Front-end Appearance and Back-end eCommerce Integration Define the Online Shopping Experience

May 28, 2015

online sales channelIn recent years, the ever-growing popularity of eCommerce has continued to soar. As a result, both emerging businesses and older enterprises (that have traditionally stayed away from online sales channels) are finding themselves exploring this new avenue for growth.  Around the clock availability, speed of access, wider selection of goods and services, accessibility, and ultimately convenience are benefits of eCommerce that many consumers expect or demand. E-commerce is not ready to completely replace its bricks and mortar counterpart, as salesperson interaction is still important to many consumers; however, it is important to at least provide the option of an online sales channel to consumers. If your business already does online sales (or you’re looking to get started), here are 4 factors necessary to run an effective eCommerce website:

Pricing and Quality of Products

In order to be successful in any business the price point of the products and services offered must be match both demand and quality. With a seemingly endless list of online retailers, online shoppers have access to hundreds of different options on various web stores. Savvy consumers will compare your offering to similar products in the market in order to determine the best possible option to fulfill their needs. Therefore, it is very important to have a pricing structure that is consistent with the quality and brand, and the ability to respond quickly to supplier and competitor pricing. In order to act swiftly to industry changes, a strong back end software system is crucial; one that ensures any internal changes made to pricing are reflected automatically on your website with proper eCommerce integration.

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4 Signs it’s Time to Upgrade Your Distribution ERP Software

May 20, 2015

time-to-upgrade

As a small business owner it is inevitable that some of your time will be spent putting out fires, and dealing with issues as they arise on a daily basis.  For wholesale distribution companies this may include: time spent searching through various systems and files to find information on specific orders, doing physical inventory counts to determine actual inventory volume and calculating different price levels for customers when vendors change their costs.  Although the flexibility to do this is often seen as a benefit of being a small business, it is important to not let it get in the way of executing other projects and achieving your strategic goals. As a business owner, you should try to avoid becoming so overwhelmed dealing with everyday tasks, and putting out fires, that you’re unable to focus on the core success factors of your business.  One solution is to begin looking for a more robust distribution ERP software system in order to streamline operations, automate processes and reduce the amount of time spent manually managing your business.  Although this may be one of the most important reasons to upgrade your existing software, four more are outlined below.

  • Your current systems lack integration with one another.

Lack of integration may include all or a few of your existing systems such as: accounting, CRM, inventory management and eCommerce.  Although each of your existing software systems may work perfectly well independently of one another, as your company grows the issues that arise from lack of integration will start to become more and more obvious.  Working with multiple disparate systems means that the same data must be entered several times, which can lead to keying errors and inconsistent information.  In addition, if one system gets upgraded, this version may no longer be compatible with your other systems for managing simple tasks like importing and exporting data.

  • Your current system is no longer supported, has reached its end of life, or is a sunset program and will no longer be developed.

Just as you have a business to grow and manage, so do software vendors, which means they may discontinue development on older systems in order to focus on more modern and lucrative software initiatives.  Although this issue is unavoidable, it is important to be proactive in finding a new solution when this happens.  With no support or further development, your system is more vulnerable to security threats and will no longer receive system patches.  As with purchasing insurance, upgrading your software system is more beneficial when carried out pro-actively in order to protect your business from future issues.

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4 Benefits of Optimized Reporting and Analytics in an Organization

May 12, 2015

small-business-reportingLiving in the information age, the success and longevity of a business depends largely on how it is able to collect, process and interpret data from a multitude of sources, including one’s own inventory and accounting ERP software. Effective reporting and analytics go beyond the collection of the data itself, involving a broad spectrum of reporting techniques to provide management with valuable information that will assist in making insightful business decisions. Reports concerning inventory, production, and sales all reflect the bottom line of a business, and should be reviewed on a consistent basis to uncover trends and opportunities. However, as a business collects more data, the difficulty lies in actually finding the time to review the information and draw conclusions that will help grow the business moving forward. Ideally, an optimized reporting process would inform managers of only the most relevant information they need in order to make well-informed decisions. Inventory and accounting software with robust reporting and analytics can help business owners automate and streamline the reporting process. Reporting has become increasingly important to small and large businesses alike, and if set up appropriately, can provide the following benefits:

  • Increased Communication:

By implementing an effective internal reporting system, you enable information to flow upward, downward, or laterally, reaching the intended recipient in a timely manner. Automated reporting techniques, which come in some inventory and accounting platforms, take this notion one step further by allowing for reports to be emailed to specific stakeholders on a regular basis (perhaps daily, weekly, or monthly).

  • Increased Productivity:

In order to remain productive in today’s ultra-competitive environment, organizations must be flexible enough to respond swiftly to industry changes and opportunities. A large emphasis has been placed on meeting the unique needs of targeted consumer groups in order to distinguish oneself in the market. In order to achieve these goals, businesses need an inventory and financial reporting system that supports this notion and provides relevant information to management in a timely manner.

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