In any complex operation, the more human interaction there is, the higher the risk for something to go wrong. In today’s multi-channel ecommerce operations, there are a lot of tasks retailers need to manage, from product content and marketplace listings to inventory, reordering and fulfillment. Retailers also need to handle marketing, customer service and managing employees.
Since these are all critical to the success of your business, there’s a need to automate these complex functions in order to eliminate human error and inefficiencies. A healthy ecommerce business relies on a solid operational infrastructure.
Here are the top 3 functions you’ll need to automate if you want to build a strong foundation for your business.
The importance of having listings with detailed, updated content cannot be overstated. According to a study by Informatica, 90% of online shoppers abandon a cart if they feel that they don’t have enough information about a product.
You will need to ensure that your listings have clear, updated descriptions and high quality photos and videos. Unfortunately, if you sell on multiple sales channels, these tasks can get rather tedious.
Imagine having to update every channel whenever your supplier changes the price of their products. Also, not all channels and marketplaces are the same. Each site has specific requirements and processes, and this is why automation can save you a lot of time and reduce the margin for error.
When searching for a listing software, choose a provider that is proactive in ensuring that their channel integrations are up to date. If your provider is slow to react to changes, your listings may result in errors. At best, this could lead to your listings being removed; at worst, your seller account could get suspended. Don’t pay a monthly fee for a broken listing software.
High volume sellers can no longer rely on spreadsheets and outdated methods of inventory tracking. Many sellers use Amazon FBA to be eligible for Prime delivery. Other sellers also partner with drop ship vendors and 3PLs. Inventory management is becoming more complex.
Without proper inventory control, you risk overselling, understocking and overstocking - tying up your cash flow and warehouse space. A good inventory management system will give you visibility over your stock across all your warehouses, so you don’t sell blindly.
Going further, inventory management software can help you forecast your stock requirements, so you always have an optimal level of stock. Reordering based on these projections can also be automated so everything runs efficiently in the background.
A recent UPS study found that 75% of your warehouse resources is allocated to order picking and shipping. That means for a warehouse operation with 5 full-time employees, automation technology will improve order processing by 30% and save you over $55,000 a year.
Warehouse automation can reduce the cost of labor and improve your fulfillment operations, which ultimately impacts customer satisfaction. Investing in barcode scanners and RFID readers, in addition to a dedicated warehouse management system, can eliminate mispicks and other inventory problems.
According to Zebra Technologies, companies today are investing more on dedicated warehouse automation software. Of those surveyed, 50% are moving to modern, full-featured warehouse management systems (WMS), and 75% plan to implement one by 2020.
Shoppers today expect fast delivery, and if you fail to deliver the right products on time, because of fulfillment delays or stockouts, you will lose that customer and likely get a negative review.
Finding the Right Automation Solution
There are many SaaS companies in the marketplace, so depending on the size of your business, functionality requirements and budget, some software will "best" fit your business than others. ERPs are generally expensive and often require custom development.
When shopping for an inventory management solution, make sure the software has core features like real-time inventory tracking, intelligent forecasting and automated reordering. Jazva offers all these and more, at 1/3 the cost of leading ERP systems like NetSuite. You can take a closer look at our detailed software comparison between Jazva and NetSuite.