August 2, 2018      3 min read

Optimal workflow is an essential part of any business as it means the least amount of time and resources are wasted, the more dollar savings and increased return on investment for any product. However, with a complex network of tasks and departments involved in retail, it can be very difficult to coordinate everyone for the most optimal outcome in terms of workflow. This requires a dedication to detail, good communication and everyone adopting the end goal personally. There are practical things you can do to achieve slick and efficient workflow in a B2C eCommerce business.

Create a clear, accountable system

The first aspect of good workflow in eCommerce is to create a system that is very clear in terms of its goals and objectives. The next step is to assign the various goals to different departments or people so that a sense of accountability is created. When goals are either lofty, ill-explained or not properly assigned, confusion ensues making it difficult to progress forward as a business.

Flexibility

A key requirement of good workflow is to respond dynamically to changing external variables such as the market, or simply because things are not functioning optimally and there is likely a better way. Of course, in order to be flexible to new information and demands, there needs to be a process for capturing this feedback. Therefore, it is vital when creating good workflow to allow for internal and external customer feedback.

Measure success

As with any goal, it is imperative to have measures of success, otherwise how does anyone truly know if they have achieved what they set out to do? For a B2C eCommerce business this might involve setting individual key performance indicators or perhaps even departmental validation measures. The process and outcomes need to be measured and validated to ensure they fall within predetermined limits that are set by the collective company goals. If performance or outcomes do not adhere to these limits, then it provides a measurable opportunity to improve.

Improve the quality of your vendors

A strained relationship between your company and your vendors can lead to inefficient workflows. One way to eliminate this issue is to improve the vetting process of anyone you enter into business with. This requires not only ensuring they are trustworthy from the start, but also instilling adequate contractual agreements and holding them accountable to an agreed standard of quality and delivery. In doing so, conflicts can be settled quickly and easily as a contract was in place providing a base level of expectation to fall back on.

Embrace automation

Automation is everywhere and is well and truly the gold standard for B2C eCommerce. Use it to your advantage and watch the benefits roll in. Automation is evident in managing the customer relationship, managing internal accounting and business processes, all the way to your inventory management software system. Slow, cumbersome, manual systems are costly in terms of labour, but are also prone to error, both of which degrade the company profit margin. Embracing automation not only ensures processes are quicker, but it also standardises processes and minimises human error.

Enhance the experience, improve the relationship

Consider enhancing the customer experience for better workflow. Automated processes and opportunities for feedback are fantastic but become rather redundant if nothing is done with the data. Therefore, it is essential to instigate a process that considers the data and looks for solutions to feedback given. This enhances the customer experience, and also improves the future relationship which supports smooth and efficient interactions.

Everything in an eCommerce business is connected and no part is insignificant when it concerns identifying methods for improvement. The steps always remain being open-minded and welcoming feedback, aiming for clear, measurable steps that are assigned to the people responsible and endeavouring to improve the customer experience.

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