Retail Operations Management: Ecommerce’s Backbone
When you read about ecommerce and digital marketing strategy, you almost never hear about retail operations management. The behind-the-scenes strategy is simply not as appealing or “sexy” as cutting-edge marketing technology or innovative website design, yet failing to have an efficiently scaled operations management strategy (product management, order fulfillment, etc.) will break a business.
If Q4 taught you that there’s room for improvement in your operations management, a standalone service like RetailOps may be the solution just in time for your next busy season. We caught up with Sam Moses, CEO and overall nice guy over at RetailOps, to cover retail operations management.
Describe RetailOps in 60 words or less.
Sam: RetailOps is Retail Operations Simplified. It is a comprehensive, cloud-based operations and fulfillment platform built for growing multi-channel retailers. Tools include Purchasing, Product Management, Photography, Marketplace, Distributed Order Management, Warehouse Management, and more. RetailOps gives retailers the tools to move product faster, leverage data, and scale with confidence.
In your opinion, how do you see warehouse / inventory management for ecommerce evolving in the next 10-15 years?
Sam: 10-15 years will bring warehouse management improvements in automation for even the mid-sized retailer, allowing them to better compete with the larger businesses by being more efficient and customer focused.
In inventory management I think we will see a democratization of product, namely, there will be more relationships with vendors, making inventory available to more retailers and thus driving more competition on price. This will do one of two things, it will require smaller retailers to become more sophisticated and possibly distribute operations to the edge of their infrastructure of stores, namely out of the warehouse into brick & mortar locations; and two, force differentiation in different way: better experience, better product imagery/description, better service, or more knowledgeable and innovative ways to engage the customer to win the sale.
What are the benefits of RetailOps to an ecommerce retailer?
Sam: Being born from ecommerce retailers, RetailOps provides the tools retailers need to operate their back-office. Some benefits our customers have experienced include:
* Decreased “Product Time To Live” (PTTL)
RetailOps knows about product from the time your start your Purchase Order. It knows when that PO lands at your warehouse dock door, and gives you tools to efficiently receive, label, photograph, and enter data in a centralized system to leverage in all your selling channels.
* Increased Data Accuracy
RetailOps has a powerful “Product Information Management” (PIM) built in. Leveraging this single source of product data makes your data better, easier to manage, and using powerful Feed Management tools RetailOps publishes your data where you want it, how you want it.
* Improved Employee Productivity
Many systems forget about employee productivity. With RetailOps employee actions are at the core of the system. Everyone’s activity is recorded so you know who did what, when and where. This opens informed reviews with your employees.
* Single Data Source, Leveraged in All Marketplaces
Every channel and product site needs the same data in a slightly different way. Using RetailOps’ built-in Feed Management system that comes with direct API integrations to Magento, ASPDotNetStorefront, ChannelAdvisor, and more, retailers are empowered to massage their source product data into whatever format they need and can change it on-the-fly as marketplaces change. Never be stuck with bad data again.
What is RetailOps’ unique selling proposition (USP)?
Sam: Simplicity, Breadth and Depth of features built from direct eCommerce and retail experience. RetailOps is built from the ground up with today’s technology to solve today’s retail problems. In addition, we understand that software does not run itself, and so we throw in unparalleled service to ensure our customers are getting the most out of the system and our experience. We have an apt saying around the office, it’s not “Software as a Service”, it’s “Service with Software”.
What kind of retailer/business is best suited for RetailOps’ service?
Sam: Scaling/Growing retailers focused on eCommerce. We shine when you have a growing and distributed team, including large SKU counts…hundreds of thousands, even millions aren’t an issue, and high product churn…hundreds of new product styles per day, no problem. Our typical customer fits the following ranges:
- Employees: 15 – 200+
- SKUs: 1,000 – 1MM+
- Gross Revenue: $3MM – $100MM+
What’s next for RetailOps?
Sam: 2 things. First, we will remain wholly focused on building the most intuitive tools for retail end users (not just pretty reports for the executives) that make a meaningful impact on the bottom line, where retailers need it most. Second, we will remain wholly focused on phenomenal service. We look forward to rapid and sustainable growth through 2014.
How can an ecommerce merchant get started with RetailOps?
Sam: Give us a call, schedule a demo, and help us understand your pains and business challenges and we’ll see if there’s a fit. We provide unprecedented support including dedicated account managers and 24x7x365 support to ensure your business is moving in the direction you want it to go.
Sam Moses is an experienced technology leader and entrepreneur with a proven track record successfully growing multiple businesses from the ground level.