Are Your Customers Tuned In To The Omni-Channel Buzz?

November 24th, 2014

Posted by:  Laura Hills 

ISR logo Are Your Customers Tuned In To The Omni Channel Buzz?

We want to share more of the article that Integrated Solutions for Retailers recently published in which they asked Magento experts Dydacomp, EYEMAGINE, and Redstage to explain what sets them apart from other Magento solution providers and how the eCommerce platform helps retailers engage with and excel in omni-channel retailing.  Here’s a synopsis of another question addressed in the article entitled “E-Commerce And The Back Office Working In Concert For Retail Success.”

Are your customers tuned in to the omni-channel buzz or remaining focused on multichannel selling?

Dydacomp: A growing percentage of customers are focusing on omni-channel marketing — adopting a sell anywhere/ship anywhere philosophy.  But implementing it is harder than it sounds, because you need fairly sophisticated back office technology for inventory management and fulfillment.  Your physical stores now double as warehouses and delivery locations.

Your inventory available for sale can be on store shelves, in your own warehouses, stored and fulfilled through 3rd party logistics providers or drop-shipped direct to customer from the manufacturer or wholesaler. Point of sales systems need to talk to back office fulfillment systems like never before.  And all the while, you need to keep the details and complexity hidden from the end customer.  Omni-channel retail is a great way for retailers with a physical presence to compete with online businesses, but to do it requires an investment in not only their e-commerce platform but also the behind-the-scenes infrastructure.

EYEMAGINE: Very few of our clients have brick-and-mortar stores or showrooms, so this is not a “buzzword” we hear a whole lot.  The reality is that companies that truly need an omni-channel solution (think big department stores that have a global presence) are typically “too big” for Magento.  As we are always reviewing different platforms in order to better serve the clients we partner with we have been considering platforms that are more “true” omni-channel solutions for the size of retailers that really need to be able to address concerns from clients like buying something on a mobile device and returning it to the store in person, or purchasing something from a tablet and picking it up from the store the same day.

Multichannel selling is very much an issue that many of our clients have; we are seeking to help them sell across marketplaces like eBay and Amazon as well as their e-commerce B2C Stores, perhaps an e-commerce B2B portal as well and other channels that they have, like affiliates.  Customizing solutions for them to manage these multichannels effectively is a part of many projects we take on, that is why having good partners with good tech makes such a big difference between success and failure for many of our clients.

Redstage: Customers that have a brick and mortar channel are exploring the power of omni-channel retail, especially when it comes to loyalty programs and gift cards.

Usually each channel must be integrated into a centralized ERP or order/inventory management system.  This way there is one central location for available information on inventory and inventory locations.  Ecommerce and POS systems are usually integrated into a centralized system in this way.  POS and e-commerce systems can be synchronized directly, but that generally makes it harder to avoid inventory allocation issues, as neither system is well equipped to manage inventory at that level.

Read the full article here:  “E-Commerce And The Back Office Working In Concert For Retail Success.”

To learn more about how to Get The Most Out of Your Magento Investment – The Back(Office) Story, watch this 30 minute webinar featuring Freestyle Commerce and Magento.  Click Here to register for access.

eCommerce and the Back Office Working Together for Retail Success

November 14th, 2014

Posted by:  Laura Hills 

ISR logo eCommerce and the Back Office Working Together for Retail Success

So, you had a great idea for a product. You seized the market opportunity and decided to go for it. You built a great website using an eCommerce platform like Magento.  And, now you’ve got a successful online retail business.  Way to go!

Now how do you get your back office operations working together with your webstore to make sure you always have enough product on hand and that the pick/pack/ship flows smoothly?  We know that managing inventory and order fulfillment isn’t the most exciting part of becoming an eCommerce merchant, but it can make or break a web store’s success.

Integrated Solutions for Retailers recently asked Magento experts Dydacomp, EYEMAGINE, and Redstage to explain what sets them apart from other Magento solution providers and how the eCommerce platform helps retailers engage with and excel in omni-channel retailing.  Here’s a synopsis of just one question addressed in the article entitled “E-Commerce And The Back Office Working In Concert For Retail Success.”

How would you describe the essential integration between e-commerce and back office processes?

Dydacomp: At Dydacomp, we break this integration down into stages. Once a retailer starts getting more than 20 or so orders per day, it becomes difficult to simply print the orders and process and fulfill those orders manually. They need a back office fulfillment system, and that’s where the fun begins.

First, you must have a way to get customer orders from your Magento e-commerce platform into your back office environment.  This is the first stage of implementing an inventory and order management system. Our systems integrate with Magento and allow mapping of order, customer and product information so that orders are extracted and imported fast and accurately.

Second, you must process the order with a focus on both fulfilling the order and simultaneously managing and updating inventory.  The pick and pack process is automated to assure accuracy. Inventory quantities are decremented for the units picked, quantity updates are sent back to the e-commerce platform or other order source immediately, low-levels may be reached triggering purchase orders for replenishment.  Back-ordered items are identified and the appropriate customer notices are triggered.

Finally the products must be shipped, shipping costs validated and finalized, shipping methods matched to customer preference, shippers selected and product shipped from local or 3rd party sources.  Billing is completed and shipment tracking information is received and passed back to the customer through the channel where the product was ordered. In the end, the customer receives the product on time and at the price agreed.

EYEMAGINE: The only word that comes to mind to describe this integration is “necessary.” The alternatives are manual tabulation or cron based export and sync jobs.  This can suffice, but it is certainly not ideal for a modern e-commerce company that is experiencing rapid growth and trying to stay lean.  The time it takes to reconcile orders and inventory manually across multiple channels, and the potential for human error involved in doing it the “old fashioned” way holds many businesses back from achieving success; they often seem to rationalize this to themselves by saying things like “we’re not quite there yet” or “what if we grow too fast?”

When these are the reasons being given, we often find ourselves speechless, as we have a difficult time understanding the mindset of the individual that is not ready to embrace success and actualize their business dreams into reality.  However, these individuals do exist out there, and for them the reality of maintaining “control” of their systems and silo-ing technology platforms that do not communicate with one another seems to offer them some level of comfort, knowing that they can “pump the brakes” if things start getting “out of control.” In other words, they can inadvertently constrain the growth trajectory of an entire company and compromise the future of their fellow employees and position in the marketplace in an effort to maintain the fallacy of “control” over software.

Redstage: Usually each channel must be integrated into a centralized ERP or order/inventory management system.  This way there is one central location for available information on inventory and inventory locations.  Ecommerce and POS systems are usually integrated into a centralized system in this way.  POS and e-commerce systems can be synchronized directly, but that generally makes it harder to avoid inventory allocation issues, as neither system is well equipped to manage inventory at that level.

Systems that are designed to sell in a particular channel usually do not include features to manage the flow of inventory through both channels.

Read the full article here:  “E-Commerce And The Back Office Working In Concert For Retail Success.”

 

To learn more aboutGetting The Most Out of Your Magento Investment – The Back(Office) Story’, watch this 30 minute webinar sponsored by Dydacomp and Magento.  Click Here to register for access.

 

 

 

6 Bottom-Line Benefits of Incorporating EDI Into Your Multi Channel Retail Business

October 17th, 2014

Posted by:  Greg Swallow, HighJump TrueCommerce

 6 Bottom Line Benefits of Incorporating EDI Into Your Multi Channel Retail BusinessAn Order Management Solution (OMS) automates inventory and order processing so you can fulfill orders faster and easier, get a handle on inventory levels and leverage better data to make smarter decisions. It’s all about enabling efficiency, productivity and insight to drive business growth.

What could be better than that? How about more of that! More efficiency, productivity and insight is exactly what you’ll get when you take advantage of the synergy between your OMS and electronic data interchange (EDI) software.

You’ve probably heard of EDI because many of the retailers, suppliers and 3PL providers in your supply chain ecosystem are already using it—or looking to use it—to get data moving faster. EDI is the common “language” that enables everyone to track goods and data, from start to finish, quickly and elegantly. Being part of the conversation saves you time and money and makes you easier to do business with.

Here’s an example of how using an OMS with EDI can accelerate order processing and cut transaction costs: when you receive a non-EDI invoice from a vendor, you need to pay someone to manually print it out, key the order data into your OMS, and look through the data line-by-line to check it and flag any exceptions, such as a price change.

With EDI, all that extra labor cost and potential for errors and delays disappears. It’s all processed and reconciled automatically within the OMS. This is why supply chain giants like Amazon all integrate EDI with their financial systems and mandate that their suppliers use EDI—because it lets them ship next-day (or even same-day) and also saves on procurement costs.

What business benefits do you get from using EDI alongside your OMS?

  1.  Faster time-to-market. Automated order processing is not only much faster, but also offers better visibility into inventory. When you know what your vendors have available you can work with them to eliminate distribution bottlenecks and ship faster.
  2. Higher margins. Obviously automation saves on labor costs. It also improves accuracy of information, which means fewer costly and reputation-damaging problems with orders. You won’t get a crate of rubber ducks because someone mistyped a SKU number.
  3. Better analytics. When you’re tracking (and monetizing) supply chain data you can begin to see and proactively work with “trigger” events, from weather to cycles in supporting industries, that impact your sales volume.
  4. Faster turnaround time on payments. Because EDI data is electronically available across your systems, as well as those of your vendors and customers that use EDI, payment can happen much faster.
  5. Competitive differentiation. Data accuracy and timeliness are critical to success in retail. EDI/OMS integration helps give you end-to-end visibility across your supply chain. When you can see what the customer’s experience looks like, you can set the bar for service where Amazon sets it.
  6. Peace of mind. With EDI you get a one-stop vendor relationship with full visibility end-to-end across your solution. That eliminates finger-pointing and accelerates resolution of issues.

View our on demand webinar, by our preferred EDI provider, HighJump TrueCommerce EDI, entitled Incorporating EDI into Your Business to learn more.

Tags: , , , ,

Posted in Ecommerce, Freestyle Commerce, Industry News, Inventory & Order Management, Multichannel Order Manager, Order Management, Webinar | No Comments »

Why You Need an Order Management Solution for Your Magento eCommerce Site

September 19th, 2014

Posted by:  Megan Castillo

magento Why You Need an Order Management Solution for Your Magento eCommerce Site You’ve built your eCommerce business using Magento software and it’s a powerful solution that meets your unique shopping cart needs. But if you want to streamline and automate your business processes, seamlessly update your inventory across all channels, increase efficiencies, and drive new sales, you need to implement a cloud based inventory and order management software solution that integrates seamlessly with Magento.

Freestyle Commerce® allows you to effectively handle order import, inventory management, order fulfillment, and order processing automation while synchronizing communication between Freestyle Commerce, Magento, and your other systems. Without this Magento integration, your employees will have to take the time to manually transfer orders entered in your eCommerce store to your inventory management system, then to your accounting system, and again to your shipping system. Implementing Freestyle Commerce avoids the tedious manual work for each order as well as issues caused by mistakes made while transferring information.

Looking ahead for eCommerce growth will help you anticipate the needs of your business and allow you to plan accordingly. You need a solution that is scalable, integrates with Magento, and improves your business. Without a complete integrated solution, you’ll quickly run into business limitations with your online shopping cart platform. Magento’s integration with Freestyle Commerce provides you a complete eCommerce solution that is suitable for small to mid-sized businesses at the right price, and will be a valuable investment as your business expands.

Click on the link to learn more about Why You Need Freestyle Commerce.

Tags: , , ,

Posted in Cloud Based Inventory Management, Ecommerce, Freestyle Commerce, Magento, Order Management | No Comments »

Managing Inventory & Order Fulfillment – Exciting, No. Necessary, Yes!

September 5th, 2014

Dydacomp freeicon4 Managing Inventory & Order Fulfillment   Exciting, No. Necessary, Yes!Posted by:  Megan Castillo 

Managing inventory and order fulfillment isn’t the most exciting part of becoming an eCommerce merchant, but it can make or break a web store’s operations. If you’re not managing inventory efficiently, you risk tying up funds in excess inventory or worse -losing out on a sale due to a stock out situation and ultimately letting your customers down. When done well, efficient inventory and order management can help streamline your business processes, optimizing your cash flow and improving your bottom line.

Efficient & Intelligent Inventory Management

Managing inventory is a delicate balancing act for businesses of all sizes, small and large. If you have too much invested in inventory in stock, you’ll have less money to run the rest of your business.  If you have too little on-hand, you could lose out on sales and risk losing potential customers. The tips below offer some advice on how to find that happy balance.

  • Determining Inventory Amounts – To help you determine the right amount of inventory to keep on-hand it’s important to carefully track sales, monitor trends and analyze your performance over the past few years to help you more accurately forecast inventory needs relative to sales cycles.  Other things to consider include what sells and what doesn’t, what items are more seasonal than others, and what the inventory turn is on your most important products (the time it takes to sell that product and restock it).
  • Get Your (Ware)house In Order – You have to get your house in order, or in this case your warehouse, in order to run a smooth operation. Making sure your products are stocked efficiently and that you have clear guidelines on how to pick/pack/ship items will ensure items get shipped quickly and tracked accurately.
  • Make Sure Marketing & Operations Are Aligned – When determining your stock levels it’s also important to make sure your purchasing and operations teams are aware of the promotional calendar marketing has in place. For example, if marketing is running a promotion next week or next month, you may need to order and stock more of a particular item(s) to meet the anticipated demand.
  • Have Backup Vendors – As a customer, there’s nothing more disappointing than to place an order and then later find out it’s been put on backorder because the item isn’t in stock! As the merchant you can take preventive steps to avoid this situation by having a backup vendor as your ‘go-to’ if your primary vendor runs out of stock.  You may not have a backup for every product you sell, but for those you consider to be the ‘hot sellers’, whether all the time or during peak seasons, it would be beneficial to have a backup vendor.
  • Get Help! – The best way to ensure you manage your inventory and order fulfillment processes efficiently is to automate the process using an inventory and order management software solution.  With our inventory and order management solutions for small to mid-sized businesses you can manage your inventory, orders, and returns across multiple sales channels, send purchase orders to suppliers, process shipments including drop ship items, produce management level reporting, and more.  Our solutions provide you with the tools to streamline your operations by automating your processes.  In addition, our solutions seamlessly integrate with QuickBooks, the preferred accounting solution choice of small to mid-sized retailers.

Sign Up for a Free Trial of our Inventory & Order Management Solutions today! 

Tags: , , , ,

Posted in Ecommerce, Freestyle Commerce, Inventory & Order Management, Multichannel Order Manager | No Comments »

Solution Spotlight – ‘Kit’ aka ‘Bundled’ Products in Freestyle

August 18th, 2014

Posted by:  Megan Castillo

Freestyle supports the online inventory management and order fulfillment of ‘Kit’ aka ‘Bundled’ products!

Kitting Solution Spotlight – ‘Kit’ aka ‘Bundled’ Products in FreestyleFor those of you who aren’t familiar with these types of products a ‘kit’, or what Magento refers to as a ‘bundled’ product, is a product that is made up of various components or items and are sold as a set or group.  Managing the inventory associated with each kit can be difficult, especially when one item is used as a component in more than one kit.  However, with Freestyle, managing the inventory and order fulfillment process of kit products just got easier!

Benefits of Using Freestyle to Manage Your ‘Kit’ Products

  • Create & Edit Kits Easily:  Setting up kits in Freestyle is easy to do and manage.  At any time, you can switch, add and/or remove a component.
  • List One Item Multiple Times:  Sell one item in multiple ‘kits’ and on its own?  Freestyle allows you to connect all of those different listings to the inventory of a single item. One sale on any of the listings automatically updates the quantity on all other listings for you.
  • Manage Inventory Automatically:  Freestyle automatically publishes the ‘Available’ inventory back to Magento, which is a sum of the ‘Can Be Assembled’ & ‘Pre-Assembled’ inventory levels. These levels are calculated based off the inventory of the lowest component.
  • Avoid Shipping Mistakes:  Freestyle recognizes the SKU of the entire kit, and also knows each of the individual items that make up the kit. This insures all of your items get shipped out correctly.
  • And more…

How Selling Kits Can Increase Your Sales

There are a number of ways you can increase sales by adding kits to your product mix.  First, you have more opportunities to sell each product.  Not only can the product be listed on its own for sale, but now you can add that product to one or more kits, increasing the number of listings you and your chances of selling that particular product.  Plus, each kit is made up of multiple items, so your sales price is higher.

Some other advantages of selling kits include:

  • Offering Unique Products: Your kit is a combination of whatever products you choose, offering you the opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition.
  • Opportunity Offer Discounts: Since your customer is buying more than one product with each kit, you may decide to offer a discount on the price.  Everyone loves a deal!  This can be a strategic way to drive more sales.

To learn more about Kit Products and how Freestyle can help you manage the inventory and order fulfillment processes associated with each kit product:

Watch the recording from the Freestyle Commerce Solution Spotlight:  Kitting product demo.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Posted in Cloud Based Inventory Management, Ecommerce, Freestyle Commerce, Magento, Product Updates | No Comments »

Top 5 Features To Look For In An Inventory Management Solution

August 8th, 2014

Posted by:  Megan Castillo 

Are you having trouble managing your inventory?  Have you run into the dreaded ‘out of stock’ situation more than you’d like?  Or on the flip side, do you have so much excess inventory on-hand that it’s affecting your profit margins?

If any of these sound familiar, it may be time to start looking into an inventory management solution to help you get your order and inventory processes under control.  But with all the options available today, how do you know which solution will work best for you and your business?  And what features should you be looking for?

Top 5 Features To Look For In An Inventory Management Solution:

At Dydacomp, we’ve been helping retailers solve their inventory issues for over 25 years, providing small business inventory and order management solutions to a variety of industries. Our experience has been gained from helping thousands of retailers over the years; giving us insight into the features retailers need, and want, in an inventory management solution.  The top 5 features retailers need include:

  1. Basic Inventory Control
        – What this means is having a systematic way to truly ‘manage’ and control your inventory across all of your sales channels.  Very often we find that new businesses work with spreadsheet(s) where formulas can break, and a lot of manual effort is required to keep inventory on track. For them, using a spreadsheet is the first level of business automation.  These ‘first-time automators’, as we refer to them, may be growing rapidly and need a better, more efficient way to manage their current business, and position themselves for future growth.  They’re not always aware of the systems that are out there that are tailor-made to address their growing needs
  2. Integration with Sales Channel
        – Adding sales channels or marketplaces is a fast and effective way to grow your business, if you have the tools to manage them successfully. Having the ability to bring orders from all channels into one solution, where you can process the orders, manage the inventory, and publish updated ‘available to sell’ levels back to your sales channels, ensures you don’t oversell a low inventory level product.  It also saves you time by centralizing your workflow and eliminating the need to update various systems.  With an effective order management solution, inventory and order updates would be automatically published back to all sales channels.
  3. Barcoding & Scanning
        – Increasing the number of daily orders you receive is exciting, but it can also lead to bottlenecks if you’re not positioned to process and fulfill those orders efficiently. Retailers who are processing a higher volume of orders look to streamline their processes even more by implementing barcoding and scanning at the pick/pack/ship stages.
  4. Accounting Integration
        – While an accounting system can’t do the work of a specialized order an inventory management system, it is necessary to run a successful business. Having a direct integration to your accounting package from an order and inventory management system makes all the difference.  It enables you to easily post to your General Ledger account and keep track of all your other business expenses outside of inventory.
  5. Support For Kits (aka Bundled Products; kitting)
        – Many retailers have added kits or bundles to their product mix, meaning the product for sale is not a single item, but a combination of products sold as a kit or bundle such as a gift basket or a collection of items in a set.  Managing these types of products is more complex from an inventory standpoint. With an inventory management solution that supports kitted products, you can see how many kits can be assembled, what ‘kit’ items need to be re-ordered, etc.

If you think you can benefit from implementing a solution with the features listed above, give us a call.  Or Sign Up for a Free Trial of our Inventory & Order Management Solutions.

Tags: , ,

Posted in Ecommerce, Freestyle Commerce, Inventory & Order Management, Multichannel Order Manager, Small Business Inventory Management | No Comments »

Why Are You Still Making Manual Updates? Automation Can Make Your Life So Much Easier!

August 1st, 2014

Posted by:  Megan CastilloDydacomp Automation Why Are You Still Making Manual Updates?  Automation Can Make Your Life So Much Easier!

We speak with retailers who call in to discuss their pain points, and 9 times out of 10, their challenges are related to inventory.  What amazes me though, is that so many of those retailers are in pain because they’re still running their business using manual processes, like using spreadsheets!  With all the solutions out there, it’s hard to believe so many retailers are still running their businesses using inefficient and error prone manual processes.  Some have managed to be very successful and find themselves at a crossroad. They’ve reached the point where their success is jeopardizing their growth potential.  They have the “good problem” where they can’t keep up with processing orders and managing inventory; particularly those that are selling across multiple sales channels.

This is when we hear from many of the small and mid-sized retailers too.  They’ve reached that ‘tipping point’ where they can’t grow further until they figure out how to get ahead of the order to fulfillment processing curve. In addition to being time consuming, error prone and overall inefficient, manual updates are expensive! It’s time to find a better way of doing things to keep up and to grow!

Stop Throwing Money Out The Window

If you’re still making manual updates to support key retail back office processes, you’re throwing money, and profit, out the window. Your time is valuable, and spending time manually adding and updating information is costing you more than you think.  And if you’re working in multiple sales channels, and have to log and track information for each separately, it’s even worse!

Get A Handle On Your Available-To-Sell Levels

If you’re using spreadsheets to track inventory and publish your available-to-sell levels, I’ve got bad news for you, you’re always going to be out of sync! Sales happen in real time, inventory decreases in real time, but how often are you updating your spreadsheets?  Chances are you don’t have an employee on-hand whose sole purpose is to instantly update spreadsheets and publish those new levels as orders come in.  Most likely you’re making updates at the end of the day, or for some it’s done at the end of the week, and this can lead to problems.  When you finally get around to it, you may find that you are actually out of stock on a particular item and have to call your customer(s) with the disappointing news that his/her order cannot be fulfilled.

Retail is tough, and the last thing you want to do is disappoint a customer. Not only do you risk a sale, but also a potential repeat customer. So how do you solve this? Once again, through automation!

Automating the synchronization of your inventory across all sales channels offers many benefits: improves your ability to make customers happy by always having accurate available-to-sell levels, gives you real-time visibility into your sales and inventory, saves you the time and effort associated with manual efforts, and helps you better manage the cost of inventory because you’ll have a better handle on how much inventory to keep on-hand at all times.

So What Are You Waiting For? Automation Is Where It’s At!

Like I said, retail is tough but it can be so rewarding. There is a lot of competition out there so it’s important to get an edge over the competition, and automation can give you that edge. Using an inventory and order management software solution not only ensures you have accurate available-to-sell levels published at all times but frees up time, money and assets you can use to focus on growing your business.

Whether you sell online, through brick and mortar stores, catalogs, etc. or a combination of a few channels, we have a solution.  Register for a Demo of our Inventory & Order Management Solutions today and see for yourself.

 

Tags: , , , ,

Posted in Ecommerce, Freestyle Commerce, Inventory & Order Management, Multichannel Order Manager | No Comments »

How An Inventory & Order Management Solution Can Help Drive Success

July 25th, 2014

Posted by Laura Hills, VP of Marketing

If you have a retail business, chances are you have, or are looking to have, an online presence as well. In today’s world, it’s mandatory to have a website for branding and exposure if you want the business to grow. And having a shopping cart enabled website to allow you to sell product is an easy way to expand your presence on a national or even global scale with minimal capital investment and overhead. But having a website alone isn’t always enough.2014 Goals For Growning Businesses How An Inventory & Order Management Solution Can Help Drive Success

Adding additional sales channels, like selling online, selling on Amazon or any number of the popular sales channels, brings a lot of advantages in terms easily expanding your presence, but it can also bring a lot of headaches if your sales channels aren’t managed properly.  This is where an inventory and order management solution can help!

The Benefits Of Using An Inventory & Order Management Solution

Implementing an inventory and order management software solution can help you streamline your business processes and position your business for greater success in the future.

One of the biggest ways you can benefit from a solution is through the automation of your order fulfillment processes. You want to have as few steps as possible between the time a customer places an order to the time they receive their order to ensure timely delivery and make your customers happy. Therefore, you need to eliminate as many manual steps as possible because those steps can not only affect your delivery times, but can also lend to manual entry mistakes which can lead to even longer delays.

Placing orders through suppliers and receiving the inventory back into your operation is also made easier when working with a solution that allows you to manage suppliers and send Purchase Orders.   You can set up product low level alerts within the system to set automatic re-order points – this makes purchasing products even easier!  And this same method applies to products you drop ship as well.

From an inventory standpoint, having a solution in place is an absolute must, especially when working in multiple sales channels. Having the right amount of inventory on-hand at all times is a delicate balancing act.  Having a product that ‘sells out’ is good in one way as it proves that it’s a hot item.  On the other hand you never want to run out of stock and lose a potential sale.  Carefully tracking your inventory not only gives you insight to your customers’ preferences, but helps in determining how much to have at all times.

Finally, having an inventory and order management solution can help you manage all of your sales channels in one solution, giving you the ‘big picture’ in terms of how your business is performing.  It’s much easier to analyze trends and buying patterns and make strategic business decisions when you have a single vantage point to see everything from a revenue standpoint, purchase orders, refunds and anything else related to your bottom line.

So whether you are adding a new sales channel for the first time or expanding into more sales channels, life is so much easier when you have an inventory and order management solution in place. Automating the order fulfillment and inventory management processes makes just about everything related to your business as streamlined and simplified as possible so you can focus on the more important things – like growing your business!

Learn more ways to drive your retail sales growth in the 7 Retail Operational Improvements That Make A Difference eBook.

Tags: , , ,

Posted in Ecommerce, Freestyle Commerce, Inventory & Order Management, Multichannel Order Manager | No Comments »

Inventory Management Solutions – 2014 Buying Trends

July 11th, 2014

Posted by: Megan Castillo

At Dydacomp, we’ve been providing retailers with inventory and order management software solutions for over 25 years. We’ve been successful for so long because we totally get it.  Dydacomp was founded by retailers to provide software for retailers.  We understand the challenges you face because we’ve been there ourselves.

Working with thousands of retailers over the years has given us good insight into the buying trends as well as the top reasons retailers seek an inventory management solution. I recently came across an article by Software Advice, a website that researches and reviews inventory management software, which supports our findings.  Highlighted below are some of those key buying trends for 2014 and what retailers are looking for in an inventory management solution.

Buyer Profile

Very often the retailers we speak with are evaluating an inventory management solution for the first time.  They are what we refer to as ‘first-time automators’, those who are either running their business using manual methods such as maintaining spreadsheets, or using an accounting program that wasn’t designed to manage inventory and requires a lot of manual intervention. They realize the need to automate their order and inventory processes to not only alleviate the headaches and inaccuracies associated with the manual efforts, but to position themselves to continually grow their business.

According to Software Advice, 95% of the prospective buyers they spoke with were also first-time buyers.  Of that, 36% were using accounting software to manage their inventory, while 35% were using Excel or another spreadsheet method.  Another 11% were using what they called “manual methods”, which often referred to the good old pen and paper method.  Those buyers using any of the above methods are the kinds of people we speak to daily who love the fact that their business is growing, but hate the headaches this growth brings if they don’t have the proper systems in place.  They are looking to ease these pains so they can enjoy their success!

 

Buyers’ Current Inventory Management Methods

Buyers Current Inventory Management Methods Inventory Management Solutions – 2014 Buying Trends

Software Advice: Inventory Management Software BuyerView | 2014

 

Do you fit into this category?  If so, it may be time to start reviewing your options.  Neither spreadsheets nor accounting software were designed to manage inventory and will only support your business growth to a certain extent.  You don’t want to stand in the way of your own success, right?  As a savvy business owner, you know there’s a better solution out there.   You just may not have the time to explore your options – because you’re too busy reconciling and correcting spreadsheet errors – sound familiar!

Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to explore your options.  I guarantee you’ll gain that time, and more, back in the future once you start automating and streamlining your processes.

Top Requested Inventory Management Features

So what features are buyers looking for?  For most, it starts with basic inventory control.  By that I mean having a systematic way to truly ‘manage’ and control your inventory across all your sales channels.   Being able to rely on a solution to do the work for you, and rest assured the calculations are correct, rather than working in spreadsheets where your formulas can break and cause an inventory nightmare.

Those running a slightly more complex organization from an inventory standpoint are in search of a solution with more advanced features like: bar coding and scanning, demand forecasting, drop shipping, lot tracking and kitting.  And because there is still a need for an accounting solution to complement your inventory management solution, ideally retailers would like to find two of the best solutions that can seamlessly integrate with each other.  Again, it’s not that you don’t need an accounting solution, it’s just that an accounting solution was meant to do just that, manage your finances, and not manage and track inventory.  It’s not unlike using an electrician to fix a plumbing problem.  Yes they are both professionals, but it’s not the electrician’s specialty.  In this case, you’re using a piece of software that wasn’t designed to manage your inventory, and managing inventory is an integral part of a retailer’s business.

Since many small to mid-size retailers use QuickBooks for accounting, a direct integration to QuickBooks is an attractive feature to offer.  This enables retailers to easily post to their General Ledger account and keep track of all their other business expenses outside of inventory.

 

Top-Requested Inventory Management Features
Top Requested Inventory Management Features Inventory Management Solutions – 2014 Buying Trends

Software Advice: Inventory Management Software BuyerView | 2014

Retailers’ Reasons For Evaluating Inventory Management Solutions

So why are retailers evaluating inventory management solutions? What’s pushing these first-time automators to invest in their back office operations? Most of the reasons go hand-in-hand and all go back to the fact that using spreadsheets or accounting solutions to perform tasks they weren’t designed to do just isn’t going to cut it anymore.

In the poll done by Software Advice, 35% of the prospective retail software buyers they spoke with said they were looking for a more modern solution for their inventory management needs.  Essentially, they are looking for an actual software solution designed to handle inventory needs rather than using spreadsheets, etc. The other reasons found also have to do with using a solution that wasn’t designed for inventory management control – having limited functionality, inability to support company growth and lacking the ability to automate business processes.

Automation is one of the top reasons we find retailers reaching out to us. Our solutions provide retailers with the ability to automate both inventory and order processes to not only streamline their operations, but free up time to focus on strategy efforts – like how to grow their business!  The streamlining of their processes is essential to support their current and future growth.  With manual processes in place, there tends to be a lot of bottlenecks that occur as business takes off, which can actually hinder your growth.

 

Buyers’ Reasons for Evaluating Inventory Management Software
Buyers Reasons for Evaluating Inventory Management Software Inventory Management Solutions – 2014 Buying Trends

Software Advice: Inventory Management Software BuyerView | 2014

 

Conclusion

When it comes down to it, there is one common goal in implementing a solution for the first time, or a replacement solution – finding a way to run your business better to not only manage current growth, but allow for the ability to support continued growth in the future!

So where do you fit in all of this?  If you’re in that category of retailers who are still using spreadsheets or non order and inventory specific solutions to run your business, there’s no time like the present to start exploring your options.  Like I said earlier, we’ve helped thousands of retailers to improve their processes and grow their business, and we’re here to help you too!  See for yourself, sign up for a Free Trial of our Inventory & Order Management Solutions today.

 

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Posted in Ecommerce, Freestyle Commerce, Industry News, Inventory & Order Management, Multichannel Order Manager | No Comments »