The following is a guest post written for the Doba blog by Skubana, an all-in-one operations management solution for ecommerce.
What are some strategies that come to mind when it comes to promoting growth for your e-commerce business?
Most sellers would say:
- Having an effective marketing strategy in place to reach customers
- Creating a personalized shopping experience to encourage customer retention
- Increasing your average order size through the use of coupons & incentives
- Designing SEO friendly content relevant to your audience to gain relevant traffic
While all of these strategies certainly encourage growth they will not get you very far if you don’t have the right foundation & automations in place for your e-commerce business. A big part of this foundation is effectively managing your sale order workflow.
A solid order workflow is essential for promoting long-term growth for your business, because the result has a direct impact on the consumer’s experience, and ultimately helps boost customer retention.
Remember, It can take years to gain a customer, but only a few seconds to lose one.
In this blog post we will be discussing why having the right processes and software backing your business will save you time as well as allow you to work on your business and not in it.
1. Multi-channel sales management
Multi-channel selling can become overwhelming for any seller and his/her staff. Each channel requires diligent attention for listing optimizations, reviewing analytics, inventory allocation, and more. With each selling channel added, it’s a whole routine needing daily attention.
So what can sellers do if they have their hands full? They utilize software that allows automation.
There are more aspects to a seller’s business than inventory and sales order management, and as sales order management consumes more and more time, that’s less time for brand building and advertising.
As most software out in the market today cater to specific niches, it’s rare to find one that caters to all. However, when seeking automation software, here are the fields that should be automated to free up your time:
- Inventory synchronization across all sales channels
- Packing slip and insert generation that is easily customized per SKU
- Purchasing from vendors that occurs when inventory reaches a certain threshold
- Automated selection of shipping providers depending on weight and size
2. Sales forecasting and analytics
As orders come in and your inventory sells you make a marginable profit, but a seller knows that this is not going to be a static outcome every time. The importance of analyzing your SKU profitability, listing profitability, year over year, and month over month sales can assist you in forecasting the types of products to invest in, what focused marketing you should apply and learn what your true best-sellers are.
Your analytics software must provide you all the essential information you need so that you may learn the following about the sales orders that come in, and the channels that require your focus:
- Identify your overall top profitable products
- Identify your seasonal top profitable products, especially for Q4
- Forecast sales volume for the year based on trends from last year
- Discover your most profitable sales channel based on the listings/products
- Track backorder rates to provide insight into performance changes over time
- Determine product velocity to influence inventory purchasing decisions
With this forecasting knowledge you can better prepare yourself for peak seasons where your product lines are efficiently optimized to gain high sales volume and prevent yourself from having stock needing liquidation. Analytics allows you to sell smarter and manage incoming orders more efficiently by understanding your volume.
When you know what volume to expect as an online seller, managing your business becomes easy.
3. Inventory allocation
With the knowledge obtained from your analytics, using proper inventory allocation to your sales channels can greatly influence profit maximization. With your newfound knowledge of which channels are more profitable for which SKUs, utilizing inventory allocation software allows you to put a more designated focus on one channel over the other.
As a seller, you don’t want your product to just stock up on a single channel, but with the function, you can designate either a percentage of inventory, or set a designated number to sell. This will ensure that you reserve inventory on the most profitable channel. Inventory allocation is an essential tool to optimize your product’s sales potential.
Using these tools to avoid overselling
Selling on multiple channels is absolutely essential for an e-commerce seller, but one of the largest pain points for multi-channel selling is overselling. Inventory quantities fluctuate on each channel as people buy; they also make returns creating an inaccurate representation of inventory. So if a product is sold when it is actually not in stock, this act of overselling will impede harshly upon your seller health on Amazon or any sales channel.
While we understand what overselling is, how do we avoid it exactly? A seller would need to invest in proper inventory synchronization software to stay ahead of their inventory and orders. This software should:
- Have inventory reflect in real-time on every channel, so one channel will affect the inventory of all
- Have the option to allocate inventory based on the percentage of total quantity
- If the inventory sells out, all channels automatically get stocked-out
With software that can designate inventory and maintain real-time quantity reflection, overselling should no longer be an issue and any threats to barring your account from a sales channel will diminish.
Don't work the software, let the software work for you
Selecting the right software for your e-commerce business is like selecting the perfect fitting tool for the job. With various brands of software, each catering to different tastes and preferences, the software you select MUST automate and ease your workload.
With Q4 just around the corner, having software that optimizes your sales order workflow can mean less time being stressed and running for inventory, and more time marketing and growing your consumer base. Don’t let Q4 become a quarter to fear, but rather, let Q4 be an exciting time for boosting sales.
If you found this blog post helpful, you can subscribe to our blog and receive future updates delivered straight to your inbox. You can subscribe by clicking the button below.