This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com - #Growing Your Business
The success of your e-commerce business might depend on it.
5 min read
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With the e-ommerce space growing rapidly, there’s a lot of opportunity for both seasoned and first-time entrepreneurs to start a business online. It’s estimated that the number of people worldwide who make purchases online reach 1.92 billion in 2019 and that global e-commerce sales will reach $3.45 trillion. Whether you plan to capitalize on some of the trending items purchased online or want to go your own way with a unique product, it’s a great time to get involved.
Starting an e-commerce business isn’t as simple as launching a website and taking orders, though. There are a lot of things that need to happen behind the scenes in order to make your business work, and one of the most important is a great courier service and comprehensive courier-management tools. With the courier and local-delivery market valuated at $108 billion in the U.S. alone, there are plenty of software options to go with.
If you’ve been wondering how to find the right software for you and your new company or are unhappy with your current software and are ready to switch to a better one, the tips below can help.
Decide Exactly What You Need
Before you can find the right delivery-management software, you have to sit down and clearly outline your needs and expectations. Do you want it to send you real-time updates? Do you want it to suggest optimized routes for couriers? Whether you have a few items on your list already or not, you will definitely want to consider the following characteristics:
Automation. If you or a member of your staff is still manually entering orders and tracking information into a sheet and otherwise managing couriers and deliveries by hand, then you need to put automation at the top of your list. Many delivery-management programs can automate different tasks, including the input of data like orders.
Real-Time Updates. Real-time updates are not only convenient, but they’re also a great way to offer better customer service to your clients. When you get real-time updates, you can better keep track of orders and have better records to help customers out when they come back with questions or concerns. Better yet, you can choose software that can give real-time updates to both you and your customers, so they know exactly what to expect.
Seamless Integration. It’s important that your delivery-management software be able to integrate with the other software you’re using to run your business. You’ll want to be able to connect to the software you use to accept and generate orders, the software you use to keep customers up to date, etc.
Actionable Analytics. Analytics are extremely important for any type of business, especially analytics that are actionable. You’ll want to find and use a software that not only gives you data about your orders and deliveries but gives it to you in a way that you can read and understand so that you can then make informed decisions and take action that will help you improve your processes and company.
Route Optimization. As a courier, it’s frustrating to have to drive back and forth and down the same street three separate times to get all of your deliveries done because the route you were given isn’t clear and optimized. It’s also frustrating as a business as it can take more time and cause problems and concerns for your customers, delaying packages in some cases. Luckily, many software offers route optimization and it’s an important attribute you’ll want to ensure your software has.
Research and Compare
Once you’ve decided exactly what you’re looking for in a delivery-management software, you’ll need to do some research. There are many different companies out there, but each software is unique and will perform in different ways and offer different attributes, some of which you may or may not need. Once you’ve done your research and narrowed it down to a few, you can compare your options and decide which software truly is the best fit for you and your company.
Do a Trial
Once you’ve chosen software that you think will fit your company’s needs, do a temporary trial if you can. Luckily, many companies offer the opportunity to test out their software for a limited time before making a full purchase. A trial will allow you to see and feel how the software functions in reality. Even if it seems to have everything you need on paper, you may find that it doesn’t meet all of your needs in practice, and a trial will allow you to make a switch to another software more easily so that you can find the perfect one.
When it comes to running an e-commerce business, there are a lot of different aspects that need to be running smoothly, and with the help of the right delivery-management software, you can ensure that all of your orders are delivered in an optimal, timely manner. When you use software with attributes like automation and route optimization, you can save yourself, your staff and your couriers more time and even money than you may have otherwise thought you could.