5 ways to make a small e-commerce business more efficient
Running a small e-commerce business can be a great way to earn some extra income. If you manage your business efficiently, it can take the place of your 9-5 job and bring you financial independence. Today we’re focusing on the word “efficient”.
Here are some suggestions for how to make your e-commerce business work for you.
1. Use high-quality accounting software
Even when you’re working for yourself, you need to budget for labor hours. Spending hours manually entering your accounting information on an Excel spreadsheet is a business cost. It’s also extremely boring.
If your e-commerce business uses Shopify, there are amazing software options available that offer Shopify/Quickbooks sync. This helps you manage your accounts more accurately and more efficiently. You’ll save so much time and have more energy to invest in making good purchasing and warehousing decisions.
Even if your accounts don’t take much time now, you’re not setting yourself up for success by planning to always manage a growing business’s books by hand. You’ll need automation if your business succeeds, and you’ll achieve success more quickly by automating your Shopify accounts now.
2. Compare warehousing options
This is less of a concern if you’re an FBA seller, although it does beg the question – could you save money by organizing warehousing by yourself? FBA selling comes with pretty hefty costs for sellers, and while it makes everything much more straightforward, if you can optimize your warehousing space you might make big savings.
Research warehousing options carefully and contact shippers for quotes. Compare offers and try to arrange a long-term deal at a reasonable price – it’s in your interest to be assertive. Warehouse storage will always be part of your e-commerce business, and you can’t afford to simply accept whatever terms you’re offered.
3. Plan for scaling
This is relevant to warehousing, accounting, and every other part of your business – everything needs to be scalable. You might be a small seller now, but what if you want to grow? What if you need to cut back? When you’re researching the best option for your current situation, research what the best option will be if your business scales up or down.
It’s so frustrating to scale your business upwards, only to discover that you can’t meet demand because a key part of your supply line has maxed out its capacity. Everything needs to be able to grow together.
4. Don’t be afraid to change courier
Again, this is less of an issue for FBA sellers – Amazon’s delivery service is pretty formidable. If you use an independent courier service, ensure that you’re monitoring their performance and prices. Perform regular comparisons with other couriers and make sure you’re still getting a good deal.
Efficiency means getting the best results for the lowest reasonable investment. Not just “the lowest”. That means it’s worth paying a little more for your courier service if it cuts down on late or missing deliveries. Your customers will let you know if their deliveries aren’t coming through – more importantly, they’ll let your other customers know. A reliable courier is essential for efficiency.
5. Be ruthless with product lines
A time-consuming and challenging part of running a small e-commerce business is product research. Trends come and go so fast – you need to recognize falling sales before they run dry. Even if a product has been performing well for months, you need to stop the rot as soon as you see it. Be ruthless.
The most frustrating parts of e-commerce are the unnecessary parts. Whenever something frustrates you, ask “Is there a better way to do this?” Often enough, there is. Keep your eyes open and opportunities will come.