Have you ever come across a situation when you landed up at a supermarket and the cashier had to log all your shopping cart content, then look up for the price for each item in the binder, update the stock remaining in the store and then finally tally your bill. Would you ever go back to the store?
Managing online store is no much different. In this world of technology, unmanageable and inefficient manual processes continue to plague the retail and eComm industries, and specifically their stock management system.
Importing products from a single warehouse is time-consuming task. And if you maintain your own warehouse, you have to manage the fulfillment process as well as track inventory updates to be in sync with your online store. But in the end all these resources distract from the bottom line.
Instead, online retailers should indulge with an all-in-one online order and inventory management software that can easily help you manage and automate all those process associated with inventory management. This will help reduce error potential that can cause hindrance in process, communication and in meeting your high-end customers experience.
Below are the top 5 practices that are critical components of an all-in one eComm management system. These will help you simplify and streamline your inventory management.
With the ability to track your inventory levels and manage product threshold limits to make sure products are removed from your site when these limits are reached, provides an immense relief in mind knowing there will be no more out-of-stocks and cancelled orders scenarios. Therefore, indulge with an appropriate inventory management software that offers an ability to select primary warehouse for fulfillment if you have too many suppliers or warehouse with the same product line.
The process of getting products from your suppliers to your online store can be time-consuming and onerous. This also results to missing data, heading are mislabeled and other error prone scenarios. Indulging with an appropriate system that can connect to any of your suppliers, import and correct all product data allowing you to publish it to your store without having to do anything manually is a real time-saver, especially for online retailers managing multiple suppliers and stores.
Integrate with an inventory tracking system
The best way to overcome inventory challenges is to integrate with an inventory management system that allows you snapshots of your total inventory for every supplier that includes, the number of products, what's up on the site, what's not on the site, blocked inventory, available inventory- all in real-time can have tremendous value. This way you avoid the hassle of maintaining spreadsheets for review.
Order management system integration
It is always recommended to sync your inventory and order management system to make sure your orders are fulfilled and customer satisfaction exceeded. Therefore, it is suggested to invest in an all in one online order and inventory management software which will simplify your inventory and order management flow like never before!
Always remember having a system that can provide automation is through where all your efficiency and ROI gains come from. Hence, your system should have the ability to update inventory in real-time when an order is fulfilled as well as manage catalogues automatically. The more you get rid of manual process, the more you can reduce your management cost and reallocate resources to more strategic tasks.
The caliber to accurately manage your inventory is a key to providing inimitable service to customers, efficiently utilizing resources, and maximizing profits. With the increasing demand of online shopping, it is important to have an edge over your competitors. Using modern software to manage your inventory challenges will ensure you assign more time, capital and resources to growing your eComm store.
Useful Tip: For growing a successful eComm store, it is always recommended to utilize less and smart effort on management tasks, and more time towards expanding your business.
Order fulfillment plays an integral part in supply chain management and is considered to be an important business process. Although, this process differs from business to business, there are a number of disparities of fulfillment services. Right from shipping products to customers to more sophisticated movements of products through a manufacturer's supply chain, the order fulfillment can determine how well you satisfy and retain your customers.
In this tech-oriented world that we live in, it is recommended for every online retail business integrate with a modern order fulfillment service company.
Amazon has created one of the most advanced fulfilment networks in the world, and your business can now benefit from their expertise. With fulfilment by Amazon, you store your products in Amazon’s fulfillment centers, and when your orders arrive they directly pick, pack and deliver them as well as provide customer service and returns handling.
No matter what size your business, Amazon offer a multi-channel selling capabilities and allows you to grow globally.
Apart, from Amazon, there are many order fulfillment service company like 3p Logistics, Shipwire, Webgistix, eFulfillmentService and many more. Some companies have a complex fulfillment method, hence it is very crucial for you to opt for the correct order fulfillment service company that allows complete advance fulfillment capabilities align to your business needs.
Below, I present you with some useful tips as what to look in a modern order fulfillment service company:
Look for a provider that has an ability to adapt your industry
Order fulfillment process differs from provider to provider, hence the basic thing that you would look for in an advanced order fulfillment service company is it should have an ability to adapt to your type of merchandise.
Inventory plays an important role in fulfillment process. Thus you should be aware of the what tools and methods does the fulfillment company integrate to manage and report on inventory, and do they provide real-time updates on products availability levels.
Have a secure space
Your inventory after all, is a biggest asset. Hence, you want your materials to be protected in a good fulfillment warehouse.
A good fulfillment company should be able to describe on how they keep their space secure. This way you can be confident that your products will be protected. Hence, it always suggested to opt for service provider that has an advanced experienced staff who will handle your products with proper care.
Check pick-error rates
No matter what steps you take to avoid fulfillment errors, mistakes will still happen. When selecting an advanced order fulfilment business management software, ask about the error-rate and their process for remedying the situation. For example:
a) Do they issue UPS call tags to collect the wrong item and pay to ship a replacement item?
b) Will they ship the replacement item at a faster rate to compensate the customer?
Location of the provider
Location plays an important role in fulfillment provider selection process. Therefore, finding a fulfillment provider that is close by is more important to some. Also, finding a provider that aligns well in terms of the flow of your goods from source to end consumer will offer the most significant cost and shipping time benefits for your company and your customers.
Easy-to-manage online fulfillment options
Monitoring your inventory levels and activities of your sales experts can give you the information you need to check your business performance. Therefore, an advanced fulfillment service that provides online order management and monitoring will give you the up-to-date information you need, whenever you want to look at it.
Make Sure they are more than just talk in terms of technology
Leveraging technology to eliminate the chance of human error is very important in warehouse management. While selecting a fulfillment provider you will want to make sure the company you choose is on a solid technology foundation. Picking and shipping errors can be reduced efficiently by using bar code and other warehouse software. And equally important is the integration technology and reporting mechanisms. So need to make sure they are open to the following functions:
a) Can they integrate easily with your shopping cart?
b) Do they have detailed and customized reports for you to use?
c) Is all of this available on a real-time basis?
Many companies will tell you that they use the best technology. But ensure to test their system before investing.
A great fulfillment company will have a dedicated team of technology professionals to maintain their systems. If they don’t the right people in place to manage and grow their capabilities, then you may not get what you need to be successful.
Always ask around before investing!
Before investing, it is always recommended to check with other companies that have used fulfillment service and find out about their experience.
Ask about the company’s response to their needs, the quality of customer service they offers, and the monitoring tools they offered. This will give you the inside track to finding a company that will work for you!
Email marketing is considered to be one of the oldest marketing strategy, even followed today. When it comes to results, marketers have learnt that email marketing have a significant impact on the entire sales cycle, from lead generation to conversations.
Many online ventures rely on email marketing and considered it to be the best way of communicating with their customers. For them, it's a way of sending effective message that they can be sure will be received, as well as saving capital on other direct marketing methods.
As we all have moved into the new year, and like any other business owner, you would expect to see an immense growth and improved ranking for your site this year. Therefore, it’s important to take a look at the email marketing trends we can expect to see during 2014, so that businesses can get a jump on what their customers want to see in their inboxes.
Make use of videos
Use of videos in an email marketing have grown in popularity, even over the past few months. You Tube is a booming search engine, and more and more videos have been shared on social media daily. Videos, when done in a proper way, can add a lot to your email marketing strategy. But, there are many email programs which may not support videos, but you can always add a link to your video that is posted on You Tube or your website. By doing this you will engage your customers and at same time spread your message across much more quickly. This concept will help you track and see who is viewing your links, which in turn will help you segment your list for a more focused future broadcast. Whether you choose to create entertaining videos, or you go for informative pieces, your customers will appreciate them, and will probably go looking for more.
Use of mobile technology
Did you know that 48% of emails are accessed through a mobile. The mobile trend will never fade, hence mobile technology is increasing in importance. Your marketing email will contain links to your website. Hence, through mobile technology, it becomes easy for anyone to access your site's link where they can place an order or get more information about your products and services. Make sure your website is up to date regarding mobile responsive web design to ensure that you don’t lose any customers who might get frustrated after viewing it on a mobile device.
Use of images
Same as videos, images have also taken over social media sites as being a valuable way of advertising. Social media sites like Pinterest has grown in a popularity this year, reason, all due to their focus on images to grab people's attention. This image that you use in your email can be a product image, humorous image or any other image that can engage your customer. The important thing is to use them as much as possible.
Make email sign-ups seamless
Ensure that your email sign-ups forms are easy to locate and easy to use. It is always recommended to add a sign tab to all your social channels. Keep fields limited!
Automation allows businesses leverage a fusion of both email and social marketing power to create and endure deeper, more profitable customer relationships using less time and resources. All you need to do is set it and forget it. Schedule social shares to email automatically. Set a trigger to keep your customers well informed.
By following the above latest trends in your email marketing you can be well on your way to a very successful email marketing campaign in 2014. You may even find that your innovative thinking regarding the coming trends puts you well ahead of your competition, resulting in more revenue for your business, and a growing customer base.
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Sales and marketing are two sides of the same coin but have been always considered in separate departments since the start of a business. With the boom of current technologies, including sales force and marketing automation, the gap between sales and marketing is eliminating day by day.
When these two functions come together, communication barriers are broken and if done correctly, increases lead conversions.
Even-though sales and marketing is considered to be different functions in a company, one cannot survive without the other. Equally important, both bring different values to a company as a whole. The combination between the these two functions lies in the fact that they are sharing a similar goal; increase lead conversions. Marketers generate lead and sales team close the deal. Because they share a mutual objective, it is beneficial to keep your sales and marketing team close to increase lead conversions.
So how does sales and marketing alignment increase lead conversion?
Sales depends on marketing for lead conversions, and marketing depends on sales to close those leads. If you are in a position of running a customer relationship management, either in operation, or part of sales or marketing team, there are certain CRM and data techniques that you should indulge with to encourage your sales and marketing teams to play nice, be close and actually love working with one another.
By integrating sales and marketing data, both teams can benefit from deeper customer insights - helping everyone become more productive and increase lead conversions.
Using Marketing CRM techniques sounds as though it oversteps the traditional boundary between sales and marketing. However, sales and marketing alignment brings benefits to the business as a whole which cannot be ignored.
Here are some benefits of the alignment:
Strong marketing support for sales - With sales and marketing alignment, business can enhance marketing support for sales and their interactions with the business will help marketing become proactive.
Enhance lead conversions and shorter sales cycle - With a real-time view of prospects, marketing will be able to judge which prospects are truly sales-ready and which ones need to be nurtured. As a result, through the alignment, only the best leads would be passed on to sales team, while marketing will continue to generate others till they are better qualified. From sales point of view, improved lead quality leads to shorter sales cycle.
Best lead management - Sales and marketing alignment offers better lead management by filling the gap between the teams involved in lead creation and follow ups. So, if 25% of the leads provided by marketing don’t turn into sales, the company has access to relevant data to evaluate where in the ensuing sales process a lead failed.
Sales and marketing alignment is key to any successful business. By developing a common agenda and establishing respect and trust between sales and marketing team benefits the business as a whole. The most effective way to build this relationship is by developing a common vocabulary. For example marketers need to ensure that sales executive is following up to the leads that is brought in, where as sales executive wants to make sure that leads coming in are sales ready.
Marketing and sales has a big gap that must be addressed. Marketing must take the initiative to give the two teams an opportunity to work together and fix the problem. There is no one to solve the problem amongst them. And the gap between marketing and sales damages marketing prestige and credibility, not sales.
Must Read : Why your retail business needs a CRM?
Simple, yet powerful