The E-Commerce Column

Top 5 Tips to Reduce Time & Save Money Managing Your Online Store

Saving Money with Hotcakes Commerce

As a store owner, one of the primary things that are constantly on your mind is how well your sales are growing.  Did you make more than last month, quarter, or same month last year?  Did you sell more product overall?  Are you projected to grow again next period?  These are relevant questions, of course, but we can’t lose sight of the cost centers we’ve grown accustomed too as well.  This post asks the question, “How can you further increase revenue by reducing cost in some way?”

Outsource Fulfillment

This isn’t exactly what it will sound like.  You don’t have to move your fulfillment center to another country to see gains in this area.  There are services already available that make outsourcing fulfillment both easy and much cheaper than you might think.  For example, ShipWire has fulfillment centers all over the globe.  You no longer need to have the overhead that comes with in-house fulfillment, including storage, utilities, insurance, labor, and data entry.  With a simple integration, you can have your product shipped from a location much closer to your customers even, making them happier as well.

Automate Order Processing

We can’t harp on this one enough.  Unless there’s a legitimate business need to manually process each and every order, you really need to have this process automated.  Sure, you can find ways to stop automation for the edge cases, but in general, you should only set your eyes on a very small fraction of your incoming orders.  Think of the time and money that you’ll get back from this one item alone.  For many of you, it could be several thousand each month.

Limited Payment Options

We get it, customers want options.  However, giving them what they want is not the same thing as giving them what they need.  In nearly all cases, not only does having a single or limited number of payment options save them time during checkout, but it also saves you time with order processing, management, and customer service issues.  Think about it.  Every single payment method you offer is yet another area of support and an area where your staff needs to spend time becoming experts in managing. 

Keep Promotions Simple

Promotions are a great idea.  In the right hands, promotions are one of the most powerful selling tools your store can have.  However, if you’re not careful, promotions can easily become a full-time job for someone – or close to it.  Do your promotions being in enough revenue to justify the amount of time spent on researching, implementing, and managing them?  What about the inevitable mistakes that come from making promotions too complicated that simple changes cause issues in orders?  Keep your promotions to a minimum and expire them often.  Not only will this benefit your store in the obvious ways, but it will also have the result of generating a sense of urgency with your customers.  They’ll make sure to not miss their chance to take advantage of a promotion each time it’s available.

Use Avalara AvaTax

Ugh.  It doesn’t matter the context, taxes are not only boring, but they outright suck.  No one enjoys the complexities or costs of paying and preparing to pay for taxes.  Don’t forget about the time spent on the front end though, making sure you get your taxes loaded, and then (hopefully) keeping them updated on a regular basis.  Avalara’s AvaTax is the most popular cloud-based tax calculation service.  If you don’t already have a plugin ready, it can be integrated into your store fairly easily.  The end result is that you never need to spend the time and money keeping up with taxes any longer.  Avalara does it for you. 

BONUS TIP:  Hire Interns

Interns are not as well utilized as they could be.  Interns are a great way to augment your staff at a fraction of the price, while also ensuring that you can continue to grow your company with staff that’s well-trained.  Interns need the experience, and you need the time they can offer you.  Interns need not be limited to menial tasks like data entry either.  If you hire well, then they could even “own” an area of responsibility entirely. 

About the Author

Will StrohlWill Strohl

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