Team meeting to learn more about OPAL from experts.


From Stagflation to Fulfillment Strategies

Constantly climbing inflation, increasing supply chain constraints, continued lockdowns due to Covid outbreaks and navigating the war in Ukraine have all lead toward a significant slowdown globally, but experts do not expect a return to the 1970s thankfully.

According to Seth Carpenter, Chief Global Economist at Morgan Stanley, “we are in the most chaotic, hard-to-predict macroeconomic time in decades.” In spite of the war and surging inflation, Morgan Stanley economists do not believe it indicates a worldwide recession is in our near future.

Not too long ago, economists were expecting 2022 to be “a period of strong economic rebound, where businesses would return to full operation post-covid.” It was expected to be the new era of the roaring twenties, where consumers would be free to spend their savings on activities and vacationsthat they were not able to do during the lockdowns of the pandemic.

Many headlines today are referencing “stagflation,” a term many are having to search in order to remember the 1970s referenceto a painful mix of high prices and low growth brought about when the Arab oil embargo mixed with double-digit inflation caused a prolonged period of global economic hardship.

So, with so much out of your control, getting back to the basics and making your current processes more efficient is critical.

The eCommerce Fulfillment Process

Software solutions and automation can impact your business drastically when seeking to simplify your fulfilment management needs – it increases your capacity for additional customer orders with little to no additional cost and without having to hire and train new team members. It is also critical to streamline each of the areas to achieve efficiency.

Stock Management

Knowing the quantity and quality of your inventory prior to processing orders is critical for success.Stock keeping units (SKUs) on products allows your team to keep track of inventory levels to know what is available to sell and know when to reorder.

Implementing a standard receiving process helps to reduce inventory and purchase order discrepancies and helps to define your optimal level of inventory. Regular audits of inventory help to confirm your teams’ processes are accurately recording and updating inventory levels so that your ordering manager has accurate data for decisions and reorders.

Order Processing

eCommerce platforms automate order confirmations sent to customers and provide critical information such as order summary, tracking number, shipping information, etc. Any errors entered through this process can be caught quickly and cheaply, otherwise it may ship to incorrect addresses or a myriad of other issues that can arise.

It is critical that as your eCommerce business grows to include multiple sales channels, your software grows with you. Knowing your inventory across multiple sales channels is critical for the customer experience and automating this piece drastically simplifies it for your team. They are able to reserve inventory for those who pick, pack and ship the orders so inventory is not sold multiple times.

Pick, Pack & Ship

Software automates this intricate process – once orders are confirmed, the picking list is sent to the fulfillment warehouse to pull the required products to then pack and ship to the customer.

Establishing each phase of the system and working with the software will keep it accurate and efficient to help speed up the time to fulfill orders while reducing the costly errors.

An additional area that is often overlooked is branding – as many begin purchasing directly from eCommerce businesses, it will be important to develop that customer experience from the moment they select the product to purchase to delivery and opening the box. Branding the box and how the product arrives is just as much part of the customer journey.

Shipping is challenging area for all businesses right now – with supply chains down and expensive, it’s critical your team is constantly looking for the best price with the most reliable deliverability. Choosing fulfillment partners located close to your customers is another option to consider if you deliver product across the US and notice that it may make sense to have multiple warehouses instead of the time delay of shipping so far.

In Summary

Understanding your fulfillment strategies will help your eCommerce business streamline and cut costs through this time of stagflation, but also allow your business to have things in order and ready to go when business picks back up.

Simplify with OPAL’s 4-in-1 Software Solution
EDI | Order Management | Warehouse Management | Shipping

OPAL is the innovative solution to simplify your small to mid-sized to enterprise business fulfillment needs in today’s rapidly transforming retail world.

As complications continue to arise around the world and supply chain issues continue to grow, it is time to enhance your systems through automation with OPAL to keep up with this competitive industry so that your eCommerce business is ready to grow.

To learn more about how OPAL has partnered with many to scale their business to new levels of success, click here.

Click here to book your customized demo today.  We are here to support you through this time of change and are here to help you innovate and thrive!
Alternative Financing Options are Growing

Alternative Financing Options are Growing

With supply chain issues at an all time high, it has never been more critical than now for eCommerce businesses to have a strong inventory management system to keep up with consumer demand and to be prepared for growth into new markets at a moment’s notice. 

To those who have found their inventory sweet spot, this not only ensures they have product for the high consumer demands, but also opens doors to a trend shift in financing – from a more traditional method to new opportunities focused in revenue-based and inventory financing.

Alternative financing is quickly gaining popularity among eCommerce companies as traditional bank loans are time-consuming and slow to attain.

How Does it Work?
Revenue-based financing is an alternative funding source where eCommerce businesses receive funding based on potential future revenue.  More importantly, it does not require collateral and the payments are flexible and typically a percentage of revenue to help with months with smaller cash flows. 

Pros & Cons
Traditional bank loans are more rigid with fixed monthly payments and typically require collateral – something that can be challenging in an economy struggling with inflation, supply chain issues with getting products to consumers, warehouse shortages and consumers purchasing an ongoing record number of products. 

If all of your inventory is stuck on a shipping container and you’re unable to sell product and bring in cash, with traditional funding you would have to find a way to make the payment.  Whereas, with the alternative financing, you would have the flexibility to adjust the payment on the low sales month.

Other Alternatives
Venture capitalists or angel investors are another way to leverage cash investments for growth in eCommerce. 77% of startups begin with personal savings and founders may not have opted for an infusion of capital that dilutes their percentage ownership. However, adding investors will help the business grow quickly through the cash infusion and could potentially come with expertise and advise for growth into new markets.

Though angel investors tend to be more relaxed and hands-off than venture capitalists, both will require repayment with interest and usually a piece of the profits. In this case, revenue-based financing would be an optimal choice because it will not dilute their investment, yet allow the business to grow through the infusion of capital.

Cryptocurrencies have seen a huge boom in Australia, with the largest bank allowing customers to trade them through its app as of November 2021.  As eCommerce business owners consider receiving crypto payments from consumers in markets outside of the US, the risks are less known. 

Risks of credit card fraud are well known and retailers are prepared for a predetermined level of chargebacks, but crypto is not subject to the same consumer protection measures that mainstream forms of payment have in place. 

Cryptocurrency is also highly volatile and prices fluctuate wildly and quickly.  If your company accepts payment and does not exchange quickly enough, the value could plummet overnight leaving you with pennies to cover inventory expenses.

Are Your Processes in Place?
No matter which path you select for financing, traditional and alternative funding require your business to have systems in place to automate and reduce human error so your business is ultimately as efficient as possible.

In an economy where eCommerce businesses are having to grow into new global markets overnight due to supply chains, more traditional bank loans prove to be quite challenging.

Simplify with OPAL’s 4-in-1 Software Solution
EDI | Order Management | Warehouse Management | Shipping

OPAL is the innovative solution to simplify your small to mid-sized to enterprise business fulfillment needs in today’s rapidly transforming retail world.  

As complications continue to arise around the world and supply chain issues continue to grow, it is time to enhance your systems through automation with OPAL to keep up with this competitive industry so that your eCommerce business is ready to grow through alternative financing options and move into new markets.

To learn more about how OPAL has partnered with many to scale their business to new levels of success, click here.

Click here to book your customized demo today.  We are here to support you through this time of change and are here to help you innovate and thrive!