managing inventory in your online store

inventory monitoring software
 
It’s that time of year again, new shipments are arriving daily, storage space is getting smaller, and there’s a buzz in the air anticipating the arrival of the holiday shopping season which has already started with the Back to School products.

eMarketer forecasts that holiday sales in the US will grow by 5.7% in 2015, the biggest increase since 2011, and while this is great news for retailers both on and offline, it does present some challenges.

How do you manage inventory so that you have enough of the popular products that are flying off the shelves, and don’t order more products that include those that have sold only a few items?

xocbox can help you. Our inventory monitoring and out of stock widget in your online store mean that you always know when products are running low or sold out, helping you to decide when to place orders to replenish your stock.

We will work with you to provide the level of automation that is right for your store. Whether you want supplier feeds to your store, or want to automate the whole process right through to sending orders to your drop ship suppliers, xocbox systems will save you and your staff time during the busy shopping season.

If you have more than one store, no problem – let xocbox track sales in all your stores.

For more information on how to take control of the inventory in your Yahoo or Woocommerce store before the holiday season, call us at 858-752-3803, or click the contact button below.


quickly update prices in your yahoo store

xocbox price manager
 
 

As the holiday season approaches, many stores find it difficult to keep up with the changes needed to keep product prices up-to-date, especially across multiple stores.

The xocbox Price Manager enables you to quickly mark down merchandise, or change prices for a brand or manufacturer, always keeping your holiday merchandise priced where you want it to be.

If you have more than one Yahoo store, and sell some of the same merchandise on several stores, xocbox can cut down the time it takes to change prices across all of your stores.

The xocbox price manager allows you to edit prices from one screen, and publish the changes to your Yahoo store(s) without the need to log into multiple sites and systems. This can save you and your staff hours of time and eliminates the need to repeat a single process across all of your stores.

The Price Manager is just one of the ways xocbox can help Yahoo merchants manage their product data.

If you would like more information about the xocbox Price Manager and integration with your Yahoo store, contact us for more details.


Cyber Monday was a winner!

holiday decorations in storeFigures just released by comScore show that retail sales on Cyber Monday were over $2 billion, and these figures do not include sales made through a tablet or mobile device.  Wow!

The report went on to say that consumers spent 26% more in 2014 than they did in 2013 over the holiday weekend, and online sales are continuing to outstrip those of bricks and mortar stores.

Any retailer who has still not been able to get their products online, or has a website that doesn’t have mobile and tablet capability for shoppers is losing out on valuable revenue.

Contact xocbox if you are struggling to keep up with listing your products, and running your business – our tools can help you manage your store, and we have a great new product coming in the new year!


Black Friday Week or Month?

holiday shopping pictureLast night I purchased something from a local Banana Republic store, and at the checkout I was given a coupon called TGI(B)F which said “Early Access to Black Friday”, and had discounts I could use from November 24 through November 27.

The sales associate cheerfully told me that if I couldn’t deal with Black Friday shopping, I could shop early from Monday 24th.

I also read an article saying that Walmart plans to make it Black Friday week.  Walmart’s Black Friday begin at 12:01am on Thanksgiving and will include five days of sales online and in their physical stores, taking us through Cyber Monday.

It looks like many retailers such as JC Penney, Staples, Macy’s and Target are planning to open on Thanksgiving  – with some as early as 5pm.

Retailers are increasingly aware that shoppers are turning to the web to shop at times that suit them, not retailers, and Black Friday has become symbolic with the start of the holiday shopping season, not necessarily the one day for the best bargains.

With shoppers researching prices online, and checking spot sales in bricks and mortar stores, the 2014 holiday shopping season is going to offer bargains for weeks to come.

So don’t worry about rushing out the door to bargain hunt, as soon as you’ve eaten your turkey dinner – retailers will surprise us with flash sales right through the holiday season, and the best bargains may appear as we draw closer to the end of December.

 


What is Drop Shipping?

shipping boxes and suppliesWhen you open an online store, the main thing you need is inventory.

Without any products to sell, you don’t have a store.  This seems pretty obvious.

However, many people are surprised when they start listing products online, as it often takes many more product lines and categories than first anticipated to fill an online store.

So if you don’t have the funds to buy hundreds of different product lines, or simply don’t have the storage space, then drop shipping may provide the answer.

How Does Drop Shipping work?

Basically, you do not purchase products to store in your own warehouse until sold.  Instead, you make arrangements with a wholesale supplier to list their products on your website, and when a product is sold, the supplier ships the product.  Sounds simple.

The arrangement is straightforward enough, however, there are a few things you should be aware of.

  • Firstly, you lose control of the inventory, and this may ultimately cause customer service problems.  For example, if there is a delay in shipping, or a product is damaged on arrival.
  • Also, since drop shippers usually sell to many retailers, keeping track of their inventory, as well as your own is difficult.
  • Profit margins on sales are also lower than if you were to purchase products and sell them directly to your customers.

The benefits of drop shipping are:

  • You can add more products to your website, and give your customers greater selection.
  • You don’t have to deal with the packing and shipping of products yourself.
  • You can begin your retail store without the expense of buying inventory to stock your store, so this can be a good way to get started.
  • You can “try out” a new product or new category, just to see if it’s a good fit for your store, without actually buying the product.

In conclusion, drop shipping has many advantages, and some disadvantages.  Retailers often find a combination of products housed in their warehouse, and those shipped directly from drop ship suppliers is a good way to go.

Once you have elected to work with a drop shipper, always monitor their performance in regard to product fulfillment and customer service.  If you find that a particular supplier does not perform well for you, it is better to stop selling that product, rather than risk your online reputation.

For information about selling through drop ship vendors, and how xocbox systems can help you keep track of shipments and inventory, please contact xocbox.

 

 

 

 


do you need omnichannel retailing?

desktop-gf-storeMost retailers know that being able to offer their products online is an essential part of their marketing strategy, rather than an option.

However, a recent report by comScore revealed that 173 million people in the US now own a smart phone, and are using this device to check emails and text messages all day long.

They are also using it to shop.

As retailers, whether we like it or not, omnichannel retailing is here to stay, and marketing-savvy retailers have been making sure their websites are mobile-optimized, and ready to offer features and services to customers during the holiday season, so they don’t miss out to the shopping giants and big-box stores.

So what can you do to get your store up to speed?  Omnichannel retailing really means that all the places where your customers can buy … physical store, online via desktop, smartphone, ipad or tablet … work together seamlessly for your customers.

Put yourself in the position of your customer and try to buy something from your own store through all the channels that you offer.  How was the experience?  Did you get smoothly to checkout?  Were there frustrating delays or screens that didn’t display correctly, or not at all?  Once you have pinpointed the sticking points, get your tech team and staff to iron out the issues.

You have probably already figured out your holiday marketing campaign, but research is showing that email is still a favorite by many retailers.  In the study mentioned above,  it was found that 42 percent of emails sent were opened on smartphones, and an additional 17 percent opened on tablet devices.  So definitely make sure your site is mobile optimized.

Follow the lead of large bricks and mortar stores, such as Staples,  who are aggressively using email campaigns to drive customers into their stores, and tempting them with a series of coupons and special offers.

Keeping in close contact with your customers through all devices will be key this holiday season, and those who don’t will lose out on precious holiday sales to retailers who have planned their omni-channel strategy to create an excellent customer experience at all of their store touchpoints.

If you would like information on omichannel retailing for your online or bricks and mortar store, contact info@xocbox.com.

 

 


Are you ready for the holiday season?

holiday cardsBack to School is behind us, and the Holiday Season is just around the corner, so now is the time to make sure you have everything in order for that traditional increase in sales during Halloween and Christmas.

The short shopping season of 2013 meant that many etailers had difficulty fulfilling orders in time, and some unlucky shoppers received their gifts long after the holidays were over.

The 2014 holiday season will again be short, with just 26 days between Black Friday and Christmas, only one day more than 2013, and predictions indicate that online sales will increase, with consumers spending more time shopping on mobile phones and tablets, and less on retail sites.

Thanksgiving falls during the last week of November again this year, and Cyber Monday will be in December.  So if you’re feeling behind schedule with your store planning, what can you do now to make sure you don’t miss those all important holiday sales?

  1. Most importantly, don’t panic!  There is still time to do some last minute planning.
  2. Make sure you have all your holiday orders placed with your suppliers, if you don’t already have products lined up in your warehouse.
  3. Ensure you have all your packaging materials and boxes ready to go.
  4. Plan out your holiday promotions and add these to your website in October.  Be ready for early gift shoppers by suggesting gifts by product type or gender, and create gift baskets or sets under a specific dollar amount.
  5. Make sure you have plenty of accessories, and gift-type products ready for your site by October.
  6. If time permits, make some seasonal color changes to your website and theme, however, products and promotions are still your main focus.
  7. Decide how you will cope with the extra workload – do you need to hire temporary staff for the season?  Think about the extra strain on your resources such as customer service,  product fulfillment, and gift wrapping.
  8. Plan your email marketing campaign, and social media strategy.
  9. Plan your delivery cut-off dates and make sure these work with your shipping carrier.
  10. Think back to what worked best for you last year, and repeat that process.

The Holiday Season is the most exciting time for shoppers and retailers alike, and even with last minute planning, you can still create a great experience for your shoppers, and a profitable holiday season for yourself.