By Marie Johnson, Contributor
Ecommerce is currently the fastest-growing retail channel globally. As numerous online firms attempt to snag a bigger piece of the retail pie, ecommerce business owners are exploring new strategies to boost their sales.
There are numerous promising sales tactics, such as increasing social media budgets, enticing consumers with promotions, and bolstering brand experiences. However, many ecommerce businesses overlook the positive impact of improving processes on the back end, whether by utilizing multichannel selling software or other means. After all, this directly impacts the services, value, and competitive advantages you can deliver to your customers.
Here are three ways in which improving your back-end operations can benefit your bottom line:
1. Speedy order fulfillment
According to a recent trend report by Kibo, 40 percent of shoppers say a company taking more than two days for delivery would prevent them from making a purchase, and 63 percent expect delivery within three days. Consumer preferences indicate a growing desire for faster delivery times. If businesses can’t equip their fulfillment strategy to meet this need, consumers will quickly look elsewhere.
Reducing shipping time is not a straightforward task, but in order to boost customer satisfaction, ecommerce sellers must evaluate their supply chain and identify any weak links. For example, online retailers that ship nationally and only maintain one warehouse may want to consider expanding. They should identify warehouses at strategic locations that can cater to multiple locations within a certain distance. This will not only reduce the time it will take for an order to arrive to the customer, but it will also reduce operational costs in the long run.
2. Protected (and accurate!) customer data
Information security is a growing concern for today’s consumers, as just 25 percent of them believe that companies handle their sensitive personal data responsibly. Online shopping requires consumers to relinquish a lot of personal information. Businesses that go the extra step to ensure their customers’ personal information is well protected are apt to receive better customer loyalty and, in turn, more sales.
Securing customer data starts with the proper configuration of back-end processes. However, many emerging technologies have made it easier for e-commerce businesses to ensure customer information is continuously safeguarded, without requiring a ton of added effort. For example, Oracle’s autonomous database, one of the company’s most recent innovations, uses automation to encrypt all data, provide instantaneous security updates, and protect data from external attacks.
3. Accurate inventory forecasting
Today’s consumers use a myriad of channels to conduct their online shopping, whether it be on a computer, a smartphone, or tablet. For consumers, this makes it simple and convenient to purchase items online. However, for e-commerce sellers, this makes it increasingly difficult to properly monitor inventory levels, especially when they rely on outdated multichannel inventory sync methods. According to a 2017 report, 43 percent of small business owners still count inventory by hand, rely on pen and paper, and manually key in data.
It’s these kinds of manual systems that lead to supply chain nightmares, whether it takes the form of excess inventory or fostering poor cash flow. Inventory management is an integral part of the supply chain process, and maintaining a supply chain that’s as efficient as possible can make or break customer satisfaction. For example, customers prefer doing business with an e-commerce site that consistently has goods on hand when they want them. Using multichannel ecommerce software can make this process much easier and can help businesses ensure their inventory is accurate and up-to-date.
Maintaining efficient back-end operations is a critical aspect of e-commerce sales that can not only impact consumer consumption, but it can also play a major role in boosting customer loyalty, minimize operating costs, and even make your business easier to manage.
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