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When you are running an eCommerce business, your most valuable resource is time. Using your time most efficiently means gearing it towards strategies that will drive more sales, and there’s no point in wasting time on unnecessary or redundant tasks. Here are some time-saving hacks that will help you focus your efforts and energy on the important things that will set your business apart from the rest:
When you’re building your business, it is best to go with areas that you already know a lot about or are very interested in exploring further. Following your interests means that you’ll already have a surprising amount of subconscious knowledge about the products and market, which will save you a lot of time on research. Another bonus associated with following your passions is that work doesn’t always feel like work, and the hours you put into doing your homework will be more enjoyable. If you go with a niche that you are familiar with, you’ve already saved yourself a lot of time.
It is essential to talk to potential suppliers, research references and do your due diligence to choose a reliable supplier. If you are having a lot of issues with a supplier, don’t hesitate to replace them. It is all but guaranteed that you will be able to find someone else with a similar—or even identical — product, so there is no reason to stick with a supplier that disappoints you. If you aren’t happy with time delays and mistakes, your customers aren’t going to be happy, either. The amount of time it takes to deal with supplier issues and associated customer service issues is not worth it when there are so many other dependable suppliers are out there.
It is also important to make sure that you are dealing directly with the manufacturer (or in Spocket’s case, the verified supplier). You will save yourself a lot of time — and grief — if you avoid working through further-removed entities. You want to be as close to the source as possible to make the ordering and shipping process more efficient. Fewer links in the chain will also cut down on chances of errors and miscommunications along the way. Trying to pinpoint where a mistake happened and then trying to solve it gets to be an even bigger headache when there are too many people involved.
It will be an intensive project in the beginning. Still, the upfront effort that you put into perfecting your website and ironing out your policies will save immeasurable time in the future. When you are running an eCommerce store, your website is the crux of your business. If your site doesn’t look polished, is too difficult to navigate, or doesn’t run smoothly, it will translate into distrust. Once people have found their way into your store, you’ve already won half of the battle—don’t let errors on your website be the cause of losing a sale.
One downside of online shopping is not being able to hold the product in your hands before buying it. If you go the extra mile to thoroughly explain your products, your customers will appreciate the experience, and you’ll save time by avoiding customer questions. Include detailed information about dimensions and materials and many clear photos from different angles — you may even want to consider video demonstrations. Be concise about your store policies. As soon as a customer asks you a question, they’ve done you a favor by identifying a lack of accessible information on your website. Address these issues proactively, and avoid repeatedly answering the same questions.
Ensuring that the time you’ve spent has been put to good use is just as important as saving time. Make sure that you optimize your images for SEO. All of your successful marketing efforts won’t mean a thing if your images aren’t loading quickly—your potential customers won’t have the patience and will go elsewhere. And to make things worse, slow loading time can prevent your images from showing up near the top of Google searches in the first place. You also have to employ a smart on-site search engine. With so much competition on the Internet, potential customers have a low tolerance for frustration. If they can’t quickly find what they’re looking for on your site, they will go somewhere else.
By dropshipping, you’re already automating a major part of your business, but you don’t have to stop there. You can use automation tools to schedule all of your social media posts in advance or have blog posts automatically shared across your social media platforms. There are applications for running ads, promotions, and loyalty programs. There are also add-on tools for your website, such as product reviews, environmental initiatives, charitable donations, cart notifications, and customer service bots. Even making sure to take advantage of calendar reminders to stay on top of everything will save a lot of time in the long run.
Create informative, automatic confirmation emails when a customer completes a purchase. Make them personal, use the opportunity to solidify your brand, and include clear information about the purchase and expected shipping time. This will give the customer peace of mind that their order went through, increase trust in your business, and cut down on the amount of time you have to spend answering customer queries.
Follow your competition closely. If you notice them doing something right, you can consider adopting a version of the same practice. If you catch them doing something wrong, you can avoid making the same mistake yourself. Seeing what customers are saying about your competition is just as valuable as the feedback you get about your own business. Being prepared and informed will always save time and stress down the road.
Use forums to meet other business owners and seek advice. Many people are willing to share tips and tricks, and they might have the perfect solutions to any challenges you’re having. Networking is also a great way to form business relationships and scope out potential partnerships that can help you to grow your business efficiently in the future.
Running your own business isn’t easy, and it does take a lot of time; even when you aren’t working, business matters will still probably be on your mind. The beauty of eCommerce and dropshipping is that your time—not money—is the biggest thing you’ll have to invest, and luckily there are so many resources to help make every minute of your investment count. These hacks should help you keep inefficient tasks off your plate and keep the bulk of your valuable time and energy focused on the things that genuinely need your attention.