The following is a guest post from ecomdash.
If you’re looking to make it into the e-retailing playoffs this holiday shopping season, you’ve got to prepare a team of resources to help you get there. Running a multi-channel e-retail business can be a lot like coaching a football team. You’re managing a lot of moving parts and they all need to be perfectly in sync to win. Products, inventory quantities, sales orders, marketing, repricing, shipping, warehouses, shopping carts, and listing activities are all in motion. You need to organize and position your team for success with a clear game plan and the right players to win.
Automate Inventory and Order Management – It all starts with the draft.
Draft the right inventory management software for your specific business needs. What are the possible gaps and inefficiencies in your current scheme? Seek out an automation system that will help create a solid team and the right depth on your bench. So, no matter what happens during the game, you know you’re covered. Inventory quantities and order processing will stay on track and in sync across sales channels.
Stay under the salary cap. Don’t make a rookie mistake and pay too much for multi-channel inventory synching. You have more choices than you did just one year ago – and they’re getting more affordable all the time. Why spend $75k to implement an enterprise system from IBM or NetSuite when you can get what you need for $50-250/mo? Find one that meets your needs, has room for growth, and provides a low monthly subscription option with free setup and great support.
Make sure your playbook is ready for anything – You’re not playing recreational ball.
You need a no huddle offense. How quickly can your team get new products uploaded and listed for sale? In addition to automating your inventory stock levels based on product received and product sold, some inventory systems will store your product listing details, images, and supplier catalogs to help you easily list products for sale – fast.
Every team needs a talented and relentless offensive coordinator. How do you currently handle the transfer of data to your warehouses for fulfillment? What about to your dropshipping service provider? You need a seriously accurate and 24/7 offensive coordinator – in the form of an order and shipping management tool – to automate the back and forth communications of sales order and shipping information. You’ll no longer have to waste resources reformatting sales order data to send to fulfillment centers, nor will you need to log back into marketplaces or websites to update order status and send shipping and tracking details to your customers via email. Your offensive coordinator can handle it all for you, automatically and from the booth.
Avoid penalties and play a clean game – No overselling, stay organized across multiple warehouses and suppliers.
Don’t get caught with 12 men on the field. Keep quantities accurate and set custom low-quantity alerts to automatically queue up purchase orders. Stay in control and ahead of the competition. Take advantage of smart inventory systems to recognize and manage complex inventory identification needs across channels. At times, complex inventory issues will make you want to throw in the towel. Let an advanced inventory system read the lineup and make the proper adjustments on the spot. Know what you have, where, and when you should get more at any given point in time.
Make second half adjustments: watch the film, add a wrinkle. Use reporting tools to make overall business improvements, lower expenses, and increase sales. Use real-time and historical data to see trends and make predictions. With all your supply chain and sales data in one dashboard, you can easily switch personnel packages as appropriate. Run your ecommerce business smarter and more efficiently over time and you may just build a championship team to win it all.
There are no second chances and there is no crying in football – Get a winning game plan and execute!
Laura Greeno is a co-founder and VP of Marketing at ecomdash, an inventory management system for multi-channel ecommerce companies. She welcomes your comments and questions…and is looking forward to seeing THE Ohio State Buckeyes win a few games this year.