Big toy company introduces mobile ecommerce solution

In an effort to stay competitive and keep up with new technology, a major toy retailer has introduced a new mobile ecommerce solution, according the The Drum.

“We’ve made it our business to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to enhancing our customers’ experience with the latest technology," said Will White, head of ecommerce at the toy company. "This mobile platform is a fundamental part of our commitment to omni-channel delivery – access to our products and promotions anytime, anywhere. Our customers expect – and deserve – nothing less.”

The company has always kept ahead of times, first introducing its ecommerce website in 1996, The Drum said. The new solution will have live stock information based on store location, QR code purchasing and more.

ComScore reports 234 million Americans over the age of 13 user mobile devices, so essentially every ecommerce company would be extremely wise to have a mobile ecommerce solution. Used in conjunction with ERP business software, an ecommerce solution can be an especially useful way of increasing revenue while simplifying operations.

Ecommerce companies must pay attention to every detail

One area where ERP business software can be a great help for ecommerce companies is in keeping track of minute details that businesses may otherwise ignore. Ecommerce Times said this can be especially helpful after a company has an idea of what the big picture is for their newly formed ecommerce company.

Designing an effective ecommerce site is a matter of both art and science, said Craig Smith, the CEO of an ecommerce consultancy who spoke to Ecommerce Times. However, the right software solution will make the science of managing ecommerce much more exact, by tracking conversions and other key numbers. Looking at what software for ERP gives a company, such as more control, more accurate numbers and the ability to please customers more easily, a company would have to see the advantage bringing a solution aboard in their business venture.

Integrating software for ERP into an ecommerce solution means labor-intensive manual processes will be minimized, businesses will have better knowledge and control over their inventory and the cost of automation will be reduced.

Looking at ERP software for a young company

Practical Ecommerce contributing editor Dale Traxler said when looking to start up a new business, company leaders are naturally considering questions touching on organization, infrastructure and customer engagement. These are many of the key areas in which software for ERP could benefit a business.

"In particular, the process of building a solid financial model forces you to think through things like payroll costs, equipment purchases, research and development, sales channels, and even office space," Traxler wrote. "I found myself adding new elements to every part of our business model as I focused on the financial aspects."

After this, the company must look at if it makes sense to start building and selling the product, what their sales channels are, what the financial model should be and how they should proceed beyond this, Traxler said. While implementing an ERP software solution at an early stage of the business may seem premature, ambitious companies may want to keep in mind how a robust ERP solution can serve even a small business in its early stages, and work this procurement into a plan.

Integrating software for ERP and an ecommerce solution would mean better control of the business, increased customer satisfaction and better productivity internally. For a new company, all of these are definitely needed.

Checklist for collections software

When dealing with the challenging and often sensitive issue of collecting payments, collections software can make a big difference. The National Association of Sewer Service Companies has a checklist that businesses should look at before choosing software.

NASSCO said companies should make sure their prospective collections software is able to collect data and consolidate it, share that data and also ensure that it is certified for different collection formats.

Because NASSCO workers are often working with clients in the field but do record-keeping in an office, its important that collections software allow for the easy transfer of information.

"How easy is it to move data from your truck to your office network," the NASSCO document stated. "Does the software have backup functions to move or copy the database files or will you be required to manually move folders in Windows Explorer."

The organization also said it's important to find out what kind of support is offered for a collections software solution, including on-site or online training classes, and to obtain references of a prospective software vendor.

Ecommerce companies need to find the right shopping cart

After all the work of integrating online sales, making an effective website and driving customer traffic to it, it can all go down the drain if the company doesn't have the right software for their shopping cart.

"Shopping cart software serves a number of roles on a business website. It acts as an online store product catalog, provides the customer user interface, handles the ordering process and is the interface among the company website, the back-end inventory infrastructure and the payment gateway," Vangie Beal of CIO.com writes. "If total control is what you want, an option for tech-savvy business owners is to integrate a standalone shopping cart to add ecommerce to a business website."

Beal said shopping carts are a great way for these small businesses, which should already have a secure website and in-house technical expertise, to manage their ecommerce operations easily. It may not work as well for those that have a hosted website (in which case the website host has a lot of control over these processes), but those with their own site can see a lot of great benefits.

One company said having this kind of ecommerce software helps businesses make modifications to their website and allows them to bring in higher quality traffic, both of which should be great for sales.

Saving money on technology and applications

Companies use collections software to get money back from customers all the time, but unless they're using an up-to-date solution that matches their needs, businesses may still be losing money. The Big Fat Finance Blog had a post by Alan Redding about how to save money on technology and applications. Redding said it's crucial to keep current on the most business-critical programs.

Redding advised companies to "transform and modernize the applications you have that are critical to your business." He added, "There are numerous ways to modernize your applications, from adopting a service-oriented architecture (SOA) to adding a graphical user interface. Or, consider platform migration, which reduces the cost of running the applications by moving them to a less expensive, more efficient technology platform."

Small Biz Trends said another way to be sure money is being saved is to use programs that integrate with each other. For example, business accounting software and software for ERP can work together to maximize their effectiveness.

Ecommerce software can reduce ‘picking and packing’ errors

Ecommerce software can effectively support a broader implementation of software for ERP, but there are areas where it shines on its own as well. Practical Ecommerce said a good piece of ecommerce software can improve the "picking and packing" of ecommerce orders to improve efficiency and reduce mistakes.

Just tweaking ecommerce fulfillment processes to take new technology into account can make a huge difference, the source noted.

"The technology required to do many of these principles isn’t complex," the website said of improving how things work. "But few merchants use these techniques, due presumably to lack of awareness or thought, and a reliance on legacy systems. Portable computers with a color screens and resolutions suitable for graphics are now readily available. But much of the software used in the fulfillment sector was written before such equipment was affordable."

Ecommerce solutions that utilize visualizations, graphics and other images are preferable to text-based software, the source said, as identifying shapes and colors is more foolproof than having to decipher complex strings of numbers or letters, which can lead to errors in how ecommerce orders are picked, packed and shipped.

Businesses will see a variety of benefits from implementing a good ecommerce solution, including increased revenue, better performance and ease of use.

Financial executives have hope for the economy

The current economic environment may be tough for businesses, but there could be some good news ahead, according to CFO.com. The website reported that in the fifth annual American Express/CFO Research Global Business & Spending Monitor, 78 percent of U.S. financial chiefs projected business growth.

About 56 percent said their companies are likely to increase the number of people they hire and 59 percent would likely invest more money in expanding market access, but one executive said it is important not to get too excited until things really do start to pick up.

"We can't be overtaken with enthusiasm in a period of expansion," said Paul Reilly, CFO of Arrow Electronics in Colorado, according to the news source. "Nor can we allow ourselves to think, in a period of contraction, that things are only going to go down and stay down."

Collections software can help increase the rate of collecting debts and other payments from clients, increase the volume of debts brought back and reduce expenses for a company, all of which are essential as businesses seek to grow in an uncertain economy.

Ecommerce software could help retail businesses see sales increase

A recent survey shows that when retail companies use integrated ecommerce software, they see good results in their sales. A survey of 200 branded manufacturers and 1,300 retail companies found that ecommerce helped increase online and in-store sales. Software for ERP, including ecommerce software, could be great for companies looking to expand.

This survey also found that 65 percent of retailers who responded saw an increase in store profit or improved customer acquisition. About 23 percent said that it helped both. Highlighting their commitment to integrated online and in-store sales, 70 percent said they would reduce their stock or stop buying from brands that sold directly to customers online.

“[A] retail-integrated solution was created to empower branded manufacturers to sell online and use those sales to drive more in-store sales and improve relationships with their retail partners,” an ecommerce executive stated. “The survey clearly shows that brands and retailers are not only happy with the model, but that retailers are starting to demand this kind of partnership from the brands they stock in their stores.”

As this survey demonstrates, ecommerce integrated with ERP business solutions could improve revenue while solidifying brands' competitiveness in an evolving marketplace.

Anytime Commerce B2B Storefront by e2b anytime apps

Anytime Commerce, a product of e2b teknologies, is a business to business (b2b) and business to consumer (b2c) ecommerce storefront. Anytime Commerce integrates with virtually any commercially available ERP or accounting system, while online orders flow seamlessly to your backoffice order entry system for fulfillment. The advanced order management system provides secure, online credit card payments, UPS and shipping integration, and sales tax calculations. Additionally, with the unique flexibility of Anytime Commerce, users can customize their ecommerce site to match their company website; leaving the user in control of the layout, color sceme, graphics, and various elements of the storefront.

HosePower USA Finds Anytime Collect a Reliable Accounts Receivable Collections System for Infor ERP

HosePower USA provides hoses and hose assemblies to mining companies and manufacturers of cranes, trucks, sanitation equipment, pressure washers, pumps and other items with integrated hoses. These hoses must meet strict tolerances set forth by design engineers. HosePower operates three OEM Centers that are expressly equipped to assemble, test, clean and distribute hoses to meet the exact needs and scheduling requirements of their busy customers. Continue reading

Manufacturing companies should be looking at business intelligence

To maximize the value of manufacturing accounting software, TechTarget said companies have to look at business intelligence. This technology can help businesses analyze data and see sets and patterns they wouldn’t normally see.

Boris Evelson, vice president and principal analyst for application development and delivery at Forrester Research, told the news source that he believes companies that don’t have some kind of manufacturing business intelligence in the mix are in the minority.

“Getting real-time analytics, such as tracking conveyer belt processes, requires new technologies,” Evelson said, according to TechTarget. “Older BI relied on batch samples and stale data. Today, manufacturers need split-second response time now for complex event processing.”

Gartner told the news source that almost all BI providers are starting to target manufacturing firms because they are large and data-rich companies.

Evelson writes on Forrester’s blog that for 2012, he believes business intelligence will be big for businesses and have more of a mobile element. He also believes information workers will want more business intelligence control this year.

Anytime Collect 2.0.4 Provides Automated Accounts Receivable and Collections Management for Business Credit and Collections Professionals

Chardon, OH, July 18, 2012– e2b teknologies released Anytime Collect version 2.0.4, the company’s accounts receivables collection software. The new version provides additional automation to streamline and further automate routine accounts receivable and collections management activities such as sending reminder emails, statements, and past due notices. Continue reading

Strategies for collecting payments from patients

Healthcare companies should not be shy about asking patients to pay and pay on time, according to AMedNews.com. With collections software now being better than ever and a greater percentage of patients responsible for a bigger chunk of the bill than they have been, healthcare companies cannot be afraid to ask for their money. The source provided a few tips for how to approach this sometimes difficult process.

"The first step is to think about the best times to ask," the news source said. "The fact that a co-pay is due at the time of service can be mentioned when a patient calls to make an appointment or during the reminder notification. If the practice has the technology to retrieve the information quickly or link it to the reminder system, staff should give an exact amount."

Without collections software, companies are asked to do a lot of guesswork. With a good automated program in place, there can be a message composed and sent to those who have bills due or overdue, reducing stress while streamlining operations.

According to the American Hospital Association, there were $39.3 billion in unpaid bills in 2010. This was an 82 percent increase from the previous decades and shows why collections software can be key.

Manufacturing software innovation may come from PaaS

Manufacturers have always striven to innovate to stay competitive, and this has only become more important in an increasingly global and high-tech business environment. Innovations are no longer focused only on the factory floor or the boardroom – manufacturing companies’ IT departments must also stay ahead of the curve. IT leaders may want to consider the promise that platform-as-a-service cloud computing holds for manufacturing software innovation, according to Innovation Excellence.

“If you’re unfamiliar with platform as a service, consider the analogy of the iPhone and it’s accompanying app store. You can think of the iPhone as the development platform,” the news source said. “To create an app, third-party developers only need access to the platform and can immediately start creating an app. In other words, developers don’t have to spend time building the underlying technology. Instead, they can start building an app much more quickly and cheaply. And once they’re done building the app, it’s automatically available for download anywhere in the world.”

Some of the positives that can come from this include upgrading manufacturing add-ons before the vendor releases them, the ability to purchase a wider variety of apps and helpful tools for the company, and being able to get third-party developers to build customized solutions.

A business ERP analyst writes on Software Advice that manufacturing businesses using PaaS can also see speedier application development to better serve the business and its customers. Manufacturing companies looking into software for ERP may want to keep in mind the benefits of PaaS and cloud computing generally.