Most retailers do the bulk of their annual business during the
traditional holiday season or other branded holiday
opportunities. Unfortunately, that’s also when many retailers
discover that process inefficiencies and disconnected data
flows are delivering a disjointed and disappointing customer
experience right when it matters most. And that can lead to
poor ratings, damaged reputation, and lost sales.
As you plan for the holiday season—and other peak shopping days
for your products—it’s important to make sure your eCommerce
ecosystem is up to the task. For example, if you use separate,
siloed systems for customer communications, fulfillment,
inventory management, and product updates, then your apps
aren’t talking fluently to your ERP or each other, and that can
hurt your ability to do business. Solid integration between
Magento Commerce, your ERP, and all other systems that run your
business will eliminate manual data-entry chokepoints, and keep
you agile and able to scale as order volumes spike.
How Prepared is Your Business for The Coming Holiday Buying
Ask the following questions to find out:
Do you spend 10+ hours a week manually moving
data between systems?
Many merchants discount the impact to the business of
even “quick” manual processes related to orders and
fulfillment. But what seems tolerable now—15 minutes per
order to manually move or re-enter data to your
fulfillment system, for instance—will translate to
significant slowdowns and errors when you go into rush
mode. That means you’ll be unable to operate smoothly at
what should be your most successful time of year, and you
simply won’t be able to scale for growth.
Are all of your sales channels accurately showing
If you still rely on clunky manual or batch processes to
keep sales and inventory in sync, then spikes in order
volume might stall your ability to sell right when
customers are most eager to buy. In-stock inventory
mistakenly listed as out-of-stock (or the reverse) will
create a confusing and frustrating customer experience.
And accurate product availability is even more essential
when you sell across multiple channels.
Is product and price information reliably up to
If you make frequent changes to your product catalog that
sits within your ERP, it’s essential that these updates
automatically roll out across all of your selling
channels. Because customers—especially customers in
holiday rush mode—won’t be happy with anything less than
up-to-the-minute information on price and product details
such as colors, descriptions, images, and sizes.
Can you meet customer expectations after
the order is placed?
Most sellers have fulfillment targets (e.g. within two
hours of checkout), a metric that can become impossible
to meet when orders spike if you aren’t prepared. You
need to be sure that orders automatically flow from your
Magento Commerce storefront to your fulfillment center
(whether you fulfill directly or via 3PL), and that your
call center has the real-time visibility to quickly
answer customer calls on order status.
Are returns and cancellations as easy as placing
a new order?
In a recent
survey of online shoppers, nearly 50% of shoppers
returned an item purchased online—in particular, apparel
items—and 95% of shoppers indicated they would buy again
from a retailer after a positive returns experience, a
clear competitive advantage. Do you have an easy, clearly
defined returns process that gives customers visibility
into the status of their returns (and refunds)? If so, it
can go a long way toward ensuring holiday customers
become repeat customers.
Beyond traditional peak holiday selling spikes, there are other
selling opportunities that can cause big jumps in order volumes
and propel you into a situation that outstrips your ability to
track and fulfill at the pace customers expect. Let’s say your
product is going to be featured as “Today’s Special Value” on
QVC. That’s the kind of break that can temporarily boost orders
into the stratosphere, just like a holiday rush.
It’s just common sense: Make sure your Magento Commerce
platform is seamlessly integrated with the backend systems that
automate orders, deftly manage inventory, sync critical data,
and provide real-time visibility where—and when—it’s needed
most. And that same level of tight integration is just as
important between your ERP and cloud-based apps that run other
key business processes for you, such as Amazon, eBay, JIRA,
Zendesk, and the like.
Everyone loves a holiday bonus. Having the right systems in
place and intelligently integrated before the bonus
arrives will make sure you’re ready and able to “take it to the
About Chris Generalis and Celigo
Chris is in charge of strategic alliances for Celigo. While at
Magento Commerce, PayPal, and eBay, Chris developed strategic
partnerships to extend the value of these products. At Celigo,
Chris is establishing and nurturing a partner ecosystem for
cloud integrations. Used by thousands of companies, Celigo’s
SmartConnectors™ provide out-of-the-box, prebuilt
integrations for popular cloud applications including NetSuite,
Magento Commerce, Amazon, eBay, Salesforce, Zendesk, and
others. Celigo’s iPaaS platform, integrator.io, can be used by tech-savvy business
users and operations staff to quickly and easily build their
own integrations between any applications. Visit www.celigo.com to learn about how
you can streamline your business with Celigo’s integration
solutions. Do you need to integrate Magento Commerce with your
ERP and other systems? Contact us at email@example.com to schedule a