This article was sponsored by Teapplix.
With over ten years in the software business, Teapplix has carved out a unique position for themselves. They’ve made back office automation their focus. Teapplix helps sellers maximize the speed and accuracy of their shipping, inventory synchronization and accounting operations.
Back office operations may not be glamorous, but they are crucial to get right. Shipping has to be fast, inventory levels have to be up to date, and accounting has to be accurate. If you can do a great job of all those, you’ll please a lot of important people: customers, marketplaces and the tax authorities!
With a decade of continuous enhancements, Teapplix has reached a level of sophistication and reliability to meet the needs of most ecommerce businesses. Teapplix is used today by eBay and Amazon sellers handling from 10-20 orders per day to thousands of orders per day.
How did Teapplix get started?
The story starts back in 2006 when software engineer Xudong Yan helped write a tool for some friends to use in their eBay business. The goal was to automate the process of printing shipping labels in bulk, a task that was taking them eight hours a day in the warehouse.
The software worked, reducing a full-time job to less than one hour of work per day. That’s a lot of time freed up to spend on more valuable tasks.
Seeing the huge impact the software had on his friends’ business, Xudong wanted to see if it could benefit other sellers. It turned out that a lot of eBay sellers had very similar challenges.
Teapplix was launched in 2007, focusing right from the start on back office automation – anything that happens after the order is placed. Over the next few years the software was improved and expanded. Support was added for many more shipping carriers, marketplaces and shopping carts. Then the focus was on accounting and an integration with QuickBooks.
Finally, inventory synchronization was added to Teapplix, so when an item is sold through any online channel the stock levels for every other sales channel are updated. This prevents overselling and order cancellations, which are a common frustration for multi-channel sellers.
Shipping is a labor-intensive and expensive process, where speed and accuracy are of the utmost importance. Anything that can be done to reduce the manual work, reduce the cost, increase speed or increase accuracy is of great benefit. Teapplix can do all four of those.
Users can create rules to find the cheapest shipping carrier for each order very quickly. Teapplix automatically compares rates from multiple carriers for each delivery location and shipping speed, then selects the best rate for every shipment.
The shipping tool is capable of generating and batch printing hundreds of shipping labels at a time. This helps get orders out quickly and with the lowest possible error rate.
Shipping was the first core feature in Teapplix and has evolved greatly over the years. It adapts to each seller’s needs and can cater for very large order volumes. If you have 2000 orders and five different shippers, this can be handled easily.
Teapplix has been a web-based system from the start, so it is accessible from anywhere and does not need a server setting up. It has also avoided the need for a painful upgrade from a desktop version. A robust API means sellers can connect Teapplix into a larger system of their own custom-built or third-party software.
Accounting for online sellers can be daunting, particularly for Amazon sellers. Each day there can be a huge volume of transactions, many different fees to track, refunds being issued and inventory moving in and out. Entering all this data into your accounting system so that it all matches up is very complicated.
To address this, Teapplix built an integration with QuickBooks. Amazon’s settlement reports can be processed and imported into both online and desktop versions of QuickBooks automatically. All orders and transaction types are processed so sellers can see revenue, costs and profit down to an individual SKU and order level.
Sellers can also create a full profit and loss report and carry out an inventory control analysis without any manual data entry.
In addition to Amazon, Teapplix can import orders into QuickBooks from marketplaces including Walmart, Jet.com and eBay, and shopping carts including Shopify, BigCommerce and WooCommerce. Teapplix supports over 35 marketplaces and shopping carts in total.
Teapplix can manage and synchronize inventory quantities across many different platforms. Every 15 minutes Teapplix compares the number of units in stock for each SKU to the quantity available on each marketplace. Either Teapplix or QuickBooks can be selected as the inventory “master” with the correct stock levels to be compared to each marketplace.
To get started with inventory synchronization, Teapplix can import products from your sales channels or QuickBooks. As SKUs may not be consistent across different sales channels they can be mapped to a single centralized Teapplix SKU.
Teapplix’s inventory management supports parent/child variation listings, and kit or combo listings made up of multiple inventory items. Teapplix supports multiple warehouses, each with different SKU quantities. Listings and orders can then be assigned to different warehouses.
Inventory reports include:
- Profit and loss tracking down to each individual SKU
- Inventory alerts to show SKUs running out of stock
- Reports to help plan purchasing
- Stale SKUs that are not selling any more
The inventory management system isn’t intended to replace full-blown ERPs used by manufacturers but it meets the needs of most small and medium-sized ecommerce businesses.
Who is Teapplix for?
Teapplix has a diverse range of customers who use the software in different ways.
Many businesses rely on it for shipping, especially eBay sellers and Amazon sellers who self-fulfill orders. But Teapplix also works with Amazon FBA and 3PLs. Some sellers use it just for accounting or inventory management, even if they don’t ship any of their own orders.
It’s worth noting that while many sellers have moved inventory into FBA, there is also a trend in the opposite direction. More and more merchants are using Seller-Fulfilled Prime to take back control of fulfillment while keeping the Prime badge on their listings.
To get the most out of Teapplix, sellers need to be making more than one or two orders a day. It’s for people who sell online as a business, not just a hobby, and need software to become more efficient. Teapplix is very scalable and their largest customers print thousands of shipping labels every day.
What’s next for Teapplix?
Teapplix has a big design update coming over the next few weeks. The user interface will have a fresh new look that’s more modern in style but just as easy to use. The design will also be mobile-friendly. Existing users can try it out now and give their feedback on it.
In the longer term, Teapplix are looking to develop a solution to help international sellers with their inbound shipping. An increasing number of sellers are selling internationally but shipping can be slow and expensive. By consolidating orders to each country they can cut shipping time while keeping costs down.
Teapplix started as a shipping tool and has stayed true to their mission of automating back office operations. Marketplaces rise and fall, fashions change and buying preferences evolve, but sellers will always need to deliver their products into the hands of buyers. Teapplix makes that as fast, efficient, accurate and affordable as possible.
This post was sponsored by Teapplix.