With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, retailers are starting to gear up for the impending influx of instore and online shoppers. Millions of consumers eagerly search for bargain gifts and deals on their desktops, tablets and mobile phones in the build-up to Christmas, with the hopes of getting a great deal.
As 23rd November approaches warehouse staff are preparing by reorganising high selling items to optimise the picking, packing and retailers are asking for extra staff to work with customers instore. However, to thrive (and survive) businesses need to ensure they have the right back-end systems in place – the right ERP for managing inventory and accounting, the right point-of-sale (POS) system for managing retail counter sales, and the right eCommerce platform for online purchases.
The Right ERP System
The right ERP system is the backbone of your business. All information is managed and stored from within a single database allowing the flow of information across all business departments. Unlike accounting software, ERP accommodates other business processes such as inventory and warehouse management, CRM, eCommerce, POS, barcode scanning and more. With ERP, businesses do not need to manually enter information across multiple disconnected solutions – a method that is time-consuming and prone to human error. Information automatically updates across departments. Sales orders easily become invoices and purchase orders, and picking slips are generated and sent to the warehouse. Purchasing decisions are made using live data from within the system based on inventory levels, orders from all sales channels accumulate for picking, packing and shipping, and barcode scanning improves the receipt of inventory and the shipping process.
The Right System to Help with eCommerce
As eCommerce sales continue to grow, it is important that you have the right platform and solutions in place to handle the entire order process. A robust and atheistically pleasing front-end store is important to convert visitors into customers, however:
- What happens after the customer places an order online?
- How does the warehouse staff become aware that an order is ready for picking, packing and shipping?
- What happens if that product is out of stock?
Once again, this is where ERP software comes into play. Integration between your ERP and eCommerce store will enable the transfer of information bi-directionally so that data flows in an efficient and automated way. When an order is processed online, it automatically is pulled into your ERP, inventory levels update, and the order is sent to the warehouse. Once that order is shipped, confirmation and tracking information then flows back online for the customer to see.
It also makes sense to utilise omni-channel logistics for online purchases. An ecommerce purchase might just as easily be fulfilled from any physical location whether it’s a retail outlet or a warehouse. Using a system which allows you to monitor, control and track stock levels across all physical locations is a must for any retailer wanting to beat the Black Friday blues.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not just about maintaining fully stocked shelves, and which company provides the best deals – it’s also about optimising back-end process to efficiently fulfil orders.
Don’t Forget Outstanding Customer Care
Make a plan for things going wrong as well. Even with best will in the world and impeccable planning, you may still experience things beyond your control. Make sure your case management software is top notch so that if your customers do experience any issues over the Black Friday season, you can handle their concerns efficiently, effectively and with compassion.