Whether you’ve already been running your virtual store for some time, or are just getting started, your business efficiency is likely to be a constant top priority for you. There are many details in operational and sales management that can make it or break it. In this article, we cover some free and out of the box features of nopCommerce, an open source ecommerce platform, that support both of the functional areas, and help increase your store efficiency with no investment required.
Inventory management is one of the most important store efficiency factors. Too much stock locks your capital. Too little might cause missed opportunities for sales. Either way affects the customer experience.
nopCommerce inventory management tools helps in different ways: first, you can define whether or not to display stock availability and stock quantity on a product page, as well as to not show products at all if they are out of stock; this prevents customers from disappointment of buying items that are not available.
Second, you can set up notifications that will be sent to your customers when a product is back to stock; this ensures you don’t lose your potential shoppers.
Next, nopCommerce allows merchants to track inventory in real time, which also prevents from oversells of sold out goods.
Some business owners prefer to use drop shipping, they don’t keep inventory on hand, instead, their suppliers hold and manage the inventory, pack and ship items. The nopCommerce platform supports such business model and provides opportunities for vendor management, including separate vendor admin panel where your partners can view and manage their orders, sales reports and more.
Besides the above mentioned features, the platform allows to track different product variants and stocks distributed across several locations.
Inventory management helps to track and forecast sales, which means you avoid to keep too much or too little and can significantly enhance your store efficiency.
Various payment options
According to PAY.ON, the right mix of different payment methods can boost merchants’ sales by up to 40%, due to maximized conversions and reduced drop-outs. This is especially important for those who sell internationally, as payment options vary greatly country to country, and customers from all over the world have their own preferred payment systems.
nopCommerce supports several payment methods out of the box, such as, PayPal Standard and Direct, or Purchase Orders, as well as partners with the industry leading payment providers and supports leading payment gateways that can be found in nopCommerce marketplace.
Note that for better customer experience, it is also recommended to display icons of the payment systems that you use on your page (for example, at the footer).
Shopping carts tracking and management
Current Shopping Carts list enables store owners to view all existing shopping carts of all customers and from all stores on one page. The list contains all products that were placed in carts, but not purchased. Information about these abandoned carts and their management can give additionally as much as 20% of a monthly revenue. There are can be different strategies to stimulate the customers that didn’t complete their purchases, such as gentle disincentivizing email reminders, or more pushy messages with time-limited special offers. nopCommerce platform allows to set up different message templates as well as discounts.
Marketing and sales tools
Online merchants have a broad toolkit at their disposal to increase shop efficiency by increasing sales and order values.
One of the effective practices is publishing special deals, bestsellers and new arrivals on your home page. Many online surfers don’t know what exactly they want or are not aware of new product models. Your goal as an online seller is to reach out to that segment and show the customers what they are missing out on.
Another good tactic for growing sales is cross-selling: suggest your customers something that compliments the product they are already interested in. This practice is not only beneficial for store owners, but may also significantly increase shopping experience. When a primary product requires complementary items, such as batteries, getting them in one go makes a customer free from hassle of looking for them once the product lacking them is delivered.
Store owners can also boost customers loyalty and guarantee their repeated purchases by setting up a reward points program. A Reward points program allows customers to earn points for certain actions they take on a site. In nopCommerce, reward points can be used as one of the payment methods. This option is displayed in the Payment Method area of the checkout. Exchangeable reward points can be used together with other payment methods such as credit cards, gift cards and more.
Most of the shoppers prefer to read product reviews before they make a decision whether to put their money into it. Reviews can make your potential customers more confident, so the more reviews you have, the more convinced a shopper will be in taking the final step. Reviews built trust in your store and your products, as well as increase a store’s online presence. Product reviews functionality in nopCommerce allows customers to leave ratings and comments, while store administrators may approve and delete the entries.
Conversion rates, hence a store efficiency, might also be improved by using different checkout page strategies. One of them is adding a gift wrap/message options. This might seem a “little thing”, however, it does not only add a personal touch and helps the shopper save time, but also adds to the order value. nopCommerce checkout attributes support a variety of checkout opportunities to complete purchase process in the best way.
Don’t forget about SEO to drive more traffic to your site. Check that your URLs have actual product and/or category names that are easily understood by your target audience, try to avoid including item numbers or category IDs in the URLs. Optimize your product description properly, it is not recommended to optimize your products for secondary details such as SKUs, colors or sizes, rather include brand names and model numbers in your title tags, meta descriptions, image alt tags and header tags.
Last, but definitely not the least important way to increase the efficiency is optimization of your marketing efforts by segmentation of your customers. Segmentation helps to aim your marketing at each particular group, which means saving you time and money, moreover you can focus your efforts on the most profitable customers. You can segment your audience based on location, personal profiles (e.g. age, gender, income, occupation, etc.), lifestyles, buying behaviour. Create different customer segments using customer roles functionality and set up tailored messages and campaigns for your groups.
nopCommerce platform has many features to support a store operational and marketing efforts. When used properly, it can bring significant revenue hike and slashed operating costs. So if you’re looking to increase your online business efficiency, start by exploring all the possible ways to leverage the ecommerce platform’s in-built functionality.