When you think of starting your own ecommerce store there are a lot of questions that come into your mind. One of them being — how many people does it take to run a successful e-commerce business?
Our recent customer story will not only answer that question for you but also inspire you to start your own online store if that’s something you’ve kept on the back-burner for a while. See how two sisters transformed their hobby into a full-time family business with automation as their sidekick!
About Luna Paper Company
Based in Colorado, Luna Paper Company was started as a hobby by sisters Natalie and Lindsay in 2015 but quickly turned into a family-run business with their father, joining the duo.
Luna Paper Company specializes in creating customized guest books and vow books for the most important moments in one’s life. They started by selling wedding guest books and vow books but they’ve now diversified into creating personalized guest books for baby showers, birthdays, and vacation homes.
The Pain Point
Natalie shares an incident from their early days when her sister Lindsay’s computer crashed and she started worrying because they still had to fulfill 19 more orders — that was the first instance when they realized fulfilling orders manually isn’t going to cut it and that automation will be the key in scaling their business.
Cut to March 2020, their business was hit hard during COVID-19. Everybody was canceling their weddings with no idea when they’ll be rescheduled. Natalie however, tried to see the bright side during this difficult phase and decided to use her time in automating her business — so they can process orders faster when things go back to normal and never worry about a computer crash again.
As Natalie started her journey of putting the business on autopilot her next challenge was finding a workflow automation platform that connected with all the apps she uses on a daily basis:
- Google Sheets
If you're a bride looking for a guestbook, you're looking in two places — Pinterest or Etsy. Therefore, a solution is dead in the water for me if it doesn't connect to Etsy. When I found Automate.io it was like my prayers had been answered as it was the only platform to connect with Etsy - says, Natalie.
How Luna Paper Company Automates their Order Processing
Exporting Shopify and Etsy Order Data in a Central Place
For Luna Paper Company, the most valuable workflow automation set up in Automate.io is the one that automatically pulls in order data from Etsy and Shopify stores into Airtable. It allows them to see all their order data across channels in a central place and build out spreadsheets to process orders faster.
Talking about this automation Natalie notes, “Our orders increased dramatically at the start of 2021 and it would have been impossible to process them at scale without Automate.io.”
Automating Shipment Tracking
Natalie used to receive an email when their orders were shipped. After that, the first step was to log in to their Shopify or Etsy account, pull up the order, type in the tracking number, and then send the tracking details to our customers. This process was repeated for every single order.
By connecting their Shopify and Etsy store with Google apps, Natalie has been able to automate this entire process that gets triggered when they receive an email from their shipping partner. The other part of this automation is to format and log the shipped orders data from Gmail to Google Sheets and Airtable for tracking the entire order pipeline.
Now we never even look at our order shipped emails. Automate.io takes care of everything in the background and we can focus on making our customers happy.
Changing Order Status Automatically
Since each of the orders placed at Luna Paper Co. is customized according to their customer’s requirements, one of the key stages in their purchase cycle is sending the design proof to their customers. Once their customers approve it, only then do they send it out to the printers and ship the order.
As the order moved along the different stages of their purchase cycle from — placing the order to making the design proof to order delivery, Natalie had to manually update it all in their Airtable database making the order management process inefficient.
We won’t be able to provide the level of service we do if we were just focused on processing orders.
Through Automate.io, they’ve been able to set up triggers that automatically updates the order status for them at every stage. This has helped them keep track of all the orders in their pipeline efficiently and timely notifying their customers about their order status.
Automate customer engagement
Apart from changing their order status automatically, the other automation Natalie has set up is that of getting notified in Gmail when their orders are overdue instead of manually checking the deadlines for all their open orders.
Natalie and the team also use this automation to templatize their customer-facing communication while sending them the design proof via Gmail. The automation creates an email draft in Gmail populating all the necessary order information coming from Shopify and Etsy, while the team just has to attach the design proof and hit send.
When asked about the most important benefit they get from using Automate.io, Natalie says, “We've grown significantly in the past couple of months and are still able to have a life outside of work — thanks to Automate.io. We’re still working the same number of hours as before but it has allowed us to amplify our output.”
- Luna Paper Co. processes 10x more orders with the same team size.
- They’ve been able to save three hours every day.
- Time saved through automation has helped them in launching hundreds of new products.
- They get more time to engage personally with their customers instead of just being focused on processing orders.
Our days would get sucked into processing orders rather than growing our business. The time we’ve saved using Automate.io has enabled us to add hundreds of new products to our shop, make our customers happy, and we’re able to process 10x more orders than before.
- Natalie Appel, Co-Founder, Luna Paper Co.