Automation is everywhere. From a call center utilizing a chatbot to a financial institution using an automated banking system, it’s getting pretty difficult to avoid. There are a few scenarios where automation will not assist matters, and dropshipping is no exception.
What Is Automated Dropshipping?
Well, let’s start with just dropshipping, just so we’re all on the same page. The dropshipping model involves the customer placing an order from your online store. Your store then communicates the order to your supplier. The product is then despatched from the supplier to the customer.
Simple and quick. But things could get so much simpler and quicker, with the use of – you guessed it – automation.
In common with the majority of automation applications, the idea here is to reduce the tedious, repetitive, and mundane tasks that you have to do. They still need doing, but not by you, thanks very much. You can then do what’s most important, such as customer service, marketing, upgrading your small business phone system, and addressing issues like how to boost average order value.
Such automation involves the use of ecommerce packages to tech things up a bit. But you don’t have to use this approach; you can use contractors and freelancers instead. As long as the process gets done without causing you a headache then you’ve still got automation, of sorts. You do need to remember to check on these outsource resources from time to time though.
Most automation in dropshipping is delivered by technological applications. This is because the software suppliers also provide a great knowledge base – an attractive proposition for the new dropshipper just setting out.
It Saves Time
By using the automated dropshipping approach, you get the best of both worlds. You don’t get bogged down in mindless operations that could really sap your enthusiasm. But you still get to run your own business, with all the excitement this entails.
A really good example of the kind of misery you can be spared is the lengthy work that getting your product inventory online in the first place involves. An automated dropshipping package can deliver you from this pain and ensure that listings are done speedily and optimally.
Meanwhile, you’ve saved yourself some time which you can then spend with the family, catching up with friends or dreaming about your next big business goal.
Moreover, introduce a bit of automated shipping and the customer can join in the timesaving fun too.
When you’re starting out, you usually don’t have the finance to take on an employee. You can probably only barely pay yourself. What you need though is the assistance that an employee can provide without the insistence on being paid, having holidays, sick pay, and possibly going on too much about what they watched the night before.
This is a great benefit of automated dropshipping. It’s not such an investment as a human colleague, it’s scalable, and, when you do start to employ some living, breathing staff, it will be just as useful to them as it’s been to you.
Then, just think of what you can spend that saved money on. Marketing, for instance, is rarely cheap, and you just bought yourself a decent campaign.
How Automated Dropshipping Can Help You
A great many companies have benefited from the tremendous growth in automating process workflow. Let’s look at the following areas of application.
The downside of business growth is the accompanying increase in complexity. Order tracking in a thriving business is a good example of this. Although your supplier will handle fulfillment, it’s down to you to take care of order updates so the consumer knows what’s happening.
It doesn’t take much imagination to appreciate that, in a manual operation, this can be a full-on mind-boggler. Thousands of orders and only one of you, no doubt getting more and more stressed. Dropship automation software can take care of it all, and be the mediator between customer and supplier, keeping everyone happy and informed as updates become necessary.
At this point, it’s worth mentioning the value that automation can give to customer-business relations. For those with call center solutions, support automation delivers an enhancement to the consumer-trader nexus by cutting call times and ensuring successful call outcomes.
One of the many dull activities it’s possible to get sucked into when running your own ecommerce operation is coming up with pricing that is consistent across your range. This is an area easily tackled by automation. You can enter the margin you want to make and the software takes care of your entire store’s prices.
Any new products that you add are automatically endowed with consistent pricing and put out there for sale in the blink of an eye.
And you don’t have to stick with one pricing strategy. You can apply different price points depending on wholesale vs retail, for instance. Automation gives this degree of flexibility as well as the efficiency gains you might expect.
Dropshipping businesses rely hugely on email marketing to raise profiles and keep customers aware and engaged. Automation allows you to rapidly send out bulk emails with the most impact for the least effort. Every time you have a new range you can trigger an email campaign that keeps you fresh in the minds of your client base.
When new customers come on board, you can set the system to send out welcome emails to get them up to speed quickly. You can give the newbie a welcome discount on their next order. This kind of thing counts, a lot.
There are lots of ideas out there regarding e-marketing, so make the most of what’s available.
Some businesspeople love to research new products. Some find it time-consuming (it is) and tricky (it can be). It’s certainly difficult to find never-fail products that every consumer will want to put in their basket straight away.
What can automation do here? Well, if knowledge is power, then it can give you megawatts in the shape of thorough and extremely relevant research which takes into account pricing and consumer trends. It will consequently uncover gaps in the dropshipping market that you can get busy launching your business into, confident that there is demand for what you’re going to offer.
A good combination to make here is with geographic segmentation software, which builds local significance into your product calculations.
Data Transfers With Suppliers
When an order comes in, you don’t necessarily want to have to read it and send it on to the relevant supplier. That just slows everything down and makes your day drag. Order process automation can forward the order to the right supplier, the moment the website receives it.
This way you get the best speed for your money. More than this though, you cut down on human error. An order sent onward to the wrong supplier is going to slow things down considerably – and good luck maintaining a positive and good communication, and relationship with that customer.
How to Do It and What to Use
There are a great many general ecommerce tools that will assist you when it comes to removing the manual drudge from your dropshipping enterprise. However, your business will benefit from software that has been developed specifically with dropshipping in mind in the following areas.
One of the biggest potential headaches for a dropshipper is keeping on top of a vast number of products from a range of different suppliers. What you need, to take care of this, is a reliable management software.
This great piece of tech keeps records on all the products you’re selling including product copy, together with the suppliers you get the things from. It can also keep an eye on other suppliers and offer suggestions on one you may wish to do business with.
There may be compelling reasons to do with price or variety that may push you towards a relationship with a commercial entity new to you. In this way, vendor management software can deliver real benefits in terms of both cost and quality.
This one’s slightly different, in terms of its emphasis on product. It can deliver useful inventory information by keeping track of sales and supplier stock levels. This will assist you no end in terms of knowing what products are plentiful and what might be a little thinner on the ground.
This can then determine what you give a major marketing push to, and what you decide to ease off on. It can also help to inform the lead time data that you will want to pass on to the customer.
With accurate and real-time product tracking, you and your customers are at ease. This also reduces the number of complaints and inquiries from your business’ communication channels and online calling systems.
When trying to keep on top of all the documentation that is associated with product tracking, you might want to look into the additional benefits offered to this process by something like IBM automation document processing.
Who wants to build a retail website from scratch completely manually? Not many people, that’s for sure. A dropshipping website builder can assist with putting the whole thing together in the minimum time so you can get trading quick smart. All the product copy and images that you need can be automatically appropriated from the suppliers, quickly and without any drama.
Automation doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing option.Overall though, automation should be viewed as a boon to humanization.
It represents a way to free your human side so you can be as creative as you like. Creativity takes time and effort – dropshipping automation will give you all the time you need. You still need to put in the effort, mind you. But, one out of two ain’t that bad.