Time is your most precious resource when you’re running a dropshipping business.
After you've started your dropshipping business, you usually have to do everything yourself - managing inventory, marketing and advertising, customer service, accounting, and more.
When you’re starting out, you usually have to do everything yourself - managing inventory, marketing and advertising, customer service, accounting, and more.
The success of your business is all on you, but you’re only human and you’ve only got 24 hours in a day.
Automating your dropshipping business buys you more time. It allows you to have a life outside of the business, or to run your business on the side while holding down a 9-5 job.
Automation frees you up to focus your efforts on growing and scaling your business.
It’s like you’re building a machine that takes care of many of the core tasks within your business, allowing you to step back and watch it work its magic.
You can be sure that every successful dropshipper you see flexing on Youtube and Instagram is using automation to grow their business.
So how can you automate your dropshipping business?
In this article, I’m going to help you understand dropship automation and show you how to implement it in your own business.
What is dropship automation?
Automated dropshipping is using technology to do tasks that you’d usually have to do manually when running a dropshipping business.
The purpose of automation is to minimize the number of repetitive tasks you have to do, so you can focus on what’s most important.
Dropship automation is typically achieved by utilizing apps and software, many of which are free, that are designed to do specific jobs for you.
Since dropshipping has become more popular there are more apps available that you can add to your automation arsenal.
There are also ways of automating your business that don’t depend on technology, such as getting contractors, freelancers and virtual assistants to complete menial tasks.
I don’t recommend completely automating your dropshipping business as it’s important that you still have an overview of what’s going on and add a personal touch to your marketing and customer service.
Automating parts of your dropshipping business can help you to free up time, avoid burnout, scale faster, and make more money.
How can dropship automation help you?
Let’s use an example. If you’re dropshipping products from AliExpress manually, you have to:
- Find a good product
- Copy all of the product information and add it to your store
- Find the shipping information
- Download images and upload them to your store
- Contact the supplier to make sure they’re legit
Now imagine how much time that takes if you have to do it for 5, 10, or even 1000 different products.
A dropship automation tool that I’ll share below allows you to do all of the above in one click. Meaning, what used to take 30 minutes or more now takes just 30 seconds.
This is just one example of how dropship automation can help you and your business.
The most important benefits of automating your dropshipping business are:
Automation does tasks faster than you can. It does tasks while you’re sleeping, or on holiday, or watching Netflix. Time is a non-renewable asset and the less you have to spend doing repetitive tasks, the better. The way you spend your extra time is up to you. You can either use it to invest into other areas of your business, or have more free time to pursue your hobbies and interests.
Before automation was available, you’d have to hire more people to do the tasks you don’t want to do. Automation allows you to essentially employ “robots” to do your most tedious tasks. Some dropship automation software costs money, but it’s a fraction of what you’d be paying for extra staff. Automating your dropshipping business allows you to put off having to make that first hire, keeping more money in your pocket for longer.
Humans make mistakes. Robots, less so. If you’re copying and pasting information, or transferring customer addresses manually, you’re likely to make mistakes that can sometimes be costly. Automating these tasks means that information can be shared automatically. For example, when a customer makes an order, all of the information that they provided at checkout can automatically be sent to your supplier. You don’t have to do anything.
Doing everything yourself can result in you burning yourself out. This is one of the main reasons why ecommerce businesses fail. There’s simply too much for one person to do, especially once your business starts growing. You need to learn how to delegate, and in today’s high-tech world you can start by delegating tasks to apps. Without your health in tact, you business will struggle so make sure you’re taking care of yourself.
Types of dropshipping automation
Automation is possible at every step of your dropshipping business. Here, I’ll take you through the various types of automation you can utilize to streamline your processes.
Most of these apps are built to run with Shopify, which is the most popular platform for dropshipping stores. However, many of them are cross-platform applications that can be used with a range of different online marketplaces, including eBay, Amazon, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce.
You can use automation to add products to your store on Shopify, Amazon, eBay, or WooCommerce, or whatever platform you’re using. Rather than manually copying product information over to your store, you can use automation to “one-click import” products into your store, including all of the relevant information and images. SaleHoo’s new Dropship Automation tool lets you import the best products from AliExpress to your Shopify store in minutes, including shipping details, images, and product descriptions. All products have been hand-picked by dropshipping experts, so you can be confident that they’re trending, high-profit products. There are other apps that automate the product import process, but none are quite as powerful as Dropship by SaleHoo (you could say I’m biased, but I’m just really proud of what we’ve built. Check it out for yourself).
Best option: SaleHoo Dropship.
Think you have to input your product pricing and markups manually? Think again. If you’re using Shopify, you can automate pricing using SaleHoo Dropship’s ‘Pricing Controls’ tool. You can easily set your store price to automatically be (number)x your product price, so that your margins are consistent across all products.
Best option: SaleHoo Dropship.
Researching products is one of the most time consuming tasks when you’re running a dropshipping business. This process can’t be completely automated, but using a tool like SaleHoo Labs, our powerful market research engine, you can make things easier and faster. Labs lets you automatically sort products by their sell rate, sale price, and competition with just a couple of clicks. You can also easily compare products and identify trending products in a specific niche. There are currently more than 15,000 products available, hand-picked by dropshipping experts. The product information is regularly updated using data from the world’s top online marketplaces.
Best option: SaleHoo Labs
This is one of the most helpful forms of automation to implement in your dropshipping business. This means that whenever a customer buys a product on your store, an order is automatically placed with your supplier. You don’t have to do anything. This is a huge timesaver. Some suppliers have their own API for this, or you can use a tool like Inventory Source or AutoDS.
Best option: Inventory Source.
People like to track their orders; it’s an important part of customer service. Thankfully, it’s also something you can automate. Once an order is placed, you can use an app to send your customer a customized email that includes a tracking number and a link that allows them to follow the package’s journey. There are a number of apps available, including Shipway, AfterShip, Inventory Source, and Spark Shipping.
Best option: Spark Shipping.
Promotions are a great way to increase conversions in your store. This is something that you can easily automate with pop-ups on your website and follow-up emails. You can use pop-ups to offer new customers discount codes, or send follow-up emails to people who have abandoned their cart. There are endless ways to customize automated promotions and they’re a powerful way to improve the success of your dropshipping business.
Best option: So many to choose from, but Privy is one of the most popular on Shopify.
There’s nothing that turns a customer off like arriving at a store that’s not set to their currency. Luckily, there’s an app for that! You can automate currency conversions based on a visitor’s location so that if someone from Europe lands on your site, the product prices show as Euro.
Best option: Bold Multi-Currency.
Email automation is bread and butter for ecommerce businesses. You need to implement this automation in your dropshipping business as soon as possible. If you’re using Shopify, you can simply start by creating customized notification emails, such as order and shipping confirmation. You can also automate emails to customers who have added a product to their cart but haven’t completed the order. Beyond that, you can automate email marketing campaigns to your past customers or subscribers using a range of different software, such as MailChimp, Klaviyo, Outfunnel, Omnisend.
Best option: There are so many good ones out there now, but if I had to choose, I’d say Omnisend for ecommerce.
If you’re running a dropshipping business, you’re probably using social media to build an audience around your brand. This alone could be a full-time job. You don’t have that much time, so you need to automate aspects of your social media. Good thing there’s plenty of tools to help you do this. For starters, you can schedule posts using tools like Hootsuite and Buffer. It’s also becoming easier to build chatbots to handle initial customer inquiries using tools like Chatfuel and Manychat.
Best options: Hootsuite for account management, Chatfuel for Facebook chatbots.
Chatbots are also a way of automating customer service on your store. This is only really possible if you have your own website. Once your business starts growing and you’re making a lot of sales, you’ll want to think about automating all customer service. This is possible with tools like ZenDesk and FreshDesk. You’ll still need real people serving your customers (consider hiring and training virtual assistants to do this for you), but all customer interactions will occur within an easy-to-use dashboard.
Best option: ZenDesk.
Workflow automation (Advanced)
This is for dropshippers who want to get into the nitty-gritty of automation. You can use workflow automation apps to complete very specific tasks that help your business to run seamlessly. As an example, you could use Shopify Flow to automatically create a task in Asana when inventory drops below a set level to remind you to check in with your supplier. Or you can organize customers into specific groups, like VIP customers, in order to target them more effectively. The options are almost limitless. Some of the most recommended workflow apps for eCommerce are Ordoro, Shop Workflow Automation, and Shopify Flow.
Best options: Take your pick, they’re all works in progress.
Put your dropshipping business on auto-pilot
As you can see, there are many ways to automate your dropshipping business, freeing you up to focus on the stuff that matters.
You shouldn’t underestimate the importance of automating repetitive tasks. These are the jobs that, accumulatively, suck up a lot of your time.
Automated dropshipping buys you time to work on your business, not just in it.
This means you’re more likely to grow your business and succeed as a dropshipper.
It might take a bit of time to set up all of the automation tools, but once they’re running smoothly, you’ll be thankful you did.
If you think we’ve missed any great dropshipping automation tools, or you have any questions about the ones we’ve mentioned, please leave a comment below.