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.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Selling or Purchasing on Consignment using Megaventory



Selling on consignment is a useful arrangement that allows a supplier and usually a retailer to create a “win-win” situation, where they both share part of the risk of holding inventory.

Consignment occurs when the consignor (the supplier) sends goods to a consignee (the retailer), who later sells them to their clients. The goods remain under the legal ownership of the supplier and the retailer is required to pay for them only after they have been sold to customers. Any leftover stock can be returned back to the supplier without facing any monetary penalties.



Consignment Accounting


From an accounting point of view, when the consignor sends goods to the consignee, there is no need to create an accounting entry related to the physical movement of the products. It is usually sufficient to record the change in location within the inventory record keeping system of the consignor.

At the same time, the consignee should keep track of the products in their own inventory management system to be able to easily create a purchase invoice for the consignor when some of the received products are sold.




What is in it for the consignor


The business owner that decides to sell on consignment can have some great benefits from a consignment arrangement. As long as logistics are considered, the inventory costs are reduced because less storage space is needed, which can be a great relief for their budget. At the same time, manufacturers can easier sell their products and reach a wider customer audience. Store owners are usually reluctant to purchase products from less widely-known brands, and a consignment arrangement might ease their fears that they may get stuck with an unsellable inventory.

Nevertheless, certain disadvantages of this model should not be overlooked. Lack of visibility on products, especially slow-moving or dead ones, can have a negative effect on the finances of the consignor. The retailer is not pressed to move the slow moving products by applying sales and offers and the supplier might end up with large quantities of antiquated and unsellable inventory.

In other words, it is a risky arrangement, a double edge sword, that can allow a new brand to get into more retail channels, but at the same time, if the retailer is not actually selling the products, your inventory investment as a consignor might not generate a return.



What is in for the consignee


The retailer who chooses to purchase products on consignment can see great profit in this model. Without the risk of paying for the stock they replenish, consignees are able to offer a wider selection of products.

Even if cash flow is slow in a given period of time, they can still have products to sell on their shelves.





Make the most out of consignment


While selling on consignment can be a highly beneficial situation for many businesses, it can have some serious disadvantages for the consignee if the arrangement has not been made on solid ground.

One such example is to have a common agreement (or not) on who is responsible for destroyed or returned products. This needs to be clear for both parties before suppliers bring their products to the retailer’s warehouse or store. Even if the original price of the products is relatively low and this seems unnecessary, a clear arrangement will reduce misunderstandings and conflicts.

In any case, the consignor and consignee have a great opportunity to support each other in a highly antagonistic business world. If both parties are feeling positive about the agreement, they can even take it a step further and follow a common marketing plan to increase sales against their competitors.

In order to enable this setting in place, an inventory management system can help achieve the desired level of transparency between the two parties that will assist the growth of their collaboration.



Consignment in Megaventory


Handling consignment sales in Megaventory is super easy.

From the consignor' s perspective you just need to create a Sales Order where the goods are shipped out in one stepped and you create invoices in a second step as required. 



The consignee's approach is similar with the only difference being that they create a Purchase Order. 

At any point then it is possible to create a filter which shows the number of orders which are to be handled with consignment and their state.



Once the bookmark card is available it can be used to filter just the Sales Orders which need processing under consignment.



It's that simple and user-friendly!



Conclusion


Consignment is an important model, cost-effective, potential, risks too. When handled properly it can be an efficient tool for business growth. It has its pitfalls but it's also worth exploring. Are you interested in becoming a consignor or consignee?

See below how you can start an account to streamline the process! 

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



Monday, September 4, 2017

New Feature: Batch & Multi-Level Work Order Actions

You asked and we listened. Work Orders have become more powerful than ever with the ability to manage multi-level and batch work orders with the click of a button.




Work orders are an essential communications part of manufacturing businesses. They inform your operations team that certain products are needed and give the green light to production.

Megaventory Work Orders, though, are so versatile that can also be used by non-manufacturing businesses that need to track processes like unboxing, repurposing product’s parts into other products, maintaining and repairing damaged inventory, and many other tasks.

With the new upgrade, these tasks become much easier to perform, saving you valuable time and preventing duplication of effort. 

So, how the updated work orders can help you?


Multiple actions with the hit of a button


Let’s imagine the story of Carol who is creating cakes for her bakery. She buys flour and other ingredients in large sacks that come in different sizes and weights but the ingredients in her recipes are in grams or ounces. How can she measure what she has available for production without doing a mathematical equation every time?

With Megaventory, it’s a piece of cake (no pun intended).

First of all, Carol needs to create a Work Order that will turn the product “5kg sack of flour” to the product “1g of flour”. In that way, the first “material” will create 5,000 finished products. And she will continue to do so for the other ingredients.

The next work order will be to turn the finished products she just created to another finished product, the “cake”. By creating a Bill of Materials, which is basically the recipe that guides Carol on what ingredients to use and in what quantity, she can easily do this Work Order again and again.

With the new upgrade, you can do all the above actions automatically with the hit of a button. 

As shown in the following screenshot, when you click on the gear icon next to the work order number, a list of available options pops up. If production has moved faster than how often you update your Megaventory account and ordered products are already finished you can now click on Allocate Components AND Receive Finished Goods or Allocate Components AND Receive Finished Goods AND Close Work Order. This is also helpful if you are unboxing items to sell them individually and the time between the creation of the work order and its completion is seconds.






Simultaneously update Batch Work Orders


On top of being able to perform multiple actions with one click, the user of Megaventory is now able to simultaneously update batch Work Orders. To do this, just select the orders you want to update and then click on Batch Update.




After that, the following a pop-up window will show up and prompt you to select the actions you want to perform. While here, it is also possible to rearrange the order in which the following orders will be completed.




Every one of the above actions will have an immediate effect on your inventory. If you receive the finished goods, this will automatically update the available stock of the related products and allow you to fulfill a pending sales order. If you select to allocate components, these will not be available to be used in other work orders.

In other words, what the batch update does is that the appropriate action will be applied to all the selected work orders or if there is not enough stock, it will stop and inform you so.

Back to the story of Carol, our baker can use this advanced feature to simultaneously unbox all of the ingredients needed and create her cake.

The above functionality can also help businesses that manufacture more complex products such machines, computers, and so on, where calculating mistakes can cause serious delays and problems in production. And since there is no theoretical limit to the levels of manufacturing you can include the production flows that can be designed can be very detailed.


But why use a work order software?


If you are not using an ERP system already, you may think that you are good with your pen and paper, or spreadsheets. Such techniques can result in production mistakes and the truth is that nothing is worse than telling a customer that their order will be delayed. 

Such incidents can jeopardize your chances of acquiring regular customers that do repeating sales from you. At the same time, the more you delay finishing an order, the more inventory you need to keep in your warehouse or factory, which actually costs you money.

An inventory management system will help automate your work orders so that you can meet the demands of your customer more easily. It will help you know what you have in stock so you don’t run out of inventory when you’re making products. If you do run out, the multilevel manufacturing module will allow you to identify which manufacturing step can't go ahead and you need to buy stock. 

And don't forget that with Megaventory you can create purchase orders in just a few clicks!

Using Megaventory for managing your manufacturing work is much more affordable than other online software solutions in the ERP industry. It’s a great fit for small and midsize businesses because of its price and flexible feature set. With this added feature?

Sign up for a free trial of Megaventory today!


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



Monday, August 21, 2017

New Feature: Invoicing And Inventory For Multiple Companies Under A Single Account

Control how your team accesses different invoices when using your online inventory management system.



If you are already using Megaventory (or even if you just have a business with more than one employees), you may be by now familiar with the need to restrict users to specific processes and modules within the software. Because we understand your need for privacy settings and varying access levels for individual team members, one of the very first developments in Megaventory was the ability of administrators to grant different levels of access to their accounts.

The usefulness of this feature can be illustrated in the following example of a franchise chain:

A franchise store owner may have access to issue orders and view reports of his store but will be denied access to stores of other franchisees. A Sales manager of the franchisor company may have access to sales reports from all the franchisee stores. Each franchisee store may use Megaventory to send their Purchase Orders directly to the main warehouse of the franchise company.

Impossible to handle all that without very granular levels of access, right?

As this User Access Permissions module has already lifted a great weight from the shoulders of a lot of you, we decided to give this feature an upgrade. With the new and enhanced User Permissions module, you are now able to grant each user different access levels to various accounting documents you issue as a company.

So with this opportunity let’s see the detailed user permissions you can provide to your business in Megaventory in an example with three steps - with each step introducing additional complexity. 


 

Scenario #1: Invoicing Based On Location


If your company has more than one sales points you can grant access to different users accordingly. In other words, your employee in Boston will not be able to handle work related to your shop in New York such as see that location's inventory levels, sales and purchase orders, relevant reports, etc.

This setting, apart from keeping your company's information secure, will also save up valuable time to your team members. For example, when loading the available accounting documents to fulfill an order, the user will only see the documents related to their location with no need to filter out irrelevant entries.



So, in the example above, we have visited the User Acess Permissions page for the user EmployeeA. As you can see, the user has "Read and Write" rights to Location A regarding stock transactions and invoicing. In other words, they have the right to view and create documents and invoices regarding this location only. At the same time, the permissions for Location B are set to "None" and the user has no access whatsoever to documents and invoices related to that location. 

 

Scenario #2: Retail vs Wholesale Invoicing


Another possible scenario where user permissions come into play is when a business is selling at both retail and wholesale prices. That's a typical evolution of a company as it grows - to expand into B2C apart from B2B (or vice versa) - and that can be supported in Megaventory as well. 

In this scenario if your customer is an individual or a company entity, a different price list should load when you create a sales order. On top of that, you may have different people to manage B2C and B2B sales.

So in Megaventory, you can create two different types of invoices - one for retail and one for wholesale. Following that, you can grant access to both of them to a user that handles wholesale purchases and sales. Alternatively, you can choose to limit a user so that they can do either and not both.



In the above image the user has access to both types of invoices. In a different example where they have access to one of them only, the drop-down menu would show just one option.

 

Scenario #3: Multiple Companies Under A Single Account


With the Megaventory inventory management system, you can - to a certain extent - manage different companies with a single Megaventory subscription. Setting your account like this makes sense if two (or more) companies share a common inventory or you need to cut down your expenses across various projects (is there really a need to pay for a separate ERP system for every new venture you have going?). 

So, to follow up on our previous example, here's what you can do if your business grows and you'd like to have a separate company for a different product line or region - but still serve both entities from the same stock.

With our new upgrade, you are able to grant permission to each employee to issue a different invoice depending on the company they are working for. So, the employee that works in company A will only see an invoice format for company A when trying to fulfill a sales order in Megaventory. Similarly, the same employee will have no access to the invoice format of company B. 
















In the example above, EmployeeA can issue an invoice for Company A but cannot issue one for Company B. So if you have created an invoice document type for Company A complete with address, billing and other such information that will be the only one appearing in dropdown menus for EmployeeA. 

Thanks to this setting, you can host the invoicing processes of both companies under the same Megaventory account. That way, chances to make common accounting mistakes - like issuing an invoice with the accounting details of the wrong company - are eliminated.



We hope that this upgrade will come in handy for a lot of you. Your feedback is valuable, so if you have any comments or suggestions on what you would like to see supported in Megaventory, leave a comment below or tweet us

You can also get in touch with any questions at support@megaventory.com. We are happy to walk you through the details to help modify your User Access Permissions to take advantage of the new features.

And if you haven’t tried Megaventory, maybe now is a good time to upgrade your inventory management system? 

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



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

15 Tips from Retailers on How to Compete with the Big Stores



It is that time of the year again when businesses across the world celebrate the Independent Retailers Month. This campaign runs annually throughout July to highlight the important role smaller, local, independent retailers play in the communities they serve, the local economy they contribute to, and in the retail sector as a whole.

Following the success of last year's posts on how to survive as an independent retailer, the tools you need for best retail results and the importance of choosing the right system, we decided to give it a second go.


In this article, we asked successful retailers and experts to share their secrets of how they succeed in keeping up with the big stores and sometimes surpass them in acquiring customers with a refined taste.


Some of the tips might be well-known to some of you but keep scrolling down because we have received some pretty unique responses that will surprise you! 


Alternatively, just pick the subject the interest you from the list below:


1. Branding 
2. Go Niche
15. Implement the Right Logistics Systems



1. Branding


Investing time and resources on branding is not only something for corporations with large marketing teams. Having a clear distinctive look and mission can help you differentiate your business from the competition and help you attract new customers with sophisticated preferences.


"Competition is brought into play when shoppers can easily compare relevant items" explains, Rick Steele, Founder & CMO of SelectBlinds. "The spirit of being an entrepreneur (or at least smaller than the big guys) is your immediate ability to make changes, pivot when needed, and iterate your way to success quicker than the big trees! Big trees fall hard, and if you're willing to view your independent status as a major advantage and live this mindset, you've already won".

"It’s important for small businesses to analyze competitor sites and industry trends, but not to get too caught up in the competition" warns Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com. "Instead, focus on how you can differentiate and provide your audience with what they want. Listen to and encourage feedback from fans on how you can improve their overall customer experience and form strategic partnerships with like-minded companies".

"Our goal is to continually build a loyal following", says Dylan Peters, PR coordinator of JAM Paper & Envelope. "We do this by appealing to our target audience and consistently delivering the quality of products and services they have come to expect. We believe that a combination of branding and marketing (especially to the local market) puts us in competition with the big fish".


2. Go Niche


As big stores get very broad trying to serve every need, sometimes they can be chaotic and tiresome for the customer who is looking for one thing specifically. 

"The key to small shops competing with big-box retailers is changing the narrative", says Kyle Golding, CEO and Chief Strategic Idealist of The Golding Group. "Take what is perceived as your weakness (your smaller size versus theirs) and make it a strength. Focus on your target audience in a very specific way that the big-box retailer can't or aren't willing to do. If their advantage is inventory, selection, price or product availability make your competitive advantage being market nimble, responsive to your audience and customer service focused.

"Focus on shoppers willing to pay more, have fewer options or willing to wait for you to order products on demand, continues Kyle. "Match your offering to market subset wishes and ignore what the competition is doing. You should let anyone looking for low cost, huge selection or other big-box retail benefit shop elsewhere. No reason to pursue those who do not value your business the way you are capable of running it".





3. Customer Experience


"As the owner of a local comic book and toy store, we feel the pressure from large stores and online outlets to step up our game to compete," says Stacey Giulianti, owner of Lauderdale Comics and Bubble Tea Lounge in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. "We compete – and win – by giving our customers an 'experience'. People come into our store and not only shop but play arcade machines, sit with a Bubble Tea, and read a comic book in a comfortable chair. You can’t survive by merely selling; you must create a memorable experience each and every time they walk through your doors".


"As people get more deeply imprisoned by their techno-powered lives", explains Pam Danziger of Unity Marketing, "they increasingly crave that personal connection that only specialty retailers who are authentically part of the local community can deliver. When time allows or they simply want to get out of the house and mingle, people will increasingly want to shop with their neighbors, not with impersonal big business conglomerates or at the malls. In the new retail environment, success is less about WHAT retailers sell, and more about HOW they sell it. That is where specialty retailers can find their leverage. This gives new opportunities for independent specialty retailers, as long as they keep their focus on what their customers really want – a personal connection and shopping experience they can’t get anywhere else".


4. Invest Time in Customer Support


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.

Smaller online retailers can compete with the big chain stores by offering a better knowledge base and a more dedicated, personalized customer service, said Jay Labelle, Owner of The Cover Guy. "Especially when it comes to making big, costly purchases online, people want to know that if anything goes wrong, or they change their mind on the purchase that there is somewhere they can call or message and get in touch with a member of the team for help. They want to know there will be someone on the other side of the line that actually cares about their problems and knows about their product - not just a 9-5 staffer at a call center that fields call for various companies across different industries. Offering this dedicated, personalized approach is your key differentiator as a small business in a big pond".

5. Build Personal Relationships


Apart from the occasional customer support when something goes bad, building personal relationships with your customers can be your everyday goal. While large chain stores have an advantage in terms of budget and prices, "small retail operators have the ability to spend more time with each customer", says Neil Mclaren, owner and founder of Vaping.com, and they are able "to personalize their individual experience, and to ensure that they exceed the expectation of every customer. This level of personal service builds the retailer’s reputation and rapport, while developing a sense of trust and loyalty amongst their customers".


"Keep as much of the interaction with customers as personal as possible" is the advice of Bob Ellis, owner of Bavarian Clockworks. "Most of the big e-commerce stores have their customer service automated. Instead, keep it personalized and get to know your customers. Respond promptly to their emails, phone calls, and questions on social media. Address them by their first name rather than "Dear customer". Follow-up after the sale to make sure they are happy with their purchase and thank them for their business. The personal touch can make all the difference".


6. Support your local community


In the millennials age, vivid causes have replaced the broad buckets from which donors would once have chosen, and greater emphasis is placed on a gift’s impact on the local community. Being an active member of the community by sponsoring local events is a key strategy to win your customer's hearts and more.

"Smaller stores must become the authority in their trading area in order to become the first call of news channels and PR events", says Marc Joseph, CEO & President, DollarDays. "So if you own a toy store, make sure everyone in town knows you know what the hottest trends are in toys for the upcoming season. If you own a clothing store, brag about the upcoming fashions. If you own a coffee store, make sure your community knows you can talk about the latest blends and trends. Being visible and part of your community in sponsorship and non-profit involvement helps your business get noticed. Chain stores are not set up to become intimately involved in their communities".



7. Educate your customers


"In a world of big box stores, we have to be creative to bring customers into our store", shares her experience Cindy Jones, Ph.D., Formulator of Colorado Aromatics Cultivated Skin Care. "Sometimes it's more about the experience. We sell our own line of skin care products as well as a few other gift and spa items. Customers know that they can come to our store and get good information about how to take care of their specific skin needs. So, education is a big component of shopping our store. We strive to make our store comfortable and beautiful, so customers feel welcomed and relaxed when they visit. We also have events at the store where customers can come relax, network and learn something new".





8. Blog your way up to top results


For small retail businesses with a limited budget and usually none for AdWords, showing up in search results' first page is difficult. Great content, though, goes a long way and you can actually blog your way up to top results. Especially if your business is niche it might be that no one has really posted anything about the subject.

"Have an active blog that covers topics and trends in your industry" is the advice of Charles Dugan, President & Owner of American Image Display. "Big retailers usually aren't specialized. They generally are selling a wider variety of products and may even be involved in multiple industries. By blogging, you can carve out a niche and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Your passion and knowledge should come through in your writing. A blog makes it easier for prospective customers to find your website and select your business over larger competitors".


9. Start a podcast or a vlog


"YouTube is the second largest search engine on the planet but is seriously undervalued by retail owners", says Chris McCarron of GoGoChimp. "Seasoned digital marketers and big brand stores don't understand YouTube SEO or Watch Time algorithms, but it's actually really easy to shoot straight to top of YouTube's search results and suggested videos. 

If you want your content to get hundreds of thousands of views, then spend a little time looking into best practices. You'll soon discover that it's incredibly simple and quick to dominate top rankings.

You'll then gain a newly engaged audience that's heavily invested in you and your brand. This will eventually produce a surge in paying customers".


10. Create unique visuals


"One way that a small e-commerce business can set themselves apart from the bigger competition is to produce their own imagery for all of the products on their website", says Sam Williamson, Marketing Executive for A Hume Country Clothing. "By taking the effort to do this, smaller businesses can set themselves apart from larger competitors who will mainly use imagery provided by suppliers, or stock imagery. Although arranging and paying for the photo shoots can be a hassle, the end result is definitely worth it".



11. Acquire Customer Reviews


"Competing with the more well-established brands can be a challenge for a smaller independent retailer like ourselves" shares his personal experience Gary Murray, eCommerce Manager of Leader Doors. "As we are not as well-established as some of the other bigger DIY retailers, Leader Doors has have had to work tirelessly on our online reputation, which is why we use websites like Trustpilot as a platform for people to share their online experiences shopping with us, and rely heavily on word-of-mouth to spread our brand profile around the country. We have also worked hard to bring in the right product lines to ensure that new customers associate our brand name with both quality and value-for-money".



12. Be Adaptable


"In order to constantly better ourselves, we are always listening", says William Forshaw, CEO and Founder of Maxwell – Scott. "This is reflective of our brand ethos; we are ardent, conscientious and committed to providing quality. The basis to which centers around being passionate about every part of the process, from the research into the design to personally visiting the family-run factory in Italy and finally, to the optimisation of the consumer journey. Maxwell Scott has British design and Italian craftsmanship at our heart. Therefore it is because we are specialists at what we do that our products are more reasonably priced than larger competitors. We are improving over short periods of time which means that we are more adaptable than the larger stores which take longer".



13. Reach out to Competitors


An unlikely but interesting tip is reaching out to your competitors where you may find unlikely allies against the bigger stores. 


"Just because you have competition does not mean you can’t find common ground", says Mike LaTour of Soundwave Art. "You won’t necessarily offer all the same products or services. Recommending a potential customer to a competitor because they are in need of something you can’t offer can go a long way, with both the customer and your competitor. Sometimes it’s just nice to speak to them about your industry and where you think it’s headed. Working together can make you stronger and put you in a better position to take on the big guys".

14. Know your Numbers


"You have to know your numbers and what everything is costing advises Roberta Thomas of Dosh. "A lot of agencies have hidden fees in their numbers especially for advertising and that eats into the margins for small businesses. With the right tools, you can bring a lot of the agency work in house, obtain more radical transparency and spend on only those things that actually sell. That's how you compete with the big stores: Know your numbers and control as much of it as you can".




15. Implement the Right Logistics Systems


Investing in cloud systems to automate processes and eliminate mistakes is a key to compete with the major manufacturers & retailers industry. Cloud technologies offer access to a range of capabilities that typically only larger companies can afford.

"Our #1 tip would be to invest in a cloud based inventory management system", agrees Huib Maat, in-house perfumer and founder of Pairfum. "In this context, we see the ability of cloud based software to integrate with other cloud platforms as THE key benefit for the foreseeable future. We see SAAS as an interconnection of modules from different companies that are all the best in their field. We do not believe that one system can do everything. Instead, it should connect accountancy software, shopping feed generators, webshops, email newsletters, purchasing, the list is endless. This is how a company like ours can compete with the ability of the big stores to invest in custom-made software systems from large suppliers".

Cloud computing spares companies the time and money-consuming processes of installation and maintenance, as you just pay for the service, and thus it is life-saver for small businesses and start-ups.



A last word


Being a small retailer in a globalized market is hard. Customers are constantly looking for the lowest price and big box chains can't be beaten at this. Nevertheless, more and more people are willing to pay the extra cost if the acquired product will is of great quality and produced locally, something big chains can't do. 

Apart from that trend, small retailers that implement the right tools and focusing on solid vendor relations, retailers can make processes more efficient and use their time and money in other parts of their business.


Feel free to share your ideas in the comment section below. And if you liked this post, don’t forget to share it with your friends and colleagues!


Monday, June 26, 2017

How to Build Trust with Your Customers to Increase Your Sales

This is a guest post by guest contributor Mélanie Vaast


As an online e-commerce business owner, you need to increase sales. You also need to build trust with customers and increase your credibility with your target audience. But did you ever stop to think how these two concepts are related?

When you increase trust with customers, you automatically improve your customer loyalty. Customer loyalty is not just about making a sale. It's about making repeated sales with clients who believe in your brand. This involves developing a sense of trust with your critical audience who will trust you enough to do business with you.

So how do you create this trust with your customers?

You have to work on your online reputation. Your online reputation is the level of trustworthiness and credibility you have in general with prospects and customers.



5 Ways to Build the Trust You Need with Customers to Increase Sales


If you are wondering where to start to build trust, people say you need to start with the handshake and smile. Sure, that's easy in the real "brick-and-mortar" world but not as accessible in the online environment, where you cannot invite the real world customer in for coffee, sit down with them, and discuss your services or products, and get to know them. You are absent in person from your online website - so you have to be creative.

Below are 5 ways you can work on your online reputation:


1. Have excellent customer service


As we've mentioned before, having a great customer service is one of the main components in creating trust and customer loyalty. Make sure you have multiple ways that customers can contact you and be present on social media to monitor and handle negative comments quickly. There are many tools these days to offer top-notch support to your customers so there really isn't an excuse for not doing so.



2. Offer a hassle-free return policy


If you make returning an item as hassle-free as possible, it will communicate to the customer that you are trying to take care of them, not just making a sale. After all, a key reason why someone isn't likely to press the Buy button after all is a second thought like 'What happens if I need to return this?'. Amazon has all but removed this friction and has transformed the rest of the market along the way - so you really have little option there.



3. Provide product information with transparency


Keeping stock of your inventory is important so I recommend you use an inventory management system that allows you to track your inventory if possible. You may lose customer trust if you offer an item that is out of stock when the customer thought it was available. Also, be transparent about your number of items you really have in stock and if not, then inform when it will be available again.



4. Present your PayPal validation sticker or other credentials on your website


Remember the handshake. You don't have the ability to look your customer in the eye and shake their hand to assure them online. Instead, you must offer "social proof" and trust verification in other ways. One way that all e-commerce businesses should do when selling online is to provide their payment security seals such as the PayPal sticker or other validation of your safety credentials. This ensures the customer that they are safe shopping on your site and can create instant credibility for your online business.



5. Use customer testimonials


The best way to win over many customers and increase your sales is to offer proof that you are trustworthy. Another way to effectively do this is to provide true customer testimonials by other satisfied customers. You can do this with guest blog posts written by customers, a comment section, videos, podcasts, etc. How you decide to present this information is up to you. The important thing is that you provide it to your visitors, so they know many people prefer you over your competition and that they trust you.


Sales is About Relationships


Stephen Covey writes in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, that business is not about products; it's about people. He focuses on the importance of relationships in everything one does in their business, and he firmly believes that this is what makes an entrepreneur successful. Covey certainly has a valid point when you think about the importance people place on finding a business they can trust. People tend to do business with someone they like over someone with a great product who is not courteous or who doesn't provide them with all of the information they need.

There's something about honesty that people crave today. In the midst of a world that is difficult to see whether you can trust people or not, you will stand out and draw more revenue from your customers if you are straightforward and honest.



Good Guys Finish First


Practice good ethics on a daily basis and it will pay off for you in spades. Ethics is not an old-fashioned concept, and it works as well today as it did 100 years ago. It's just harder to see it online. So you have to work harder to show it to your customers. Use social proof and other means to get this across.

Remember, it's the relationships you build with your customers that will increase your sales. So show your clients through the means we talked about that you are trustworthy, and you'll see the difference in your bottom line!