-time inventory reports to facilitate inventory management collaboration for retailers with multiple locations.

More retailers are leveraging software such as Cin7 to monitor, manage and organize sales. The technology empowers them to integrate all their commercial channels.

Inventory automation helps retailers eliminate human errors and maintain a healthy inventory ratio. What’s more, automated inventory systems help retailers increase their profit because they never run out of goods that sell.

Customer Engagement

Automation can close the gap between customer expectations and average response times. Answering standard questions is one of the most redundant consumer engagement tasks of customer service. Customers who ask questions by email expect a response within an hour. Most businesses, however, take at least 12 hours to respond.

Automated technologies such as chatbots can answer common customer questions immediately. Services such as ManyChat and GoBot can enable businesses to deliver 24-7 support through social media channels such as Facebook.

Personalization

Personalization is becoming a trend consumer demand from businesses. In fact, 63% of consumers say they are interested in personalized recommendations which help them find goods faster. An additional 61% would welcome personalized design ideas from professionals and similar rates are seen for personalized recipes and service suggestions.

Organization can use this consumer demand for personalization by automating personalization. Simple steps like adding in names to emails, or creating unique newsletters based on ordered products can demonstrate to customers that the business cares about their unique needs. Additionally, solutions like InfusionSoft empowers businesses to deliver on personalization by automating customer relationship management (CRM). Using InfusionSoft, companies can automate email marketing based on consumer behavior. By integrating Infusionsoft with Shopify, for example, retailers can focus more on courting their most valuable asset – existing consumers.

Marketing automation technologies empower retailers with an intimate understanding of their best buyers. Modern marketers have moved beyond the days of guesswork. Now, marketing automation tools empower businesses with facts.

Application DevOps

DevOps is a framework being adopted by development team to allow for better collaboration and streamline app development. DevOps is often defined as the combined efforts of software developers and information technology operations to speed up how software is developed. As these teams merge their efforts, the business can support fast and flexible software development.

With platforms such as JFrog, software firms can automate the entire development lifecycle. For instance, the enterprise-ready technology JFrog integrates with Go Registry, empowering developers to automate registries and coordinate work with geographically isolated team members.

JFrog Artifactory also works with Docker, empowering programmers to automate the entire development pipeline. Admins use Docker for tasks such as hosting apps and integrating containers. Furthermore, JFrog resources makes secure app deployment easy.

Low Code Development

Today, business leaders want to control development outcomes, and developers want more automation, sometimes making it difficult to scale as needed. In this scenario, combining various programs for automation can prove challenging.

Low code development, however, can enable developers to overcome these challenges. Low-code development enables non-technical workers to create business applications that cater to the specific needs of the company. This technology can be as simple as using if-this-than-that logic, while other options such as Appian eliminate the need for manual scaling and drive automated development. Ultimately, enterprises enjoy improved return-on-investment as well as increased agility thanks to low code software.

Industrial Automation

Industrial automation leverages information technologies and existing control systems to create faster and more effective methods for handling processes. Overall, the goals of industrial automation include increasing the quality of the processes and allowing for increased flexibility so it can be applied to multiple parts of the business.

One application of industrial automation is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which has taken over manufacturing. Digitization and the IoT are giving firms a competitive advantage. Now, manufacturers can automate production from start to finish.

The growth of the discipline is so prevalent that some experts believe it will soon render artificial intelligence (AI) obsolete. In the future, manufacturers will embrace a new era of machine learning and enhanced security driven by the Industrial Internet of Things.

Ready or Not

Now, tales of business automation captivate media headlines. As profit margins shrink and competition grows increasingly fierce, automation will serve as more than a competitive advantage – it will become necessary for sustainability.

Forward-thinking business leaders are leveraging automation to develop software, manage inventories, optimize project outcomes, execute marketing campaigns and maintain customer relations. As time goes on, business leaders will only find more practical uses for automation.

With each passing year, business resources dwindle, yet consumers want more. Automation is the key to doing more with less. It empowers enterprises to improve customer experiences as well as daily operations.

Consumers are becoming more acclimated to an immersive, automated lifestyle. Today, they expect innovation to permeate all aspects of their lives. Businesses will continue to leverage automation to meet ever-expanding consumer demands. Soon, enterprises will be forced to get with the automated program or get left behind.