Improving Ecommerce Sales through different Distribution Channels

In today’s hyper-competitive environment, launching an ecommerce site is simply not enough to expand your business. It is imperative to think beyond your ecommerce site if you want to increase the visibility of your online products and improve ecommerce sales. This is because your website alone cannot reach the entire target market. So apart from selling products from your website, following are the different distribution channels that you should look for in order to grow your business:

Distribution Channels to Boost Ecommerce Sales

Online Marketplaces:

Taking the help of third-party marketplace channels is one of the best ways to extend the reach of your online sales. Studies show that eBay and Amazon dominate the online market space. Selling your products on these two biggest marketplaces can definitely help you to make substantial amount of profit. So start selling through these online companies and stop worrying about your business. You can rely on these two most dominant marketplaces as your source of customers. In order to increase the chances of sale on these marketplaces, make sure your product comes with a detailed product description, relevant image, and is backed by positive customer feedback and success stories.

Social Media:

Social media platform is another distributor channel that can contribute to improve ecommerce sales. You can reach out to more prospective clients and raise awareness about your ecommerce website through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. You can also use social media like Youtube to your benefit and drive more customers to your ecommerce website. For instance, you can advertise your video on Youtube to promote your products. If you are offering any special discounts for a limited period of time, they can also be advertised on social media to get the most out of your discount sales.

Blogs:

Content distribution channels like blogs can also work wonders to promote your business.  You can write blogs to market your business to target your audience. With blogs, you can discuss in detail about the product. Regularly updating your blogs with relevant keywords will make your content search engine friendly, thereby helping to increase traffic, generate leads, and create a positive impact about your website.

You can also use emails to keep your customers informed about your latest blog posts. So whenever you publish a new blog, just notify it to the customer through emails. The email should contain a link that redirects customers to your blog. This way you deliver your high quality content directly to your customers.

Physical Store:

It is observed that 92% of retailers do their business online, yet maintaining a physical store can help to target your customers’ expectations. For instance, a physical store will help to target those looking for an in-person customer experience. It can be a perfect complement to your online store. For certain products, customers want face-to-face interaction with store employees. They want to physically touch the product before purchasing it. With a physical store, you can give enhanced customer interaction with store employees, thereby increasing the chances of sale.

Also those who are unware of your ecommerce site, can be given a brief summary of your ecommerce business when they enter your physical store. This too can work to promote your ecommerce business. Also any product not available in the physical store can be easily purchased from your ecommerce store, thereby keeping your customers happy and satisfied, which is critical for long-term business success

So, when it comes to increasing ecommerce revenue at a much faster pace, you can rely on these aforementioned distribution channels that have the potential to bring new customers and impact sales volumes.

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Can your Business Survive Without a Proposal Software?

Propsal Software

The answer to this question is a resounding ‘No’. Consider any successful VAR-related IT business and I am sure the CEO of that organization will tell you the importance of using proposal software. The point is when it comes to survival, you got to use technology that will make your business more streamline and profitable. Automation is the key to bring efficiency into your business operations and moreover will help to increase productivity of your staff and enable you to stay ahead of the competition.

A proposal software is something you can trust to streamline and automate your sales process. No matter how sophisticated your solution is, if your sales process is not dynamic and evolving, there is little possibility that your business will grow. A proposal software is an automated tool that can allow you to create effective proposals effortlessly. So using this software could be one of the best business practices to survive in today’s competitive environment.

Reasons behind Advocating Use of Proposal Software

  • Create Proposals with little Effort

Let’s face it; Writing and submitting proposals manually is extremely time consuming. This can always be avoided with Proposal Software that provides a quick and easy way to create proposals. The time spent on creating a proposal will reduce drastically using the software. It will save your hours in getting proposals ready for your customers. So instead of hours, you would spend minutes in generating proposals. In fact, your clients would be surprised about how fast you are submitting proposals to them. Clients don’t have to wait for long (which is what every customer is looking for) to receive a proposal.

  • Grab Prospects’ Attention

Proposals that are created using the software are sure to grab and hold the customers’ attention. This is because the software helps to generate attractive and visually engaging proposals. In short, the software also takes care of visual aspect of the proposal, which is equally important to generate interest of the customer in the proposal.

  • Get Higher Price

Consider this; you might be an expert in developing E-commerce Platform for your customers but if you are unable to create a good impression at the time of submitting proposals, don’t expect clients to pay a good price for your expertise. So if the proposals are not professionally presented, your prospect might not be willing to close the deal, despite having good credentials. To resolve this issue, you got to use the proposal software. The software allows you to produce highly attractive proposals that can help attract more customers and close more sales at higher prices. The professional-looking proposals created by the software are sure to attract more clients. Moreover, the software will help convince your customer that the solution you are providing is best to suit his needs. The software also has an eCommerce proposal template that can be customized as per the client requirements.

Automated or Manual Data Entry- Which side are you on?

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Automated or manual data entry? Which one you prefer? Well, if you think that you are perfect and your performance will be optimal, despite the repetitive nature of work, you could go the manual route. The fact is since human error is ubiquitous and inevitable, it makes sense to automate data entry processes. This is one of the pre-requisites to drive IT business and brand growth. The following blog discusses the various aspects of automated and manual data entry systems.

  • Time and Productivity

There is little doubt that collecting data from different sources and then entering it manually is a time consuming process. A way to resolve this issue is by automating this process. Also, the repetitive nature of work is bound to make your staff less productive. This is obvious since your staff will eventually get burdened after entering data for hundreds of time. Less productivity from your staff is something that you simply cannot afford in today’s competitive environment. So in order to bring efficiency and improve productivity in their work, automating the process is the need of the hour.

If you have an ecommerce store that is integrated with your accounting software such as Quickbooks, it will certainly make things easier as information will automatically flow between the two systems and synchronize all business operations. Quickbooks integration with your ecommerce website is the key to optimize various processes in your business.

Ecommerce integration with your existing back end systems will automate the flow of information between systems and ensure that you provide better service to your customers.

  •  Data Accuracy

Typographical errors are a given when you prefer manual entry of data. People are often offered minimum salary for data entry job. Initially this may appear cost effective for you but the cost of rectifying errors associated with manual entry soon becomes increasingly expensive. So it is not just accuracy issues but even the cost associated with manual data entry is a cause for concern.

The fact remains that error rate is high in manual data entry system. Even in VAR-related business, manually creating sales is prone to errors. In general, an easy way to significantly reduce errors would be to use automated data entry. With automation, work is done correctly that too by hiring just a few people. As far as generating sales quotes are concerned, you can always rely on automated sales quoting tools that can allow you to create a sales quote within minutes.

  • Real time Access

Lack of real-time access capabilities is one of the biggest advantages of using manual systems.  Automated software behaves like real-time operating systems that provide information in real time. In automated data processing, hardly any time delays are introduced, which means any information updated can be accessed immediately. The requirement for a real-time system such as Autotask – a cloud-based platform is the need of the hour. Autotask integrationwith your existing CRM or ERP system can work wonders to organize, automate, and synchronize all your business requirements. This in turn can help you to grow your IT business.

  • Automatic Alerts

Keeping track of efficiency and effectiveness is no easy job in manual data entry methods. A few months into manual processing and it would be very difficult to evaluate work efficiencies. However, with automation software, you can get notifications in case of any system failures. These automatic alerts will help you to respond quickly and improve efficiency.

  • Amount of Work

Initially, you might not face any difficulty in entering the data manually, probably because the records to be added are limited due to a small project. However for large projects or as your work increases, you are likely to have a large data file, making manual data entry process cumbersome and time consuming. In such circumstances, you need to use software that automates the data entry process.

On the whole, inconsistency and duplication of data entry, time consuming nature of work, and room for errors are some of the major disadvantages of following manual data entry methods. However, by instituting automation, your office staff will work more efficiently and effectively, thereby helping to optimize your IT business.

How to connect E-commerce Store with SAP ERP Software

ERP is business management software that typically takes care of the back end processes of an organization. It is helpful in gathering, storing and managing data from various activities that are undertaken to run the business.Ecommerce store on the other hand, has two parts. First is the front end of the store that allows your visitors to shop online, whereas the second is the back end of your store that provides information like inventory and sales figures.

Connecting ERP/SAP with your ecommerce store is critical for growth of your online business. Yes, your ecommerce business will run even without integrating it with your ERP system. However, this means you will have to manage your sales information manually, which can be quite frustrating.

Benefits

The E-commerce integration with ERP prevents the tedious task of manually entering the data between the backend system and ecommerce platform. Manual entry process is extremely time consuming and carries a high risk of costly errors.

Data transfer errors are one of the most common mistakes that occur in online business dealings. For the business to run efficiently, you simply cannot overlook these mistakes that can put you in financial loss. All these errors can be eliminated or significantly reduced by integrating ERP with your e-store. The synchronization between ERP and e-commerce applications is important to ensure error-free transfer of data between the systems.

An end-to-end integration will save a lot of your time as it will ensure continuous flow of data flawlessly between the systems.  This means information such as sales order and inventory will move seamlessly behind the scenes, thereby eliminating duplicate data entry.

The integration will help to maintain all your attention on your business objectives – your sales and earnings targets. In short, in order to run your business with more focus, connected systems is the need of the hour.

The integration is two-way from e-store to ERP and vice-versa. This means data flows in both the directions between the systems. With integration, an order created through online shopping cart gets recorded in the ERP system without any manual intervention. This not only keeps human error from occurring but also saves wage costs.

Similarly, availability of stock stored in ERP is communicated to the online store. Thus, the customers visiting the site can get to know what products are available and can be purchased from the online store.

How to Connect VARStreet E-commerce with ERP Software

VARStreet is a popular Ecommerce Platform that can easily integrate with your ERP software.  ERP integration with VARStreet platform will make your business operations more efficient. Sales order, customer information, products as well pricing can be easily viewed and managed from ERP system, making things easier.

Also, SAP integration with VARStreet ensures that the customers get automatic updates about the shipment details of their products. Moreover, customers can also monitor the delivery process, to know when the consignment will reach the destination. The customer can simply log into VARStreet  to know the shipment delivery status online.

Although VARStreet platform provides a robust integration with ERP, it is filled with jargon that isn’t self-explanatory. So, it will require technical expertise, hence you are required to contact VARStreet customer support executive for further details. You can call VARStreet at 781-262-0610 Ext 2 or email at support@varstreet(.)com  to contact our sales representative.

On the whole, in order to reach your business goals, it is very important that you get rid of manual excel-based process flow that vies for your time, energy and focus. For that to happen, you need to integrate your ERP software with VARStreet ecommerce store. This will surely eliminate human errors as well as increase business revenue.

6 Things that can Improve your Proposal Quote

It is a known fact that in today’s competitive world of ecommerce, making your sales quote standout from your competitors is the key to improve sales. Sending Sales Quotes that are unclear and poorly organized are likely to be rejected by your customers.  So no matter how quality your products/services are, if you are not delivering professional looking quotes, there is no possibility of winning business.

Sales quotes that are easy to understand and intuitive can certainly gain more customers and increase revenue. Apart from these characteristics, your sales quotation document should include and support the following features so that they look more customer-centric.

Include Video:

Adding video is one of the best ways to improve your Proposal Quote. This is sure to capture the customer’s attention and increase the chances of sale. With a sales quoting tool, you can easily include video in your sales quotation. Inclusion of video will give a visual understanding of the product. The video should contain an in-depth explanation of product features as well as explain how buying the product can be beneficial to the customer. Videos can also contain testimonials that highlight your exceptional service, which may also help to increase sales.

Use Mobile Apps:

Consider this: You are at your customer’s office and all of a sudden your customer asks for a sales quotation. Now if you ask the customer to wait for a day, you are essentially lengthening the sales cycle. The key to increase sales is to speed up the sales cycle. Had it been possible for you to generate a sales quote immediately after the customer had requested for it, you would have a greater chance of bagging the deal. Well, now this is possible if you use Mobile Quoting App that allows you to create quotes anytime, anywhere on your mobile devices. Using this app, you can generate and send a quote as soon as you get a request from your customer. This can contribute immensely in improving the chances of winning the deal.

Add Interactive Pricing Tables:

Present a sales proposal or quotation in such a way that it appeals to the potential customers. For that, you need to include pricing tables that help to distinguish between prices and features of different products and services. Pricing tables provide a systematic way of presenting the information in a sales quotation. Sales quotes that appear cluttered will in fact increase the possibility of losing customers. Therefore it is often advised to include pricing tables that make the sales quotation clear, concise, and easy to read.

When the client is required to choose items and quantities that you have mentioned in your sales or proposal quote, placing an interactive pricing table is the need of the hour. An interactive pricing table helps to build a quote as the user starts selecting the items and the quantity. Sales quotation containing interactive pricing tables is an electronic document that allows customer to choose items and create quote depending upon his needs.

Provide e-signature Options:

In today’s digital age, make sure you generate sales or proposal quotes that support electronic signature. E-signature functionality allows your customers to sign from anywhere and at anytime, provided he is connected to the Web. So once your customer reviews the quote, he can approve it online. E-signature is an easy way to manage your contracts online. Asking your customer to use a fax or scanning machine to print and send back the approved quote consumes unnecessary time and lengthens the sales cycle. So, if you are serious about increasing the chances of sale, you got to shorten the sales cycle. This can be achieved by supporting the e-signature feature that enables your customer to submit the approved quote quickly.

Embed Payment Processing Right in the Document:

If you integrate your online payment processing system within your sales quoting document, it can enable your customers to easily place orders online. For instance, if you could provide a link in your quote that opens into an online checkout page, it can certainly make it easier for your customer to pay. The checkout page should be very well-designed and should allow making purchases by entering minimal information. A Sales Quoting Tool that integrates with a payment gateway such as PayPal will ensure that the customer’s credit card is processed in real time.

Use Analytics to Determine What’s Working:

Sales analytics have become a business necessity that help you to decide whether you are working in the right direction. With sales analytics, you can find out the products that are selling, review the products, services, and bundles that form the quotes. This can give you an idea about the strategies that need to be adopted in order to improve your sales quote and proposal. Analytics are the key to get a better understanding of customer service and sales, which can contribute in reducing the length of the sales cycle and boost revenue.

Source: http://www.varstreetinc.com/blog/index.php/6-things-can-improve-proposal-quote/

5 Myths about Proposal Management Software

Request for proposal quotation from customers is the first step towards initiating business negotiation. You can win more deals, provided the proposals are created based on customer needs. Creating professional looking client proposals is the key to get the sales order. So in the context of winning business dealings, you simply cannot undermine the importance of proposal creation.

Proposal creation can be a daunting task when done manually. In order to maximize deals and speed up the sales cycle, proposal software is often recommended.  However, there are some long-standing myths that have branded the software as inefficient and undesirable.

The following blog busts the myths of this proposal management software:

  • Creating Proposals through Software is Time Consuming

The main purpose of this online proposal software is to save time in creating proposals. It essentially automates the process of proposal creation. Just a few inputs to the software will allow you to create proposal in minutes. In other words, proposal software is a convenient way to expedite your proposal creation process. Depending upon the business type, every proposal has a specific format that does not have to be created from scratch when using the software. So using the software to create proposals is neither tedious nor time consuming.

  • Not Possible to Customize Automated Proposals

Yes, the software automates the proposal creation process but that doesn’t mean you cannot personalize your proposals. First of all, the software creates the proposal template, which is the outline or the layout of the proposal.  This is the generic content that is often applicable to all proposals. The software automates this process, which means you don’t have to waste time in making template, every time you want to create a new proposal. However, the purpose part of the proposal can always be customized as per your business needs.

  • Creating Winning Proposals Using the Software is Tedious

This is yet another myth that needs to be debunked. Just because the software enables you to create proposal quickly, it would be wrong to assume that the software cannot generate winning proposals that are unique and professional. The proposal generated is attractive, effective, and professional in appearance, which can certainly have a positive impact on the customer.

  • Automating the Proposal Creation Process can cause more Errors

This can happen only if the proposal software is itself faulty, which is rare. Keep in mind that the software is designed to reduce your burden of creating the proposal manually. The manual process is repetitive, time-consuming, and hence prone to errors. However, this labor intensive work of proposals can be easily avoided by using this software. So automating the proposal creation process drastically reduces the chances of errors.

  • Usage of Proposal Automation Software can Negatively Affect your Ability to Write Proposals

Relying on the automation process does not in any way rob you of your proposal-writing skills. As aforementioned, customizing the proposal is the key to gain clients. This customization section is where your proposal skills are put to test. This is where you have to use the software tool sensibly so that the proposal can be personalized as per customer needs.  The software automates the repetitive tasks that are required to be fulfilled to prepare every proposal.

On the whole, when it comes to creating beautiful proposals within a short time, you can always depend on proposal management software. It can definitely play a key role in streamlining your sales and increase your win rate.

Mobile Quoting Apps: Solution to thrive your business

Quoting is an essential Sales activity of any organization which takes up almost 32% of the sales bandwidth, however not much has been done in this space for a very long time. There are a lot of companies that still uses the Excel spreadsheets for their day to day quoting needs. There are a few more that uses some ad hoc desktop based or cloud based applications. However “Quoting” is such an important function that requires to be given strategic importance in any business decisions.

Traditionally Sales people would use either Excel spreadsheets or some online or offline quoting tools. While having such technology is definitely better then ad hoc quoting, however they do come with their own share of limitations such as:

  • Have to be in office to prepare the quotation.
  • Sales People are traveling heavily and hence there are delays in producing quotes.
  • No central repository of information to access from anywhere.
  • Lost sales due to delays in providing the quote.
  • Long process to create a quoting.

In the last few years there have been some improvements that has made Sales person’s job a lot better. The wave of mobile devices has become essential for organizations to use them to their fullest potential. Also, the emergence of Cloud has become vital to gain success. The organizations that have capitalized on these particular areas have seen huge success. Now with a basic internet connection the salesmen are able to access their work place from anywhere and anytime of the day.

Many traditional quoting solution providers are now also providing their software as a mobile application. Today, the Mobile Quoting Apps are so accurate and efficient that a brilliant quoting for your customers can be prepared within a minute’s time even when you are holidaying with your family on a beach. It has some distinct advantages that every sales person can vouch for.

Features of a good Mobile Quoting Tool would involve:

  • Instant Quoting: We live in a not-so-patient society. Most of us want the product immediately. The Mobile Quoting App has taken the “wait” out. When a customer requests for the quotation of a product, the Mobile App’s proposal software and Sales Quoting Tools will help you to create a quotation easily in just couple of minutes.
  • Interactivity: The most important fact is that you have the visibility of your business on the mobile’s home screen. Getting to your desktop can take time, but it takes a second to launch a Mobile App on your phone. This leads to great flexibility in working – for example, enabling home working, or working while traveling.
  • Time-Management: The sales representatives who are traveling most of the time can benefit through Mobile Quoting Tool/App by simply logging into their smart phones. Create a professional and competent quoting while standing at airport so that your customers do not have to wait until you reach your desktop. It shrinks the cycle of closing the sales.
  • Quick user response: Once the quotation is accepted by the customer, a notification would be sent which you can check on your Mobile App and revert back to your customer. In case the changes are required it could be done by Salesmen right away for customer’s better experience. Now days, RFQ and RFP could be dealt immediately by the new Mobile Quoting Tool/App.
  • Cloud computing: How powerful would you feel if you’re carrying a world of information in your mobile phone? The cloud computing is getting popular by each day due to its accessibility and flexibility. It allows you to work from any part of their world as long as you have access to a normal internet connection and control the quoting.

As Forbes contributor Christine Crandell writes, “In the eyes of a buyer, pricing a purchase should be easy and quick.”

Today the case studies have revealed that if you’re able to produce a quotation to your customer right away, it hikes your chance by 63% to win that deal. Mobile quoting is no longer a luxury, but a must have App to ensure that you’re leading the competition.