Although for some it may feel like they have been shopping online forever, the ecommerce boom only started around 10 years ago. Many companies have been forced to sell online in order to keep up with their competitors and to satisfy their customers. In the last few years this has further developed to multi-channel sales, with clients now placing orders on a range of devices, including laptops, smart phones and tablets.
If your sales channels have changed, or indeed if your strategy has changed in order to keep up with changes in consumer behaviour (clue: it has!), the order processing software that you installed 20 years ago will probably not be handling these relatively abrupt changes very well. Purchasing a new one in these uncertain times may seem like an unnecessary splash of cash, but it will save you money in the long run.
If your system was designed to process orders from clients on credit, then invoice them each month, this system isn’t well-equipped to efficiently handle customers paying online when they place an order. To make a system like this compatible with online sales, you will need to enable instant/overnight invoicing and indicate on the paperwork that the order has been paid for. If not, you will waste money posting unnecessary monthly invoices, and you will receive unnecessary phone calls from confused customers. A system that isn’t fit for purpose will inevitably cost your business money.
In the 21st century you need to carefully select your software; whilst it unfortunately cannot be timeless, here are some things to consider to ensure you pick a system that is compatible with your business:
Of course you need to consider the total cost of ownership, but the cost of the developer should also be a factor. The questions you should be asking are; what skills does the developer need, how readily available is this kind of developer and how much would it cost to hire a developer full time or via an agency?
You need to select a system that is in keeping with your current activity, being mindful of future plans and projects. With the evolution of retail, an automated system with the flexibility of being able to manage all channels from one place will stand you in good stead.
On average it takes 6 months to become proficient with an order processing system. In this period of time a person will have perfected the tasks that need to be performed daily and will have performed other less frequent tasks, perhaps several times. Who is going to train you and your workforce? Does this incur extra initial costs? You should also be mindful that with a new system there will inevitably be errors and it will temporarily slow your workforce down. This in turn costs money. Ensure a number of people have been trained before the system goes live, to ensure all members of staff have help nearby.
For further advice and to discuss your needs with a consultant, please contact us.
22 April 2014 10:00