Many reasons can cause problems with a retail business – poor pricing, location, not enough stock, poor planning, all of which can lead to unsatisfactory customer experience and ultimately, failure.
It’s important to understand why a project failed to learn for future success. How can things be different? How can you succeed next time? If you explore reasons for failure, you can use that information to help avoid it in the future.
Location might not seem important, but it is – especially if you’re thinking about international expansion. What do customers in that country expect of their local businesses? What do employees expect? What are the various business and employment laws? If your business is local, it’s crucial to know who your customers are and where they are. Keep these things in mind when deciding where your store will live.
Even in your home country, pricing is important for similar reasons – what do customers expect? How far will your customers travel for your products? Can the area support your pricing structure? If your competitors are charging much less, which store will shoppers pick?
Make sure your prices reflect your shoppers’ budgets, and that you can keep up with pricing of your competitors.
Not Enough Stock
Exceptional warehouse control, real-time inventory management, and communication between the distribution center and your ERP system are crucial to maintaining customer satisfaction. Think about it – who wants to shop for groceries in a store that doesn’t keep enough fresh produce in stock? or milk? or bread? Similarly, when shoppers look for clothes, they want to go to stores that carry their styles and sizes.
The other side of this problem is too much inventory because you don’t know how much you need. If you order a million dollars in inventory and don’t sell it in a timely manner, your money is losing interest because it is tied up while inventory sits in the warehouse.
Use an exceptional integrated ERP system to increase productivity. Here are ways your ERP system can help with this.
There are many things to consider, such as fraud, theft and security, and even training. When working with other parties or their software, unexpected obstacles and delays may be introduced, such as schedule conflicts, terminology misunderstandings, errors, unexpected expenses, and customer service issues. Being on the alert for this and working with experienced businesses and trading partners will go a long way in helping your projects stay within budget and on time.
Determine your detailed plan of action items and include the names of the individuals who will be responsible for those tasks. Hold them responsible for the work assigned to them and require a weekly status report on completed tasks and road blocks encountered. This is especially important when implementing critical software for your enterprise.
In more than three decades, the biggest mistake we see companies make is to not create an action plan that covers all aspects of implementation. For more valuable information about Implementing your ERP system, download our “Ten Tips for a Successful ERP Implementation” paper. Whether you’re considering a new ERP system or you’re just beginning an implementation, this paper will help you keep your implementation within budget and on time.
Your products, your services, your location, your tools, and of course, your employees. All of these help your business succeed. If they’re not working together efficiently, it will impact your customer satisfaction and your bottom line. Here are five ways your ERP system can help.
Schedule many functions to run automatically. When the system prepares and/or prints picking or putaway batches, generates mailing lists, outbound sales call lists, reorder lists, etc., you and your employees have time for other important tasks.
Use an RF communication system from top quality ERP software to efficiently handle inventory through real-time inventory tasks, improving productivity and control for major warehouse functions. After rolling out an RF system, a warehouse can significantly decrease paper processing and increase its inventory receipt processing from an average of 20 line items per hour to 55 line items per hour, per person.
Inventory Barcode Labels
Place labels with barcodes on your products to help quickly identify them and help prevent mistakes during picking, point of sale, and physical inventory. While labels are usually produced when inventory is received in a warehouse, putaway, or transferred to a POS location, they can also be produced any time after a SKU us defined. Labels can be printed by SKU, by receipt, or by purchase order before receiving the items.
Stock Drop Transfer
While you might expect an ERP system to backorder or cancel an out of stock item, it can also see stock available at a nearby location. Set up your ERP system so that, if that stock can be brought to the warehouse in time to fill the line item, it is allocated to the order.
Scannable Timesheet Entries
Entering timesheets is easy when you’re sitting at a desk. Simply open the timekeeping software and enter your time as you complete your tasks. But when personnel are moving around a warehouse all day, tracking time can get a little tricky. Every employee does not have his or her own computer station, and having employees log in and out of one station all day isn’t very efficient. Use your ERP system so warehouse personnel can simply scan their badges and the barcodes of the task they are working on from a daily report. The ERP system would track the time between each scan. Typically, a project manager or warehouse manager can also scan a task and then scan the badge of each person who will work on it. The project manager can also track who is still clocked in, and then press one button to end a shift completely.
If your ERP system doesn’t provide these functions to improve your warehouse efficiency (and more), contact us for a demo of InOrder.
With the Multi-Language capabilities of the InOrder ERP system, you can establish a list of Languages to be used when printing forms for Customers whose primary Language is other than English.
- Default language of a new customer is set based on the customer’s country.
- Customize your own Crystal Report forms, such as packing slips, invoices, and statements to display field labels and text messages that vary based on the preferred language of each target address.
InOrder supports currency symbols and allows you to control whether a currency is available for use on your web store. Also supported are interface codes used by the Paymentech Gateway when processing credit card transactions in a foreign currency.
Temporal Exchange Rates by Client
Currency exchange rates are used to show converted currency values on printed forms (invoices, credit memos, statements, etc) for customer presentation. This is normally used where prices and sales are stored in US dollars, but must be shown to the customer in their native currency equivalent.
- Exchange rates are defined with effective dates for each currency type your business uses.
- Orders and A/R link to the Exchange Rates data to show customer transactions in your base currency and the customer’s foreign currency.
- Morse Data can connect your preferred data source to feed the exchange rate tables.
Contact us for more information about increasing your customer base with InOrder’s Multi-Language capabilities.
This article discusses costly fraud chargebacks and the challenges of preventing them. It provides three techniques to reduce or eliminate credit card chargebacks.
What Economic Nexus Means for Your Remote Sales
Sales tax revenue is lagging and many states are creating nexus laws to further tax sales by out-of-state sellers lacking a physical presence in the state. Knowing how this will affect you is key to staying ahead in an audit! Check out this blog post by the tax experts at Avalara for more info!
Tax on Cookies?! According to this article, Massachusetts says that cookies placed on consumers’ browsers in Massachusetts = physical presence and wants to tax them.
This article provides advice on automating for your eCommerce business.
When you’ve finished reading, contact us for a demo to see how InOrder helps you accomplish each of these!
There are many times during the year when you send a mailing to a specific group of customers. With the InOrder ERP system, you can send promotional messages to customers, create new lists, import lists from external sources, and even export your mailing list to a spreadsheet format.
- Catagorize your lists and assign customers to them.
- Specify label formats.
- Use with the InOrder Address Validation interface to validate a batch of addresses within a specified range of U.S. postal codes.
- Automatically merge duplicate address records.
- Use with the InOrder Email Marketing Enhancement to send Email Blasts.
- Send followup notices. Define followup efforts that activate after a specified number of days.
- Import your own mailing lists with names and addresses.
- Import your own lists of Email address.
- Generate promotional keycodes as list segments are generated.
- Export your mailing list to spreadsheet format.
- Define your call lists.
- Simultaneously store an unlimited number of RFM scores for each customer. (Recency (most recent purchase date), Frequency (how many purchases a customer has made), Monetary (spending).
- Group customers by RFM cells.
Contact us for more information about mailing lists and marketing with InOrder.
In its 2016 Pulse of the Online Shopper Study, UPS provides insights for eCommerce businesses as they plan their strategies for growth. This study explores online shoppers and how they have “Evolved.” Their shopping cycles are represented, showing a strong promise for future buying power. Included are discussions of new technologies they’re interested in, how and where they shop, and what retailers must provide to win them over or lose them.
Devices are explored, with smartphone shopping showing the most growth. As technology (and retailers) make it easier and faster to use smartphones for shopping, satisfaction with them increases, fueling faster growth opportunities for businesses that support them.
Search habits are also shown, revealing that shoppers prefer to begin searching on marketplaces. According to the study, 90% of independent online retailers sell through them, and shoppers prefer them for product/shipping pricing, quick delivery, product selection and availability, and more choices in one place. Also mentioned are shopping trends, along with “cross-channel purchasing,” (where shoppers research vs. where they shop), and how social media influences shopping.
Shoppers revealed that they want to help themselves, but they also want help (such as Q&A, FAQs, chat, etc.) to always be available when they need it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like many retailers provided those services. Hopefully, many will respond to these requests.
As can be expected with online purchases, returns are higher. While many shoppers prefer to drop their returns off at carrier locations, many also prefer to take their returns to a physical store. This provides opportunities for retailers to make these experiences easy for shoppers, who might make additional purchases while making their returns.
UPS has also conducted its sixth annual study of online shoppers, which includes five volumes. This link provides a download to Volume 1, which includes information to request future volumes.
Shoppers want control and flexibility. They want helpful responsiveness when they need it. They want fast searches, large selections, quality products that are available, and quick, low-cost delivery. They want access, coupons, and notifications without intrusion.
Use this valuable information to help you make decisions for winning these “Evolved” customers. And, in doing so, grow your business.
Contact us for a demo of how InOrder can help you implement the features so many shoppers demand.
I find some retail mobile apps to be very helpful. I use my favorite app to find current sales and the latest coupons. When I travel, I use it to find the nearest store. Sometimes, I even get coupons that aren’t available on the store’s website, and it links me to the eCommerce store where I can browse, check reviews, or shop. Finally, there are more menu items that I haven’t even explored – I can use these if I want to, but they don’t interfere with what I use most.
There are many great retailers, but not all of them have apps. Even when they’re available, over half the shoppers questioned for the UPS 2016 Pulse of the Online Shopper Study preferred using a retailer’s website over a mobile app. Some of the reasons provided included the lack of a store experience and technology – either it was uncomfortable or too hard to use.
So what makes a mobile retail app useful?
- It’s helpful – Exchange the lack of a store experience for tips or ideas for using your products, but keep this feature simple to use and not overwhelming. Provide product reviews to help shoppers make decisions, and make your contact information easy to find so help is quickly available.
- It’s simple – Provide a menu that is easy to find but not in the way.
- It makes users feel special – Give your app users something extra, such as a coupon that is not on your website, or an extra coupon that is.
- It doesn’t intrude – Give app users control of how and when they want to hear from you through your app, such as notification settings.
- It invites shoppers – Provide a list of store locations, with options to call and get directions. Link to your responsive mobile website for shopping. Allow customers who buy online and pick up in the store to use the app to notify the store when they arrive and avoid longer wait times.
Mobile apps can be worthwhile for some retailers. If you’re considering a mobile app for your business, use these tips to help shoppers use your app comfortably, and interact with your business whenever they can, where ever they are.
If you’re a publisher, your authors are important to your business, and InOrder supports your compensation programs for the people who support your business objectives. Use InOrder to define and pay royalties to authors and agents.
Here are highlights of how royalties are used with InOrder:
- Contract clauses pay royalties based on dollar amounts, percentages, resolutions, or sliding scales and may even vary by date range.
- Define multi-clause royalty contracts with sophisticated filtering criteria when necessary using SQL Where clauses.
- Royalty statements, royalty check printing, and 1099s are supported.
- Royalty payables accrue as frequently as daily and statements with payments can be generated whenever necessary.
- Royalty payables are kept separate from general InOrder Accounts Payable.
- Contracts can link to one or more authors and one or more inventory item.
- Advances and manual checks are supported.
- Contracts can be entered retroactively.
Contact us to get your Royalties InOrder.
We’re back from IRCE 2017 and as always, we’re excited about all the activities we saw and great people we met!
Many workshops at IRCE 2017 focused on B2B topics. One workshop (Amazon & Me) provided details from experts about listing products and managing product content, whether to sell as a third party or first party, fulfillment, marketing on Amazon, analyzing data, and negotiating with Amazon. Another workshop topic was about using eCommerce for B2B opportunities, the future of B2B eCommerce, ideas for successful B2B eCommerce strategies, finding new customers, personalization, mobile B2B eCommerce, challenges, and even a critique of B2B websites.
If you’ve been to IRCE 2017 or if you use InOrder, this might sound familiar. InOrder ERP has always supported B2B. Using InOrder, you can build rules and behaviors based on B2B vs. retail in terms of marketing, merchandising, pricing, picking / packing / shipping, customer service, and even contact management for follow-up efforts.
For example, InOrder’s eCommerce module has a built in B2B web site for wholesale orders that can be accessed by your B2B customers. In addition, established business customers can immediately see and search inventory with pricing agreements reflected, and can use their lines of credit when making on-line purchases. Their shipping arrangements are even automatically applied to web orders. InOrder’s EDI with Customers feature can also be tied in for acknowledgements of web orders, carton license plates, and advance shipping notices.
B2B customers want the same conveniences as retail customers do. They might not respond to “Call for Pricing” messages on your web site; however, they may be more likely to order when the pricing information is readily available. And they want other conveniences, like quick search results, pictures, and descriptions. They want easy reordering and if products are backordered, they need to know when to expect them. And once they log in to an established web account, they want personalized services, like the ability to see their negotiated prices and discounts applied as they shop on-line, with a presentation relevant to them.
If you are a B2B company considering an eCommerce store, contact us to request a demo showing how InOrder can help you attract new business.
Mobile fraud is on the rise, and, as is the case with your eCommerce shopping website, your mobile eCommerce site requires vigilance to protect your customers’ sensitive data – especially when processing orders. Be sure you have measures in place to reduce mobile fraud, and train your employees to recognize signs of fraud. Your ERP system can also be a valuable weapon against would-be thieves and costly credit card chargebacks from fraud attempts.
Be sure you have these prevention measures in place to combat mobile fraud.
To decrease fraudulent orders from being processed, use your ERP system to assess orders as they are received based on a variety of criteria known to indicate fraudulent purchases. This may include whether or not an item is considered risky, or even an area where orders are shipped. Simply knowing where fraud occurs can help protect your customers, so using address validation services is also helpful.
Nobody wants to think that trusted partners are stealing from them – whether they’re shoppers, employees, or even vendors. But fraud and theft doesn’t only come from outside sources. Check your ERP system’s audit logging for dates, user names, and tasks each user performs. This enables you to isolate and trace other types of theft, such as generation of bogus customer refunds, gift cards, or credit memos.
Your ERP system’s Purchasing, Payables, and Inventory systems are all connected, so you can compare what was ordered – to what was received – to what you are paying your vendors.
The best eCommerce systems use responsive design for mobile web using Google’s recommended responsive design pattern. With this design, a single cart functions for both PC and mobile, with a similar look and feel, regardless of device size, no longer requiring multiple web sites. What this means for fraud protection is that you don’t have to worry about carrying out the same protection measures on separate systems.
Your employees play a significant part in protecting your business against fraud and theft. However, if they don’t know what to watch for, what to protect, or how, then how can they help you? One way is to follow your procedures. Define a security policy, tell your employees about it, and train them on it.
Stronger Security Measures
If you’re thinking about accepting credit card payments, you must make sure your system meets specific security standards to protect sensitive data. The PCI Security Standards website is a good place to start for information. If you currently accept credit card payments, you already know that your ERP system is PA-DSS-Validated to meet your PCI-DSS requirements.
When you protect against fraud and theft, your employees, vendors, and customers discover that they can trust you. With their trust comes respect and confidence that your business will continue to grow. Use these measures to improve and protect your customers’ shopping experience, achieve their trust, and prove that you take them seriously.
Contact us for a free demo of how InOrder’s eCommerce system helps combat eCommerce fraud and theft.