Archive for the ‘CEO’ Category

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

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Posted by:  Megan CastilloDydacomp-Automation

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.  Visit our website today to find out more:  www.dydacomp.com and Register for a Demo.

 

Tags: , , , ,

Posted in CEO, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Spotlight, Ecommerce, Email Marketing, Industry News, Multichannel Order Manager, Payment Processing, PCI Compliance, SiteLINK News, StoreFront.net, Webinar | No Comments »

How An Inventory & Order Management Solution Can Help Drive Success

Friday, 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

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!

Click Here to learn more ways to drive your retail sales growth in the ‘7 Retail Operational Improvements That Make A Difference’ eBook.

Tags: , , ,

Posted in CEO, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Spotlight, Dydacomp News, Ecommerce, Email Marketing, Industry News, Multichannel Order Manager, Press Release, Search Marketing, Shipping, SiteLINK News, StoreFront.net, Support | No Comments »

IRCE 2014 Recap & 4 Key Take-Aways

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Posted by Laura Hills, VP of Marketing

Dydacomp participated as a sponsor in recent 2014 Internet Retailer Conference Exhibition (IRCE) in Chicago. This year IRCE celebrated its 10th year as the world’s largest eCommerce conference and exhibition and our staff had a fantastic experience at the show!

We spoke with many retailers, fulfillment, distribution, and wholesale businesses of various sizes who were eager to discuss the latest developments in internet retail. Our days at the conference were filled with informative meetings and great conversations about the challenges and opportunities businesses face when managing their continued growth.

So what was the buzz at this year’s show? Here are our top 4 key take-aways from IRCE 2014:

irce

#4 Opportunities abound for best-in-class order and inventory management technology solutions with multichannel retailers. At IRCE we heard how order and inventory management automation, efficiency, and insight have delivered real value to the bottom line of many multichannel sellers. These businesses shared experiences of how their multichannel operations continue to expand the needs emanating from their ‘back office silos’. The successful businesses view order and inventory management operations as essential solutions that drive their business’ ability to compete and win from the point in which a customer engages with them through their shopping cart to the receipt of their orders at their door, and beyond.

#3 The Magento Community fully embraced a tightly integrated cloud-based OMS solution. Visitors to Dydacomp’s booth at IRCE were excited to experience Freestyle Commerce first-hand! Freestyle is Dydacomp’s latest innovation—a cloud-based online inventory and order management system that complements Magento eCommerce platforms and Amazon. Those who had the chance to see Freestyle in action were quickly delighted with the benefits its tight integration provided, including:

• Unification of the workflows for ALL Magento and Amazon sales channels orders into a single stream for expedited pick, pack, ship and bill processing.

• Complete visibility into on-hand stock levels, and the tasks involved with purchasing, receiving and updating new inventory counts across sales channels; combined with the ability to manage drop ship supplier operations.

• Connected customer insight and business intelligence tools to help make more informed business decisions and help manage the growth of businesses to their full potential.

#2 SMB retailers focus on drop shipping to drive efficiencies and cost savings. For many start-up and established small to medium-sized (SMB) growing businesses drop shipping was a hot topic. Drop shipping provides a way for savvy business owners to aggressively expand their product offerings without incurring the upfront costs of purchasing new inventory or having to directly manage the pick, pack and ship process for those orders. To further support these businesses, we were able to demonstrate how easy it was to include drop shipping operations into their order management mix through our solutions to meet their business objectives and growth goals without the overhead costs of maintaining inventory locally.

#1 Experience matters when it comes to technology solution providers. Many SMB retailers who sought us out at IRCE were looking for a solution provider that could relate to their specific business needs and who had the experience and the know-how to take businesses like theirs to the next level of success. We were proud to share our own personal success story. Many were surprised to learn that Dydacomp is a technology company that was started by retailers with solutions for retailers. Today, thousands of multichannel merchants rely on our Freestyle Commerce™ and Multichannel Order Manager (M.O.M.®) solutions to automate their retail back office operations and drive business growth. In total, our clients collectively generate nearly 10 million in gross merchandise sales every day! So how can we help you?

We hope to see you at next year’s IRCE but don’t wait until then to get started!

For additional information on operational improvements through automating order management, read this eBook entitled “Drive Your Retail Sales Growth With Operational Efficiencies.”

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in CEO, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Spotlight, Dydacomp News, Ecommerce, Email Marketing, Industry News, Multichannel Order Manager, Press Release, Search Marketing, Shipping, SiteLINK News, StoreFront.net, Support, Webinar | No Comments »

Avoiding Stock Outs

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Posted by:  Laura Hills, VP of Marketing

Out of Stock

We speak with retailers every day who tell us that their biggest challenges are with inventory and making sure they have enough product on-hand at all times.  The key is to have just enough to avoid a stock out situation, yet not carry too much product and tie up funds that could be spent elsewhere.

A stock out, or out-of-stock situation is caused when inventory has been depleted. The most common types of retail stock outs occur in the business to consumer goods industry (e.g., electronics, perishables like cookies, flowers or nutraceuticals).

Stock outs are the opposite of overstocks, where too much inventory is on hand.  In this era of multichannel retail, when orders are coming in to a retailer from multiple sales channels, stock outs are more of a concern than ever before.

Research shows that approximately 70-90% of stock outs are caused by poor inventory management and replenishment practices while 10-30% results from a shortage of stock from a supplier. Keeping your back office order workflow process and inventory levels in sync is essential to keeping eCommerce operations on track.

So how do you avoid Stock Outs?  Here are some tips we’d like to share with you from our experience:

  • Centralize the management of inventory from all sales channels
  • Manage multiple warehouses from one system
  • Set up ‘low inventory’ alerts per stock item
  • Manage & issue Purchase Orders to Suppliers from one system
  • Gain insight on trends & peak selling seasons

At Dydacomp we totally get it because we’ve been there too. We’re a software company started by retailers with solutions for retailers. We’ve been helping retailers find that delicate balance of just enough inventory to avoid stock outs without overstocking for years. And when they do, it makes all the difference. Happy selling!

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Posted in CEO, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Spotlight, Dydacomp News, Ecommerce, Email Marketing, Industry News, Multichannel Order Manager, Shipping, SiteLINK News, StoreFront.net | No Comments »

Is it Time for an Order Management System?

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Dydacomp_compterImageby Roxanne Brown, CQA – Consulting 4 Quickbooks


My firm has worked with hundreds of eCommerce clients over the years and many have started the conversation with “My company has really taken off and my current order fulfillment processes just aren’t cutting it anymore; what are my options?

Many of the business owners we’ve worked with started out using Quicken or QuickBooks, coupled with Excel to track and manage their inventory, orders, customers, etc.  While this approach may be acceptable when you first start out, it can quickly turn into an inhibitor of the growth for your company.

As your business grows, copying and pasting information from one system to another and constantly updating Excel (no matter how good you are at it) must be replaced with better and more efficient processes.  This is when we get the calls, asking “there must be a better way, what are my options?” – and the answer is automation!

While no two eCommerce businesses are exactly alike, they all follow the same basic fulfillment processes and can benefit from automating these tasks.  Automation is king; it’s what will allow you to take you time away from the time consuming task of copying and pasting so you may can focus on really running and growing your business to the level you know it can achieve.

The first step in achieving business process automation is to switch from Excel or Quicken to QuickBooks; however that’s just the beginning. QuickBooks (or whatever accounting system you use) is designed to handle the accounting portion of your business; it’s really not meant to handle everything else needed to run an eCommerce business. What you really should consider implementing is an order management system (OMS).  This type of implementation can strike fear in the heart of a business owner as they imagine the challenges of adding and changing many of their business processes – therefore many put this decision off much longer than they probably should have.

I won’t lie and say the transition is easy; however I will tell you that it’s well worth the time and effort to make the change.  No one has been sorry they made the decision to automate their business processes and increase productivity.  Many of the business owners we’ve worked with are shocked at how much they can now accomplish in a day, without adding employees.  I’ve seen businesses double and triple revenue in a year or less, solely because a good order management system was deployed!

When reviewing order management systems there are many things to consider beyond whatever your biggest pain point might be at the moment.  Inventory and order management is just the beginning; there are a lot of additional factors to consider as you take your business to the next level.

  • How many sales channels are you currently on?  Do you plan to add any in the near future?
  • Are you maintaining 100% of your inventory, or do you also drop ship?
  • How can you easily manage the ordering and receiving of products?
  • How can you automate your drop ship processes?
  • You MUST be PCI compliant.  If you’re not, you’re running a risk your business can’t afford.
  • How many states are you required to collect sales tax?
  • How many warehouse locations or fulfillment centers are in the mix?
  • What type of selling tools would make running your business more streamlined; and thus more profitable?
  • Fraud protection is key; what tools are available to reduce your risk?
  • How can you provide top-notch customer service?
  • The order management system needs to integrate properly with your accounting system.

Deploying a good order management system will make it possible to do all of the above and SO much more.  So, are you ready to take your business to the next level?

For additional information on the benefits of automating order, inventory and customer management, read this real-world case study about a luxury bedding etailer.  And for more insight on QuickBooks® and eCommerce Training & Integration check out the Consulting 4 QuickBooks blog here.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in CEO, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Spotlight, Dydacomp News, Ecommerce, Email Marketing, Industry News, Multichannel Order Manager, Payment Processing, PCI Compliance, Press Release, Search Marketing, Shipping, SiteLINK News, SMB Index, StoreFront.net, Support, Webinar | No Comments »

The Importance of a Millennial Marketing Mindset

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Posted by Fred Lizza, Dydacomp CEO

Millennials control 21 percent of consumer discretionary purchasing power in the US or $1.3 trillion[1], making them an audience that deserves recognition and attention. A recent survey conducted jointly by Merchant Warehouse and Retail Pro International identified a serious knowledge gap that exists between retailers and their millennial shoppers.  Each generation has their own specific buying patterns and understanding their unique characteristics and purchasing behaviors creates business opportunities that give retailers a competitive advantage.

MillennnialsThe millennials, or Generation Y, often forgo traditional marketing and do much of their shopping via the Internet from a wide variety of mobile devices.  They are visual communicators who look for real life examples to show them the value of their investment and what their money buys them.  Brand names are big with this group.  So is having the latest technology. They are extremely connected and look to their contemporaries for approval.  This group is attracted to the experience, value, cost, quality and service they can expect from a brand, product or company. Social media is the preferred channel for reaching this market. Key influencers for this group are online-savvy peers, the Internet, eCommerce, Reality TV and digital music.

With attitudes and behaviors shaped by technology and dramatic economic volatility, they are more conservative and share many characteristics of people who came of age during the great depression.  Millennials are 2.5 times more likely than their predecessors to adopt new social, mobile and digital channels and they integrate technology into their customer experience.  This is an important demographic for multi-channel retailers.  Alexandra Frith, director of marketing at Retail Pro International comments, “The reality is that there just isn’t room for error; with so much competition – whether in-store or online – retailers can’t risk losing this important demographic.” Knowing how to better attract and engage this group should be an important part of your retail strategy.

According to the survey, millennials are information-seeking shoppers with 60 percent doing pre-purchase research through retailer websites. In addition, 53 percent stated that their shopping experiences are seamless across channels although they note that retailer sites often lack the extensive functionality they have come to expect. They are looking for what is known in today’s vernacular as an ‘omnichannel experience’ and retailers need to consider this to create a relationship with these shoppers.

In addition, millennials are the most multiculturally diverse group in the U.S. today.  Brands that incorporate multicultural themes are winning with millennials as are those that effectively use social media channels to create inclusive communities.  This enables millennials to connect with each other as well as develop stronger relationships with actual products and brands – a retailer’s goal.

Tapping in to generational nuances can help strengthen your marketing strategy.  Staying on top of and utilizing what is current and trending for the millennial demographic will enable you to better connect with this target audience to increase brand loyalty along with your bottom line. Your order management system contains a wealth of information about your customers and, with an eye on strategic marketing, you can use the data to create targeted, effective campaigns to entice your Generation Y customers with promotions uniquely suited to them.

For additional information on operational improvements through automating order management, read this eBook entitled “Drive Your Retail Sales Growth With Operational Efficiencies.”


[1] MillennialMarketing.com – March 21, 2014: The Optical Industry: 3 Tips to Consider When Marketing to Millennials

[2] MillennialMarketing.com – Millennials and Multicultural Marketing

Tags: , , ,

Posted in CEO, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Spotlight, Dydacomp News, Ecommerce, Email Marketing, Industry News, Multichannel Order Manager, Search Marketing, SiteLINK News, StoreFront.net, Webinar | No Comments »

Going Beyond Amazon Marketplace to Increase Sales

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Posted by: Laura Hills, VP of Marketing

Amazon is one of the top ten sites in the world and undeniably a major force in eCommerce.  It is one of the most customer-centric companies and according to Practical eCommerce, it attracts the most unique visitors of any online marketplace.  The latest information from Alexa, the well-known web information company, reports that close to 950,000 sites link to Amazon, making it a powerful tool for retailers that are looking to grow their online business.Dydacomp-Amazon

Amazon’s goal is to enable shoppers to find anything they want at the lowest possible price and third party merchants are helping Amazon to achieve this goal. We have often pointed out that offering products on the Amazon Marketplace can help you reach new customers and retain existing ones. Many of you have taken this advice and are experiencing the benefits of increased sales through products sold on Amazon. Amazon provides programs and services to Amazon retailers to help them get noticed on Amazon and simplify the order fulfillment processes.

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) enables retailers to grow sales without worrying about increases in packaging and shipping costs associated with rising sales as products become visible on Amazon. FBA says, “You sell it, we ship it.”  Retailers are able to store their products in Amazon shipping centers until orders are ready to be fulfilled, transferring essential order fulfillment, packaging and delivery tasks to Amazon. This enables multichannel eCommerce retailers to sell higher quantities of products without having to worry about having the space to store and resources to process orders and ship their products.

Dydacomp-Order-ManagementFBA also manages customer support and returns, giving you additional time to focus on other aspects of running your online business. Inventory with Amazon is secure and insured against possible loss or damage, another relief to multichannel retailers with limited space and budgets. Utilizing FBA allows your products to be treated as if they were Amazon products and sorted by price without the added cost of shipping which can greatly increase product visibility for shoppers. FBA can also help you to achieve Amazon’s Featured Merchant status which also increases the visibility of your products on Amazon.

Another feature of FBA is that with no additional effort, you are registered for Amazon Prime which provides two-day free shipping with no minimum order size to its members.  In addition, Prime includes unlimited instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows through Prime Instant Video and enables members to read free books each month through Kindle First and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. More than one million worldwide Amazon customers became Prime members in the third week of December 2013 alone.

Although there is an annual cost for membership (presently $99), Prime members spend up to 150% more per order[1] and offering products through Amazon Prime can have a tremendous impact on your sales.  Robbie Schwietzer, vice president of Amazon Prime stated: “In all my years here, I don’t remember anything that has been as successful at getting customers to shop in new products lines.”[2] According to Amazon, the number of products available for two-day shipping has grown from 1 million to 20 million and that is currently has “tens of millions” of Prime members worldwide.

When selling products through Amazon, you may find increased competition with many vendors offering similar products and prices.  Offering the opportunity for customer to order with Prime may be the deciding factor in picking your product over a competitor’s.

Listing your products on Amazon Marketplace will get your products in front of a significant volume of traffic but you now need to find ways to differentiate yourself in the Amazon universe.  To sell even more products, consider Fulfillment by Amazon and Amazon Prime to help you increase overall sales and revenue. Click here to understand how FBA works.

Dydacomp has created a special on-demand webinar that provides additional information on selling through Amazon Marketplace.  Click here to access this free on-demand webinar.



Tags: , , , , ,

Posted in CEO, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Spotlight, Dydacomp News, Ecommerce, Email Marketing, Industry News, Multichannel Order Manager, PCI Compliance, Search Marketing, Shipping, StoreFront.net, Webinar | No Comments »

Drop Shipping 101

Friday, April 18th, 2014

DropShippingPosted by: Megan Castillo,
Dydacomp Product Marketing Manager

Wouldn’t it be great to start an online store with very little investment upfront and manage it from anywhere in the world? Even better, have someone else pay your upfront inventory costs and manage the processing and shipment of orders. It sounds like it’s too good to be true, but it’s not, if you know about drop shipping.

If you’re not familiar with drop shipping, to put it simply, drop shipping is a fulfillment model where you don’t keep the products you sell in your stock.  Instead, you partner with a wholesale supplier that not only stocks the inventory for you, but the supplier then processes and sends orders directly to your customers – you never see or touch the product!

The Advantages

There are a lot of advantages to this fulfillment model. The biggest advantage is not having to buy inventory upfront. It’s basically a pay-as-you-go model because you don’t purchase product until you make a sale and the customer has paid, so you don’t tie up your funds in inventory. And since you don’t have to pick, pack and ship the products, it frees up your time to focus on what matters – revenue generating activities like promoting your website and investigating marketing tactics.  Spending time on promoting your website is key to your eCommerce success.  The fact that it’s easy to establish an eCommerce store with the drop ship model is a double edged sword – it’s as easy for others as it is for you!  That means competition is sometimes steep. However, with a little bit of time and effort, you can make your store stand out, resulting in a successful online business.

Some Drawbacks Do Exist

Like anything else, the good sometimes comes with a little bad.  In the case of drop shipping, aside from competition, there are some other drawbacks associated with the fulfillment model, but nothing that can’t be overcome with a little planning and strategizing. By putting your product fulfillment in the hands of another, you do give up a degree of control in terms of the way the product is packed and shipped, as well as running the risk of an item being out of stock. The latter is easily overcome by working with multiple suppliers with overlapping product lines so you always have a backup plan.

Overall, the drawbacks are minimal in comparison to what it would cost you, in both time and money, to stock, house and ship products yourself. And at the end of the day, drop shipping isn’t a new concept.  In fact it’s a fulfillment model trusted by some of the big guys in the eCommerce game, such as Sears and Home Depot, giving them an opportunity to expand product lines without dealing with the hassles associated with the additional inventory.

How To Get Started

Figuring out the right products to sell and then finding a wholesaler you can trust is the tricky part.  There are a lot of resources out there to help with this process, and then of course there is the good old Google search.  When doing a web search, be mindful that wholesale suppliers are traditionally not the best marketers, so you may have to dig deep into the search engine results to find the right partner.

Final Thoughts

Drop shipping offers a great alternative method to get started, or expand your current product offering, without having to dip too far into your own pocket. Of course there will be some investment involved in establishing your eCommerce presence, but nothing compared to what it would cost if you had to stock and ship your own product.

For a full list of both the benefits and drawbacks of the drop ship fulfillment model, along with some tips on how to get started, check out our white paper, What’s the Deal with Drop Shipping?  

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Posted in CEO, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Spotlight, Dydacomp News, Ecommerce, Email Marketing, Industry News, Multichannel Order Manager, Search Marketing, Shipping, SiteLINK News, StoreFront.net, Webinar | No Comments »

Omnichannel Retailing – What is it? Why is it Important? And how do you apply it?

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Posted by: Megan Castillo,  Dydacomp Product Marketing ManagerPicture1

Everywhere you look these days you see the phrase ‘Omnichannel Retailing’ – trade shows, industry publications, news blasts, etc. -  but what does it mean and why is it important to online retailers? More importantly, how do you apply it?

Multi- vs. Omni- Channel – Same or Different?

There’s a lot of confusion as to whether or not Omnichannel is just a new hip way to say Multichannel, or if it’s actually different – the answer is … it’s different. Multichannel refers to the actual sales channels through which you are selling – storefront, online, mobile devices, etc.  In the past, these channels typically worked independently of each other, which seemed foolish if you ask me.  Our society is all about networking, so why wouldn’t a retailer ‘network’ between sales channels, after all it’s one brand.  In the past, there’s been an emphasis on making sure the look and feel of the brand is consistent across channels, but what about cross channel promotion?  This is one of the ways Omnichannel retailing comes into play.

Omnichannel retailing is the marketing term that came about as a result of multichannel retailing.  Omnichannel refers to the ‘experience’ the customer has when shopping in one or more of your sales channels, making sure it’s consistent and emphasizes the importance of cross channel promotion.  Obviously customers aren’t going to have the exact same experience shopping in your storefront versus on your website – you lose the ‘touch and feel’ aspect, no sales reps to help you find product, etc. – but there are a few keys things you can do that customers can expect to see across channels – consistent service, product availability and pricing.  At the end of the day, you’re one brand, so you want customers to have a positive interaction at all levels.

Why is Omnichannel Retailing Important?

Retail has always been about the customer experience, and Omnichannel doesn’t change this, it takes it to another level.  It’s now an end-to-end experience that begins whenever and wherever the customer orders, not necessarily beginning/ending in the same place.  A shopper’s journey is no longer a linear one, meaning he or she goes to one sales channel and decides on a purchase.  Today we see shoppers incorporating some, and sometimes even all, of the retailer’s channels into their decision process.  That’s why it’s so important to be consistent, whether in messaging, prices, etc.  If not, you risk tarnishing that customer’s experience and potentially losing them as a repeat customer.  That’s critical, because it costs 5 times more to get a new client than to keep an existing one and existing clients are much more profitable than new ones.

There have been a lot of reports and surveys done recently on the benefits of applying an Omnichannel retailing approach, and the number one benefit is always ‘stronger brand identity/recognition’.  This is key to your survival as a brand/retailer.  Other benefits attributed to applying an Omnichannel approach include revenue growth, expanding your customer base, higher customer satisfaction, and it can be a competitive differentiator, at least until the rest of the retail world catches up.

How do you apply an Omnichannel Retailing Strategy?

There are lots of ways to apply an Omnichannel retailing strategy.  Some of the easier ways include: making use of social media, integrating customer reviews (for online channels), offering cross channel services, and the easiest of all – providing consistent pricing across all channels!  I’m sure most of you use, or know others who use, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.  Social media is an easy, free way to get in front of your customers.  Additionally, it can help you expand your reach!  Each time a customer ‘follows’, ‘likes’ or ‘retweets’ something you post, each and every one of their connections now sees it – essentially it’s like free marketing!

Customer reviews are great for boosting online sales, especially for those products are harder to sell due to the lack of ‘touch and feel’ aspect.  And I’m sure many of you have seen retailers offer the option to ‘buy online, pick up in store’, but what you may not have realized is that this is an Omnichannel retailing strategy.  In this example, two of your sales channels are working together, your website and storefront.  These are just a few quick examples.  We’ll talk more about applying an Omnichannel Retail Strategy in future posts.

Final Thoughts

An Omnichannel retailing strategy is a necessity for those of you working in multichannel sales environments, and it makes sense.  You’ve worked hard to build out each of these channels, now let’s start using them to our advantage!

For a more in depth look at Omnichannel retailing, along with additional examples on how to apply the strategy and then how to evaluate the success of your efforts, check out our webinar, Omnichannel Retailing – Finding Value in a Multichannel Sales Environment .

Tags: , , , , ,

Posted in CEO, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Spotlight, Dydacomp News, Ecommerce, Email Marketing, Industry News, Multichannel Order Manager, PCI Compliance, Search Marketing, SiteLINK News, StoreFront.net, Webinar | No Comments »

Use Customer Profile Data to Capitalize on the 80/20 Rule

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Posted by Laura Hills, VP of Marketing

We’ve all heard about the 80/20 rule that states 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers.  That 20% is definitely a group worth cultivating to keep them engaged.  The more you know about this customer segment the better for your business.

Most retailers capture basic information about their most active customers but that may not be enough to establish a good connection to this audience.  To develop relationship longevity requires that you develop an intimate knowledge of the customer that goes beyond their name, email address and order history.  In this age of digital marketing, you need to connect on a broader level that includes social media, sales channel preferences and buying habits. Having a more complete customer profile will enable you to design more relevant, timely and targeted campaigns and communications to fully engage your top shoppers.

Go beyond the standard demographic data to include:

  • Birthday
  • Anniversary
  • Family size and make up
  • Favorite color/fragrance, etc.
  • Preferred shopping method
  • Work information, if applicable
  • Detailed purchase history

Also try to capture:

  • What they are saying about you – social media
  • What they like – social media can also provide this information
  • What they are purchasing – favorite items, for self or for gifts
  • When they are shopping – how frequently, time of day, day of the week
  • How they are shopping – website, mobile app, brick and mortar store

All channels need to be integrated to capture relevant data both online and offline that you can easily tap into to develop meaningful communication streams to attract customers.  You need an order management system that can collect detailed customer information along with order details that you can extract and utilize to keep your 20% coming back.  Increasing customer engagement levels through relevant promotions to this target group can drive revenues and enhance your bottom line.

For information about making sure your back office systems keep up with your shoppers’ demands, access our latest whitepaper: Is Your Back Office Keeping Up With Your Online Store? The Top 5-1/2 Reasons You need an Order Management System. 

Tags: , , , , ,

Posted in CEO, Customer Satisfaction, Dydacomp News, Ecommerce, Email Marketing, Industry News, Multichannel Order Manager, Search Marketing, SiteLINK News, StoreFront.net | No Comments »