Why your business needs an inventory management software?

Why your business needs an inventory management software?

A shocking amount of capital is tied up in inventory. Inventory along with accounts receivable and accounts payable has tied up $1.1 trillion in cash – equivalent to 7% of the U.S. GDP. (Source: REL)

In fact, U.S. retailers are currently sitting on about $1.43 in inventory for every $1 of sales they make.

Imagine the effect it will have on your small and medium sized business if you are managing your inventory manually or not managing at all.

As an online retailer, you do not want to tie up additional capital inventory carrying liability. Especially if you are still an old school managing it on a spreadsheet.

And no Kidding,

Your challenges for managing Inventory manually will cost you a fortune. For instance

  • It may happen at times that you run short of resources to lease your facilities, and hence you may end up operating a rather larger and ineffective warehouse then you need.
  • Under such circumstances, Inventory Management spreadsheet is often prone to errors and will drain you to the last drop of your time and energy in maintaining the same.  
  • You will never be assured of accuracy, and it’s not worth a risk.

Poor management is one of the top-notch reason why small business fail. Though Inventory Management Software is a crucial tool for retailers, 46% of SMB’s with 11-500 employees still don’t currently track inventory or use a manual inventory process.

It is vital to keep track of Inventory Management, as it directly affects the cost and time of your business. Hence, automating Inventory Management is crucial for business.  Automation facilitates your business in terms of ROIs, Diversification and most importantly in.. ( Click to read)

Know this before selling food online in India

Know this before selling food online in India

India has emerged as one of the most promising market for online businesses. With steadily increasing internet penetration, Indians are buying a lot more than just electronics and books online.

In this progression, Food happens to be one of the major subdomains in this emerging e commerce market in India. Sellers are naturally attracted to selling goods that comes with frequent and recurring demand patterns.

According to retail consultancy Technopak, the online grocery retail market is growing at 25 to 30 percent in the metros and other large cities in the country. This is quite promising for aspiring sellers who want to expand their online footprints in this market and maximise their profits.

Grofers.com, Peppertap.com and bigbasket.com are the ones that are currently leading the online food selling marketplace in India.

If you also want to dive into this market, there are a few prerequisites to fulfill-

Registration with FSSAI-

A license from FSSAI or Food Safety & Standards authority of India is mandatory to sell your goods online. Merchants with FSSAI approval can only sell edible items online or offline.

VAT Registration-

Ensure you check eligibility for your product and obtain a VAT registration number from the local sales tax authorities.

CST –

CST will be levied when goods are moving from one state in India to another.

Important Parameters to consider when fulfilling online food orders-

1- Consider at what temperature the product needs to be kept throughout the fulfillment transit.

2- Invest in proper boxes, jars, dry ice, to ensure products are been delivered fresh.

3- Choose experienced fulfillment service to avoid late delivery, especially in the case of gifts.

Stock keeping and storage of food items calls for high-standard inventory management and well equipped physical distribution.  That is why it is essential to have an efficient inventory management software coupled with a capable logistic partner.

While physical infrastructure in still deficient in India with reference to Food storage and distribution, nonetheless, things are changing fast. Online sellers looking for greener pastures, can certainly rely on Food to be the next driver of growth.

Read the entire post in detail, and tips to come up with a great online store for your food business. 

How to sell products with lesser visual appeal

We tend to make snap judgments. According to a research it takes only 1/10th of a second to form a first impression about an individual or a website. It takes 50 seconds only to form a judgement if they like the site or not.

Selling online is not a big deal, consistency in sales and conversion is. And God forbid if you sell products that does not sooth the eyes, the conversion becomes a daunting task.

Your customers buy more on visual aspect of the image than anything as they cannot touch/feel the product. It’s all on how it looks. This means you need to work twice on making your product image interactive and appealing for better conversion rate.

If you are dealing in products that has less visual appeal, it becomes a daunting task to present it the way it appeals. The concern however is how you make it more eye-pleasing?

Use high quality images:

Often websites fail at displaying product image with better quality. It ends up looking dull and unfinished. The customer fails to deduce if it would be worth it and hence exits quickly.

Hem stands out when it comes to displaying even the most mundane and dull product as the finest one to have. It can sell a Punched metal Hook too in quite royal ways.

1

The texture and color of the image gives it a classy and royal touch. As a customer i would never hesitate buy this.

A 360 view:

Showing any product from just one angle raises eyebrows and suspicion. Any customer would want to see products 360 degree. A normal image just meet the expectation in the eCommerce world, especially if you are pitching product with detail, personality and value.

Henry Todd, a London based, contemporary lifestyle and fashion company has a strong British heritage.

As a start up company, Henry Todd started with a small number of garments, as for them it was more about quality than quantity. An aim of an all 28 piece, 15 garments for men and rest for women they focused on creating product page that stood apart from the rest.

The essence of this page lies in simplicity. The image is a full-body view of the model and more importantly, the product. By clicking on the arrows to the right or left of the model, customers can spin the model around, allowing for a full 360 view of the product.

1

A 360 rotation offers real time experience to customers giving them chance to explore even through their smartphones.

Give it a thematic presentation:

Are you merely clicking a picture anyhow or you have arranged and created a contextual background for the product image?

It is crucial to understand if you are targeting the right product matter. Imagine if a car companies just display car by a road covered in mud. Would you buy it? No, because it affects your customer’s mindset about the luxury they associate with the product.

But if the same car is pictured as parked somewhere neat and or on a beautiful highway..  It has more chances of being sold. It’s all in context.

HOM Furniture has a queen bed frame for sale. What they have done is rather than showing a plain dull bed frame, they put it nicely as the final product, how will it look actually in a set up.
1

Imagine this bed without being placed in this room. It would be just another piece of furniture. Hence, it is important to associate something when selling such tangible products.

Final Thoughts:

Selling tangible products online is one hell of a task. eCommerce is widely covered with fashion brands making most of it. Hence selling furniture, home decor is not yet a major success. Even Amazon couldn’t do much with it. Hence enhancing product image is crucial to such online stores.

After all its visuals that drives majority of the traffic to site. Without it, it is difficult to make conversions merely relying on content and product description.

Why did Amazon start with selling Books

web2-0

In 1995 when Amazon flung upon itself to virtual world, Amazon took off at a light speed with no turning back ever. Enchanted by mammoth selection of books, a friendly UI, internet broke with mailing lists and conflagration spread across the seattle.

With almost 20 potential products list in hand that comprised of software, CD’s, electronics, Bezos chose books over everything and that kinda hit the last nail in coffin.

Why on the earth Books?

Well as much as Bezos loved reading, he didn’t start out of his love for reading. It was a well thought and extremely well crafted idea that was going to change the online purchase dynamics forever.

It was the blend of both Bezos intellect and his timeline of business that he started with books with a vision much bigger and brighter.

Admit it, Books are one hell of an easy product to ship, a tough to break and requires no instant initial hefty investment. They have very minimum possibility of returns , and so less risk of shipping and returns. Unlike apparel Customers satisfaction lies in quality of books, just the quality and not the cognitive aspect.

Also, let’s not forget, publishing houses were already facing major crisis when Amazon went up. So, selling books at dirt cheap was one hell of a way to access customer’s name and data that would later change the way we consume stuff online. Books earned Bezos loyal and returning customers. Once he had them, he knew it won’t be of a task to sell into CDs and DVDS.

With enormous selections of books, the customer service reached a new heights and it became more of community than just a platform to sell/ buy books. Amazon engaged its customer with reviews, ratings and what not.

Publishers were forced to offer quality of work and though amazon literally sold books for loss, it didn’t matter as it made people read and talk. Hence customer hooked onto it. After establishing brand loyalty and trust, Amazon moved to other segments as well and the rest is history

Sales: $610 Billion; Profits: $0

One of the most astounding things about Amazon.com is that the sales growing at a rate of 3,000 percent annually and it is the country’s third-largest bookseller, the company has yet to make a dime.

But like Bezzo says “There are always three or four brands that matter,” and “With the lead we have today, we should be the No. 1 player.”

Why are Amazon FBA sellers a tough competition?

With ever evolving buzzword in this industry, the one that has been top notched for over a year now is “FBA”, Fulfilment by Amazon. The industry has discussed and debated a lot on its affiliate marketing but has shied away from expressing opinions on FBA.

So what is all ruckus about? What’s the deal with FBA business model that has caused hullabaloo?

Well, for one thing, it holds the future for entrepreneurs. If I look back at the time, I don’t recall a single massive, reliable e-commerce platforms where you can sell and get a fair share.

No wonder FBA sellers have been more successful than others and are as true to competition as the platform.

Scalability

FBA businesses are very scalable compared to other enterprise. The main reason being you need not have a large team to function and can be on your own even as you grow. All you need to do is create and obtain inventory to sell and that’s all for your primary expense.

Moreover, there is no as such limitations on how your product category sale. As an FBA seller, you can sell anytime whatever suits you best and can grow faster. You can also hire staff to look over when it becomes unmanageable.

Takeaway: You need not shell out more, and keep it low cost while you expand the search for other products and profit opportunities. As an entrepreneur, you can stay focused on priority, yet explore.

FBA sellers get a competitive advantage:

Amazon offers a competitive advantage to its sellers. Most FBA sellers are the one’s who knows how to establish a relationship or bond over with the customers. Not every seller is great at marketing, but the one’s who are, FBA is a blessing to them.

For instance, if you are an FBA seller selling some kitchen product, you can ‘Affiliate’ with a food blogger or a well-known chef.

The biggest sellers on Amazon often have some kind of competitive advantage which is difficult for others to replicate. They might have a better marketing plan than everyone else, but the chances are that includes working on building relationships that others don’t have.

For example, if you sell kitchen products, what might happen if you develop a good relationship with a well-known food blogger or even a celebrity chef?

Takeaway: Most FBA sellers are focused on investment that scales the business. Hence, by being FBA sellers they end up saving high on all of the fulfillment logistics.

Creating Private Labels

My personal favorite word in business is ‘niche’. Finding a niche in product enhances your business sense and helps your business to grow. However for an online store, finding a niche that too a profitable one and generating a private label product to sell, is becoming quite a trend.

I would like to credit Amazon for that. FBA sellers are utilizing it to the fullest with Buy Box win being the center of it. Sellers selling on omnichannel faces difficulty in competing for Buy Box with other sellers selling the same item.

With the rise of another giant “Alibaba” that served as a one-stop solution to connect with manufacturers globally, it only made more feasible to source and brand a private label and avoid the competition for the Buy Box.

Takeaway: Amazon FBA s Private Label is somewhat like this

  • Find a niche product to sell on Amazon. A product that could be customized in some way to make it stand out from the crowd.
  • Find manufacturers who make the product using Alibaba.com.
  • Contact manufacturers to negotiate costs, minimum orders and customizations.
  • Decide on a manufacturer.
  • Receive samples of your customized item until you are happy with it.
  • Get manufacturer to add your own brand label to the product.
  • Get manufacturer to ship inventory directly to Amazon.
  • Cross fingers for orders!

Final Thoughts

FBA services are regarded best for their on-time fast delivery and precision. It also gives an added advantage to seller on Amazon marketplace by enhancing their visibility in the Buy Box, thereby making them eligible for the most popular Prime free shipping programme

Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising then, that 79% of all sellers surveyed use FBA for some or all of their products sold on Amazon. 44% use FBA for 90% or more of their sales, and 27% use FBA for everything they sell.

$1M+ sellers are less reliant on FBA: a third use it on 90% or more of their sales, but only 10% use it for everything they sell.
At least now we know what makes FBA sellers a tough competitor.

Mobile Commerce Trends That Will Skyrocket in 2017

The extensive use of mobile have spurred for last few years. There has been a significant ramification for e-tailers where mobile commerce is responsible for as much as 30% of U.S e-commerce and is expected to grow 300% faster than the traditional e-commerce.

In 2017, e Marketer projects, the share of US mcommerce sales that come from smartphones will grow to 65%—up from 58% this year. Bigger screen sizes, mobile-optimized experiences and faster connectivity are among the many reasons why smartphones are gaining share over tablets.

With all heft numbers, it’s important to see the driving factors behind it.

Mom, Millennial and multicultural are responsible for a major shift in M- Commerce. Research done by Facebook shows that in the United States, Millennials, Moms and Multicultural are responsible for most of the revenue within Mobile Commerce. Millennials tend to use Apps the most (61% download Retail Apps). Facebook says “What Millennials are doing, is what everybody will be doing soon.”

Keeping in mind the glaring fact, let’s look at five trends that is likely to keep M- commerce going in 2017.

Conversational commerce will make advanced progress

The number of users on chat and messenger platforms crossed 2.9 billion in 2015, compared to 2.4 billion social media platform users – building the business case for the point of sale for M -commerce to shift to chat and messaging platforms.

2016 we witnessed chatbot frenzy where people were trying to figure out the tech and adopt it.  But, the larger picture was a paradigm shift of user from website to apps. Breaking away from the prevailing tradition typical website purchase, platforms such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Slack are now up for investing in their bot platforms, which will only enhance the space in the years to come.

This said, it is evident that chatbots, messaging app and AI will continue advancing in 2017 and facilitate customers in seamless shopping experience.

1

Image recognition is gonna lead the show

Imagine, you are out with folks enjoying coffee, just then you notice a beautiful handbag in cafe. You click a picture of it with given mobile application in your smartphone and  hola- it takes you to the precise platform where you can buy it from. This way e-tailers are actually making the most from the always-glued tech of the decade.

The cameras are now serving on the multipurpose front. It is a strong marketing tool when connected to MIR ( Mobile Image Recognition) apps and scanned for buying products. It also make wonders for Snap-buys, as Scan-to-buy options are already letting customers directly make purchase from catalog, ads and in-store signage.

The idea still developing, we already have Google’s Goggles (a functional tool for Android-powered devices) can be used to scan bar codes of international merchandise and popular logos.

1

http://www.inoven.ai/snapbuy

Needless to say, With the blend of MIR apps and evolving social media platforms, the new service, snap-buy  is likely to set strong foot across the industry as it is already leading to seamless purchase experience through fine blend of phone cameras and image recognition.

Augmented reality (AR), wearable technology and location-based programs

Augmented reality (AR) is going to play an important role in the shaping this industry. Configuring an app with your mobile camera, shoppers can actually try products without touching it. Mobile apps with Augmented Reality are likely to improvise shopper’s experience and make it more interactive.

One such instance is,

L’Oréal Professional are now using AR tech to show hair salon owners display stands for hair care products. The sales rep can now chose a 3D model of their product in Augmented app and can mimic life size products in augmented reality in their customers’ salons.

This aids customers in knowing how the particular product would look without actually trying it.

Hence it is viable to say, 2017 will indeed see a significant rise of AR apps and introduce a new aspect of retail industry

1

Source: Daily Mail UK

Improvisation in Point of sales and Mobile sales will gradually enhance

Mobile point of sale (mPOS) technology promises to continue to transform the customer’s shopping experience in 2014 and beyond. Gartner forecasts an mPOS market valued at $617 billion with 448 million users by the end of 2016, representing 42% annual growth.

Point of sales heavily depends on shifting customer behavior and the store system. And, It hasn’t gone unnoticed how retailers are adapting to card chip readers. And with new standards set for credit cards, retailers are now adapting to POS system and making mobile payment easier than cards. Also early 2016 did see big shots Apple pay, Starbucks, gearing up for in-app payments and reaching out to customers easily, enhancing their purchase experience.

1

Oliver Manahan, MasterCard’s VP of Advanced Payments, believes that customer who uses such hand-off medium ends up spending around 54% more than the one who pays via traditional means.

Personalization for Push

Push notification are important medium to reach out to your consumers, globally on so many levels. Retailers, businessman, B2B wholesalers are leveraging this medium to connect to millions at a time and prioritizing their purchase experience. One of the glaring evidence of its popularity is: push messages tailored to the customer increased the opening rate by almost 300%, and in some sectors even by 500%. (Study Urban Airship).”

1

Embedding personalization in your push notification is one of the many ways to connect to your customer on a personal level and letting them know how your brand understands them and can relate to them as individuals, not as a mere contact number in your mass mailing list. 2016 already saw brands reaching out with push notifications to their loyal customers, however, it will be more precise and personal in forthcoming year

Addressing them with their names, knowing their location and displaying their choice of product in push message is likely to take this on another level and help retailers in branding and connecting in the best possible way. 2017 will likely see this evolution of push notification.

Final Thoughts

M-commerce trends in 2016 have paid off well and are pretty much to continue and evolve in 2017 as well. However, if i have missed any point that you think could be dominating the coming year, do drop it in comments.

Source: https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Podcast-Five-Mobile-Commerce-Predictions-2017/1014667

How can Google Merchant Center help you boost sales?

With Christmas just around the corner, I’m sure you are trying to rejuvenate your product listings/offerings to attract audience and sales for your eCommerce store.

What is your product promotional strategy?

Creating an excitement among customers and updating your listing as per the customer’s needs can help you increase engagement and purchase actions on-the-go.

Google Merchant can prove to be a time-saving and effective tool to manage your products listings and make changes anytime during the year.

So, why not add this service to your promotional strategies and enhance your product visibility during the upcoming busy selling days of the year and beyond.

How does Google Merchant work?

Google Merchant allows eCommerce business owners to easily upload their offerings/product data in Google, making it available for Google shopping marketplace and other Google services too.

google-merchant-center

Use Google Merchant Services to boost Holiday sales and beyond, how?

You may consider digital platforms for promoting your products; however, not being able to earn satisfactory returns on investment (improving click-through-rates for your store) can stop you from growing.

So, how can Google Merchant help?

1- Make your products look unique and stay up in ranking

Even though you are selling antique products with high profit-margins, not making it accessible in a way that could offer value to customers may not influence them to shop from your store. And, dealing with some best-selling products you need to ensure you make your products available to customers who already have multiple options for their purchases online.

What can Google Merchant do?

Google Merchant Shopping Listing service will allow you to showcase your products as per the demand of customers. For instance, considering the ongoing Holiday Season updating your listing to a seasonal layout can automatically make the customer feel special and encourage them to engage with your products further.

coocktail-img-1481694973

2- Influence instant purchase decisions

Once you manage to attract customer’s eyes towards your products, it’s important you allow them access to a trust-factor for to increase trust for making purchases from your brand. You may come up with a personalized description for your listing; however, showcasing brand value( based on ratings) may stop customer’s giving a second thought to shop from your store.

What can Google Merchant do?

With Google Merchant Product Ratings service, you can integrate public reviews and encourage happy customers to rate your product, and with the increasing number of star ratings for your products can automatically influence new customers to purchase decisions on-the-go.

3- Attract audience geographically

Sellers surely try and expand their online selling reach among customers across the globe, however, having an ability to target local audience can help you easily spread trust and increase more and more sales even after the holiday season.

What can Google Merchant do?

Google’s Local Inventory ads service will allow you include geographical tagging and ensure your store product information is up-to-date. Having an ability to showcase accurate product pricing and availability information can encourage customers in the area to step in your store for making their Holiday and future purchases.

4- Enhance your online store’s visibility

You may sell over multiple marketplaces and digital platforms; however, not having an ability to divert audience towards your online store may take time for potential customers to get familiar with your brand name.

What can Google Merchant do?

Google’s Multichannel Funnels Data service will allow you gain reports of those audiences who have entered your store via your referral links for which you may be paying per click conversions. Why not retain such customers that can help you re-target them directly and encourage them to more purchases from your store?

5- Get a chance to re-target customers

Running promotional campaigns to attract new audience can be costly and slow performing process; however, having an ability to target your repeat customers by suggesting relevant products as per their choices can help you increase your loyal customer base.

What can Google Merchant do?

Google’s Dynamic remarketing feature can help you showcase customers with products based on their previous action taken by them in your store. This can be a helpful solution to encourage those customers who have already shown interest with in store and encourage them to complete their previous transaction and make more purchases from your store.

Wrapping up

Whatever you sell, make it stand out

Google Merchant Services can help you land your products on the first page of Google, which in turn, will automatically boost sales and conversion rates for your store.

To start managing and promoting your products, I would suggest Google Merchant Center can be a cost-effective source for promoting your products and store.