Category: ERP Reporting
Many reasons can cause problems with a retail business – poor pricing, location, not enough stock, poor planning, all of which can lead to unsatisfactory customer experience and ultimately, failure.
It’s important to understand why a project failed to learn for future success. How can things be different? How can you succeed next time? If you explore reasons for failure, you can use that information to help avoid it in the future.
Location might not seem important, but it is – especially if you’re thinking about international expansion. What do customers in that country expect of their local businesses? What do employees expect? What are the various business and employment laws? If your business is local, it’s crucial to know who your customers are and where they are. Keep these things in mind when deciding where your store will live.
Even in your home country, pricing is important for similar reasons – what do customers expect? How far will your customers travel for your products? Can the area support your pricing structure? If your competitors are charging much less, which store will shoppers pick?
Make sure your prices reflect your shoppers’ budgets, and that you can keep up with pricing of your competitors.
Not Enough Stock
Exceptional warehouse control, real-time inventory management, and communication between the distribution center and your ERP system are crucial to maintaining customer satisfaction. Think about it – who wants to shop for groceries in a store that doesn’t keep enough fresh produce in stock? or milk? or bread? Similarly, when shoppers look for clothes, they want to go to stores that carry their styles and sizes.
The other side of this problem is too much inventory because you don’t know how much you need. If you order a million dollars in inventory and don’t sell it in a timely manner, your money is losing interest because it is tied up while inventory sits in the warehouse.
Use an exceptional integrated ERP system to increase productivity. Here are ways your ERP system can help with this.
There are many things to consider, such as fraud, theft and security, and even training. When working with other parties or their software, unexpected obstacles and delays may be introduced, such as schedule conflicts, terminology misunderstandings, errors, unexpected expenses, and customer service issues. Being on the alert for this and working with experienced businesses and trading partners will go a long way in helping your projects stay within budget and on time.
Determine your detailed plan of action items and include the names of the individuals who will be responsible for those tasks. Hold them responsible for the work assigned to them and require a weekly status report on completed tasks and road blocks encountered. This is especially important when implementing critical software for your enterprise.
In more than three decades, the biggest mistake we see companies make is to not create an action plan that covers all aspects of implementation. For more valuable information about Implementing your ERP system, download our “Ten Tips for a Successful ERP Implementation” paper. Whether you’re considering a new ERP system or you’re just beginning an implementation, this paper will help you keep your implementation within budget and on time.
There are many times during the year when you send a mailing to a specific group of customers. With the InOrder ERP system, you can send promotional messages to customers, create new lists, import lists from external sources, and even export your mailing list to a spreadsheet format.
- Catagorize your lists and assign customers to them.
- Specify label formats.
- Use with the InOrder Address Validation interface to validate a batch of addresses within a specified range of U.S. postal codes.
- Automatically merge duplicate address records.
- Use with the InOrder Email Marketing Enhancement to send Email Blasts.
- Send followup notices. Define followup efforts that activate after a specified number of days.
- Import your own mailing lists with names and addresses.
- Import your own lists of Email address.
- Generate promotional keycodes as list segments are generated.
- Export your mailing list to spreadsheet format.
- Define your call lists.
- Simultaneously store an unlimited number of RFM scores for each customer. (Recency (most recent purchase date), Frequency (how many purchases a customer has made), Monetary (spending).
- Group customers by RFM cells.
Contact us for more information about mailing lists and marketing with InOrder.
In its 2016 Pulse of the Online Shopper Study, UPS provides insights for eCommerce businesses as they plan their strategies for growth. This study explores online shoppers and how they have “Evolved.” Their shopping cycles are represented, showing a strong promise for future buying power. Included are discussions of new technologies they’re interested in, how and where they shop, and what retailers must provide to win them over or lose them.
Devices are explored, with smartphone shopping showing the most growth. As technology (and retailers) make it easier and faster to use smartphones for shopping, satisfaction with them increases, fueling faster growth opportunities for businesses that support them.
Search habits are also shown, revealing that shoppers prefer to begin searching on marketplaces. According to the study, 90% of independent online retailers sell through them, and shoppers prefer them for product/shipping pricing, quick delivery, product selection and availability, and more choices in one place. Also mentioned are shopping trends, along with “cross-channel purchasing,” (where shoppers research vs. where they shop), and how social media influences shopping.
Shoppers revealed that they want to help themselves, but they also want help (such as Q&A, FAQs, chat, etc.) to always be available when they need it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like many retailers provided those services. Hopefully, many will respond to these requests.
As can be expected with online purchases, returns are higher. While many shoppers prefer to drop their returns off at carrier locations, many also prefer to take their returns to a physical store. This provides opportunities for retailers to make these experiences easy for shoppers, who might make additional purchases while making their returns.
UPS has also conducted its sixth annual study of online shoppers, which includes five volumes. This link provides a download to Volume 1, which includes information to request future volumes.
Shoppers want control and flexibility. They want helpful responsiveness when they need it. They want fast searches, large selections, quality products that are available, and quick, low-cost delivery. They want access, coupons, and notifications without intrusion.
Use this valuable information to help you make decisions for winning these “Evolved” customers. And, in doing so, grow your business.
Contact us for a demo of how InOrder can help you implement the features so many shoppers demand.
Selecting a vendor is as important as selecting an ERP system. ERP vendors must be experts in their field and, to an extent, yours. They must also be professional and available when you need them, and provide clear communication to keep you informed of important changes. Here are important things to consider about potential vendors when evaluating ERP systems.
- What is the implementation process? Is there a dedicated Project Manager who is readily available? The implementation of an ERP System is a large undertaking that needs careful planning with the proper time and resources allocated to avoid surprises during Go-Live. Since this is not something your company does on a periodic basis, a number of unknowns could end up causing you a lot of unnecessary problems and expense. Be sure the vendor has plenty of experience.
- What is the vendor’s availability for support? This indicates how responsive the vendor will be when you have questions or need assistance. How often is the system upgraded and what is involved? It is important that your system always has the latest updates for security and functionality – without disrupting your business.
- What about references? Request them and follow up on them. Reviews for vendors are as important as they are when shopping online. Experience with your industry is a plus.
- What types of communication are provided? Notices of updates are important for security and training, as well as details about what’s in each update. General information about the system is always helpful, and of course, documentation on how to use the system is a must. It is beneficial to you when the vendor is actively in touch and keeping you informed.
Make sure you can work with the vendor to get what is important to your business within a specific time-frame. Top-notch support is key. It takes commitment – not only during implementation, but for the life of the system.
The InOrder RF communication system efficiently handles inventory through real-time inventory tasks, improving productivity and control for major warehouse functions.
One InOrder site reported that, after rolling out InOrder RF in their warehouse, the inventory receipt processing went from an average of 20 line items per hour to 55 line items per hour, per person, and is now 90% paperless. Some helpful tips include receiving products for many of their vendors that do not provide bar codes by printing a bar coded copy of the vendor PO to use during receiving, using dry-erase boards on their put-away carts, and reviewing a receipt variance report to expose and correct any discrepancies.
InOrder’s RF Communication System supports any internet-capable device. One option includes the Janam XT1 mini tablet, which uses the Android operating system. Another option uses the following configuration: IPod Touch, 5-16 gb ($159, Ebay) with Honeywell Captuvo SL22 Enterprise Sled ($304, Ebay), and Dryrain Technologies’ Enterprise Browser for Captuvo® app ($99).
For more information about InOrder RF, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catalogs are necessary for direct response businesses. They attract new buyers, they help to sustain repeat buyers, and are typically less expensive than paid search advertising.
Customers can order catalogs from your sales reps:
Or they can order catalogs from your website:
You can review a report of all pending catalog requests before sending, and use the customer’s timeline to remove any invalid requests or spam. Catalog requests are printed as labels or exported to a spreadsheet.
Setup is easy – simply define each catalog / brochure in the familiar InOrder interface.
InOrder users have also leveraged this feature to track customers requesting other literature, such as rebate forms or white papers.
For more information about the InOrder Catalog Request Manager, contact email@example.com.
This article compares increasing eCommerce sales to the housing market bubble. It discusses loss of sales in the checkout process that merchants might know about, calling it a new “big short.” The article continues to explain where the sales breakdowns occur, including the checkout process, consumer confidence in the merchant, and how payment declines are handled.
You can use your ERP system to help avoid each of those breakdown points. Using a smart checkout process and your ERP system to its potential, your eCommerce business can provide your customers with a smooth purchase process and the information you need to monitor it. Here are just a few ways to help protect your eCommerce business against abandoned carts:
Checkout process – Keep it simple. Show your shoppers the checkout flow to let them know what to expect. Keep it efficient with as few steps as possible. Giving customers an up-front shipping estimate, or the option to bypass registration (when appropriate) can eliminate some of the breakdown at checkout.
Trust – This is a big deal. Customers don’t want to think about security – they want you to. And if you’re not easy to contact, they may go elsewhere.
It can be complicated for any business to keep up with all the cyber attacks and payment fraud going on around us, but you must be vigilant. Keep up with your PCI DSS requirements, have a security process and an incident response plan, and train your employees on them. A good ERP system can help with features such as fraud scoring, and it will support your PCI DSS efforts to keep your sensitive data safe.
Make sure your customers can reach you immediately with any questions. Display your phone number where it can be easily and quickly seen. If a shopper has a question or problem navigating your site, make sure you can help. Keep Customer Service always at your customers’ fingertips, and make sure your customer service reps can pull up the customer’s shopping cart, edit it, and help the customer get through checkout if necessary.
Payment Declines – This is when knowing your business and your customers is so important. While you can detect patterns that are typical of fraud, you may also be flagging valid transactions, especially if you do business internationally.
Know Your Business – Where are your transactions failing? Put a process in place to check your data regularly, and follow it. Review the tools from your payment gateway(s), Google Analytics, and reports from your ERP system to see what might be causing a problem. And use these suggestions to recover up to 30% of abandoned carts with Email reminders. Use your data to your advantage by making adjustments where they’re needed.
It’s your business; be aware of it. Don’t bet against yourself.
We know that if shoppers can’t quickly find what they are looking for on your website, you may as well not offer it, because they will often just give up looking for it, or worse – they will go elsewhere. Giving your customers more options may help them find your products faster.
Web store searches are usually designed by product hierarchy, which is a popular setup. Items are grouped into levels that open as you click to drill-down further. The problem with this is that it’s like going from one room to the next – you usually have to backtrack to enter different rooms. With searches that are designed by product hierarchy, a shopper must keep returning to the “front door” to start looking for the next product.
Your shoppers can find items faster if you provide them with the ability to combine any different criteria, in whatever combinations they choose (even including that hierarchy). This concept is called “Facet Filtering.”
Facet Filtering helps customers fine-tune their search results as they search. Shoppers can make additional selections within current search results based on their individual interests, eliminating the need to sift through too many results all at once. It provides a lot of power for minimal setup.
An example of a search facet can be anything such as color group, size, manufacturer, price range, or whether or not a special feature is included.
Different Facet Types may be used: Single Select, Single Select/Collapse, and Multi-Select. When Single Select is used, facets appear on the website as links. Only a single facet may be selected per category. When Single Select/Collapse is used, facets appear on the website as links. Only a single facet (subcategory) may be selected per category. When a selection is made, the facet list collapses to only show the selected facet. With Multi-Select, facets appear on the website as checkboxes. Multiple facets may be selected for each category.
Rather than limiting your customers, give them as many ways to shop as possible and let them decide. Then check your analytics – use your InOrder reports and Google Analytics – to learn how your customers shop. InOrder’s superb flexibility allows modifications on the fly, so you can set up products to match how shoppers are searching for them.
Our most notable feedback from merchants using InOrder’s Facet Filtering on their website? Customers frequently searching for products starting with unexpected facets, such as Manufacturer rather than starting with a basic product category. As it turns out, customers often have their own plan they want to follow, and will be more likely to buy what they need on your website if it is flexible enough to let them follow that initial plan.
Finally, accommodating customers’ plans to find their first item will shorten their initial “Add to Cart” times. But customers also can get frustrated if their direct path to the next item they need requires “starting over.” Can they easily edit existing facet filters after placing an item in their cart? If they spent several minutes building a filtered list and now they need three more items from that list, can they add them all or do they need to rebuild the list three more times? Better yet, can they tweak the existing list if needed, without restarting it from the beginning? Check your analytics here as well, to confirm there are no patterns of extra steps they had to take to get to the next item, vs. steps they took on their own due to actual browsing.
With this approach, your abandon rates will be lower than ever, but more importantly, your eCommerce revenue will be better than ever.
With the InOrder Packing Verification Enhancement, your warehouse personnel can scan and pack items to record and verify the contents of individual shipments. As items are scanned, InOrder compares what was packed with what was ordered and allocated.
InOrder reports to the packer with distinct audible signals throughout the process. This speeds the verification process by not requiring the packer to constantly view the results on the screen. When the order is complete, the shipment is accepted.
Packing is at the shipment level and recording is at the order level. InOrder can check for unprinted / ready to print orders that are shipping to the same customer as the shipment currently being packed.
Picker and packer initials are recorded, along with carton details and shipment summary.
- Single Scan – Each unit in the shipment is individually scanned. This method is used when line item quantities are typically low enough to scan each unit.
- Multi Scan – This method is used when line items often have higher quantities, so the process is streamlined for keying in the quantity when a line item has more than one unit to ship.
- High Quantity – This method allows quicker packing verification when the quantities are unusually large and difficult to count during packing. Each SKU is scanned once, regardless of quantity to be packed in a single carton.
The Packer Analysis Report provides at-a-glance analysis of packer productivity.
When you pack your shipments with InOrder, you can assemble all available items for the shipment at the packing station, use picking forms or produce separate packing slips, pack cartons for EDI orders, and track lot or serial numbers. You can even control if a shipment can be posted without packing verification.
For more information about the InOrder Packing Verification Enhancement, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The F. Curtis Barry & Company, a consulting company that provides solutions for multichannel operations and fulfillment, recommends that multichannel companies use Initial Order Fill Rate (IOFR) to measure customer service and inventory availability by order.
We agree. Both of these metrics are provided on InOrder’s Order Statistics Report. This data shows where you stand in regards to providing what customers expect – that inventory is available when ordered, and orders are shipped in a timely manner.
Initial fill rates are shown for orders within a range of weeks that you specify, along with the average number of hours it takes to fill those orders.
For the complete article by F. Curtis Barry & Company, click here.