Importance of inventory management for small businesses

“Stock, level, place, time and cost should be right” that’s all it takes to manage inventory.

Sounds simple right!

Let’s think about Danish who is an online retailer and has been selling his fashion wear products in one online marketplace.

He is hardworking and wants to grow his business. So, he registered at 4 more online marketplaces and started selling his products on all of them.

It was simple to list products in all the marketplaces.

And Danish was initially able to manage the orders coming from all these marketplaces manually.

But once the orders started increasing, things started moving out of hands.

His products and inventory were common across all the 5 marketplaces, but the orders were coming in individually.

Gradually, he started facing many challenges like updating inventory for every single product manually for each marketplace and ensuring that there is no loss of sale because of not updating the inventory.

Another challenging situation was when product stocks went out, still, he was getting an order for the products as he did not reduce the inventory to zero at all the marketplaces.

The problem becomes more challenging with thousands of products selling across so many different marketplaces.

Danish thought it would be fine soon.

But with the growth of the business, the complexities started growing more.

Danish now spends more time and effort in getting his stocks right, throughout the day, for all his products.

He also went to the extent of hiring 5 people (one for each marketplace) just to update the inventory tens of times every day.

And yes, this was all done manually!

His daily routine was to download the sales from each marketplace and update spreadsheets, containing the inventory of the products 5-10 times a day and share it to his team.

His team would then manually update the stock at the marketplace for each product one by one.

This cyclical process gave him no option but to stay where he was and quit the objective of business growth.

Despite hiring a large team to manage the inventory manually.

He was now confronted with more order cancellations leading to penalties, sale loss, long wasteful hours of manual work and no time to focus on growing the business.

More cancellations lead to lower seller-rating and tarnishing the brand image.

All I want to tell you is, “managing inventory is the key to a profitable business”.

Experienced business owners spend most of their time and efforts in automating the inventory and supply chain process.

The right inventory at the right time at the right price in the right place is the key, and there is serious science behind that.

Stock shortages or aging inventory have crashed many businesses. And when it comes to managing the inventory on e-commerce marketplaces, the challenges multiply geometrically.

Let’s take the around, in this part Danish invested in automation software for his online inventory management.

And he realized that the cost of this automation is a fraction of the 5 resources which he had hired.

More than massive savings on cost, his business started growing!

Now, there were zero order cancellations and his average inventory count reduced dramatically, reordering got more organized.

Now, he could find all the time to think about growing his business.

The above story was to reflect the importance of inventory management for your business.

But how does this concept start?

Evolution of the inventory management process

Everything in this universe is evolved i.e. gradually developed with the time, and so does the process of inventory management.

The process started even before the introduction of technology or the invention of computers. 

However, the process is believed to be started before the industrial revolution when merchants had to do the inventory management process manually, understanding the needs of customers.

With the manual process, merchants were not able to manage inventory accurately, leading to loss.

At the time of the industrial revolution, the demand for mass production rose and the businesses grew leading to a better inventory.

Finally, in the 1930s Harvard University designed the first modern checkout system. The system used a punch card in the catalog that was inserted into the device that read them.

And data was stored, the same checkout system was used for inventory management.

With time and the introduction of fine technologies, the process turned out to be more refined. The barcode and scanner brought a drastic acceptance of the process making it very simple and convenient for retailers.

The technology is still moving ahead and coming up with more surprises in the future!

What is inventory management?

Mayank Kumar quotes, “Inventory management is the process of exposing the right inventory to all available demand channels and maximizing throughputs profitably without losing a single opportunity”.

Inventory management involves tracking and managing the lifecycle of stock and includes ordering, handling, and storage.

In the e-commerce scenario, it is the process that involves managing returns, multi-warehouse movements, managing damaged inventory, warehouse management and lots more.

Large companies invest huge finance into inventory and warehouse management systems especially to address these key questions.

  • Is this product available in the warehouse?
  • Where is this product stored in the warehouse?
  • How much to reorder?
  • When to reorder?

Right inventory management is helpful in optimizing your stock management process and to work in a more cost-efficient manner.

It is quite obvious, that inventory management provides you a detailed outline of every product when it enters or leaves the warehouse and it addresses the following requirements

  • Centralized view of stock- Managing inventory gives you an overview of your entire business, you can now have an accurate track of your inventory as they are centralized at one hub.
  • Planning and forecasting- Imagine knowing what your customers demand and how much stock you require for the coming time.

Isn’t it all you need as a perfect business plan!

With the right management of inventory, you can easily make reports to analyze your stock.

It helps you in making a smart business decision and gives you information on what is demanded more.

  • Time-efficient- Inventory management is one of the most time-efficient methods to work with, it not only helps you to work fast and accurately.

But also helps you to complete the inventory process with improved delivery and getting high customer satisfaction.

For every business, it is important to keep track of their work. It helps them to understand the direction they are moving, and inventory management provides you that opportunity.

Basically, inventory management solves all your queries related to stock and its management.

Remember, in today’s competitive world you have to be ahead of the crowd.

How to manage inventory in an e-commerce marketplace scenario?

As we now know the importance of managing inventory for any business, let’s see how we can do that when selling on e-commerce marketplaces.

  • Search and research  – Planning is really crucial to make your move smooth.

For successful inventory management, you can use data and reports such as product sales velocity, profit calculator, sales comparison, channel-wise movement, etc.

It will help you to deep dive into past trends and plan for the future.

Do you know, marketplaces such as Amazon provide business reports on their seller central dashboard.

Do not overlook stuck or stranded inventory and stock in transit.

Remember, people tend to order more stocks without seeing that there is existing inventory in the system which is either not active/utilized/published or stored at the right place.

  • Focus on profitability – Margins & profits through sales on e-commerce marketplaces are more than just sales and purchase.

There are dynamic costs such as commissions, shipping, packing, advertising, storage, etc.

And they get loaded to your product.

For example:

Your purchase cost of a pair of Jeans is Rs. 200/- and you are selling it at Rs. 400/- on Amazon.

This may look to be a gross margin of Rs. 200/-, but here are some of the real costs which may simply change the picture

  • Average shipping cost = Rs. 50/-
    • The commission charged by Amazon (15% on selling price) = Rs. 60/-
    • Packing, storage, fixed fee, etc = Rs. 50/-
    • Average Returns (20% and 10% of these are damaged) = Rs. 8/-
    • Net GST payable (Input on purchase and fees and output on sales) ~ Rs. 5/- (assuming that the product is on 18% GST category)
    • Total costs – Rs. 173/-. Add a TCS cash-flow block of 1% = Rs. 4/-

The net realization from the marketplace on a product being sold at Rs. 400/- and the purchase cost being Rs. 200/- is just Rs. 23/-.

Now think about your internal costs – salaries, warehousing, procurement, bank interest, etc.

As I said, “it is more than just sales and purchase”.

  • Use a warehouse management system – On-time delivery of online orders is the key to growth and reduction in cancellations.

When you get multiple orders and your inventory is not well organized, it will lead to delays in picking, packing, and shipping, leading to more cancellations and returns from customers.

Therefore, a scientific and agile warehouse management system ensures automated, timely and well-structured movement of stocks.

  • Monitor aging inventory – A product that has spent a huge time in your inventory is known as aging inventory.

In inventory management, you have to keep an eye on the stock or product that is in your inventory for 12 months or more.

It is very important to manage aging inventory as it is consuming your inventory space, hampering the management of your inventory.

  • Manage returns in real-time – Returns are a hard reality in e-commerce.

You can control some of the returns by keeping a habit of rechecking before you ship the product.

However, this helps to only some extent, so at that point, you are left with nothing but to handle return in a smarter way.

As for any industry, average returns are in the range of 25-30%. With such high ratios of return orders, it becomes even more important to manage inventory more intelligently.

To make it easy you can do is to track returns and keep them at the top of inventory management.

  • Keep a habit of audit- A habit of auditing every six months or annually can be a great support.

This will help you to know what you have in your stock and what you can add more to grow your business.

Moreover, the process of auditing helps you to check over the quality of products and monitor the machinery of your inventory.

  • Track product information- The most important part of managing inventory is tracking the product information especially barcode data, SKU, suppliers’ information, etc.

All these processes can be really hectic and time-consuming.

Additionally, manual tracking can lead to lots of errors.

What to do?

To ensure an optimize inventory management, you can integrate your inventory with inventory management software.

With the integration process, the system of your company gets integrated, not only with the back end of your company but also with suppliers and 3PLs, making the tracking process more accurate.

Integrating inventory will help you to integrate financial activities like logistics, HR,  sales and financial production solving problems of reconciliation. 

It will connect the demand channels for offline sales, and will also connect with discovery engines through digital payment acceptance.

With integrated inventory system software, you can easily make local sellers and stores digital and discoverable.

Connecting to the global market with Indian economic merchants.

Therefore, importance of inventory management for small businesses isn’t just limited to stocks but also provides you all accurate financial reports including tax returns that are important for your investors and government.

So, If you are looking to integrate your inventory, eVanik can help you!

5 Online Marketplace Strategies Successful Retailers Use

The eCommerce market is certainly growing. Business forecasts for the industry look promising. Statista predicted the eCommerce sector to grow by as much as $4.8 trillion by 2021 from $2.8 trillion in 2018. The advent of the online marketplace platform and the massive adoption of mobile selling have helped the eCommerce industry become the economic giant that it is today. But not all online marketplace vendors have found success.

According to finance and entrepreneur expert Neil Patel of Forbes, new online businesses have a failure rate of over 90%. Patel went on to cite the reasons why many online businesses don’t survive the first year of their operation. The list includes:

  1. Having too many competition,
  2. Developing a product that nobody wants/needs,
  3. Inability to delegate tasks or overstepping of boundaries by key team members, and
  4. Lack of a solid business plan.

The online marketplace business is also poised to expand. However, if you want to be among the few that can grow along with it, you might want to consider implementing the following online marketplace strategies.

online selling
  1. Sell in a Multi Vendor Marketplace

Taking your online business forward means you have to sell in a multi vendor marketplace. While you may find success by selling independently, the chances of increasing your sales and boosting your revenue are much higher when you sell on multi vendor market solutions. Among the most popular platforms are Amazon, eBay, Rakuten, AliExpress, and Etsy.

Amazon, in particular, remains to be the best multi vendor marketplace platform, having the largest slice of the online retailer pie in the US. In a 2018 survey on eCommerce sales by the Internet Retailer, Amazon accounts for 40% of all online retail sales in the US back in 2018. Other studies concur with this finding.

Selling in a multi vendor marketplace presents many advantages. For one, small online businesses don’t have to invest in significant portions of their budget on building their online stores. You also save costs in terms of marketing because you are piggybacking on the marketplace’s reputation, reach, and popularity. 

Marketplace platforms supply you with a rich set of multi-channel marketing tools as well. You can share widgets and links of your product pages from Amazon to your customers and potential buyers with ease. You can generate reports and derive insights from data analytics. There are so many benefits that you really can’t ignore how impactful selling in a virtual marketplace is to your business. To attract more customers, it’s also essential to implement advertising strategies in an online marketplace. 

  1. Sell in Multiple Online Marketplaces

It is crucial to widen your reach and diversify your channels to be a successful online retailer with marketplace growth strategies. If your business is thriving on Amazon, imagine the kind of revenue you can generate if you sell your products on Etsy, eBay, Walmart, and other virtual marketplaces as well.

One reason why you should sell in other digital marketplaces and not just concentrate on one is to maximize the visibility of your products and, in extension, your business. While most US-based customers purchase from Amazon, shoppers do tend to shop around, looking for alternate sellers before making a purchase decision. By selling in multiple marketplaces, customers can see your products wherever they shop.

You are also able to access and reach international customers when you sell in different marketplaces. Amazon lets you sell to 11 countries. Newegg, on the other hand, extends your reach to 51 while eBay guarantees access to 27 countries.

online marketplace
  1. Get an Omnichannel eCommerce Platform

Selling in multiple online marketplaces seems a good idea. But it can be a nightmare if you’re managing your marketplace channels separately. Selling on 5 different marketplaces means 5 unique accounts. You and your team have to shift your focus from Amazon to eBay to Etsy to keep your processes running, orders fulfilled, and customers satisfied.

On top of that, you need to run several business systems at the same time. For instance, the simultaneous use of a CRM, inventory management, and order management solutions, although necessary, can overwhelm you and your employees.

With an omnichannel eCommerce platform, you can unify all your accounts and centralize all your transactions, products, customers, and communications within a single eCommerce environment. An omnichannel eCommerce software makes it easy for you and your team to reach out and engage customers, market to specific audiences, and gather insights from all your data. 

You’re not only able to manage sales in all your marketplaces, but you can also integrate all processes so that your employees can function with a complete spectrum of capability. Your customers can enjoy a consistent and reliable shopping experience regardless of where they choose to browse and purchase.

  1. Create Your Own Multi Vendor Marketplace

With the success of Amazon, eBay, and more, you’d think creating and running your multi vendor marketplace is a good idea. It is. The good news is that you can start quickly as there are many eCommerce platforms that allow you to do just that. 

A multi-vendor marketplace is an online marketplace where more than one buyer and seller completes a transaction. It’s a common hub to connect buyers and sellers to increase profits.

Various tools are available to let you transform your ecommerce store into a fully-fledged marketplace where you can add multiple sellers into your website. Sellers get their own profile, add their products, and monitor their sales efficiently. Meanwhile, the admin or merchant can set commissions for the sales. This e-commerce marketplace strategy is a win-win for everybody.

  1. Pick A Ready-Made Platform

There are so many marketplace solutions and options available today. If you are not well-versed in how an online marketplace operates, or at least not yet, then you can also start with ready-made platforms. For instance, you can start by creating a business site on WordPress.

WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system. It is so friendly and intuitive that it powers over 25% of all the world’s websites, including online shops and e-commerce stores. 

WooCommerce, WordPress’ official eCommerce plugin, makes it easy for just about anyone to create an eCommerce store from the ground up. On top of that, WooCommerce is loaded with rich tools and features and boasts reliable support whenever you need help with your online business.

WooCommerce constantly updates its features and rolls out new capabilities now and then. Plus, there are so many WooCommerce tools from third-party developers that you can use to optimize your operations, such as the highly-rated WooCommerce Frontend Manager. You can then scale this model through integrations with various systems.

Selling Your Products Online

With more consumers preferring to shop online nowadays, choosing to sell your products online is a no-brainer. You can save costs from having a brick-and-mortar store, have a wider customer reach, and manage your business even on-the-go.

Now, deciding where to sell your products is another matter. Should you build your own ecommerce site or sell in online marketplaces? There are pros and cons to either.

If you are starting out or if you need additional revenue channels for your businesses, you should sell in an online marketplace. You can benefit from its already established market, start selling immediately, and gain profits.

With that, it’s also crucial to utilize the right utilize an effective online marketplace strategy. 

Since there are various solutions available online, it can be confusing where to start. eVanik is a complete eCommerce management solution. To get an overview of its features, benefits, and capabilities, check out this eVanik review page where the product was evaluated by industry experts from a reputable B2B directory platform.

Benefits of e-commerce for small businesses

benefits of e-commerce

If you are an entrepreneur and have not started selling your products online, this is your time to stand up and go e-commerce friendly. Electronic commerce, basically known as e-commerce is a medium to process buying and selling of products and services online. 
The benefits of e-commerce not only includes introducing your product globally but also helps you in saving your time, money and other resources. 
So before we move ahead and talk about its benefits let’s go through the journey of the term.

Let’s travel to past

The term e-commerce was officially announced in the year 1991 as the internet was open for commercial use, the process at that time only supported the execution of commercial transitions electronically, that is the transition was only done between business organizations in order to send commercial documents electronically. 


The process of transition back then was done with the help of some leading technologies for electronic data interchange.
In the time span of 3 years the acceptance of the internet among the population of America. The general public turned towards a handy use of the internet and that was when the idea of e-commerce for buying and selling of goods evolved.


As it is rightly said, “Rome was not built in a day”, so even with the idea and a complete picture of plan the process took another 4 years. These years were invested in creating a security protocol like HTTP.
Finally, in the year 2000, many US companies represented e-commerce, especially by creating a web page on the world wide web.  
And since then the process is improving, being accepted and growing globally. E-commerce has been providing many benefits to growing businesses, just learn and earn them.

Benefits of e-commerce

In all these years e-commerce has been accepted and trusted by many organizations. Reports by India brand equity foundation (IBEF) depict that the Indian e-commerce market is expected to grow and reach up to US $ 200 billion by 2026. 
Therefore the foremost benefit of using e-commerce for your business is sustaining the market competitions and boosting your chances of success.  
E-commerce has evidently shown cases of many success stories but today we will only talk about the benefits of e-commerce for small businesses. 

  • Marketing

Marketing of a product has always been an important aspect of its acceptance in every domain. The process of e-commerce promises to make your work convenient. You can easily market your product on an online platform. 

With e-commerce, you can make your customers aware of your product, new launch and its features via online medium and attract a large mass in a short time.

More than this you can also attract your customers by providing a visual tour and with leverage content in different social media like websites, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

  • Provide datasheet

E-commerce not only markets your product but additionally, it helps in providing a detailed outline of your product to customers. 

You can now help your customers to go for the most appropriate choice as per their needs. The datasheet helps customers to get the right insight into your product at any time of the day and at any place. Customers now need not travel to the store just to see if this is the product that they are looking for.

For your customers, it is very important to get the right information in a convenient manner about the product and of course, this is another way for you to win their trust.

  • Retarget your customers

E-commerce helps you to keep an eye on your customers and their interests. You can now target and retarget your customers easily.

Retargeting your customers will market your product and boost the buying behavior of your customers. 

E-commerce helps the sellers to understand the buying behavior of customers and thereafter work accordingly. For example, if your customers select a pair of shoes and mark it as wish, so you will have data to retarget your customers accordingly. You can mail them with some discount offers or you can reach them again when you find that there is some attractive offer that your customers may like. 

On the other hand in traditional commerce, it was very hard for retailers to remember about the interests of all of their customers and then provide them the experience they are looking for.

  • Business never stops

Every shopper is different from their interests, buying patterns, shopping styles. Some shoppers shop for specific things others may shop because the product attracted. Some shoppers do shopping as a leisure activity while others may find it a hard task. Something that every shopper has in common is they shop according to their suitable time. 

And so e-commerce provides every business with a platform to work 24/7 for all 365 days. Now you can grow and expand your business with an unstoppable working culture.
Even if you are not physically available your channel will work for you. 

  • Reduces recurring cost

We all understand starting a business is really challenging, there are many challenges that cross the path of entrepreneurs. Out of all those challenges, one of the biggest challenges comes from finance. 

Since e-commerce is supporting your business in so many ways, how could it not help you here?

E-commerce helps a business by reducing the rent or lease cost of the store, maintenance of the store, personnel cost, store design, and personnel hiring and training cost. 
With e-commerce, you can work on an online platform making a virtual store. 

  • Offer details to your customer

Just looking at an advertising poster and buying it up! 

The buyers of today are smarter than this, they need details retailed to brand and product they are planning to buy and that where e-commerce comes in the picture, it helps retailers to not only to provide details to customers regarding products or services but it works in providing a detailed outline of the company.

There are times when customers want to know everything about the product including the brand and company and in retail stores, it is quite hard to give customers a detailed outline or answer to every question that a customer is looking for.

Therefore, e-commerce can help you there. All it demands is making a good profile of the company by making attractive and user-friendly websites.

So start giving your customers a little more.

  • Know review of your product

Nowadays every buyer follows the ratings by other buyers on the product before purchase and then accordingly initiates their step.

By the way, do you know how amazing your product is?

If you are saying “NO” then read what your customer says. Yes! With e-commerce, you get a chance to know the feedback of your customers and can also see and compare the ratings. 

It gives you a chance to work on your product according to customers’ needs and also make other buyers aware of your product features.

Now, this is clear that we need to use e-commerce portals for growth and success but how to avail them is still a question. Right!

Don’t worry, we have an answer for that too.

Is e-commerce just perfect?

No doubt, e-commerce comes with lots of benefits for your business and it has so much to offer you, but every offer comes with a cause. So here are some of the points to reconsider about e-commerce.

  • Reconciliation- being a part of commerce be it traditional or electronic you need to look upon the internal financial records and compare it with monthly statements of banks or other financial institutions. It is an important step to do, as it avoids fraud transitions, credit drafts, and many other similar issues. 

If you are an online seller and you sell your product on different platforms together, your task becomes more stressful, as now you have to download reports, look and compare, you may also have to recheck it.

Doing all these on your own is a real hectic task!

  • Accounting/ Return filing- The story of work pressure doesn’t end here, you need to send your excel sheets to CAs or do manual entries. 

The problem that most of the small and medium enterprises face is a lack of knowledge about GST that may end up with the loss of the company rather than generating profit.

  • Inventory management- It is amazing that you have registered your business in all the online channels to sell your product, but is it convenient to handle?

No, right. 

Registering to many portals is easy, even investing money in all of them becomes an easy task, but something that is not at all is managing them together. 

Switching between one channel to another and keeping an eye on all of them is not at all easy and even if you do that, the accuracy rate shivers. 

  • Return management- Did you give a thought of how you will manage the return of your products.

Things are easy when they go in favor but turns to be harsh when they do not move as planned. So yes, return management needs a lot of attention and you have to manage all those records and update in real-time. 

So the warning most of the time is about managing all the things together that make it hard for small and medium enterprises. 

  • TDS & TCS Compliance- The journey that you have to go through using e-commerce will also involve certain compliance issues. 

For every sale, the e-commerce operator will charge commission along with the other fee that includes handling, shipping, etc. The fee comes under Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) provision, which depicts that it is liable to deduct some percentage of your income tax (Income tax act, 1961). 

If the TDS does not get deducted and paid on these expenses, the online retailer will have to pay income tax along with TCS (Tax Collected at Source) for these expenses too.

So it is very important for an online retailer to manage monthly compliance of TDS records and keep a regular track on return filing and assessment of GST.  
And since this article has talked about and solved so many problems, here is a solution to this problem too. 

You can subscribe to eVanik and solve all these issues at once. You will have a complete suite to work at your convenience.

Conclusion

The benefits of e-commerce can go way beyond this. These are some of the glimpses of benefits that you can avail of moving to e-commerce. Since everyone in the world is looking for a place where they can shop with their convenience, without investing time on going to places and choosing among thousands of options. So this is your time to give your customers what they are looking for.

However, e-commerce needs high management and looks after but moving ahead with the right plan will always give a profitable result. 

Make e-commerce your choice with your existing retail store, don’t let boundaries stop you and give your customers more than what they ask for.

Because a happy customer is all you need to grow!

Everything you need to know about Omnichannel retail

omni channel retail
Omnichannel technology of the online retail business. Multichannel marketing on social media network platform offers service of internet payment channel, online retail shopping, and Omni digital app.

“Fairy tales made me believe that magic exists. If you think about something, look for it and it happens to cross your path over and over again”. The Omnichannel strategy somehow works in making this ideology true. If you desire something, you are going to find the product everywhere, over and over again.
If we go through definitions they say “Omnichannel strategy is the process to provide customers with a fully- integrated approach to commerce”. In simple words, it is the strategy where customers have the convenience to shop on any channel with the same customer experience.
An omnichannel retail brand gives you authority to choose your shopping pattern your way, you can shop online and pick up from store or see in-store and pick online, the process even extends to selecting a product in the cart in a website and when you open it in your mobile application or via any other social media site. You will find that product in the cart.
Isn’t it magical!
Something that is going to amaze you more is, now you can even shop online and return to the store or vice versa.
So it simply says all your shopping channels are now integrated making you the priority of the time.
The process not only supports you being a customer but if you are a retailer too, trust me, omnichannel retailing is the best choice. The process does not demand retailers to be present everywhere but their products are traveling across the globe along with their identity.
Moreover, the omnichannel retail strategy gives customers overall experience and time to research among all the products. It gives you the power to get the best among thousands of products. Now you can also scan, compare, save i.e. mark the product as a wish list and then buy it from any channel. It provides the chance to buy a product without any psychological pressure of time and limited stalk.

omni channel

Journey of omnichannel retailing


The omnichannel retail system was born with the digital evolution and now is a part of our lives. It is the fastest-growing concept which is at its highest peak of acceptance today.
The omnichannel marketing was introduced in the year 2010 and was believed to be extended by multichannel marketing. The basic concept of omnichannel was to introduce a platform that makes accessibility of customers in every channel with the same shopping experience.
However, the concept did not gain any attention until 2013 and then a post by Huffington highlighted the concept by throwing light on the way, “how customers were going to the store and searching the product, comparing it at an online portal and buying according to price difference” and this prompted retailers to shift towards the omnichannel retail process.
Since then the market of omnichannel is considered to be the buzzword in the field of retailing.
Have you heard the name of Starbucks, they have now increased their retail sales to 30 percent using omnichannel retail strategy.
Their success story started with launching the Starbucks application on January 2011, the application allows customers to pre-order their coffee, see estimated time and pick it up, with payment of every order via Starbucks card customers get special points which can be seen in the application, website, and all the other channels.
These points get auto-update with every order, in real-time and can be easily redeemed. The story doesn’t end here, Starbuck’s application also gives its customers an opportunity to locate nearby stores, send gift cards, view menu and also to identify the song being played in-store.
What else a customer could even think about, so being an omnichannel retailer is giving your customers an experience they have never even imagined.
Another story is about the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon. It provides an online shopping platform for customers. The customers can now initiate buying at mobile applications and complete procedures at the website page, the customers can also mark a product as the favourite at the website and can see it later on the mobile application.
The opportunity to customers even extends far beyond this, now you can make a wish list, or collect products you want to buy and share it directly with your friends and family.
Alexa! I am hungry. I need pizza and boom options are there. Amazon is now up with a new feature to order online just by speaking it.
So if you are a retailer and want to work with Amazon, eVanik can provide you a platform to reach.
And as I said before, be more than customers can even think about.
There are many other examples of brands that reached heights by following the same strategy in all these years some are Virgin Atlantic, Bank of America, Oasis, REI, Chipotle, Timberland, Orvis.
These companies as a set example for the upcoming generation on creating omnichannel retail plans. All these companies had their own stories starting from a different stage but ended reaching the peak of success.

Reasons to go for omnichannel retailing


The idea of omnichannel retailing is a boon to this era. There are many reasons to shift your retail process to omnichannel retailing.

  • Highly accepted

Statistically speaking, according to PwC’s annual retail survey done in the year 2016,
65% of consumers are aligning more towards omnichannel retailing because it is convenient.
31% of consumers were lured by the price difference.

  • The need for every age group

As the digital and technical acceptance is raised these days and the highest population of India comprises youth.
Irrespective of age, people in India are inclining towards digital and convenient methods of shopping.

  • Allow start and end of shopping at different channels

Omnichannel gives you the opportunity to start your purchase at one channel and end it at other, you can now book a product online or check its availability and buy from the store.

  • Integrated platform for purchase and analysis

Omnichannel retail marketing provides both the retailers and customers a platform of integrated purchase and analyzes the purchase data.

  • The need of the time

Since the global market is rapidly changing, accepting omnichannel retail processes is a need of time.
The latest market research suggests that the global market is expected to grow from USD 2.99 billion in 2017 to USD 11.01 billion in 2023. The research indicates the growth factor as an increasing adoption of e-commerce for online shopping and convenient marketing procedure.

  • Earns trust of the customer

The process helps retailers to earn the trust of customers, making customers loyal towards the brand.

Reasons to think twice


When you are looking forward to an amazing idea that promises you comfort and convenience, how could you think of even a single reason for not going for it?
But Omnichannel does have a few reasons to think twice before going for it.

  • Require high maintenance

A famous quotation says “Rome was not built in a day”, the same goes with omnichannel retailing, to make your retail empire vast in the digital platform. You need to work on it, every day.
Every detail in social market matters and that needs to be maintained daily.

  • It’s challenging

You will only be considered as the omnichannel retail marketer when your product has an integrated approach via every channel, which makes the process a little complicated.
Your customers should have an online and offline approach to your product, no matter where they are trying to reach you. They should receive the same service.
And if you fail even in one aspect, then you will no longer be considered an omnichannel retailer.

Let’s talk about the facts!


After understanding what omnichannel stands for, see some of the facts associated with the term:

  • According to a global study which was done in the year 2014 by SDL, the United Kingdom found that out of 3000 customers, 90 percent said that they expect the customer experience to be consistent across channels and devices used to interact with brands.
  • According to Business2community.com, 50 percent of the customers prefer to search the product online and prefer to pick it up from the store.

The research that was done by Business2community.com also indicates that there is 56 percent of customers that use the mobile device to research at home, 38 percent check the availability of the product on their way to store and 34 percent have already used their mobile phones to research about the product before coming to store.
There are some more factual statements authenticating the benefits of omnichannel retail operations. Something that all these statements have in common is that every individual these days is highly dependent on digital means for their day to day life and therefore this is the best time for you to come up with the idea of omnichannel retail processes.
So if you are even thinking about it, I would say “GO FOR IT”.

Conclusion
Conclusively it can be said that omnichannel retail operations play a vital role in the development of both newly started ventures and already existing ones.
Market acceptance is relatively high as its phenomenal features and strategies are never going to disappoint you. Omnichannel gives both the customer and retailers a platform for direct connection, which is positively time-investing and economically friendly for both.
So moving towards an omnichannel strategy is more like taking a step towards making your brand consumer-friendly, and an approach to follow your customer’s interests.
There is a famous quote by Mickey Drexler, former CEO and current Chairman, J. Crew Group “People like consistency. Whether it’s a store or a restaurant, they want to come in and see what you are famous for” and omnichannel retail operations provide a platform for all companies to promote their products in a dynamic way.
In fact, it attracts the customer and provides a virtual tour of the product. Additionally providing customers with the flexibility and opportunity to select and buy their right fit, choosing from thousands of similar products.
Therefore the more your customers know about your company’s name, the more they will start trusting it, “So start providing a platform to explore if you are a retailer, and start exploring if you are a customer”.

Precautions that e-commerce sellers should take during the coronavirus (covid19) pandemic


The Novel Coronavirus (nCoV19) outbreak has affected over 75% of the countries in the world since its outbreak in December 2019. The SARS-CoV-2 spreads mostly from person to person through close contact or from droplets that are scattered when a person with the virus sneezes or coughs. This means that the novel coronavirus is highly contagious, which means it spreads easily from person to person. The average incubation period of the virus seems to be around 5 days.

Millions of online shipments exchange hands every day. Right from the supplier to the warehouse staff to the courier delivery boys and finally to the end shopper. This gets multiplied as over 20% of online shipments get returned to the seller causing a much higher threat.

How can Coronavirus COVID19 affect the business and health of E-Commerce Sellers and their employees?

Studies show that its cousin viruses, SARS and MERS, live for a few hours on the surface of an object. They are spread most often by respiratory droplets from one person to another. Besides, no medicine or vaccination has been developed till date to fight this pandemic. The earliest probability of getting one as per various research organizations and scientists is one year from now.

The logistics providers have been experiencing a surge in orders from shoppers who are ordering online, especially after delivery commitments like “Same Day/Next Day” delivery promises from online retailers like Amazon and others. This leaves a certain possibility of the packets being a carrier of the virus from the origin to the shopper. And that’s quite a risk. 

To make matters worse, in the case of buyer returns, the packets come back from thousands of shoppers back to the seller through multiple delivery boys throughout the day, every day.

One theory is that after the outbreak of the pandemic, more people will stay indoor and order online instead of exposing themselves by going out and shopping in physical stores. While this may sound to be a boom for eCommerce sellers, the worry is far bigger.

Ecommerce sellers need to deal throughout the day with warehouse staff and courier staff to ensure timely delivery of orders to buyers.

Now, this poses a serious 2-way threat to eCommerce Sellers. Some of the situations and scenarios which are more akin to the business of eCommerce sellers and safe practices that one should follow are:

PICKING & PACKING

  • DefinitionOrder picking is the process of finding and extracting products from a warehouse to fulfill customer orders.
  • Conventional Practice – On receiving orders, picklists get generated and given to pickers to bring the items from different locations (Racks, Shelves, Bins, etc) of the warehouse to the packing area. Packers would then put the products in various packets/boxes, affix the shipping label, use adhesives and tapes and move to the dispatch area.
  • Hazard Threats
    • One Carrier (Picker) may transmit droplets to locations (Racks, Shelves, etc) from where it could transmit to another carrier in case he goes to the same location.
    • The coronavirus appears able to linger on plastic and steel surfaces for two to three days.
  • Safety Recommendation
    • Clean, sanitize and disinfect all high-touch surfaces and warehouse locations (tables, racks, shelves, bins, light switches, barcode scanners, desks, etc.) 2-3 times a day. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
    • Allow 1 person at a time to go to the warehouse location for picking and once he has picked the items, he should wash hands and/or apply sanitizer every time after the picking.
    • Ensure people wear safety mask especially those who are commuting through public transport. An added precaution would be that pickers wear disposable safety gloves and discard them properly at the end of every day.
precautions coronavirus
Picklist for safety precautions for e-commerce sellers

DISPATCH

  • Definition – Dispatch is the activity performed when the goods have to be delivered to the customer(s) or handed over to the courier
  • Conventional Practice – Once all packed items are kept in the dispatch area, they get physically handed over to various courier/delivery boys
  • Hazard Threats
    • The delivery boys from the courier company may be potential carriers of the virus.
    • In case any employee is infected, the virus could get transmitted through the surface of the packages.
  • Safety Recommendation
    • Keep courier wise packets in a separate area with a large display tag containing the dispatch information (Manifest IDs, no. of packets, courier name, etc.) so that the person coming to pick up the shipments can identify his consignments.
    • Keep a drop-box where the receiving person can leave the signed acknowledgments of the picked-up consignment receipts.
    • Wear masks when engaging with the external courier/delivery boys who have come to pick up the consignments.
    • Clean, sanitize and disinfect the dispatch area at the end of every day once all the consignments have been picked up.

RECEIVING RETURNS OR PURCHASED ITEMS

  • Definition – Inwarding is the process of physically receiving the products into the warehouse either from a supplier or through a customer/courier returns and doing a putaway into the warehouse locations.
  • Conventional Practice – Returns and purchased items are physically received and inward almost immediately when they land in the warehouse.
  • Hazard Threats
    • Returned packets may be a carrier of the virus through the person who has delivered them
  • Safety Recommendation
    • Keep a distinct covered area in the warehouse where the senders can keep the stock and a drop-box where they can leave the documents. Ask for suppliers to send a copy of the documents electronically to verify and respond with confirmation electronically. Mention the reason for doing this in the electronic email.
    • Disinfect all returns received
    • Wash hands every time after receiving returns and doing the putaway.
    • Since the virus lingers just for a few hours on the surface, it is advisable to make physical contact with the packets after 3-4 hours of their landing in the warehouse.

The safety of our business is in our hands. These small and simple steps will help us combat coronavirus. These will protect our business and the health and well-being of our employees.

Best accounting software for e-commerce sellers in india

Finding out the most appropriate accounting software for your online business on marketplaces could be a really difficult task to choose from.

When you are considering to buy accounting software for your eCommerce business and especially if you are selling through marketplace platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, PayTM, etc, it’s important to consider several factors. Moreover, if you buy the wrong one, it wouldn’t be easy to make a switch to another one in the middle of the year.

Here’s what all you must consider before you go ahead and buy your accounting ERP

Integration

  1. Your accounting software should be able to automatically integrate with marketplaces and fetch all data points like sales orders, returns, payments, commissions & marketplace fee and TCS
  2. These integrations should be real-time primarily because marketplace transactions are dynamic in nature. If you are thinking of downloading files from your seller accounts and then uploading it back to your accounting software, it may not be a good idea, simply because what you have downloaded today may get updated or modified by the marketplace tomorrow. This will become an infuriating struggle to identify the changes and re-updating your accounts
  3. Most accounting software does not have a direct integration with eCommerce marketplace channels. Therefore, it’s important to look for a middle layer solution that talks with your marketplaces and your accounting software simultaneously and seamlessly. eVanik OneWorld Suite is one such option that has direct integration with all major eCommerce channels and major accounting ERP providers.

Features & Functionalities

  1. The nature of accounting transactions in the eCommerce marketplace business vs. a regular trading business is largely different. The following table illustrates some of the key differences between both.
Nature of TransactionEcommerce MarketplaceOffline / Trading Business
Sales Orders & Fulfilment Multiple Statuses (Changing dynamically)
Party ledger of Marketplace instead of the end customer
Invoicing done by Marketplace (FBA Model)
Simple direct invoicing to end customers.
Payments Received in bulk for multiple orders/invoices after multiple deductions.
Payments received against one bank account or GSTIN location even if transactions have happened in multiple locations
Direct full payment against an invoice from the end customer.
Commissions / FeeMultiple charges linked against order/product/fulfillment model etc
Charges are dynamic and ever-changing
Charges to be adjusted at every order-level / item-level and warehouse-level
Mostly unlinked to sales invoice with exceptions like Shipping Fee
Sales Returns Returns initiated by the marketplace vs. returns received by the seller – when should it be recorded
Recording accounting vouchers for replacement orders
Simple Return Voucher or Credit Note
Refunds & Reimbursements Claims vs settled reimbursements
Refunded orders but not settled to seller
No impact
Inventory Stock transfer from the main warehouse to channel warehouse
Recalls from channel warehouse to the main warehouse
Inter warehouse movement done directly by marketplace channel
Damaged and unsellable stocks accounting treatment
No impact
TCS TCS is implemented only for marketplace eCommerce business
Accounting entries of TCS
TCS on return orders
Reconciling TCS with GSTIN portal
No TCS impact

  • accounting software may not have such large data handling capability. This may cause a threat of loss of valuable data, incorrect reports and delay in filing your returns.
  • Reporting your online business comprehensively in the way you would like to see it.
  • Ease of Use / Accessibility 
    1. Simplicity is the key to good accounting software. Ensure that you take a detailed product demo and list down all your queries at the time of the demo. 
    2. Most software will provide you a limited free trial period. Make maximum use of this trial with your actual data and see if this is working for you or not.
  • Cost
    1. Acquisition cost – Initial cost and annual maintenance / AMC charges
    2. Operational cost – Server cost
    3. Support cost 
  • Support and Implementation
    1. While most accounting software comes with standard support channels, it’s important to scope out your implementation requirements and support requirements with definitive timelines.
    2. Check the ratings and reviews to see how the software company fares on customer support and implementation.
    3. Customization will be required especially when you are into this complex business of eCommerce marketplaces. 

Tally .ERP 9

Tally .ERP9 is undoubtedly the leader in Accounting software in India. 

It is a windows-based enterprise resource planning software. The software handles accounting, inventory management, order management, tax management, payroll, banking and many such requirements of the business. It supports all day-to-day processes from recording invoices to generating various MIS reports.

Tally boasts of 6 million overall customer base out of which 2 million are with an official Tally license. 

Tally does not have any direct integration with any eCommerce companies in India and hence the commonly used workaround is the import and export of spreadsheets which may not be a good practice.

eVanik OWS is the only tool that has an automated chrome extension based integration with Tally ERP9. This means that there is no need for you to manually upload or download vouchers. No 3rd party module (TDL) needs to be installed into your Tally license. All ledgers, SKUs get mapped or created automatically through eVanik. And the GST reports generated on your Tally will be 100% accurate and error-free.

The biggest limitations of using Tally are:

  1. Limitation on data. Experience says that after posting 50-70k vouchers, the software tends to slow down. Generating GST and other reports take a long time.
  2. Tally is a single company / single branch software. Branch accounting is not available
  3. Its an offline and desktop-based software and cannot be accessed from a remote location
  4. The multi-user version of Tally can run only if all the users are on the same network.

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online provides direct integration with very limited marketplace channels. In the Indian eCommerce context, this is even more restricted. However, if you have the technical expertise, you can do an API integration of a few of your marketplaces (that provide API) directly with QuickBooks Online.

QuickBooks offers on-premises accounting applications and cloud-based versions with features like expense tracking, tracking bills and due dates, and reporting

Currently priced at Rs. 4,800/- per year, QuickBooks comes with a 30-Day Free Trial. The “Simple” edition of QuickBooks Online limits to 1 Billable User, 250 Charts of Accounts, lack of custom reports and no multiple branch accounting options.

Alignbooks

Alignbooks leads the house when it comes to eCommerce accounting in India. Alignbooks is a Delhi based company focused on SMBs. Alignbooks recorded 1000 new customers within the first year of its launch.

The biggest advantage of this software is that it is completely automated and integrated with eVanik OneWorld Suite. Server-based APIs between Alignbooks and eVanik ensure real-time and automated transaction posting without any manual intervention. Reports are highly customized and the support is available 24×7 from the company. It’s Multi all the way: Multi-User, Multi-Company, Multi-Location, Multi-Branch and unlimited transactions.

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Zoho Books

Zoho Books is one of the most sought after cloud-based accounting software in India and now globally. Zoho Books provides end to end accounting and also has a very simple and useful mobile application in Android and iOS.

zoho books

The pricing of Zoho Books is very attractive for small businesses The standard edition comes at just Rs. 2,499/- per year with a restriction of 5,000 invoices annually and the premium edition comes at Rs. 19,999/- per year with 25,000 invoices. The pricing steeps up with more number of invoices.

Ecommerce integrations are limited to sales orders and returns. Payments from marketplaces can be managed through their bank feed integrations. Cons – Single Branch, restriction on the number of transactions, limited users, etc.

NetSuite

NetSuite is one of the leading solution providers of cloud-based business management software. NetSuite helps companies manage core business processes with a single, fully integrated system covering ERP/financials, CRM, eCommerce, inventory and more. NetSuite is focused on strong compliance management and designed for large enterprises. If you have a global and large enterprise business with multiple verticals, NetSuite is worth checking out.

Pricing of NetSuite may be one major constraint if your business is into early or growth stages. NetSuite’s cost depends on several factors including the selected product configuration, add-on modules required, total user count and contract duration. NetSuite’s base license pricing begins at $999 per month with general user access listed at $99 per month.

NetSuite comes with a basic integration with eVanik OneWorld Suite.



Xero

Xero is another popular online accounting software. Right from the Xero login page, the overall experience of the web and mobile version is fantastic.

Xero comes with integration with over 800 third party apps and a very hands-on expense management module. Xero boasts of over 2 million subscribers. The UI of Xero is one of the most beautiful in this segment.

Xero also claims to provide a reconciliation of Amazon FBA transactions and the Amazon Seller Central can get integrated with Xero. Besides Amazon, integrations with Alibaba, Etsy, and eBay are also available.



Future of E-commerce in India

India is the second biggest online market across the globe, with more than 560 million internet users, positioned distinctly behind China. There are expected to be more than 600 million internet users in India by 2021.

At present India’s business sector for internet business areas is developing yearly at a fast pace of 51%.

India is jettisoning offline commerce at an alarming pace and switching to E-commerce for most, if not all buys.

From $15 million in 2016 to a whopping $200 billion by 2026, the E-commerce sector is slated to increase by about 1200%, according to a report by financial services expert Morgan Stanley.

Where India stands currently?

Evidently, there have been vivid efforts like ‘Digital India’, availability of smartphones at throwaway prices and affordable data packages, yet vast sections of India’s population have yet to come online.

India is developing at a rapid pace and if development is to be estimated, how might we overlook the role of E-commerce in it. The number of new contestants right now raising every day and with the development rate arriving at its pinnacle, it tends to be assumed that in years to come, standard retailers will want to change to online business.

There is no doubt that with the estimated statistics of the anticipated growth of internet users, the potential of the market is non-negligible. Yet, E-commerce remains exceptionally underpenetrated with only 50 million online shoppers and out of which not all of them are active shoppers making only 20 million purchasers every month.

Major concerns relating to E-commerce

If India has to maintain its status of a global e-commerce mainstay, a few concerns are needed to be tackled.

  • There is an inherent gap in the numbers and to bridge it, the corporate sector must join hands with GoI to make sure that transitions occur effortlessly and with as little disruption as possible.
  • An all-encompassing e-commerce structure should be built up, one that incorporates best governance practices while obliging the extraordinary needs of this huge new customer base.
  • E-commerce in India has endeavoured to streamline payments and logistics, yet returns and exchanges despite everything pose an issue. Since most e-commerce companies are liberal with customers showing dissatisfaction for products paid for online, swindling returns and exchanges are on the rise online.
  • Shift to a digital economy is a must. While GoI has ventured out the execution of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) framework, further endeavours are required by means of the development of formal banking and simple credit offices for the populace.
  • There ought to be an advancement of powerful information protection frameworks along the lines of EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), making everything fair among offline and online players in terms of indirect taxation and facilitating limitations on cross-border e-commerce transactions.
  • Internet is as yet unregulated in India with only a few cyber laws set up to check money frauds, which leaves Ecommerce companies unsure and watchful to completely immerse themselves in the Indian market. Banks must join hands with the governmental cyber cell to welcome financial safety on the internet so the Indian online customer can enter their payment information without stress and not need to experience dreary security checks.
  • Another major step is to cater to the needs of the future consumers who are to emerge from India’s tier-2 and tier-3 cities.
  • The key difficulties to defeat here are a differing exhibit of languages, a newness to computerized frameworks, and inclinations for a diverse cluster of items across micro-markets. Every one of these variables requests the usage of a fitting omnichannel system combined with a strong offline-to-online model, assisted sales and product curation, for a smooth integration of the new entrants into the wider e-commerce ecosystem.
E-commerce

Future trends of E-commerce

  • Mobile optimized: What we can envisage is there will be an improvement in mobile shopping experiences. It was first seen that sites were created that would run decently on mobiles. Now, it is anticipated that online store owners will be trying to build sites that positively run on smartphones and tablets.
  • Wearable devices: Many products such as Google Glasses, smartwatches, and other wearable devices though have not taken off in full swing are sure to enter the market in the future with greater momentum.

When these devices become increasingly popular, it will be seen that retailers, as well as e-commerce stores, will shower discounts, promotions, offers, and updates to their customers through these wearable devices.

  • Personalized ads: Prospective customers have been served personalized ads by online stores for years. It will be also seen that storekeepers put forth more attempts to offer a progressively significant personalization to clients when clients become increasingly comfortable with imparting some personal information to brands and confided in online stores.
  • Local marketing and branding: As bigger E-commerce sites offer more up to date offices and highlight and evaluate better approaches for drawing in clients, smaller stores will go to a neighbourhood base to survive. Smaller online stores will use SEO to target clients in a constrained geographic territory and consolidate it with online networking commitment to customize relations with nearby clients. Their marketing and promoting technique will spin around focuses that separate them from larger sellers.
  • Marketing automation: Most often online customers browse around for quite a while and leave the store without purchasing. Such customers can be converted into paying customers with the help of customized and targeted marketing. The pattern of using a solution like marketing automation will keep on rising by the day. Automated lead nurturing, remarketing, email personalization and analytics will help small online store owners convert more clients.

Investments so far in the Indian E-commerce sector

  • Amazon procured a 49 per cent stake in a unit of Future Group in August 2019.
  • To grow its broadband and E-commerce presence and to offer 5G services, Reliance is to invest Rs 20,0000 crore (US$ 2.86 billion) in its telecom business.
  • In September 2019, a super-app platform ‘Switch’ was launched by PhonePe to give a one-stop solution for clients integrating a few different dealer applications.
  • In tier II and tier III cities, Nykaa opened its 55th offline store in November 2019.
  • Flipkart is expected to launch more offline retail stores in India after getting acquired by Flipkart, to promote private labels in segments, for example, style and hardware.
  • 2017 was the year when the E-commerce industry in India had witnessed 21 private equity and venture capital deals worth US$ 2.1 billion and in the first half of 2018, 40 deals worth US$ 1,129 million.
  • To improve internet penetration among rural women in India, Google and Tata Trust have collaborated for the project ‘Internet Saathi’

The fate of E-commerce in India

The way India is headed straight toward development is a boon for E-commerce as the potential for online users turned shoppers is tremendous. In any case, losses have become nothing unusual for Ecommerce organizations attributable to the overwhelming heavy marketing and promotions that are done to serve the Indian Online customer.

The Indian Government is putting a valiant effort to help E-commerce in India. Despite everything, there are miles to cover before Ecommerce effectively surpasses offline businesses right now. Development is critical to changing E-commerce in India with the goal that it is irresistible to Indian shoppers. An expanded effort is additionally the primary objective that all E-commerce organizations in India must endeavour to accomplish. Universal Ecommerce mammoths like Amazon and Walmart are set to change the substance of Indian Ecommerce and are as of now working superbly.

The e-commerce industry in India provides means of financing, technology, and training to MSMEs which directly impacts them. It is expected that the Indian e-commerce industry will be the second-largest e-commerce market in the world by 2034 outperforming the US.

Small and medium-sized E-commerce companies can gain from large players by keeping customer care at the fore. That, alongside co-activity from the government, will take Ecommerce to its pinnacle in India.