Amazon Automation Guide: How To Simplify Your Business
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes 30 seconds.
Automation is the process of letting the technology we’ve created do the leg work for us.
Machines can do so much that we don’t need to do ourselves, and often better than us. By automating those tasks, we get to preserve our time for the things human beings can add value to with experience, intuition, and nuance—the strategy part of the business.
But like most things today, the options of technology out there can be a little overwhelming.
Automation is intelligent but only when you’re selective and cohesive with it - subscribing to a different app for every aspect of your Amazon business is not wise or necessary.
So this guide is to help you know where to start: To detail the apps and integrations that do more than one thing and to demonstrate that you can do a lot with a little nowadays.
In this guide on Amazon automation:
Table of Contents
A great way to ensure you choose your apps carefully and promptly is to create an Amazon business plan.
Find a template for one here, and bookmark this page so you can come back to it at any time.
Let’s get stuck in!
What is Amazon Automation?
Ecommerce business owners might not have a physical store to clean and maintain, but they still have everything else to do.
Take away bricks and mortar, and you’re still left with a hefty task list: Accounting, inventory, storage, listing, customer relations, customer experience, fulfilment, returns, tax compliance. It’s a lot, and many of these tasks need constant management.
With the boom of ecommerce has come a new wave of tech solutions to help business owners manage and grow. These solutions cover all the above areas and more.
Fortunately, many don’t just cover one thing either.
What you can do by automating aspects of your ecommerce business
- Regulate your business operations, so they work automatically in the background.
- Save time on repetitive tasks and use that time to focus on better things.
- Set a blueprint for apps to follow every time, ensuring quality and consistency.
- Keep operations on the cloud for extra protection and security.
- Give access to select employees or stakeholders from anywhere (if on the cloud).
- Improve customer experience with an efficient business model.
- Get more accurate insights into your business operations and performance quickly.
- Stay engaged and excited about your business by changing up your daily tasks.
You can automate almost any aspect of your Amazon business, which is great news in general but feels a little directionless at the start.
Does Amazon have automation options already integrated?
Before we talk about costs and investing in add-ons, let’s see what Amazon already offers its sellers for free as part of the platform.
Seller Central is the cockpit for the Amazon seller: Your mission control.
From here, you can set up your business and list your products. It is primed and ready for FBA if you choose to go that route, but otherwise, you can expect the following features available in Seller Central already:
- A Catalog section for your inventory details which you can upload, edit and save.
- An Inventory section to manage your stock and shipment details.
- The Pricing tab allows you to edit pricing based on competitors, create alerts and reminders for changes.
- Under Orders, you can see basic information about the status and movement of your orders. Returns are also updated here too.
- The Advertising section gives you access to begin campaigns, monitor progress, manage spend, and elect to boost A+ Content.
- The Reports tab gives you analyses of your sales and orders. There is also access to an Amazon Selling Coach for tips and tricks to help you grow.
- Under Performance, you will see your feedback ratings and customer comments.
So as you can see, Seller Central is built to cover a broad range of bases in a reasonably shallow sense. Apps and integrations allow you to select which you want to hone in on and really dig deeper.
How Much Does Amazon Automation Cost (and Where Do You Start?)
The cost of automation depends on the solutions you opt for.
You might want to integrate one app for a specific purpose which might only cost a few dollars a month. Or you could look at a comprehensive software with a suite of functions and features that has a price tag to match.
The importance of prioritization here is vital. How much is having the time back worth to you? If you’re going to free up your resources, where will you invest them instead to ensure return?
Remember, failing to plan is a plan to fail, so consider mapping out your options ahead of time. See our Amazon FBA business plan template here.
Amazon Automation: The Top Priorities
To help you narrow down your options, we’ll start at the top. Generally, you should be looking first to automate tasks that will save you time and get the key operations running smoothly.
These are just recommendations. If you have the means, we suggest hiring a specialist ecommerce accountant to help you - even if just at the beginning to confirm the feasibility of your plans. They can give you advice based on experience and industry insight in the short or long term. Find one from our trusted directory here.
Accounting software + connector app.
Your books should be number one on your automation list - even if you’re an accountant or numbers pro.
Accounting isn’t just collecting and crunching data. Your numbers should be serving you, not the other way around.
Suppose your data is not recorded and calculated for you. In that case, you’ll have to do it yourself, which is heavily time-consuming, prone to human error, and gives you less time to analyze what the numbers actually mean for your business.
Amazon accounting software integration
Accounting software like Sage, Xero, and Quickbooks can be integrated with your Amazon account for automatic data transfer, visibility over your numbers from anywhere, and to generate reports and analyses.
You can manage your cash flow, inventory in some cases, invoices, even payroll if you need it - all linked to your Amazon account.
With fast and easy Quickbooks Amazon integration, Xero Amazon integration, and Sage Amazon integration, you can get set up no matter your top choice of partner.
But don’t stop there.
Amazon Seller Central integration with a connector app
Adding one more app between Amazon and your accounting software will save you even more time and hassle.
The accounting software gets you the data and presents an overview of your finances. A2X figures out the details.
What do those bank deposits actually represent?
The fees, the taxes - each line item will only be separated out for you if you connect A2X. And it’s not only the ecommerce business owners that love using it either.
Accountants use it too:
“I have been using A2X for a little over two years now and it is one of the best tools that I have. It has saved me a ton of time… In addition, the people at A2X and customer service are amazing - they are quick to respond, fast in fixing errors and provide great communication. I highly recommend their service if you are an Amazon seller.”
Amazon FBA, FBM, or dropshipping.
In the list of things that could sink your business, failure to fulfil orders swiftly follows inefficient accounting. No money, no business. No stock, no orders, no business.
You have a couple of options that each come with automation solutions.
Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) is one of the unique perks of selling on the platform.
Although Shopify is developing its own version, there’s nothing else quite like it, and it enables sellers to offer Amazon’s famous fast shipping options to snap up more sales.
What do sellers need to do? Ship and store their inventory with Amazon. FBA distributes stock across the country, anticipating where it might sell most so that the quick delivery times can be met wherever your customers come from. It’s the automated delivery of your Amazon stock.
The main downside? Probably sales tax. Your spread-out stock counts as nexus with each state that stores it, so you’re suddenly eligible to collect and pay tax in those locations. It’s manageable, though, so don’t let that put you off. See more about Amazon sales tax and what you need to know here.
Amazon automation for dropshipping
Dropshipping is a great way to run a business without storing and packing inventory yourself. If you don’t automate the order process with your fulfilment supplier, however, you’ll find yourself manually entering each individual order as they come through.
By integrating a dropshipping app designed to link your Amazon account with your supplier and communicate on your behalf when an order has taken place, you can almost entirely step out of the fulfilment.
However, we would recommend doing a test run first and then a few randomly in the future. Testing will show you what the items actually look and feel like, how they arrive, and the customer’s unboxing experience.
Selling on more channels than just Amazon is a great way to expand your reach and smash your goals.
Luckily, the technology has caught up to support this. More channels mean more apps that need to communicate, and eBay Amazon or Shopify Amazon integration software, for example, helps sellers set this up.
To sell on multiple channels, you’ll need to look into connector apps that help platforms talk to each other. The following are examples of apps with this purpose:
These apps will help you sync all the areas of your business between platforms, so nothing falls through the cracks.
(And don’t forget to connect your accounting software and A2X across them all too).
Amazon Automation: The Nice-to-Haves
These are the elements that come next. You’ve got a robust base, and now you’re ready to save even more time and explore new avenues of automation.
Writing kick-ass product descriptions is a time-consuming process. They need to be rich in SEO, suitable for human eyes, and nail search intent. They need social proofing, keywords, specific features and benefits - the list goes on.
Are you selling on multiple platforms? Get those copy/paste keys ready.
Or if those keys are wearing and you’re keen for a better way, check out some of these apps for listing automation:
You might find some of the multi-channel connector apps also offer listing automation, so check those out too.
Marketing campaigns aren’t simply a question of designing an ad or boosting a product. To be successful, you need to look deeper. How did the ads perform? What was your conversion rate? How can you connect with and attract back your customers?
Using marketing automation tools will help inspire you to get creative with your campaigns and use streams that you might not have considered possible for your business.
Check out sites and apps like:
- MailChimp (or Amazon SES for Amazon email automation which is a simpler, integrated version)
Marketing is important, but so is harnessing your customer feedback and testimonials.
Amazon will kick you off the platform without a backward glance if your performance starts to suffer. What do we mean by performance? How you deal with customers and how they rate you. Do yourself a favor and harness all the positive testimonials you can for social proofing.
These apps can help you do that:
These are just a few of the options out there. And remember, many apps do more than one thing, so list your priorities and see which might fulfil multiple items on your list for one subscription fee.
Is Automating Your Store Worth It?
Automation is a wonderful tool.
It is undoubtedly the best way to save time on certain aspects of your business, particularly the parts you don’t like or aren’t so good at.
Automation is absolutely worth it, as long as it makes sense to your brand and business.
Your Accounting Comes First: A2X for Amazon
Don’t forget to sort your accounts first and start your free trial of A2X for Amazon today!
Also on the blog
- What is the Best Amazon Accounting Software for Sellers?
- Using Spreadsheets vs. A2X for Your Amazon Accounting
- Amazon FBA Secret Recipe for Success
- How to Hire and Vet the Right Bookkeeper for Your FBA Business
- Amazon Taxes: A Beginner’s Guide to Doing it Right
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