Summer Prep for Profitable Holidays

Summer Prep for Profitable Holidays4 Simple steps to creating peaceful, efficient, and lucrative peak selling season

It’s summer, which means it’s time to batten down the hatches for holiday sales. But if you’re like most sellers, you might never be fully ready. Truth is, busy SMBs just don’t have time to project and plan for additional holiday inventory and fulfillment or even streamline workflows and minimize shipping costs. At best, sellers are just guessing at the expected velocity of sales. It’s no wonder that, although online retail continues to grow at an exponential rate, profits continue to diminish. Why? Because selling on multiple channels online is inefficient without the right tools. Sellers try desperately to increase order volume, but quickly become overwhelmed by confusion around both finances and logistics when sales do surge. And there’s a price to be paid for all that incongruity—for every dollar made, businesses could be spending more than a $1 on shipping and fulfillment.Not-so-fun fact: For every dollar made, businesses could be spending more than a $1 on shipping. @Stamps.com #HolidaySales Click To Tweet

Imagine an online retail world where all of your stores, marketplaces, and business applications actually work together to optimize workflows and profit margins. An order—or even a whole batch of orders—comes in from a store or marketplace and syncs directly with a central shipping hub. You instantly compare and choose a carrier based on price and delivery date, seconds later, you click to print a branded shipping label, then confirm and send the customer tracking information. Meanwhile, all that sales data—including customer and product information—syncs with your accounting software, so you don’t have to type in jack diddly squat. Your inventory quantities update accordingly, all fees, expenses, and sales tax are recorded, and you go enjoy some coffee and a glazed donut.

Taking into account time limitations, there are four simple things you can do right away to get ready for the coming surge.

  • Clean it up. What inventory do you have in stock that needs move? Don’t delude yourself that it will finally sell this holiday season—go ahead and make room for what you know will sell this holiday season and focus on what products are most profitable for your business. To move large amounts of overstocked product quickly, you’ll likely need to take a hit on margins. Go ahead and use Amazon as a clearinghouse or create a separate Amazon store that acts as your virtual sale rack. Even better, donate what you can to nonprofits that can use the products and be sure to get a receipt for your tax deductions.
  • Break it down. Low-tech as it may sound, make a list. Write down how you spend your work days and include how much time you typically spend on each activity. Put a star next to those tasks that you find most annoying or time consuming. If you have employees, ask them to complete the same exercise. If there are inefficient workflows or bottlenecks in your business, they will be revealed here. For example, if your manual pick, pack, and ship processes are taking up 85% of your day, consider the benefits of shipping automation and batch processing. Or if you spend your day spinning between several different sales channels to ensure your inventory is up to date for each one, find a tool that connects all channels together and syncs them your master inventory list instantly. Streamlining your workflows and operations now will clear time in your schedule—and your mind—so you can better manage your business during the holidays and thereafter.
  • Sync it. Take a typical online order and walk it through its lifecycle, both literally and figuratively. The order comes in and that data needs to go in several different operational directions: shipping carriers and tracking, fulfillment and logistics, inventory management, bookkeeping and accounting, customer lists for marketing, and business analytics—and that’s just one order! Ten years ago, you’d be hard pressed to find ways to automate and sync all of that data. These days, integration is the only way to go, especially since ecommerce selling, by nature, is so disjointed. Build your business model around tools that automate one set of sales data from your stores throughout the entire workflow, and you’ll be amazed by improvements in efficiency, accuracy, and speed that affect your entire business.
  • Count it. Make another list, this time write down your business’ biggest expenses to see where you might increase your profit margins and streamline your business model. What do you pay in marketplace fees each month? Make sure you’re moving enough product on marketplaces to justify those fees. Are you easily able to compare shipping carrier costs for each order based on delivery location? And now that you’ve been in business for a few years, maybe it’s time to renegotiate your contract with your payment processor. And what about data entry? Could the time and money you spend on entering sales data into accounting, inventory, and shipping be done for less money (and more accuracy) by an automation software? Hint: Yes.

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What is Webgility?

Webgility is proud to be featured in this profile—by one of our most important partners—on QBOchat.

What-is-WebgilityWhat is your App’s name, what do you do, & when did your company start?

Webgility’s Unify automates sales data into QuickBooks, inventory, and shipping for multi-channel online. Unify is the #1 app in the retail category for QuickBooks, with 5-star ratings and an industry-wide reputation for being far more powerful and user-friendly than any competing software.

Unify is the #1 ecommerce application for SMBs in e-commerce. We reduce effort and inefficiencies for online sellers by automating their busy work and improving their operational workflows. We make business easier by delivering insights that sellers need to be profitable. Webgility was founded in 2007. Read more

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Unify’s new dashboard helps you take action

Unify's new dashboard helps you take actionClean, graphical UI offers more insights, clearer calls to action than ever before

Today we unveiled a powerful new dashboard for our flagship product Unify, giving users more insights and clearer calls to action than ever before. This is the first of several product releases aimed at helping retailers like you easily take the next right steps for their e-commerce business. Unify is known to be the first e-commerce solution that connects and unifies all revenue streams and expenses so multi-channel businesses can have better perspective, make smarter decisions, and run all operations from a single view. And now it’s even easier to use.

Helping our customers conquer the challenges that come with being multi-channel and letting them run and scale their business exactly the way they want, Unify connects their financial data rather than forcing them to switch platforms. With this new dashboard, Unify users can access visualized data from across their entire company, showing quickly what is in sync and what is not across their sales channels and accounting. The Unify dashboard offers a clear call to action, suggesting next steps based on analytics and behavioral psychology insights gained from users’ past business decisions. For example, with one look, e-commerce leaders can tell if their sales and inventory levels are properly aligned, and—if they are not—receive a suggestion for how to correct the problem. Future iterations of the dashboard will propose more actions and provide additional recommendations.

By illuminating and explaining what needs to be done to move your business forward, the new Unify dashboard brings increased intelligence, engagement, and psychological motivation to e-commerce businesses. Unify is designed to gather all information to one place, and now we have taken the next step and making it easy for companies to quickly engage with and act on that data. As we reach the peak of the holiday season, this agility will be critical to our customers’ success.

The new Unify dashboard is now available to all current customers.  

Announcing Webgility’s Unify Desktop Extension

Announcing Webgility’s Unify Desktop ExtensionAs you know, we’ve been busy around here relaunching eCC Cloud as Unify and eCC Desktop as Unify Enterprise. As these are the first products to allow multi-channels retailers to run and optimize all operations from a single view, response from the e-commerce industry has been overwhelmingly positive. But wait, there’s more. Continue reading

Consolidated posting. It’s a thing.

Consolidated posting. It's a thing.We have more great news for eCC Desktop users. We are pleased to announce that the new version of eCC Desktop now features enhanced consolidated posting. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, consolidated posting means bringing multiple transactions from one store into a single post in QuickBooks. So now you have even more control over your sales data and accounting, because you can manually select, by store, the orders that you need to consolidate in single transaction, as well as consolidate on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis. This means now you can group orders into a batch and post the batch as a single transaction instead of one giant list that takes up precious space and time. Continue reading