It seems as though we hear about security breaches fairly regularly. They seem to be happening so often that I no longer want to pay attention when I hear about them. Unfortunately, that may be happening to many people. Sometimes it feels like a losing battle. But you can’t be complacent when it comes to your identity!
Sometimes personal data is compromized not because of what you do, but as a result of a security vulnerability at businesses that store it. Even if you’re careful, your information may still be at risk. So, only provide the minimum amount of information that is absolutely necessary to do business with them. And be aware of what information you provide to which businesses. This will help you recognize if you’re the victim of an attempted scam. Yes, your data is “out there,” but that doesn’t mean you can’t do your part to protect it.
Do your best to guard your passwords and the information used to maintain them (and your accounts). Avoid those entertaining little quizzes – you know the ones that tell you what your children will look like, or how long you will live, or what kind of person you are? Do you really think nice people put them in front of you for free just for your enjoyment? Those fun little coffee breaks are designed to get specific information about you. It may be a legitimate business gathering general information for marketing purposes, or it may be research for hacking purposes. Think about it – when you answer questions like “What’s your favorite color?” or “What was your first pet’s name?” you may be providing answers to common security questions that you provide when you set up accounts. These little details may make it possible for someone else to change a password and lock you out of one of your accounts. I cringe when I see my friends and family post their results on Facebook, afraid of what details they might have provided to who-knows-who.
Here is a simple list of Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to passwords.
- Change your passwords often – at least every 90 days.
- Use strong/complex passwords, with a minimum length of at least seven characters, using both numeric and alphabetic characters.
- Use a password manager or vault that encrypts your passwords.
- Be aware of all the accounts you have, and what information is in them.
- Use two-step authentication to sign in to your accounts. Using this method, a code is sent to your phone. Then you enter the code before you can sign in – even with the correct password.
- Use a different password for each account.
- Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.
- Don’t provide personal information to strangers.
- Don’t share your password.
- Don’t provide information to businesses unless it’s necessary.
- Don’t use group, shared, or generic accounts and passwords.
- Don’t use a password that is the same as any of the last four passwords you have used.
Knowledge is power – as tiresome as it may be, listen to all of the reports you can about security breaches. That information may help you protect yourself against future threats. Watch your credit card balances, keep track of your credit report, and especially – protect your passwords.
If you have additional advice for keeping your personal information safe, please add it here.
There are many ways to improve warehouse efficiency. One way includes reducing costs with an efficient physical process, but processes can change over time. Your business is constantly evolving and improving, which could result in how your ERP system is used. It is beneficial for long-time software users to evaluate how they’re using their software and determine whether improvements can be made in their processes.
Equally as important as having the best technology is knowing what it can do for your business, and using it to continuously improve your workflows. Do all of your employees remember everything from the implementation training, or have they reverted to old processes? Do you have new employees who never received the initial training? Is your staff doing manual tasks that can be automated? If so, an Implementation Software Audit could improve efficiency and productivity in your warehouse.
Implementation software audits are valuable for reviewing processes that relate to how you use your ERP system. These Audits include reviews of your processes that relate to how you use the software system. At this time, employees who were trained during the original implementation can receive refresher training, and new employees can finally learn how to properly use the system. Adequate training means the knowledge and support of your system is in the hands of qualified users. Implementation software audits may reveal shortcuts that were not being used, processes being done manually that can be automated, and functions, features, or optional modules that are not being used at all because nobody knew they existed. Instead, these functions are being performed manually, day in and day out, when your software could be doing them for you. This is also a good time to discuss any wish list items, and ask questions about new features that could solve some problems.
Getting the most from your ERP system means exploring, testing, and implementing new procedures and functions that maximize throughput, the use of your resources, and growth. To accomplish this, you must fully understand how the system works in your organization today, 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.
When it’s time to re-train on your ERP system, give us a call. Morse Data is committed to Continuous Process Improvement. Changes can get out of line, but we can help get them InOrder.
Customer Service covers many aspects of your business. It goes beyond your ERP system. It’s more than answering phones and taking orders. It’s more than describing your inventory items and showing pictures on your web store. It’s even more than educating your customers about your products or their industry.
Customer Service is also knowing what your customers care about to connect with them. You can connect with your customers in person by hosting events, meet-ups, or even contests. You can also connect online with forums and groups.
If your business caters to car buffs who are passionate about modifications safety features, then maybe a Facebook group just for them is what you need to connect. If your customers love outdoor sports, then let them know about local events – or attend one with them. In some cases, you might even discuss topics not directly related to your business if they’re interesting to your customers. For example, are your customers interested in reading about why wolverines are so rare? If so, then you might highlight an article about what’s being done about it on your blog.
If your ERP system provides the capability, you can enable live crowd sourcing so your customers can provide feedback for products. You can even create your own form of social media, providing online forums or Q&A sections that allow customers to contribute.
Many shoppers appreciate information and online activities that involve what interests them. Keep them interested with education, participation, and fun. Use your own website for a gathering place, or find out where your customers go for online social activities, such as Facebook or Instagram.
Knowing what your customers care about helps you connect with them, and in turn, they might connect with you.
ERP system training is one of the many important tasks to consider when planning your implementation. Training can help your staff understand the benefits of the system, both to them and to the company. It can help identify any new processes, new responsibilities, and questions about the system. Training is an opportunity to make sure everyone knows the procedures, their responsibilities in those procedures, and how to accomplish them with your ERP system. These benefits aren’t limited to new implementations – your business can benefit from training if you’ve hired new employees, or if it’s been a few years since your original implementation.
When training, keep the information relevant to the users. Don’t give warehouse workers reason to ask why they’re in your session because you’re spending too much time talking about how customer service reps take orders. Including a system-wide overview is necessary, but training is most useful when the people attending can relate it directly to their daily work.
Be sure to include practice sessions for your attendees. Each type of transaction should be followed through the system in detail by users or representatives from each department involved. This will help ensure everyone is familiar with the transaction flow and that all of the steps are followed and understood. Remember to include managers and users who maintain your system. Hands-on sessions are important because users are able to actually experience and get familiar with the software. This allows them to witness the system in action and interact with it. This also helps improve process plans, and ultimately project success.
If possible, leave users with documentation and training aids. Representatives from each department may find them helpful when they pass on their training to their co-workers. Printed exercises and questions with answers will allow users to practice what they learned and improve what they know. Recordings of the training sessions may also be useful for future training sessions; as new employees arrive, they might watch the videos and use the training aids to get started. And remember to provide a contact point for when they need help in the future. Finally, always leave feedback forms so you know how helpful the training is, and use it to keep improving your training sessions.
Whether your ERP system is new, or you have new employees who need to learn how to use it, or it’s been awhile since your current employees have learned the system, sufficient and relevant training is critical to using your ERP system to its fullest advantage.
Contact us for a demo of InOrder.
Many software programs provide right-click menus to access functions between windows. With InOrder ERP, this feature allows users to be more efficient, rather than having them open and close various windows to do the same tasks.
You would typically see right-click menu options when they’re convenient to use for related functions. For example, InOrder provides a right-click menu for related functions when entering orders. This makes it efficient for Customer Service Representatives to perform additional tasks while they’re assisting customers with order entry. The options on the right-click menu can allow orders to be shipped, cancelled, changed, or other order-related functions can be completed.
While looking up orders for a customer, the right-click menu can also be used to fill an order, repeat it, edit it, or return it, among several other time-saving options, such as sending an invoice or an Email. You can even use this as an opportunity to customize right-click options to fit your business procedures.
Right-click menu options are time-savers and can minimize human errors. Be sure to include them in your on-going training for your ERP system.
Contact us for more information about InOrder.
Businesses are making it easier and more pleasant for shoppers to buy from them, so you know that exceptional service, top quality items, and competitive prices are critical. They can determine whether you get sales, good references, and future customers.
Here are five reasons eCommerce shoppers avoid online stores, and insights on making your business more attractive to them.
- Offer Only Common Products and Limited Choices – According to a study in 2016 by UPS, shoppers prefer to begin searching on marketplaces for product selection and availability. While large selection is important (and the reason many shoppers begin searching at a marketplace), unique products are also important and shoppers will seek them out, rather than settling for common and easy to find items.
- Don’t Provide Reviews – Reviews can increase sales by steering and bolstering confidence as shoppers are considering their purchases. Additionally, it is important to know what your customers think of your products because then you know how you can improve your offerings, and where you should consider raising or lowering prices. If your ERP system provides the capability, you can enable live crowd sourcing so your customers can provide feedback for products. You can even provide online forums or Q&A sections. After each purchase, ask for a review of both the shopping experience and the product. This lets the customer know that you still care even after the sale. And when your customers take the time to send their valuable opinions, make sure to review and display them as soon as possible.
- Charge High Pricing – Pricing is one of the most important considerations for today’s shopper. Even mobile device users compare prices and search for retail coupons. These shoppers enroll in membership/loyalty programs, and check promotions on social media, following retailers for deals, coupons, and holiday specials.
- Charge High Shipping Costs – Free shipping is very appealing to shoppers, and many will abandon their carts if shipping costs are too high. One successful approach is to offer shipping subscriptions. With this option, customers are much more likely to place frequent orders instead of waiting to buy because they want to make shipping worthwhile.
- Devise Complicated Return policies – As can be expected with online purchases, returns may be higher. But don’t make your return procedures so complicated that shoppers won’t buy from you. Shoppers are willing to drop off their returns at carrier locations or take their returns to a physical store. In-store return options provide opportunities for retailers to make these experiences easy for shoppers, who might make additional purchases while making their returns. If you have a physical store and customers are willing to visit, use this as an opportunity to build better relationships with them.
From simple return policies, to unique items and competitive prices, today’s shoppers expect the best, and if you don’t provide what they expect, they’ll find another eCommerce site that will.
Contact us for a demo to get your eCommerce InOrder.
Knowing how your customers shop can mean the difference between finding your products or your competitors’ products. The study by UPS “Pulse of the Online Shopper” explores shopping habits of customers, including where they shop, how they shop, research, delivery preferences, and returns. Volume 4 explores shoppers’ product preferences, pricing importance, as well as the importance of membership/loyalty programs, free shipping, and social media. Here are several helpful insights to what is important to eCommerce shoppers.
- While large selection is important (and the reason many shoppers begin searching at a marketplace), unique products are so important that shoppers will seek them out, working harder to find them, rather than settling for common and easy to find items.
- Pricing is one of the most important considerations for today’s shopper. Even mobile device users compare prices and search for retail coupons. These shoppers enroll in membership/loyalty programs, and check promotions on social media, following retailers for deals, coupons, and holiday specials.
- According to the study, enrollment in membership/loyalty programs is at its highest level in 3 years. Top benefits of these programs include free shipping, special discounts, free returns, and loyalty points/dollars to use on a future purchase.
- Of all membership/loyalty program benefits listed, free shipping was the most appealing to members. While the importance of free shipping has declined over the past couple of years, many shoppers abandon their carts because of shipping costs.
This link provides a download request for Volume 1. Use this valuable information to help make decisions for winning these shoppers. 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.
Advice for Catalog Marketing from a 40-year catalog marketing veteran.
Many retailers didn’t offer a better mobile shopping experience, despite Cyber Monday’s mobile sales. Which gender dominates the sport of shopping? Check out these Retail Predictions for 2018.
Read this article for a full list of marketing channels all marketers should know how to use, including some “old school” channels that have been proven successful over and over.
This interesting article discusses three customer service trends for 2018.
When your customers visit your website, do they know it’s secure? This article from Google explains how Chrome will display secure https sites as secure, vs. “unsecure” http sites beginning July 2018. InOrder customers can check InOvation (the publication for InOrder customers) for easy steps to implement this sooner.
Gift cards have been used for a long time, and for several good reasons: They’re convenient for customers and profitable for businesses. They provide privacy and flexibility, they get your brand in front of current customers, they attract new customers, and they can increase customer loyalty.
Through traditional gift-giving, recipients may visit stores they might not otherwise visit. But gift cards are not just for gift-giving – they are evolving. Shoppers often buy gift cards for themselves for secure online shopping or to take advantage of discounts and rewards. And all shoppers with gift cards offer the possibility of spending more than the amount of the gift card. Smart businesses are thinking of even more ways for gift cards to contribute to their bottom lines – such as using them for store credit, rebates, promotions, loyalty programs, or even marketing them to businesses to use as employee awards.
Gift cards can be physical or digital. Your customers may download them immediately after placing the order, or you may send them as an attachment in an Email.
With InOrder, you can even refund a gift card to a specific customer, who may or may not be the same customer who originally bought the gift card. This means you can be more flexible about gift card sales, and your customers can be more confident that their money is well spent. This function also enables lost gift cards to be re-issued by refunding to a customer’s account and using the credit to purchase a new gift card for the same balance.
The Ship Via functionality within InOrder ERP is a favorite with our customers because it maximizes profits by managing rates and fees to make sure shipping expenses are accurately recovered.
Each shipping service is set up with rates, which can be conveniently uploaded from shippers (FedEx, UPS, USPS etc.) Insurance charges may also be identified/imported, along with zones that represent the distance from your shipping location to the shipping destination, and postal code areas.
Shipping with InOrder ERP is more than who ships your orders and what they charge. Here are highlights of how you can use the InOrder Ship Via functionality to accurately recover your shipping expenses:
- Manage all surcharges – COD Fees, Fuel Surcharge percentage, Residential, commercial, 3rd party billing percentage, and Saturday delivery are just some of the shipping expenses you can manage through InOrder.
- Set up Insurance Fees based on invoice totals (example: invoice totals $1.00 – $10.00 charges .50 Insurance).
- Charge Shipping Based on: Weight Per Carton, Dollars, Dollars Per Carton, Quantity, and Weight
- Identify shippers that accept hazardous materials.
- Supports the DIM Factor used by major carriers. This is used to more effectively estimate shipping rates that compute shipping based on weight per carton. When this feature is used, InOrder uses the item dimensions (height, weight, length) to determine appropriate cartons. InOrder calculates the carton’s dimensional weight and compares it to the merchandise weight, and the shipping charges are computed based off the greater of the merchandise weight and the dim weight. Then the shipping charges for each carton in the shipment are summed to calculate the estimated shipping charges for the shipment.
- Reference EDI Carriers by their SCAC value and shipping method.
- Route items to a separate shipment to bypass shipping if they are electronic distribution only (no physical shipment required).
- Track order shipments, and send Email confirmation of shipment according to the method in which the order is shipped. This is useful for orders that are not delivered, such as those picked up by customers.
Contact us for more information on maximizing your profits with InOrder’s Ship Via functionality.