In one of our previous articles, we have mentioned that one of the factors of success in ecommerce business today is a great start before the launch and the work of the online store. In this article we would like to add more facts about that and provide several ways to improve the work of your ecommerce business to improve time management. Here you will find several examples which will give Magento online stores to solve this problem.
Product Catalog Management
One of the most routine processes in the management of online store is manage product catalog data: content/descriptions, prices, products images, discounts, special offers, stock inventory and so on.
If you have many seasonal products you can spend much time on maintaining data of the product catalog up to date. In this situation, you should think about the tools to automate the process of product data management in the online store catalog.
To improve this process in your Magento store you can use different Magento extensions. One of the most popular Magento extensions which allow solve this problem is the Advanced Admin Products Manager extension. This Magento extension allows you to modify the data of the large number of products using just one click. So you can quickly change any product data including prices, meta data, stock inventory and statuses, special product offers, dates of special offers, description of products and any other data about products.
Of course there are additions tools which can also help you:
• Stock Inventory Manager – manage inventory in bulk
• Mass Prices Updater – manage prices in bulk
• Mass Products Categories Updater – manage products assignment to categories
• Stock Inventory Import – manage inventory via importing CSV files
• Duplicate Categories – duplicate categories with products
• Mass Products Relater – relate products as related/cross-/up-sell products
The second part of products management problem is to improve product image management. Normally the standard features of Magento do not allow you to do it quickly. You have to upload each image individually for each product, which takes much time. But you can use Ajax Mass Images Uploader Magento extension which allows you to upload a large number of images for a large number of products at the same time. You can do it simply by dragging and dropping images from your computer to your Magento platform in the browser. Also, this extension allows you to setup base, thumbnail, small images for each product on one page.
Today you can find solutions which allow you import product data using CSV files, which contain product information. It is convenient if you get product data from your suppliers.
If you use any of these solutions it will allow you to significantly optimize the work with you product catalog and will save you much time which you spend on product management.
Another important aspect that becomes a routine during online store operation is order and delivery management. The difficulty lies in the fact that when you receive large amount of orders you can quickly get stuck with shipment options and delivery to your buyers. Each order must be collected in the warehouse and delivered to a fold point where order should be packaged and shipped to the customer. If this step is not to optimize and automated you can experience problems with the correct assembly of orders to your buyers which in turn can lead to major additional costs because orders must by returned from buyers again.
This excellent solution will improve this process if you use the Advanced Orders Manager Magento extension which allows you to work simultaneously with multiple orders and to see all details of several orders simultaneously, and to work with the warehouse to pack all orders. If your ecommerce business gets bigger and you have a warehouse where all products are stored you can use Advanced Orders Manager which includes several modes:
• Order Mode
• Ordered Item Mode
These two modes allow you to divide responsibilities among employees:
(1) to collect the products in the warehouse and then deliver them to the department of orders assembly and pack
(2) to send them to the department that collects, packs and sends orders to the delivery service which sends them to the buyers.
It is important for your employees who are going to collect ordered products to see what products should be taken from this warehouse and be delivered to the Department of the orders and packaging assembly. Therefore, at this stage it would be better to use Ordered Items Mode which allows you to see the data about these products which have been ordered and to see the number of the products which is required. This mode will allow you to reduce the number of operations which are required to visit the warehouse and to cut down assembly time to send orders to customers.
It is important for employees to collect and pack orders and to see the customer shipping address data, and products that were purchased by the buyer. Therefore, at this step it is important to see the general information about the order. To do this, you can use Advanced Orders Manager with the standard mode Orders Mode which allows you to see any desired order information on a single page: buyer’s shipping & billing data, purchased products items (including prices, amount, sku), order status, ordered items status, ordered items sku and any other information. This mode allows you to change the order state and status for multiple orders in bulk, as well as pricing pack list in bulk with buyer notification via email. You can track numbers for multiple orders on one page in few clicks and so on.
All these features allow you to improve the work of your department of order assembly and save much time and money, especially when you can many orders which you must pack and deliver.
One of the fundamental requirements of any business is accounting management. Online store based on Magento platform is not an exception. The large amount of sales can turn into a catastrophe for accountant management department because they should fix problems with taxes and so on.
To make life easier for you and your accountants you need to improve the process of exchanging data between your online store and the accounting system in order to understand the current situation in your business and to be able to report to the tax authorities, investors and owners.
To do that, you can use such tools that allow you to export sales data from your Magento store. In most cases accounting systems allow you to upload data via CSV or XML files from third-party systems. So you can use Magento extensions that allow you to export orders data as CSV or XML files. Then you can upload such files into your accounting system. You can pay attention to the Advanced Orders Manager extension that allows you export the orders as CSV or XML files.
In some cases you can find solutions which can improve the work of your Magento store using the most popular accounting systems, as it allows to setup communication channel between your online store and accounting system and fully automate it, without use of CSV and XML files.
One of the most important aspects in the success of the online store is to maintain good relations with your buyers. Sooner or later, any online stores faces with problems related to order management. The process is simple in the case. But there can a problem with a large flow of orders which any online store can face. If you do not have time to deal with these situations you will lose customers and as a result much money.
To improve this process you can use the RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) system. This system allows your buyers to register their problematic orders, and in same time to make this process quite easy. Using such system your buyers will be satisfied with the provided fast post delivery service.
Today there is a wide range of RMA Magento solutions which can be easily installed and integrated into your magneto store.
In addition to the Customer care is also important to be able to communicate with customers or potential customers. It’s pretty hard to do, because today we are working with wide variety of communications channels. In such situations, it is recommended to use a system that allows shoppers to collect requests in one place. To achieve this you can use the Help Desk solutions.
Today, there are a large number of Help Desk systems, which allow you to organize the work of your support or help department for your customers. There are such solutions as Groove, Kayako, Zendesk and so on. Also you can install Help Desk solutions as Magento extensions. These solutions allow you to work with questions from buyers and visitors in your online store in one place, which saves much time and effort.
Supply and Inventory Management
Certainly one of the most important processes in the online business is to work with suppliers. Depending on the country where your supplier works, this process can be complicated because of the local laws of your country and the country in which the supplier is working. Nevertheless, you should be able to understand how many products you need to purchase today. To do this you can use the Advanced Admin Products Manager and Inventory Manager and Stock Advanced Orders Manager. These Magento extensions will allow you to see quickly which products can be sent to your customers from each supplier. Also, these extensions allow you to understand the dynamics of sales.
After you order products from your supplier they should pass through customs control and get all documents which you need to fill up to get them to a warehouse in your online store. In standard version of Magento store this task can be difficult and take huge amount of time especially if you get a large number of different products, from different suppliers. To speed up this process, you should use the Advanced Admin Products Manager and Stock Inventory Manager Magento extensions. These extensions allow you to refresh the stock inventory data of your Magento store. These solutions allow you quickly find the right product in your catalog and replenish stock inventory level and status on one page in a single click in your Magento store.
If the product comes from a vendor several times a day, a week, or a month you can use Stock Inventory Import Magento extension. This extension allows obtain product data from suppliers in CSV format and automatically update stock inventory in your Magento store without your participation.
Marketing & Analytics
To understand how your online store works, what is strengths and weaknesses you should analyze the behavior of visitors and buyers in your online store. To do that you can use Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, ClickTale, Yandex Metrics and other. These tools will allow you to get complete information about visitors who visit your online store, analyze behavior of visitors and buyers and see the behavior of visitors and buyers. So you can understand faults because of which you can lose your online store buyers.
Also, you should be able to communicate with your visitors and buyers. This can be achieved through social media channels (facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram etc.). To improve this process, you should use extensions that get access to many social networks and manage them using one app. You can notify customers about promotions, news, updates on the orders status. You can use Mailchimp, Mandrill, Amazon SES – Data services which allow you to deliver letters to your customers with almost 0% rejection. So you can always send news and other information about sales to your customers.
As you can see there are 7 basic ways that can significantly reduce the time you spend to manage your online Magento store. Proper implementation of these methods will allow you not only to save time, but also to cut down costs which you had to do to hire people who did these tasks beforehand.