The advances in online shopping have been empowering to business owners and consumers alike. We have Amazon drones that can bring us a gourmet food processor the day we order it, every amateur jewelry maker has a cute Etsy store and even the most obscure (and possibly weird) item can be summoned up from somewhere on the Internet. This digital state of business is certainly a good thing for customers and companies, who no longer have to front the costs of running a brick-and-mortar.
But it’s one thing to have an online store: it’s another to actually keep it functioning. Ecommerce solutions like Volusion offer the necessary tools for developing and managing an online business. Combining an advanced order processing system with an ecommerce solution can make business even more effective, saving time and money.
Our friends over at Software Advice, a company that helps buyers by providing reviews of order management software, have compiled some data on just how effective (and omnipresent) order processing systems are becoming by studying a group of 121 small online retailers who use ecommerce software. Their results? 96 percent of these retailers reported reduced order processing time. Let’s take a look at some of the info.
Storefront to Home Front: The Cycle of Ecommerce
For most consumers, online shopping is a vaguely impersonal act that makes an item magically appear at the door. But as any business owner knows, there’s a complex cycle that goes into getting a purchased item from A to B. An order management system facilitates this entire process, making selling easy for the retailer and convenient for the customer. This graphic details the pivotal role that ecommerce integration plays in the selling cycle.
Better Every Day: Improving Processing Time With an Order Management System
Of all the retailers that Software Advice spoke with, 96% said that online store integrations reduced processing time. When you sell with Amazon or Ebay but don’t have an integrated management system, there’s plenty of room for man-made mistakes. It’s not that we want to welcome our robot overlords, but an automated management system removes room for human error. And as you can see from this graph, participants in the study feel the same way:
““It’s just easier to use, because I sell on both Amazon and eBay, so [integration keeps sales] all in one place,” said one user. “I can see all of my inventory, and switch it around if I realize I can sell something better on one site over another. It’s just more efficient, and saves me time for just a little money each month.”
Sometimes if you want something done, you just have to do it yourself. And other times you can just have a sophisticated piece of technology do it for you.
Holy Ship: Improving Order Accuracy and On-Time Delivery
Another important takeaway from the study was that ecommerce integrations drastically improved shipping efficiency. With Amazon and the like offering free two-day shipping, it’s important that your own delivery process be flawless as possible. Software like Volusion makes it easy for sellers to process orders, print shipping labels and send off packages with FedEx, UPS, USPS and more.
“Due to the software integration with the shipping service, I have been able to handle bulk orders without much confusion, since inventory requirements are also tracked,” one user said.
Order processing systems also tackle bulk orders with ease, and display carrier rates all in one place. Now there’s no need for you to scramble to fill a gargantuan order, or sift through carrier rates on several different mailing accounts. Just let your ecommerce platform do all the heavy lifting and get the goods where they need to go.
I Can See Clearly Now: Better Inventory Visibility
You’re not a mind reader, which means that you need hard numbers to know what’s selling. Ecommerce platforms let you look at the big picture of your inventory to see what’s in demand and forecast future sales.
“I can see what people are looking to order, then from there, anticipate what I will need to re-stock,” said one user. This means less guesswork and more productivity on your end, and more satisfaction for customers too.
Order management systems also let you take a peek at what’s not working for your business. For example: high shipping rates are one of the main causes for shopping cart abandonment. With a system like Volusion, you’re able to not only see why users are abandoning their carts: you're also able to remedy the situation. An order management system can let you integrate with shipping services to provide real-time shipping rates at checkout…and hold on to once-flaky customers.
The numbers don’t lie: ecommerce software is the way to keep your business streamlined and profitable. With the online retail industry skyrocketing in growth, smaller businesses need to find ways to stay ahead of the Amazons of the online world. Volusion offers easy, effective ecommerce solutions for all store types. If you're currently using Volusion, we're integrated with these partners to maximize your store's selling potential. If you're not, try us free for 14 days and see how Volusion can help your business grow.