If you own a growing e-commerce store, you’ll know how small tasks that used to come up every so often can now come up every single day.\nFrom emails to social media to inputting pricing and data on many products (across every channel you’re on), these tasks can be time-consuming, even if they don’t offer a lot of value in exchange for completing them.\nAt the beginning of your store, these tasks are fine to deal with as they come up. But as you grow, these tasks get more and more frequent, and the demand on your time and your team’s time becomes even greater.\nAfter a while, these small tasks can significantly eat into productivity; reducing output, creativity, and even profit margins.\nThankfully, there is a way to deal with these tasks quickly and effectively without allowing them to eat into your time.\nEcommerce automation is an easy-to-implement solution that can help deal with recurring tasks, help streamline processes, and make your business more efficient.\nA more efficient business means better results, so ecommerce automation has the power to significantly boost your bottom line.\nPerform a time audit in preparation for ecommerce automation\nBefore we can dive into some of the ecommerce automation tools, it’s important to figure out how time is currently being spent.\nFiguring out where you’re spending your time, or where your employees are using theirs, allows you to improve your workflow and your ecommerce business.\nThis helps you delegate tasks and work smarter, not harder.\nYou need to identify repetitive tasks, so you can see what and where to outsource, delegate or automate. The result should be that your time is better spent on the things that matter, so your business can continue to grow and improve.\nTo do this, take a day, or even a week, to monitor your time expenditure, and note down how long you spend doing each task.\nOnce you have an idea as to where your time is going, you can separate HVA (high-value activities) from low-value tasks.\nThe goal here is to focus on the items that offer the most value to your business and look for ways to automate or outsource the low-value ones.\nSo to recap, before you can automate your ecommerce activities, do the following to find what you will be looking to streamline first:\n\nCreate a list of tasks you perform every day.\nSeparate high value from low-value tasks.\nGet rid of as many low-value tasks as you can, either by automation or delegation.\n\nExample ecommerce tasks you can automate\nIn the next section, we’ll explore all the tools and strategies you can employ to make your ecommerce business run better.\nBy making an effort up front to set up processes and software, you’ll save hours each week on what used to be manual.\nHere are the most common tasks your ecommerce business should automate.\n\nVirtual assistant management\nInventory and sales management\nTask and project management\nFinances\nPricing\nCustomer support\nMarketing: Email campaigns, social media, and analytics\n\nTools for ecommerce automation\nOnce you have an idea of the tasks that are taking a lot of your time and are adding little to the big picture of your ecommerce store, it’s time to start looking for ways to get them out of your hands. We will use two main ways of achieving this: automation and delegation.\nThese are ecommerce automation tools you can use:\n1. Hubstaff — Delegate tasks to virtual assistants\n\nUnfortunately, you can’t automate every repetitive low-value task with software. In some cases, you may have to outsource, and a virtual assistant is the perfect solution to bringing on additional employees. Read our guide on commonly outsourced business services.\nA virtual assistant can provide many services including:\n\nResponding to and sending emails\nCustomer service\nUpdating product pages and inventory\nManaging calendars and appointments\nHelping organize projects to outsource more tasks\nMonitoring your automation so you can focus on HVA’s for your business\n\nIn fact, hiring virtual assistants can help with many of the automation responsibilities mentioned in this post. Keep that in mind as you scroll; your solution may include software and a VA to complete the tasks.\nFinding remote VAs\nThere are multiple platforms to find great freelancers and virtual assistants. Hubstaff has its own, Hubstaff Talent, and there are countless other freelancer websites on the web.\nManaging and paying virtual assistants\nWhile VAs are great, managing them can quickly turn into a duty of its own.\nKeeping track of how productive each VA is, how much work gets done every day, and how effective they are at their tasks can be almost impossible when you aren’t working in the same room every day.\nThe top things you can do to improve the process of managing your ecommerce team, in-house or not, is to use task management software and employee time monitoring software.\nHubstaff allows you to track the hours, performance, and activity of each of your ecommerce team members every minute of the workday, so you can see which are performing up to standard and which might need a little bit of encouragement.\nHubstaff’s tracking tools incorporate simple time tracking apps for desktop, mobile, or web, along with keyboard and mouse activity usage, and optional screenshots.\nCombine that with Hubstaff Tasks for project management, and it’s extremely easy to assign tasks to your team members, communicate, and provide all the details needed to complete a job.\nHubstaff Tasks features let your team create automated processes with checklists, recurring tasks, kanban boards, Scrum sprints, and more.\nManage and pay ecommerce VA'sTrack hours, see activity, and send payments in minutesTry it free\n\nAs you scale your team, other responsibilities will take up more of your time, including scheduling, paying team members, and managing time off.\nIn addition to managing virtual assistants or remote talent, Hubstaff allows you to automate your ecommerce store operations further by managing your invoicing and automating payroll.\nHubstaff also prepares real-time cost reports so you can see exactly what you’re paying for on an hour-by-hour basis.\n2. Shopify Flow — Fully automate inventory\n\nIf your ecommerce store runs on Shopify, you’ll love how easily you can inject some ecommerce automation into your life with their latest product.\nFlow allows you to automate a whole host of common tasks, such as:\n\nRe-ordering products as they go out of stock\nTagging high-value customers and ping your customer service team to send them a personalized welcome\nAdjusting prices at checkout automatically based on a customer’s location, purchases, or more\nShowing and hiding different payment options relating to a customer’s location, purchase history, or more\nIdentifying and tag customers who purchase from a specific sales channel like Google, Pinterest, or Instagram\nApplying auto-discounts for loyal customers\nAutomatically unpublishing out-of-stock items so customers aren’t met with disappointment\n\nBeing able to automate these tasks can help save significant time and can allow you to focus on what really matters: growing your ecommerce business by getting to the important tasks.\nShopify Flow features easy to use workflows that allow you to create different automation for your store. You can set rules based on your own criteria, and Flow will implement them automatically with no need for developer input.\nShopify Flow is available to Shopify Plus subscribers and is a free plug-in. Install Shopify Flow and instantly inject some ecommerce automation to your store.\n3. Skubana — Automate tasks\nSkubana is all about automation and focusing on the HVAs of your ecommerce business.\nSkubana allows you to automate tasks like purchase order generation, setting inventory minimums, inventory allocation rules, and much more.\nUtilizing Skubana’s OrderBots™ allow you to designate if \/ then statements to accomplish low-value tasks without you needing to be hands on.\n\nWith their automation features, you can eliminate backorders, prevent mistakes, and ultimately accelerate your sales velocity.\nBy having these time-consuming and repetitive tasks automated with a good to do list app, you and your employees can focus on high-value tasks such as optimizing your listings, product research and increasing your marketing efforts.\nThese are the tasks that are going to make you money.\n4. Wave — Streamline payments and finances\n\nLet’s take a moment to agree on something: nobody enjoys doing their accounting. Except maybe if you run an accounting firm.\nFor owners of ecommerce stores with high volumes of transactions and difficult account conundrums, accounting can get complex.\nSpending hours and hours going through transactions, discount codes, refunds, returns, invoices, and payments is enough to drive anyone crazy.\nThankfully, Wave is a financial services application that allows you to automate your finances with ease.\nWave integrates with your bank and credit card systems and receives all the transactions and deposits for your accounts. Then, using automation and rules, the system categorizes your transactions, marks invoices as paid, and helps to reconcile all of the payments so that your accounting is done for you.\nWave cuts down the time you spend managing and going through your accounting so you can focus on doing the thing that makes accounting stressful in the first place: selling products!\nWhat’s more, Wave is 100% free and easy to use for accounting. If you’re looking to use its services for other things, too, it also features payroll and payment processing services.\nStart automating your ecommerce accounting with Wave now.\nEcommerce automation made simpleHours tracking, payments, invoicing and more\n5. Informed.co — Automate your pricing tactics\nLooking for prices of your products across the web and on Amazon can not only be time-consuming but also inefficient if it’s not done on time or very frequently.\nSetting prices and then changing them according to how your customers react to them is also time-consuming, and requires a lot of back and forth that soon becomes a nightmare for big stores with many products.\n\nThis is where informed.co comes in.\nThis tool automates the whole pricing strategy of your ecommerce site.\nIt looks at what the competition is selling at, where Amazon is at, and automatically adjusts your prices accordingly. You can choose the lower price, matched price or other rules when you set it up.\n6. Zendesk — Make customer support a well-oiled machine\nProviding timely, helpful customer support is crucial for an ecommerce business.\nAs your customers likely aren’t going into a retail location to purchase or try things out, you need to provide customer touchpoints that reinforce your value, not decrease it.\n\nThere are a number of tools you can use to help automate customer support, including:\n\nZendesk\nFreshdesk\nIntercom\nHelpScout\n\nThe key is to find one that your customer support team member(s) can use to streamline their tasks, and that integrates with your existing software.\nLive chat, email support, tutorials, and demos are all good to consider when you’re looking into ecommerce support.\n7. Bonus: Ecommerce marketing automation tools to attract more buyers\nArguably one of the most important tasks for growing an ecommerce business is marketing.\nYou need to get in front of new customers, at a time when they’re ready to buy. Even better if you can spend the least amount of effort and budget for the highest return.\n\nThat’s where marketing automation comes in. Using email, for example, can make a huge difference when it comes to reaching sales goals and customer acquisition.\nSocial shares are one way to improve your reach, but additional marketing is required as well. Highlighting new products, improving your SEO, and providing product demonstrations, how-to content, and “also bought” (suggestions for customers based on the item they’re viewing) will increase your audience and sales.\nMarketing automation can apply to many different channels and approaches, including:\n\nEmail automation and drip campaigns\nSocial media marketing automation\nAnalytics to help you make smarter decisions\nCart abandonment and retargeting\n\nYou can choose to start with one or all, making sure to test every approach for maximum efficiency.\nMarketing automation platforms to consider\n\nKlaviyo – Creates customer profiles for email, with analytics\nWhatCounts – Email app for customer retention, with list segmentation, analytics, & more\nMailChimp or Drip – Email marketing automation\nCartRocket – Creates calls to action intent on reducing cart abandonment\n\nTake a look at these other useful ecommerce apps\n\nJungle Scout – Amazon database for finding the most profitable products per category\nTerapeak – Offers eBay data based on pricing and competitor monitoring\nBQOOL – Compiles product reviews to resolve issues quickly\nBoomerang – Automates emails process with scheduling & response reminders\nEvernote – Upload and track documents, ideas, goals, and more\nTurboScan – Turns your iPhone into a multiple page scanner\nShake – Allows you to create and sign legal documents using your phone\nHootsuite – Integrates social media pages and chat into one platform\n\nStart ecommerce automation now\nEcommerce automation has the power to cut hours of tasks from your workweek, and can significantly increase productivity and free up time for you and your team to focus on what really matters: growing your business.\nThe tools above all offer outstanding ecommerce automation features that can make life easier and better. Don’t waste time on unnecessary tasks, start automating your ecommerce store now.