Inventory Management & Catalogs

Businesses with dynamically changing portfolios require a flexible data management system and a real-time view of inventory. Both of them are essential for your business longevity and survival.

Catalog Machine allows you to create a centralized product catalog for all your needs, from online and PDF product presentation, tiered pricing, backed with the inventory management system. Today we will tell you how efficient inventory management helps to expand your business lifetime.  And how a catalog creation becomes a perfect way to manage your data. 

First things first, all you need to know about inventory management

There are multiple definitions of inventory management, as it varies from a company operation process. Generally, it refers to ordering, storing and using (selling) the company’s assets. Inventory could include finished products or raw materials and components, depending on the business and industry.However, the purpose is similar among all companies. Keep on the loop which products you have on hand, where those products are being sold, and when items are running low. 

Why is it crucial to have the right number of items in your stock?

There are two ways of consequences if you estimate your inventory stock wrong.

  • Shortage.  A shortage of inventory means lower customer satisfaction, lower sales, and lower cash flow. 
  • Abundance. A large inventory carries the risk of spoilage, theft, damage, or shifts in demand. 

If inventory management is not handled properly, it can result in a business either losing money on potential sales that can’t be filled or wasting money by stocking too much inventoryFor this reason, inventory management is vital for a business of any size. 

Are you in retail? 

Inventory management is an essential part of a business in every industry. Meanwhile, if you are operating in the retail industry, inventory management importance starts to play the first fiddle. Just because without inventory, the retail business is useless. 

Catalogs & Inventory management

A catalog combines all the inventory information you want to present or to know: wholesale and resale prices, product variants, description, image, etc. Taking this into account, a catalog could become not only a way to present to your customers up-to-date information and enable them to buy but also an effective data management system.  One of Catalog Machine clients is working in the Art industry. It’s a medium-size retail company that are organizing pictures exhibitions. They told me that they need their catalogs for data management. One catalog is equal to one exhibition. So, they can keep on track in terms of sold out and presented pictures. 

It is just one case of how the catalog could be used for effective inventory management. If you are planning to grow your business or at least stay in the game for a long time, we would recommend you to create a catalog with all your products included. 

Why Catalog Machine for your catalog and inventory management?

Display and manage your products with Catalog Machine. It’s a simple way to manage your inventory. Let me tell you what you can achieve with Catalog Machine.

  • Organize your inventory. Keep all the inventory in one place. Easily create multiple catalogs. Put your products into categories and collections. Have different variants of one product (different colours, sizes, etc.)
  • Become fast and flexible. Import product at one click using integration with Shopify, Etsy, Magneto, eBay, PrestaShop, WooCommerce, Zapier. Easily export your inventory. Create a catalog that will be presented on your website and ranked by Google.
  • Facilitate online experience. Create on Online Store and Online Catalogs. Get notified when someone places an order.
  • Scale your business. Capture and consolidate product data across all channels in real-time to serve catalog and inventory data, at scale, all the time.
  • Improve performance and customer satisfaction. Automatically present to your customers only in-stock items. Enable them to order right from the catalog or online store. 

How to keep your business profitable during the COVID-19?

A lot of businesses were negatively impacted because of the coronavirus. However, some of the business owners were creative enough and could make a profit even at this challenging time. Today we are going to tell you the possible strategy to cope with a pandemic. Moreover, we will discuss a real company example that is staying profitable even during this challenging time.

Going Online

McKinsey & Company said ‘The battle against COVID-19 is one that leaders today must win if we are to find an economically and socially viable path to the next normal’. We are offering you not to wait until this battle will be won by the leader, but rather won it by yourself and become a leader eventually.

Due to the self-isolation policy all over the world, the online world receives first priority compared to the physical one. This is why moving a business online today is a necessity, if the manager wants a company to continue to operate.

We believe that is a force for better because going online benefits businesses in various ways. Here is a list what will be improved, if you move your business online:

  • Increase sales
  • Improve external communication
  • Improve companies’ image
  • Higher employee’s productivity
  • Speed up processing
  • Enhance and efficient service
  • Attract new customers

Generally speaking, a business will improve its competitive position.

Majectic Meat Case

However, going online does not mean the creation of the website, it’s a more complex process, that involves an online ordering system, social media, etc. Let us tell you a story about Majectic Meat Co.

Being a meat supplier to Utah’s local restaurants, the company lost most of the clients as the restaurants got closed one by one. Moreover, they had a lot of product surplus that was going to spoil very soon. It means not only no profit but also huge losses. The company’s management was limited in time to come up with a decision. So, they did what has never been done in the company before. Majectic Meat Co started selling meat directly to the community by adding an online ordering system to their website. As a community was happy to show support to a local business, this single move saved the company.

Mike Marsh firstly told this story. We found this case a perfect example for all small business owners, who are unable to sell their products because of the shut-down policy. However, to embed an online ordering system, Majectic Meat Co asked a local IT expert. Furthermore, we can bet that in the foreseeable future, they will ask the expert for another favour or even hire him because this kind of system requires permanent support.

Good news, we want to become that expert for you! With Catalog Machine you can update all the product base at once, integrate online ordering system into an existing website or use it separately, create tiered pricing, and a lot more!

Check the video on how you can start receiving orders online and selling directly from home in this video.

Digital technology. A new way to beat your competitors

Are you the owner of a small company? We know how to beat your competitors online. So, you can improve your digital marketing strategy and grow your business. The answer was given by a group of scientists P. Foroudi, S. Gupta, A. Nazarian and M. Duda in their article “Digital technology and marketing management capability: achieving growth in SMEs”. Long story short, digital technology increases your marketing capacity. Whereas the last one makes it easier to grow. 

Have you ever look at digital technology as a way to expand your business and beat the competition?   Every company, including your competitors, use a business model. To diversify you from the competitors, you should create a unique business model. The most efficient way is to build digital technology in the heart of your business model.

How to find digital technology that will allow you to win?

First of all, going online or using any digital platform is not your (a business owner) choice. Or, it may be better to say, you weren’t the first one. The first was your customer with his or her needs and wishes. Now it’s your move. Go where your customers are and sell. Digital technology will help you to increase sales and decrease costs.

Secondly, you are not the only one who is ready to respond. All businesses have direct and indirect competitors. For example, you own an Italian restaurant. A Chinese restaurant across the street is your direct competitor. Whereas a food market two blocks away is an indirect one. All three of you satisfying the same customer need – hunger, but in a different way. To stay successful, you should identify your direct and indirect competitors. Pay attention to the business models they use to operate and identify the gap. This is your niche and a chance to get a competitive advantage.  

If you can’t find any gap in the current market, innovate. In a fast-changing business world innovation is the most sustainable business advantage. The term innovation can be scary because it usually associates with uncertainty. To create competitiveness you should not risk it all. The implementation of digital technology in a new way can be considered an innovation.

What digital technology is the sweet spot? 

To sell your product you should at least show it to your customer. At most you should present t in the most attractive way. To do that you have to maintain a team of a photographer, a designer and a marketing specialist.  Another way is to waste all of your time to handle it by yourself. Now multiply it by the number of products you have. The first option is costly, the second one is time-consuming. Digital catalog is a digital technology that allows us to save both time and money, and still present your product in a way the customers will like. This is how you can gain a competitive advantage and a chance to grow your business with the use of innovation.     

How does it work in real life? 

Our customer research clearly shows how using a digital catalog increase small company efficiency, saving time and money. We will discuss 3 different cases further. 

Time efficiency

First, the owner of the clothing store struggled with maintaining several digital platforms (such as website and social media) manually. Uploading the same picture of the products to different places took him too much time. Whereas the was no way not to do this because product based were updated super fast. For him, the creation of a digital catalog and simply share it across all the platforms become a solution to save lots of time. 

Cost efficiency 

Second, the company has already relied on the creation of catalogs, however, they were using printed versions. Due to the owner “it’s way too expansive and it’s not that efficient”.  There were two reasons: printing costs and too high and you can’t reach that many customers in person compared to the online world. A shift towards digital catalogs let him save a lot of money. It should be mentioned that for the special clients he is still using a PDF version of the digital catalog and print them out.  

Time & Cost efficiency 

The last example is the small company that relied on the designer. There were three major problems here: the designer couldn’t finish the catalog as fast as it was required by the market, it was impossible to change one product (if it’s out of stock, etc.), and a good designer asks for a good salary. So switching to a digital catalog allowed them to save both time and money. 

There are many more examples of how using the online catalog helped our companies to change their business model for better, save scarce resources and beat their competitors. 

 

Optimizing your E-commerce Ad Channel practices, and your customer’s checkout experience.

Which social media platform is best for your brand and how do you reach the maximum amount of people with it? What are the reasons for your customers abandoning their shopping carts?

The Ad Channel for your brand

There are so many options for where you can advertise your business. Facebook, Amazon, Google and many others are available, and may be hard for the average person to figure out in terms of optimization.

Both Facebook and Google can be very competitive for getting what you want out of the advertising done, as grabbing your audience’s attention may be challenging at times due to competition. There is a difference though, as your brand can be discovered randomly on Facebook while it’s more likely to be researched on Google. Both tend to be expensive options for raising brand awareness.

Amazon on the other hand has a better ratio in terms of spending on advertising versus the return mostly. They are a newer player of course when it comes to advertising on their site, which may lead to some negative aspects like limited ad space. But one can see why it would be lucrative to actually advertise where people come to MAKE their purchases.

Source: 

Facebook, Google, Amazon: Which Ad Channel Is Right for Your Brand?

The right time to post your content

So you have great content to post on your page! That’s good, but sometimes that may not be enough. For instance, at what times are you posting this content? Depending on the platform, people utilize them differently based on a variety of factors, so there isn’t that one ideal time-frame. According to research though, here are optimal posting times broken down based on the various platforms:

  • Facebook: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
    9 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM
  • Twitter: Wednesday
    12 PM, 3 PM, 5-6 PM
  • LinkedIn: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
    7-8 AM, 12 PM, 5-6 PM
  • Pinterest: Saturday, Sunday
    2 PM, 9 PM
  • Instagram: Monday, Thursday
    8-9 AM, 5 PM
  • Google+: Wednesday
    9 AM-1 PM

Source: 

The Best Time to Post on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+

Creating a better online checkout experience

When shopping online, people tend to change their minds much easier than if they filled up an actual shopping cart with items and were near the checkout line at the local grocery store. There’s less commitment needed when shopping online and the consumer feels this. Here are the top reasons for why customers abandon their shopping carts. After looking through this, make sure to streamline!

· Extra costs
· Account creation
· Too complicated
· Didn’t know total cost until the shopping cart
· Website errors

Optimizing the user checkout can be simply or may require you to change your entire layout. Here are some basic ideas for changing the way your customer sees their final steps of shopping at your online store:

· Show the multi stage shopping process to the shopper so they know what they’re doing and what’s coming.
· Don’t force them to register.
· Make order modification and back buttons available.

Source: 

How to Build an Effective e-Commerce Shopping Cart