This is a complete guide to automated dropshipping in 2021.
So if you’re looking for:
Then you’ll love today’s guide.
Automating your ecommerce business allows you to save time, save money, and gives you the opportunity to focus on more important tasks.
Let’s get started.
What is Automated Dropshipping
Automated dropshipping is when you set up software and hire employees that automatically handle tasks for you.
As a result, this allows your business to run smoothly without you performing manual tasks yourself.
On the software side, we will show you how to use various tools.
Furthermore, we will also show you how to set up effective systems. This consists of hiring freelancers to perform customer service and order fulfillment tasks.
In dropshipping, automating your store is highly necessary to maintain a sustainable business.
Think about how much time you’ve spent processing orders and responding to customer emails. Although these tasks are highly important, they can be outsourced to external employees.
Primarily, the main goal of automated dropshipping is to get rid of mind-numbing tasks. As a result, you can focus on marketing and growth strategies.
In this tutorial we will go over both beginner and advanced strategies. So, regardless of your experience, your business can benefit greatly by following this guide.
Why You Should Automate Your Dropshipping Business
Now that you have an understanding of what dropship automation is, let’s talk about why it’s necessary for your business.
We at Verum Ecom have been dropshipping for over 4 years and have generated over 8-figures in sales.
This has all been possible because of automation.
Be sure to check out our YouTube channel for further learning materials on dropshipping and Facebook ads.
Reason 1) Save Time
As a business owner and entrepreneur, time is your most valuable resource. After all, there are an infinite amount of things you can do to improve your business. For that reason, you don’t want to waste time on tedious tasks.
As an example, you can spend hours responding to customer emails and fulfilling orders. The hours you spend performing these tasks can be much better spent improving your Facebook ads and testing products.
Furthermore, by spending unnecessary time on low-level tasks, your mind will be more tired when working on the creative side of your business.
Although you may think that you can run a successful dropshipping store all by yourself, this is not the case.
You need to hire the right employees and set up the right systems. As a result, you maximize the growth potential and longevity of your business.
Reason 2) Save Money
By saving time with dropshipping automation, you’ll be saving money too.
People always say “time is money“, which is absolutely true.
Because of this, every minute you save to work on more important tasks will earn you a great amount of money in the long-run.
Reason 3) Focus On High-Level Tasks
After setting up your automation processes, you’ll have to ability to focus on higher-level tasks.
- Brainstorming new projects
- Creating new advertisement creatives
- Setting up Facebook ad campaigns
- Testing new products
- Improving store and product page design
Reason 4) Scaling
Think about automation as an investment.
By investing a bit of money and time into automating the right processes, you’ll receive a massive return on your investment.
Without automation, your business is limited to slow and linear growth.
Automation allows your dropshipping store to grow exponentially.
When Should I Automate My Dropshipping Business?
At this point, automation probably sounds like a wonderful opportunity.
However, there is a right and wrong time to start automating your store. It all depends on your current situation. We recommend automation for dropshippers who already have a store earning consistent profits.
Nonetheless, let’s take a closer look at each of the determining factors:
Having the right budget is the most important factor when thinking about automating your business. You don’t want to run out of money too quickly and have to let go of your new employees.
As we said earlier, your store should already be seeing some moderate success. This will give you enough cash flow to hire virtual assistants.
Furthermore, you will be investing time into training and hiring all of your employees. For that reason, you want them to stay for a long period of time.
We will show you how to hire virtual assistants later on in this tutorial. Therefore, make sure to inspect how much they charge per hour and see if their wages can fit within your budget.
Think about how much time you have to dedicate to your dropshipping store. If you already have a full-time job and dropship on the side, automating your business makes complete sense.
However, If you are dropshipping full-time but just starting out, it may make sense to wait. But if you have a lot of time to spend dropshipping and already have a successful store, then we recommend automating your business.
Are you only relying on your Shopify dropshipping store’s income to automate your store?
If so, you need to make sure your business is at the proper level to start investing into automation.
You want to avoid operating your business at a loss or even break-even if you are spending money on hiring employees.
However, if you have savings or another income source you are willing to invest into your store, then automation may be reasonable.
Future Business Goals
Think about what your monetary goals are as a dropshipper.
Let’s look at an example of two different dropshippers:
This dropshipper is extremely ambitious and has goals of making 6 to 7 figures a month. He is very hardworking and will do whatever it takes to reach his goals.
This dropshipper would 100% have to automate his business to reach his goals. Generating 7 figures in revenue without a support team is nearly impossible. Think about how many orders he would have to manually fulfill and emails he would have to respond to.
This dropshipper already has a full-time job, but is dropshipping on the side for some extra spending cash. He is completely comfortable making a few thousand dollars in profit a month. Furthermore, he doesn’t want the responsibilities that come with growing a store to 6-figures a month.
In this case, the dropshipper should either hire only a few virtual assistants, or avoid automating altogether.
How To Automate Your Dropshipping Store
Next, we will discuss how to actually automate your dropshipping business.
These are all tactics we’ve used on all of our dropshipping stores.
As we go through each strategy, think about how it can help improve your overall business. Furthermore, do a cost-analysis on everything we show you to see if it makes sense for your dropshipping store.
Let’s dive in:
Automation 1) Product Sourcing
The first thing we recommend dropshippers do is to find a dropshipping agent.
Dropshipping agents are a substitute for dropshipping suppliers. These agents will help you source, store, pack, and ship products.
Although this sounds very similar to suppliers, agents also offer many more services.
Let’s look at everything a dropshipping agent can do for you:
- Find any product you send them by contacting various manufacturers and suppliers
- Order samples and inspect product quality – dropshipping agents are located in China which allows them to receive samples quickly
- Negotiate low prices for your products – Being able to speak Chinese allows your agent to better negotiate with suppliers
- Stock your products in their own fulfillment warehouse
- Conduct quality control before shipping products to your customers
- Product branding, private labeling, and white labeling
- Choosing the best shipping method to each customer country
- Provide assistance in shipping delays or broken products
- Tell you about new and trending products
In summary, dropshipping agents basically act as a middleman. You provide them with a product image and they find the product along with the best price. Furthermore, they can receive samples quickly and inspect product quality.
If you’re currently dropshipping products from Aliexpress, then we highly recommend you look into getting a dropshipping agent.
How to Find a Dropshipping Supplier
It’s quite easy to find a dropshipping supplier because there are so many nowadays.
However, finding a reliable and trustworthy agent is very important.
For this reason, here’s what we recommend:
- Ask experienced dropshippers. If you have any friends or know anybody who is successful in dropshipping, chances are they are using an agent. By asking them for their agent’s contact, you ensure that the agent is legit.
- Make a post on our Facebook group. If you don’t know any dropshippers, you can make a post looking for an agent recommendation on our Facebook group. Our Verum Ecom Facebook group has an active community of over 60,000 dropshippers willing to help other. So, finding a reliable agent should be quick and easy.
Here’s an example of what your message or post can say when searching for an agent:
I’m a dropshipper with an average of 50 orders per day. The majority of my orders are from the USA, Canada, and UK.
I’m looking to scale my store with the help of a dropshipping agent.
I would deeply appreciate if anyone would be willing to recommend a dropshipping agent to me. If so, leave a message below or DM me directly.
Thank you so much!
Automation 2) Hire Customer Service Virtual Assistants
The next dropship automation task is to hire customer service representatives.
Quick and helpful responses to customer inquires are one of the most important parts of dropshipping.
Good customer service is the difference between short-lived dropshipping businesses and great sustainable companies.
If you are dropshipping products from Aliexpress, you probably receive many customer complaints about product quality and shipping times.
Furthermore, too many complaints can lead to a bad reputation and your Facebook ad accounts getting blocked.
Just a single interaction between an angry customer and an adequately trained customer support agent can prevent issues from escalating into bad reviews.
In sum, good customer service is how we’re able to sustainably scale our stores to multiple 7-figures.
Here are our customer service goals:
- Instill similar values & customer service mindsets into employees
- Attitude that always overdelivers
- Create “Wow” moments for customers
- Customers leave delighted even if they were complaining
If your customers are happy, they will:
- Talk positively about your brand
- Give higher feedback scores
- More likely to be a returning customer
Most importantly, every customer service interaction is an opportunity to show your brand in a positive light.
When is the right time to higher a customer service representative?
As soon as you start generating consistent sales volume. Hiring a CS agent should be the first role that you outsource.
It’s cheap, saves you time, and helps you grow your business by automating the boring aspect of it.
How to Hire Customer Support Agents
Now, we will show you exactly how to hire customer support agents using a simple 5-step system.
Step 1. Create Upwork Job Post
Upwork is the website we use to hire all of our freelance employees.
Simply create an account on Upwork and then find the option to “Post a Job”.
On the next screen, we recommend choosing the “Dedicated, long term work” option, rather than the “Short-term” one.
Most freelance employees prefer long-term work, and your goal should be to train them as a long-term employee.
Next, enter the title of your post along with the job category.
Afterwards, fill in the job description.
Here’s a template you can use, feel free to modify as needed:
**You are required to have Shopify, Aliexpress, and Google Sheets and Docs experience**
You will need to be available for standard US workday (9am-5pm EST).
As a Customer Service Agent, you will work under the Customer Service Coordinators guidance. The Customer Service Agent plays a vital role in all aspects of the business including helping customers with complaints and questions, giving customers information about products, and processing returns.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
* Answer customer service emails.
* Locate and track packages.
* Make changes to order – Per the customers request.
* Fluent or native in the English language.
* Proven working experience as a Customer Service Agent.
* Results driven, sense of urgency, and high standard of professionalism.
* Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
* Experience using Google Sheets, Docs, Shopify, and Aliexpress .
Now, continue going through the job posting steps until you are finally able to post the job.
After posting the job, you can expect to receive replies from interested people within 1-2 hours. Then, you will continue seeing responses for the next 2-3 days. Feel free to browse through each response and filter out candidates.
If you don’t find any candidates that fulfill your needs, you can repost the job using the exact same post.
Step 2. Filter Candidates
Often times, applicants won’t be a good fit for the role. For this reason, it’s important to filter down the candidate pool.
Here’s what we recommend looking for in the candidates:
- See if they have any prior experience in customer service roles
- Check their reviews and feedback – positive reviews are a huge advantage
- Ask what region they are from and their asking wage
- You should aim to pay $3 to $7 per hour
Step 3. Interview
After finalizing your candidate list, the next step is to interview the potential employee.
You should conduct a one-on-one interview yourself to determine if they are a good fit for the company.
This interview should be brief and informal. It’s just a way to get a sense of who the person is outside of their resume.
Here’s what you can ask about during the interview:
- Prior experience related to the position
- Employment stability (how long they usually keep a job)
- Number of Upwork jobs
- About themselves: hobbies & aspirations
Step 4. Technical Assessment
After the interview, it’s important to give the candidate a technical assessment. This will allow you to quickly see if the candidate is able to perform as a customer service agent.
Let’s go over what you should test them on:
- Their ability to compose a well-written email
- How professional they are when dealing with angry customers
- Familiarity and skills when it comes to Shopify, Aliexpress, etc.
The goal is to see how well they can work without mistakes and constant micromanagement.
Step 5. Hiring
Now, it’s time to pick the candidates that are the best fit for the customer service role. Feel free to conduct further interviews if you are still having trouble narrowing your list down.
The next step is to on-board your new employee by training them the exact way you want them to operate.
During the first 2 weeks after they are hired, we recommend holding there hand as they start learning their role. You want to be in constant communication with them, monitor their work, and ask if they have any questions.
Automation 3) Hire Order Fulfillment Virtual Assistants
Our third dropshipping automation task is hiring order fulfillment agents.
Efficient order fulfillment is extremely important in dropshipping. For this reason, you need to process your orders as soon as possible.
Neglecting to process your orders on time will result in higher return rates, refunds, and chargebacks.
To help you process orders, we recommend hiring order fulfillment employees.
These employees are very inexpensive and will save you so much time.
How to Hire Order Fulfillment Employees
Just like hiring customer support representatives, you will be using Upwork to find your order processing agents.
First, go to Upwork and log in to your account.
Next, you can either type in “Order fulfillment” into the search bar or create a new job posting.
You can quickly find a large list of potential employees by typing “Order fulfillment” into the search bar.
As you browse through the different profiles, here’s what you want to look for:
- Experience in Shopify, Oberlo, and Aliexpress
- Previous order fulfillment experience
- An understanding of ecommerce
- High availability
- $3-5 hourly fee
Here’s a profile we found with a great potential resume for this task:
After you’ve found a list of potential candidates, you can message them and ask them more about their previous experience.
However, if you can’t find any good candidates you can create a job posting. This job posting should explain that you are looking for order fulfillment agents that have experience using Shopify, Oberlo, and Aliexpress.
After officially hiring your order fulfillment representative, there’s a few tasks you need to complete.
First, you will need to create a new Shopify admin account that has limited access.
Furthermore, we recommend monitoring their work for at least a week. You should be in constant communication with them and ask them if they need help or have any questions.
Automation 4) Product Description Writer
Next, we recommend hiring a product description writer. However, this automation process may not be necessary for all dropshippers.
Who needs a product description writer?
- If you have a large catalog of products without unique descriptions
- Dropshippers who are constantly adding new products
- If you want to grow ecommerce SEO for traffic
The Importance of Product Descriptions
An unprofessional product description may be the reason a potential customer leave your store. If you have standard product descriptions from Aliexpress, you should look to change the descriptions.
Good product descriptions build trust with the customers and offer additional valuable information about the product.
In summary, here’s why you need outstanding product descriptions:
- Stand out from your competitors
- A chance to sell your product
- Increase trust and legitimacy
- Reduced bounce rate
- More conversions
What is a Good Product Description?
Firstly, you want to avoid writing about the obvious features of the product: such as the product’s size, color, and qualities.
Instead, you want tell customers about the benefits of the product and how it can improve their lives.
Use concise action-provoking words that allow readers to understand the effectiveness of the product.
Also, follow these tips:
- Write unique descriptions for each product
- Check for grammar and spelling errors
- Write your descriptions with your target demographic in mind
- Avoid generic phrases and “fluff”
- Make items sound exclusive
How to Hire a Product Description Writer
Now that you learned about the importance of good product descriptions and what they look like, it’s time to hire a writer.
Using our favorite website, Upwork, you’ll want to create a new job posting.
Depending on how often you’re adding new products to your store, this will most likely be a one-time job. So, select “Short term or part time work”.
Next, fill in the title.
Continue filling out each form based on your preferred preferences and finally post the job at the end.
As you start to receive responses from potential candidates, here’s what you want to look for:
- Previous experience writing product descriptions
- Experience using Shopify
- Good reviews from previous jobs
Automation 5) Social Media Manager
Next, you may want to hire a social media manager. The social media manager will help you post regular content on all of your social media and respond to comments on posts.
A social media manager would be ideal for dropshipping store’s that have a lot of fans and comments on their posts. However, if you’re just starting a new store, a social media manager isn’t necessary.
How to Hire a Social Media Manager
Once again, you will be using Upwork to find your social media manager.
You can start off by typing “Social Media Manager” into the search bar and looking around for any potential candidates.
If you can’t find any good candidates, you can then create a job post describing the position.
Here’s an example of a profile with a great resume:
The worker’s key skills are Content Creation for Social Media, Social Media Account Management, and Social Media Followers Growth.
Furthermore, he is only requesting $3 per hour which is extremely affordable.
Once again, we recommend interviewing potential candidates on a phone or video call. You should ask them about their previous experience and explain what you’re looking for.
Moreover, we recommend creating a posting schedule that the social media manager can follow. This allows the manager to stay organized and gives you the ability to track their work.
Automation 6) Customer Service Software
As we explained earlier on, good customer service is essential for success in dropshipping. For this reason, we recommend using a customer support software.
Customer service software helps businesses manage, organize, and track all customer queries and concerns.
Think about it like this:
Let’s say you own an ecommerce dropshipping store. Chances are your customers are contacting you all day long about how to use your products, refund policies, shipping times, and so forth. Furthermore, they could be reaching out to you on email, Facebook, Instagram, and any other platforms you have available. Regardless of where the customer contacts you, they expect you to know who they are and have the appropriate answer ready.
This is where a customer service software is key.
It streamlines all the communication done with customers into a single place. This makes it simple to keep track of customer conversations. Furthermore, you can organize and catalog customer questions based on what they asked.
Here’s an example of what a dashboard looks like on a customer service software. As you can see, you can view a summary of all the responses.
Benefits of Customer Service Software
- Easy to use and set-up
- Better communication with customers
- Stronger collaboration between your employees
- Ability to analyze employee performance
- Improved customer support efficiency
- Greater customer loyalty
Best Customer Service Software
If you believe that customer service software can improve your business, the next step is to pick a software.
There’s dozens of different customer support software’s on the market. Accordingly, each of them offer more or less the same functions and usability.
We personally use Freshdesk, but there’s also many other good ones available:
Feel free to browse each of these software’s to find one that’s within your price range and offers all the features you need.
Automation 7) Use Email Marketing Automation
If you’re not doing it already, email marketing is one of the most powerful forms of cheap advertising. Your email list can drive repeat customers back to your store by communicating on a regular basis.
A recent study conducted by Direct Marketing Association found that the return on investment of email is 3,800%. This means you should earn back $38 for every $1 you spend on email marketing. Furthermore, the study discovered that 72% of users would rather receive promo material through email than social media.
For this reason, setting up a dropshipping automation process for email marketing is essential.
Luckily, there are dozens of different email marketing software’s that make this easy to do.
Email marketing software allows you to:
- Integrate directly with Shopify
- Sync contact details from both existing and new customers
- Create segments of customers based on purchase history
- Automated campaigns
- Reporting on email success
- Easy to use designer
The most important feature of this software is the automated/triggered campaigns. These automated campaigns can range from super basic to extremely complex, depending on how much time you spend setting the campaign up.
Basic Automated Email Campaign
These campaigns simply send automatic emails as soon as a customer signs up for your store’s newsletter, checks out, abandoned a product in cart, etc.
Complex Automated Email Campaigns
A more complex automation setup sends more targeted emails depending on what action the user performs. An example would be sending different emails depending on what the customer clicked on in the original newsletter email. These email campaigns offer more dynamic content – allowing you to set up any kind of email you can think of.
The Best Email Marketing Software
As far as choosing your software goes, there are really no wrong decisions. It’s just important that you actually pick a software and start learning how to automate your email campaigns. After all, there’s an infinite amount of resources on YouTube and Google that show you how to set up different email campaigns for dropshipping.
That being said, Klaviyo is the most popular email marketing software and the platform we use on our own dropshipping stores.
However, there are many other great software’s as well:
Remember, picking the software isn’t the important part. What’s important is learning how to setup email automation and using it to improve your store’s sales.
However, each email marketing software has a free trial where you can see if it’s the right one for you.
Automation 8) Purchase Ad Creatives from Designers
The last thing we recommend dropshippers to automate is purchasing ad creatives from designers.
However, this automation process isn’t meant for all dropshippers. This is ideal for people that already have success in dropshipping or are testing a lot of products.
Since the price of ad creatives can add up quickly, you don’t want to use too much of your budget to purchasing them.
In our case, we tend to use a lot of video advertisements and test a lot of different products. For this reason, it is extremely helpful for us to get creatives made by a third-party.
How it works is we send the design company the product we want made for the advertisement. Then, we tell them what features and benefits we want to highlight. Afterwards, the company sends us back the creative within a day and we can quickly test it on a new Facebook ad campaign.
How to Find Ad Creative Designers?
Just like finding a dropshipping agent, we recommend making a post in our Facebook group. This is the best way to find up-to-date and reliable ad designers. Furthermore, the prices are usually affordable since other dropshippers are using them as well.
Automated Dropshipping Conclusion
Well there it is, our 8 dropshipping automation steps to take your store to the next level. If you’re serious about ecommerce and want to make a living out of it, automating your store is essential.
Again, learning how to hire employees, manage teams, and create systems is the only way to see long-term success as an entrepreneur.
We firmly believe that marketing and Facebook ads only make up 20% of a successful business. In constrast, the other 80% is the backend systems and teams that keep your business afloat.
For this reason, it’s essential to start automating your dropshipping store as soon as possible.