In our previous post we shared the challenges the ecommerce manager or business owner might face to stay close to suppliers and purchase and sales data in order to make the best possible orders and re-orders. This post imparts some of Volo’s expertise we’ve been able to amass from working with customers to improve their purchasing in ecommerce.
The art of sourcing
Good sourcing is about spotting opportunities to sell new or different products and creating, fulfilling and satisfying demand in different markets or regions. In addition to your normal internet research, try using a resource like Terapeak. Terapeak can be used for analysing, understanding and predicting consumer and product behaviour. It can help you identify new categories, or categories where there is less competition. It can also help you find specific product opportunities. Once you’ve purchased your products, Terapeak can also help you improve your listings and search rankings.
Volo’s multi channel software can also help with a great deal of automation. Automating your purchasing cuts down the time and effort associated with doing it manually. You can set thresholds so that you automatically reorder product when stocks go below a certain level, and this automation can also factor how fast you're selling the items and how long it takes for the new product to arrive, so that you’re not carrying too much stock or else running out of stock for your best selling items. Volo has rules-based flexibility built in so that you can introduce manual over-rides into your processes and give you that extra degree of confidence and control.
Automating your purchase order system and keeping electronic records helps you improve on supplier communications and general business practice. This is because it’s so much harder to centrally manage everything if you’re placing orders manually by fax or telephone. Furthermore, having a digital record of all your purchasing means that you can both show transparency in your purchasing activities and comply with any relevant policies or regulations around procurement.
Timing it right
Timing is everything they say, and you want to make sure you’re re-ordering products at the right time. It’s key from a cash flow perspective that you can convert the products you buy into cash from your paying customers as soon as possible. An intelligent multi channel ecommerce system like Volo can take the statistics from your sales performance to determine how fast your products are selling and how many days’ stock you have left at those selling speeds. It can also factor in the lead times for getting new product in and either automatically re-order for you at the appointed time or else send you regular alerts so you can place the re-order yourself.
Reporting on your performance
Finally, fast-moving stock is great for your business and a testament to your purchasing prowess, but let’s not forget those items you bought in with the best of intentions but which are just not moving fast enough and occupy space in your warehouse and tie up your money. Good reporting can advise you of the poorly performing products and dead stock, as well as products with a poor returns and credit record, allowing you to address this with your suppliers.
Armed with the right research and the right information on your buying and selling performance, you are in a powerful position to locate and retain the best and most reliable suppliers of the products that sell quickly and at good margins. You’re well placed to negotiate the best prices, the best supply, and the best payment terms from your suppliers. You also optimise your cash flow and limit your financial exposure by minimising the time between investing in products and seeing a return on your investment in the form of satisfied customers giving you their money. After all, you have the knowledge and experience, and you should translate those assets into real purchasing power.
Contact Volo here if you need more information about purchasing in ecommerce.
Read more on how we've helped some of our customers with purchasing in ecommerce in our next blog