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Automated sales are sales generated with the use of electronic media to place, process, and schedule delivery of the goods and services ordered. The process relies heavily on sales software that allows customers to place single or recurring orders. Systems of this type may require that the customer pay for the order at the time it is placed, or provide the option of charging the cost of the order to an established vendor account. The idea behind automated sales is to make the ordering process safe, secure, and simple for the customer.
One of the best examples of this type of sales automation can be found online. A number of businesses operate online retail stores that allow customers to select items they wish to purchase, place them into a virtual shopping cart, then proceed to a virtual check out lane. Once the items are totaled, the customer provides delivery information, selects the mode of payment, and confirms the purchase. The automated sales software processed the order, verifies the payment, then provides the customer with a confirmation number for the order. A follow-up confirmation is sent to the email address specified by the customer, along with shipping confirmation once the order leaves the distribution center where the order is filled.
The process of automated sales also includes what is known as recurring sales. In this scenario, a client places what is known as a standing order that is automatically repeated at specifically identified time intervals. For example, the customer may place an order for one thousand light bulbs, specifying that the same order be repeated once every two months. Using an automated system to enter the order information, the vendor can schedule both the initial and the recurring order into a sales database, thus ensuring that the client will receive and the order every two months, until further notice.
Automated sales efforts are also supported by what is known as customer relationship management software, or CRM. With this type of software, a salesperson builds a profile of each customer, including contact information for key people within the organization. Details regarding each contact, whether it be a site visit, telephone call, or email exchange, are recorded in the profile. Most sales and marketing software of this type allows the salesperson to schedule specific tasks relevant to each customer, such as telephoning to remind a customer that it is time to place an order, or to follow up on the receipt of a recently filled order. Automated reminders alert the salesperson to these tasks in advance, helping to make sure the client is served in a timely manner.
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