Are You Ready for Growth & Efficiencies in 2023?

Are You Ready for Growth & Efficiencies in 2023?

The past few years have been challenging to say the least, but eCommerce continues to grow at a steady pace despite inflation and worries about consumers’ willingness to spend money.

In 2023, more than 265 million US consumers are estimated to shop online, which equals 2 percentage point increase in eCommerce market share.  Growth is also expected to continue, reaching 23% by 2025, which translates to roughly 5 percentage point increase in only five years.

Another shift that occurred this last year was fashion overtook electronics as the top-performing eCommerce category.  Electronics has been the most lucrative sector for online suppliers and retailers for years, but saw a 17% drop in sales in 2021.  

As consumer preferences evolve in this economy, is your business ready to handle your current growth or use this time to prepare for busy seasons ahead?

Automation is Key

Increased efficiency through data collection and analysis is the critical part to most successful businesses today and automation most certainly simplifies processes to do so. It allows your business to utilize a software package to make the shift from manual steps to an autonomous process, which not only increases your capacity for additional and more accurate orders, but it may do so without hiring additional employees.  

Accurately representing inventory across multiple sales channels – which could include retailers, market places, website or social sales – is critical to prevent overselling and underselling of products.  Automation not only simplifies the customer ordering process, but improves accuracy up to 99%. And, as trends continue to evolve, knowing accurate sales and inventory levels helps to make proper buying choices.  As certain products sell quickly, it will be more profitable to order inventory quicker than those that are lagging on the shelves.

Staffing has proven challenging for most businesses the last 6 months, and automation not only improves efficiencies, but allows for unlimited order capacity without having to hire additional employees – reducing processing costs to just cents per order.  

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 your business looks to improve its processes and efficiencies through software automation, OPAL is here to partner with you in your season of growth.

To learn more about how your eCommerce business can thrive this new year, 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!

Improving Key Performance Indicators This Holiday Season

Improving Key Performance Indicators This Holiday Season

Improving Key Performance Indicators This Holiday Season

As “Black Friday” has evolved over the years, it has shifted from a single shopping day after Thanksgiving, to more of a season from the beginning of October through Thanksgiving weekend. 

According to Adobe Analytics data, consumers spent $72.2 billion online in October 2022, up 10.9% from the previous month and on par with the $72.4 billion spent online in October 2021. In spite of the recent inflation and fear that consumers would not shop, many are choosing online shopping to buy early with many of the deep discounts available during Black Friday sales. 

This lengthened holiday season for suppliers and retailers shifts operations from a sprint to more of a marathon mentality because the season has evolved from the last five weeks to the last three months of the year.

What key performance indicators does your eCommerce business focus on to make sure they can withstand the holiday season?

 

What are Key Performance Indicators?

According to Investopedia, key performance indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable measurements used to gauge a company’s overall long-term performance. There are strategic KPIs that focus on a high-level snapshot like the return on investment or profit margin.  

There are also operational and functional KPIs that measure over a specific frame of time and focus on particular functions of business. For instance, in addition to more strategic KPIs like sales, profit and traffic, knowing which indicators like inventory levels or the amount of time it takes from receiving an order to shipping is critical.

Top eCommerce KPIs

There are tons of KPIs available to choose from, but knowing what will benefit your business will be critical to your success. Monitoring performance manually is timely and not without error.  Automation and software are critical to knowing real-time data so that you can make accurate and timely decisions across several key areas.

Inventory: 
Access to real-time data on what inventory levels are and reporting accurately across multiple sales channels is critical to sales and maintaining trust.  KPIs include inventory turnover rate, days or weeks on hand, sell-through rate, backorder rate, rate of return, etc. and knowing which of these may impact your bottom line and how your team can make smarter purchasing decisions will help with smarter purchases.

Fulfillment:
This is the process of fulfilling a sales order to the customer’s specifications and delivering goods as promised.  Understanding data on what is received from suppliers and how it is stored in the warehouse will ultimately impact how your team processes and packs.  KPIs include internal order cycle time, order picking accuracy, inbound orders received, orders shipped per business day, percentage of orders shipped by expected ship date, etc. In tough labor markets, knowing how to simplify and streamline processes so that your team can keep up with demand and high order volume, while keeping errors low is critical for success.

Shipping:
Understanding your business shipping metrics is critical for success in supply chain performance.  If your team can have inventory on hand, make the sale and pack the box, but is unable to ship it correctly, then the error costs you in loss of product and potentially in refunding the customer.  Consumers today are also very particular about shipping and do not allow for much wiggle room when it comes to shipping errors.

KPIs include shipping time, order accuracy upon delivery, delivery time, total order cycle time (includes both fulfillment and shipping), transportation costs, warehousing costs, on-time shipping percentage, peak warehouse capacity used, etc. Quality of delivery is just as important as the time of delivery and all part of ensuring customers have a positive experience with your product and the sales channel or retailer.

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.  

If you’re looking to better understand your eCommerce business KPIs, automation and software are critical components to success so that you can have access to real-time data and make informed decisions.

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!

Is Your Order Management Software Working for You This Busy Holiday Season?

Is Your Order Management Software Working for You This Busy Holiday Season?

In the fast-paced world we live in, consumers expect to place an order and receive their correct package within two-shipping days. This allows very little room for errors and requires eCommerce businesses to have everything in order to quickly and accurately fulfill orders.

Order management supports all stages in the sales process and encompasses everything from creation to delivery. The order management software selected for an eCommerce business is critical because it provides a single, centralized system for managing orders from multiple sales channels. It also further simplifies the buying process for customers, enabling staff to manage orders, inventory and fulfillment from one easy spot.

According to Retail Dive, more than half of retailers are still using pen-and-paper manual processes at some point in their logistics processes, as well as 42% of retailers admitting that their current OMS in place needs improvement.

No matter how few or many orders you fulfill each month, order management software is a critical piece to the success of your business.

Top Benefits to Implementing an OMS:

Low Inventory Costs: Understanding how to simplify processes with automation and controlling inventory management is key. It also provides data and insights into product information – what is selling well, what is sitting on the shelves, what needs to be reordered immediately? Monitoring stock levels and sales data for each item improves efficiency and allows your team to make informed decisions while adding new items to inventory.

Reduce errors when your team picks, packs and ships: Automation allows for your team to concentrate on fulfillment, instead of manually pulling orders and going through each of the lengthy processes before ever touching the product to pack. With OPAL, order accuracy improves up to 99%, because automation removes the room for error when manually managed.

Accurate inventory management across all sales channels: Integrating into all sales channels simplifies processes and automates workflow processes, drastically reducing errors that occur with manual systems and making your eCommerce business reliable in the eyes of the sales channels.

Streamline warehouse operations: Real-time transmission of shipping info and tracking via EDI or API, with auto-creation of invoices in your accounting system is drastically simplified through automation. Optimizing and managing processes in real time provide data to analyze and constantly adjust to increase efficiency. Your OMS will also allow your team to ship additional orders per day without having to hire additional people.

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.

Order management is challenging with so many processing bottlenecks, but OPAL processes without manual intervention required. It works 24/7 and reduces human error and easily scales to whatever capacity is needed without the need of hiring additional staff – even during peak seasons like now.

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

As your business looks to improve its processes, click here to learn more about how OPAL can streamline your business to efficiently maneuver this season.

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!

Can Better Inventory Management Really Reduce Your Cost of Doing Business?

Can Better Inventory Management Really Reduce Your Cost of Doing Business?

eCommerce businesses that efficiently manage inventory are destined to succeed. As inflation continued to rise and weigh on consumer demand this year, many suppliers and retailers over-purchased right as supply chain bottlenecks lessened and have left many with massive amounts of inventory for this holiday season.

According to Deloitte, in spite of the economic downturn this year, holiday eCommerce sales are projected to grow from 12.8% to 14.8%. As retailers continue to increase prices to keep up with inflation, savvy price-conscious shoppers will seek online deals to maximize their spending.

So how can solid inventory management practices reduce your cost of doing business this holiday season?

What is Inventory Management?

One of the most critical components of an eCommerce business is its inventory. It is what you sell to customers to make profits, it is also prone to theft and damage in a warehouse or on route to customers, and too much or too little inventory results in loss of sales and potentially damaging your trust and reputation with retailers.

Inventory management is critical because errors are costly and time is money. Shipping incorrect products, shipping to incorrect addresses, overstating inventory and needing to refund are all costly errors that add up quickly with manual processes in place.

However, automation simplifies and reduces costly errors in ordering, stores and optimizes product for the many online retailers, and allows you to sell additional products with little to no change in your team.

Bottom line – efficient inventory management processes reduce the number of costly errors and ensure you are able to fulfill incoming or open orders to increase profits.

Benefits to Inventory Management with OPAL?

Volume & Speed:
Automation drives labor costs down and increases capacity to fulfill new orders immediately, without the hassle of hiring and training new staff. Daily shipments increase by up to 50% because your team can pick, pack and ship much more efficiently than manually.

With OPAL, your team can generate drop ship orders in only 8 seconds – then pick, pack and ship this hectic holiday season.

Accuracy:
Automation improves order accuracy up to 99% because the manual errors are no longer missing stockouts, or shipping to incorrect addresses, or shipping incorrect products.

Real-Time Data for Purchasing Decisions:
Accurately representing inventory across multiple sales channels prevents overselling and underselling of products. It also allows for your team to have an understanding of which products are moving quickly and which ones are lingering on the shelves to make better ordering, pricing and sales or incentive decisions.

Eliminate EDI:
One of the biggest benefits to a software solution is eliminating EDI charges, especially since they have grown exorbitantly over the past year as shipping to individual consumers has skyrocketed.

With OPAL, EDI is 100% included no matter how many orders you fulfill, allowing you to reduce your price per order drastically in comparison to manual processes. To learn more about the evolution of EDI, visit our blog here.

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 your business looks to improve its processes, click here to learn more about how OPAL can streamline your business to efficiently maneuver this season.

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!

The Importance of eCommerce Metrics

The Importance of eCommerce Metrics

It is no surprise that in today’s ever-changing world, eCommerce businesses able to access their data to make informed data-based decisions have far better outcomes.

Understanding which metrics are more “vanity metrics” versus those that will directly impact the bottom line, will be key for defining sustainable and actionable strategies for this holiday season and 2023.

OPAL is here to help your eCommerce business determine which metrics will make the biggest impact on your company’s goals and how to implement them through software automation.

Simply Average Performance Limits Your Ability to Grow.

This extended holiday season is a marathon, not a sprint, and understanding how to perform above average will depend on accuracy, consistency and knowing your data so that you can make informed decisions.

OPAL reduces processing time up to 90%, reduces processing cost up to 80%, improves order accuracy up to 99% and allows other clients to increase daily shipments by up to 50% without having to hire and train additional staff. Another success for clients, order accuracy and speed shorten theStated Customer Delivery Days and drives PO growth with sales channels.

In-Depth Knowledge of Sales Channels is Critical.

One comprehensive solution allows your business to strengthen relationships with your sales channels because it builds trust through accuracy and consistency.

OPAL requires no downtime for setup, syncs to all accounting and ERP systems without customization and optimizes quick delivery to customers, while managing compliant retailer transactions, real-time inventory and shipping documents.

How Can Opal Help Improve Your Metrics.

Software solutions and automation can impact your business drastically. When seeking to simplify your order management and warehouse management needs – automation simply allows your business to increase your capacity for additional customer orders with no additional cost and without hiring or training new staff.

The following metrics are used by the most sophisticated sales channels in the market to measure their supplier’s performance. OPAL has helped numerous clients meet these objectives.

ScalabilityAbility to Meet Metrics During Peak Periods  
Orders Shipped in One Business Day70%+  
Average Business Ship Days<2 Days
Percent of Orders Shipped by the Expected Ship Date98%+
On-Time Delivery95%+
Customer incident Performance <1%
Missed sales opportunities – oversold or undersold<5%
Current Inventory Sent At Least Each Hour
Order Confirmation SentWithin 12 Hours of Order Receipt
ASN SentWithin 4 Hours of Shipment
Invoice SentWithin 4 Hours of Shipment

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 your business looks to improve its processes, click here to learn more about how OPAL can streamline your business to efficiently maneuver this season.

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!

Top 3 Trends in eCommerce Today

Top 3 Trends in eCommerce Today

As we’ve kicked-off the holiday sales season with back to school and fall décor, many are curious how to weather this turbulent sales season, as inflation has impacted so many.

With the gift-giving season still a few months away, many consumers are already worried about paying for this year’s gifts and 40% say inflation is changing the way they shop. With more than 26 million eCommerce businesses across the world, and many more beginning every day, prioritizing digital channels is key as savvy consumers continue to hunt for the best deals.

In addition to the right digital sales channels, it is important to utilize a few key trends to stay ahead.

Influencers

For years now, brands have utilized social influencers to get their products in front of the masses. An influencer is anyone with an engaged community online, many of which share similar likes and dislikes as the influencer, simplifying the work that brands need to do to find their right niche to sell products.

There is a valuable boost in visibility and sales when utilizing influencers. They have the unique opportunity to highlight how to use the product, why they love the product, all the countless reasons their followers should buy it, and many times even provide an incentive to click through the link and purchase with their discount code.

Understanding the analytics of how many people clicked through the link, purchased the marketed item, purchased additional items, etc. all help to provide insight on which influencers work best for your market and what products show well through social.

Statistics show that 60% of marketers have found that influencer marketing performs better and drives more engagement than in-house branded content and that 40% of respondents made a purchase because they saw an influencer promote an item.

Personalization

Customers have come to expect highly tailored experiences that were once exclusive to boutiques and small mom and pop shops. Today, customers want numerous color and size options, generous return policies, exceptional customer service, dependable two-day shipping, and simple online buying processes.

Prioritizing the customer experience is THE way to build brand loyalty and trust with your customers. The goal of today’s eCommerce experience is to receive the in-store shopping experience online at their convenience and leisure.

Artificial Intelligence

In today’s era of labor shortages and extremely high customer expectations, utilizing automation and AI really is no longer a luxury that small businesses have anymore.

Not only does automation allow a small number of employees to grow and handle the operations of a business, it allows for efficiencies with internal processes as well as partnerships with vendors for shipping to save both time and money to succeed.

Automation is critical as your business grows. It helps streamline how your business interacts with your retailers, customers and employees, as well as your customers. It also helps execute complex functions on both the front and back end of business, such as reducing the time to fulfill orders and reducing errors from manually entered data at every turn in the process. To learn more about why to implement automation and see if your eCommerce business is ready, click here.

According to Inc., the key to creating the virtual reality experience in online retail and eCommerce is in communication and building community. Being connected to the community through influencers, offering a personalized experience, and streamlining operations through automation will help your business succeed in the holiday season ahead.

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 your business looks to improve its processes, click here learn more about how OPAL can streamline your business to efficiently maneuver this season.

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!