EDI 101 for Today’s eCommerce Business

EDI 101 for Today’s eCommerce Business

As the world of ecommerce has shifted away from a few bulk shipments to retailers to drop shipping small parcels for retailers directly to customers, EDI compliance has increased in both importance and cost.

What is EDI?
Electronic data interchange (EDI) provides a standard method of communicating data between businesses, also known as your EDI trading partners, with the purpose of making this data transfer more efficient and accurate. Different types of business systems that use EDI include eCommerce solutions, ERP, WMS, CMS, accounting software and many more.  EDI replaces old fashioned paper and fax transactions with processes that automate and simplify.

Is EDI required to work with retailers?
According to B2Bgateway.net’s blog, the top 5 advantages of EDI include:

  • Accuracy and efficiency, eliminating the need to re-key data and reducing human error to provide accurate, real time data to all parties;
  • Integration of all aspects of your supply chain;
  • Quicker order and transaction processing;
  • Faster payments with shorter order to payment cash cycles, allowing your business to get paid much faster from your customers;
  • And, environmentally friendly, since all communications are electronic.

The most impactful benefit of EDI to your eCommerce business is EDI compliance; an expectation that is quickly being adopted by many retail partners to increase accuracy of data as well as maintain their brand reputation and customer experience.

Of the over 100 major retailers that currently partner with OPAL, less than 5% require the use of a 3rd party EDI Company.  This percentage continues to drop as retailers recognize software solutions that are more comprehensive; similar to OPAL’s 4-in-1 solution that includes EDI for eCommerce businesses to simplify the need for multiple software systems, as well as reduce overhead costs.

How does EDI work?
EDI transaction files contain data and pertinent information in a standardized format unique to its purpose.  For example, it may contain who’s the carrier, what/ how many/ when items are shipping, and how they will be transported.  

EDI providers, including VANs (Value Add Network), integrate with ERP / Accounting software to process orders between your eCommerce business and your sales channels, making your transactions EDI compliant with them. 

Did you know OPAL eliminates the need for a third-party vendor?
Simplify with OPAL’s 4-in-1 software solution, your solution for EDI, order management, warehouse management and shipping needs. OPAL connects to all retailers, suppliers and warehouses without the need for third-party document charges, allowing your eCommerce business to focus on how efficiently your team can pick, pack and ship.

To learn more and set up your customized demo today, 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!

How to Succeed as Ecommerce Levels Up Through Covid-19

How to Succeed as Ecommerce Levels Up Through Covid-19

One thing is for sure, during this time of Covid-19 ecommerce has been expected to level up its customer experience, requiring teams and business models to evolve rapidly. What was once a cumbersome process, suppliers are now able to partner with new sales channels in a matter of weeks and reach an entirely new group of consumers. But with all of this rapid expansion, how does your team continue to meet the heightened expectations of consumers and retailers (sales channels)?

Partnering with New Retailers
Retailers are constantly looking to partner with new suppliers to diversify and provide more choices to their customers. Your sales channels are looking for ecommerce sellers who are:

  • Established.  Your business has a US Business Tax ID (EIN) and a proven ecommerce track record.
  • Accurate and dependable. Whether it’s real-time inventory to prevent customers from over purchasing, or quick and consistent shipping practices to ensure timely delivery, you have efficient processes in place.
  • Unique.  Product offerings help make both your ecommerce business and your retailer competitive in the market.

Focus on the Customer Purchase Experience
The new norm is a mix of warehouse and dropship fulfillment from retailers, which provides a wide array of products but requires your ecommerce business to be quick and efficient with drop shipping to their expectant consumers.  Customers today expect a seamless purchase experience; one that is quick and provides a high-quality product with little to no room for error on your part. 

When partnering with new sales channels, your unique product line may make you competitive, but if your drop ship is poorly executed, this damages the customer experience and potentially eliminates the repeat business.  Building trust through consistency and dependability will be crucial for a fruitful long-term relationship with retailers (sales channels).

How to Succeed in Ecommerce
As your ecommerce business continues to grow, finding a software solution to automate and simplify your small to mid-sized business fulfillment needs in today’s rapidly transforming retail world is a necessity.

OPAL provides you with an innovative 4-in-1 software solution to simplify your EDI, order management, warehouse management and shipping processes into one platform.  This reduces the cost of multiple software packages needed for your order processing and fulfillment needs, as well as drives labor costs down to fulfill additional orders immediately without the hassle of hiring and training new staff.

One comprehensive software solution also strengthens your relationships with your sales channels because it builds trust through your consistency.  OPAL requires little to no downtime for setup, syncs to all accounting and ERP systems without customization required and optimize quick delivery to customers, while managing compliant retailer transactions, real-time inventory and shipping documents.  

To learn more about how OPAL is partnering with other growing and successful ecommerce businesses, 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!

Order and Warehouse Management 101 – Life with OPAL

Order and Warehouse Management 101 – Life with OPAL

Are your order management and warehouse management processes preventing you from growing?  Do you constantly feel the need to hire more people to keep up with your consumer demands and shipping needs? 

Many small to mid-sized businesses learn the importance of a solid warehouse operations foundation too late into the game because they have grown organically and have not planned or pursued other options to simplify their processes and grow with better efficiencies. 

Software solutions can impact your business drastically when seeking to streamline your order management and warehouse management needs — so that you can continue to grow your business with little to no additional costs.  If you’re shipping a minimum of 50 orders per day, you’re most likely ready for a software solution that can automate and streamline your processes, while also saving you money with free EDI and reductions in labor costs.

Why Implement a Software Solution?

Automation can seem like a daunting task when your business is growing at a challenging rate for your team to manage. What if you could increase your capacity to keep up with your customer orders without having to hire and train new staff? 

Your business would not only reach additional customers, but you would build trust and prove dependability with your many sales channels.

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 business fulfillment needs in today’s rapidly transforming retail world.  

OPAL is the only touchless, self-driving drop ship and order fulfillment software solution in the market today, working 24×7 even when there’s no one in the office.  It processes your orders and gets them ready for when your warehouse personnel arrive in the morning and optimizes the pick, pack and ship process to increase warehouse productivity by 25%+.

To learn more about how OPAL can reduce your need for multiple software packages and simplify your order processing and fulfillment needs, click here. We welcome the discussion to show how simplifying and streamlining your software solutions with OPAL will help you grow more cost efficiently!

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!

Are You Ready for the Changes Ahead?

Are You Ready for the Changes Ahead?

Are you ready for the changes ahead?

Whether you are stretched thin and busy with shipping products to those shopping at home with this shelter-in-place, or business is slow and you are in need of preparation for the increased demand of the coming months, are you ready for the changes ahead?

Covid-19 changed everything overnight, and only businesses who innovate will survive and thrive. Now is the time to re-evaluate your business and see if you are prepared for the expected adjustments forced by cities sheltering-in-place, with few brick and mortar establishments considered as essential and open. Brick and mortal sales are far from healthy, while Covid-19 has caused eCommerce sales to explode.  

Are you ready for the rapid transition to large quantities of small-parcel drop ship orders?  Small and large eCommerce businesses must evolve to keep up with consumer demands.  With this overnight shift, it can be difficult to ramp up so quickly, keep relationships strong with your retailers and meet their growing requirements surrounding compliance, as well as timely and accurate inventory reporting needs to avoid overselling and underselling and on-time shipments to customers. 

Social distancing may have limited your business’s ability to hire and train new staff needed to expand with this ever-increasing demand for more shipped products.  Working from home and reducing the number of touch points is essential to stop the spread of this deadly virus, and this could potentially be detrimental to your business if processes are manual and require workers for every step.

Simplify with OPAL’s 4 in 1 Software Solution 

EDI | Order Management |Warehouse Management | Shipping

OPAL is the only touchless, self-driving drop ship and order fulfillment software solution in the market today, working 24×7 even when there’s no one in the office.  It processes your orders and makes them ready for picking, packing and shipping when warehouse personnel arrive in the morning.  It also optimizes the pick, pack and ship process to increase warehouse productivity by 25%+.

OPAL automates receiving orders from retailers and e-tailers, manages all EDI transactions, processes and invoices orders through a supplier’s ERP and accounting system, and creates shipping labels and custom-branded 3rd party packing slips per any retailer’s or e-tailer’s requirements.  Once shipped, it sends back tracking information and invoices to the retailer or e-tailer, as well as tracking packages and sending inventory updates.

Consumer demands for accurate and timely shipments will only increase over the coming months and your business should plan ahead to be prepared to keep up with this demand.

 

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!

A Supplier’s Experience: Touchless Order Processing

A Supplier’s Experience: Touchless Order Processing

A Supplier’s Experience – Touchless Order Processing

Yes, OPAL processes your drop ship orders in 5-8 seconds, 24×7, with 100% EDI compliance and zero EDI document costs across all of the retailers that you’re working with. 

So what does this REALLY mean to an e-commerce business?  Joe Miller, CEO of REACHbarrier, a company that provides an easy, affordable way for homeowners to save on energy costs by reducing their energy consumption experienced this common problem:

“We have products that sell for $11-$15 and were unable to sell them on-line due to the order processing cost. With OPAL we were able to lower our order processing cost to $.50 cents or less an order, opening up a whole new sales avenue to us. In addition, it used to take two people to process 100 orders per day. Now, we process thousands of orders daily during peak periods.”

In addition, have you ever thought about how many EDI documents you’re paying for per order?  Well, for a simple drop ship order you are going to need at least five, and the average order file size is 1KC (one thousand characters).  Each one costs $.06+ cents to send or receive.  That may not seem like a lot, but here’s what Victoria Bouldin, Vice President of Primetime Petz experienced:

“We sell our pet gates to the top 20 retailers in the market and were paying $1,100 per month in EDI charges. With OPAL all of that is gone.  The other thing that we really like about OPAL is that it has taken all of the errors out of our order processing.  Everything is accurate and everything ships on time.  It’s enabled me to focus on growing the business without having to worry about managing order processing.”

So, yes, OPAL will process your drop ship orders in 5-8 seconds, 24×7, with 100% EDI compliance and zero EDI document costs.  It is the only self-driving drop ship and order fulfillment software solution in the market today.

 

An Amazon Supplier Case Study

An Amazon Supplier Case Study

An Amazon Supplier Case Study

The labor associated with managing all of the moving parts associated with drop shipping for Amazon, plus the potential cost (if used) of EDI document set-up, translation and transmission seriously impacts the profitability on shipping just one or two items.  If the price per item is reasonably high it’s not so bad, but low cost items often lose money and need to be made up from the sale of higher priced items.

Below is an example of one real supplier that found themselves in exactly this situation before discovering OPAL.  

Here were the steps they went through to ship an $8.95 order through Amazon (fortunately, they were making up the difference on other product lines):

  • Log into the Amazon Portal
  • Click on each order and print it
  • Manually enter that data from the printout into the ERP system
  • Print a Picking Ticket
  • Put products into USPS packaging 
  • Log into the USPS website and re-enter that name and address – AGAIN – and print out the label
  • Go back into the ERP “Shipping Data Entry” and create an invoice
  • Manually type in the tracking number from the postal web site into the ERP
  • Print out an Invoice / Packing List for shipment
  • Go back to the Amazon Portal and re-enter the tracking number – AGAIN – for payment.

All of this took about 10 minutes per order.  This is the cost computed:

  • Order Total: $8.95
  • Minus Cost per Item: $1.57
  • Equals Gross Profit: $7.38
  • Minus Order Processing Labor: $3.67 (10 minutes per order @ $22.00/hr. + benefits)
  • Minus Materials $  .58
  • Minus Amazon Commission (15%): $1.34
  • Profit Before Overhead $1.79

After subtracting all other Overhead Costs, it was determined that nearly $3.00 was being lost per order.  

This is an extreme example, but using an approach that is configured to each individual company’s process, OPAL enabled this company to have an adequate margin – even on this item – by implementing a self-driving, touchless order process that eliminated the $3.67 labor cost per order, PLUS provided the necessary communication with Amazon at no cost, communicated with their shipping carriers and processed each order in less than 8 seconds 24 hours a day, including creating invoices in their ERP.  All they needed to manage was Pick, Pack and Shipment.