Multichannel inventory management becomes important for online sellers who often get confronted with the problem of managing a common / centralized inventory across various channels including their own website, offline store and e-commerce marketplaces.
The buyer journey and preference especially on e-commerce marketplaces is largely unknown to the sellers and the need to be optimally stocked up on all channels is the key requirement to win the sales race. Loss of orders due to stock outs and over ordering due to inventory not updated on-time, everytime can lead to serious business disasters.
Sellers would tend to spend more money on the inventory carrying cost than the amount spent on buying the inventory itself. Also the stock which a seller is carrying has depreciation and devaluation risk due to obsolescence or expiry dates. Hence the need to optimize stocks through a robust multichannel inventory management system is essential. Timely reordering and getting on-time stock alerts is also one of the important parameters when building your inventory management system.
In simple words, the opportunity to reach your customers / audiences on their preferred channels at all their journey points is called multi-channel management. While this can be done at a very raw and basic level manually, there are good multi channel ecommerce software available in India and globally to solve this problem.
Most buyers are now using marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Etsy, eBay etc to buy products. Their search behavior is largely dependent on many things like listing quality, product rating etc, but more importantly the availability of the product is the key for them to make the spot decision. As a seller it’s most important to be on that spot all the time.
For a seller it gets harder with more channels and more SKUs to manage as the business keeps growing. This often leads to late orders, penalties, higher return rates and dissatisfied customers. Also, customers really don’t care about the problems or the efforts which sellers face for fulfilling their orders. Their single motto is to get a great shopping experience and be well taken care of.
Overselling is also a key pain area. More than getting penalized for unfulfilled orders, it leads to embarrassment and pain of losing customers. Multichannel inventory and order management software will allow you to create powerful and easy integrations with unlimited channels and give you access to a dashboard from where you can manage and control your inventory and orders centrally.
Agile platforms will start building their own inventory from the first channel that you connect. This could possibly be your best or biggest sales channel. You can use this inventory or modify it to publish it across all your channels. Syncing stock level across your multi channels regardless of how and when they were changed will relieve you from all the problems of managing inventory. A good inventory management software will let you check your stock from anywhere, whether you are at home or even enjoying a vacation with family anywhere in the world.
A lot of sellers try to execute their multichannel order management requirements through spreadsheets like Excel or building custom algorithms in the Excel spreadsheet. But this may not be the right method, as excel is an offline utility and does not have the capability to consume real-time information of orders and inventory coming through various platforms. Real-time inventory synching is crucial to success to get the multichannel inventory and order processing right. Because this delivers strong fulfillment rates, loyal customers and great reputation with marketplaces.
A good multichannel inventory management system will also help you in linking your duplicate SKUs and managing bundles and product combos.
A great tool which connects your products, orders and inventory of all your channels including your marketplace channels, offline store and website is absolutely essential for succeeding and growing your business in a multichannel business environment. This is how a seller can focus more on business and not on inventory.
If you are selling on international marketplaces, one of the advantages of having a multichannel e-commerce order and inventory system is that the seller will have the ability to reach out his products to international customers without needing to invest in physical warehouses.
Due to COVID-19,it has become even more important that you save your valuable time and power up the efficiency of your business. Invest in a good multi channel inventory and order management system for your marketplace and e-commerce business..
Everything existing in this universe has a meaning and when we deep dive to find it, we explore a wider spectrum.Similarly, with an objective to learn more about e-commerce, we landed on its integrated approaches, bringing up the idea of omnichannel and multichannel marketing.
Splitting the words we understood it better.
So, when we talk individually as Omni and channel, Omni is a Latin word that refers to “everywhere or everything” and the channel is “media”. Therefore, omnichannel marketing refers to the marketing process done in every channel holding the same background which means “the channels are integrated”.
On the other hand, comes the multichannel marketing process which is more concerned about the product and promotes a particular product on different channels with any link of one another.
Let’s make it more clear and interesting with infographics. Everything you are looking for about “omnichannel versus multichannel marketing” is now just a glimpse away.
Omnichannel Versus Multichannel : In depth Strategic Analysis
Still confused, here’s a story to take you to the journey of omnichannel and multichannel marketing with a shopping exorbitant girl “Sneha”.
Let’s go shopping!
An overview of the system of omnichannel and multichannel marketing and its standard operating procedures.
Standard operating procedure of Omnichannel and Multichannel
Since the terms are now comprehensible, let’s take a look at what are do’s and don’t of both these marketing practices.
Challenges you may encounter in Omnichannel and Multichannel
No matter what we do, we certainly have to face some challenges. But knowing about upcoming challenges can help you reduce the risk and plan for the future.
Do’s And Don’t of both the strategies
Both these channels are equitable in one or the other way. Now it’s your turn to choose.
Yes, you heard it right, today we are up with an idea to support your business and help you grow! We have compiled the best marketplaces in India, where you can register and sell your products online. Let me be more clear, we have appended India’s top 10 online selling sites in this article with a direct link to register.
By the end of this article, you may have registered to a few of them and have already started growing online.
Amazonstarted in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, the idea of business back then was to start a business offering convenience to its buyers by providing them easy delivery services.
So Jeff started the business with a bookstore that was supportive in both online and offline mediums. The reason to go for books was:
Easy to source
In 1998, the business expanded internationally and also introduced computer games and music as a part of their business.
In mid-2000, Amazon web services came into the picture, and Amazon became a tech company rather than an online retailer. Since then the company has been unstoppable in terms of growth and profit.
In India, Amazon was established in the year 2013 with a record of first 10,000 orders on its first day of operation. What to sell? You can sell products ranging from general merchandise that includes fashion, electronics & accessories, appliances, home & kitchen, mobile & tablets, etc. What are the requirements to sell? To be a seller on Amazon you have to register and create an Amazon account for which you require a PAN Card, bank account, authorization of business to add private labels, GST details (GST Details are compulsory if you are listing taxable goods) and business address.
There is no subscription fee but you have to pay selling fees of 75 rupees per item sold, along with some other charges depending upon the item that has been sold.
Home of nearly 184 million visitors, therefore it is a high traffic channel.
There is a very high competition for each and every product.
You can sell your product globally and earn a profit.
You cannot easily sell branded products on Amazon until you have the sole rights of that brand. A brand can be sold by multiple sellers but only one seller gets the buy box, and in most of cases Amazon owns the buy box. Or Many brands are on outright inventory buying, therefore you will have to face high competition.
You can send your product in bulk and they will manage your inventory, pack, and ship. The process is known as fulfillment By amazon, mostly used to fulfill the criteria of prime orders.
No benefit comes for free, for every good deal, there is a high commission that is charged by Amazon depending upon the category of your product.
Once your brand is registered you get access to tools like A+ listing and amazon advertising, boosting your product sales, and helping you to build a brand.
Mapping issues are highly faced, until and unless you get your brand registered by the government and on Amazon, another seller can sell the same product at a lower price.
A huge platform to sell different categories of products if you have a product. Yes, Amazon is always the right choice to sell.
It does not sell anything above 8 kgs in the easy ship category and anything over 30 kgs in fulfillment. In such a case, you have to hire a 3PL for delivery.
Another astounding online retail platform to start your business is Flipkart. The story of Flipkart seems to be indistinguishable from amazon. As both of these companies started their businesses with book sales.
Flipkart is a Bangalore based startup launched in the year 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Benny Bansal.
In a few years, the company advanced in selling for many other domains too. In 2010, Flipkart introduced the mode of cash on delivery which helped in expanding the delivery network.
In 2012 the company launched its mobile application to make it convenient for its customers. And in the year 2014, Flipkart acquired Mantra and introduced various categories to shop online. Since then the company has been rapidly growing and accomplishing the heights of success. What to sell?
You can sell products ranging from general merchandise that includes fashion, electronics & accessories, appliances, home & kitchen, mobile & tablets, etc. What are the requirements to sell? To sell on Flipkart you have to register on Flipkart for which you require a GST number, personal PAN Card for business type as “proprietorship”, personal along with business PAN card for business type as “company”, Bank account details and minimum 1 genuine product to sell. Flipkart offers you free registrations and further deductions depend solely on your product. It can vary from 5% to 25%.
Instigated as a daily deal platform in the year 2010 and expanded to become an online marketplace in the year 2011, Snapdeal has seen many ups and downs in its journey. The company has received several rounds of investment and the last investment was secured in the year 2017, leading to the acquisition of many other ventures. The first enterprise acquired was Grabbon.com in the year 2010.
And since then Snapdeal has acquired more than 10 business enterprises.
Taking in terms of business, the CEO of Snapdeal says “our 15% to 20% of sales arrive via mobile commerce.
Year by year the business got rebooted and Snapdeal achieved its milestone of 1000 sellers in the year 2014.
There are many other e-commerce platforms like Infibeam, Paytm, Craftsvilla, Pepperfry, etc. Some of them are product specific while others offer to sell products in categories.
However, a dropdown in this journey was seen in the fiscal year 2017, but things are believed to be on track again.
So in the current scenario, there are more than thousands of sellers serving over 3,000 cities in India.
What to sell?
You can sell products ranging from general merchandise that includes fashion, electronics & accessories, appliances, home & kitchen, mobile & tablets, etc.
What are the requirements to sell? To sell in Snapdeal, you have to be an authorized seller in India, should have a genuine product, PAN Card, and bank account details.
The registration process is free and the commission fee depends on your product ranging from 0%- 26%.
An Indian fashion e-commerce company that was founded in the year 2007 by Mukesh Bansal, Ashutosh Lawania, and Vineet Saxena with an idea to sell personalized gifts items.
In the early days, their venture was only operated in B to B level and used to sell personalized products such as T-shirts, mousepads, mugs, and others.
After a couple of years, their business model inclined towards selling fashion and lifestyle products and offering products from 350 Indian and International brands. In the year 2014, Myntra was acquired by Flipkart, and Myntra continued to operate as a standalone under Flipkart ownership.
Therefore, working with the same pace of growth and acceptance in buyers.
What to sell?
You can sell fashion merchandise and fashion accessories in Myntra.
What are the requirements to sell? To sell Myntra allows only a business entity and not an individual. Therefore, the seller needs to do a legal registration of their business.
Once the legal registration is done you can register at Myntra as a seller with details of your GST registration certificate and GSTIN number, PAN card, and account information.
An e-commerce payment system and financial technology-based company founded in the year 2010 and an innovative concept of the mobile wallet has now evolved to a fully functional website offering a huge range of goods and services.
The application is available in more than 11 languages and after working for financial technology for years it introduced another application named Paytm mall in the year 2017.
It is a B2C platform with a sum of 1.4 lakh sellers registered and with 17 fulfillment centers across the nation.
What to sell?
Similar to Amazon and Flipkart, Paytm also allows you to sell products ranging from general merchandise that includes fashion, electronics & accessories, appliances, home & kitchen, mobile & tablets, etc.
What are the requirements to sell?
To register on Paytm all you need is a business name, contact details, genuine product, bank account details, and PAN Card.
The registration in Paytm is free of cost with 18% marketplace commission and 2.7% of payment gateway commission.
The company was founded in 2012 by Suchi Mukherjee, Manish Saksena, and Ankush Mehra as a women’s fashion marketplace. The idea back then was to provide a platform for small businesses to grow and expand in the realm of female fashion accessories.
A less known fact is Limeroad got into partnership with the MP Government and in order to promote handloom and handicraft products in India.
Within a few years, the business expanded and Limeroad is considered to be a tough competitor of marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart.
What to sell?
Limeroad offers the opportunity to sell a complete range of clothing and other fashion accessories for men, women, and kinds in different categories.
It allows users to create a look at a virtual scrapbook and allows users to earn from the scrapbook they create.
What are the requirements to sell?
To start selling on Limeroad you need to register and make your account by providing your bank details, proof of address and identity, and product to sell.
You can also share or promote your products on social media via Limeroad application.
If you are into selling kids fashion apparel and accessories this is the best place for you. A platform that specifically focuses on kid’s fashion.
So it is an online store for baby product retailing launched in the year 2010 with the consolidation of over 350 stores it became Asia’s largest online marketplace for Kids products.
What to sell?
In the first cry, you can sell any fashion or other kids’ products.
What are the requirements to sell? The registration process is free by creating your account. You will need to provide your authentic details of identity, bank account information, GSTN, and PAN number.
An application that enables small businesses and physical stores to take their sales online via social channels. The venture was launched in the year 2015 by IIT Delhi graduates Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal. Keeping the needs of Indian customers, the company grew and became the first Indian start-up to be invested by Facebook.
Now the application gives sellers a huge customer base to sell their products and grow.
What to sell?
You can specifically sell all fashion, lifestyle, or handicraft accessories.
What are the requirements to sell? There is a 1 step registration process, where you have to provide details about the type of company, Your PAN details, GSTN and Aadhaar card. The registration is free. However, there is a commission based on the sale of products.
A Gurgaon based online marketplace launched in the year 2011 by Sandeep Agarwal and Radhika Agarwal.
In 2016 they reached half a million sellers with thousands of buyers nationally.
The company claims to have more than 6 lakh merchants and approximately 2.8 crore products, serving more than 32,000 pin codes across the country.
What to sell?
The company is a marketplace for thousands of different category products but here are some categories they are considered premier for home & kitchen, fashion, mobiles & electronics, and sports. What are the requirements to sell? You need to be a registered seller and for the registration process, you need a business entity, address and ID proof, registered trademark, and bank details.
It is believed that the journey of warehouse management started in ancient times when farmers thought to keep a record of grain from the crop.
All they wanted was to use the record so that they could prevent famine.
With time and technology, the process turned out to be fast and tracking became easier.
However, the basic concept of warehouse management never changed. Therefore, it can be defined as “managing everyday operations of a warehouse”.
The process includes arranging warehouse and physical inventory management, maintaining appropriate equipment, conditioning of product, managing new product, space management, packaging, stock receiving, and tracking.
Hence, improving overall warehouse performance!
And “an application or software designed to optimize the method of storage by controlling and administrating the operations in a warehouse is known as a warehouse management system”.
This was a glimpse of all the content that we are going to discuss in today’s blog. Let’s first start with understanding the basics of warehouse management systems.
What does a warehouse management system do?
A warehouse management system controls and manages the process of stock storage with the aim of providing consistent availability of the product.
It is a software supporting day to day operations in a warehouse, giving you a centralized system to control the process of storage.
There are many other benefits of using a cloud-based warehouse management system for your business growth.
Benefits of a modern cloud-based warehouse management system
With technically growing nations and advanced customers who mostly prefer digital mediums for all their purchases, it is the right idea to adapt the smartest technology.
Choosing the right order pick up system involves the requirements of your product by customers.
Since the requirement of every product is different, it is not necessary that one plan will work for all.
So, here are some of its types!
Zone picking- In this method, the inventory is divided into zones and the order picker will only work for one specific zone.
The process of zone picking works best for businesses with high order volumes and multiple daily ships.
The process may take more days for shipping as products are passed around in the warehouse.
Batch picking- A picking process that mostly works well for any business, that follows the motive to fast order fulfillment.
In this process, instead of working for a particular zone.
The team works for the orders to pick them up in batch and move for the packaging process.
The process is considered best for businesses with high order volume and has a common SKU.
Discrete picking or single picking- In this process, the team works for one order at a time, the team will only move to the next order when the first order is entirely complete.
This is usually done by small businesses, businesses with a small team or business working for heavy goods.
Wave picking- It is similar to discrete or single picking process, the only difference is, in this process orders from all the zones are picked and orders are then sorted as per requirement.
So these are all the picking techniques, you can choose or follow any of them.
But don’t forget to move to the next, till you find the best!
4. Packing the product
Once the product is picked, packing is to be done for further shipment.
All you need to be definite about is, you are shipping the right product to the right customer and of course with the right packaging.
Packing is much more than just tossing your products in a carton.
You have to be sure about the box size in which the product is to be shipped, packaging material and have to make sure if the product is not damaged.
Don’t miss to check!
Before moving to the package, make sure to check the product once with the order slip.
Once you are sure about the product, move ahead with a light packaging so that the weight of packaging does not add more to the shipping of the product.
And also make sure that the packaging of the product supports its efficient transportation.
Shipping is the final and one of the most important steps of this process. Once the product is packed, it is now ready to be shipped to your customers.
Reports depict that 63% of customers buy more items if the delivery takes minimum time and has the option of free delivery.
Therefore, this process needs more tracking as you have to make sure that the right product goes to every customer without creating any hassle.
Successful shipping of products confirms that your process of warehouse management is right!
Make a right decision
There are different ways to adapt a warehouse management system and choosing the best one increases your chance of right management.
Let’s have a closer look.
Standalone warehouse: This management process involves managing the functions to the warehouse with some advanced functionality.
The functions that standalone warehouse manages are management of warehouse inventory, date tracking expiration, Recordkeeping, Inventory analysis and Directs putaway, order picking, and packing slip support.
It is interesting to note that it can be integrated with other systems and can be used.
Remember, if you have a small business this is an option to make a move!
The standalone warehouse system will take you ahead of traditional and manual systems without a high financial expenditure, unlike the supply chain and ERP.
2. Supply chain: The process helps in the coordination and integration of different supply chain processes.
To understand it better we can say that in this process all the manufacturers, material providers, transportation providers, distribution centers and retailers work together.
As communication and collaboration may become difficult when many companies work together, with the process of supply chain management, this is not a problem.
The process helps warehouses to integrate with suppliers, carriers and retailers.
If you are an e-commerce company or a company working with a large volume of orders from a different party. This process can be right for you.
3. Enterprise resource planning: ESP can be understood as an important system to manage everything in your business.
This system helps you in integrating your warehouse systems with many different tools and systems.
Like accounting and finance tools, human resources systems, point-of-sale systems or order managing systems, project management systems, and compliance systems.
Any business can go for ERP but is considered to be an expensive method as it could take a high budget to hire a consultant to hire with ERP procurement or sometimes a large IT team to manage it.
Using the right software for warehouse management!
The best way to manage a warehouse is by using good warehouse management software which will not only reduce the cost of your back office work but will also help you to automate and digitize all your work.
And yes, all the high growing retailers use one or the other automation tools. So if you want to be one, let’s find the right tool for you.
With warehouse management software you can make your work convenient and the workflow systematic, It can help you in many ways like;
Control and track- With a warehouse management system software, it will be much easier to control and track the transfer and storage of your product in the warehouse.
With the software, you can scan and keep a note of all your products and inventory.
So, no paperwork and the data of your warehouse will be on your fingertips!
And you can anytime analyze data of goods shipment, payment, etc.
2. Reduce risk- While working on your warehouse manually there are high chances of errors. The WMS software helps you work with minimal errors.
You can now trust technology!
3. Make your own plan – The warehouse management system software provides you a chance to create your own optimized process.
You can create a process that not only suits your business but also suits your product storage in the best way.
4. Branding – A quick and accurate delivery of products will help you in improving your relationship with customers.
This will help you to build up a good image of your brand.
5. Provides security – As we know, all the information traditionally was stored in hard copies with a high probability of loss in data but now you can easily deplete the paperwork and secure your information.
Also with the software, every employee will have a different identity to work with and make transitions, increasing accountability and decreasing the risk of theft.
6. Reduce operational expenses- With software, it is easier to manage all the processes in one go.
You can easily manage the process of warehouse management system i.e. receiving, putting away, picking, packaging and shipping from one common point.
It will also help you in understanding your product and its storage reducing the damage of certain perishable goods.
Even in the case of non-perishable goods, you will have an idea of the efficient use of space and labor for them.
7. Optimizing customer service- A good customer bond is all you need to grow your business, and right warehouse management software understands that.
It optimizes the delivery process right from the product order to shipping by accurately finding the item availability and exact delivery dates.
8. Better ERP, better you- The right software will help you to enhance the enterprise resource planning, making your outgoing shipment accurate and reducing chances of return.
So if you are looking for the right software with all the above features, eVanik is here for you.
Are “Inventory management and warehouse management systems” the same?
Whenever we talk about warehouse management, the term inventory management comes along.
But are they both the same?
The functions of inventory management and warehouse are somewhat similar, as both of them help in tracking parts and products, picking, packing, shipping and receiving the order.
But critical analysis helps in understanding the major difference in both of them.
We can say that inventory management is an initial step in the warehouse management system.
For example- If you want to know about the location of any product, the warehouse management system will help you to know the exact location.
However, the inventory management system will reflect that the product is somewhere in the warehouse.
Another way to understand the difference is that the warehouse system consists of multiple compartments and rows for a particular product providing the entire detail of it.
On the other hand inventory management can only provide information on how much is present here.
A final look over!
The warehouse management system supports managing the processes of the warehouse, starting from receiving the product to delivery.
A right system ensures less damage and high profit for your business, all you need to do is follow a smart management process in every step.
The system gives you convenience and provides your customer’s satisfaction. Moreover, you can always keep track of the work done and improvise accordingly.
Since change is what makes you better, a good WMS software will help you to understand and create a strategy to be better, actually to be the best.
In this world of electronic commerce, a huge percentage of online sales occur every year. The process of online retail starts from raising in demand for products from the buyer, the retailer initiates the process of delivering the product. Once the product gets delivered, everyone gets their share of profit.
But what if the customer says “I need to return this product”?
That’s where the process of online returns management comes in picture, Yes! There is an entire process of returns management. And learning about it is all it takes to step up and move ahead of the crowd.
The process of return management involves four major activities:
Return avoidance is all about controlling the return rate to the maximum extent by looking keenly into the product before delivery.
Gatekeeping involves screening of return goods to sort and analyse the product in a systematic manner.
Reverse logistics involves all the steps that occur in the process of product return.
Value maximization is the process of doing return management in such a way that it contributes to gaining high competitive advancement.
ERIM report series depicts that in many businesses return can be over 20% and can be very costly to the company. But with the right knowledge of return management, you can use it as a competitive advantage.
So before we talk about ways to use it, let’s first understand the reasons that cause high returns.
Reasons contributing to high return
5 D’s– To make the learning a little handy we have combined the major reasons together, now you only have to remember the five D’s and all the reasons can be seen at once. 5 D stands for:
Don’t need anymore
It is seen that there are high chances of delivering a different product be it in size, color or altogether another product.
Studies on E-commerce says that 20% out of all the returns are due to damage in product 23% of returns are due to difference in size and color, 23% received wrong product and remaining percentage counts in others category.
So now it is pretty clear that there are many reasons contributing to the return of the product and there is a huge percentage of sales that get returned every year, and therefore it is quite important to contemplate the management of product return.
How to manage product return?
The online returns management is considered to be a hectic task but it is true that the way you deal with all the process of returning the product affects your brand, if done in a positive way, it can also end up by providing your brand an additional competitive advantage.
But the interesting part is, by following a few steps you can manage your product return in an optimum way.
So here we go!
Research and analyze: The first part of management involves understanding the reason of return, because management is always about involving a process in such a way that we receive the maximum output.
So if you are an online retailer, make a habit of analyzing the product that has maximum return, with time invested in understanding and analyzing the reason of return, you can save your time and money in shipping and return of that product.
product with the order before shipping, a look in the product can save your efforts. This will help you to diminish the controllable returns like different sizes, colors, or if the product is damaged.
Recheck: Another remark is to recheck the Handle uncontrolled returns: It is true, that we can only control things that are in our hands.
So what about, uncontrollable returns?
Since the product has already reached your buyer and buyer wants to return it, so there is no way you can do anything but work on the return process.
And this is where return management comes to the picture.
This is the time to play smart, the time to create an image, and time for you to use it as a competitive advantage and save the financial impact on your business.
What financial impact does Product returns have on business?
There was a time when free delivery and return was a nice and additional offer to have for customers, but nowadays it is something that is expected by all the buyers.
A study reflected that out of all online retailers 57% of retailers said return management has a high impact in dealing with their day to day business.
33% revealed that they offer free return services but charge to delivery, and so try to offset the cost, however, 20% of online retailers prefer increasing the price of their product to cover these expenses.
The additional expenses that occur due to an order return are the cost of processing the return that includes the cost of resources, staff, shipment etc.
Along with that, there is always a risk that a returned product will not be resold easily leading to high impact in finance.
Return management for competitive advancement
As we have already discussed, a return management done in the right way can promise a competitive advancement for your brand.
So what are you waiting for!
Learn about the ways and make it a competitive advancement now, allow your business to grow with these simple hacks.
Easy return policies: Never ever miss that “Customers satisfaction is most important”. And one way to win the heart of your customers is to provide them easy and convenient return policies.
For this, the best way is to add a direct link for return and refund in your website and application, also add the option for returning the product.
In this way, the customers can easily reach you without facing any hassles in the process.
To make it more feasible for you and customers, highlight the policies of return in your website and application like days valid for return.
Also make the acceptance policies clear along with the name of products for which you do not accept return, and don’t forget to add the criteria to credit refund.
Provide service: Always try providing the best services to your customers, especially the service related to pick up of product and refund must be “on-time”.
Acknowledge return: So now, since you got the product back. Is the return process complete now?
The answer is “NO”. Once you receive the product acknowledge the return reason and try working on it. You can even try interacting with your customers to understand their needs and provide them the best.
This will surely enhance your reputation in the market.
Attract customers by providing weekends return: Do not restrict your customers only to weekdays.
Let’s give them a little more!
You can provide them with a weekend return too, this will make the return process convenient for them.
Follow product return process: To channelize the management in the right path you can simply make a thumb rule to follow a product return process and stick to its management.
The process starts as soon as you receive the product back from the customer, now you have to sort the product into categories and analyze the reason for return.
Once done all you need to do is to make a decision to rather put the product back into store or back to stock.
The entire process demands high management and tracking of products that you need to look upon.
And by following these simple tips you can use return of product in creating competitive advancement, and there are many big companies following different return methods for the return management.
What successful companies do ?
Every company today has their own strategy to deal with online returns , here are some of them and their way to do so.
Myntra: A fashion shopping e-Commerce platform, stands number as they are found to receive the least number of returns every year, Myntra believes in checking the product before they ship.
Their policies say that any customer can return an order within the time period of 30 days, with free delivery and return policy, however the product must not have the tag removed or used by the user.
Amazon: One of the largest E-commerce platforms provides opportunities to customers to file a return within 30 days of purchase and take 2 days business days to refund the amount of buyers.
Exclusivelane: A home decor and craft-based E-commerce site has something different with their return policy, they offer to send the address and details of the retail seller along with the product and along with the product put a slip stating “in case of any issue or query contact”.
In this way the buyer directly contacts the retail seller and proceeds the return process accordingly.
Phuljhadi: A jewelry based E-commerce platform, it only offers a return if the product is damaged and is informed to the company within 24 hours of delivery. And the company will process the return in 48 business hours.
Something for you
This is for all the retailers out there planning to build their return policies different from others, always give preference to your customers convenience. Because this could only bring a customers’ purchase back to you all over again.
Also the return management requires high tracking of product and this could be a real problem, being an online retailer. For the process, you can use some ESP software that can keep the management process simple for you.
You could come up with some interesting policies that are product friendly, i.e. making policies as per your products and use it as a strategy to be different.
As customers appreciate and count your efforts in making their shopping experience wonderful, so invest your time in making easily understandable policies for your customers, never confuse your customers as they will always like it simple!
Remember, the most important work to do after return is management.
Yes, I agree, that is the most confusing and creates hassles in day to day business.
But for you we made it simple, now eVanik is here to manage all your returns systematically and provide you a clear vision of return.
With eVanik you can easily track your return at once, we also provide you a platform you claim to return and manage them. All your problems related to returns and be solved at one go.
We will help you to keep a detailed outline of returns so that you can work on your product accordingly. Try understanding the reason for returning and don’t miss to work on it.
Let’s work together to achieve this milestone!
Return management is the need of the hour today and if you are an online retailer the task is even hard for you, but a few steps towards the right direction can change the entire story.
You will not only get your customers attracted but can also boost your business by gaining a competitive edge.
However, the process needs high attention and tracking but it will eventually help you to understand the mindset of your buyers and you can act accordingly.
So here is a take away for you, if you are a online retailer:
“Understand and invest your time in creating the right return policy, and once done that we can promise to manage them for you” – eVanik
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Where is this product stored in
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
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
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
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
Search and research – Planning is really crucial to make your move
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
Do not overlook
stuck or stranded inventory and stock in transit.
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
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.
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 =
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%
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
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
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
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
Additionally, manual tracking can lead to lots
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
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!
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:
Having too many competition,
Developing a product that nobody wants/needs,
Inability to delegate tasks or overstepping of boundaries by key team members, and
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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?
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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”.