As a dropshipper, you're juggling countless tasks 一 from maintaining product pages to handling orders and ensuring customers are happy.
It feels like there's always something to do and never enough time.
However, this is where dropshipping automation comes to the rescue.
With automation, you can delegate repetitive tasks, giving you more time to engage with customers and improve your business.
In fact, a study by McKinsey & Company found that about 70% of businesses are exploring automation!
So, don't get left behind!
What is automated dropshipping?
Automated dropshipping involves using technology and tools to perform various dropshipping tasks for you without you having to put in any workload.
Think of it as having an assistant, freeing you from handling every task manually.
For dropshipping businesses, automation tools can:
- Connect your online store and suppliers' systems to work together smoothly.
- Automatically manage orders and send shipping updates to customers.
- Handle product listings and prices without manual changes.
Automated dropshipping could be as simple as setting up an automatic email to confirm a customer's order from your website.
It could also be more advanced, like using predictive AI to suggest products based on a customer's purchase history.
The best thing is automation is great for dropshippers because, often, it's just one person running the business.
While dropshipping already eliminates the hassle of managing inventory, automation takes it further by handling repetitive tasks like order approval and processing.
How does dropshipping automation work?
Most dropshipping automation happens through a series of automated steps:
Let's look at two examples to understand this concept better.
Imagine you run a dropshipping store where you sell trendy sunglasses.
Your supplier occasionally increases and decreases product pricing, and you don't want to keep track of it manually by visiting their website every other day.
Here's how the automatic process works in this case:
- Trigger. Your supplier updates the price of a product in their inventory.
- Condition. If the product price increase is more than 10%.
- Action. The system automatically adjusts the selling price on your online store to maintain your desired profit margin.
This automation helps you maintain consistent profit margins without the need to manually track price changes and update your product listings.
Here's the second example.
Let's say you own a clothing dropshipping store, and you're getting ready for a big sale. You plan to give different discounts based on how much your customers spend.
- Super Shoppers. Customers who spend over $2,000 get a massive 30% discount.
- Big Spenders. Customers who spend over $1,000 get a nice 20% discount.
- Good Buyers. Customers who spend over $500 get a decent 10% discount.
Here's how the automatic process works for a Super Shopper:
- Trigger. A customer places an order on your dropshipping store.
- Condition. The order value is more than $2,000.
- Action. The customer is placed in the Super Shoppers group if the condition is met.
The cool thing about automated dropshipping is you don't have to keep tabs manually.
The automated system takes care of it all by itself. You can just sit back and watch it work like magic.
How do you automate your dropshipping business?
Automation can be a game-changer for your dropshipping store, enabling you to improve efficiency and reclaim precious time.
Let's look at parts of your business that can benefit from automation.
Tip: Before we begin, remember you don't have to automate every element of your dropshipping process simultaneously. Start with one thing and then add more. This way, it won't feel too hard to handle if something goes wrong.
1. Automate product, inventory, and order management
Imagine managing hundreds of orders daily, manually processing each one. It's a daunting task that can slow down your business.
This is where automation is the key to your dropshipping success!
Let's explore the tasks you can automate for product, inventory, and order management:
- Product management. Product research, importing products from suppliers, and adding product details to your store.
- Order management. Receiving single or bulk orders and forwarding orders to suppliers.
- Inventory management. Monitor product pricing and stock levels.
Now, you might be wondering, how is all of this possible?
The answer lies in dropshipping automation apps.
These apps not only connect you to suppliers worldwide but also fulfill your orders and notify you of changes in pricing and stock.
2. Automate emails and SMS messages
Email marketing is more than just sending out promotions; it's about establishing connections.
When it comes to boosting sales and strengthening customer relationships, automating cart abandonment emails and SMS messages can work wonders.
With marketing automation tools, you can collect data and segment leads, allowing you to send personalized emails at the right time to the right people.
Through email (and SMS) marketing automation, messages are automatically sent based on customer actions and where they are in their shopping journey.
You get to see how your emails perform through metrics like click-through rates, open rates, unsubscribes, and bounce rates.
Keep in mind to explore whether your preferred email marketing app offers an SMS option, too.
Here's a glimpse of what you can automate:
- Welcome messages. Friendly emails or SMS to greet new subscribers/customers with discounts or special offers.
- Order confirmations. Instant emails/SMS confirming orders and delivery estimates.
- Abandoned cart reminders. Automatic emails/SMS nudging cart abandoners to complete their purchase.
- Post-purchase follow-up. Emails/SMS suggesting related items or seeking feedback.
- Re-engagement. Automated emails/SMS to entice inactive customers with promos or feedback requests.
If you're interested in reading more about email marketing and SMS marketing, these informative articles are a great read:
- The 8 Best Email Marketing Services for Ecommerce in 2024
- Email Marketing for Ecommerce: A Beginner's Guide (2024)
- Recover 10x More Abandoned Carts With SMS Than Email
3. Workflow automation
Want to know how you can truly automate dropshipping? It's by using workflow automation tools.
Think about it this way 一 you've got apps doing things for you. But if you're manually sending information between these tools, your process isn't truly automated.
That's where task automation software helps you out!
It lets you orchestrate complex actions across multiple apps without requiring any coding skills.
Imagine this: You set up a workflow that automatically adds new Shopify customers to a Mailchimp email list.
No manual data entry or uploading databases – it just happens in the background.
Here's another example: Say someone on Twitter hits certain criteria you've set. Your workflow app notifies you on your email or Slack channel.
You can then respond to the person in real-time.
And guess what?
Creating these workflows isn't rocket science. No coding skills are needed.
Just set a trigger, define the conditions, and spell out what should happen when those conditions are met.
Now, here are our top picks for dropshipping workflow automation:
- Zapier. If you want something more advanced and reliable, go for Zapier. It can connect two or more applications like a true champ!
- Mesa. This one's tailor-made for Shopify store owners. Mesa links apps and helps you create workflows easily. The best part is it allows two workflows and 50 automations a month for free!
- Shopify Flow. The exclusive Shopify Plus app lets Plus owners manage apps and tasks.
4. Automate content creation
Especially if you're just starting as a one-person team, crafting engaging content requires a lot of your time and energy.
Fortunately, a solution exists: AI copywriting tools.
These tools can automate content creation and help you produce natural-sounding content in just a matter of seconds.
And in this age of AI, you have plenty of options at your fingertips!
But there might be better options for you.
In addition, if you want to generate content in multiple languages, you should check out WordHero, as it supports over 100 languages, including Finnish and Korean.
5. Automate order tracking
Ever wonder where your package is during the shipping journey?
Customers do, too.
They want to know where their stuff is and when it's reaching them.
In fact, 80% of shoppers expect to track orders online and on their phones.
Even if you can't give minute-by-minute updates, sending proactive notifications or emails about order tracking is a smart move.
And the good part is you can automate order tracking updates.
These apps sync the tracking details to your store, and then your ecommerce platform shoots off an email with tracking details to your customer.
Just remember, you'll need to sync your app and platform to enable automatic order tracking.
6. Automate customer service
Let's talk about perhaps the most important part of a dropshipping business 一 customer service.
How do you make your store stand out when you sell the same stuff as others?
Well, providing awesome customer service is the way because none of your competitors can copy your approach to customer service.
What's more? Good service keeps people coming back and loving your brand.
There are three ways you can automate customer service.
First, use a chatbot to guide customers to the right page, connect them to live support, and help them complete basic tasks like completing the checkout.
Tip: If you own a Shopify store, read our article to find the 10 best apps for customer service in 2024.
You can use AI copywriting tools mentioned above to draft FAQs and policies.
And here's the final tip: As your dropshipping store gets bigger, think about using help desk software like Freshdesk, HubSpot, or Zendesk.
This software helps you bring all your customer support under a central dashboard, making it super easy to see requests from all channels.
7. Automate reviews
With so many sellers out there, customers want to know what others think before they hit that 'buy' button.
That's why collecting and showcasing reviews is important for your dropshipping store. But how can you automate this review process?
You can also send automatic review request emails, display reviews in beautiful designs, and offer discounts for adding a photo or a video.
Just hook up your Shopify store and let the app do its thing!
Tip: Want to improve your click-through rate and increase conversion? Then check out our article to know how to display your Shopify product reviews on Google.
8. Automate chargebacks
Dealing with chargebacks can be a headache.
Payment processors don't take them lightly and often suspend accounts with frequent chargebacks in a short period.
But don't worry – there's a solution to make it smoother for your dropshipping business.
Ever heard of Chargeflow?
It's an automated solution that fights and recovers chargebacks for you!
Chargeflow also has a centralized dashboard where you can analyze all your chargeback data from multiple payment processors.
What's best is that you only pay Chargeflow when it successfully recovers your chargebacks!
Did you know 76% of users buy products seen on social media posts?
If that's not enough to convince you to sell on social media, check this out: Global sales through social media platforms are projected to reach $1,298 billion in 2023, as per Statista.
This means social media is where the action is.
But with so many channels out there, creating, posting, along with other marketing stuff can get overwhelming. And that's where dropshipping automation comes to the rescue.
Automation tools let you schedule posts in advance. You can get ready for your content plan and figure out when to hit each platform.
10. Automate loyalty programs
When you're running a physical store, keeping track of loyalty points is doable.
But online? It's a whole different ball game, especially with dropshipping.
That's why using ecommerce automation software for loyalty programs is a smart move.
It lets you decide how customers earn rewards based on what they do on your store.
For example, customers can get rewards or gift cards on their birthdays, when they become VIP members, or even score a discount code after spending a certain amount on your dropshipping goods.
Pros and cons of automated dropshipping
We have gone through what exactly automated dropshipping is and how it works.
Now, let's look into the good and not-so-good sides of automated dropshipping.
Let's start with the pros!
1. Saves time and money
Time is precious, and managing a dropshipping business can eat up a lot of it.
But with automated dropshipping, you don't have to do all the tasks yourself.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed, you can use this extra time to scale your business and enjoy moments with loved ones.
2. Improves efficiency
Automating dropshipping tasks supercharges every step of your online business, from generating sales leads to their checkout.
It cuts down on manual work like typing in customer data or updating inventory, reducing the chance of human errors.
For example, think of customer support, where responding with a helpful solution on time is important.
With automation, you could set up instant replies to common questions, helping customers get answers without waiting.
This improves their experience and frees up your team to focus on more complex issues, improving overall service quality.
3. More accuracy
Having accurate data is key to excelling in selling online. Messy data handling and repeated mistakes can hurt your business.
Dropshipping automation cuts down manual work, reducing errors from human slip-ups.
Now, here are the cons of dropshipping automation:
1. You need technical knowledge
Automating your dropshipping business means you must know how to use digital tools.
This involves picking the right websites or apps to use and keeping them updated.
But if you don't have a lot of resources or know much about technology, this can be a problem.
2. Lesser profit margins
When dropshipping, you're already letting your supplier handle inventory and shipping.
However, using automation for other tasks comes with a price.
That's why, when you automate lots of dropshipping tasks, you'll need more sales to make up for the convenience you get.
4 Steps to automate your dropshipping operations
Here's a guide on how to make the most of ecommerce automation specifically for dropshipping.
Step 1: Identify what to automate
Identifying what to automate is the first step to ecommerce automation. When establishing your plan, consider the following:
- Tasks that slow you down. Spot the repetitive tasks that are slowing down your daily operations. Pinpoint these bottlenecks within your processes.
- Tasks involving multiple people. If three or more people are tackling a single process, it's likely inefficient and prone to errors.
- Cross-platform tasks. Moving data across different platforms manually can lead to mistakes and data loss.
- Trigger-based processes. Automate tasks triggered by specific actions. For example, when a customer places a repeat order, and you want their details to be included in a Google Sheet.
Step 2: Set clear goals
Define your dropshipping business goals. This clarity helps prioritize which processes should be automated first, making your goals more achievable.
Step 3: Implement automation
Once your goals are set, determine which workflows could benefit from ecommerce automation tools. Find tools that align with your needs and features.
Step 4: Test and analyze
After implementing the automation software, test it thoroughly. Analyze its impact on your dropshipping business to make any necessary adjustments.
Before we go to the conclusion, we've created a quick summary of this article for you, so you can easily remember it:
- You don't need to automate every aspect of your dropshipping process all at once. Start with one task and gradually add more.
- Use dropshipping automation apps like DSers, Spocket, and Inventory Source to automate product, order, and inventory management.
- Automate welcome messages, order confirmations, post-purchase follow-up, and re-engagement by using apps like Klaviyo and ActiveCampaign.
- If you truly want to automate dropshipping, use workflow automation apps like Zapier, Mesa, or Shopify Flow.
- AI copywriting tools can automate the whole content creation process.
- Deliver real-time shipping updates to customers through emails and SMS using AfterShip or Easyship.
- Use live chat apps to connect with your customers within seconds.
- Chargeflow fights and recovers chargebacks for you.
- You can schedule social media posts using Post Studio or Buffer.
- Show appreciation to loyal customers by automating loyalty programs through tools like ActiveCampaign, ReferralCandy, and Smile.io.
Starting with dropshipping automation is a no-brainer.
Because the more you automate, the less you need to worry about manual stuff.
But wait! Automation doesn't mean robots replace you or your team. You still need smart people to use technology in the best way and get good results.
The real benefit is cutting out those repetitive tasks that can lead to errors or missed chances.
Dropshippers are catching on to this, and a lot of them are putting their focus on adding automation.
Have you tried using apps or software to automate your dropshipping? Tell us in the comments below how it's helped you!
Want to learn more about dropshipping?
Ready to move your dropshipping store to the next level? Check out the articles below:
- The 12 Best Shopify Inventory Management Apps of 2024
- The 16 Best Shopify Apps for Successful Dropshipping Stores
- Dropshipping With ChatGPT: 18 Ways It Can Help Your Store
Plus, don’t forget to check out our in-depth guide on how to start dropshipping here!