by Jake Gasaway, co-founder of Stitch Labs.
While the post-holiday detoxes are ending, it’s likely that multichannel retailers are just now getting started on their 2015 goals. It’s officially time to dust off the thinking cap and come up with new ways to increase revenue and market opportunities before it’s too late. Some of these goals may include enriched customer service, identifying new market opportunities, or streamlining internal operations and inventory. Regardless of which area retailers focus on this year, they won’t be on their own.
Here are some of the top online tools and solutions that will help business owners stay on track and make 2015 a success:
1. Inventory Management Solution.
Because companies work in so many ways, inventory management needs vary across the board. In its basic form – it’s the process of overseeing inventory flow. This can include components used in the production of other items, finished goods, raw materials, and more.
Why inventory management is important.
When merchants are neck deep in inventory and wilting away in spreadsheet hell, remember these famous words by Albert Einstein:
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
The pains of redundant manual inventory management are known to cause a bit of insanity, and in order to stop it you must find a better way.
Solutions like Stitch Labs can take away the repetitive pain of managing multiple sales channels, and soon sanity will follow. It’s a great way to launch new market opportunities and gather a holistic view of the business, all while providing automated syncing and invaluable peace of mind.
2. Customer Service Software.
Customer service software is an online solution that provides a simple way to track customer interactions. The entire team can log in, assign customer requests, and track the status of those requests. Several solutions provide unique features like a mobile application and the ability to integrate with other online software you use now.
Why is customer service software important?
Repeat business and customer referrals are key in increasing sales and expanding brand awareness. However, this isn’t something you can do with wonky systems and hacked-together communications. With tools such as Zendesk, Desk and HelpDesk, there are better ways of engaging with customers.
In addition to improving customer relationships, implementing a customer service software will save time, and provide larger opportunities to scale the business. Don’t let 2015 be the year you stayed buried under a heavy inbox. Optimize customer interactions and get back to business.
3. Customer Analytics Tools.
It may not always be a stand alone product or even called “customer analytics tool,” but it’s typically an automated online platform that syncs with your website or sales channels. It will give insights into customer behavior, purchases, source and more.
Why is customer data important?
To improve all areas of a business, you must dig deeper into customer behavior – things they may not know to ask or share. Customer service software is great for engaging one-on-one, but it doesn’t give you the full picture of how your customers behave.
With solutions such as Google Analytics, you’re able to analyze your best selling products, website activity, and from what channels people are visiting your website. Use this collective data to make smarter purchasing decisions, marketing campaigns and branded content. Test what resonates with your customers and leverage that to grow your business.
4. Email Marketing Software.
Email marketing software is rather self-explanatory. It will allow automation of marketing emails and other messages to customers. You can segment emails based on what people buy, where buyers are located, how often consumers visit your website, and more. It’s a great way to keep standard communications consistent and allows added creativity with marketing.
Why is email marketing important?
Relevant content is what will drive traffic and conversions. People don’t want you to bombard their inbox, but buyers do respond to content that fits their needs and wants. Leverage email marketing platforms like MailChimp or Emma to send targeted emails to encourage customers to buy or share your product by promoting discounts or introducing new products lines.
Getting these tools nailed down in the early part of the year will have your company marking 2015 as the most solid yet. Are there other business solutions you recommend?