According to the U.S. Census Bureau, eCommerce sales totaled $80.3 billion in the first quarter of 2015. This is an increase of 3.5 percent over the previous quarter. Online shopping has become increasingly popular in the last few years. Growth is accredited to the rise of mobile technology and improved distribution practices.
As technology becomes more ubiquitous, companies are providing online products to expand their customer base. To meet customer expectations, manufacturers and retailers have had to improve their distribution tools and processes with modern ecommerce business solutions.
Customers demand speed
To stay competitive in the modern marketplace, companies have to distribute their products to their customers quickly. A client who is unhappy with a proposed delivery schedule can easily search for a new provider.
Companies have turned to modern data tools to improve the efficiency of their warehouses and provide prompt delivery. NetSuite SuiteCommerce feature the information visibility and distribution planning eCommerce businesses need. The data system captures order information and compares it to warehouse supplies. Deliveries are planned and scheduled using real-time reporting.
The Software Advice blog suggested modern warehouse picking strategies are dependent on software tools to save time and spare redundancies. Products are grouped for delivery based on a wide range of data including time, location, weight and sales demand. Software that can capture this data without constant physical inventory counts and project demand will decrease the time inventory spends sitting on the shelf.
Customers want information
A growing customer base will lead to expanded operations. In order to deliver to customers who span a larger geographical range, a company may need to add more warehouses and distribution centers.
No matter where an employee in a company is located, they must be connected to the overall organization. NetSuite’s cloud-based ecommerce business solutions prevent the distance involved in eCommerce from becoming an obstacle. Data captured at any location is uploaded to the system and shared with the total infrastructure. Despite their physical location, sales agents, warehouse workers, customer service representatives and delivery drivers are all working together to create accurate distribution information.
This information is paramount to attracting and satisfying eCommerce customers. It is easier than ever for consumers to compare and contrast business offers. Emarketer reported that the majority of consumers who own mobile devices use them to research companies and order products online. Shoppers expect the information provided by a business to be accurate and up-to-date.
If a customer contacts the company looking for the status of their delivery, the first person who responds to the inquiry better have the information ready. Data reporting from the warehouse will indicate when the product was shipped and distribution drivers armed with cloud-deployed ERP software are tracked to give exact delivery projections. All employees of an eCommerce supplier should be giving customers the same information.
Customers don’t like surprises
Service consistency will go a long way to developing customer satisfaction. If there is a discrepancy in shipping date or order price, eCommerce clients are quick to cancel their service and find another company.
Modernecommerce business solutions can help provide consistent information. Integrated data will facilitate constant reporting and full visibility. Software tools will convert data based on eCommerce demands. For example, foreign markets will deal with different currency so NetSuite has multi-currency tools.
A problem that occurs through national distribution is changing tax rates. The customer, the retailer, the manufacturer and distributor might all be located in different states. Satellite distribution practices might create increased sales tax passed on to the consumer. If the distributor doesn’t collect the extra sales tax from the client, the business will lose money. If a company quotes a price and the customer is hit with a bill that includes surprise tax fees, he or she will not be happy.
A company can integrate software solutions like the cloud-deployed Avalara AvaTax to avoid sales tax miscalculations during auditing and quoting. Avalara will track where sales tax is owed and automatically apply it to financial processes and transactions. The adjustments are present in the order at the point of sale.
If you are a company looking to invest in ERP solutions, contact a software partner to determine which systems and programs will allow you to profit from the growing eCommerce market.