Megaventory Blog - Online Inventory Management Software, Order fulfillment and Control System
This is the company blog for megaventory, an online software that helps small businesses that buy, sell and manufacture physical products to manage sales, purchasing, manufacturing and inventory. We blog about new features and updates but also about enterprise software, small businesses, cloud computing and the industry in general.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

3 Ingredients to Fight Cart Abandonment in E-commerce

This is a guest post by guest contributor Robin Singh



Few things are more frustrating for ecommerce businesses than customers failing to check out their shopping carts. Even if your website is effective enough to convince a customer to fill their online shopping bag, there is never a guarantee that they will follow through with their purchase.

According to Baymard.com, a reputed e-commerce analytics website, the average abandonment rate for online shopping carts is approximately 68%. This number is too high to ignore and further proves the importance of slowing down cart abandonment rates for the success of your e-commerce business.

The shopping bag abandonment rate of your website can be calculated by dividing the total number of finalized transactions by the total number of initiated transactions. This is an important statistic for e-tailers to consider because high abandonment rate could hint that your website has substandard or even poor user experience.

Here are 3 main ingredients that eliminate cart abandonment for your e-commerce business:


1. Issue free or flat-rate shipping


High shipping rates on your items can repel even the most interested customers that need your products. Put yourself in a scenario where you're an online shopper. You finally spot the item you want and put it in your shopping bag. After filling out the address details, you're surprised to find out a shipping rate that makes up half of the price of the product itself! That’s a good reason enough to abandon the item completely and look for alternatives on a different site.

Online shoppers are usually price-sensitive, so it is integral for you to provide free or a small flat shipping rate for all items.  

Free shipping rates will encourage customers to come back to your site to make more purchases. This results in more sales revenue generated as well as increased website recognition as satisfied customers are likely to recommend your site to their friends and colleagues.

Research from UPS revealed that over half of the top 10 reasons for cart abandonment deals with shipping. There are various ways to combat this.

zappos
Zappos is an e-commerce website that provides free shipping for all their items.

  • Display the shipping cost early. Never lead your customers and then hit them with your shipping costs. This catches them off-guard and results in them leaving your site in dissapointment.
  • Display shipping rates based on location. Online customers usually search for the cost of shipping specifically to their location before committing to a purchase. Incorporate a shipping cost calculator close to the price displayed on the item.
  • Flat rate shipping. A standard and fixed shipping rate lets your customers know the price they can expect when it comes time to check out.


2. Re-target customers


Customers have lives and can face various distractions that hinder completions of their online purchases. Customers may also be time-conscious and may not have time to fill out all details in the checkout process, so they place an item in their cart to be checkout out on another day.

It's important for e-tailers to understand these circumstances and take action by re-targeting cart abandoners to remind them about their cart. 

There are three main ways to do this:

A) Targeted Ads


Customers that land on your site leave behind online traces termed as “cookies”. You can track customers by analyzing cookies and place reminder ads whenever they search for products similar to yours.

For example, your PPC banner will appear on the browser of your customers to recapture their interest in purchasing.

koovs
E-Commerce website Koovs uses Pay Per Click (PPC) ads to for specific re-targeting.

B) E-mails


Still one of the most efficient acquisition tools - e-mail - ensures that your message reaches your audience and is seen. Sending reminder e-mails that are embedded with links to the item page can encourage action on customer's end. It's critical to send out reminder e-mails within 24 hours after cart abandonment, as conversion rates fall 50% after a day.

C) Personal Interactions


Simply calling them at an appropriate time (derived from conducting consumer research) can alert consumers to take action. Incorporating persuasive telemarketers with a pleasant voice tone can go a long way in convincing shoppers to stop what they’re doing and complete the purchase of the abandoned item.



3. Shorten checkout process


The majority of online shoppers abandon their carts during the checkout phase. The logistics involving the completion of online payments may take up a lot of the customers' time and drive them away from completing the payment. Filling information like payment terms, address, and personal information in separate pages might be too long of a process, especially if the customer is on their mobile phone or their connection is slow.

Make sure that your website’s entire purchase process takes less than 7 steps. For instance, Wal-Mart received countless complaints from their customers about their checkout process, which was ironically 7 steps. Ideally, the process should not take more than 4 pages.

bigcommerce
The checkout process of the above e-commerce software can be completed in a few pages, with the customer only having to fill out information on one page.

It may sound like a tough task, but if you add these three ingredients to your e-commerce sales recipe, then you can expect to see your cart abandonment rates plummet. Not only that, you can expect your sales to increase due to the incorporation of free/flat rate shipping, shortened checkout process, and re-targeting cart abandoners. 

While there can be various reasons to why an online shopper might abandon his/her cart, if e-commerce sites address the most common reasons to customer cart abandonment they can expect most cases to be reversed in a short time.



Robin is a Technical Support Executive. He is an expert in knowledge management and various knowledge base tools. Currently, he is a resident knowledge management expert at ProProfs. In his free time, Robin enjoys reading and traveling.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Getting the Most out of Cyber Monday



With Cyber Monday less than month away, holiday season is quickly approaching. Last year on Cyber Monday, consumers spent nearly $3,5 billion according to Adobe Digital Insights. These results easily blew past initial estimates.

How this year will be? Well, if we take into account the ongoing increase in online sales, it looks that the pie has got big enough for every ecommerce player to take a bite.

In other words, it is the perfect time for you to drive traffic to your online store and make sales.


The deals on Cyber Monday are online only and generally offered by smaller retailers that cannot compete with the big retailers who do major clearances during Black Friday.

But, how to do this?

We asked successful retailers and experts to share their best tips on how they make the most out of Cyber Monday.

Let’s dive in.


Optimize your Website for Traffic


With all the offers and discounts, chances are (and the main goal) your website will see a high influx in traffic and you have to make sure that it can be handled. If customers can’t reach your site, they won’t complete their purchases. And if your site is too slow, it will leave a bad taste and discourage them to shop again.

“Only a one second delay on the website can make your Cyber Monday unprofitable”, warns Danyal Effendi from PureVPN. “Retailers should perform website stress-test and speed-test and consult their hosting/data-center providers for optimum service.”

Pro tip: Contact your hosting provider well in advance and even arrange a special deal for additional space in their servers.


Design Landing Pages


You’ve done great ads, drove traffic to your website but where do these visitors land? Your usual main site? Not a smart idea.

As Max Robinson, owner of FishTankBank stresses out, “ensure that your website makes it clear about the deals”.

Landing Pages (as otherwise known) are the best way to convert traffic into leads. It’s where you will send all your traffic that comes from social media ads, search engine marketing, or email newsletters.

A well-structured landing page that repeats the advertised offer will work as a reminder to your visitors and help you look consistent and trustworthy.

Successful retailers usually take advantage of this to offer a discount or membership in exchange for the customers’ email address. That way they can ensure they have a means to communicate with visitors, even if they didn’t end up making a purchase that day.

“If possible, create a banner that appears at the top of product pages, and maybe even do something fun like creating a new version of your logo”, continues Max. “Just try to make sure that the design changes you make don't interfere with the user experience on your site.”

Pro tip: Return policy and shipping schedule are two things that customers regularly check before they make a purchase (who wants to end up with a bad Christmas gift?) – so make sure that they are clearly laid out and can be easily found by your visitors.




Don’t wait until the last moment


Big retailers have dedicated marketing teams that handle promotions and they will probably have insane discounts that you can’t beat. Fear not though, there is still hope for you to take a share.

“Get in first before everyone else”, advises Adam Watson, marketing director from Hollywood Mirrors. “People waiting for Cyber Monday only have so much disposable income for presents; if you have a chance of beating your competition, take it and start early”.

Cyber Monday purchases are often intended for Christmas presents. Those presents (especially for close relationships) have high sentimental value, which also makes them very difficult to pick. People are often willing to pay a higher price for a more unique present, so getting their attention first might be a win-win scenario for both you and your satisfied customers.


Success on Cyber Monday is all about timing.


Share the right message


If you know a thing or two about marketing, you surely know how crucial (and difficult) it is to reach your leads and customers with the right message at the right time.

If you have set up any type of analytics throughout the year, now is their time to shine.

“The data from those is crucial on Cyber Monday”, says Jordan Harling, Head of Marketing at Roman Blinds Direct. “By looking to see when open-rates and conversions are at their highest you can craft a Cyber Monday email that’s guaranteed to create sales. Your users are already primed to purchase, all you need to do is give them a little nudge at the right time”.

Pro Tip: The average e-mail volume sent by brands saw a huge increase, with its peak being Thanksgiving Day. Start sending your newsletters before your customers’ inbox looks like a spam folder.


Prepare your team


There is so much pressure to beat the competition in offering better offers that other important aspects are often neglected.

One is how to address mishaps.

The period around Black Friday and Cyber Monday are generally extremely stressful for business owners and employees and the high traffic and demand often comes with unexpected issues.

“Preparing your team is just as important as readying the website and inventory and is crucial to a smooth holiday season”, warns Bart Mroz, co-founder and CEO of digital commerce consultancy SUMO Heavy. “It’s essential to have plenty of training sessions for your team members to make sure everyone is on the same page”.

Pro Tip: In times of panic, seminars and lessons are quickly forgotten, so having some tips or guidelines in list form in clear view for everyone, can be a lifesaver.



Offer Top Customer Service


More visitors, especially if they are not returning customers, means more questions. Especially if the terms of your promotions are not clearly laid out, your support inbox or your telephone line will see a rise in traffic.

Having a representative available to answer any emails, Facebook messages, and tweets concerning offers and discounts is crucial to provide a happy shopping experience.

“The best way is to hire part-time chat agents and create a shift plan with more agents at peak times”, advises us Danyal Effendi from PureVPN. “Try to provide 24/7 customer service with major focus on target markets.”

Pro tip: If your budget allows it, consider hiring a virtual assistant. That way, when you and your team members are sleeping, there will be someone from the other side of the globe, ready to answer customers’ questions.


Discount selected products


The good thing about Cyber Monday is that it is not expected to have a flat discount on all products across your website (or physical store). In fact, offering a discount on certain products can work as a great lure to see an overall increase in sales.

“Focus on specific product discounts, rather than large store wide discounting”, Adam Pearce, Co-founder and Marketing Director of Blend Commerce, advises his clients. “Running one or two products as a loss leader can help to drive traffic to your store. By grabbing this traffic, you can then upsell at checkout with lesser discounted products and drive up the profitability per customer”.

Pro Tip: Make sure to accompany the discounted products with the right keywords, to make the most out of your search engine marketing efforts.




Clear the inventory


Cyber Monday can be a great opportunity to re-evaluate your stock and clear inventory from products that move too slow (or not at all).

“I like to offer sales on older inventory that's been hard to move in the past”, shares his experience Robert Ellis from Massage Tables Now. “Offering these sales on older inventory helps me clear out my stock and get a head start on my ordering while offering something of real value to my customers.

When Cyber Monday arrives, Christmas will be just around the corner and we all know that during that time every inch of space matters. Having around out-fashioned, obsolete or unpopular products might give your store an outdated look.

At the same time, researchers also back up what you may have noticed from experience: too many choices might be debilitating for the customer, resulting in fewer purchases.

Pro tip: Use an inventory management system to make this process a piece of cake. With Megaventory you can create intuitive reports and easily push slow-moving products for sale.


Last but not least


Following some of the above tips will have a positive effect on the success of your Cyber Monday offers.

You should not forget, though, that your main goal from that day should be to create the base for ongoing relationships with new visitors and strengthen those with your older customers.

So, how will you make the most out of this year’s Cyber Monday? Share in the comments below or tweet us

And if you like those tips, don’t forget to share this with your friends and colleagues.



Monday, October 23, 2017

How to invoice services in Megaventory



Part of having a business that offers services along with their physical products is invoicing your clients for your services.

Especially in the B2B market, most companies require an invoice before they place a payment, making it rather crucial for the service provider to be able to generate an invoice quickly and properly.

In this article we cover how to invoice for services in Megaventory, track your service fees and include services in a work order.


How to track services


In Megaventory, a service is considered any non-physical product that is charged but there is no stock reduction when a sale is made.

Therefore, under the product type of "service", you can track delivery fees, installation costs, labor costs, or even your hourly rates if you are a designer, a lawyer, an engineer or any freelancer whatsoever.


Before starting invoicing your clients, your first step is to add your services as products in Megaventory.




  1. Log in to your Megaventory account and go to Products. Sign up for an account here.
  2. Click Add Product.
  3. In the Product Type, select the option Service.
  4. Fill out the other fields, including the Default Sales Price if you have a standard cost for this service.
  5. Hit Insert to add it to your product list.

Pro Tip: If you offer your services for free, you can still include them in the invoice with a zero price. 


Selling both services and products


For the sake of an example, let's imagine the following scenario: your company sells electric appliances such as air conditioners. As an added service you offer the installation of purchased appliances for an added cost, which has a flat fee.




The above is a sample invoice created within Megaventory. Headers and footers can be customized to include information like declamatory messages or QR codes, to make sure you give the right message to your customers.

Pro Tip: Especially for sales that the customer may need additional help after the purchase, it is advised to include info on how they can reach you best.




Checking stock availability 


When it is time to send the products to the customer and you click to ship and invoice, you can see the stock availability of the items to check that everything is right (or not).

Next to the air conditioner, you can see that you have a product availability of 5. The box next to the installation fee, though, is empty. That happens because there is no physical restriction to how many times you can offer this service. Pretty convenient, right? 


Managing manufacturing with services 


If you are in the manufacturing industry, you may want to track the labor cost of a work order in order to calculate how much this product costs you.


This may be really helpful for Megaventory users that have pricing rules in place which automatically calculate the sales price of a product depending on its cost. For example, you can create a pricing rule for the sales prices of certain products to be the manufacturing cost + a 20%.


Back to services, let's see the scenario where you create custom-made shoes.

With the manufacturing module of Megaventory, you can track the leather - the raw material - and the service or labor cost of the professional shoemaker as different parts of the work order.



Again, next to the leather you can see the product availability in the selected inventory location, while there is no number next to the Shoemaker's Cost.


Are you a manufacturer?
Keep track of the manufacturing process with Megaventory
Sign up for a free trial

Now that you know how to invoice for services in Megaventory, you can easily bill your clients and partners. Importing your standard service fees in your account will save you time to do the thing you love more as an entrepreneur: run your business.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Why You Should Integrate Online Tactics Into Your Brick and Mortar Retail Shop

This is a guest post by guest contributor Mitch Pazanski



Shopping at traditional brick and mortar stores might be a lot of fun, but shopping online can be far more convenient. When we’re slumped on the sofa after a long day at work, we can just pop online, do a bit of searching and make a few purchases.

It’s so much easier than getting into the car, driving through the traffic and finding a parking spot before we’ve even arrived at a physical store.

The numbers are in: Over 70% of shoppers think they’ll find a better deal online, while 60% of American shoppers don’t like shopping in crowded stores.

However, not all is lost. 56% of online stores still have a brick and mortar store because they know people continue to enjoy the brick and mortar shopping experience. As Forbes points out, brick and mortar stores don’t need to die - they just need to evolve.

Let’s take a look at why you should integrate online tactics into your brick and mortar retail shop.


The Millennials Are Here, And They Want More Buying Options



Millennials have grown up during an epoch in history that is defined by technology. Consequently, they’re the group of shoppers that are using tech the most. They have grown using brick and mortar stores and online eCommerce stores - and expect to be able to enjoy the best of both these worlds with every shopping experience they have. This is why improving and expanding your business with online tactics is essential, if you are to keep the millennial shopper happy. They use numerous devices to make purchases, with their mobile phones now essentially acting as digital wallets. Moreover, Generation Z are hot on the heels of the millennials - and they’re growing up fast.




Once Online, You Can Understand Your Customer Better



One of the problems faced by a brick and mortar store is that you don’t really get a good chance to understand your customers needs extremely well. According to a survey carried out by RetailDive, no more than 43% of customers are willing to share information after they’ve made a purchase in a physical store.

This means you still don’t know over 50% of your customers. As such, you can’t personalize their shopping experience.

Online is a different story. You can use Artificial Technology to better understand your customers and their buying habits. This is important. Faced with so many buying options and sales channels, the 21st-century shopper is becoming harder and harder to understand.

AI presents you with data on consumer habits that you can then analyze and make good use of. This will help you to keep up with your competitors who are also trying to understand their customer. You can understand your own performance metrics online better too, including what your customers are searching for once they’re in your online store.




Enhanced Customer Experience


For your customers to like your brand, you need to treat them well by delivering a personalized experience. As mentioned above, AI can help with that.

AI also enhances the customer experience in ways that help to build your online presence, thus bolstering the reputation of your business as a whole. The more personalized you make the shopping experience, the more likely it is that a customer will be satisfied and retained.

Chatbots can help. Nothing more than a piece of software which chats to your customers, chatbots are on-hand to listen to the customer and offer them relevant information that improves their experience and nudges them towards a crucial sale.

The best thing? Chatbots learn the habits of your customers and know them far better than you ever could.


Your Customers Can Order Online And Pick Up In-Store


One of the best online tactics you should integrate is in-store pickup. Why? It’s booming. It’s been popular since US and UK customers were quizzed about it back in 2012.

Another reason why you should integrate this online tactic is because it’s worth noting that people like to research their options online. It saves them time, it means they can easily reserve a product, and even if they don’t buy, they might head on down to your store anyway.

If you go down the route of adding in-store pickup, you’ll need to keep on top of your inventory, both online and offline. There are inventory management apps that help you synch and monitor your product across numerous sales channels. As soon as you sell a product, the apps automatically update your inventory.


To recap, unless you integrate online tactics into your brick and mortar store, you’ll miss out on a huge chunk of your targeted audience. The tactics don’t take long to master, and once learned, they will help you expand your business.


Mitch_Pazanski.png

Mitch Pazanski is head of the art department at MightySkins, a company that leads the internet in custom designed skins for your devices. He helps design the DJI Mavic skins offered by the company.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

New feature: Romanian language in Megaventory



We're once again excited to announce that we've upgraded our language package with a new language: Romanian! You can find the live version either from the gear icon in your Megaventory account or here.

Both the application itself, which offers the possibility of running a business, as well as the website containing detailed information about the features of the system are translated and accessible to all Romanian speakers.


Available Languages


From now on you can manage your inventory in one of the 8 available languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Greek, Arabic, and Romanian). Also, we will like to remind you that any admin user can localize their Megaventory account both to the language they prefer but also to the specific industry terminology - or indeed the preferred terms used in the particular business.

It is highly important for us to help you manage your business operations in the language you feel most comfortable. So, if Megaventory is not yet available in your native language, send us an e-mail or tweet us!


Why try Megaventory


Megaventory serves clients in more than 40 countries around the world specializing in companies across many industries, in retail, wholesale, manufacturing or even services. If we can help so many business owners, we can help you too!

The platform is constantly upgraded and expanded, providing access to the latest available technical how-to. In a constantly changing global market, you need to be at top of your game.

Megaventory can be integrated with various applications like Magento and WooCommerce and prices start just from USD 9.90 per month!


Now that it is available in Romanian, shouldn't you give it a try?

Sign up for a free trial of Megaventory in Romanian today!


Get started now » Signup is FREE. No Credit Card Required