Imagine this: It’s 10 am. Your alarm clock just woke you up. You grab your phone to check your email. While you were sleeping, your dropshipping store processed 11 orders. You click on one to check the details and see that the $78 order has already been processed. Everything is taken care of. There’s nothing for you to do besides collect your revenue because you chose to automate your dropshipping business earlier.
Running a business is great. But the truth is, most of what you do on a daily basis can be delegated, automated, or eliminated. This is especially true for eCommerce business models like dropshipping.
Although the business will need your insight and expertise to grow, a lot of the daily stuff like processing orders, customer service, and creating social media engagement can all be replaced by systems. You can’t automate everything. But, by automating certain aspects of your dropshipping store, you can free up your time for more worthwhile activities.
Where to start
Systems are what allow you to keep the business running when you decide to take a day off. If you don’t have any systems in place, then that makes you the system. And, things will slow to a halt when you aren’t working in the business. When you want to take a day off, take a vacation, or call in sick, nothing will get done.
By investing in setting up systems, you are creating a separation between yourself and the business. This will allow you to spend more of your time how you would like to, and your business will maintain its trajectory. You can spend your time making little tweaks and optimizations, and you’ll likely find that things are running better than ever. This was one of the major discoveries by author Tim Ferriss in his book “The 4-Hour Workweek”.
This is the magic of systemization and automation.
#1 – Hire a Virtual Assistant (VA)
A virtual assistant is a self-employed worker that focuses on providing clients with assistance on the administrative side of their businesses. Instead of working from your workplace, they usually work from their home office. You can expect that your virtual assistants will already own their own equipment, software, and their own internet/phone plan. For dropshipping businesses, they can help primarily with tasks related to data entry, order fulfillment, customer service, among others.
There are several benefits of hiring a virtual assistant rather than an in-person employee. First, you have a much wider talent pool of candidates since they can be anywhere with a solid internet connection. Second, you can hire candidates from countries with lower wages than what they would cost in a more developed nation. Third, you can hire them only for what you need. This could be an ongoing relationship or a one-time job. The choice is yours.
How to Prepare
Before you hire a virtual assistant, you should try doing the job yourself. This will give you a better understanding of what skills and experience you might need to look for, how long the job should take, and how you want it to be executed. The more instruction you can provide to the VA, the better. If you are hiring an ongoing VA then ideally you would be able to provide them with an instruction manual.
This manual would detail all of the different things they might encounter, and how you want them to handle each one. They will inevitably have some questions for you as the work unfolds, and you can include these in the manual. By creating this manual, and passing it off to a virtual assistant, you will have created a system. Now your time is freed up to work on other stuff, and you’ll only need to look over your VA’s work from time to time to make optimizations.
#2 – Automate Your Social Media Posts
It’s no secret that social media is one of the most powerful marketing channels in the 21st century. Instagram has over 1 Billion active users every month, and its parent company Facebook has a whopping 2.45 Billion. Any business without a social media strategy is missing the chance to participate in a massive economy with tons of growth potential.
Many small businesses are failing to create an audience on social media. Not because they don’t know how, but because they are failing to consistently create engaging content. Engaging with your Instagram followers is easy. Remembering to engage with them every single day can be challenging. This is where social media automation can come into play.
Social media management platforms, such as Hootsuite and its competitors, integrate with your social media channels and allow you to manage them with ease. The most relevant and useful feature is the post scheduler, where you can schedule your content to automatically posted. They also allow you to see how your content will stack in your feed over time, so you can create highly aesthetic collages using multiple posts.
This way, instead of manually posting social media every day, you can set up your content for the next month. This is a great way to automate your dropshipping business because it leads to sales that don’t rely on ad-spend. You can also track how many users visit your store from social media using Google Analytics. Your data will tell you what is working. Once you schedule your content for the next few weeks, you can kick back, relax, and watch your traffic and sales steadily increase.
#3 – Set Up Automatic Email Workflows
Email marketing is one of the few marketing channels that you actually own. Your access to Facebook Ads or Google Adwords can get suspended or terminated. But, it’s unlikely that anybody will ever be able to take away your email marketing list. You can use it as frequently as you want, and you won’t incur any additional costs. Studies show that, on average, email marketing generates $38 for every $1 spent. This makes it one of the most profitable forms of advertising available.
Email workflows are sequences of events that are triggered by specific events and actions. The most basic workflow is an abandoned cart recovery email. Nearly 70% of online shopping carts get abandoned before purchase. This can be extremely frustrating if you don’t have a good abandoned cart workflow in place. Although Shopify has a basic abandoned cart email in place, email workflows can go so much further with proper email marketing software, such as Klaviyo.
Klaviyo allows you to set up custom email workflows on your website. These workflows get triggered when your customers do something specific, such as adding an item to their cart. When a customer fails to purchase the items in the cart (trigger) you can automatically email them a reminder. You can choose how long to delay the reminder, and show them the items they left behind. You can also automatically send them a second email to offer them a discount if they don’t take action within a day or two of the first email. Or, if they carry through with their purchase, you automatically send a discount that applies in the future. This is otherwise known as a bounce-back coupon.
Essentially, you can set up the workflow to do whatever you want. If you’re unsure of what workflow will generate the best results, you can set up A/B testing. A/B testing allows you to split your audience between two different messages and gives you the results for each. Once you have a clear winner, the winner becomes your control, and the goal becomes to beat the control. These workflows are one of the best ways to automate your dropshipping business since they will provide you with a strong and measurable return-on-investment (ROI). Once the system is in place, you can continue to optimize for better results.
#4 – Automate Your Email Address Collecting
By now, we’ve covered how effective email marketing can be, and how workflows can create engagement throughout the customer journey. However, you’ll still need to find a way to collect their email addresses for any of this to be effective. This is crucial if you want to automate your dropshipping business because it will provide you with a list of potential customers who have confirmed their interest in your products. You can use this list for email marketing, Facebook ads, and more.
Generally, your customers aren’t going to proactively volunteer their email address unless they are given a reason to. Unless you create awesome blog content, your best move is likely to offer a discount or entry in a giveaway. While you can try to set up a system for this on your own, you may find it more efficient to use an app that specializes in email address collection instead.
The most popular application in this space is Privy. Privy has a rating of 4.6/5 stars spread across over 24,000 reviews. This quite possibly makes it the most reviewed app on the Shopify app store. Privy’s primary function is to enable you to set up pop-ups to collect email addresses from visitors on your site. You can customize the pop-ups to fit your store’s branding, and display whatever message you’d like. You can use it to automatically offer discounts, employ a spin-to-win tactic, and much more. They also offer email workflows like those of Klaviyo if you prefer to keep it all on one application.
#5 – Automate Your Dropshipping Store’s Up-sells and Cross-sells
Let’s face it, convincing a customer to order from your store is no easy task. Consumers are more wary and picky about the online stores they buy from than ever before. This means that when you do manage to convince a customer to purchase from you, you need to take full advantage. One way to do that is to increase your average order value (AOV) by using up-selling and cross-selling software.
McDonald’s is a great example of a company that knows how to cross-sell. If you’ve ever eaten at McDonald’s, then you have probably heard the phrase “would you like fries with that?“. McDonald’s makes their employees ask that question with every order, and it contributes to millions of dollars in sales every year. Now, eCommerce companies don’t get to physically interact with their customers. But, the process for up-selling and cross-selling is easier than ever before.
Applications like Candy Rack integrate directly with your store and make it easy to get your customers to spend more. This is a powerful way to automate your dropshipping business because it targets the people who have already shown interest in buying from you. You can offer them the premium version (up-sell), or allow them to select from a list of accessories and related products (cross-sell). You can either set these suggestions manually or allow the app to decide what’s best. But, once you’ve set it up, you can watch the app work its magic and increase your store’s revenue without any extra work.
To learn more about how to start upselling in your dropshipping store, please read this article – How to Start Upselling in Your Dropshipping Store: 5 Easy Steps.
#6 – Automate Your Dropshipping Business’s Order Processing and Fulfillment
Processing orders is one of the most tedious and time-consuming tasks for dropshipping business owners. If you don’t have a system, you’ll need to manually process the order every time you receive one. This can become so tedious that it almost feels like a punishment for successfully selling products.
If you want to automate your dropshipping business, one of the most important steps is to set up your orders to be processed and fulfilled automatically. Some dropshipping applications, like DropCommerce, have this feature available. Once activated, any order you receive will automatically trigger a charge to your payment method, and then be sent to the supplier(s) for fulfillment. They handle the order processing on their end and update you with the tracking number once it has shipped. In other words, you don’t have to lift a finger from start to finish.
Automatic order processing is just one of the many features offered by DropCommerce. DropCommerce also has branded invoicing, >30% profit margins, and they never take a commission on any of your orders. What makes DropCommerce different from the other dropshipping apps is that every single one of the 300+ suppliers are located in North America. This means that the entire catalog of 24,000+ products ship from the United States and Canada. So, you will never have to worry about outrageous shipping times or unreliable suppliers.
If you’re interested in learning more about why 8,000+ stores trust DropCommerce for their product sourcing needs, then head on over to DropCommerce.com. For a limited, DropCommerce is offering a 14-day free trial with absolutely no risk! You can browse the entire selection of products, play around with the features, and get a feel for whether it is a good fit for your business. ACT NOW, or you might miss it! 🚀
Guest post by Zennen Leggett