As an e-commerce store owner, you have a lot on your plate. Your daily tasks include making sure your inventory has enough products stocked, the orders are processed in a timely manner, and that the deliveries are scheduled and on time. On top of that, there’s also marketing your store and answering customer’s questions and emails.
While being hands-on is a great way to make sure your store is running smoothly, it also means there is very little time to do anything else like finding ways to scale your business.
If you want your store to grow, it’s time to take a deep breath and analyze all the tasks associated with running your store. You might find that some tasks would be better assigned to someone else, but if you’re operating solo, then the next best thing is to get familiar with automation and start using it in your day-today business operations.
What Is Automation?
To put things simply, automation is a way of doing things without human involvement. It’s an automatic flow of data to or from your store, triggered by specific events.
For example, every time you receive an email notification that a new order has been placed, you’re seeing automation at work. But, as useful as it is, that automation alone is not the best way to handle things. You still need to manually process the order, create the invoice, the packing and shipping slip, and enter customer information into your CRM software.
That’s exactly where automation comes in. It allows you to stop spending time on recurring tasks that may only take a few minutes when done individually but when you’re processing a lot of orders at once, those minutes can turn into precious hours.
In this post, we’ll share eight shortcuts that will save you time and automate your store’s operation.
Eight Ways to Save Time With Your E-Commerce Store
Automation is a great way to save time on simple tasks that don’t require a lot of attention from you. The best thing about it is that you only need to set it up once and it will run like clockwork.
1. Add Customers To Your Email List
An email list is a crucial asset for any business owner, e-commerce store owners included. While exit-intent popups and incentives like coupons can do wonders for growing your email list, some of your store’s visitors may find them annoying or they may not be ready to join your email list just yet.
That’s why it’s a good idea to add a checkbox on your checkout page that allows visitors who are making a purchase for the first time to sign up for your email list. A WooCommerce extension such as WooCommerce MailChimp takes care of this and automates the process for you.
If you’d like to have even more control over who’s subscribed to your list and in what group, you can consider AutomateWoo to add the purchaser to different lists or groups based on what they’ve bought.
2. Reduce Your Cart Abandonment Rate
A high cart abandonment rate is every store’s owner worst nightmare. However, instead of emailing customers manually, consider using a plugin like Abandoned Cart Lite to automatically send those out.
You can remind both registered users and visitors of their abandoned shopping carts and invite them to complete their purchases.
3. Automate Your Accounting and Bookkeeping
Good accounting software is essential to make sure your books are in order, your invoices paid, and your account in good standing. But entering invoice amounts manually can be a tedious, especially if you’re also entering purchase receipts.
Thankfully, various accounting software such as FreshBooks or Xero Accounting has the ability to integrate with multiple e-commerce platforms. It synchronizes with your online store through third-party apps, which automatically pull sales data into your accounting program to help you maintain accurate records.
4. Print Shipping Labels With One Click
Printing shipping labels and sending out order numbers can be a time-consuming task. But with the little help of ShipStation’s integration with WooCommerce, you can stop doing this repetitive task yourself.
The extension allows you to automate the entire process by syncing the orders into ShipStation as soon as they are placed, creating and printing the shipping labels, marking the orders complete, and generating tracking numbers which are then sent back to your store. The WooCommerce Shipping module is another great option considering it’s available from WooCommerce directly, for free I might add.
Increase WooCommerce Store Sales
"Customer service is great, they go above and beyond to assist and corrected any issues I had with setting everything up in a timely manner. I use the abandoned cart plugin and am very satisfied with the results and carts recovered." - Bran Weintraub
5. Manage Your Inventory
If your online store is an extension of your physical store, managing your inventory manually becomes cumbersome rather quickly. It’s true that you can choose not to track your inventory at all, but then you run the risk of not being able to fulfill orders because a particular item is out of stock. What’s more, as your business grows, there is a greater chance of making an error and that can hurt you even more in the long run.
Instead, use a platform like Fishbowl, Shipwire, or Ordoro to automate your inventory tracking and management process.
6. Create and Attach Invoices
Some of your customers may want a printable version of the invoice they can print out and keep for their own record-keeping purposes. An easy way to automate this is to use the WooCommerce Print Invoice & Delivery Note extension, or you can use the PDF Invoices extension for WooCommerce if you want PDFs.
7. Automatically Follow Up With New Customers
If you’ve taken advantage of adding new customers to your email list, take customer follow up to a new level by creating an automation sequence in your email provider.
Simply set up a rule to send an email a week or two after new subscriber has been added during the checkout process to follow up with your customer. You can ask them to come back to your site and leave a review of the product they purchased or simply to show them similar products they might be interested in.
You could do this with a MailChimp automation, or use an AutomateWoo workflow to follow up with a reminder a set number of days after the order has been completed.
8. Automate Your Social Media Marketing
Marketing your store doesn’t just revolve around telling your customers that their favorite item has been restocked or that you’ve added a new product to your store. If you’re creating content on your blog to help promote your business, you have to come up with the content and then make sure it’s posted to your social media profiles.
While there is no way to automate the content creation process, there is an easy to way to automate sharing it on social media. With a plugin like CoSchedule or Jetpack’s Publicize module, you can automatically push a new post to your chosen social media profiles. Combine it with a tool like Buffer to schedule your posts and curate useful content so it’s published automatically at a time and date you specify and you’ll instantly save more time on your marketing efforts.
Save Time With Automation
When done right, automation can be the saving grace of your business. It frees up your time and allows you to focus on more important tasks like planning a new marketing strategy, designing a new product, or finding additional ways to scale your business. Use the tips above to save time and automate the processes in your store.