The Future of Ecommerce

The Future of EcommerceHow small and medium-sized businesses can survive and win in a world that always wants more

There was a time not long ago when you could walk to your neighborhood store to buy toilet paper. A bell would ring as you walked through the door, and you could expected a greeting from the store owner. You knew exactly what you needed and where it was located—it was all familiar. The owner, also the cashier, always remembered you. You would hand over your cash and, in return, there would be a receipt from a mechanical register printed and handed over. The entire experience was personal, simple, and convenient.

Selling Without Boundaries
Today, commerce looks much different. Walking to a store is no longer the most obvious choice. Consumers want the toilet paper on their doorstep without leaving the comfort of their couch and without paying a single penny more for it. From now on, there is no #omnichannel, #multichannel, or #ecommerce. It's all just COMMERCE. Here's how SMBs can adjust. #Unify @ParagMamnani Click To TweetThe neighborhood store from the 1970s and 80s—which was transformed into a mall in the 90s—has since been consolidated into a global marketplace accessible on a 5×3-inch screen. Now commerce consists of

  • online marketplaces—Amazon, Jet, eBay, Rakuten, Alibaba, Etsy
  • tablet POS systems – Square, Lightspeed
  • social shopping—Instagram, Facebook
  • virtual reality—Alibaba and many others in development
  • digital wallets—Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, PayPal
  • voice-controlled devices—Alexa, Siri, Google
  • same-day delivery—Amazon, Google Shopping

In an instant, customers can see reviews, compare prices, check availability, customize orders, personalize products, and buy it all from stores located anywhere in the world with just a tap on their device. Continue reading

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Must See at IRCE 2018

The essential can’t-miss list for the biggest trade show in ecommerce

It’s that time of year again, when sellers—and the business who love them—learn and share about the latest developments in ecommerce. IRCE is a big show, so we’ve done the homework for you to highlight the important parts. Here are our Top 5 calendar-worthy activities to check out at the show:

Must See at IRCE 20181. Spotlight On: 3 Ways to Win with Ecommerce Automation
Exhibit Hall Tech Stage, June 7, 9:45am
Webgility CEO Parag Mamnani reveals how to use automation to work smarter, move faster, and gain more time and energy to grow your business. Not just for big retailers, back-office automation software has become a game-changer for smaller multichannel online sellers who want to increase profits and win. In addition to highlighting the actionable insights data automation brings, Mamnani will cover the benefits of automating:

2. Ecommerce Technology Workshop, June 5, all day
This all-day workshop covers the leading-edge innovations to have on your roadmap and radar. It will provide a deeper understanding of how technologies work together, which technologies to use and prioritize, and a showcase of digital innovations to grow sales and customer satisfaction. Is all day just too much to bear? Then we recommend Idea to Doorstep: How to Configure the Omnichannel Tech Stack at 9:00am. Must-See at #IRCE2018: Top 5 workshop sessions at @IRCE_Official #Unify Click To Tweet

3. Opportunity knocks: Building profitable online retail businesses, June 6, 11:00am It took a few years for the founder of retail chain Party City to warm up to e-retailing, but he’s since built a succession of online businesses, including JustCandy.com. In this session, he’ll share his approach to e-retail enterprises that turn a healthy profit, identifying opportunities in underserved markets, and how to take a business to the next level. We’re also hoping he’ll bring some candy.

4. Be an Ecommerce Champion! June 5-7, Booth 1513 Running an ecommerce business is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. In fact, meeting your revenue goals requires much more than hard work. In order to exceed expectations and succeed, today’s ecommerce sellers must work smarter. Webgility—the leader in ecommerce automation, integration, and business analytics—will get you to the finish line faster and in far better shape than your competitors. IRCE pro tip: They’ll have free gifts and raffle a $500 Amazon gift card.

5. Think Like a Tech Startup: Tech Growth with Retail Efficiency, June 7, 10:30am Building a successful ecommerce company requires mastering the discipline of retail merchandising while also managing a complex technology infrastructure to control the increasing costs of logistics. In this talk, Tomo Ventures will analyze the importance of tailoring your merchandise and marketing for driving revenue growth, while constantly innovating and adapting your technology and operations infrastructure to scale efficiently, sustaining profit margins against downward pressures.

Rest up, it’s going to be a great big show. See you in Chicago!

ON DEMAND: 3 WAYS TO AUTOMATE

 

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Do you know your line item profitability?

Do you know your line item profitability?How transactional accounting reveals the financial insights you may be missing

To the seasoned world of accounting, ecommerce is still in its infancy. As such, it’s no surprise that bookkeeping practices of old are often used to serve the most basic needs of this decidedly modern industry. For example, although journal-entry accounting can be a quick way to summarize and book revenue and expenses of an ecommerce business, it falls short in providing many other important pieces of like which products are making or losing money or which geographic areas are cheapest to ship. This is especially true for those selling complex product catalogs on multiple sales channels.  

What’s wrong with journal-entry accounting? It lacks depth.
Modern electronic accounting systems like QuickBooks, Xero, and NetSuite are not journal-entry accounting systems. While they do provide the ability for an accounting professional to directly enter ledger changes as a journal entry, this feature is provided as an intended method of correction or as a means of entry for otherwise unbookable items. This feature is not intended to be used as the regular method of entering product sales, merchant expenses, vendor purchases, or shipping fees—which represent just a few of many commonly misused journal entries.How transactional #accounting reveals the financial insights you may be missing. #Ecommerce @QuickBooks @Xero #Unify Click To Tweet

Also in a journal-entry system, the bookkeeper or accountant may complete a single batch entry to the sales income account for all revenue generated by the transaction. He or she also may post a batch journal entry for any merchant account expense on the order, and yet another summarized entry for any fulfillment fees booked for that order. So this bookkeeper would have taken several actions to book very generalized information about this order and, while the information itself is correct, it still lacks depth. Basically, journal-entry accounting is a temporary bandage on a problem that will only grow and become unmanageable as the business grows.

What is transactional accounting?
Transactional accounting is when entries are created from transactional documents such as bills, invoices, and credit card charges. This type of accounting allows for much greater transactional detail than a simple journal entry, while simultaneously creating a link with related transactions such as purchase orders, bills, and payments. Many accounting systems like QuickBooks Online and Desktop, Xero, and NetSuite are built around transactional accounting. For example, instead of making a general-ledger entry to a sales-income account to book revenue from a single online sale (or a day of sales), a receipt is filled out with a deposit to account, products, and services with prices and inventory relieved or removed, as well as merchant and shipping charges. Continue reading

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The Difference-Maker: QuickBooks Enterprise

Ask a QuickBooks ProAdvisor: Multichannel InventoryWe’re often asked, what are the best practices for managing inventory across multiple stores and warehouses in QuickBooks?

With QuickBooks Enterprise Platinum Edition, you can actually segregate the on-hand quantities of inventory by specific warehouse. That allows for full visibility as you’re syncing sales. Of course, with QuickBooks, Webgility Unify makes it even easier. This feature allows you to keep an eye on your inventory in all locations in real time. For even more control, you can set the reorder points for each location so your stock is always replenished. Alerts on low stock help make sure you have time to contact vendors and receive shipments.

When you’re selling on multiple channels, mapping your inventory and setting up reorder details up is absolutely key. Inventory accuracy prevents overselling. Because overselling can lead to bad reviews or loss of customer trust, it can be the kiss of death for an online business. With the right version of QuickBooks as your system of record for both finances and inventory, it’s possible to make a large portion of your business far more efficient and free up a great deal of time, effort, and energy. #Ecommerce reports are only as good as the data behind them, so give your multichannel inventory the time it deserves. @QuickBooks #Unify #Automate Click To Tweet

Because new customers who are onboarding Webgility Unify are excited to start right in on the order flow, we’re always careful to point out the importance of properly setting up inventory. Fair warning: Sometimes this takes a good bit of work! In fact, we’ve found that if you pause and do a bit of heavy lifting, so to speak, around inventory, you’ll be much more organized once sales start to come in. For example, if you set up order flow before mapping out inventory, the reports you run will be missing crucial information and you’ll have no idea what’s in stock.  Continue reading

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Key Metrics Guaranteed to Boost Online Sales

Key Metrics Guaranteed to Boost Online SalesThe most important KPIs ecommerce businesses should be monitoring and why

“Metrics,” “KPIs,” and “analytics” have been buzzwords in ecommerce for at least a decade, but as is often the case with any SMB-heavy industry, individual sellers have been left to their own devices to figure out how to first find, then understand, meaningful information amid the piles of data their stores cough up every day.

To help move the discussion beyond the realm of buzzwords and into something useful, this simple primer of important ecommerce metrics spells out specific KPIs that relate to multichannel selling, customers, and products as well as why these key indicators are important to the health—and growth—of your online retail business.#KPIs guaranteed to boost #ecommerce sales #Unify #noexcuses Click To Tweet

Multichannel Metrics
Selling in different online locations has its own special set of challenges, the toughest of which is getting big-picture perspective on your business when every online retail entity has its own way of managing your sales data. These metrics will allow you to be strategic about how and where you sell, in a world where the list of niche sales channels grows every day.

Total Average Order Value (AOV)
The average order value is total order value of all orders over a time period, divided by the total number of orders in that same time period. Simply put, this is the average total collected from a customer, per order. Not-so-simply put: To get value out of the calculation, you’ll need to weed out unrelated amounts like taxes or marketplace fees, while completely accounting for the item prices, shipping revenue, and any discounts applied to orders.
Why is this important? Knowing AOV allows you to better plan discount initiatives, set accurate parameters for free shipping, more effectively track the value of new or returning customers, and project the number of new orders needed to hit revenue targets.

Collectible AOV
The Collectible AOV is the dollar-value that your company can actually collect in cash. Essentially, this is an important extension of your AOV which subtracts out your payment processor fees, since they are unavoidable across the board for your business. While your shipping and inventory expenditures can vary—and are often outflows of cash as opposed to deductions from cash receipts, payment processor fees, and, in some cases, marketplace fees—it is important to remove them from AOV to better depict cash movements.
Continue reading

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