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 essential elements of a great B2B digital marketing campaign

If you’re running a B2B business, you already know that B2B digital marketing is an essential component of a strong marketing plan.  But what makes a strong digital marketing plan?

Here are the five key elements of a great digital marketing campaign.

 

1. Company website

Your company website is the first impression your business makes. Your website is the digital extension of your brand, your business, and your values. Any campaign you run online will only be as good as your website and the sales funnels created on your website.

To create an impactful website, be clear on your objectives. Are you using your site to close more sales? Are you creating a website that serves as a valuable resource for your industry?  Once you know your objectives, you can begin the design process.

Every part of your website must be carefully designed, keeping in mind the choices and tastes of your target audience. If you’re targeting people between the ages of 18 and 35, your language cannot be outdated.

The bottom line: Create content that your audience can relate to.

Here are some of the things to keep in mind while creating a top performing website include:

  • It needs to load quickly even on slow networks.
  • It should be mobile responsive.
  • The navigation should be clear and clutter-free to help visitors reach their desired web page without much effort.
  • Links within the text should draw the visitor into the site.
  • The content should be fresh, plagiarism-free, and engaging.
  • Your social media links should be easy to find.
  • New content should be added regularly and older content should be updated.

Moreover, if you feel your product(s) can be sold online, or perhaps you already sell via any of the major ecommerce sites like Amazon or ebay- you should consider integrating an online store right into your website. One of the core benefits of doing this is that your customers will be able to shop for your products without having to leave your website.

There are many platforms that can help you build an ecommerce website in minutes, without any technical knowledge. Once you’re done creating a stunning website, simply integrate it with Cin7 for seamless, multi-channel order management.

 

2. Search engine optimization and content marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important parts of any digital marketing effort. SEO can help determine how high your website – or social content – appears in search results whenever someone searches for the keywords you’re targeting. Organic search results appear when someone is looking for relevant content that your site offers. Non-organic results come from paid advertising. The stronger your SEO, the more organic reach you will have.

So how does SEO help your business exactly? Let’s say you’ve built a beautiful brick-and-mortar store. You’ve applied shiny paint and decorated the shelves with your products. You’re ready to welcome your customers into the store you’ve built.

However, you forgot to put any signs on the road. Without the signs, nobody will know that your store exists, where it exists, and what it sells. Your store might be amazing, but it still won’t attract customers because they simply don’t know it exists. Now imagine you go to the road and put a big, shiny sign that says: “Welcome to your dream store.” Now people know your store exists and you will at least have set the groundwork to gain new business.

This is what SEO does for your website. When you create content with SEO in mind, it improves your search rank, so when someone does an Internet search for the products or services you sell, your website rises to the top.

 

3. Pay per click campaigns

No matter how great your SEO efforts are, all businesses see a drop in their reach from time to time. When you need an artificial boost, consider pay per click (PPC) campaigns. Originally offered by Google, now PPC campaigns are offered by several online companies. You are charged every time a user clicks on your ad.

Many social media offer pay per click advertising.  For example, Facebook offers PPC campaign opportunities for its users. Businesses can get access to millions of views if they set the right price for the right audience.

PPC campaigns are a great way to attract eyeballs towards your business. Of course, you cannot rely solely on a PPC campaign, but they can become an integral part of your overall digital marketing plan.

 

4. Social media marketing

Most B2B brands have realized the immense power of social media and have leveraged it to their advantage.

According to a study by Sproutsocial, 83% of B2B marketers use social media to enhance their digital footprint and reach new audiences. This is because social media sites have evolved to be platforms for everyone. People from all walks of life are actively engaged with each other through a variety of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Use social media to promote a specific blog, ebook, or other form of digital collateral you think your audience would find helpful. Once you get them engaged with your content, they’re already in your sales funnel.

However, the tricky part about leveraging social media is that you cannot become complacent. Just because something worked for you in the past, doesn’t guarantee that it will keep working. The traffic is always shifting from one platform to another, thereby creating newer, better avenues for marketing. Your goal should be to closely monitor where your target audience is moving, and focus on how to reach them there.

 

5. Automation

Your digital marketing doesn’t have to be an all-manual affair. Automating repetitive tasks can free up a lot of your time.

Start with something as small as sending out email newsletters to your subscribers every week. You can create a six-month newsletter plan and every time subscribers sign up for your newsletter, they start receiving those pre-planned, pre-scheduled newsletters. Add a welcome email as well as emails asking for feedback and reviews every time someone makes a purchase.

Use analytics to track how those emails are doing. Monitor open rates and conversion rates and adapt accordingly. This is just one example of how you can use automation in your business.

 

Final words

Developing a B2B marketing campaign is very important. The hardest part is being consistent. Automation really helps with consistency. Also, reusing content on your blog or website for social posts also helps with consistency.

It’s also important that your marketing strategy takes its cues from your overall inventory strategy. To achieve this, make sure that different departments across the company work in close coordination with each other, and can be tracked via a robust inventory management system.

To know more about how Cin7 can revolutionize your B2B inventory management, book a free demo today.

Posted in B2B

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.

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.

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.

5 Common invoicing mistakes businesses make & how to avoid them

Retail and wholesale-based businesses need to realize as many efficiencies as possible to survive in the marketplace. Today, success is dependent upon modern tech stacks with cloud-based software that best suits inventory-centric operations.

The adoption of cloud-based software has helped product sellers succeed in an industry that has been disrupted by COVID-19 and global conflict. By taking full advantage of the move to the cloud, thriving businesses are enabling their remote workforces, automating the increasing demands of digital commerce, and protecting their intellectual property with the latest in web security.

 

Avoid paying interest on cash borrowed from business credit lines to bolster cash flow

Few aspects of business are more critical than timely and accurate accounts receivable. Meticulous invoicing keeps cash flowing into the business. Leaving such a crucial function to error-prone, manual processes is a mistake that small businesses can no longer afford. And the process doesn’t end at sending invoices to customers. Accurate, real time data supports follow-up on receivables – also key to maintaining cash flow.

When it comes to invoicing, errors and delays lead to lost revenue so it is vital to understand what mistakes businesses often make and how to avoid them. We preface the following tips by generally advising that by adopting cloud-based accounting software from a respected vendor that is custom integrated with an inventory control platform ensures all financial data is managed on an accurate and timely basis. Here’s a comprehensive list of common invoicing mistakes businesses make and the solutions to ensure you can prevent repeating them.

1. Sporadic invoicing

When businesses send invoices to customers inconsistently, it’s easy to fall behind. Invoicing on different dates each month can also lead to receivable delays. This mistake is likely to occur because some businesses only invoice on specific days of the week.

This can be an issue for customers as well. Customers have difficulty planning their cash flow because they have no idea when to expect an invoice. Random invoicing results in delayed payments causing receivables to age beyond 30 days. To rectify this, select specific dates every month on the calendar to regularly send invoices. The best solution is to automate the process with invoicing software. Customers will be well aware and have enough time to arrange the payment.

2. Timely collections

Simply sending invoices doesn’t complete the job. It is essential to follow up with customers who haven’t made payments within agreed credit terms. Organization is key to success here and failing at collections hinders growth and long-term viability.

Once an invoice is sent, it is recommended to set a reminder to follow up on debts. When the time comes, a persuasive email that urges customers to take action immediately can be effective. Best practices encourage the use of accounting software that helps manage receivables and sends reminders of past due invoices.

3. Unclear terms of payment

Always clearly specify Terms and Conditions regarding payment terms. This should include details about late fees, pricing, and other details about products and services. State all payment policies on invoices so that customers aren’t confused and can make payments on time.

Be as specific as possible. For example, a customer may wonder if “net 15 days” excludes weekend days or not. Instead, specifying “net 15 business days” will offer clarity.

4. Lack of company branding

Company branding is an invoice element that can have an impact. Undoubtedly, branding is crucial for every facet of business, and invoicing is no exception. Including branding on invoices means customers can easily identify who the invoice is from.

Moreover, using a company logo and clear branding on invoices ensures that customers can easily spot invoices from your business. Each branding opportunity can help improve awareness in the marketplace. Leveraging the benefits of invoicing software like QuickBooks Online offers custom invoice templates and the ability to add branding elements.

5. Inconsistent back-ups

Invoice data is an important part of an overall back-up plan. Depending upon location, a business may be legally obliged to archive invoice data for a specified period of years. Furthermore, an ability to provide customers with archival invoice data upon request demonstrates that their account is being managed properly.

Every invoice sent should be backed up either as a physical copy or a digital one. Keeping a paper copy is not highly recommended as it is prone to be misplaced or damaged. Backing data up using a cloud storage service or adopting cloud-based accounting software are both compliant solutions.

 

Wrapping up

Accurate and timely invoicing is critical for long-term success and growth.

In this article, we have covered some of the most common invoicing mistakes and how they can hamper receipt of payments. If a business is reaching the point where it can no longer afford to rely solely on error-prone, manual data entry to manage invoicing, or relying upon legacy invoicing software, we suggest upgrading tech stacks to modern, cloud-based solutions.

Intuit and DEAR Systems have recently partnered to offer an Advanced Plan bundle that includes a subscription to both QuickBooks Online and DEAR Systems inventory and order management beginning at $375 per month. This offers the perfect opportunity for growing product sellers to easily enjoy the very latest cloud-based solutions to manage cash flow, inventory, and order fulfillment.

5 ways your inventory spreadsheet is hurting your business

Collecting and storing inventory data is one of the most crucial aspects of your business. In fact, it’s essential to have an accurate understanding of what goes in and out of your warehouse at all times. Most businesses, especially while starting off, use spreadsheet tools like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets to store their inventory data. However, as inventory grows, these businesses run into several issues because spreadsheets are not specifically designed to deal with complex inventory data.

Here are five reasons why you should not rely on spreadsheets to handle your inventory database.

 

Spreadsheets are inefficient

When you work with a spreadsheet to manage your inventory, you only have an x-axis and y-axis to represent your data. Sure, rows and columns may be enough for a simple database. But as your inventory expands, you’ll need much more sophisticated tools.

As your inventory starts getting more and more complex, you’ll end up creating multiple spreadsheets that you have to refer to. Eventually, you’ll have a lot of data overlap between these sheets. Each time you update your inventory you’ll have to update each spreadsheet — which becomes more and more time-consuming, inefficient, and inaccurate.

 

Spreadsheets aren’t secure enough

Simply put, your inventory data deserves more security than spreadsheets can provide. A spreadsheet is very lightly protected, if at all. They are easily breached by a seasoned hacker.

Moreover, spreadsheets get routinely corrupted for no apparent reason. Sometimes, files simply won’t open. Other times, data is deleted by the system, or careless users. You know how important accurate inventory data is. Why would you allow it to be so vulnerable?

 

Spreadsheets don’t allow for varying levels of access

An inventory management team typically consists of more than one person, and each person is responsible for collecting data from a particular area. Ideally, all of them should have access to the database so that they can input data from their respective vantage points.

However, this becomes increasingly difficult to do with spreadsheets as team size increases. Moreover, sometimes you don’t want the entire database to be accessible to all. Such complex permissions are not possible with spreadsheets.

 

Spreadsheets don’t provide enough analytics

When you use spreadsheets, you miss out on the most important feature of an inventory management system: data analysis. Yes, spreadsheets can help you create some basic analysis, but you have to learn complicated formulas and enter them manually into the sheets.

Without looking at high-level insights from your data, your data is practically worthless. Spreadsheets don’t give you the cohesive, easy-to-read analytics you need to run a successful business.

 

Spreadsheets are prone to human error

Spreadsheets require users to manually input data into respective cells. Plus, most formulas have to be entered manually, too. This manual entry opens up a lot of possibilities for human errors that can be disastrous for your inventory management.

 

Is it time to switch to an inventory management system?

Inventory management software is much more efficient, more secure, and easier to use than spreadsheets. It allows users to enter data in a much more efficient manner. Fields are clearly marked and input types are well-defined, making the management process smooth and efficient.

Furthermore, when you use an inventory management system, the chance for human error is substantially reduced.

The best part about inventory management software is that all formulas and calculations are done automatically, without any human intervention. Taking all this into account, do you think it might be time to switch from spreadsheets to an inventory management system? If you’re curious how Cin7 can help, book your demo today.

How to successfully launch your ecommerce brand

The pandemic era and a massive shift to digital experiences have made the prospect of launching an ecommerce business very tempting. However, starting and sustaining an ecommerce business is easier said than done. You need the right business idea, suitable ecommerce solutions, a well-planned strategy, and more.

Still, if you’re thinking about starting an ecommerce business, you’ve come to the right place. This blog post will provide you with a step-by-step guide to start and run your online business. We’ll go through idea generation, technology options, online store management, maintenance, and more.

Here’s what you need to know to start and run your online business.

 

How profitable is ecommerce?

Trends show ecommerce business is becoming increasingly profitable. For established businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs, ecommerce is a profitable model as both the sole focus of a business and an additional selling channel.

Data shows that in three months, a new ecommerce store can make more than $63,000 in monthly revenue. In just one year, a successful ecommerce store can average $127,000 in monthly revenue. After three years, a successful ecommerce store can earn an average monthly revenue of $352,000, which is an increase of about 175% between years one and three. On average, your successful ecommerce company can make as much as $39,000 of revenue in the first month in business, and some jump up to $6.5 million in total after three years.

 

A step-by-step guide to starting your ecommerce business

The ecommerce business journey begins well before you launch your business. A successful ecommerce business demands tremendous research early — whether you’re starting an online store or doing an ecommerce integration.

Thanks in large part to the pandemic, there’s more competition than ever. To succeed in this market, you need to think strategically and act methodically.

Step #1: Research your business model

An online business is a big investment, and you need to take it seriously. Your ecommerce business isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition— you must have a unique online business model. You need to map out marketing, manage inventory, coordinate shipping, and more. Because of all of these factors, research is extremely important. You should make sure to talk to an ecommerce consultant to ensure you have a viable plan. Look for an ecommerce development company as soon as you have a rough plan.

Step #2: Validate your target market

It’s time to identify your target market and the type of products you want to sell. Before finalizing your offerings, it’s essential to understand buyer personas. Begin with a few, well-defined product ideas. You can always expand gradually from there. Before you invest in products, you must evaluate them and think about leveraging low-cost methods like drop-shipping.

Step #3: Know your competition

Competitor analysis is crucial in any business. When you analyze your competition, try to understand them categorically. The presence of competition validates the niche you have selected.

For example, you must know all direct competitors and top players in the market. You will learn a lot from your competitors. Hence, analyze them and observe them closely. Take note of things you like and dislike about them. It’s also important to understand the kind of ecommerce platforms they use. For instance, if a competitor uses Magento ecommerce development, you should understand all the pros and cons that went into that decision.

Step #4: Create a brand name and register your business

It’s crucial to develop a brand name and logo that reflects your business model. In a world dominated by ruthless competition and brand identities, it’s impossible to succeed without a brand name. Make sure you’re sending the right message to your target audience through your brand image.

Register your business name and company name to get tax benefits, legal protection, and more. Make sure to apply for a business license, permits, and other certifications to operate without legal obstacles.

Step #5: Build your online store

The kind of online store you build determines a lot about your long-term strategy. If you want to build a customized online store, you need to make sure to choose the right ecommerce development company.

There’s a  large number of ecommerce solutions out there, and it can be overwhelming. The ecommerce platform you pick will impact your store’s performance and profit. It’s important to make an informed decision based on both comparison and research. Choose an ecommerce platform that suits your business needs. For example, smaller companies might find that Shopify solutions are the perfect selection.

For fully customized B2C and B2B ecommerce, we recommend Magento, which is popular among medium to large companies. While building your online store, you should think about mobile-optimized design, SEO, and secure payment gateways.

Step #6: Showcase your products

It’s important to display your products properly and professionally. You need to include well-written product descriptions and visually captivating images to entice your customers. Product pages should be custom-built and create an immersive experience for shoppers.  Reviews and testimonials are essential elements of your product pages, and you need to be strategic about displaying prices, too.

Step #7: Attract customers with great UX and marketing

Competition is more intense than ever, so you need to stand out and attract the right audience to your store. SEO plays a vital role in attracting the customers you want. The most successful ecommerce operators meticulously manage their brand and digital marketing strategies.

You can use paid marketing like pay-per-click or free marketing like content curation. Social media marketing is also huge for online store visibility. In order to be successful, you need to develop a loyal base of customers. Make sure to take advantage of loyalty programs, gift cards, coupons, and more. It’s important to keep your customers as engaged and loyal as possible.

 

How to launch a successful ecommerce business

The ecommerce economy is poised for significant growth in the coming years, but you can only expect to see results if you approach your launch the right way. The following tips are critical for a successful ecommerce launch.

Don’t rush the launch

One of the biggest mistakes ecommerce entrepreneurs make is rushing or forcing the launch of a website. You only get one shot to launch your website, so you shouldn’t mess it up.

It’s okay to purchase your domain name and throw up some sort of “coming soon” page, but you should avoid the big reveal until you lay some substantial groundwork (content marketing, SEO, social media, paid advertising, etc.).

Focus on your customers

Many ecommerce businesses fail because potential customers can’t touch, smell, feel, and see (firsthand) products before making a decision. Obviously, there’s no perfect solution to solve this problem. But you need to compensate for the lack of real-life experience in other ways.

Make sure you price your products well, offer free shipping, and make the checkout process as simple as possible. You need to make customers comfortable online if you expect to make sales.

Test everything

Invest in testing and analytics before, during, and after launching your ecommerce business. Think like a potential customer and figure out what works, what doesn’t, and the “why” behind those answers.

Leverage social media

An ecommerce entrepreneur who completely outsources social media is going to have trouble succeeding in ecommerce. Social media is the heartbeat of the business. It offers you an uninterrupted glance into the lives of your customers. While it’s okay to have a social media manager, it’s pertinent that you are involved with it, too.

Use testimonials and product reviews

Testimonials, product reviews, follow buttons, and social login options are huge in the world we live in. You need to leverage your customers, as well as their positive experiences, to make other customers feel comfortable enough to shop at your ecommerce store.

Make sure your mobile experience is seamless

Bill Siwicki of Goldman Sachs says, “Tablets will play an important role, as worldwide consumer spending via mobile jumped from $204 billion in 2014 to $626 billion in 2018.”

Those are huge numbers. And when you factor in the growth of the post-pandemic era, mobile is becoming even more popular. Simply put, you need to make sure that you are thinking about mobile shopping in every single decision you make.

Leverage SEO

As the ecommerce economy grows, more and more businesses will enter an increasingly crowded space. That means it will be increasingly important to stay on top of SEO and stand out from your competition. Connecting with a skilled SEO company can pay huge dividends in the long run.

Collect as much customer information as possible

Unless you plan to launch a single site and step away, you must collect as much customer information as possible. They will help with customer satisfaction, repeat business, and even future launches. Start building your customer database today.

Be flexible and adaptable

Never stop evolving. Technology, customer tastes, and trends all change. You must do the same if you want to succeed in such a fast-moving market.

Be creative with your brand

As you visualize your brand, try to be creative as possible and think out of the box. Mood boards, for example, are a fun and creative exercise that can help you visualize your brand’s overall direction.

Creativity helps keep you inspired and on track. Think about your brand’s fonts, images, and colors. What does it say about your brand? What will your customers think? It’s important to work with a designer to create a professional logo and other branding elements to use on the website and packaging.

 

If you’re consistent and focused, you will succeed

A lot goes into starting an online business, The process may be intimidating, but you can make it happen. Work through it step by step, and never worry about making things perfect right out of the gate. Most importantly, you need to learn by doing.

Success requires a lot of time, patience, and research. However, it’s also very important to have help along the way. Cin7’s inventory management software will make your ecommerce brand’s launch a lot easier and allow you to leverage useful integrations. Ultimately, we can save you a lot of time, money, and headaches. If you have any questions, or are curious about how we can help, book your demo today.

How to perfectly execute the 2022 holiday shipping season

It’s no secret that the holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for shipping and retail industries. In fact, It’s the most important time of the year for direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands. With increases in technology, ecommerce has become the driving force behind the yearly surge in sales. Shoppers spent $122 billion with online retailers alone in the past year. To keep up with the surge in demand in a short span of time, you need to have a streamlined shipping strategy and fulfillment process in place for the holidays.

These days, customers have high expectations when shopping online. They want free and fast shipping, free returns, and share-worthy unboxing moments. Businesses that are able to keep up logistically both bring in more customers and retain them better.

In this article, we will go through common challenges that DTC brands face during the holiday shipping season, and how you can streamline your shipping process for your online store’s success.

 

What is considered the holiday shipping season?

The holiday shipping season refers to the time of the year (Q4, or October through December) when order and shipment volume spikes, leading to more orders to fulfill and more returns to process. The holiday shopping season includes Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and general gift-giving that leads into Christmas.

In this period, supply chain management can get disrupted as online brands rush to keep up with demand, manage inventory, and fulfill a massive amount of orders. Shipping carriers get busier than usual and work harder to deliver packages on time.

 

When does the holiday shipping season start?

The holiday shipping season starts earlier than many people think. The shipping industry and eCommerce sales ramp up as early as October, and high demand continues until the new year. Here is an overview of major milestones and holidays that occur during the holiday shipping season.

Halloween (October 31)

Even if it’s an American holiday, Halloween is popular among consumers in Europe, too. Whether you’re selling “spooky” decorations, costumes, or other items, sales opportunities increase during this time. Many brands will try to capitalize on the holiday by running special promotions.

Thanksgiving (November 24)

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. You have Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Small Business Saturday all occurring over the same long weekend. That’s when holiday shoppers begin to search for the best deals and try to purchase their holiday gifts early.

Christmas (December 25)

Holiday shoppers expect to get gifts delivered before Christmas Day (or even Christmas Eve). You must take note of your carriers’ holiday cutoff dates and communicate those with customers. They want to know when they’ll have to place orders for on-time delivery.

New Year’s Day (January 1)

Although the holiday shopping season starts to slow down by this time, return volume is at an all-time high around January 1. This often requires more from customer service and logistics operations teams for smooth returns and exchanges.

Other important dates

  • Black Friday: November 25,
  • Small Business Saturday: November 26,
  • Cyber Monday: November 28,
  • Free Shipping Day*: December 14,
  • Super Saturday**: December 17.

*Participating merchants provide free shipping on all orders, with promised delivery by Christmas Eve.

**The last Saturday before Christmas is a huge shopping day for brick-and-mortar retailers.

 

Common challenges during holiday shipping season

Expected or unexpected, whenever there’s a major change in the supply chain, it can throw off inventory management, shipping, and more. That’s why it’s essential to find ways to build supply chain resilience and ensure a successful holiday shipping season — even if there are delays and disruptions. To prepare your supply chain for Q4, here are a few holiday shipping season challenges to be aware of.

Black Friday sales

One of the biggest challenges to growing eCommerce businesses is managing an increase in order volume. Obviously, this is most apparent during the holidays. Black Friday sales add even more chaos to the mix.

Partnering with the right 3PL can take fulfillment challenges off your plate and put it into the hands of experts (even if the volume increases by 1,200% in a couple of weeks). This is a great way to avoid making common holiday season mistakes.

If you decide to keep fulfillment in-house, you must prepare to hire more packers (and be ready to ask family and friends to step in as required). You should also plan your holidays around running promotions and fulfilling orders on time.

Supplier holidays and factory shutdowns

Many brands partner with multiple suppliers and manufacturers to ensure they are not at risk if a primary supplier can’t deliver during shortages or shutdowns. Whether it’s a planned shutdown like Chinese New Year, or an unplanned one like what happened during the pandemic, manufacturers can go through shutdowns at any time.

Unfortunately, this means that receiving and replenishing inventory can be significantly delayed or disrupted — which could affect your entire eCommerce supply chain. As part of your business contingency or continuity plan, partnering with various suppliers can help reduce the risk of the inventory shortage. You can even get ahead by ordering surplus inventory. This helps avoid stockouts and gives you some wiggle room for the holiday shipping season.

Inexperienced 3PLs

If you want to partner with a 3PL, make sure they have the expertise, technology, and experience to deal with the increased volume that comes with the holiday shipping season. The wrong 3PL partner can cause major disruptions in your fulfillment process and lead to mispicks, slower deliveries, and inaccurate inventory levels.

The right 3PL, on the other hand, will always offer visibility and transparency into the supply chain. That includes real-time inventory data, information on shipping and fulfillment performance, and much more.

 

How to perfectly execute the holiday shipping season

If you are curious about how you can perfect your shipping strategy during the holidays, here are a few things to try.

Break the shipping process down into smaller steps

How long does it take you to fulfill an order? If you can get accurate data on each element, you’ll be able to better answer this question. You can break things down into the following:

  • Time to pack a product,
  • Time to take out the packaging material,
  • Time to collect all items in one place,
  • Time to print shipping labels.

Once you know where every second of your time is going, you can streamline some of the processes and add some minutes back to your day. Small changes can lead to big improvements in efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Communicate effectively

Effective communication with customers is a huge part of your relationship with them. As you ship orders you should make sure they receive updates, shipping times, delivery notifications, and more. This practice keeps customers in the loop and makes them feel as though they know what’s going on with their shipment.

Give your customers multiple payment options

Allowing your customers to pay in multiple ways gives you an edge and provides your customers with the flexibility they want. Since many customers use wallet payment options, accepting payment via wallets can simplify your customers’ shopping experience.

Save time with labels

Did you know you can save a significant amount of time by printing shipping labels in bulk? You can also integrate orders with Cin7 to print your labels in seconds.

Keep an eye on your supply

Each seller predicts how many sales they will make during a holiday season. Suppose you offer 50% off on apparel. You’ll need to make sure you have adequate stock lined up to cater to urgent requirements. Print labels in advance and stock your supplies for shipping. Most importantly, make sure you don’t get stopped midway during the peak season. Purchasing supplies in bulk quantities saves you the cost and headache that comes with last minute sourcing and production.

Display a shipping rate calculator

If you don’t offer free shipping, you should provide your customers the exact cost they’ll pay while ordering any given product. You can do this by offering a shipping rate calculator. This is usually based on factors like the customer’s delivery location and is a very important part of the checkout process. In fact, 44% of customers abandon carts due to high shipping costs.

Set a free shipping threshold

Many eCommerce sellers offer free shipping during the holiday season. This can help increase sales, but it can also burden you with higher shipping costs. Instead, try the following:

  • Set a threshold order value before providing free shipping.
  • Set a countdown for free shipping.
  • Send coupon codes for free shipping.

Setting a threshold on orders may help increase your average order value and encourage customers to buy items they might not have previously. Plus, opting for lower-cost regional couriers might be a smart option, too.

Offer international shipping

Scaling your business to ship internationally could be an excellent opportunity for sellers during peak season. Even if you haven’t shipped internationally before, there is no reason why you should not ship internationally this holiday season.

Seasonal peaks are an excellent opportunity to expand your options — especially when audiences look forward to shopping outside their borders for holidays. There are many low-cost global shipping options from Cin7, so you can quickly ship with premium carriers like FedEx, Aramex, and DHL.

Partner with an experienced 3PL

Partnering with an experienced 3PL company can help make the chaotic holiday season more manageable, especially for businesses that are:

  • Transitioning fulfillment from in-house to third party,
  • Preparing to launch a new brand,
  • Looking for new inventory management options or a hybrid approach.

Fulfilling holiday demands by your own can be challenging, and leasing a warehouse can be time-consuming and expensive. The sooner you start with a 3PL, the easier the process becomes. Cin7 can help you get onboarded quickly to start preparing for the busy holiday season that’s right around the corner!

 

Conclusion

One of the best ways to improve customer satisfaction during the holiday season is by making sure your shipping is quick, organized, and transparent. If you want to build your brand, stand out from your competition, and win repeated business — shipping times is a great place to start. Cin7 can help you manage your supply chain and help you reach your goals. Our inventory management software makes the process easy, painless, and profitable. Book a demo now to get started today.

Supply chain resilience strategy: build and measure

It is no secret that COVID-19 damaged the modern-day supply chain. From silicon shortage to toilet paper stockouts, the marketplace has seen it all. According to a survey from the Institute for Supply Management, 95% of the businesses had to endure operational troubles during the initial pandemic days in April 2020.

While businesses cannot prevent such disruptions, they can prepare themselves to persevere through them.

The Cin7 team has compiled a list of strategies to build a resilient supply chain for your business and help gain an edge over the competition.

 

What is supply chain resilience?

The origins of the supply chain resilience concept can be traced back to the work of C.S. Holling, an ecologist who coined the term “ecological resilience.” It refers to the ability of an ecosystem to maintain normal patterns despite being subjected to the damage arising from ecological disruptions.

Supply chain resilience is defined as an organization’s ability to recover from unexpected supply chain disruptions using its “ecosystem’s” existing capabilities, ensuring that the operations run smoothly and the customers remain satisfied.

 

Challenges and risks in building successful supply chains

The pandemic disrupted nearly every stage of an organization’s supply chain. The effect was global and prolonged.

As bad as the pandemic was and continues to be, it is just one of the many factors that disrupt the smooth functioning of the supply chain. Here are some scenarios that pose risks to the supply chain:

#1 Operational risks

Operational risks occur because of breakdowns in normal working operations. Both technical and non-technical reasons can pose this risk.

Example: Machine failure due to poor maintenance (technical) and mismanagement (non-technical). This risk can be classified as internal risk, i.e., it can be fully controlled and avoided by the organization.

#2 Financial risks

Delays from the supplier can cause delays in your production process. This type of risk emerges due to shortcomings in the suppliers’ finances and revenue.

Example: The supplier reduces the production of your raw materials due to their own financial woes or files for bankruptcy. To combat such a scenario, either extend them a line of credit or search for an alternative supplier.

#3 Legal risks

Legal risks arise when organizations are slapped with lawsuits, whether they are frivolous or not. Fighting lawsuits takes a toll on your time, money, and resources. Severe cases can also tarnish your reputation, leading to a loss in revenue and business development.

Example: If a lawsuit for an intellectual property violation is filed against your company or you are fined for breaking environmental laws, any suppliers who get trapped in either scenario can catastrophically disrupt the supply chain of your business.

#4 Geopolitical risks

Globalization has converted the entire world into a connected village, where consumers are no longer dependent on geographical boundaries to purchase items.

Producers benefit from globalization, as they are no longer restricted to sourcing their raw materials from the same region. Faster connectivity ensures that they can order from any corner of the world at a price that fits their budget.

Global connectivity also comes with its challenges. While businesses operate under the trade and commerce laws of their nation, working with partners from various countries adds various layers of complexity.

Situations like political turbulence, governmental policy changes, and war outbreaks can hinder your suppliers’ capacity to make timely delivery.

Example: The US-China trade war and Brexit are classic examples of geopolitical risks.

#5 Natural disasters

Hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters have been disrupting the supply chain for ages. Such disasters can be classified as external risks, as they are not in the control of the business. Regardless of the classification of risk, these calamities lead to port closures and cargo flight cancellations, in addition to creating capacity constraints and supply shortages.

Even climate change affects the operations of businesses. Research from the

United Nations Development Program (UNDP) suggests that rising temperatures could lead to adverse effects on the workers.

According to the UNDP, climate change’s economic impact on labor productivity could reach $2.5 trillion in global losses by 2030.

Example: In 2017, Hurricane Harvey and Irma—fueled by symptoms of climate change—hit the gulf coast in a span of two weeks. These hurricanes left a trail of physical and economic destruction, including a severe disruption to the regional supply chain.

#6 Cyberattacks

The rise of digitalization has also given rise to cyber security attacks. In fact, cyberattacks have become a leading cause of supply chain vulnerability.

The supply chain becomes a tempting target for hackers as vendors often possess sensitive data about companies or have enough access to allow for privilege escalation.

As attacks of such nature become more common, manufacturers must invest in cybersecurity proactively. This is for safeguarding them as well as their clientele’s data.

Example: Airbus is one of the world’s largest airline manufacturers, and they were subjected to a series of cyberattacks in 2018. The hackers gained access to the confidential documents containing the schematics for classified military transport planes through the attack.

 

Strategies to build a resilient supply chain

A robust supply chain resilience strategy requires two complementary supply chain pillars: resistance and recovery capacity.

Resistance capacity is the ability of a supply chain system to minimize the overall impact caused by disruption. It can be done in two ways:

  • Evasion: Entirely avoiding the factor causing disruption in the supply chain.
  • Containment: Minimizing the period between an event and the time when the supply chain starts to recover from the effects.

Recovery capacity is a supply chain’s ability to restore itself to the level prior to its disruption.

For organizations to achieve true supply chain resilience, they need to be prepared to confront obstacles before they cause any considerable damage.

There are seven distinct strategies to build strong resilience and ensure quick recovery.

#1 Creating buffers

Manufacturers should create buffers to build resilience against minor operational risks like employees calling out sick or shop floor machines breaking down. Building buffers and making them a part of your operational process reduces your dependence on the supply chain working at full capacity.

According to one survey, 21% of the supply chain experts consider maintaining buffer stock as a solid indicator of resilience. The challenge of maintaining high buffer stock can increase your carrying costs, so the optimal buffers need to be strategically planned.

#2 Optimized inventory control

If you are relying on a single warehouse for storing your inventory, consider the option to spread your inventory across different locations.

A natural disaster damaging the warehouse or a virus outbreak among warehouse employees would undoubtedly lead to fulfillment delays.

Splitting the inventory helps minimize the risk and helps expand your customer reach by reducing shipping costs and speeding the shipping time.

Another way to build resilience is to invest in technology that provides real-time visibility into your supply chain. It helps monitor your supply chain performance and identify any and all bottlenecks. Inventory management software assists you to make better inventory decisions and set up reorder points to ensure that you never run out of stock.

Investing in an integrated warehouse management system helps you with better inventory management while reducing the number of errors. Successful organizations devise strategies to manage the longer lead times and methods to counter the unexpected surge in demand, while building replenishment models to ensure that the goods are available when needed.

#3 Investing in human resources

Human resources are necessary to complete the work but having experienced supply chain managers with market knowledge helps navigate through unexpected disruptions.

Merely hiring exceptional people is not enough—the business also needs systems built and SOPs to establish production infrastructure. Your team should have personnel dedicated to fostering better supplier relationships and for commodity management.

Commodity managers monitor the market to scout for new products in demand, price changes, and the latest supply chain developments. This information helps ensure staying on top of market trends and aids in better cost management and decision making.

Helpful hint: The pandemic has been a catalyst to the remote working environment. Such work environmental changes affect the wellbeing of the workers, both physically and psychologically.

The mental well-being of the workers must not be overlooked. “Emotional resilience” is every bit as important as supply chain resilience.

#4 Having multiple supply partners

The concept of partnering with multiple suppliers for procurement is referred to as multisourcing.

One piece of famous investment advice is “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Similarly, relying on a single partner for procuring materials is filled with risk, so partnering with multiple vendors will ensure that your proverbial eggs are placed in several baskets.

Multisourcing ensures that your supply chain does not get disrupted when your primary supplier fails to deliver on time, as you can source it from someone else. It also helps with incentivizing competitive pricing among suppliers so that you get the best returns.

The pandemic demonstrated that diversification is an integral part of building supply chain resilience. For example, China is lauded as one of the world’s leading raw materials suppliers but had production grind to a halt due to Covid-19. When the lockdown was imposed in 2020, manufacturers sought and partnered with different countries like Mexico and Vietnam to expand their network.

Helpful hint: While working with multiple suppliers, you should have a dedicated team for supplier relationships. The supplier relationship manager focuses on developing deeper relationships with suppliers by understanding their core strategies and approaching them with mutually beneficial opportunities. If the supplier is working on limited capacity, there is a good chance they will prioritize the business that has built better relations with them.

#5 Effective communication

Managing supply chains requires a cross-functional effort from all the departments. Businesses need to be agile and loosen the silo structure, which inhibits the flow of information.

As the trend for hybrid working increases, companies should allocate the necessary IT resources for smooth operations and orient them with the relevant tools for communication. Managing virtual teams is very different from conventional teams, so provide managers adequate training to lead them.

Helpful hint: Keep your employees and suppliers in the loop during any periods of disruption. Provide them with relevant company information to help them make informed decisions and minimize errors.

#6 Planning and forecasting

When introducing a new product to the marketplace, it takes approximately two to three years for product development, and the lead time takes approximately 25 to 40 weeks.

It means that to deliver a product during the holidays, a business must start the plan in March. However, businesses forecast demands using their historical data, yet no demand forecasting plan would have predicted that a pandemic would be declared in March, leading to lockdowns and drastically changing customer preferences.

A feasible way to combat such forecasting issues is to invest heavily in analytics and upgrade supply chain technology. A business continuity plan identifies all the potential risks, quantifies them, and then devises a plan to deal with them, while keeping the organization running concurrently.

#7 Developing ecosystem partnerships

Many eCommerce businesses lack the supply chain infrastructure to manage the inbound and outbound logistics. This is where third-party logistics (3PLs) come to the rescue.

Partnering with 3PLs can offer reduced costs, a warehousing facility, and access to a better transportation network. This can help streamline the fulfillment process and diversify the fulfillment process so that manufacturers can prioritize their core competence.

Third-party logistics partners also bring their years of experience to the table, helping you optimize your solid supply chain infrastructure and build resilience.

 

Measuring supply chain resilience

To test the efficacy of your planning, McKinsey recommends a stress test model. This model quantifies the supply chain resilience against five factors:

  • Industry attractiveness
  • Customer exposure
  • Operations exposure
  • Corporate resilience
  • Supply chain exposure

Apart from the stress test model, there are three core metrics that help in evaluating supply chain resilience.

#1 Time to survive

This metric refers to the time to resume business operations after a disruption.

For instance, the time to survive metric for some factories in China was nearly three weeks. It reflects how long it takes to establish the necessary safety measures (like offering personal protective equipment kits) and obtain clearance from the government.

In this phase, the companies need to answer some key questions around:

  • Compensating the people
  • Bringing people back to the workplace
  • Taking corrective measures to reopen their premises

In a nutshell, time to survive answers the question, “How long does it take to reopen the business?”

#2 Time to recover

Recovery time is how long it takes to return your business to the capacity it had before the disruption.

Even though the Chinese factories started to function again after the Covid-19 outbreak, they were only running at a fraction of their standard capacity. This occurred due to a lack of workers and loss of production time. It took an additional three to four months to recover.

Prepare and protect your business by examining how long it would take to get operations back in working order.

#3 Time to thrive

The time to thrive arrives after the recovery phase, but only after an evaluation of how the business confronted the crisis.

It juxtaposes the state of business before and after the crisis and determines if and how the company learned any lessons from the disruption and improved.

Regardless of what analysis emerges during this phase, businesses should be ready to pivot their offerings to match what the market demands now. For instance, many restaurants now offer home delivery or pick-up due to the consumers’ behavioral change caused by the lockdown.

Once a company determines how it has or hasn’t improved after facing the crisis, the time to thrive is not far off.

 

In summary

Businesses need to be agile and flexible enough to adapt to the changes caused by disruptions.

Building a resilient supply chain mitigates the risk and boosts operational efficiency. Companies that invest in supply chain resilience often see shorter product development cycles than those that overlook it, which can be a competitive advantage.

By partnering with Cin7, you can automate your workflow as well as get better analytics and insights about your inventory, which helps in data-driven decision making. You can also partner with the best 3PLs through our integrations.

The experts at Cin7 can help you build a resilient supply chain for your business. Book a call now to discover more!

Dock & Bay

Ben Muller might be one of the world’s most notable towel enthusiasts. He’s the co-founder of Dock & Bay, a brand with a single, noble goal: create the world’s greatest quick-dry beach towel entirely from sustainably sourced materials.  

The company’s founding idea was incredibly simple: to merge the concept of a compact, quick-dry travel towel with a nice, big, bright, colorful beach towel. Since then, they’ve had an incredible journey. It began with launching sales via Amazon and their own website, and — having barely reached the milestone of their first million in revenue — they had a lucrative layover at the Dragons’ Den, the UK’s cut-throat equivalent of Shark Tank.

“We had a nice little head-start in 2017 when we were on Dragons’ Den in the UK,” Ben says. “One of the dragons, Deborah Meaden, took us under their wing. It’s been a really good experience, to take the business from an idea into a bit of a startup.” 

The quick wins from the Dragons’ Den appearance was a huge hit of exposure to worldwide audiences via the popular TV show. “That brand awareness gave us a real head-start to moving forward as a business, as well as some goalposts to aim for, as we expanded around the world,” Ben says. “And when we took on Deborah as an investor, she made us more accountable — we weren’t just doing a little side-project anymore, we had to be professional and respectable. It was a good kick up the bum to take things seriously and do things properly.”

One of those kicks up the bum? Dock & Bay needed to get a grip on their inventory. You could perhaps say that the problem was they didn’t know where their towels were — and they needed to find out. 

Poor inventory management almost made Dock & Bay throw in the towel 

“Inventory management was the most horrible part of our existence, for the entire business,” Ben says. “It was always a challenge. In the past, our warehouse owned the source of truth for inventory, and they put their numbers into our eCommerce platform. What that meant was, essentially, we didn’t have any control over what we were selling.” 

Tired of using spreadsheets as a temporary fix, Dock & Bay team went shopping for an inventory management solution. Their main pain points were simple: inventory visibility, and an inability to do stock forecasting. “We didn’t have control over what inventory we had listed, because the systems around us seemed to be controlling what we were selling. The most we’d managed was Band-Aid fixes to our eCommerce platform.” 

The Dock & Bay team needed help, from somebody who knew how inventory management worked and what the best systems were, and could help them get their system implementation right the first time. They found exactly what they were looking for in SMB Consultants. 

SMB Consultants are Cin7 Experts. Their job is to help their clients find the best solution to grow and manage their businesses, and once that solution has been found, they work to seamlessly implement it. The foundation of their success is having a careful process that they go through with all their clients — first seeking to understand how the company is working, what the pain points are, and what changes need to be made to optimize operations. 

“We originally reached out to SMB to say ‘We’ve got a problem,’” Ben says. “We knew there were a lot of inventory management programs around — TradeGecko, DEAR Systems, Cin7, and so forth. We said, ‘We don’t know which one would be best, but in general, each of these seems to do something like what we need.’” 

Through a collaborative, in-depth scoping process, SMB helped Dock & Bay land on Cin7. 

“SMB helped us throughout,” Ben says. “The first step was to understand how we’re operating now, and SMB have a really good view of how business operates, the challenges that businesses face, and how those solutions fit into software. When we first started talking, it wasn’t just “here’s what Cin7 does and why you should use it and we’ll install it for you” — instead, they understood the business and the challenges it faced, and they could pinpoint why Cin7 was the best solution.” 

What clinched it for Cin7, Ben says, is the advanced level of integration Cin7 offers with Amazon. “It’s quite advanced compared to every other software available. All software has its own strengths and weaknesses, but Cin7 was the most well-rounded, best approach for us. SMB coached us, and their Cin7 expertise helped us understand how to implement our workflows in Cin7, and then train up our teams.” 

The towel company that always knows where their inventory is 

Dock & Bay have been with Cin7 for over a year, and a lot has changed. 

One of the main differences is that the Dock & Bay team has fantastic inventory visibility, and confidence in their data. They no longer have to manually update convoluted, unreliable spreadsheets. Reporting is reliable, and gives decision-makers access to up-to-the-minute sales and operations information. 

“The amount of data we’d have to deal with would break a spreadsheet,” Ben says. “But that’s where Cin7 comes in — we have trust in the data. And that’s the most important thing, because if you don’t trust your information, you can’t trust any reporting you try to get out of it. Cin7 gives us faith in our data, and automates the process of running reports, so we can make informed decisions.” 

Cin7 now acts as the source of truth for inventory information across all the apps and platforms that Dock & Bay make use of. Sales made on Amazon and Shopify stores all pull from availability data in Cin7, and the software also looks after the routing of products in and out of their third-party logistics (3PL) warehouses. 

Dock & Bay has five warehouses run by 3PL partners, one for each region they’re selling in — the UK, Canada, the US, Europe, and Australia. They also work with Amazon fulfillment in each of those regions, for a total of 10 warehouses across the business. On top of this, they also have different Shopify websites for either B2B or direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales for each region, in addition to third-party marketplaces like The Iconic and Nordstrom selling their products. This geographically disparate, multi-channel picture would be a near-impossible nightmare to manage, if not for Cin7. 

“Cin7 manages the inventory in all of those warehouses,” Ben says. “It knows how many open orders there are, and that gives you your available stock. Every time an order takes place on one of our sales channels, it comes to Cin7, which knows it needs to update the other sales channels and say ‘You can’t sell this item any more.’” 

Having this level of control means that Dock & Bay have been able to set up some routing rules, which simply wasn’t possible before Cin7. 

“For instance, we can prevent orders going straight to the warehouse if it’s a pre-order, or if the customer hasn’t paid or is using an alternative payment method, we can set up some rules to make sure those orders don’t go out straight away — we can put in a delay of say, two hours. Being able to control that workflow really saves us a lot of time, hassle, and ultimately costs.” 

Scaling up safely & sanely

Having Cin7 on their side has also given Dock & Bay something crucial: the ability to scale up safely. “Once a business hits a particular size”, Ben says, “a level of trust necessarily comes into the operations, as it’s impossible for any one person or team to check everything that happens. And if your system isn’t trustworthy, things can spiral out of control very quickly.” 

“You need to trust that things are happening the way you want them to, without human intervention. Cin7 gives us the ability to create rules and automations to run the business, rather than having people do all those steps,” Ben says. “Cin7 has allowed us to grow with confidence.” 

The high level of trust in their systems has been repaid with smooth operations, even over periods that typically give product companies nightmares. The Black Friday sales rush is awaited with dread anticipation by operations in the eCommerce world, with floods of consumers testing system integrity across the board. In the past, it’s been a huge bugbear for Dock & Bay. This time around, ready for anything, Ben told the support team they could call him anytime, 24/7. In the end, though, it wasn’t needed. Thanks to Cin7, Dock & Bay’s Black Friday went off without a hitch.

“In the past we had chaos, leading to weeks and weeks of issue resolution,” Ben says. “But this Black Friday we had no issues, because for the first time we had control of our data in all of our systems, and had the process down pat. I really do, 100 percent, put that down to the fact we’ve taken control of our business processes, and Cin7 is key to that.” 

Customer service is now a snap

A further benefit of the Cin7 implementation has been a sharp reduction in customer service issues. Thanks to a much clearer view of inventory and more control over stock, the classic eCommerce bugbear of overselling has been almost eliminated. 

“It’s reduced the number of customer service issues significantly,” Ben says. “Because we now own the information, and the process around it, we’re not overselling like we used to. The second thing is we now have a very valuable source of truth to look into where things may have gone wrong. In the past, we couldn’t really pinpoint where the issue was. Whereas now, we can analyze what happened in Cin7 and then identify where the issue is, and often even fix it ourselves.” 

Ben gives a typical example of the sort of trouble they’d often face before Cin7 was implemented. If the warehouse system they were previously relying on was reporting incorrect numbers, Dock & Bay had no option but to remove the product from the website altogether. Now, they can simply adjust the stock figure in Cin7 or put a hold on the item, and that will stop the product selling across all sales channels. “Now, we can solve the problem and get on with business. That’s where Cin7’s helping us.” 

Dock & Bay say that Cin7 has also saved them needing to expand the operations team. But that doesn’t mean skimping on hiring, or firing employees. Instead, they can run an efficient, high-performing, lean operation, and increase headcount in areas that will help grow the brand. 

“Because we have trust in the process and the data that’s flowing through Cin7, we don’t have to intervene very often. This means our operations team can run pretty slim, and we can invest in roles like marketing and sales that add more value to the business. We’re just much more efficient,” Ben says.  

Cin7 is Dock & Bay’s heart of gold and single source of truth

With the Cin7 implementation over a year behind them, Dock & Bay have a clear view of exactly how much being helped by a trusted Cin7 expert has benefited the company. The impact, Ben says, is absolutely huge, to the point where he says they “couldn’t have done it alone.” 

To other businesses considering implementing Cin7, Ben says that if you’re going to be using a platform that controls so much of your business, you may as well do it properly, and get a certified Cin7 expert like SMB Consultants to help. 

“SMB Consultants brought the dream to life. Having Cin7 has meant we could become more efficient, and trust the information in our systems. But we couldn’t have done that without SMB. We had to work with the right people as well as the right system to get where we are today.” 

It’s safe to say that knowing exactly where their towels are has made Dock & Bay a much better business than they were before. It might seem improbable, but having Cin7 at the heart of the company makes everything possible. 

“Cin7 is the heart of our business,” Ben says. “It controls what we sell, and where we sell it. It manages information from customers, through the warehouse, through our supply chain, into our accounting system, and all the way around our operations and support team. It touches every part of the business. We take all our trusted information from Cin7, and it’s our single source of truth.” 

“We’d be very lost and very sad without Cin7, because there’s really no way to visualize how the business could operate without it.”