Archive: December, 2015
eCommerce companies seem to be realizing more and more that their business customers appreciate the convenience of online shopping just as much as retail customers do.
While potential new business customers might not respond to “Call for Pricing” messages on your web site, they may be more likely to order when the pricing information is readily available. And they want other conveniences, like quick search results, pictures, and descriptions. They want easy reordering and if products are backordered, they need to know when to expect them. And once they log in to an established web account, they want personalized services, like the ability to see their negotiated prices and discounts applied as they shop on-line, with a presentation relevant to them.
B2B companies using eCommerce are making sure they don’t miss out on opportunities to grow their business. They can choose to add multiple customer bases to their eCommerce businesses – for example – direct consumers, or businesses in other countries.
If you are ready to grow your B2B on-line business, consider InOrder. With its central database and the ability to offer on-line integrated real-time inventory, InOrder can help manage and keep product information accurate and consistent for multiple customer bases. The days of having a separate computer system for each channel are long gone!
Contact us to request a demo showing how InOrder can help you attract new business.
When you purchase a new software system, it typically comes with many features and functions that can be used to help enter, manage, and process your transactions. But it also pulls together all of this data over time, and gives management the ability to see what is happening across the entire organization, enabling better decision making. What are the most important decisions you need to make every day? It’s one thing to confirm that you are keeping up with customer orders and accurately filling them the first time. It’s another thing to be able to service those orders with in-stock inventory while still minimizing your inventory investment. But there are also growth decisions, such as how to best market to your customers, how to analyze marketing results. There are other questions, such as how to keep the customers you’ve acquired, and keep them coming back for more.
Getting the most from your enterprise system means exploring, testing, and implementing new procedures and functions that maximize throughput, maximize the use of your resources, and maximize growth. To accomplish this, you must fully understand how the system works today in your organization, as well as other ways it can potentially be configured to be used more effectively. This especially becomes important when new versions of the system become available to you because they always include new capabilities, as well as improvements to existing functionality. In some cases, years go by, and the system might be considered “stable,” so the managers do not want to upgrade it. In the meantime, they are manually performing tasks every day that the latest version of the software can do automatically.
Several years ago, we asked customers what their biggest wish list items were, and the top request was for smoother upgrades. We made this a top priority and completely re-invented every aspect of our development infrastructure and our new version roll-out processes. Not just one time changes, but rather we put into place a “process for continuous improvement” that has been going now for the last five years or so. Great emphasis was placed on collaboration, testing, documentation, build and deployment automation, faster patch rollouts, and additional service offerings, such as SQL Health Monitoring and Website Update Services. All of this has resulted in a better customer experience, as well as our ability to now develop and offer more functions and capabilities, such as the new RF subsystem and the new adaptive mobile shopping cart.
A recent analysis of the InOrder versions currently under maintenance (pictured below) shows that while most of our customers stay relatively current on their upgrades and their annual on-site refresher training, there are still users utilizing older versions of the software. For example, do you still require your customers to call for order status information, or do you send out email confirmations with online order and shipment tracking capabilities? InOrder’s latest email communications and marketing capabilities include a multitude of communication pieces to keep your customers “in the loop” at all times. And not only can you give customers the ability to “unsubscribe” by type of email, you can let them personalize the frequency for each type of email you might send them.To help introduce new InOrder features, we send out several regular publications including “InSight,” “InOvation” for InOrder Customers, and “InSide” for the I.T. people managing InOrder systems. We also publish to our customers, an “InOrder ReadMe.txt” listing of software changes, and updated InOrder context help libraries, as the InOrder weekly new versions are released.
Of course, none of this matters if your system has not been upgraded in years. Perhaps the oldest version of InOrder still in use is over 15 years old and can serve as a testament of system stability. But at Morse Data, the development and introduction of new modules and functionality is steadily accelerating, and keeps pace with the latest expectations of today’s and tomorrow’s technology-enabled customers.
You’ve made great progress with your eCommerce business: inventory is available and your web store is ready to go live. But first, make sure you have these basic features in you mobile store.
Use full-size images with zoom capability so your shoppers aren’t frustrated by being taken away from their page. Make sure your site is compatible with all devices. Using Google’s recommended Responsive Design Plan, your mobile store will automatically adjust to the sizes of all devices customers are using to provide optimal presentation. The design has the added bonus of a single cart, so multiple web sites are no long required. Good for your customers, good for you!
Easy to Find Products
If shoppers search for something specific, it means they know what they want, and they want to find it immediately. If you have multiple product categories, make sure your customers can easily find what they’re looking for. Provide them with the ability to combine different search criteria, in whatever combinations they choose, with tools such as Facet Filtering. Check your search analytic results to see how shoppers are searching for your products. Remember that a search engine-optimized design gives you additional edge over the competition.
Sync your inventory with your web cart, so your customers know if they have to wait for something, or if they’ll get it when they need it. This is especially important for your reputation during the holidays. You don’t want to be the source of added frustration because you customer counted on you for a delivery, only to find out at the last minute that the product was out of stock when the order was placed. A good ERP system can prevent this type of disappointment by letting your customers know what to expect when they order from you.
Let Your Customers Share
Let your customers spread the word about your cart and share it with their favorite social media sites. Allowing customers to share product pages with their social networks is a great way to bring in more traffic and find new customers.
Make the checkout process as efficient as possible with as few steps as possible. Keep it simple and quick. Keep page and image loading fast so customers won’t give up on you because it’s taking too long or you require registration or want them to enter too much information.
It can be complicated for any business to keep up with all the cyber attacks and payment fraud going on around us. It’s particularly tough for small merchants, but you must be vigilant.
A good ERP system can help you as well. Features such as Fraud Scoring are designed to assess orders based on criteria known to indicate fraudulent purchases.
Be sure to display your phone number where it can be easily and quickly seen. If a shopper has a question or a problem navigating your site, you want to make sure you can help. Not only should customer service be always at your customers’ fingertips, but your customer service people must be able to pull up the customer’s shopping cart, edit it, and help the customer get through check out if necessary!
Thieves will take advantage of every opportunity available to them, and your employees are an important line of defense against them.
Do you have a security policy? Do your employees know about it? One way your employees can help try to protect against these activities is to be trained to follow your procedures. If they don’t know what to watch for, or what to protect, or how, then how can they help you?
Here are 3 reasons why it is so important to have a security process and make sure your employees know it well.
- Card-reading devices at point of sale locations may be used to steal cardholder data. Devices are stolen or exchanged, or tampered with to get cardholder data. Thieves may try to impersonate device maintenance personnel to try switching devices, or they may even try adding another device on top of yours. Without proper training, employees may not recognize when this happens or what to do to try to prevent it.
- While a Customer Service Representative helps a customer with an order and payment entry, sensitive data is written to the Customer Service Rep’s desktop. Without training, the Customer Service Rep doesn’t know that this is against PCI-DSS requirements.
- While checking email, a purchasing agent clicked a link for a great offer with a vendor he thought he knew, and used the company’s account information. Without proper training, the agent didn’t know to go to the website manually and check the creditability of the offer.
There are many more reasons to have a security process and train your employees on it, and the PCI Security Standards website is a good place to start for more information. For details about InOrder’s PA-DSS-validated ERP software, contact Morse Data Corporation.