What no one tells you about B2B supply chain management

b2b supply chain management

Retailers and their suppliers are under more pressure than ever before to deliver more goods to more destinations faster. To stay competitive, “retailers need to know where things are at all times; so they can redirect shipments, rebalance inventories and respond to new demands on the fly,” says Rich Becks, general manager; Industry Value Chains, E2open, which delivers cloud-based supply chain collaboration solutions. And if there is a problem with their supply chain, retailers (and their suppliers) risk losing customers. Therefore, this article will list out what no one tells you about B2B supply chain management. Use cloud-based software that can track and manage inventory in real time  “Retailers struggle to balance uncertain consumer behavior and long, complex supply chains” explains Kurt Cavano. Who is vice chairman & CSO, GT Nexus, a supply chain technology company. “These two challenges make it harder than ever to align supply with demand; which can quickly impact margins and sales,” Cavano says. “A solution to this is to implement a supply chain network in the cloud that tracks inventory and demand changes, and allows retailers; to respond to the latest demand signals in near-real-time”. This way, “retailers can adapt to things like seasonal trends and other fluctuations in demand on the fly.” Use source tagging and RFID to keep track of inventory and stock levels “To improve supply chain management from the moment product leaves the manufacturer’s warehouse all the way through; to the point-of-purchase, retailers should deploy a source tagging solution,” says Steve Sell; director, North America Marketing, Retail Practice, Tyco Integrated Security. In fact, with an increased awareness of the volume and location of merchandise available across all channels, source tagging helps inform inventory management and supply chain operations at all levels to better inform business decisions.” “For example, warehouse stock levels can be continually monitored so that stocks can be replenished whenever sensors detect a near out of stock situation” says Mark Morley, director, Industry Marketing – Manufacturing, OpenText, an enterprise information management provider. “Tagged goods in a warehouse can [also] help to guide pickers to their exact location,” making for faster fulfillment. Thus, to gain further visibility into the supply chain – “implement RFID” says Melanie Nuce, vice president; Apparel & General Merchandise, GS1 US, a supply chain standards organization. “A more precise level of inventory visibility ensures the retailer knows where their product is in the supply chain. Standards, such as Electronic Product Code (EPC) enabled Radio Frequency Identification (RFID); are allowing leading retailers to pinpoint their inventory in real time,” she explains. “By using RFID, a retailer can inventory 20,000 items per hour at 99 percent accuracy or higher. All of this means a simpler, more efficient way to deliver on the promise to the consumer. Furthermore, “by combining RFID-enabled inventory and source tagging with smarter, more sophisticated electronic article surveillance (EAS). Then, retailers gain real-time insight into the supply chain from what is available to sell via online and in-store channels to how much is needed on the shelf” adds Sell. Become a part of a B2B e-procurement network “B2B [or e-procurement] networks can help companies predict supply chain disruptions and act quickly to adapt business processes,” says Sundar Kamakshisundaram, vice president, Procurement and Business Network Solutions, Ariba, an SAP company. “Businesses need to know their entire supply chain – not just their suppliers, but their suppliers’ suppliers, too,” he says. Using a B2B procurement network can “help [retailers] move from responding to risk to proactively predicting it to create advantage and get ahead of supply chain disruption,” he says. That’s because “business networks, and the cloud-based technologies underlying them, have made it possible for more efficient buyer/supplier collaboration.” Make sure your marketing and supply chain teams are in sync “When executing a promotion, a lot of retailers overlook the alignment of the supply chain and marketing teams, which is crucial [if you want] to successfully launch a promotion,” says Pat Sullivan, senior vice president, Promotions Management, HAVI Global Solutions, a consulting company. Thus, by having marketing alert the supply chain team ahead of time that a big promotion is coming up; the supply chain team can determine how much product is needed to prevent falling short and how the product will be shipped; minimizing, or avoiding, delays or disruptions. Conclusion Above are some things you can learn and apply in your B2B supply chain management. If you have any question, do not hesitate to contact us and we will help you to firgure out.

Top 5 workflows by Atom8


Automation brings many undeniable advantages including higher production rates and increased productivity. It helps you to gain more efficient use of materials, better product quality and reduced factory lead times. Atom8 with a wide range of useful workflows, has become one of the most powerful automation tools in the eCommerce industry. Let’s look at its top 5 workflows to understand how powerful Atom8 is. These are selected based on their popularity and highly favored level by users when it comes to time-saving and easy-to-use settings. Schedule a promotion campaign In seasonal campaigns like Christmas or Black Friday, every store both online and offline seems to be busier than ever. In fact, staff has to stay up late to update sales price to hundreds of products, even switch banner ads back and forth. Merchants who wear multiple hats have to spare time for updating products information without fully enjoying their cozy moments with their family. Moreover, some merchants have to hire new staff to take care of running promo campaigns (2000$/mo). These may cost merchants a large amount of time and money. But with Atom8’s help, you can save those for things that really matter.  Based on the time trigger, the workflow used to schedule a promotion campaign also starts with defining time to run. Then, make sure the Data filter is “Product” before setting conditions for the action. You can run a promotion on a certain product category, product type or inventory level. It depends on the purpose of your campaign. In the next step, you will have 4 options to change the price. It could be reduced by % or a certain amount of $. You can also fix a sale price number or remove it after a period of “Delay” time. Finally, determine the workflow status, name, description and activation duration in the settings before saving all the actions. This step is applied for all the workflows by Atom8. Segment customers based on total orders This workflow’s purpose is to deal with 2 big problems that any eCommerce business may have, which are time consumption and human errors. In fact, for a store with hundreds of customers created per month, the staff will have to check those customers one by one and assign them to the right group every day. This not only takes their time but also reduces the staff productivity. Plus, manual tasks like this will cause serious human errors, such as wrong customer groups; which affect the marketing result seriously and more importantly, you will treat treated unfairly. This will affect their experience with merchants’ brands too. To run this workflow, first, you need to set conditions for the number of orders, and total amount of spending if necessary. For example, you can have the figures set as follows. And once the conditions are met, it will automatically assign that customer to the predetermined group. Notify your staff about unfulfilled orders after several days When information about the product, order and customer events is not shared among the teams in real-time, it puts a delay on the next process in queue. As a result, notification will also reach out to customers later than expected and impact customer experience. That is why you need this workflow to keep the team operation running in the smoothest way. You just need to set a delay time before checking the conditions. Then if the order status is not shipped/completed, your staff will be informed right away to have proper reactions. Notify of inventory level As soon as your inventory reaches a certain number, it will automatically send emails to the marketing team to stop promoting that product. Thus, it helps to save marketing costs for your business. Moreover, your staff can re-order with vendors on time, ensuring a smooth operation. This feature of Atom8 can also integrate with BackOrder to gain better outcomes. When the inventory falls to 0, the app will automatically switch the buying button to “Back Order” status. So that customers can still purchase the products and it remains a continuous revenue stream. The workflow can be set based on the inventory level or “low stock” conditions as below: Email customers if an order is not fulfilled after several days Sometimes, merchants use a special payment gateway which captures the payment after a period of time. Meanwhile, merchants can not memorize such milestones. This leads to the payment capture delay and wrong information in the order which might lead to the late shipment to customers. In order to save time and effort, you can use this workflow. The conditions should be:  If the order status is equal to Shipped and If the Payment method is equal to Authorize.net Then it will auto-capture payment. Above are the 5 most popular workflows of Atom8. Hopefully, you can choose the right solutions for your BigCommerce store and enhance its prosperity.

Differences between quote and invoice

quote vs invoice

When it comes to the back end of running a service business, there’s a lot to learn. From communicating with clients through different stages of a job, to billing your clients, to staying on top leads and customers, and finally cash flow, keeping your business organized can be a challenge. If you haven’t realized this yet –– quote and invoice documents you use to communicate to clients are one of the best ways to stay on top of everything. From an initial quote to a final invoice, what you send out and store internally can be one of the easiest ways for you and your team to stay in the loop. So, what exactly are quote and invoice? How are they different? How can you use them to optimize and organize your service business? Where can you get started? You probably have a lot of questions, so let’s dive in. What is a quote? A quote is the complete and final cost of what you plan to charge for a job before it starts. Unlike an estimate, a quote is sent after you have visited a job site and have accurate information about material costs, property size and condition, and labor requirements. Quotes should include all the costs associated with a job, including taxes, discounts, materials, and labor. Once you send a quote to a client, they will need to sign off and approve it before you can start a job. Many businesses also require a deposit on the total amount before starting any work. A quote should always come before an invoice. The total amount you bill a client for will generally be the same as the initial quote. However, it may change if the scope of the work changed after starting the job, or if you’ve underpriced the work significantly. Either way, you would need to discuss this with the client. What are the benefits of writing quotations? Home service quotes help keep you and your prospects or leads organized If you’re not writing your leads quotes, how are you able to keep track of who’s who, which projects are which, and what leads are the most promising for your business to pursue? For example, if you meet a prospect on the street and write them an estimate for a job on a business card and hand it over, how will you remember when to follow up? What will you say in the follow-up text or email? Will you have their contact information for the follow-up as well? Now, let’s scale this scenario. What happens when you meet several leads in one day? This can become an impossible task if you’re not using hard copies of quotes. It isn’t any easier if you’re relying on pen and paper either. Finding a digital quoting software solution, like Jobber, can make this much easier. If you’re not ready to scale up to software, using a free quoting tool, like Job Toolkit is an amazing alternative. Look for an option that empowers you to write professional and organized quotes; collect and store client information; and send automatic follow-up emails and texts to your clients for you. Keeping track of who you provided a quote to and when will help you to build a strategy around leads and prospective clients. This comes in handy when you start to focus more on strengthening your lead generation game and upping your chances of turning more leads into committed clients. Quotes help you monitor scope. Sometimes, a job turns out to be a lot more work than you anticipated. This could either be due to unforeseen issues or increasing client demands. When this happens, quotes can come in handy. Since quotes break down specific line items for a job, it’s easy to reference each line item to see what the original scope of the project was. In addition to that, you can use a quote to show your client what higher-scope services or packages are and what they will cost them. With optional packages, you’re able to present a full range of options for your clients to choose from. What is an invoice? An invoice is a bill that you send to a client once a job has been completed. Unlike a quote, you send an invoice after a job. An invoice should include a complete breakdown of the costs associated with a project as well as payment information, such as a due date, payment methods, subtracted deposits, etc. Once clients receive an invoice, they should make a payment within the timeframe you provide (for example, within two weeks, 30 days, or at the end of the month). If they don’t, you may choose to charge a late fee or interest on the amount due, depending on your late payment policy. Ideally, you should send an invoice within 24-48 hours of completing a job. Try to send it after you’ve completed the clean-up and a final walkthrough with the client to ensure they’re satisfied. What are the benefits of using invoices? Keep cash flow organized. Invoices are a great way to keep track of finished jobs, incoming payments, and overdue client bills. By noting when an invoice is sent, setting specific payment due dates, and building a communication strategy for late or overdue payments, you’ll have a solid understanding of what your cash flow looks like. Plus, you’ll know when to expect incoming cash, which will allow you to plan for expenses and work out a budget. Tell clients how to pay and when Legitimate invoices include information about how to make payments, and when they are due. When clients have straightforward and convenient payment options; like credit and debit card payments they’re more likely to pay on time. With invoice software, you’ll be able to tell which clients have yet to pay their invoices, and which invoices have been paid. You’ll have a better understanding of your cash flow health. Your invoices should specify how to make payments when they’re due, and what

Learn from these top real-life 5 eCommerce cross-sell examples

cross sell examples

Thanks to cross-selling, a lot of famous eCommerce businesses can earn billions of dollars each year. However, not all businesses can boost revenues by conducting cross-sell strategies like the famous ones. Therefore, our article today will bring 5 examples of the real cross-selling cases from well-known businesses to you to help you withdraw some valuable lessons and thus apply to your own business contexts. These 5 eCommerce Cross-sell Examples Can Inspire You Madewell As a clothing store, Madewell has successfully gained millions of dollars from its cross-selling strategies. Their cross-selling focuses on the product pages, and the product recommendations appear when the customers view product information. Below currently viewed products, Madewell recommends a list of products which are called “you might also love”. They have utilized the customers’ data to generate cross-sell suggestions and optimize the data functions. They do not focus only on current customers’ behaviors but also refer to other customers who have the same behaviors and same interests to produce recommendations. Lush Lush is famous for their organic products, including cosmetics, hair care, body care and bath bombs. Particularly, they are also famous for their cross-sell strategies. Lush’s cross-selling focuses on products which are currently selling and getting positive ratings. They also use product pages for showing the lists of cross-sell items, which are called “Lushies are loving these right now”. As you can see, they called their customers “Lushies”, which is a close, friendly name to communicate with them better and enhance the effectiveness of cross-selling as well. Therefore, you should align your branding approaches with cross-selling strategies to double success. Wayfair As the big online marketplace, Wayfair offers their customers a variety of products types which support customers ‘ daily life. They usually use cross-sell strategies to boost sales on related products. Wayfair chooses the checkout page to generate in-cart cross-sell recommendations which are closely related to in-cart products to help customers have better experience. Moreover, Wayfair usually suggests lower cost products, compared to the in-cart ones, to alleviate the cost burden of customers and reduce shopping cart abandonment.  Asics While Asics is only famous for shoes, they also earn a considerable amount of revenue from their clothes and accessories. Like Apple, Asics also suggests complementary products at the checkout stage. However, instead of recommending a list of products, Asics suggest only one product at a cheaper price to persuade customers to put one more item into their shopping carts. Therefore, if you want to cross-sell a single product like Asics, you should make it affordable and reasonable. Target As a furniture and frame brand, Target chose to conduct cross-sell in sets. This is an advanced form of complementary recommendation but it also helps Target advertise their collection cleverly. This approach can help the customers furnish and decorate their room more quickly and pretty without too much effort and research. Conclusion With the real cross-sell examples in eCommerce stores, we hope that you can draw some particular lessons. So that you can conduct their own cross-selling, boost revenues and customer satisfaction. Moreover, we also suggest to use a product recommendation tool to make it easier.

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