Archive for the ‘Cloud Based Inventory Management’ Category

Managing Amazon Orders

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Posted By: Megan Castillo

Amazon%20Integration Managing Amazon Orders
If you’re selling on Amazon through Seller Central or using FBA [Fulfillment by Amazon], then you’re probably familiar with the challenges inherent in managing orders through Amazon.

Let’s face it. Selling on Amazon raises the profile of most products and makes them a hotter commodity. Multichannel Merchant magazine covered Amazon sales results in 2014 in their first issue of January 2015. “Amazon announced that sellers sold a record-setting more than 2 billion items worldwide in 2014. The number of sellers on Amazon adopting the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service to help scale their businesses and delight customers with Amazon’s award-winning fulfillment and customer service also grew more than 65% year-over-year worldwide. There are currently more than 2 million sellers on Amazon worldwide that account for over 40% of the total units sold on Amazon.”

Read the full article here: “Amazon Sellers Sold More Than 2 Billion Items in 2014

If you’re like most merchants selling on your website and also on Amazon, some of these challenges may be all too familiar to you:

• Inventory Updates – Inventory levels in your Amazon store(s), as well as other channels, can get out of sync. You risk overselling and tarnishing your Seller Rating.

• Order Status Updates – Once a product is shipped, does your system automatically mark that product as ‘shipped’ and immediately update inventory levels across synced channels? If not, you could face costly errors.

• Keeping Track of FBA Inventory – Another common challenge is in keeping track of inventory sent to Amazon to fulfill FBA orders. Having the ability to create ‘FBA Reserved Bins’ allows you to compare Amazon’s order calculations to your own to ensure accurate inventory counts from Amazon, and  to know when to replenish product levels.

These are such important and timely issues for the online retailers that come to us. If this is important to you, check out our on-demand webinar Solution Spotlight – Managing Amazon Orders, to learn how Freestyle can help you process and manage your Amazon orders more efficiently.

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Posted in Cloud Based Inventory Management, Ecommerce, Multichannel Order Manager, Order Management, Small Business Inventory Management | No Comments »

Why Magento? What’s All The Buzz About?

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Posted by:  Laura Hills 

ISR logo Why Magento?  What’s All The Buzz About?

Here’s another excerpt from the article that Integrated Solutions for Retailers recently published in which they asked Magento experts Dydacomp, EYEMAGINE, and Redstage to explain what makes Magento such a popular choice as an e-commerce platform for retailers.

Why Magento?  What makes Magento such a popular choice as an e-commerce platform for retailers?

Dydacomp: This question is best answered by our Magento Solution Provider partners, but from our perspective, Magento offers the retailer rich marketing capabilities, scales the best from small businesses to large enterprises, and has developed the most comprehensive community of solution providers and extensions in the industry. It’s a solution you can grow with.

[Dydacomp has developed Freestyle Commerce as the cloud based order management solution built specifically for Magento.  Our seamless integration allows for near real-time updates so your website always has the most up-to-date inventory and order status information.   And because we have such a great understanding of the Magento platform, we can have you up and using Freestyle in a matter of days…no more long, expensive implementation processes.]

EYEMAGINE: Well, our history with Magento starts at the beginning. You see, EYEMAGINE began working with Magento since before version 1.0 and has contributed original source code to the platform.  Having our roots in open source e-commerce technologies that pre-date Magento, we could see the writing on the wall and the hole in the market that Magento was looking to fill.  Before Magento disrupted the market seven short years ago in 2007, e-commerce retailers that wanted to get serious about selling online often found it cost prohibitive to use a solution like Hybris, Demandware, ATG, or IBM WebSphere.  These were simply not options for them as the cost of installation, licensing, configuration, and maintenance were just non-starters. E-commerce retailers’ only other option was to develop custom storefronts using their own developers and languages, such as ASP.NET or others, which again proved costly and challenging.

Magento really came out and changed the game by creating a community-based, open-source platform capable of serious e-commerce, at a reasonable price point.  This, in effect, opened up an entire market segment that otherwise had been underserved and without solutions.  Recognizing the sheer enormity of the market space and the opportunity to serve literally millions of possible businesses, EYEMAGINE become one of the first Magento partners and have stayed loyal to the platform over the past seven years, even as Magento was acquired by eBay and the partner landscape continued to change.  Now that Magento has the full support of eBay and the resources that go along with it, we are sure they will continue to innovate and create new and valuable features to help modern businesses succeed in the e-commerce space.

The reality is that there is no “perfect” choice. Every piece of technology in the world is imperfect and will require maintenance, upkeep, and specialized knowledge to keep performing, as it should.  As great as Magento is as a platform, do not underestimate its complexity. Always work with a partner whom you can trust, who has experience in providing years of quality service.

Redstage: We actually wrote a blog article some time ago on the benefits of Magento, which is still very fitting: http://www.redstage.com/2011/09/19/benefits-of-magento/ The most important is the following excerpt:

“Back in the OSCommerce, Zen Cart, and CRE Loaded days, an ecommerce site was a big hack job of custom code and “addons” that were basically just instructions for additional hacks.  The more complex your site got, the more of a hack job it would become.  Random errors and stability problems were a frequent result.  Many times, complex additions would mean a full redevelopment of the whole site.

Magento, on the other hand, is properly architected to be able to extend its functionality in an elegant and stable way.  And it’s really a huge advantage for your business.  For instance, I wonder how much it cost Amazon to develop their Frequently Bought Together or Who Viewed This Also Viewed up-selling interfaces?  Well, with Magento, you can have either one of those for about 50 bucks as extensions, and about 3 minutes of installation.”

Magento also allows us to add custom and complex functionality without the risk of future systemic complications.

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.

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

Monday, 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

Friday, 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.

 

 

 

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

Friday, 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.

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

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

Monday, 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.

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