Trading through multiple different on and offline sales channels is common practice for many companies these days, however effective management when handling sales through these multiple channels isn’t quite as routine. In many cases, businesses will often be required to manually access their website CMS systems, eBay/Amazon marketplaces and more so they can process orders, update prices, manage stock levels and then rekey information into other systems. This is a time-consuming process that can lead to an increased number of errors occurring such as over selling or incorrect order and customer detail transposition. Time spent managing this order processing then increases as sales volumes build, causing despatch delays and resulting in negative feedback and reviews.
The right multi-channel software can play a massive part in mitigating these issues, enabling a business to effectively trade across their various revenue streams. However, choosing a business management software system is a major decision that requires careful consideration. In addition to a financial investment, time and resources are also required in order to successfully implement a system that will impact upon the success and growth of the business.
With so much at stake, companies should not take this decision lightly and should undertake careful planning and research in order to ensure the right software and solution partner are found when embarking on this often confusing and daunting process. To be certain the correct decision for your business is made, and to ensure implementation is as smooth as possible, there are a number of things businesses should always consider when selecting providers and before making any final decision on their chosen solution.
- Define Your Requirements
Before you even begin to source potential suppliers, arrange demonstrations or obtain quotations, you first need to decide what it is you want to achieve with your new solution and the overall package required. It may sound obvious but many businesses fail to clearly identify their needs and objectives.
Without working this out first it is impossible to determine which solution and provider is best suited to serve the business going forward. Once you know what you are looking for, your business will be able to gain a better insight when talking to potential suppliers as to which are the ones that are best suited to your business needs.
- Look For A Single Solution That Can Meet Your Requirements
Trading across multiple channels can be a complex process, so a software system that can integrate with all of your stores, websites, marketplaces and any other sales channels will reduce manual interaction, prevent errors and save time. With the right software and channel integrations in place, updating prices, managing product listings, processing orders and ensuring stock levels are accurately displayed can all be achieved with efficiency.
However, speed and accuracy aren’t the only reasons multi-channel traders should look to just find one system that covers their needs. Logging in to multiple systems does not provide optimum visibility across all channels. This is especially key if businesses are listing the same items across multiple marketplaces on numerous seller accounts as not having a one-view approach can make online trading difficult to track. Therefore, by choosing to have one single place from which all sales channels can be managed, businesses can provide the ease of accessibility and visibility needed. What’s more, businesses will be able to eliminate the lack of integration issues that can arise when working from multiple, separate systems.
- Do Your Research On The Supplier
For some businesses, researching a potential multi-channel software supplier simply goes as far as looking through the information available on their website and talking to one of their sales consultants. However, a software solution isn’t just about the functionality available. Companies can often forget that your software supplier is essentially a partner for your business, providing the systems you run your business on and offering ongoing support, advice and new technology to better manage processes as your company grows and your requirements evolve. With this in mind, you should always make a point of getting to know the company behind the software and seeing with which supplier you feel most comfortable investing your money.
In order to conduct this process properly, here are a number of things you should make sure you do:
- Visit their premises
- Find out about their history
- Perform a company check
- Speak to their existing customers
By doing your due diligence and performing these tasks, you will soon have a much better idea of who your supplier is, what resources are available to you and what kind of long-term business management solution is on offer.
- Find Out What Services & Support Are Available
To make the implementation of a new software solution as simple and as seamless as possible, you need to make sure the supplier is able to provide the advice, guidance and support you need throughout the whole transition and beyond. The best software solution is only ever going to succeed if the supplier has the resource, knowledge, experience and expertise to deliver this into the business.
Failure to ensure these requirements can be provided and managed can lead to a wide range of significant issues – from project delays and incorrect work flows to additional costs, lack of staff uptake and ultimately jeopardy of the entire implementation. Also, although the level of support required going forward will vary from business to business, for many companies it is essential to have your chosen supplier on-hand through the initial stages of using the software so that any questions can be quickly resolved.
- Ensure They Are Forward Thinking
Another key factor to consider when choosing a new supplier is to what extent the company is investing in developing and rigorously testing the multi-channel software, along with ensuring the platform the software is on and the database behind it is best of breed. The last thing you want to do is invest into a solution that remains static and quickly becomes outdated as technology and features on eBay, Amazon and popular website platforms continue to advance. Also as your business grows, your requirements will change so it is important that the solution is able to adapt to the needs of your business by supplying additional functionality as it is needed.
Therefore to ensure the supplier you are investing in is forward thinking, find out what their structure is for development and what is being invested back into the product. How often is the software updated? Is there custom development available should the software not meet your exact needs now or as your business grows? By asking these questions, you can ensure that your solution is future proof thanks to an adjustable software system from which your business can grow.
The OrderWise Solution
If your business is indeed looking for a multi-channel software solution, then OrderWise can provide a range of features and functionality to help.
OrderWise is an end-to-end multi-channel software solution that comes with stock control, order processing, despatch, invoicing and reporting as standard. What’s more, OrderWise can provide newly bespoke designed and developed websites, integration to popular eCommerce platforms as well as comprehensive listing, repricing and order management tools for marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. With courier integration to over 40 courier software systems also available, streamlined shipping is easily achieved at the click of a button as well.
However, the power of OrderWise lies in the seamless integration between various business operations provided by an OrderWise all-in-one solution. This means that visibility across your business is maintained in both a clear and structured manner. Furthermore, as OrderWise is a modular, scalable solution, it can be specifically tailored to a company’s particular needs. This means that an investment in OrderWise provides a sound footing for current business operations and also allows for future development and growth of your business as you continue to trade across multiple channels.
For more information about OrderWise visit our website or contact us on 01522 704083.