This guest post is brought to you by our friends at eComEngine. With the July sales tax perfect storm raging and Q4 swiftly approaching on it’s heels, we thought every Amazon seller could use some time saving tips!
You choose to sell online for a reason.
In addition to the joy of helping customers find exactly what they want, the lifestyle perks for Amazon merchants can be amazing. You set your own schedule, define your workload – and answer to no one (except your customers). Unfortunately, the day-to-day aspects of running your business often get in the way of enjoying such perks.
In this post, we’ll share three time-saving tips to help you take back the lifestyle you enjoy.
Automating Your Financial Tasks
Stop to consider the many financial and accounting-related tasks that consume hours of your time. Of course, the Seller Central dashboard simplifies some of the headaches related to selling online. Customer invoicing, payment processing and fee management are already on auto-pilot. But, if you’re being honest, there are still inefficiencies to solve.
For many sellers, such bottlenecks can include:
- Sales tax reporting & payment
- Year-end financial statement preparation
- Profitability analysis (i.e. SKU profitability)
- Payroll processing
- Vendor invoice management
- Accounting for lost or damaged inventory
- Debt (and equity) financing
Luckily, we live in an age when an app exists to solve every headache in your life. For example, if you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you’re already a happy TaxJar customer. How did you first learn about TaxJar? Did a colleague tell you about the service, or perhaps you did your own online search? Spend time reverse engineering the process and see if you can strike gold again. Prioritize which challenges are draining the most amount of time (and resources), then focus on matching a few reputable solutions to your needs.
Streamlining the Customer’s Experience
As an Amazon merchant, you already understand that success is built on one key factor: happy customers. In fact, Amazon customers have grown accustomed to expecting unbelievable service. Ship your items on-time (or ahead of schedule), provide reliable packaging and be highly responsive. (If you’re using the FBA service, then many of these responsibilities are already taken off of your plate.) Delivering anything less than an awesome experience could result in poor feedback for you.
Wise merchants maintain a proactive approach to Amazon feedback management. Amazon.com, Inc. actually encourages sellers to solicit feedback. Doing so serves two distinct purposes:
- Customers receive proof that you truly care about them. If an issue arises, you’re giving customers a direct way to resolve the problem.
- Your seller reputation is directly impacted by the customer feedback that you receive. Naturally, you’ll want more feedback than less (assuming that you’re doing a good job as a seller).
To implement a proactive Amazon feedback process, many merchants get started by manually soliciting via the Seller Central messaging service. As your order volume increases, you might consider trying our FeedbackFive tool. We’re proud to have helped thousands of merchants solicit over 30 million positive feedbacks within the past decade.
Building Inventory Efficiency
The Amazon FBA service is changing everything about eCommerce. In fact, as I recently pointed out in this article for Entrepreneur.com, “…the FBA program makes it possible to grow faster and leaner. Instead of investing in fixed assets, such as property and equipment or full-time staff, a merchant can outsource the entire process. For a relatively modest per-unit fee, sellers can boost economies of scale, while redirecting resources and attention toward buying inventory.” Therefore, simply by listing your products through the FBA platform, you’re taking a logical step to a more efficient inventory management model.
However, even FBA sellers still face a number of inventory-related challenges. For example, our RestockPro tool was created to help merchants with their Amazon inventory management tasks, such as:
- Shipments to FBA warehouses
- Purchase order management
- Profitability tracking
- Reorder decision making
- Kit building & optimization
Of course, there are many inventory management tools on the market today. Be sure to do your homework and pick the tool that makes sense for your needs (and budget). Regardless of the tool you select, invest plenty of time to understand its full capability in comparison to your business model.
Save Time & Enjoy Life
Simply reducing the number of tasks on your to-do list offers little value, unless you’re able to simultaneously increase efficiency. Seek out technology that allows you to achieve both goals. In doing so, you’ll save money in the long-run, free up more brain cells and get back to what you actually enjoy doing.
About Jay Lagarde
Jay Lagarde is founder and president at eComEngine.com. Since 2006, he has been helping online retailers succeed in a competitive global marketplace. eComEngine’s products include FeedbackFive, the first reputation-management tool for Amazon sellers worldwide, RestockPro, a supply chain and profitability management tool for FBA sellers, and Connectrio, a cloud-integration platform connecting sellers with suppliers, warehouses and marketing channels.