6 Tips to Keep Your Online Business Running Smoothly

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Did you know there are more than 102,728 e-commerce retailers in the United States that generate at least $12,000 in revenue each year? And while growth is expected to continue well into the future, launching a successful online retail business remains risky. In fact, a suspected 90% of new, online businesses fail in just the first four months of launching. While there are several factors that contribute to this low-success rate, one of the leading reasons for failure is a lack of resources and preparation.

By following these six tips, you can help your online e-commerce business be part of the 10%.

1. Secure reliable shipping and fulfillment services

Having prompt shipping times and reliable fulfillment services is absolutely essential when it comes to customer satisfaction. At ELITE OPS, shipping and fulfillment specialists go above and beyond to provide clients with streamlined services that get products in the hands of consumers as quickly as possible. With an industry-leading 99.9% accuracy rate and same-day drop shipping on orders received before the cutoff time, ELITE OPS is the go-to brand for reliable shipping and e-commerce order fulfillment services.

2. Properly Manage Inventory

Inventory management has come a long way in the past decade. Whereas it was once necessary for an individual or individuals to physically conduct inventory, there is now cutting-edge technology that can be customized to track materials and products so that you’ll never have to experience the panic and disappointment of not providing your customers with timely, as-promised delivery.   

3. Use a customized warehousing solution

When considering ways to enhance your e-commerce business, be sure to weigh the option of using warehouse solutions. By using an outside warehouse, you won’t have to worry about keeping your products safe or deal with the hassle of having products taking up space in your home or office. From custom-designed storage plans and pallet or pick-face storage, to fire and theft monitoring and 24/7 visibility via a client portal, professional warehousing and fulfillment services provide e-commerce businesses with safe, reputable solution for warehousing needs.

4. Dial in your reverse logistics

Many e-commerce businesses put so much time and effort focusing on getting the product to their customers that they fail to implement efficient and effective return services. This critical process aids in the customer experience and, when executed properly, can be a determining factor in growing and maintaining a loyal client base. By partnering with a business like ELITE OPS, your company can benefit from extraordinary reverse logics services that include recall management, testing, warranty, repair, and remanufacturing. Having this information ensures your company will constantly be improving to boost your bottom line and customer satisfaction.  

5. Utilize kitting and assembly services

By implementing custom kitting and assembly services, you can ensure that all of your products are properly packaged. ELITE OPS specializes in things like multi-media kits, point of purchase assembly, standard kitting assembly, complex kitting and fulfillment, one-to-one fulfillment, e-fulfillment, and palletizing. For e-commerce businesses, these outsourced services eliminate the need for in-house equipment and trained personnel who can effectively and efficiently assemble and kit products. ELITE OPS offers support throughout the entire assembly process which will ultimately benefit both your business and your clients.

6. Work with an experienced fulfillment company

Lastly, in order to run a successful e-commerce business, you should consider the benefits of working with an experienced fulfillment company to ensure that all your needs are met. By partnering with experts like ELITE OPS, your company can improve the pace of growth, save time and money to boost your bottom line, enhance customer satisfaction, increase efficiency, and have an overall better peace of mind knowing that critical components of your e-commerce business are in good hands.

Contact ELITE OPS today to learn more about how you can keep your e-commerce business running smoothly.  

5 Ways to Run Your Business More Efficiently

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Business owners are always looking for better ways to be more productive and more efficient. We’ve all had those late nights at the office where we’ve thought, “There’s got to be a better way of doing things.” How can we make things simpler, quicker, and more effective?

At the end of the day, you should be able to feel like you’ve moved forward and accomplished something rather than just survived. Putting out fires is important, of course, but what if there are ways to make it so the fires never started in the first place?

Here are five ways to simplify processes, speed up production, and improve your company’s efficiency.

1. Never stop training your employees.

Businesses are anything but static – they are shifting constantly as technology changes, employees are let go and hired, and new managers are promoted. So a one-time training session for your employees isn’t totally adequate most of the time.

If you want things done right, you have to teach people what that right way is. Take the guesswork out of the equation! It’s also a good idea to reiterate job responsibilities and hierarchy every once in awhile. Everyone should have a basic understanding of what their coworkers do, so duplicate work is prevented and time isn’t wasted trying to find the right person.

2. Standardize what you can.

Avoid wasting time, energy, and resources by standardizing your documents. Things like order forms and client emails are useful to standardize – they’re used pretty frequently and require minimal individualization.

It’s also helpful to standardize certain processes, which will save time and avoid duplicate work as well. Assign just one or two people to jobs that involve producing large amounts of the same thing. But also remember that repetitive tasks easily become boring, so make sure no single employee bears the brunt of these responsibilities.

3. Outsource and automate wherever possible.

Oftentimes, task automation can require investing in a new software, so you’ll need to break out a calculator. Figure out how much time each process takes in a month, the amount per hour you’d pay an employee to do that, and determine how soon you’d level out on your investment. If it’s less than two years, it’s probably worthwhile. Keep your people free to concentrate on jobs that a computer can’t reproduce – like making decisions and keeping customers happy.

If you’re really wanting to get ahead but are swamped and overwhelmed, it may be worthwhile to hire a virtual personal assistant. You get to set the hours and it frees you up from solicitor calls. It can also coordinate travel arrangements and other details that don’t always need your input to be set up.

4. Improve your online presence.

A website is a necessity these days, but people have to be able to find it. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. SEO helps makes sure your website is organized properly to move up in the ranks in an internet search – i.e., people can actually find it.

If you’re too busy to keep up a blog, a Twitter feed on your homepage keeps content up-to-date with little to no extra effort on your part. If you’re new to the Twitterverse, find a few tutorials to make sure you’re using it effectively.

5. Prune unprofitable customers.

We all have those customers who make life harder – they’re always late on payments, are unresponsive to calls or emails, and waste your time in general. It can be difficult to be selective with your clientele because it feels like you’re forgoing additional income, but it’s worth it if it saves you time. And the less time you spend chasing those customers around, the more time you have to pursue new, dependable, profitable ones.

To learn more about how the order fulfillment services of Elite Ops can improve your company’s efficiency, contact us today!

Business Collaboration

4 Frequently Asked Questions About Drop Shipping

Answers to 4 Common Questions About Drop Shipping

Drop shipping has become an integral part of business for many e-commerce companies. For some, it’s what makes business possible. But what is drop shipping? How does it work, and it is something your business can use? Here, we answer some basic questions about drop shipping  to help you decide if drop shipping is something your business needs.

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Office

5 Easy Ways to Lower Your Overhead

Less Overhead = Less Stress

Owning a business can be challenging and expensive, but some of those expenses may be unnecessary. Try some of these practical ways to lower overhead costs and relieve some of those business-related stressors.

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Employee at Desk

Keep Your Employees Motivated With These Simple Tips

4 Tips to Motivate Employees Without Breaking the Bank

Keeping employees motivated can be a challenge as it requires constant effort and attention to each employee as an individual. For companies where employee satisfaction isn’t a top priority, supervisors and managers may have an especially difficult time boosting their team’s morale, especially with no room in the budget to put toward team building retreats or training. For managers looking to motivate their employees without the support of upper management, both financially and otherwise, there are some things you can do to really boost your employees’ efforts without breaking the bank.

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Business Reports

Reverse Logistics: More Than Just Returns

Move Your Business Forward With Reverse Logistics

Reverse logistics is a relatively new concept. Most information compiled on the topic was written within the last 20 years or so. It’s an integral part of modern business, as more and more customers these days make product returns. It’s become a non-trivial portion of business expenses, and dealing with it is important if you’re trying to keep your costs low.

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Warehouse Shelves

3 Must-Have Features for Your Warehouse Management Technology

3 Key Features to Look For in Warehouse Management Systems

 

For those who send, store, or receive shipments, a warehouse management system (WMS) can make life a lot easier. A WMS is a program designed to track and manage inventory. It handles much of the paperwork involved, reducing both the clerical work involved and the chance for human error in maintaining the records. A good WMS can speed up processes in the warehouse; storage and retrieval become easier, inventory lists are always accurate, and customers always receive the product on time.

 

The key is picking a management system that meets the needs of the company. While individual requirements may vary, there are some features that are critical to anyone looking to manage their inventory electronically. Here are three that are “must haves” for any WMS.

 

Lot Control

 

In large warehouses, it’s almost as important to know the “where” as it is to know “how many.” Knowing the location of items in the warehouse speeds up picking times dramatically, and is an essential time saver. A good management system lets you manage the locations of items electronically, indicating where you’ve stored them, and allowing you to move their digital location when you move them physically. Added lot control features include marking different pieces of inventory for different customers, listing expiration dates, and so forth.

 

Electronic Data Interchange

 

One of the most important features of any computer system is the ability to communicate. In the past, documents had to be printed and mailed and then entered manually back into the system at the other end. But now, the same technology that allows your doctor to electronically prescribe your medications at the pharmacy also allows purchase orders to automatically update the system of a supplier. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) standardizes the paperwork, allowing information to flow freely from one machine to another. The same document that’s created on one end (like a purchase order or invoice) is sent directly to the recipient, where it’s immediately processed into the system. As purchase orders come in, the WMS can automatically commit inventory, so you’re never overselling your products. It saves the user a lot of needless time and effort, so it’s definitely one to have.

 

24/7 Customer Support

 

As anyone who works in the back room of a business can tell you, the trucks run all night. Shipping doesn’t keep office hours, so having someone you can call for assistance when you need it is a must. A good WMS will have 24/7 support, allowing you to call in with questions and resolve issues at any time. So whether it’s 11 a.m. and you need to print a report, or it’s 3 a.m. and the driver can’t get the handheld to work, a system with around-the-clock support can give you the help you need, when you need it.

 

If you have more questions about how to find a good warehouse management system, contact Elite Ops today. We are a Utah-based logistics service provider. We can help you find a system that works for you, and help you decide if contracting logistics services will make your life even easier.

Data Review

5 Ways to Build Customer Relationships in Your Off-Season

Build Customer Relationships and Increase Off-Season Profits with These 5 Tips

When you operate a seasonal business, you know how to work hard and fast during your peak sales months. Once the off-season begins, you might find yourself wondering what you can do to keep your business profitable.

 

The off-season is a perfect time to focus on building and maintaining relationships with your customers. Use these ideas to help bring in both profit and customers that will be loyal all year round.

1. Get Creative with Your Content Marketing

Compelling content has no off-season. Your customers don’t cease to exist once your top-selling season is over. Stay engaged throughout the year to build a stronger relationship with your customers.

 

One way to make sure you stay on your target customer’s mind is to create compelling content that matches their current situation. For example, if you sell snow-sport equipment, you might write or share a blog called “7 Ways for Skiers to Stay Sharp in Summer” or “5 Things You Can Do in the Off-Season to Care for Your Snowboard.”

 

Quality content can help you maintain relationships with current customers and appeal to new clients. Use social media to stay connected all year round.

2. Take Advantage of the Season Build Up and Cool Down

Create content that starts the hype for your peak season before it begins. If you’re selling new products in the upcoming season, start posting teasers on your website and social media accounts. Hold contests for new product giveaways to get people excited.

 

As your busy season starts to wind down, keep the love for your company going by asking for customer reviews or hosting a photo competition featuring customers using your products.

3. Start a Rewards Program

Give your customers a reason to come back again and again. Customer loyalty programs encourage repeat visits by rewarding customers who frequent your company.

 

The style of the reward program will depend upon your individual business, but a few examples include punch cards where the 10th purchase is free, points you can cash in for free product or services, and company cash you can accumulate based on how much you spend each visit.

4. Create Off-Season Sales and Discounts

After a couple of months of winter, it doesn’t take much to get people to reminisce about summer and look forward to warm weather. Latch onto the summer nostalgia and put on a winter sale. Customers will be excited to take advantage of the discounts, and you can make some money to pull you through the slower months.

 

Off-season sales can be a great way to clear out old inventory and make room for new products. They are also a good way to get customers in the door. Limited-time offers and pop-up sales can help create a sense of urgency with your customers, so they’ll feel like they need to act now to take advantage of the savings.

5. Build Strong Relationships with Locals

If your business is primarily supported by tourists during your busy seasons, you have a great opportunity to strengthen your weaker months with locals. During the offseason, they may be more amenable to trying out your business when it’s not quite so busy.

 

Try offering discounts specifically for locals. Partner with local schools and organizations for raffles, giveaways, and more. Make sure you aren’t thought of as just a tourist stop, but as a local institution. Get involved in community traditions, or maybe start a few of your own.

 

When your business is seasonal, we know order fulfillment, warehouse management and inventory management are a huge part of your business success. Contact us today to learn how our Utah distribution company can help your business with these and more!

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How To Maximize Your Ecommerce Fulfillment Efficiency

6 Ways An Order Fulfillment Service Can Maximize Efficiency

E-commerce business is becoming more common with the expanding capabilities the internet provides. Though managing your business online requires only a computer and WiFi connection, storing, packing, and shipping your products requires a lot more. Using an order fulfillment service can maximize your e-commerce efficiency by saving you space and freeing you up to focus on continually improving your trade.

Improve Accuracy

The success of your order fulfillment relies mostly on its accuracy. When multiple hands are selecting the products and preparing them to ship, there’s more room for human error. Eliminate this risk and improve order accuracy through a more automated vendor with the resources to manage your orders with little distraction.

 

Accuracy in your inventory is also necessary to ensure next-day shipping and prevent orders from being delayed. Utilizing a fulfillment service with strong inventory practices to properly track availability of your products can keep your business operating smoothly.

Work Faster

Being solely responsible for the order fulfillment process of your e-commerce can really slow down your business. Streamline your process with an order fulfillment service that takes care of all the warehousing, storage inventory, and drop shipping. Relinquishing the busy work will allow you to get busy producing more product even quicker.

Encourage Growth

When you’re able to focus your efforts on managing and marketing your business, growing the reaches of your commerce becomes a reality. Partnering with a team of logistics professionals who can fill orders as fast as you can sell will bring you peace of mind and encourage growth by eliminating fears that you won’t be able to keep up.

Enhance Customer Service

The best way to successfully grow your e-commerce is to strengthen your customer service. By not having to spend your time fulfilling orders, you can be focused on the needs of your customers. Providing that additional customer support will build a better relationship with your consumers and help you make strategic decisions to increase the overall efficiency of your dealings.

 

Track Progress

Tracking employees and order fulfillment processes will allow you to narrow down deficiencies and delays and formulate solutions. Experienced order fulfillment agencies have seamless systems for e-commerce fulfillment that will not only work with your website, but will allow you to supervise shipments in real time and view records and data. Knowing where your orders are and when they will arrive will increase productivity.

Reduce Costs

Making order fulfillment more affordable for your customers will multiply your profitability. Order fulfillment companies receive better rates on bulk materials and can offer more shipping timelines with more flexible costs. Your customers will be pleased to receive the immediate fulfillment of their orders at even more affordable prices.

 

The efficiency of your e-commerce business can increase by eliminating the hassle and stress of managing order fulfillment by yourself. Partnering with an established and ever-evolving fulfillment service will save you time and money. Don’t get bogged down with the day-to-day processes of running your product-based business, click here for more information about how Elite Ops can help you improve your e-commerce order fulfillment.

Shipping Boxes

4 Ways Technology Is Changing The Face Of Shipping

4 Ways Technology Is Changing The Face Of Shipping … And What You Can Do To Take Advantage

Is there any facet of our lives and our businesses that hasn’t been transformed by technology? One sector, shipping, has been surprisingly transformed in just the last decade, and in subtle ways that may not be obvious to the average consumer.

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