In the United States, Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September to honor the social and economic achievements of American workers. And at Soaring Profits, we think it’s the perfect time to talk about adding automation to your eCommerce business for Q4.
While the federal holiday mandates that schools and businesses be closed, chances are that you’ll still be busy if you work in eCommerce. That’s because the digital world never really shuts down, and it seems as though there’s always something else to do when running an online store — especially leading into the busiest shopping season of the year.
Thankfully, we live in a time where it’s easier than ever to outsource tedious aspects of running your business to people or machines that could do those things faster, smarter, and better than you.
Whether you’re looking for a low-cost human to assist you with something out of your comfort zone or you’re seeking software to perform intelligent number-crunching that would otherwise take you ten times as long to complete, there are countless automation solutions you could use to run your business more efficiently, effectively, and, most importantly, profitably.
In the spirit of Labor Day, we’ve put together a few ideas to get you warmed up to automation. Who knows: if you decide to start using any of these suggestions, you might be able spend Labor Day relaxing next year.
Hire a virtual assistant (VA) and outsource mundane tasks
One of the first steps to take to add automation to your eCommerce business is to hire a virtual assistant, or VA.
A virtual assistant is someone you hire over the internet to perform digital tasks that cut into your time and productivity. Even if you’re a workaholic, you have to admit that there are some tasks that are simply beneath you at this point in running your business.
If you could simply find someone to handle the little things on your to-do list that become the biggest time-stealers, you can start shifting your work-life balance in your favor one small step at a time.
Some of the best tasks to consider outsourcing to a virtual assistant are:
- email management
- uploading new listings
- setting up other automation tools
- writing blog posts
- managing social media accounts
But there are practically no limits to what you can hire a VA to do to help give you back some of your time.
The most important thing to remember when hiring a virtual assistant is that your VA will perform tasks best when you teach them exactly how you want them to do things. Take the time to show your VAs what your goals for them are in detail so you save yourself from headaches later on.
You can find virtual assistants on sites like Upwork, where you can read reviews and discover areas of expertise that VAs can bring to your business.
Automate your inventory management with specialized eCommerce software
Inventory management is one of the most demanding aspects of running an eCommerce business, especially for multi-channel sellers. On top of that, mismanaging your inventory can lead to serious losses.
That’s why we recommend using software to manage your inventory more effectively.
Human error is one of the most common pitfalls when it comes to number-crunching in eCommerce. But with smart software running the show, the numbers in your inventory are less prone to mathematical mistakes that could cost you in countless profits.
Some of the benefits of using an eCommerce-specific inventory management system are:
- automated order fulfillment
- automatically updated and optimized inventory quantity
- easy-to-manage matrix/variant products and product bundles
Sellers are fortunate to have plenty of options when it comes to inventory management software, including our friends at:
Do your research on these tools to figure out which one makes the most sense for your business needs.
Whichever inventory management tool you wind up using, it will remove a major chunk of tedious work from your schedule while also mitigating your risk of human error when making vital calculations for your business.
Use email and marketing automation to make customer communications easier
If you’re an Amazon MFN seller or you run your own eCommerce website, chances are you get swamped with customer service emails. (Not to mention Amazon's new returns policy and trying to qualify for selling Toys & Games in Q4.)
One way to avoid losing time to writing back-and-forth to customers is to use email automation software.
These tools allow you to create email templates with personalization options that can help make your emails seem less mass-produced. You can even hire a virtual assistant to write these email templates and then set up automated workflows so the emails are sent (or not sent) depending on what actions a user on your website takes.
There are plenty of email automation tools to choose from, including:
On top of these email-specific tools, there are also more robust marketing automation platforms that larger eCommerce enterprise may want to consider, such as Hubspot and Marketo.
These tool suites combine email marketing with Customer Relationship Management (CRM), blogging capabilities, landing page creation, and much more, and can make running your business much easier by putting many facets of marketing into one convenient package.
Use intelligent repricing software to automate your price changes
The final piece of the eCommerce automation puzzle deals with keeping your prices as competitive as possible at all times.
One way to do this is to manually change your prices in response to your competitors raising or lowering their prices. This is known as “manual repricing,” and unfortunately, it’s not a sustainable practice.
That’s because there are often many merchants selling the same items on the same marketplaces, making the most important differentiating factors between sellers an item’s price, shipping time, and handling days.
The challenge, then, is dealing with all of these competing sellers who are also changing their prices constantly.
A human simply can’t keep up with all the continuous price changes.
Instead of manual repricing, the most effective way to compete on price is to use an “automated repricer” or “automated repricing software.” These tools automate the process of continuously and strategically optimizing your prices against the competition of your choice.
That way, you only compete on price against sellers worthy of your competition. For example, if you’re an FBA seller, you may only want to compete against other FBA sellers, so you can set your repricer to ignore MFN sellers when determining what price changes to make.
A repricer can be used to price above or below specific types of sellers, as well as to price match competition. There are many theories on the best repricing strategies to use, but one thing’s for certain:
It’s better to outsource strategic price changes to a powerful automated repricer than to try to consistently reprice manually.
Remember: it’s in the best interest of your business to focus on tasks that only humans can do effectively while outsourcing other tasks to automation tools that can get the job done in a fraction of the time.
You can't transform your business into an automation powerhouse overnight.
But you CAN take one small step toward getting there:
That way, you can experience the power of our automated repricing software risk-free.
We think you'll love the boost in sales and Buy Box wins.
Not to mention the workload it takes off of you and your staff.
Click the image below to visit our website and sign up for your free trial today so you can start eliminating tedious work from your eCommerce life: