Complete guide to expedited shipping

Your customers hate waiting to receive their products. According to a study by Oracle retail, 13% of them won’t buy from you again if you don’t deliver on time.

Offering expedited shipping can help you meet your customers’ expectations and increase your profitability.

 

What is expedited shipping?

Expedited shipping is performed to deliver orders faster than the regular shipping time. For instance, if your standard shipping time is a week, then using expedited shipping would ensure that consumers receive the product in two days.

Expedited shipping allows you to serve time-sensitive customers, many of whom don’t mind paying a premium to receive their shipments as fast as possible.

 

How fast is expedited shipping?

The exact turnaround time for shipments varies based on factors such as the size and weight of the products and the location of the customer. It’s possible that your standard shipping time could be equivalent to another seller’s expedited shipping.

Let’s look at different shipping options and compare them with expedited shipping.

Standard shipping vs expedited shipping

Cost-wise, standard shipping is cheaper than expedited shipping. That’s why standard shipping is often incentivized with free shipping.

Standard shipping is best for orders that aren’t urgent, whereas expedited shipping is ideal for situations where you need goods faster. Pharmaceutical supplies, seasonal products, and perishable items such as frozen food are suitable for expedited shipping.

Express shipping vs expedited shipping

Express shipping can be used to deliver items on the same day of ordering or the next day. Expedited shipping is simply quicker than the standard shipping delivery time. That can be within three days or the same day as well. If a seller offers both express and expedited shipping, the express shipping option is generally faster.

 

Benefits of offering expedited shipping

#1 Meets customers’ expectations

There is a rising trend of customers preferring faster shipping. Infact, a survey by MetaPack found that speed of delivery is a top priority for 26.6% of respondents. Another survey found that 77% of consumers are more likely to make the purchase if the delivery time is two days or less.

Your potential customers will likely opt for your competitors if they have faster shipping options. Therefore, offering a faster delivery option can provide you with a competitive advantage and help you build brand loyalty. Partnering with a third-party logistics (3PL) company can help with strategic warehousing so that there’s less distance between the warehouse and the customer. In addition to choosing a fast shipping provider, a lesser distance to travel can be another crucial component in executing expedited delivery.

#2 Minimizes cart abandonment

In the 2016 State of Ecommerce Delivery Report by MetaPack, 39% of the respondents admitted to abandoning their cart if the delivery option they wanted was not available. By offering expedited delivery, you can prevent cart abandonment issues and boost your sales.

#3 Retains customers

Consumer satisfaction is essential for repeat purchases. By meeting their expectations about faster delivery, customers will not just buy more from you but also generate positive word of mouth, increasing your profitability.

#4 Ensures delivery of fresh items

Perishable items like fruits, frozen food, and dairy products face the risk of getting spoilt over time. Shipping them using expedited delivery can ensure that your customers receive fresh items.

#5 Reduces loss or theft

During standard shipping, products often need to stop at various points, which increases the risk of transit damage as well as theft. Through expedited shipping, the packages stop at fewer locations, reducing the odds of cargo loss.

 

Challenges associated with expedited shipping

There are some drawbacks to expedited shipping.

#1 Higher cost

Around 80% of people preferred to buy from Amazon in 2020 because of their free and fast shipping. Amazon also offers free same-day or two-day delivery with its prime membership.
To remain competitive, you may want to offer expedited shipping. However, expedited shipping costs more than standard shipping, and most retailers don’t have deep enough pockets to offer expedited shipping services for free.

To deal with this, you can often pass on the higher shipping costs to your customers. This way, customers who want fast shipping pay a premium for the benefits. You can also add a minimum cart value to make the order eligible for expedited shipping.

#2 Limited availability

Expedited shipping isn’t offered by all delivery companies. You may need to change your existing delivery partners if they don’t offer expedited shipping.

 

How does your inventory management speed up your shipping?

There’s no magic spell that can miraculously help in teleporting your products. Instead, optimizing your fulfillment process and using effective inventory management can smooth operations and make expedited shipping easier.

Cin7 can help you in this. With Cin7, you can optimize your warehouse’s picking and packing processes, and the software integrates with shipping software, such as Shipstation, so you can expedite delivery.

If getting your products to your customers quickly is a priority for your business, book a call with our experts, to learn more about how Cin7 can help with shipping.

7 Common mistakes wholesalers and distributors make

Business models such as ecommerce and direct-to-consumer (DTC) are giving a tough time to wholesalers as well as retailers. You may already be struggling with razor-thin margins, and during such situations committing mistakes can cost you dearly. You need to be on top of your game.

This article will share some common mistakes that wholesalers and distributors make while running the business. Understanding these mistakes is a stepping stone to avoiding them.

 

Some common mistakes that wholesalers and distributors make

1. Using outdated methods

It’s surprising to think about how many businesses still rely on manual approaches, like using pen and paper to manage their businesses. Although pen and paper do have their own merit, for starters, they don’t need any electricity to run. However, papers can be easily misplaced or stolen, which you don’t want. Storing them can be a headache too as it will take significant space in your office premises. Plus, it’s not convenient to share them with your business partners.

While some people have migrated to digital forms like spreadsheets, it’s not enough to be successful today. Spreadsheets can get really messy, and you’ll have to spend a considerable amount of time updating them regularly. Plus, it’ll take digital storage space, which is risky if your storage drive gets corrupt.

The best solution is to use a cloud-based inventory management solution. The data gets updated in real-time, so you get accurate visibility over your inventory. As the data is securely stored in the cloud, there’s no risk of losing it.

 

2. Sales representatives lacking information and resources

Sales is the primary revenue generating activity for your wholesaling business. Your sales representatives are entrusted with the responsibility to drive sales, and thus, they must be equipped with all the right tools and knowledge. They need to have full visibility over your inventory and should be well versed with your product and promotional information.

It’s best to also acquaint them with your business process so that they can confidently answer queries about delivery time and product returns. Failing to do this will affect your customer service, and you’ll lose out on loyal customers.

You can leverage Cin7’s inventory management solution to empower your sales team. They can easily get data about your customers, suppliers, and all necessary product-related information. The features of Cin7 aren’t just limited to inventory management. You can also use it to streamline your sales quoting process. Cin7 allows you to offer accurate quotes/prices to your B2B customers and also set the payment terms. On top of that, you can receive payments and generate invoices.

Cin7 is your one-stop solution for managing your sales and inventory.

 

3. Inadequate customer management

Customers can make or break your wholesaling business. You need to ensure that you manage them well and satisfy their expectations so that they continue doing business with you. It is necessary to take their feedback about their experiences with your service, and you should improve accordingly.

You should be fair in your treatment of your business customers irrespective of the revenue that they generate. On top of that, you should also regularly communicate with your customers. Thanks to digitalization, this process is easier than it has ever been. You can use email sequences to broadcast information to your customers so that they feel informed and valued. You can also segment your customer base and then target them effectively with specific messaging in emails.

 

4. Monitoring stock levels

Being a wholesaler, you deal in large volumes of stock. It can be challenging to monitor your stock levels when you’re dealing with multiple buyers and deliveries being made daily. But you can’t afford to lose track of inventory as poor inventory management can lead to situations such as understocking and overstocking (both being undesirable).

You need clear visibility about when the items enter and exit your warehouse. This way, you’ll be able to track and share inventory updates with your customers. Cin7 can help you with inventory control as you get real-time visibility over your inventory in the warehouse. This would help in optimizing your processes to ensure a smooth workflow.

 

5. Ignoring business relationships

In the race to raise your profits, you shouldn’t overlook business relationships. Relationships are necessary, especially in the B2B arrangement that you deal with. Positive experience with customers can lead to more business opportunities as they can endorse you to their business partners. This is the key to long-term success.

Better relationships will ensure that your customers stick even through market fluctuations. Do your best to build these relationships by offering great customer service, making transactions convenient, and fulfilling orders quickly. Good relationships can also help in better negotiation with the suppliers so that you can lower your costs.

 

6. Not monitoring the cash flow

Healthy cash flow is the fuel for your business. Offering credit to your customers can help with increasing your sales. However, overextending the credit is risky for your business as it can lead to defaults.

You should thrive to proactively remind your customers about their payables and you should make it easier and more convenient for them to pay their invoices.

Cin7 can generate sales reports using which you can not only gauge the financial health of your business but can also ascertain your inventory’s performance. To sweeten the pot, we have integration with several accounting softwares such as Xero and Quickbooks.

 

7. Not following up with your customers

The relationship between you and the customers shouldn’t end after finalizing the sale. You need to nurture them so that you make repeat purchases.

You should follow up with your customers after they receive their offerings to check whether everything happened as per their expectations or not. You can send a follow-up email after the product is delivered.

 

Conclusion

Avoiding these common mistakes will help you improve your business practices. As you look for solutions to some common mistakes, consider new software, like Cin7’s inventory management, as part of your solution.

Book a demo now.

How to execute a year-end inventory count

Whether you’re running an auto body shop, a law firm, or a retail store, doing a year-end inventory count helps your business close the books on the past 12 months and organize yourself for the year ahead. In fact, the year-end inventory count is necessary for successful inventory management throughout the year. It allows you to clean up records and gives your business verified data to analyze.

Since retailers have a lot of inventory to manage, counting inventory correctly is crucial and allows you to make informed buying decisions later. Learn how to execute a year-end inventory count and how your annual count can help forecast demand for the year ahead in this article.

 

What is a year-end inventory count?

A year-end inventory count is a physical count of all the inventory on hand at the end of the year. The count is performed to verify that the physical inventory matches the numbers in your inventory management system.

A year-end inventory count is different from an inventory cycle count, which audits a smaller portion of inventory. While a cycle count allows you to monitor your inventory by sampling your inventory throughout the year, a year-end inventory is a physical count of everything you have on hand at one given point in time.

 

How do you conduct a year-end inventory count?

These are the steps that you need to follow for inventory counting:

  • First and foremost, you need to plan the day for conducting inventory count. It’s crucial to pause your warehousing operations while you do perform the counting so that you get an accurate snapshot of your inventory. You should plan a day that causes minimal impact on pausing the operations.
  • Once you finalize the date, you should form the team who will perform the stock counting. It is important to train them about your counting process and acquaint them with the warehouse’s premises. Dry runs can be organized a few days before the actual counting day.
  • You should also prepare your warehouse for the stock counting process. It should be thoroughly cleaned, and steps should be taken to ensure that there’s no scattered inventory. If there are boxes lying around the warehouse, it will slow down the workers who are counting.
  • The warehouse should be organized, and the areas (count zones) should be divided amongst the counting team so that everyone knows their responsibilities.
  • It’s crucial to equip your team with the right tools for counting. For manual counting, you can use counting tags. If you are using tags, then it’s best to let your team work in pairs so that one person can count the inventory while the other can note the values in the counting tag and stick it near the inventory. It’s best to get the counting tags signed by the respective team as it gives you clarity about the person associated with counting for a specific section.
  • To cross-check the accuracy of the counting, you can personally examine the areas to cross-verify the values mentioned in the counting tags. Otherwise, you can allocate members from other teams to cross-check the tag values. Cross-checking is crucial to get an accurate representation of your inventory. In case your inventory is also stored at other locations, you should coordinate to get the accurate values from those locations as well.
  • Performing inventory counts using manual sheets and counting tags can be time-consuming and prone to human errors. Using an inventory management software like Cin7 can be of great help. Instead of using tags and sheets, you can use barcode scanners to scan the inventories on the shelves. The software reconciles the inventory values with the ones already present in the system. This way, you can easily gauge the discrepancies in the inventory that’s physically present with you.

 

Why do year-end inventory count?

The year-end inventory count is essential because it ensures the stock you have on your shelves matches your records. By getting an exact look at your inventory, you can comply with tax requirements, manage corporate audits, and offer accurate data to your accounting team.

Once you complete your inventory count, you’ll have the data you need to complete an annual financial analysis. You also get the data you need to detect inventory shrinkage and forecast how much inventory you’ll need in the year ahead. On top of that, you get the chance to get inventory organized for the new year.

Knowing your year-end inventory allows you to

  • Get a better understanding of what products you have.
  • Hold accurate inventory records for accounting purposes.
  • Gain insight into products that don’t sell well that you shouldn’t order in the future.
  • Understand which products require a new selling strategy.
  • Know the demand and profitability for expansion consideration.
  • Consider adjusting periodic automatic replenishment (PAR) levels for top-selling products.
  • Determine the cost of goods sold and total net income.
  • Make business decisions based on data instead of intuition.
  • Analyze pricing strategy and identify room for improvement.

 

Does your business have inventory shrinkage?

Inventory shrinkage occurs when there’s less physical inventory than what’s listed in your inventory records. Shrinkage occurs due to human error, damaged stock, vendor shortages, lost inventory, or stolen inventory. It can drastically affect profits and is a problem that always needs to be investigated further. Businesses usually uncover inventory shrinkage as they do their year-end inventory counts.

How to handle inventory shrinkage

If you uncover inventory shrinkage during your year-end inventory count, your team should look for more information about what happened. If you are using inventory management software, you can examine past inventory records to determine if there are any trends that need investigation. Significant, widespread shrinkage can indicate theft or fraud, while one-off mistakes tend to reveal clerical errors. Damaged goods are self-explanatory.

Once you uncover and investigate the cause of inventory shrinkage, you can put guardrails on processes to prevent further loss. Some common preventive measures include:

  • Tightening security where inventory is stored.
  • Installing cameras or locking up high-value items.
  • Training employees about proper inventory counting.
  • Allowing only trained employees to accept and inspect new inventory.
  • Reviewing daily transactions on inventory apps.
  • Verifying purchase orders, invoices, and delivery slips when new inventory arrives.
  • Checking inventory shrinkage via cycle counts.

Discovering inventory shrinkage isn’t fun — but it’s a wake-up call for many businesses.

 

What if you have too much inventory?

Once you complete your year-end inventory, you might realize that you have more physical inventory than expected. If you have a lot more inventory than you need or want, you may have to figure out how to deal with the surplus. The first step is to determine if the excess inventory is still good to sell. Then you can adjust plans, orders, and budgets accordingly.

Once you figure out what your business needs for the year ahead, it’s time to get creative. What kind of promotions or sales can you have? What items should be sold at a discount? There may also be items in your inventory that can be repurposed or donated. If you donate excess inventory, talk to your accountant about writing them off for tax purposes.

Finally, you should talk with a liquidator about buying excess inventory. It may not be very profitable, but you can cut losses, clear up space, and move on.

 

Using year-end inventory to predict next year’s demand

One of the best reasons for conducting year-end inventory counts is to understand how your business used (or didn’t use) items over the past 12 months. A detailed snapshot of available inventory helps your business forecast demand for the year ahead.

By reviewing what hasn’t sold, you can plan sales, promotions, and marketing campaigns. These strategies can help you move old inventory and lets you focus on restocking only what your customers want.

 

Cin7’s inventory management software simplifies inventory counts

Cin7 inventory management software allows your business to track inventory using modern technology and powerful automation features. Cin7 is the best choice for inventory management software because it helps save you time, money, and stress. When you switch to Cin7, you’ll be able to:

  • Access your data at any time and place.
  • Set it up quickly, easily, and to your liking.
  • Use ready-to-scan barcodes with your phone’s camera.
  • Customize and allow access to teams, vendors, and suppliers.
  • Generate custom barcodes for unlabeled stock.
  • Create data-rich, shareable reports to help you understand inventory.
  • Get alerts when you’re running low on a product, if it’s expiring, or approaching warranty.
  • Create product histories to answer who, what, and when details.

Ready to see how our inventory software makes your year-end inventory count easier? Book your Demo now.

How consumerization in B2B is driving growth in sales

In today’s crowded space, businesses are doing what they can to grab and keep their customer’s attention. As a result, marketing has gotten much more personal. This trend began with B2C companies creating personalized, relatable content for their audiences, and is known as consumerization.

However, a popular myth associated with consumerization is that it only applies to B2C companies. This simply isn’t true. Consumerization is visible today in the marketing strategies of most B2B companies as well.

In this blog, we’ll try to understand the phenomenon of B2B consumerization and how it impacts sales.

 

What is B2B consumerization?

In simple words, B2B consumerization is the result of companies using more technology to engage with their clients. As in the B2C space, where consumers expect to be able to immediately access information and purchase products through digital means, B2B buyers now expect such options from the companies they do business with.

The shift towards B2B ecommerce is widespread. According to 2020 Gartner research, 80% of total B2B sales interactions will be digital by the year 2025. What’s in it for the B2B Sellers?

Makes sales more efficient

Any B2B marketer will tell you that, conventionally, B2B sales have relied heavily on personal relationships with clients. The biggest investment is the time put in to close a sale.

However, with digital products, companies are able to save their sales teams valuable time. By developing deeper insights into the targeted audience’s behavior before approaching the sale, sales teams can curate personalized sales strategies and offerings for their potential clients. This makes it easier to close more deals faster.

Leverage multiple access points

An access point, or a customer touchpoint, is any point through which the customer comes in contact with your brand. That includes radio ads, pay-per-click (PPC) banners, or elevator pitches.

Today, your business most likely interacts with your target audience using multiple touchpoints. Some of the most commonly used channels for B2B marketing are:

  • Blogs/articles,
  • Emails and newsletters,
  • Push notifications,
  • Digital and conventional advertising, and
  • Social media.

Using multichannel selling, your clients become familiar with your products or services while you have the opportunity to directly interact with potential customers.

Naturally, you’ll  want to reach your target market using as many touchpoints as possible. By collecting data from your customers, and with a bit of computing prowess, you can monitor and predict how your target market will react to your products or services.

 

And the result?

A much more efficient sales strategy with higher sales numbers. If you wish to scale your B2B business, try Cin7. Cin7 not only makes it effortless to manage your B2B orders but also helps in creating an online B2B store. Use it to showcase your product portfolio and boost your sales. Cin7 also comes with built-in inventory management features, so you efficiently manage your stock and prevent stockouts.

To learn more about how Cin7 can help in boosting your B2B business, book a demo with our experts.

Effective inventory management: The secret to Black Friday success

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday traditionally kick off the holiday shopping season. Large and small businesses often prepare for months to capitalize on shoppers looking for deals on these days.

Any glitches, such as not having enough inventory or problems with shipping and delivery, can lead to substantial reductions in profit.

Automated inventory management can ensure the entire sales cycle is managed well throughout the holiday shopping season. And the bonus? When customers have a good experience, they become returning customers.

This blog discusses how a seamless supply chain impacts online merchants and suggests inventory management tips for your upcoming holiday season.

 

Inventory management and supply chain for online merchants

In retail, the supply chain is defined as the process from order inventory to product delivery. Supply chain management consists of manufacturing, fulfillment, storage, and shipping. If any part of the process weakens, sales are negatively affected.

Merchants selling products online must plan for issues that could come up this holiday season.

 

Tips to manage your supply chain and inventory this holiday season

Choose the best suppliers

Online merchants usually work with international suppliers as a cost-saving measure. It’s better to work with domestic suppliers as you can:

  • Prevent customs delays and cross-border shipping.
  • Avoid unexpected new tariffs.
  • Replenish stock quickly and easily.

If you still work with international suppliers for your business, diversify your suppliers. By ordering from suppliers in several countries, you have a backup if there are problems with delivery from one country.

Plan the fulfillment process

If you are a merchant with a large volume of inventory, you can send it directly to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider. The 3PL company can handle fulfillment and shipping on your behalf and let you focus on what you do best: ecommerce strategy and marketing.

You must think carefully while choosing warehouses whether or not you work with a 3PL service. Use a warehouse close to the suppliers and begin ordering inventory early. By planning ahead with time, you will give the warehouse staff enough margin to organize and categorize the products correctly.

Merchants with unused brick-and-mortar stores should consider using the space as a warehouse. Using your own space as a warehouse gives you an excellent visual idea of how quickly your stock sells. It helps you decide which products to push with holiday sales. Thus, you can save money on external services and have more control over stock management.

Another popular holiday season shopping method is buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS). This method became popular during the Covid-19 pandemic. These click and collect options remove complications related to shipping and let you enhance the customer service you can offer. If you look to implement store pick up this season, ensure your customers know how it works by including instructions on your site’s checkout page.

Talk to supply chain partners early

Your partners in the supply chain are your suppliers and manufacturers. You all must work and succeed together, so take the time to discuss order volume and develop a process that works for everyone.

Contact your suppliers as soon as possible to work out potential issues in the supply chain. The earlier you begin, the more you can anticipate and head off any problems. When discussing the order volume of the inventory, be specific and tell suppliers exactly how much you expect. If they flag any potential holiday supply issues, adjust the product range or diversity accordingly.

Keep in touch with 3PL companies regularly for likely changes as well. They could have staff shortages or a lack of drivers, delivery restrictions, or warehouse closures. Integrated warehouse management software can help you head off fulfillment issues.

Price your products strategically

After deciding on inventory value, vary product prices to control stock levels. Lowering the rates of well-stocked products means you can sell more. Raising the prices of items you have less of may reduce the number you sell.

Adjusting prices is all about finding the sweet spot to meet your inventory goals while maintaining your brand image. The rule of thumb is to keep pricing consistent. Making your products too cheap or too expensive can confuse the customers.

If you look to position yourself as a luxury brand, increase the prices and do a cost-benefit analysis to see what is more beneficial for your company. Lower prices on the products can shift more inventory, but higher prices return better profits and prevent you from running out of stock quickly.

One alternative to amending the products’ prices is to give discount coupons. You can shift the discounts to emphasize different products across your holiday sales season based on inventory levels.

 

Conclusion

Black Friday and other holiday sales events are so much more than placing a few ads and expecting high sales volumes. From a business perspective, they’re more about effective inventory management and best fulfillment practices.

Optimizing warehouse operations for accuracy and speed should be a top priority for any business during the holiday season.

That’s what Cin7 inventory management software is all about.

If your business sells hundreds or thousands of products towards the end of the year, you need an inventory management software with forecasting tools from a reputed company like Cin7. The Cin7 team will be more than happy to help you with your inventory management solution decisions.

Book your demo today!

Top 10 technologies driving ecommerce growth in 2022

New technologies continue to drive innovation in the ecommerce world. How is your site keeping up? Check out our predictions for the top 10 technologies that will drive ecommerce growth in 2022.

 

1. Voice and image search

Increasingly, consumers are using their voice and images to search online. As a result, businesses that want search bots to find them should incorporate text that mimics spoken questions into their sites along with high quality images.

 

2. AI chatbots

AI chatbots may be the future for the ecommerce industry. Their sophisticated programming allows the AI chatbot to respond to customers as if the chatbot were a real human being.

Unlike rule-based chatbots, AI chatbots are constantly learning from their conversations and can develop unscripted responses to queries. They are designed to read tone and emotion as well as help customers get the best recommendations for the products and services they are seeking.

 

3. Smarter mobile shopping tools

Brick-and-mortar retailers do not like seeing customers looking at their phone screens, for it indicates that the customer is price shopping or using their store as a showroom for a later online purchase elsewhere.

Therefore, savvy retailers offer their own GPS-enabled mobile shopping experiences to help customers buy in-store or anywhere else. For any retailer, a mobile-optimized site and store is a fundamental element of a positive ecommerce experience.

 

4. Omnichannel presence and support

The term omnichannel refers to the integration of multiple channels for ecommerce, such as an online storefront, website, or social media page. When you offer omnichannel support, your customers can enter information in one channel, and you can access it in another, providing a more seamless customer experience across channels.

 

5. Fast and secure e-wallet functionality

Speedy and secure e-wallet technology allows customers to store all of their payment information digitally in one place. This increases efficiency when shopping online because instead of having to enter information for each purchase, customers can check out of a site with just one or two clicks of a button.

Businesses equipped to accept e-wallet payments can level themselves up in the ecommerce market with better scalability of services and reciprocal security to attract even more customers.

 

6. Metaverse and other gaming platforms to facilitate sales

The concept of the Metaverse is still evolving, and it isn’t ready as an advertising platform. However, it represents a potent potential marketing channel for various ecommerce brands. Global brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, Vans, and Gucci are already gearing up to treat their customers with virtual products.

Various gaming systems have also opened their platforms to ecommerce brands. For instance, leading fashion brand Balenciaga recently teamed up with Epic Games to launch its Fortnight clothing line. Nike turned to Roblox to launch Nikeland for purchasing virtual Nike gear for the gaming avatars.

 

7. Livestream commerce

Remember TV shopping channels? Livestream commerce or Livestream shopping is almost like that. It is a video streamed on a commercial platform where the host shows viewers various goods in real-time. Thus, the audience can easily buy products directly from the shopping site.

This type of ecommerce is very popular in China. For instance, in 2020, during the Global Shopping Festival on the Taobao platform, live broadcast generated sales of about $6 billion. Companies in the US have also noticed a tendency toward this upgraded version of ‘shoptainment.’

This approach to online retail lets you present items in every dynamic and develop client interest by creating urgency with limited-quantity or limited-time offers.

 

8. Headless and API-driven ecommerce

Headless commerce is a solution that lets an online store’s ecommerce platform de-couple from the front-end presentation layer. More ecommerce businesses have adopted headless technology due to its flexibility on the backend, added SEO and digital experience capabilities, and content marketing.

 

9. Progressive web apps

The progressive web app is a technology that lets you create web applications that look like native mobile apps. While building these solutions, developers use web technologies like JavaScript, CSS, and HTML.

Retail giants like Walmart and Alibaba have used PWA to generate more revenue and increase conversion rates. Progressive web apps are perfectly suitable for any small and medium-sized organization.

PWA’s primary functions include:

  • Offline application access
  • Application access via the smartphone’s home screen
  • Push notifications

 

10. Cin7 inventory management

Popular brands know that the bigger your business, the more crucial it is to have a scalable infrastructure. Cin7’s flexible, future-proofed and hyper-scalable inventory management software is purposely built for retail businesses.

It offers various integrations with a speedy, expert-led implementation having a success rate of 97%.

 

Wrapping up

More innovations in ecommerce technology are likely to evolve in 2022. As you evaluate whether a new technology is worth incorporating in your business, consider magnitude, relevancy, and functionality. While some may provide a huge value, others might be out of touch with your particular customer demographic or be too costly. One technology we certainly recommend is Cin7 inventory management software.

Cin7 inventory management software makes all your business operations, like purchasing, selling, warehousing, accounting, and shipping, hassle-free and virtually effortless in order for you and your management team to focus more on other aspects of your business.

Book your demo now!

Top 20 B2B apps to boost sales in 2022

To increase sales and beat competitors, you need the right technology. Apps that improve efficiency, like sales rep management tools, can boost your bottom line.

But it can be a challenge to determine which sales apps are the best for you and your team. So, we’ve done the research for you. We have compiled a list of the best sales apps that can improve your business performance.

Here’s the list of the top 20 proven sales apps to boost productivity.

 

1. Slack – team communication

Connect your remote teams and centralize communication with this best-in-class messaging app. Communicate seamlessly with your team and boost collaborative productivity using Slack. It’s one of the most reliable sales team tools.

You can discuss projects, share files, and maintain transparency within the team. Plus, Slack integrates with other CRM tools to manage sales efficiently.

  • Work with external contacts, adding them as guests.
  • Create channels for different topics.
  • Engage with team members to share vital messages quickly.
  • Set reminders to complete tasks on-time.

 

2. LinkedIn – lead development

While technically LinkedIn is a social platform, our clients still rank it as one of the top tools for lead development. LinkedIn is an excellent place to find leads and nurture sales prospects – especially when selling to companies. You can search profiles of key decision-makers and even contact them through LinkedIn messages.

Knowing the key players saves sales reps from navigating multiple gatekeepers before reaching decision-makers.

 

3. MailChimp – email marketing automation

MailChimp is a cost-effective way to manage your email subscribers. With over nine million users, MailChimp is one of the most popular email marketing platforms.

Their tools allow you to send well-designed emails to targeted audiences. MailChimp has advanced analytics to measure the effectiveness of outbound emails. MailChimp integrates with numerous third-party apps to sync customer data and streamline workflows.

 

4. Saleslion – sales proposal creation

With Saleslion, you can create interactive proposals and sales materials online which will help in closing more deals faster. The platform allows you to optimize every step of your sales process – be it clarifying audience motivation or comprehending the sales message.

Ultimately, you can design smarter processes and sales strategies to close deals with prospects. Be prepared for any sales objections and confidently handle sales calls with Saleslion.

 

5. Snov.io – outreach and lead generation

Snov.io is a CRM that saves you time. Snov.io’s toolset is easy to navigate so you can spend more time nurturing and converting leads than searching for them. The app uses personalized automation for email campaigns designed to engage and convert, including follow-up.

Snov.io has over 2000 integrations to boost efficiency. Connect with customer service platforms, multi-channel marketing apps, and productivity tools.

 

6. Hunter – email hunter

Hunter connects you with professionals who matter to your business. Search first and last names or company websites to find the email address of the person you want to reach – provided the company has a verified domain that’s publicly available.

It’s one of the best apps for finding business emails for sales prospecting.

 

7. Badger Maps – route planner for sales

Badger Maps is a multi-stop route planner designed for in-the-field salespeople. With Badger Maps, you can meet the right prospects at the right time, using the fastest route with over 100 stops.

With features like check-ins, lead generation, and follow-up reminders, Badger would streamline every aspect of a field salesperson’s job. Badger Maps is one of the best sales route planners for sales reps and their teams, with the selling capabilities of a CRM and a prospecting tool.

Badger Maps is available for iPhone, Mac, PC, and Android. It also syncs seamlessly with multiple CRMs to keep important customer information in one place.

 

8. Zoom – video conferencing

Cut down the travel expenses and save time by holding conferences, meetings, and webinars online with Zoom. It’s a leader in modern enterprise video communications and a perfect solution to conduct distance meetings.

With this advanced sales productivity tool, you can easily share screens with prospects and give effective sales presentations from anywhere at any time of the day – it’s a perfect solution for today’s global marketplace.

 

9. MakerMove – tools and resources

MakerMove is a special platform for makers and founders to discover useful resources and tools. There are numerous curated lists of resources available, but MakerMove puts them all together in a nice interface. This allows you to quickly discover innovative products to help you succeed.

Get inspired by the best podcasts and books to help you grow. Find journalists to get press coverage or connect with the best investors to fund your startup. Discover anything you need to boost your project – all in one place.

 

10. Track-POD – route planner software

Track-POD is the emerging leader in contactless and paperless delivery solutions. It’s more than proof of delivery.

The app provides route planning and optimization, real-time driver tracking, fleet management, customer portal and notifications, e-sign, and paperless proof of delivery. You can level up and scale your delivery management with Track-POD.

 

11. CircleBack – address book management

Good communication is crucial to building long-lasting relationships. But it isn’t easy to maintain meaningful connections when the contacts are outdated, or worse, scattered on post-its or other places. Avoid clutter and manage contacts with ease using CircleBack.

CircleBack is one of the best sales productivity tools to keep your information up-to-date and organized.

  • Scan business cards to add new contacts instantly.
  • Remove duplicate entries to keep your address book clean.
  • Connect multiple networks in one unified address book.
  • Integrate with CRM tools to ensure your contacts and deals are updated.

 

12. Feedly – news aggregator application

Don’t miss important news related to your industry. Now you can stay updated with the latest trends in the global marketplace with Feedly. Find news, content, and articles you like on a single platform.

Track what you read using Feedly’s history option. As well, receive suggestions for new blogs that may interest you.

 

13. Evernote – note taking app

Take the market research beyond bookmarks and eliminate scrap paper with Evernote. It’s a digital storage facility for vital data. Not only can you maintain a wide range of content but also store images, record notes, and upload PDF files using this smart note-taking application.

  • Tag the notes for quick reference.
  • Manage content from any internet-connected device.
  • Attach pictures and audio directly to notes.
  • Create shortcuts to frequently accessed files.
  • Set reminders for projects and tasks.

 

14. Tripit – itinerary and travel planner

Streamline travel plans in one place to stay organized with Tripit. Everything from flight details to hotel bookings are easily available within this app. Tripit offers a master itinerary for all your trips to ensure seamless and hassle-free traveling.

 

15. Basecamp – project management

Complete sales tasks on-time and collaborate with your team using Basecamp. Basecamp is a project management app and one of the best sales team tools. Eliminate complexity and keep projects and communications centralized. Basecamp organizes the who, what, where, and why for company projects.

  • Receive an email notification when new tasks are assigned or old ones are due.
  • Keep everyone in the loop with real-time project discussions.
  • View each detail related to a project in one place.
  • See deadlines, tasks, and events in one view using Basecamp Calendar.
  • Share large files hassle-free.

 

16. Doodle – meeting scheduling

Simplify the process of setting meetings and finding convenient times to meet with potential prospects using Doodle. Stay away from conflicting bookings and stay on track with this amazing daily sales app.

Whether you’re coordinating with 30 volunteers for a huge event or a small team for a monthly meeting, Doodle keeps everyone on the same page by seamlessly scheduling meetings and events.

 

17. Leadfeeder – website visitor tracking

Keep an eye on website visitors using Leadfeeder. Know who visits your site and what pages they look at with this high-end marketing tool. It is one of the best ways to convert site visitors into leads.

Leadfeeder integrates with numerous marketing tools to capture and manage leads.

 

18. Expensify – expense management

Tracking expenses is a necessity for business travel. Expensify is the easiest way to simplify and streamline expense management. Expensify is one of the best expense management apps, with more than 2.5 million users worldwide.

  • Create expense reports by clicking a photo of trip receipts.
  • Link credit and/or debit cards with your Expensify account to automatically place charges in expense reports.
  • Convert expense reports into customized invoices with just one click.

 

19. Chorus – conversation intelligence platform

Chorus uses artificial intelligence to record and transcribe sales calls into notes in real-time. This enables sales teams to store valuable information from phone conversations quickly and efficiently.

Chorus extracts insights from sales calls, which can help you fine-tune your communication strategies with clients.

  • Analyze sales calls and meeting recordings.
  • Discover top performing sales reps.
  • Create a playlist of great calls for training new sales reps.
  • Track performance and compare it with teammates by viewing the leaderboard.
  • Share recordings with the sales team.

 

20. Lastpass – password manager

This list would not be complete without a password manager. Our customers rely on LastPass as their password management app. LastPass stores your passwords in one location that you can access from anywhere.

LastPass syncs with multiple devices and is easy to use.

 

App integration with Cin7

As a small business owner, part of your job is staying one step ahead of your competitors. One way to do that is to streamline your processes – which is exactly what these sales apps do. Explore the extensive features of all these popular apps and leverage their benefits to improve your business’s bottom line.

Speaking of integrations, Cin7 integrates with 700+ business tools that your sales team can use to boost your business. Cin7 integrates with sales and marketing apps, 3PL providers, payment gateways, EDI suppliers, and a lot more. You can access the full list of our integrations from here. 

Use integrations to increase sales and reorders and win new customers.

Contact us to book your demo now. We’ll take the time to understand how we can help your business.

5 tasks your ecommerce business can outsource

Online entrepreneurs have a lot on their plates, including supply chain management, product sourcing, inventory, shipping, customer service, and marketing.

How can business owners do everything that has to be done? Outsourcing.

Outsourcing frees up time for business owners to do what needs to be done while saving costs associated with hiring full-time staff.

Let’s dive into outsourcing to see how it can benefit your business and what tasks can be easily outsourced.

 

What is ecommerce outsourcing?

Outsourcing is obtaining goods or services from a source outside of your business. In terms of service, outsourcing is hiring someone to complete tasks such as writing product descriptions, developing a website, handling support tickets, providing technical support, and marketing. Some companies outsource the entire ecommerce business to a third party.

Outsourcing is a vital component of an ecommerce business.

Ecommerce businesses outsource to cut costs or save resources. Most businesses outsource to improve workflows when they can’t afford or don’t want to hire employees. Outsourced laborers can be hired domestically or internationally.

 

Advantages of outsourcing ecommerce services

There are some distinctive advantages to outsourcing.

1. Gives you time to focus on your business

Many day-to-day operations can be incredibly time consuming for new and existing business owners. For owners with just a few people on their team, it can be a lot to manage. Outsourcing gives you time to focus on your business goals while the wheels of your business keep spinning.

2. Gives you freedom to innovate

Outsourcing gives you time and freedom to innovate. By outsourcing mundane tasks, you and your creative team can spend time developing your next great product or trying out different things in new business sectors.

3. Enhances productivity

To compete in the ecommerce market, you need people who know what they are doing and who do it well. Outsourcing allows you to draw on experts who specialize in particular services, enhancing productivity because you are hiring people with the right skills for the job.

4. Improves analysis and strategies

The savviest organizations employ the systems necessary to improve their business. Using innovative tools like predictive analytics helps your ecommerce business expand. Analyzing past and current performance metrics can improve customer retention. Outsourcing analytics saves time and ensures reliable data are collected to make strategic decisions.

5. Increases cost efficiency

Outsourcing improves cost efficiency. By outsourcing, you can save the costs that you would have spent on managing customer support, inventory management, fulfillment, handling returns, and setting up the business infrastructure.

 

5 tasks that your ecommerce business can outsource

Here’s what your ecommerce business can outsource:

1. Content creation

With an online business, you need great content that promotes your business. It’s important to have a quality website or blog that puts a positive spin on what your business can deliver. That’s why hiring an outside content marketer is so important. A content writer has specialized skills to develop engaging content for your ecommerce business.

2. Website design

If your website takes too much time to load or its navigation is complex, visitors will leave immediately. Hiring a professional designer can help you better engage visitors by developing a user-friendly site. Ecommerce sites that are fast, visually appealing, responsive and trustworthy will more easily convert potential customers into loyal ones. Fortunately, you can find great website developers on platforms such as Freelancer and Upwork.

3. Customer service

Stellar customer service begins with product inquiries and carries through the entire transaction, including ordering, delivering, and returns or exchanges. You will need to develop customer service skills within your team, but during the learning curve and while scaling your business, outsourcing can help you keep up with business demands. Outsourcing this aspect of the business ensures that you have the resources and service expertise to expand and support scalable growth cost-effectively.

4. Social media marketing

Social media can transform your business – if it’s done correctly. A poor online presence costs you money. A professional social media marketer can help determine which platforms you should be on (e.g., Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn) and how to design a social media strategy that makes sense for your business and budget.

5. Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is one aspect of running a company that you may already outsource. Monitoring company finances is challenging and often requires someone who is highly trained in the intricacies of accounting. Even when your company uses accounting software for day-to-day management, you may still want to outsource to a professional for items such as annual taxes.

 

Cin7 can help

While outsourcing can help your ecommerce business grow, there are still many tasks you will need to do yourself. Cin7 can help.

Cin7 offers the latest solutions for ecommerce businesses with our cloud-based hosting, store management, warehouse management, cart management and development, inventory management, security, and payment gateways.

If you’re ready to reach the maximum potential for your online business, contact us to schedule a demo.

5 things to look for in a retail point-of-sale (POS) system

Customers expect to make purchases quickly and easily. An efficient point-of-sale (POS) system lets you provide multiple options to your customers to make their shopping experience seamless.

What makes a good POS system?

#1 Wide choice of payment options

From credit and debit cards to buy now, pay later (BNPL), as well as wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, there are many easy payment options for customers today.

Your POS system should provide a range of payment options so customers can conveniently pay in the manner that best suits them. The benefit for you is that if you give customers the freedom to pay by the method of their choosing, they tend to shop more frequently and buy more.

 

#2 Omnichannel integration and management

Customers interact with your products through multiple channels, such as websites, social media, and mobile apps. A POS system that integrates these channels and provides omnichannel support creates a unified experience for the customer. Providing omnichannel support means you can handle orders coming from multiple channels, devices and platforms.

 

#3 Mobility

If the customer doesn’t come to you, go to the customer. Mobility is one of the most important features of a POS system, as it enables you to take payments on-the-go.

The best example of a mobile POS can be seen at some restaurants today that have quick response (QR) codes right at the table. Customers can view the menu, order food and even pay the bill by simply scanning the code with their smartphone. It provides a quick and easy experience for customers, as they don’t have to wait in line to pay the bill.

All of this is possible if your POS system is capable of handling mobility.

 

#4 Third-party software integrations

Third-party integrations give you access to a wide range of services from within your POS system. If your POS system offers integrations with all the major third-party software, you can easily share data across all the platforms and don’t have to go through the hassles of manual updates.

Services such as customer relationship management (CMR) and a human resource management system (HRMS), when integrated into your POS system, become an incredibly powerful tool. They can manage customer experience data, run loyalty programs and even monitor individual personnel performance from the POS system.

 

#5 Promotions and discounts

Nothing hypes a product like a steep discount. Customers absolutely love a deal, and running promotions is a sure way to sell more products.

As you set out to create appealing offers for your loyal customers, your POS system should help you by telling you which product is selling less, so you can create a promotion.

A POS system should also let you create a variety of promotions on the desired item(s) by creating bundles. When you create a bundle (such as a “Buy Two, Get One” offer on socks), the POS system should be able to sell it seamlessly.

Sales will be reflected in the inventory count immediately and help you keep track of how your promotion is faring.

Cin7 POS for your retail business

If you’re looking for a robust POS system for your business, look no further than Cin7. Our solution has all the POS functionalities required to streamline product sales. Additionally,  Cin7’s POS system automatically updates inventory levels in real time.

Cin7’s POS is designed for omnichannel sales. It allows you to transfer orders to other locations as well as ship directly from the store.

Book a demo with Cin7 to learn how we can help you deliver a stellar retail experience.

4 Inventory accounting methods for inventory valuation

What do manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers have in common? They all deal with inventory. Whether you’re a manufacturer or a reseller, you need to account for your inventory accurately. With proper inventory accounting, you can better understand your expenses and identify ways to cut costs and maximize your profits.

 

What is inventory accounting?

Inventory accounting determines how an organization shows inventory in its balance sheet and profit and loss statements. Your inventory is treated as an asset because it can be used to generate revenue. The valuation of your inventory assets depends on how you assign costs to your inventory. It’s extremely important to correctly value your inventory because its value affects your business’s overall profitability.

 

Understanding cost of goods sold (COGS)

The cost of goods sold is the cost that a business incurs to make or acquire the products that it sells. COGS includes everything from materials used to labor cost. However, it only includes costs that are directly related to the production process. Thus, shipping and marketing costs aren’t included in COGS. Knowing your COGS helps you understand how much you are spending to produce your product, and it directly impacts your profitability.

The formula you use for COGS depends on whether you are a manufacturer or reseller. For a reseller, the formula is

Beginning inventory + Purchases – Ending Inventory = Cost of Goods Sold

For example, at the beginning of the financial year, your inventory is valued at $4,000. Throughout the year, you purchase inventory valued at $3,500, and at the end of the year, your inventory value is $2000.

The cost of goods sold is $4,000 + $3,500 – $2,000 = $5,500.

COGS can be calculated weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. The value of COGS is partially determined by how you determine your ending inventory.

 

Understanding ending inventory valuation

It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to sell all your inventory by the end of the accounting period. However, unsold inventory isn’t a liability because it can be sold next year. Therefore, remaining inventory, or “ending inventory” is treated as an asset in your financial statements. In fact, ending inventory becomes “beginning inventory” for the next accounting period.

There are four commonly used inventory valuation methods:

  1. First in, first out (FIFO),
  2. Last in, first out (LIFO),
  3. Weighted average cost method, and
  4. Specific identification method.

Method #1: First in, first out (FIFO)

The premise of the FIFO method is you value your inventory as if the stock you acquired first were sold first. For example, imagine you purchase 100 bottles of product in January for $10 per bottle. Then in February, you purchase 200 bottles of product for $20 per bottle. You would have 300 bottles of product in your inventory, and the value would be $1,000 + $4,000 = $5,000.

Then imagine you sold 50 bottles of product in March. What would the value of your inventory be? Using FIFO, you would say that the 50 bottles you sold were part of the 100 bottles you purchased in January. Thus, you would value the inventory sold at $500, meaning the value of your ending inventory would be $4,500.

Method #2: Last in, first out (LIFO)

In contrast to the FIFO method, the LIFO method means you assume the most recently acquired products are sold first.

Using the same example of the bottles, let’s say that in March, you still sold 50 bottles. However, with LIFO, you assume that those 50 bottles were part of the 200 bottles you purchased in February for $20 each. Thus, the 50 bottles you sold would be valued at $1,000, and your ending inventory would be $4,000.

Method #3: Weighted average cost

The weighted average cost method is best to use when your product units are indistinguishable from each other or challenging to track individually – for example, gasoline. Using the weighted average cost method, businesses assign a value to inventory based on the average cost of production of the product.

Here’s the way to calculate it:

Weighted Average Cost = Total Cost of Inventory / Total Inventory Units.

For example, you purchase 10 bottles at $20 each, and an additional 10 bottles at $30 each.

  • Ten bottles at $20 each = $200.
  • Ten bottles at $30 each = $300.
  • Total bottle units = 20 bottles (10 + 10).
  • Total cost of bottles = $500 ($200 + $300).

The weighted average cost is $500 / 20 = $25. When you sell 10 bottles you will value the sale at $250 ($10 x $25). Your ending inventory of 10 bottles will also be valued  at $250 (10 bottles x $25).

Method #4: Specific identification

The specific identification method is primarily used for large items that can be easily identified because they are unique. In this method, each unit and its cost is tracked individually. Each item is assigned a specific identifier, such as can be done using radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. The advantage of this system is that you have a highly accurate accounting of your inventory. The disadvantage is that the method has limited uses because few businesses sell highly unique products that can be easily tracked.

Inventory accounting is crucial for businesses

Inventory accounting is vital for both manufacturers and retailers. Businesses should carefully consider their inventory valuation method and identify the best option up front, as it can be challenging to change in the future.

Inventory management software makes a huge difference and helps track and value your inventory. With real-time insights about inventory movement, orders received, and revenue generated, your business will be able to make smarter, more data-driven decisions. You’ll also be able to generate inventory performance reports and analyze your business in real time.

If you’re looking for software to track and manage your inventory, book a call with Cin7 today. We’ll assess your inventory needs and partner with you to find a perfect solution.

5 metrics for managing your inventory

Warehouse and inventory management are two of the most important aspects of running a product-based business. They involve a great deal of calculated decision-making on the part of the warehouse manager, and handled well, they contribute to an organized warehouse operation.

To optimize your warehouse operations, we’ve standardized some key metrics that managers around the world use to understand their inventory. This blog discusses some of these metrics and how they can be calculated.

 

Inventory carrying cost

The inventory carrying cost refers to the total cost required to maintain inventory over a given period of time. While there are many classifications of inventory costs, such as receiving cost, storage cost, and packing cost, carrying cost is important because it tells you how much it costs to keep your inventory at desired levels.

How to calculate carrying cost percentage:

Carrying Cost (%) = Inventory Holding Sum / Total Value of Inventory x 100

Here, inventory holding sum comprises four components of carrying cost. They are:

  • Service cost,
  • Risk cost,
  • Capital cost, and
  • Storage cost.

The formula to calculate the holding sum is as follows:

Inventory Holding Sum = Inventory Service Cost + Inventory Risk Cost + Capital Cost + Storage Cost

You’ll want to keep the carrying cost percentage as low as possible. The higher the percentage, the smaller the profit margins and greater the chance of a fiscal burden.

 

Rate of return

Returned products cost time and money to process. Understanding why products are returned can help you solve issues early. The Rate of Return (RoR) is the metric that helps you understand how many products you deliver are returned.  The formula to calculate the RoR is

Products Returned / Total Products Delivered = Rate of Return

The RoR can be calculated for subcategories of your product so you can begin to understand not only what is returned but why. For instance, you might respond differently to the return of a defective product than to one that was incorrectly delivered.

Click here to read more about how to keep your products flowing smoothly in and out of your warehouse.

 

Inventory turnover

Inventory turnover is the speed with which you sell and replace all of your inventory. This is important to track because you need to have enough product on hand to meet demand, but you don’t want so much inventory that all of your money is tied up in a product that might not sell.

The formula for calculating inventory turnover is

Cost of Goods Sold / Average Inventory = Inventory Turnover

When you have a high inventory turnover, you have a small amount of inventory on hand at a given time. A low inventory turnover means you are keeping product in your warehouse.

 

Days in inventory

Along with inventory turnover, the days in inventory metric helps you determine how fast your inventory is replaced. Days in inventory tells you the average number of days that you have your products on the shelf.

The formula for days in inventory is

365 days

_______________  = Days in Inventory

Inventory Turnover

More efficient warehouse management systems will keep products for fewer days.

 

Orders picked per hour (picking productivity)

Orders picked per hour is a simple but extremely important metric for inventory management. It gives you insights into the hourly productivity levels of your inventory personnel and helps you make data-driven decisions.

Based on the results obtained for various shifts, you can determine how to boost efficiency in your warehouse. For example, you might make changes in team management or overall organizational structure.

Another great use of this metric is that it allows you to calculate the impact of introducing a new technology or picking technique. By recording the productivity before and after the introduction, you can determine how effective the change has been.

 

Cin7 solutions for calculating metrics

Calculating these metrics manually could be a daunting task. This is especially true if you have a small or medium-sized business.

By investing in inventory management software, you can leverage technology as you grow your business. Book an appointment today with Cin7 to revolutionize your warehouse and inventory management.

Top supply chain trends to watch in 2022

Covid-19 has changed the way many businesses operate, and new trends are emerging daily. Many industries have sustained massive losses and others have made huge gains. In fact, entire supply chains have transformed in new and interesting ways.

Here’s a list of key trends that will take over in the supply chain industry in the coming year. In modern times, the supply chain is an essential part of every organization. We expect a year full of supply chain improvement and evolution. Let’s jump right in.

Improved artificial intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence (AI) will become a primary driver in the ever-growing supply chain industry. AI algorithms have the capability to automate basic operations by processing data from previous operations. AI has the potential to save a lot of time and remove a substantial amount of human error. These two improvements will make supply chains much more efficient.

AI can also decrease the amount of human capital needed for performing both basic and complicated tasks. Because of this, the potential for AI is enormous. It can help businesses identify patterns in data and give managers access to a range of useful insights. As businesses take advantage of AI, operations in the supply chain will become more accurate and efficient.

Robotic automation

Robotic automation, including drones and driverless vehicles, can improve the supply chain by streamlining logistics operations. In the coming year, some executives will start using self-driving drones to make small goods deliveries.

In 2019, nearly half of U.S. companies spent up to $869 million on at least 16,400 robots. Robotic automation is playing a massive role in the supply chain and supply chain management companies.

The emerging scope of IoT (Internet of Things)

Like AI and robotic automation, organizations are increasingly interested in using IoT devices to improve visibility. The Internet of Things will benefit the supply chain industry in many ways.  Companies will be able to fit sensors into vehicles, warehouses, and outlets to provide data that enhances visibility in inventory management, production, and maintenance.

End-to-end IoT services are rapidly being adopted by supply chain organizations. IoT will help increase transparency across the entire supply chain. Everything will be tracked in real time as GPS sensors are fitted in different kinds of transportation.

Sensors play a vital role in warehouses by providing visibility into inventory management. It will also play a large role in gauging demand for retailers, too.

Blockchain

Customers want same-day delivery of their products, but this level of speed and efficiency can be difficult to manage for logistics teams. This is where blockchain technology can help supply chain management.

Blockchain can help businesses eliminate intermediaries and communicate directly with potential customers. Blockchain technology can also assist in distributing data transparently. However, blockchain’s most significant advantage in supply chain management is that it offers complete protection for securing information. Because it’s decentralized, blockchain helps keep data protected from unwanted edits. Customers, shipping lines, logistics firms, and vendors can communicate over a single, protected platform where information is stored.

Agility in supply chain management

Thanks to the pandemic, the supply chain industry is becoming much more agile. Supply chains are becoming increasingly flexible, and they now have the ability to deal with changes, disruptions, and challenges that arise.

Thanks to AI and machine learning, many companies can adapt on the fly. Shipments are becoming more personalized as pre-orders specify exact requirements. As industries move forward, customers are becoming more prioritized. The ability to customize is becoming a total necessity. Companies are starting to build infrastructure that permits customized orders in the supply chain without adding any cost.

Smart contracts

Automation is escalating in multiple ways. Along with AI and robotic automation, smart contracts are starting to emerge, too. Companies are starting to use smart contracts to settle payments with cryptocurrencies automatically, which removes the need for arbitration and makes the payment process much quicker.

Smart contracts are transaction protocols that are executed when required conditions are met. They can also be useful for generating invoices when shipments reach their destination. The most common use case, however, is when financial transactions are being performed between parties.

Omnichannel is the new trend

Customers are starting to expect better customer experience, and omnichannel can help by providing a quicker, more direct shopping experience. Omnichannel services will help customers as they shop online or in stores.

People want to purchase and receive goods as quickly as possible. This is why the demand for streamlined logistics is increasing every day. Omnichannel supply chains are helping customers get a smoother, more transparent experience.

ScaaS (Supply chain as a Service)

As supply chain management teams become smaller, companies are starting to hire groups of skilled individuals who focus on making strategic, supply-chain-enhancing decisions.

Most businesses still manage their supply chains in-house. However, as trends and technologies evolve, many companies will adopt the ScaaS (supply chain as a service) business model. It’s a great way for companies to outsource logistics, inventory management, packing, and more.

 

Stay on top of new trends to streamline your supply chains

As new technology emerges, processes will become both smarter and faster. If you follow the trends, your supply chain has the potential to become more sustainable and customer-centric. Trending technologies like IoT, AI, and blockchain can help simplify your current processes and automate your operations.

By staying updated and well-informed on evolving supply chain trends, you can stay flexible and adopt the technology that makes more sense for your business. As you do this, you will reduce supply chain disruptions. Ultimately, this knowledge will help your business boost efficiency and productivity.

With Cin7, you can get real-time inventory insights. You can also automate your purchase orders to avoid stockouts. Cin7 also integrates with 3PL providers to help you streamline your order fulfillment. Book a demo with our experts to learn more about using Cin7’s capabilities for scaling your operations.