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.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

5 methods to offer customer support (and one to avoid)


Through the years what we've learned is that offering a good product is not enough if you don't accompany it with high-quality customer support. Being there when your customers need you and showing them that their concerns are valid is crucial and will drive customers to keep doing business with you again.

So how do we make this happen?


1-on-1 demos


All our new users are welcome to set up a free, one-on-one appointment with us at a time of their choice (we've been using online meeting software meetme.so and calendly.com). We offer these demos in order to make sure that their introduction to Megaventory goes as smoothly as possible and that all their questions and concerns are addressed. Not all customers need such demos and not all ask for one - but the option is there for anyone interested.

A hidden advantage of these sessions is that we manage to keep close to the customer and understand their needs form a personal perspective - which is of very valuable for an online business.


Knowledge Base and FAQ


Not everyone has the time or the comfort for one-to-one communication and some prefer to search for information on their own. We believe that the best support is for your customers not to need to communicate with you.

And how we do that?

We offer comprehensive documentation for Megaventory to keep our customers informed - we use a Knowledge Base for that built using freshdesk.com. That includes both text and video walkthroughs of tasks. Video helps some people more than others - so we give them the option to learn what our service is about in that medium too. Some users are more visual than others, others prefer to learn on their downtime (eg in their lunch break) just by viewing a video and still others like to see (and share) clips they can fast forward through to the helpful part.




Tips and wizards inside the software


In today's busy world, few have the time to hop from one website to the other to solve their problem – so we have a solution for them too. 

Firstly, we offer ‘guides’ (multiple choice, step by step walkthroughs essentially) which show users along the most basic setups especially in their initial steps. This technique is very helpful with guiding users through your processes and limiting ways they can make mistakes. We’ve set it up using inlinemanual.com – an inexpensive and customizable service we’ve chosen specifically for that purpose.

Secondly, online help tips appear while users work their way through our service. These are either short or lengthy and are very helpful in solving questions exactly the moment they arise. 

Thirdly, hover tips appear when entering data or completing fields. Any time there’s a form which needs filling there’s also an explanation or clarification which will appear on hover of the mouse on them in all but the most obvious fields (name, address etc).



Live Chat


Users are able to interact with us through a live chat tool in the platform, powered by intercom.io, offering a friendly, informal, synchronous communication, integrated with the product and our website.  As an added bonus, intercom provides considerable value in the form of customers analytics which we can further use to understand our users.




Facebook Messenger


People are on Facebook throughout the day—especially those that work with the internet, so it’s only natural they would much rather stay on the same website rather than switch or pick up the phone to call us. Therefore, we have an active Facebook Page, where everyone can message us with their query.


E-mail


Last but not least is the good ol' traditional support channel: e-mail. Customers are always to send us an e-mail with their query and we make sure to respond as soon as we can.

Update: It is also important to mention that any support email opens a ticket in a dedicated ticketing system (we also use Freshdesk for that too) - this allows for proper tracking of any issue that arises. Such tickets can be opened either via a simple email, via a webpage contact form or from within a form in Fresdesk. There's an option for everyone!

Phone support (not)


And here's something we don't do. When you have an international client base, phone support requires having people around the clock answering calls. The expense of this in comparison to what it offers is immense and we want to continue offering an inexpensive product for all small businesses. Also, it’s a challenge to provide that in their native language some customers may expect and it doesn’t leave a trail for future search or audit purposes.

This is pretty much a complete list of the ways in which we offer support to Megaventory customers. Is there perhaps something we’re missing and could be added to the mix?



Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Searching in Megaventory


Our latest major release Megaventory 3.0 was launched a while ago and we completely revamped the search tools, so you can easily find what you are looking for.

Main Search


Products


At the upper right corner of every page in the application you can find the search icon where you can search for products by their SKU, Product Description, Product Version or Supplier SKU. Once the results are returned you can either click or hover on a product.
  1. Clicking on a product will open the Edit Product form. This is a good way to avoid having to navigate to the Gear Icon, then to Products, to search for the product and then click to edit it – instead all this is collapsed in a single search and click.
  2. Hovering over a product will display its SKU and will allow you to Trace Inventory Changes for this product. Similarly, this can save you considerable time and clicks to navigate to the right dashboard and retrieve that report from it. 


Orders and Documents


You can search for Orders and Documents by Document Number, Supplier/Client name, Supplier/Client Tax ID, Supplier/Client Phone, Contact Person, Billing/Shipping Address, Tags or Comments.

Specifically for Goods Inbound/Outbound documents and invoices, you can hover over the document number and issue a Return Document for that particular order right from the Search results. This is considerably faster than the usual process of navigating to the relevant dashboard doing a Return of Goods action and making the right choices in the drop down menus there.



Searching within Documents


Another way to search within Megaventory is to open one of your cards (such as Purchase Order, Sales Order or Work Order) and click on the search icon right above the list.


This is a quick way to find orders which include a specific product code – the search will try to match your term with either the SKU, the Product Description or the EAN of the products.


Searching within a Document


While editing a Purchase Order or a Sales Order (or the equivalent Inbound and Outbound documents) you can search for a supplier or client respectively by typing his registered name, phone, e-mail or Tax ID.


Similarly, when adding products in your order, you can search for a specific item.



Both these capabilities can used to speed up your everyday work after you’ve setup Megaventory. Given your familiarity with your product base and your clients and vendors you can quickly process orders by typing a few characters from the supplier name and the product name and have an order ready in minutes – if not seconds.

This is an overview of the search functionality available in Megaventory – it’s all been designed to help you be faster and error-free in your everyday work. Feel free to let us know in the comments how we can further improve upon it. 


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

News from the Megaventory development front

Here at Megaventory we are going through some of our most productive months ever. The recent developments have changed the face of our application and have introduced significant speed and productivity improvements.

Back in November, we launched our latest major release: Megaventory 3.0. It is the biggest update we have ever released and we literally left nothing untouched. The new Megaventory is a responsive HTML5 web application that works perfectly from any device and screen size. It is now possible to perform actions such as closing a sale on the go using a tablet or a smartphone, further leveraging the advantages of a cloud technology.

Speed and Productivity Boost


The app is now a lot faster too, since we have changed the technology and it is now based on a one-page application approach were a lot of the information is pre-loaded on the user’s browser. It features new, dynamic dashboards that boost productivity and cooperation among team members. For example, a user can create a shortcut to a pre-filtered list of open Purchase Orders and share it with his colleagues.

Of course we worked in other areas as well: in the last couple of months, we have silently pushed more than 10 updates to Megaventory. The first few weeks we had to polish the initial release with speed and stability improvements and minor bug fixes. This made us more confident about the new release and we are now ready to speed up the transition process and of course to add new features.


More Powerful Search Results


Firstly, we completely revamped the search module. Now, it not only allows the users to check the availability of a product in their inventory but they can also search for clients, orders or documents and even act on the search results. It is also now possible to issue a return document with a single click or get the order history of a client in no-time.



Easier For New Users


The on-boarding process for new users was also optimized. For this reason, we designed new interactive walkthroughs that had a very positive reception from prospective Megaventory users. All the basic processes such as document and order creation, checking the stock levels or simply understanding the layout of the application are now handled by interactive step by step guides. This feature should also help administrator users of existing accounts to add more users to their teams.


Other Improvements


Lastly, over the last few weeks we made various additional improvements in core Megaventory elements. Examples include:
·         displaying stock levels better while shipping goods or while processing a work order,
·         improving the manual numbering system for documents,
·         making our On-Hand Inventory and Alerts module easier to read and understand.


Overall it’s been a very productive period and we’re looking forward to the following months when we’re due to announce new improvements and a brand new integration! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

An exciting new partnership!

We are proud to announce our partnership with Deutsche Telekom subsidiary, COSMOTE, the largest telecoms provider in Southeastern Europe.

Another development which has been in the works for quite some time now and can finally be announced is the brand new deal we have struck with COSMOTE, the largest telecommunication provider in Southeast Europe!


Megaventory is one of the very few early solutions to be included in the newly launched B2B cloud marketplace of COSMOTE (a Deutsche Telekom subsidiary). As a result COSMOTE business customers will now be able to subscribe to the Megaventory service directly from the COSMOTE Business Marketplace Megaventory page which is specifically designed for this purpose. Subscriber companies will receive a single monthly bill including their Megaventory subscription cost along with their other telco services.

The Megaventory pricing remains essentially the same regardless if an account is purchased via megaventory.com or the COSMOTE marketplace. At the same time, a COSMOTE business will also enjoy the added value and support provided by this huge player in the market and its other important partnerships and deals.


This is definitely one of Megaventory’s most important partnerships yet and an exciting opportunity as it opens up a large market of hundreds of thousands of small and medium businesses in the broader SE region. What’s more, we’re proud to associate the Megaventory brand with that of COSMOTE – a move which is likely to lead the way for more such high-caliber deals.

The Megaventory – COSMOTE partnership is meant to be the first of more to follow in the European and global market within 2016 and a stepping stone for other significant marketplaces currently in the process of expansion (such as that of Deutsche Telekom, the parent company of COSMOTE and also the company behind T-Mobile, EtiSalat and du in the EMEA region, etc).

Excited as we are about this announcement the development effort in Megaventory is picking up speed and we will soon be announcing even more exciting features and integrations. Stay tuned!

Saturday, 9 January 2016

More Megaventory improvements: security upgrades implemented

In the interest of supporting the data security of our customers, we have preemptively completed multiple online security audits and upgrades.

In the year that’s just wrapped, the issue of online security kept cropping up constantly. Almost every week, news of a significant security breach surfaced while minor ones undoubtedly kept happening at a more frequent pace.

Online security can mean many things depending on the industry in question – it can range from individual laptop protection to app database security – and the respective sector (whether that’s B2B or B2C). In any case, the protection of assets against hacking has been an established topic in most lists of what will be a hot field in technology in 2016.

Always working for our customers’ best interests and with the aim of staying ahead of the game we committed to reviewing and improving Megaventory’s security during the second semester of 2015. This review coincided at just the appropriate period of wrapping up the new megaventory.com interface so that any necessary improvements were immediately introduced to the new version of the service.

As such, we have taken the following steps to improve security in Megaventory:
  • We have performed an internal audit of our entire code base identifying and addressing the most typical security issues a web application needs to cover against. This included attack vectors based on Cross Side Scripting, file injection, SQL query sanitization, our email server, web server redirects/forwards and the SSL certificate, among other things.
  • We have also hired Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing company esecurify.com to perform a full security audit of Megaventory. The audit covered the major vulnerabilities of the OWASP industry standard across the entire scope of the app and was followed by the immediate correction of any issue that was detected.
  • An independent partnership deal we have been working on for many months now (and which is about to be announced – stay tuned!) required an additional security audit which was initiated and completed during the last two months of 2015.
  • We have instituted a bug bounty program so that any interested party can audit the Megaventory application for security (or other issues) and they will be reimbursed for finding points in the application which need improvement. Refer to the EULA (sections 11.3 and 11.4) for details.

As a result, Megaventory enters 2016 confident that its customer base has one less thing in mind in the constantly shifting technology landscape. So, instead of worrying about their data and business security online Megaventory customers can relax and think about how they can make their company fulfill its potential.