As the world becomes more globally connected through screens, the retail sector is also certainly being affected. Implementing an eCommerce sales channel can do amazing things for your company, however, there are some clear mistakes you don’t have to be doomed to repeat.
Clinging to manual methods
Trying to still retain manual control of your business when you are dealing with fast transactions across multiple sales channels can be a real nightmare. It also increases your vulnerability for massive errors that can drastically cost the bottom line or your hard-earned reputation with customers.
As difficult as it is to let go of manual processes like managing inventory through spreadsheets, or tracking sales transactions on a piece of paper, it is exceedingly important to welcome cloud-based software if you are going to successfully embark on a multichannel eCommerce journey. If you take the time to set up a robust software and systems in the beginning, it will save you time and money in the long run.
In a B2B eCommerce situation, many eCommerce retailers, for whatever reason, do not provide inventory transparency to their customers. This would result in customers having to proceed to checkout to see if there is inventory available or phone a store to check.
In today’s retail environment, empowering consumers through self-service and encouraging inventory transparency online is a vital part of making them feel valued. They will also spend less time and effort tracking purchases, which can alleviate frustration. You should always be seeking methods of increasing customer capability and reducing any wasted time. In doing so, their brand loyalty will start to grow.
When customer service is concerned, overcommitting and underdelivering is a resounding no-no. Unfortunately, eCommerce retailers can really end up overselling by listing the same products on multiple channels, or by not updating a single channel fast enough when sales are made. The result is that two transactions have essentially purchased the same product, and so one is in error and must be refunded, leaving one disgruntled customer in its wake. The solution to this problem is by ensuring your software and inventory systems can keep up with sales by constantly updating a central platform from which all inventory data is collated and actioned. It becomes the one source of truth to track inventory movement.
Running too close to the wind
With multiple channels, the risk of error is multiplied. To combat this effect, it is important to recognise it and then create a buffer stock that you can tap into when overselling occurs so that you can keep customers happy. Calculating this buffer stock is an art as it cannot be too large or too small for your requirements but it is important to take a good look at your sales data to make sure your choice is informed.
eCommerce is not all about online
One big mistake eCommerce retailers make is to grow too big too quickly without paying attention to their distribution warehouses where the physical stock is held. Distribution warehouses need to be kept organised and logical, especially as they multiply in number so that picking and packing are as accurate and efficient as possible. When a retailer does not know quantities or locations of items, then all their eCommerce efforts can be completely eroded in one fell swoop.
Here are some ways you can keep your warehouse in top shape.
eCommerce is, in so many ways, a credit to the company, however, it must be implemented correctly for a business to reap its benefits without creating new challenges. These tips will help your business mitigate the challenges of eCommerce
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.