Your multichannel business is growing! Orders are flying in. You’re thinking of expanding to new sales channel like Amazon or an eCommerce website. You’re hiring more staff just to keep up.
With growth though comes growing pains.
Higher order volumes result in more order processing. Each channel adds more inventory to track and orders to invoice. Product descriptions need shared across all channels to remain consistent.
You start to feel the weight of having your systems disconnected. Your processes aren’t streamlined and automated. Your staff is spending most of their days manually entering data from one system to another. You stop focusing on growth and more on how to fix order errors made by your team.
Is it time for you to integrate your multichannel business?
10 Signs That You Need Multichannel Retail Integration
This list provides 10 telling signs that you should integrate your business.
Multichannel integration solves these common problems below. Integration connects your sales channels with your fulfillment locations. It ties your eCommerce site to your Accounting or POS system.
How many of these problems sound all too familiar?
Too Many Data Errors Caused by Manual Data Entry
Your business relies on a staff member to manually enter data from one system to another. When you first started out, a staff member could take a few minutes to copy and paste an online order’s information to your POS or Accounting software.
However, this process is error prone. Fat finger a letter or two and you end up with inconsistent billing, inaccurate orders, and incorrect shipping addresses. Your staff spends most of their days policing orders and dealing with angry customers wondering where their order is.
When your systems aren’t connected, it falls on you to update inventory quantities when sales are made. Whether it’s due to holiday sales or not, it gets pretty chaotic trying to keep up with sales and then updating each channel.
Mistakes are made. In some cases, you have to explain to a customer that you can’t ship an item they bought because you don’t have any stock. On the other hand, you miss out on sales because products show that they’re out-of-stock when they aren’t.
Customers can’t rely on your inventory quantities to always be correct. Even worse, marketplaces like Amazon, indefinitely suspend sellers who consistently oversell.
Spending Hours Putting Online Order Invoices Into ERP Or POS
Some merchants report that staff members spend 9+ hours a day putting online order invoices into their ERP, Accounting, or POS system. It can keep staff members at work late. The tedious process of moving online order data consumes their entire work day.
Staff Spends More Time on Manual Data Entry Than Growing Business
Your staff spends the majority of their time manually entering sales data between systems. This takes way time from more important tasks such as improving your website content, improving your product, or providing better customer service.
You don’t focus on growing or improving your business. You worry about just keeping pace with the current order volume.
Losing All Order Data Because of System Crash
The ever dreaded software crash is even more costly for merchants who hand key data between systems. Merchants report that their POS system can crash when in the middle of entering online orders.
The cost of reentering this data can be thousands of dollars! It takes double the time to process those orders.
Orders Shipped Wrong or Late
Typing errors causes orders to ship to the wrong addresses. You’ll hear from your customers when their order doesn’t show up on time. It’s your responsibility to pay to fix the mistake.
Complex orders can take longer to ship. Orders made up many different parts can ship from different locations and times. Manual data entry slows down the process of getting each part shipped out on time. Your delivery times become longer.
Customer Satisfaction is Suffering
Customer satisfaction suffers from lost orders, slow delivery times, and inaccurate order information. Today’s shopper expects fast, accurate delivery time. If you don’t keep your promise, they’ll be sure to let you know (and shop somewhere else next time).
Losing Your Competitive Edge
Unsatisfied customers will also shop with your competitors if you don’t meet their needs. Your inability to meet their demands results in losing your competitive edge. They’ll buy from someone who can guarantee free, 2-day shipping and delivery.
Messy SKU and Product Descriptions
Your order data isn’t the only data that’s messy. Product information becomes messy when not properly managed across sales channels.
SKUs are hard to track and leaves customers with incomplete product information. They won’t have the information they need to be confident about their purchase.
Merchants need a single, central place to manage all their products and then push out to their sales channels. This ensures consistently, accuracy, and faster go-to-market efficiency with new products.
Too Hard to Support Different Customer Type Accounts
Some merchants sell to B2B and B2C customers. They also could have a wholesale line of business. Unintegrated systems makes it difficult to manage these different customer types.
Creating an account for a B2B or a wholesale customer could take more time because of different requirements. The experience for these customers suffers. It’s hard to keep this line of business on par with the rest.
Multichannel Retail Integration Solutions
If you’re experiencing any of these problems, you should consider integrating your retail business. Connecting your sales channels with your fulfillment locations can solve many of these problems.
For example, integration between your eCommerce and ERP automatically creates and processes online orders in your ERP. Product data syncs from your ERP to eCommerce platform. Inventory quantities automatically update across all sales channel after every sale.
Merchants who integrate benefit from the elimination of manual data entry, staff members focusing on growing the business, shorter order delivery times, not overselling, and a rise in customer satisfaction.
There are many different solution types for integrating your channels. There are connectors that integrate systems like Shopify and NetSuite, inventory and order management add-ons, and robust multichannel management platforms like nChannel’s. Some systems offer their integration natively.
What works best for you depends on your business. Take a serious look at your business. Could you value from integrating your systems? What problems does integration fix that you have today?
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