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Growing Your On-Line Retailer Sales with Better Product Content

Product Content – the information you provide on-line at retailer websites describing your product – is the secret ingredient when selling through e-Commerce Channels.  The depth of detail and the content design used to showcase your product on Wayfair.com, Overstock.com, Hayneedle.com, Amazon.com, Walmart.com, etc., etc. determines if consumers are going to FIND your product and if they’re going to BUY it.  Consumers are taking charge of their own shopping journey and it’s becoming clear that you have to deliver a superior digital product experience to get their attention.     

According to Salsify, here’s how product content drives your e-commerce success: 

  1. It’s how your consumer finds you – 81% of shoppers conduct online research before they make a purchase.
  2. Product content is SEO gold, both with search engines and with retailers – Brands that submit content to Google can boost sales by as much as 25% for retailers advertising their products.
  3. It’s what drives sales – 73% of consumers cite detailed product content as their number one criteria for clicking the “Buy” button.
  4. And, it’s not optional – Your shoppers are digital, and all retailer and product related marketing activities require a baseline of accurate, approved, rich product content. 

Content and technology experts can also be helpful to create and store product content, especially when online sales are important to your brand strategy or you sell on multiple online marketplaces.  For further information on this topic click:  11 Rules to Deliver Product Content that Sells to view Salsify’s e-Book. 

Fortunately, the next hurdle will be scaling your business to efficiently and cost effectively process the increased influx of orders that great content management will generate for you.

Yes, there are challenges, especially in the e-commerce world where you’re shipping directly to consumers (Drop Shipping).  However, OPAL removes them and even greatly reduces the workload for Bulk Shipments (LTL, Truckload and Container) as well.  

For example, A LABOR INTENSIVE DROP SHIP ORDER WILL BE PROCESSED IN 8 SECONDS OR LESS.  This means you can receive orders from your customer retailers and e-tailers, manage all of their EDI transactions, process and invoice orders through your ERP and accounting system, create picklists, create packing slips and create custom branded 3rd party shipping labels and get them to the warehouse for pick, pack and ship – 24 hours per day, seven days per week – even when there’s no one in the office.  And, you are also able to do all of that WITH ZERO EDI DOCUMENT COST!

5 Things your EDI Company Will Never Tell You

Do you really need a 3rd party EDI Company or VAN (Value Added Network) to send and receive data such as POs, Acknowledgements, Ship Notices, Invoices, etc. to your retailers?  With a very small number of exceptions, the answer is NO.  Fortunately for these companies, suppliers are often painfully unaware of the alternatives available.  In fact, there are 5 things a company making their living by being an EDI “middleman” will never tell you: 

  1. You don’t need them to work with all retailers. There are a few exceptions, but many retailers work with technologies that allow for direct connection and communication with them – eliminating those data transfer and transmission charges. 
  2. It does not cost an EDI company any money to send and receive your data over the Internet.  As an example, consider how much it costs to stream data on one of your mobile devices.  Not all that much, right?  However, if you were to stream a movie on your mobile device at the cost of EDI transmission it would be about $240,000. 
  3. EDI companies provide the slowest way to exchange information.  Essentially it is a batch process, meaning that transactions are sent in bulk to retailers, instead of when a transaction actually occurs.  As retailer expectations become higher and higher, some EDI companies are having difficulty meeting retailer timeframe compliance requirements. 
  4. Current EDI technology has been around since the 1980s and is not keeping up with market driven needs such as real-time communication.  To do this an Application Program Interface (API) is needed that enables no cost, real-time communication of transactions to occur. 
  5. The use of traditional EDI services is largely a “black hole” restricting your ability to see and manage what’s going on inside and can impact your competitiveness. 

To complicate matters, a retailer’s help line may very well point you to a specific EDI company that they work with when you are setting up with them, even though they have other alternative(s) available.  It’s just a simple way to get you connected and it doesn’t cost them anything.  As we said previously, suppliers are often painfully unaware of what alternatives are available. 

The majority of retailers do have alternative connections available such as API, FTP or AS2 which allows you to communicate with them directly.  These are the methods that OPAL employs whenever a retailer allows it, and OPAL does not charge for this data translation and transmission  – after all it is the Internet. 

Adapting to your specific business processes (not a one size fits all solution), as well as simplifying communication with your retailers, OPAL is the only autonomous drop ship and order fulfillment software solution in the market today.  Check it out!

The Importance of Accurate Inventory Reporting to Retailers

As I’m sure you are aware, many retailers and e-tailers require their suppliers to provide SKU inventory quantities on a regularly scheduled basis to ensure that they can fulfill the orders received or be able to determine that an item is out of stock.  It sounds simple enough, but there are some pretty major repercussions (i.e. scorecard dings and chargebacks) if you get it wrong.  

A huge problem that occurs frequently is overselling.  An example of this might be:  If you have ten (10) of an SKU in stock and report all ten (10) to three (3) retailers, you are indicating that you have thirty (30) of this SKU in stock.  If all of these retailers sell ten (10) of this SKU you’ve oversold and have to cancel orders for twenty (20) of them.  This results in scorecard problems and charge backs by the retailer. 

It’s a very real business problem for suppliers that work with multiple retailers and can cause unexpected financial problems.  To understand this problem, you need to ask the following questions regarding your business processes: 

  • SKU Inventory Accuracy – Is your inventory properly maintained, frequently updated and being decremented as orders are filled?  
  • Inventory Reporting to Multiple Retail Channels – Do you report all of your inventory quantity to each retailer?  Is it simple to allocate your inventory across retailers? 
  • Low Inventory Levels – Are you aware if a SKU’s inventory is dangerously low and cannot handle a large order? 
  • Frequency of Inventory Feeds – Are you sending inventory feeds to retailers as often as needed to keep them up to date?  Are you meeting their frequency compliance requirements? 
  • EDI Inventory Feeds – Are you sending inventory feeds using EDI?  Can your EDI provider provide the speed needed? 

If you’re managing these things either manually or semi-automatically using software systems that require manual input, it’s just going to be an uphill battle to eliminate the problem.  Your retailer, order processing, inventory tracking and invoicing all must be connected in a way that eliminates manual effort and expedites timely, accurate communication of information.  

If your current processes and investment in technology systems are unable to do this for you, then please visit OPAL.