The great thing about having an e-commerce site is it can be used for more than just a platform to sell your products. After all, it is software. Software is what powers all of our computers, POS systems and CRM systems, most of which can be integrated with.

Here, I suggest 5 ways in which you can get the most from your e-commerce website and help to improve business efficiency.

1. Stock Control

Most e-commerce companies should have a stock control system of some sort. It is generally “best practice” to show customers availability on your site and this is the only way to make it possible.

If you already have stock control through your EPOS system then many of them will offer an API (Application Programming Interface) or a way to integrate your website with stock levels.

If you don’t have a computerised stock control system, this is the perfect opportunity to let your website be in control of one. Product quantity can be deducted automatically when an order is made online and if you have a physical shop, interfaces can be created at the till to make updating quantities simple, fast and effective. Please feel free to chat to me if you want to know more.

2. Picking, Packing and Delivery

The more you can automate, the easier it is on your staff. It allows them to add value to customers and colleagues, which in today’s competitive environment is more important than ever.

Picking – if you have a large warehouse, when you print an order report from the website, have it output directions based on a structure in the warehouse that translates to a direction code for each product.

Packing and Delivery – This can be solved with a labelling system, printed directly from your website. Many courier companies offer an API or way to integrate with their systems, allowing you to print off the shipping labels directly from the website.

3. Returns

Dealing with returns can be a time consuming process. Ultimately it boils down to the same sort of questions each time, such as whether the item is faulty, unwanted or incorrect. You should have a fair policy for each one and allow the website to process returns automatically.

If you want to add value, you may even consider integrating with your courier company and allowing the customer to print off a returns label themselves, or arrange for a collection.

4. Communication

It is important to keep in communication with the customer throughout the order process. This can happen automatically! When you pick a product, at a simple click of a button you can send the customer an e-mail to let them know. Do the same with dispatching and again a few days after delivery, to ensure they are happy with their product.

You can even send them a PDF invoice upon order completion, saving you from having to manually do all of this.

5. Personalised products

If you offer personalised products, here is the perfect opportunity to really get the most out of your website.

You can provide the tools to enable the customer to fully customise and preview their end product online.
You can emulate what the product will look like by mapping images, drawings and text on to a blank version of the product.
You can prevent them from not sending you material with the incorrect dimensions/specifications and allow the customer to be fully creative by providing interactive tools to upload, draw and write on their product.

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