Posts Tagged ‘Order Management’

Is it Time to Rethink Your Return Policy?

Friday, February 5th, 2016

A generous return policy is a vital component for any retailer, but with the ever-increasing demand, retailers are more susceptible to return fraud, back orders, and lost revenue.

“Return fraud remains a critical issue for retailers with the impact spanning far and wide, in-store and online.”
NRF VP of Loss Prevention Bob Moraca

How can a retailer ensure they get their return items back as fast as possible, while dealing with return codes, shipping charges, and bin sorting?

Thinking through every aspect of your return policy may be a crucial area to hone in on for the new year. Check out the key insights from 2015 below to dominate returns this year.

return policy infographic

Keeping Your Customers Satisfied

Consumers will forever crave an accommodating buying environment, where returns are as easy as purchasing a product. There are a few ways to reduce the number of legitimate returns. Consider the following tips for a returns policy that will best compliment your business.

  • Amp up your customer service approach (look into including additional contacts, such as email, live chat, phone)
  • Incorporate product videos for clarification
  • Cultivate customer reviews
  • Always provide quality product images and detailed descriptions

Developing a succint return policy can sometime be a challenging process. Between providing the consumer with optimal service and striving to eliminate return fraud and errors in your processes, things can get messy. An order management system can help a retailer manage return process issues by providing options to customize the process and more. If returns season left you in a scramble, it may be time to consider your options.

Check out the complete guide to managing product returns to say goodbye to backorders, cancellations, negative social buzz and, potentially, lost customers.

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A Superior Approach to Ecommerce Customer Service

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

ecommerce customer service

Providing the best eCommerce customer service starts with having the means to offer immediate access to address each and every one of the customer’s requests.

“In the world of Internet Customer Service, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away.” –American Banker, Doug Warner

There are several capabilities to support quality customer service. Your staff should be able to enter and review orders, view the list of products purchased, record payments, manage contacts and update customer demographics, all within a single screen. This vital detail can help decrease the odds of falling into the massive customer service fall out that exists today.

 “In the U.S., the cost of poor customer service is $41 billion per year.”-New Voice Media

Notifications would be sent and alerts received every time a customer makes a purchase, and/or requests information, whether via phone call or email. With efficient customer management in an order management system, businesses can:

Look Up Customers Quickly & Accurately

A relational database containing the entire customer file could be queried in seconds, with options to search by name, email, phone, etc. Without the ability to look up customers quickly, retailers could encounter a drop in quality customer support, resulting in a poor experience.

“77% of U.S. online adults say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service.”- Forrester

Reward Good Customers & Create Loyal Shoppers

With a points and rewards program, customers gain more points as they purchase, and can spend on their next order.

Focusing on the customer experience will give your business the ability to succeed in an omnichannel world. Even a thriving business feels the pressures and frustrations associated with customer service as orders from multiple sales channels increase.

Check out the eBook below to find out how rewarding loyal customers can give you the ability to increase customer retention rates and much more.

is your oms hindering your ability to grow ebook cta

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How to Maximize Your Inventory Turnover Rate

Friday, December 18th, 2015

inventory turnover warehouse

What is an inventory turnover rate? Simply put, it’s the number of times inventory is sold or used in a period of time. Also known as the cost of goods sold or net sales divided by the average inventory.

Although a high inventory turnover rate signals strong sales, it can also indicate an ineffective inventory purchasing plan. And, since a low turnover rate implies fewer sales, excess inventory is right around the corner.

High inventory levels are not ideal, since inventory usually has a return rate of zero, and it can open up your company to financial concerns if prices start to fall. You can learn how to monitor and calculate your inventory turnover ratio, but then what comes next?

Adopting Automation for Efficiency

Managing the retail supply chain from the point of purchase to management and delivery, has reached a point where automation is necessary to provide the maximum inventory turnover rate. As retailers begin to recognize where these processes line up, it becomes easier to understand how the business is affected by even small changes in processes and practices.

The chart below underscores the need that midsize to large businesses have for an order management system (OMS) providing automation of order and inventory management tasks, reduced data entry, and improved purchasing, to name a few.

Capabilities to Consider When Choosing an OMS

inventory turnover chart

Much like their larger counterparts, small businesses are searching for reduced data entry, improved purchasing, as well as improved warehousing. The Software Advice BuyerView report highlights that 18% of the small businesses surveyed completely lack process automation with no systems in place whatsoever.

What Can Automation Do for Your Business?

Small businesses often feel they do not need an automated back office process, mainly because they are not handling the same capacity of orders as larger businesses. Although this may be true, automation can be just as important for small businesses, due to the likelihood of errors that can develop throughout the order and delivery process.

This is why 35% of small businesses are also searching for solutions offering reduced data entry. Eliminating the number of entries needed to add an order can drastically affect your order processes and streamline efficiency. This is also an extremely important function for midsize to large businesses, as 31% recognize this need. There are many detailed tasks associated with implementing an effective purchasing process, including payment terms, delivery dates, item specifications, quantities, shipping terms and other relevant terms and conditions.

With an automated purchasing process, businesses can easily manage orders and inventory, as this is a crucial step to the financial health of the business. The question to ask yourself … Is your order process up to speed?

Find out if your order management system is hindering your ability to grow in the eBook below.

is your oms hindering your ability to grow ebook cta

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What is the Best Way to Manage Complex Inventory?

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

managing complex inventory

The last thing you want to do is disappoint a customer by posting an item for sale, when you don’t have the inventory to fulfill it. You need a clear and straightforward way to monitor your inventory levels across all sales channels.

First things first. Having a centralized system to manage complex inventory will ensure you are publishing accurate available to sell levels to your sales channels.

“93% of retailers rated system-wide inventory visibility as the most significant capability in executing their omni-channel fulfillment strategy, yet only 45% can enable it.”
-Retail Times

With up-to-the minute status reports, you should be able to easily select and review orders by status, and that means all orders. These include:

• Orders that have not been picked, packed, shipped or backordered

• Orders awaiting credit card approval

• Orders with a particular stock item

Avoiding overselling an item is key, and you are on the right track to making sure that never happens again.

One area this will come in handy for is kitting (aka bundling products). Whether you sell an item on its own or in multiples, your inventory levels will remain visible. One aspect to fully assist with this in is on-demand assembly. So, if you sell products that are assembled, packaged or personalized on demand, this module is a must-have.

Visibility is step one, but what else encompasses managing complex inventory? Discover what your order management system can provide to increase sales in the free eBook below. 

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Why Your Order Management System Needs to Do More

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

inventory and order management

Customer loyalty greatly relies on how effective your order management system is. Responding quickly to your customers is a given, but what else can you deliver?

An effective and streamlined OMS plays a pivotal role in your sales and delivery operation and gives you the upper-hand in customer service.

“95% of leaders say providing a good customer experience is the top priority, but only 37% have the budget and means to implement ways to improve the experience.”
– Forrester Research Study

Discovering the ins and outs of how your solution can truly benefit you is the next step to success.

The back-end order fulfillment processes are often seen as an afterthought when building a functional website. You want to be sure to focus on the ‘inside’ too when managing your orders. After all, customer expectations are dramatically increasing, and will only need to get stronger as time goes on.

Processing orders can be overwhelming for all businesses, and even more so as growth comes. A comprehensive order management solution is more than convenient for a few reasons. When all features and functionality are utilized, it can improve your business processes and help increase your online sales.

Find out exactly what you need in an order management system to ward off
the competition in the OMS eBook below.

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Is it Time to Take on Order Management?

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

order management

There is no question whether online shopping will continue to grow, as the web becomes more of a go-to resource for everything retail.

“In 2015, over 200 million U.S. online shoppers are projected to shop online at least once a month.”
-invespBlog

But, the real question is; how will you as a retailer use this knowledge to your benefit?

Stable and reliable eCommerce platforms have significantly improved online shopping experiences, and as eCommerce shopping habits amplify, it is crucial to take the necessary steps to keep up. Utilizing all of the functionality of an online order management system will help your business thrive in the long run.

Why Use Freestyle O.M.S.?

eCommerce Shopping Habits

The ultimate goal of an order management and inventory system is to make the merchant’s life easier and customers happier. An order management system benefits your business by encompassing all behind-the-scenes efforts, like managing the inventory purchasing process, after the customer places their order.

Not only does it ensure the order is processed efficiently, but the system makes sure it is shipped promptly and arrives quickly, with as little hassle as possible. You can easily accomplish this by taking steps to manage your customer’s experience.

If you sell a product, ship it to customers or outsource that function, research confirms order management system benefits will continue to grow, particularly if you’re processing more than 10 orders a day. An OMS frees you to focus on the essential back office activities to fuel the growth of your business.

An Intuitive, Fast Solution to Order Processing 

If you’re like most retailers looking for an OMS, you’re looking to technology to give you flexibility and make your life easier. You want a solution that’s easy to use, intuitive and uncomplicated.

Why not discover the many order management system benefits, like processing orders faster, cheaper and without error. All of this can be done through our seamless integrations. Order processing has never been so simple. Snapshot accessibility to control inventory in real-time will leave you wondering why you didn’t start this process sooner.

At the end of the day, having satisfied customers will help your business expand, increasing the chance of repeat business and referrals. ” If someone on Yelp mentions good customer service, they are over 5 times as likely to give a 5 star review, rather than a 1 star.

“Focus on great customer service and the ratings and reviews will come.”
Yelp

In order to provide the best customer service as a multichannel retailer, your OMS should:

  • Have visibility into your customers’ orders across all of your sales channels
  • Be able to quickly respond to customer inquiries and engage them
  • Give customers the ability to view the status of an order online or be able to call and get information in real-time from a customer service team member.

Give your business room to grow, and find out more about order management system benefits in the Multichannel Order Management for eCommerce eBook below.

eCommerce Shopping Habits

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What to Look for in a Cloud Based Order Management System

Friday, June 19th, 2015

cloud based order management quick tips before switching
Migrating to the cloud is more than just a motto in today’s technology-driven world. Cloud based order management systems are quickly growing in popularity, as more than 78 percent of U.S. small businesses are expected to fully transition to cloud computing by 2020.

By adopting a cloud based order management system, you can significantly increase your business visibility to grow revenue, save money, fulfill orders faster, gain happier customers and more.

With a cloud based order management system, communication with your suppliers can dramatically evolve, which can ultimately improve customer service and lower inventory costs. When you consider switching from an on premise solution, or even a manual process, it is normal to be overwhelmed with the numerous cloud based systems out there.

Take a look below for some quick tips to look out for when choosing a cloud based order management system.

Look for Multichannel Visibility

The possibilities with a cloud based order management system are endless, as you gain the ability to view your inventory, orders and more in one place. One main reason SMB’s (small to medium-sized businesses) switch to the cloud is to gain visibility of orders and inventory across multiple sales channels.

If you’ve been using the order management features in your accounting or eCommerce system to manage multichannel sales, your visibility may be lacking. With a multichannel solution, you should be seeing an enhanced experience compared to your traditional system. You would be able to track orders, inventory levels, replenishment thresholds and top selling products, all while determining which sales channels are the best sellers.

Managing your customer's experience - Visibility

Consider the Costs

Another reason to consider a cloud based solution is affordability throughout the purchasing process and beyond. A cloud based or SaaS (software-as-a-service) solution is generally priced on a subscription basis, where you pay per user per month, rather than incurring a large software purchase fee up front. It’s somewhat analogous to leasing a car vs. buying a car; i.e. paying monthly for use versus purchasing the system outright. SaaS solution updates are automatically made available to all customers using the solution. While on premise solutions can be beneficial, there are some things to keep in mind.

On premise solutions may require you to make the updates and, depending upon the level of enhancement, would require you to pay separately for them.

Pay Attention to Order Processing Times

Your cloud based solution should be extremely quick and non-disruptive. The main advantage to switching to the cloud is the seamless integration with all of your orders. With an automated order management system, data integration happens in real-time or near real-time, and offers seamless integration to other integrated applications, such as a QuickBooks Inventory Management Software solution.

Recognize the Technology Benefits for SMB’s

Technology is ever-expanding, and you do not want to be left to wrestle with countless updates a traditional system would require. A cloud based solution can effortlessly evolve with your supply-chain, no matter what size company you have. SMB’s can greatly benefit from cloud based solutions because of anytime, anywhere access, which allows you to keep track of inventory in one place. The only thing you need is an internet connection.

Keeping Track of Your Business with Visual Reporting

Your cloud based solution should offer you the ability to display reports with images, interactive data, etc., to give you multichannel visibility across sales channels and to keep you up-to-date on cross-channel orders and inventory. Real-time dashboards and reporting eliminates dated reporting. It’s important to keep in mind what is best for your particular business and future goals ahead.

But, now that you have a basic overview of what to look out for, find out exactly how a Cloud Based Order Management systems can save you time and money in the long-run below.

Cloud Based Order Management Infographic

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Managing Amazon Orders

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Posted By: Megan Castillo

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

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Posted by:  Greg Swallow, HighJump TrueCommerce

EDIAn 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.

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

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Posted by:  Megan Castillo

magentoYou’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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