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7 surefire ways a POS system will help grow your retail business

7 surefire ways a POS system will help grow your retail business

It’s a new year and business is booming as shoppers scurry to take advantage of sales. Shop managers are busy trying to calculate the right discounts, manage their inventory, and keep in touch with their customers. Who’s got the time to upgrade their cash register to a fully integrated point of sale (POS) system?

The real question is: who doesn’t?

Your current offline cash register might seem like the simplest choice for your POS. After all, what could be easier than tapping in a price and pressing total? But chances are, it’s creating a whole lot of extra administrative work. And that’s taking up time you could better spend helping your current customers or finding new opportunities.

Here’s a list of 7 ways a fully integrated POS system, such as Neto POS, can simplify your sales process and save you time:

1. Reducing errors in cash handling

With a computer- or tablet-based POS system like Neto POS, you don’t need to worry about typing the wrong price into your register. Depending on what hardware you’ve chosen, all you need to do is scan a stock item or select its thumbnail from your screen, and the correct price from your database will be charged. And you won’t have to figure out discounts on your trusty pocket calculator either, because all good POS systems will let you easily create storewide or single item promotional discounts.

2. Giving your customers flexible payment options

Some customers prefer to pay cash. Others never carry cash around, and always use an EFTPOS or debit card instead. Some prefer to pay by credit card, to take advantage of points offers or interest-free periods. Some like to split their payments across these different methods. A full-featured POS system like Neto POS will give your customers this flexibility to pay by card, cash, or a combination of both.

And don’t forget lay-bys. They’ve fallen out of fashion because of the manual bookkeeping required to set one up and track it. But your POS system will take the hassle out of lay-bys, so it’s easy for customers to sign up, pay their deposit, and make regular payments, while giving you full visibility of their progress.

3. Effectively managing your inventory

If you’re using a basic cash register, it’s not helping you manage your inventory. Each time you make a sale, there’s a record of how much the customer spent, but not what they spent it on. So you need to conduct regular stocktakes and manually keep on top of your orders. By upgrading to a POS system with an inventory database, each sale you make will update your current stock levels accordingly, so you know when you need to place your next order.

A full-featured POS system will take it one step further, giving you the analytical tools you need to order stock based on trends. Intuitive ordering and automatic stock updates on Neto POS make overstocking and understocking a thing of the past.

4. Streamlining your sales channels

If you’ve got multiple stores or you’re thinking of branching out, you’ve got a lot to gain from switching to a POS system. With an omni-channel POS system, you can run all your physical and online outlets (including web marketplaces, like eBay) from one central location and a single database.

If you’re still growing, a full-featured POS system will help you open an online store to accompany your bricks-and-mortar outlet. Or you can use it to take your online store to markets and roadshows.

5. Running your business from anywhere, securely

Planning to go on a holiday as soon as the new year’s rush is over? A cash register will make it difficult to monitor your business remotely. But with a secure, cloud-based POS system, you can manage your products, customers, staff, suppliers, sales and reporting from anywhere in the world. Well, anywhere with internet access.

Imagine it: you’re lying on the beach, chatting to a new friend about one of the great products you’ve just received in-store. “I’d love to see it,” she says, so you grab your iPad and show her your Neto POS store. And she orders the product immediately and gets it shipped home, because an iPad POS system means everywhere can be your point of sale.

6. Simplifying your accounting

A smart POS system is fully integrated with your accounting package and also handles your orders from suppliers. That means you won’t need to manually enter transactions in your accounting software (or hire a bookkeeper to do it), so you can get it done sooner without worrying about copy-and-paste errors. Who wouldn’t want to get their business activity statement (BAS) in sooner, with a minimum of fuss?

7. Understanding and appreciating your customers

How much do you know about your customers? Which products do they buy online? Which products are most popular in store? How do purchases vary from season to season? Your POS system should take the guesswork out of this, with advanced analytics and reporting to help you make smart business decisions.

You can also use your POS system to collect customer details (with their permission, of course), so you can email them receipts for their purchases or updates about specials offers or birthday promotions.

It’s not hard to see how a full-featured omni-channel POS system can help your retail business grow by taking care of the details and freeing up time to focus on your customers. With Neto POS, you can sell to anyone, anywhere, with everything you need to run your business on a single platform. It’s Australia’s first truly integrated omni-channel point of sale solution. Why not start your free trial today?

Redefining retail with POS software: not just bricks and mortar

Redefining retail with POS software: not just bricks and mortar

Here at Neto, we want all our clients to be as successful as possible, whether you’re just setting up shop or on the verge of expanding your empire. And when you reach the stage where it’s time to expand your operations and open a new store, we want you to do it in a way that’s right for you, making the most of your point of sale (POS) software. See, we think one of the biggest benefits of multi-channel POS software is that it makes it easy for you sell your products everywhere.

Not just anywhere—everywhere.

That means you don’t need to take on the expenses of opening a bricks-and-mortar store just to get that all-important face-to-face time with your customers. An omni-channel POS system (like Neto POS) turns every interaction with your customers into a sales opportunity, completely redefining what we mean when we think about “retail space”.

Retailers are starting to look beyond traditional retail stores, instead turning to exciting, new, lower-cost alternatives. Here are a few such places where you could consider connecting with your customers:

Pop-up shops and temporary retail stores

In recent times, pop-up shops have proven to be a great option for businesses that experience higher demand at certain times during the year. It gives you that same physical presence of a traditional retail shop, but instead of paying an extra lease or wages year-round, you only do it for those weeks you expect to make a good return on investment.

If you’re an online florist, you might open up a stand inside a gift shop for the few days before Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. A suburban fashion retailer might hold an end-of-season clearance sale in a prominent inner-city location. And if you’re using a full-featured POS system, like Neto POS, getting it ready for your new shop should be easy: just add a new outlet to your locations, and take your iPad with you.

Showrooms

One way to keep your retail lease down is to minimise your floor space by storing the inventory for sale offsite, and displaying just one of each item in your showroom. This works well for large items like furniture, whitegoods and gym equipment, which customers often want delivered anyway. But a private or shared showroom is also growing popular as a way for online retailers to raise brand awareness and give customers a chance to interact with staff. If you’re going to use this model, you’ll need to be able to check your inventory levels in real time at your point of sale—no one wants to sell an item they don’t have in stock. For this, you’ll need omni-channel POS software, like Neto POS.

Market stalls

If you want a regular physical presence but aren’t ready to lease a permanent retail space, a market stall can be a good intermediate step. Your space will be limited, so you might make the most of it by rotating different inventory through the stall each week, or using it as a mini-showroom. Whichever approach you take, a good POS system will ensure you can sell any of your items—not just what’s at the stall—and deliver it later (or bring it next week for collection). The variety of payment options you can offer your customers also gives you a winning advantage over your competitors. The only downside is that you’ll have to pack up shop at the end of each day and set it up again next time.

Selling on the road

Conferences and expos are a growing part of the retail and wholesale scene in Australia and New Zealand. The right POS system can help you capitalise on these opportunities by giving you the ability to sell anywhere. Suddenly, these conferences are much more than a chance to network in your industry—they’re a chance to connect with a customer and make a sale on the spot.

But you’re not limited to official events. Tablet-enabled POS software means you can sell to anyone at any time. Your iPad becomes a one-device roadshow, a portable showroom that’s just one piece of your omni-channel strategy.

Traditional retail store

A bricks-and-mortar retail store is usually the most expensive and involved option, but we understand its appeal: it’s your glamorous, permanent presence in the market. (And you get to host an opening party.) If you decide it’s worth taking the plunge, a good POS system, like Neto POS, will help minimise your startup costs, because you won’t be doubling up on administration. From day one, you’ll be able to see all your products, customers, staff, suppliers, sales and analytics in a single system, right at your fingertips.

With all these options available to Neto POS software users, what’s stopping you from taking your business to new retail places? Start a free trial today.

6 Steps to Start Selling Online

6 Steps to Start Selling Online

What better way to kickstart 2017 by making your first online sale? If you’re not already selling online you could be missing nearly two-thirds of your customer base.

This is because 71% of shoppers believe they will get a better deal if they shop online than if they shop in a store. Don’t let this year be the year you miss out on sales.

eCommerce is big business. Online sales reached over $1.95 trillion in 2016 and sales are predicted to reach over $4.058 trillion by 2020.

One of the many reasons why online sales are continuing to skyrocket is convenience. Customers can purchase products anytime and anywhere (including from the comfort of their own home in their PJs). Customers don’t want to worry about trading hours or logistics.

Despite this, currently over half of all Australian retailers don’t have an online store. And one of the main reasons many retailers don’t get their idea off the ground is because they’re overwhelmed or don’t know where to start.

Thankfully, getting started doesn’t have to be a hard task. Here are six simple steps to getting your first ecommerce business up and running.

Step 1: Choose a Website Platform

The first step in setting up an online shop is selecting an ecommerce platform to run your business from. There are a few things you need to consider:

  • Hosting solutions – Will you need to host your site separately or is hosting provided? For easier setup, opt for a platform that provides hosting.
  • Setup time – Does the ecommerce platform provide easy-to-use design solutions or ready-made themes? If you don’t want to expend a lot of energy on that yourself, it’s best to select a platform that offers in-house design services for consistency and to save you time.
  • Features – What do you want to be able to do with your online store? Consider integrations, add-ons, and features, and whether the ecommerce platform can support these.
  • Support – When getting started it’s important to have support along the way. Consider if the ecommerce platform offers email and phone support.
  • Cost - Platforms vary in price make sure your opt for one that offers a free trial to make sure it meets your needs. Consider what plans include so that you can scale up as your business grows.

Image Source: Neto Onboarding Guide

If you consider yourself to be non-technical but still want to run your own store, Neto is a great solution, as we offer managed solutions as well as tonnes of training and support. And if you are a designer or developer, you still have full access to the HTML, CSS, and JS of your store, making it easy to customise every aspect of your website and shopping cart. It’s the best of both worlds.

Step 2: Design your store

After choosing a platform and setting up the basic structure of your site, you need to focus on the design and branding of your store. The design of your site should help customers find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.

The best ecommerce shops should be simple and easy to navigate so that your customer has a great experience, which increases your chance of conversion. Some design best practices to keep in mind include:

  • Site speed – Your site must load quickly on both desktop and mobiles. Neto designs for responsiveness which means it loads quickly (and looks great) on both desktop and mobiles.
  • Navigation and search – It’s really important that your customers can easily find what they want so make categories and search bars prominent.
  • Include high-quality images – Images can make or break whether a customer will buy from you as they’re often the first thing they see.
  • Keep it clean – Remove clutter and unnecessary content. Too much text, unrelated images, flashy animations, fonts and colours can be distracting and may even turn away business.
  • Use white space - Creating white space helps separate paragraphs of text, graphics, and other sections of your site to enhance the user experience and create a clean look and feel. Plus it makes your site easier to read and interact with.

Image Source: Maison Blanche

Your home page is your ‘shop front’ so keep it clutter-free and sleek. This will often be your customer’s first impression of your brand so make it a good one.

Step 3: Build your products

After your site is designed, you need to start building product pages and adding product information. The goal of each product page is to entice the buyer to make a purchase. You can do that by including the following things on each product page:

  • Compelling headlines – Headlines should include searchable keywords by brand, gender, product, colour, and size (e.g. Nike Women’s Running Shoes Blue/Gray)
  • Bullet points – List the most important product specs or benefits for the customer
  • Detailed product description - Anticipate your customer’s question and answer them
  • Testimonials or customer reviews - This shows that other people trust and recommend your products
  • 2-3 high-quality images – Add photos from multiple angles or show the product in use

To ease any customer concerns or doubts it’s a good idea to link to the following pages:

  • Buying/sizing guides
  • FAQ page
  • Shipping prices and information

If you need inspiration for your product pages, check out HubSpot’s list of high-converting product pages.

Step 4: Set up shipping options

The next step in the process is to set up your shipping options. Shipping is an extremely important component for online stores.

You need to plan how to handle the various costs and logistics involved in the shipping process including timing, cost and international shipping.

When deciding on a shipping carrier there are a few things to consider:

  • Where are most of your shoppers located?
  • What type of products will you be shipping?
  • How will weight and shape impact prices?
  • Will the carrier pick up products?

From here you can research which carrier will provide the best shipping options for your business.

A few popular Australian shipping carriers include Australia Post eParcel, Startrack, Couriers Please, Toll Priority, Fastway Couriers and Sendle.

Neto integrates with all of these carriers, making shipping your products hassle-free.

Step 5: Set up payment gateways

You can’t make sales without getting paid! It’s important to work out what the best payment gateway is for your business. A payment gateway is an ecommerce service that processes credit card payments for both online and traditional brick-and-mortar stores. They securely transfer financial data between your website and the customer’s bank.

A few of the most popular payment gateways in Australia include:

  • eWay
  • eWay Rapid 3.1
  • Braintree
  • Stripe
  • PayPal
  • Secure Pay

The more payment options you offer, the better as this caters for different types of customers. Neto integrates with many payment gateways and allows you to offer multiple payment gateway options.

Image source: Shutterstock

Each gateway comes with processing requirements and fees, so be sure to research different options to see what best fits your needs.

Step 6: Set up automation

Once you have the bulk of your store up and running, you can then integrate with other services to automate tasks and process. Automation can help with things like:

  • Cart abandonment campaigns – Send email reminders about products and purchases that weren’t completed.
  • Analytics and website tracking – See who’s clicking on your site, how long they’re staying, and where they’re going in real time.
  • SEO tracking – Find out what your customers are searching for and what they’re typing into search engines to find your store.
  • Social media monitoring – Automatically post to any social media channel and track interactions with your customers in real time.
  • Email list segmentation – Easily market to specific customers and demographics.
  • A/B testing – Test out variations of your website, homepage, product pages, and more to see what converts better.

By adding these solutions to your website you can optimise your sales funnel and automate tedious processes. Neto integrates with a wide variety of add-ons to help you get the best results.

Where to from here?

One of the biggest challenges for many new sellers is getting their store up and running. Following the above steps will help you get started and take the first step towards making a sale online.

If you’re ready to start the year with a bang and make 2017 the year you sell online, try Neto for free.

Neto Webinar Q & A

Neto Webinar Q & A

If you were able to tune in for our Neto Webinar the other week, we hope you found our updates on streamlined shipping carriers, payment and stock management as interesting as we do!

If you missed out, or haven't heard a thing about it, you can view the webinar here: https://neto.wistia.com/medias/ev1un69c2h

We had a few requests for our Q & A section to be shared, so please find a copy of all the questions with detailed answered below.

Enjoy!

New Payment Methods and Afterpay

What are the different between the payment companies - eWAY, Braintree and Stripe?

We recommend you visit the companies sites in order to review their features and determine which one is best for your company.

https://www.braintreepayments.com/en-au
https://stripe.com/au
https://www.eway.com.au/

How do I install one of the new payment methods such as Afterpay or eWAY?

To access Afterpay, or one of the other new Payment Methods such as Stripe, eWAY or Braintree, you need to enable Managed Checkout. If you are new to Neto since version 6.4 this will be automatically enabled. To install go to: Your Neto Control Panel > Setup and Tools > Payment Methods.

What happens to my existing payment methods if I move to Managed Checkout?

Managed Checkout does not impact your existing payment methods, they will continue to be available after the move.

If I enable a new payment method will it be automatically be available on my website?

Yes, as long you have Managed Checkout enabled, all new payment methods will appear in your checkout one enabled.

Do the new payment methods mean we no longer required our existing bank payment gateway or merchant account?

The new payment methods such as eWAY, Braintree and Stripe provide you with both Merchant Account and Payment Gateway, meaning that you may be able to review your existing arrangements.

Which payment gateway is Australian?

eWAY is an Australian gateway provider.

Does the new eWAY now support Beagle Enterprise?

Yes, the new eWAY Rapid integration now supports advanced services such as Beagle Lite and Beagle Enterprise. We suggest contacting eWAY directly to discuss the differences and find the right solution for your business.

I already have eWAY what are benefits of moving to eWAY Rapid?

One of the most important aspects of the new integration is support for Beagle Lite and Beagle Enterprise.

Braintree is owned by PayPal, what is the difference between them?

PayPal is a payment method in its own right - credit cards, debit cards, cash, paypal - where as Braintree is a payment gateway that accepts credit cards and PayPal.

In the event of a stolen credit card or other credit card fraud, who does liability fall upon?

For Afterpay payments, Afterpay take the fraud risk. There is zero fraud risk for merchants.

Does Afterpay work without Managed Checkout?

Yes there is an older version of our Afterpay integration that is available if you don't wish to move to Managed Checkout.

Do my customers require an Afterpay account to buy with Afterpay?

Yes you customer will require an Afterpay account. The first time they use Afterpay from the checkout they will complete the short application form (about 2 minutes), and get immediate approval. They will then be able to use the account for subsequent purchases. If they are rejected, they will be returned to the checkout to select a new payment method.

What are the minimum and maximum sales values that I can process using Afterpay?

We recommend contacting Afterpay directly for questions relating to their service.

How much does it cost to use Afterpay?

We recommend contacting Afterpay directly for questions relating to their service.

How does Afterpay handle cancellations, returns and refunds?

For further information on Afterpay Returns Policy, please see Terms and Conditions or Afterpays website: https://secure-afterpay.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/203275909-How-do-I-return-goods-and-get-a-refund-

Do you offer zipMoney as well?

Yes we offer both zipMoney and zipPay. In Q1 2017 we are looking to move zipMoney and zipPay across to the managed checkout in order to improve the buyers experience with these payment methods.

Do I have to convert to Managed Checkout now or can I do it later?

One of the drivers for the development of the Managed Checkout was so that we can make new functionality - such as click and collect, new payment methods, stored credit cards etc - available to all our merchants without them needing to make changes to their store. The current version of Managed Checkout is only compatible for merchants who are using the generic checkout without changes - such as custom fields - or design tweaks. Release 6.6 will see the launch of our updated Managed Checkout which will available to any merchants who want to be able to maintain customisations in their cart and still want to access and benefit from new functionality.

Does Neto plan to support the ability to process refunds with payment gateways?

Yes, our roadmap for 2017 includes implementing the ability to directly process refunds with our preferred payment partners.

Can customers now store credit card details for further purchases?

The implementation of stored credit is on our roadmap for the first half 2017 and once deployed will be available straight away to all merchants on Managed Checkout.

When setting up Stripe, do we require a Merchant Banking Account?

No, Stripe handles the processing of cards on your behalf. Therefore you do not need a merchant bank account to use Stripe.

Sendle

Do I need the Neto Ship Add-on to access Sendle?

You are able to access Sendle without enabling the Neto Ship add-on.

Can I use both Sendle and Neto Ship and all of my shipping options appear together?

Yes, you can use both Sendle and Neto Ship, in fact we encourage it, especially if you have products over 25kg or wish to provide your customers with services not currently supported by Sendle (see below for further information).

Does the Sendle matrix / rates auto populate when you turn it on?

Yes, turning on Sendle will automatically create the relevant shipping matrix and Sendle will immediately appear in you list of shipping options - no more work required. Sendle rates are calculated through via the Sendle API, so whilst they won't appear on the matrix, you can view them on the Sendle website: https://www.sendle.com/pricing

Can I modify the Sendle matrix?

Yes, you can modify the automatically generated Sendle matrix to remove a warehouse, change the name etc.

How much does it cost to ship with Sendle?

Sendle offers shipping from $5.98 depending upon destination and plan (Premium or Pro). Further information on Sendle's rate card are available on the Sendle website . Please not that the pricing is based on the larger of cubic or actual weight.

What carriers do Sendle use?

Sendle is unique in that it does not own its own fleet. Instead it leverages a range of carriers to deliver your freight. These currently include Fastway, Couriers Please and Toll Priority.

Is Sendle just for smaller retailers or does it work for people doing large volumes?

Sendle does offer significant benefit to smaller retails who are not eligible for courier accounts due to volumes. That said Sendle also offer a Pro account with further discounted rates for merchants shipping more than 200 parcel a month.

What are the pick up and delivery zones for Sendle?

Pick up and delivery zone information is available from the Sendle website. You will find it on this page: https://support.sendle.com/hc/en-us/articles/205204758-Locations-Coverage

Are their limitations to the size or weight of parcels I can ship using Sendle?

The maximum parcel weight is 25kg. Please not that Sendle does not support tail lift shipments.

Can you send items to a PO Box or Parcel Locker using Sendle?

No, Sendle cannot ship to PO Boxes or Parcel Lockers, if you wish to provide that service, we suggest using AusPost eParcel.

Does Sendle do Express, Overnight or Same Day Delivery?

Sendle do not offer express, overnight or same day delivery. Deliveries are picked up the next day after they are booked. For more information on estimated delivery timeframes see the Sendle website https://www.sendle.com/pricing#delivery-estimates; or Delivery time frames on their support site: https://support.sendle.com/hc/en-us/articles/206034587-Delivery-estimates

Can I use Sendle in shipping methods such as "free delivery over $xx"?

Yes, Sendle is another carrier in Neto, whilst we set up a default shipping method, you are able to use Sendle in the creation of more advanced shipping methods such as free shipping.

Does Sendle allow dangerous goods?

No Sendle is not able to ship dangerous goods or alcohol.

Do you have to use special packaging for Sendle?

You can use any standard satchels and packages for Sendle (such as the one available on eBay or from office supply stores).

What happens if the Customer is not home?

Sendle's couriers will leave a card for the customer to arrange for a delivery at a later date / time.

Do you need a special printer for POS?

No Sendle labels are able to be produced by Neto using the current method by which you generate labels.

Are Sendle packages trackable?

Yes Sendle packages are able to be tracked through the Sendle website.

Is it possible to just use Sendle in the back end rather than have it appear as a customer shipping method?

By default Sendle - once installed will automatically appear in your customers list of available shipping options. Yes it is possible to have Sendle as a back end shipping method only. To do this, you should edit the Sendle shipping method and mark the Visible to Customer field as No.

Does Sendle integrate with eBay?

No, Sendle is not integrated with eBay directly. You can however use Neto to connect to eBay and ship with Sendle.

When are Sendle going to be available in New Zealand?

Please contact Sendle for further information about their expansion plans.

When are Sendle going to be available for international shipping?

Please contact Sendle for further information about their expansion plans.

Do I need weights and dimension to use Sendle?

Yes, you will need weights and dimensions in order to book a Sendle consignment - irrespective of whether that is how you calculate shipping costs.

Can I send multiple cartons via Sendle?

Yes you can send a consignment with multiple cartons via Sendle. Each carton will need its own label.

POS

What Platforms do you support for the POS System?

Neto POS can be run on any device that can connect to the internet and can run the latest version of Google Chrome browser or the Apple iOS App.

Click on the link below for a list of recommended devices: https://www.neto.com.au/docs/pos/neto-pos-recommended-hardware/

Can a POS sale be started on a tablet, saved in draft and completed on a computer?

POS sales can be parked and retrieved later, but only at the device level. Parked sales are not saved to the Control Panel until they have been completed.

Does POS support Pay on Account or Pay Later?

Yes, Neto POS support Account Payments, as well as Layby (coming soon).

Can you set up a customers credit limit through Neto POS?

You will need to use the CPanel to set up the customers credit limit. Once set up you are able to see the credit limit on the customer card as well as use the account credit mode in purchases and refunds.

Does POS support user price groups or wholesale pricing?

Support for user price groups is currently in development and we plan to make it available to all existing and new POS subscribers in January 2017. This will then enable loyalty as well as wholesale pricing.

Do products have to be active to show in POS?

Yes, only active products display in POS. In Q1 2017 we will be enhancing the product management area to allow people to indicate which channel a product should be displayed in as well as channel specific pricing.

Does POS support discount amounts instead of percentage discounts?

The POS team is current working on improvements to discounts, including the ability to set maximum discount percentages and apply discount amounts at the product and order level. It is anticipated that this functionality will be available to all existing and new POS subscribers in January 2017.

Can I use my Online Store payment methods in POS?

Currently you cannot use you online store payment methods in POS. This request has been noted for consideration for future development.

Can we use POS offline (like at markets) ? If so, does it register as just one sale or a number of cash purchases?

Yes, you can use POS offline. When you re-sync you device, each individual sale will be downloaded as a unique cash purchase.

Will Neto POS support exchange as a payment method for a like for like swap?

We do not currently support exchange. It is on our roadmap for 2017 and we should be able to provide further information about the timing in early 2017. 

Does Neto POS support redeeming gift vouchers?

You are currently able to sell gift vouchers via POS. The ability to use a gift voucher is planned for release in Q1 2017. Until that point, gift vouchers sold online or via POS are able to be redeemed via the control panel.

What is the Synchronise Data option for on POS?

Synchronise data allows you to synchronise your sales, products and customer data.

Neto Inventory

How much is Neto Inventory?

Neto Inventory is free with all medium plans and above and all "grandfathered" plans. You will need to enable Neto Inventory via the purchase orders area in the CPanel.

Are you able to do use a barcode scanner or phone app to do a stocktake or scan products to create or receive a purchase order?

Integration of scanners for Neto inventory is on our roadmap for 2017. We will confirm the timing in early 2017.

Are you able to download a CSV of the purchase order to email to the supplier?

Purchase orders are currently only emailed to the supplier in PDF format. At this point we don't support download or email a CSV of purchase orders, we do note the popularity of this feature with the webinar audience and will be investigating its inclusion in the roadmap for the first half 2017.

Will there be API access to create Purchase Orders?

This is in our roadmap, we will be able to confirm the timing for this feature in early 2017.

Can we import and create Purchase Orders and Inventory adjustments from excel, CSV or FTP?

As part of the initial inventory configuration you will be able to import inventory adjustments via CSV. The ability to import purchase orders is on our roadmap, we will be able to confirm the timing for this feature in early 2017.

Will Purchase Orders be synched down to our Accounting Package?

Yes, once you configure the relevant settings and accounts Neto Inventory will synchronise purchase orders into your integrated accounting package as bills for payment. It will also synchronise stock adjustment journals. See Question below for further information.

What Accounting platforms are you planning to integrate with and when?

We are planning to integrate with all accounting platforms available via our Neto Connect Add-on, specifically Xero, MYOB, Saasu and Quickbooks. Neto Inventory will launch with the Xero integration, and we are planning to have all integrations complete by the end of first half 2017. We will be prioritising these integrations based on customer feedback and number of merchants using the relevant integrations.

Does Inventory link to eBay and POS?

Yes, Neto Inventory offers a native omni-channel experience, meaning that your inventory is fully integrated with POS, eBay and your online store.

Are you able to add landed costs (ie Postage / Shipping, duties etc) to Purchase Orders?

The introduction of advanced landed cost calculations is planned for Q2 2017. Until that point in time you can add additional costs to a purchase order by adding non-inventoried (virtual) items to your orders. For example you can setup an item in Neto called "shipping" and add this to the purchase order, as you would any other item.

Will Neto Inventory update the Xero balance sheet, and where do the fields map to?

Financial integration will NOT be available at BETA, however at launch Neto Inventory will integrate with Xero. You will be to configure an asset account for your inventory (populated by the purchase order) and a COGS (direct cost/expense account) that will be increase when when sales are made.

For a Purchase Order, when do stock levels update?

When you create the purchase order the incoming stock value is updated. When you receive the purchase order the stock levels update from incoming to on hand stock.

Will Neto Inventory allow me to sell into negative stock levels?

Yes, Neto Inventory will allow stock to go into negative.

Can I edit a purchase order and adjust costs before I receive it?

Yes, you can edit and adjust the costs on the purchase order right up to the point that you receive, once it is received you wont be able to edit it. The reason you cannot adjust costs after receipt is that the Average cost of goods sold is generate at receipt. Once advanced cost tracking is built you will be able to adjust some of the costs - such as shipping and duties and have an manual adjustment automatically calculated.

Does Neto Inventory support 'kitting'?

Yes Neto Inventory support kitting at a component level.

Does Neto Inventory produce purchase orders for drop ship suppliers?

Yes, you can produce purchase orders for any supplier, including drop shippers. You cannot however produce a purchase order per sales order for a drop ship supplier that includes the customers shipping information. We are planning to further enhance inventory for drop shipping to include export to txt file, automated PO generation and mailing as well as inclusion of order and shipping information. We expect to be able to provide more information around the timing of these features in Q1 2017.

Can I generate a purchase order from a customer order?

We do not currently support generating a purchase order from a customer order. This functionality is on our roadmap for Q1 2017.

Can Neto Inventory be set up to automatically email a supplier or drop shipper purchase orders based on a set of business rules or triggers?

We currently do not provide the ability to have purchase orders automatically generate based on a predefined set of business rules, such as drop shipping or stock levels. This is on our roadmap for Q1 2017.

If I use Neto Inventory do I still need to use a separate inventory management package or Inventory management via my accounting platform?

Neto Inventory is native functionality, this means that it replaces existing inventory management functionality and integrates with your financial management system at the purchase order and stock journal level. You will be unable to install Neto Inventory if you have an existing inventory integration OR if you currently keep stock in you financial management system as it will cause conflict and potential impact data integrity.

If I create a Purchase Order in Xero will it adjust stock number in Neto?

Neto Inventory uses Neto as the source of truth for product and stock information with the data syncing from Neto to Xero. Continuing to use Xero for Inventory after turning on Neto Inventory may cause data conflicts and impact data quality.

Will Neto Inventory default to perpetual or periodic inventory?

Neto Inventory is based on a perpetual inventory system model using the weighted average cost method.

Does Neto Inventory support serial number tracking?

No, Neto Inventory does not support serial number tracking, however you are able to track serial numbers on the sale.

Is cost of goods global or location specific?

The average cost of goods and average retail price are currently calculated globally. Introduction of location specific calculation is planned as part of our advanced inventory functionality for multi-locations.

Does Neto Inventory support non AUD Suppliers and Purchase Orders and multi-currency?

Yes. Neto inventory does support non AUD suppliers and purchase order. You will now be able to indicate the native currency for a supplier. Any purchase order generated for that supplier will be in the relevant currency, with the value being converted into you business base currency. Whilst we will be giving users the option to export in foreign currency or converted base currency. As Xero requires you to be on their highest plan to get access to multi-currency and you need to install every currency. We would recommend converting to base currency as this will allow for direct reconciliation of payments for the user in Xero. For example if you store is in NZD and you buy from a supplier in USD, the prices etc for the PO will be in the US, and the PO will be converted to NZD, any subsequent journals will also be in NZD. Each only purchase order only support one currency.

Are you able to limit the ability to do stock adjustments and other stock related functions to certain users?

Neto has a very powerful role system, you are able to create roles and limit that role to a certain functionality. We will be releasing a set of out-of-the-box roles to make this task simpler in 2017.

Are you able to map stock adjustments to specific accounts depending on the reason for the adjustments?

Yes, Neto Inventory as a set of defined adjustments and you will be able to map accounts to reasons for stock adjustments.

Will Stock adjustments and stocktake be integrated with the Neto Pick n Pack app?

Yes, mobile receipting and adjustments is part of our inventory road map. It is not part of our launch version, but is likely to be developed in 2017.

Are there ways to product a Purchase Order without adding each product manually?

You are able to generate purchase orders from the product search; where you can search by multiple criteria such as supplier, colour etc and select add all. You are also able to generate purchase orders from sales and inventory reports such as the restock report and the stock management report.

Will Neto inventory provide me with the ability to managed multiple suppliers and costs for the same SKU?

At the moment we currently on support a primary supplier and supplier SKU against a product. At the moment you are not able to have multiple suppliers for a single SKU. It is on our roadmap for first half 2017 to provide this capability.

Is it possible to create a new product from the purchase order?

All products added to a purchase order must be in the system, however you can edit the supplier SKU that is sent on a purchase order. Adding new products and suppliers from the purchase order screen is on the roadmap.

How does purchase orders support variations such as size or colour?

Purchase orders contain the child product, not the parent product. So each different size or colour is able to be added as a unique line.

Does Neto Inventory support batch tracking?

No, Neto Inventory does not currently support batch tracking.

Can we use pick zones or location numbers in generating or receiving a purchase order?

You can use pick zones in generating a purchase order by search for products by pick zone in the product search and selecting all relevant products and generating the purchase orders. We also display pick zones on the receive tab in the system, so you can group receiving by pick zone. Please note we do not print pick zones on the purchase orders as this is a document that goes to your supplier.

Other

Do you need to have a live web store to be eligible for the Inventory BETA?

As long as you are generating revenue and processing orders via the CPanel, are on a Medium Plan and have no existing integrations, you will be eligible for the BETA program. But don't worry, Inventory will be live in December and open to everyone.

What is Managed Checkout?

Managed Checkout is Neto’s new default checkout which provides access to up-to-date payment methods such as: eWAY Rapid 3.1, Braintree and Stripe. Managed Checkout is designed with responsiveness in mind, helping you capture more sales, allowing you to focus on running your business and less time chasing abandoned carts. Once installed, managed checkout is maintained by Neto's team of developers (just like your Neto Control Panel), therefore any new features, payment methods or bug fixes will instantly be available to you at no extra cost. This is different to your current checkout, which is not updated with new functionality.

Any plans on integrating Quickbooks with Neto?

We are current building our Quickbooks integration and plan to release it in early Q1 2017.

Are there any timeframes for the Amazon integration?

The Amazon Integration is on our Roadmap for 2017 we should be able to provide more information about exact timings in January.

Are there plans to support ApplePay?

Integration with ApplePay is on our roadmap for Q1 2017.

Will Neto replace MYOB or Xero in term so of mainstream functionality?

Neto focus is as a omnichannel digital commerce platform which allows our merchants to sell anywhere and manage everything in their supply chain. We have no intention of moving into financial management or accounting capabilities and have a number of partners that provide excellent solutions in this space.

Are there going to be any updates to Neto Pick n Pack?

Yes, there is a plan to redevelop the Pick'n Pack Add-on as a native iOS application in 2017. This includes the ability to use the iPhone as a scanner.

Are there plans to connect to Albert terminals?

We are currently considering and integration to the Albert Terminals as payment devices. We will be able to provide further information about this in Q1 2017.

Does Neto have fraud management tools - apart from those provided by the likes of Stripe, eWay and Braintree?

Yes, Neto also provide the Maxmind Fraud Filters Add On which is a 3rd party fraud prevention service for credit card processing. See the "Fraud Filters" addon in your Neto Addons store OR visit the Maxmind site for further information on their offering: https://www.maxmind.com/en/home

Are there plans to integrate to Square Register?

No, at this stage we do not have plans to integrate with Square Register.

Is there a payment method available that forces customers to enter a pin number for checkout to complete?

No, at this point there is no payment method available that forces pin validation. We would be interested in better understanding our customers requirements in this space. If you are interested in this features, please contact us directly.

Is ParcelPoint on the roadmap?

In 2017 we will be rolling out improvements to our collections functionality, we do not currently have ParcelPoint on our roadmap, however this may change depending upon merchant demand.

Are there plan to extend Reporting into enhanced custom reports or more complex reports?

It is in our long term roadmap to provide more extensive reporting, however the exact timing of these enhancement is as yet unplanned.

30 Tools To Make Your eCommerce Business More Efficient

30 Tools To Make Your eCommerce Business More Efficient

With profit margins intrinsically linked to how efficiently you can deliver your product or service, improving operational efficiency is high on the agenda for every business.

The good news is, there are plenty of tools out there that are designed to do just that.

Implement a few of these, and watch your business save both time and money.

Uploading products

1. Universal Product Codes

UPCs are the 12-digit numbers that appear under the barcodes of some goods. Most eCommerce stores can generate stock information and descriptions from their barcodes, saving considerable time usually spent typing up descriptions.

2. World Lister

Word Lister is a free, cloud-based application that helps you list new and used items on eBay faster and with more detail. It makes it easy to include pictures from any device, make changes to products on the fly, or relist items that haven’t sold.

Imagery

3. Nimbus Cloud Dome

The Nimbus Cloud Dome is an accessory designed to help photographers take professional-looking pictures of jewellery and other small products from their smartphone. Essentially, it’s a portable and durable mini-studio that eliminates harsh shadows and strong specular highlights, helping to create evenly lit product shots of shiny objects. This simple tool can save hours of editing.

4. Compressor.io

When you’re continually uploading photos to your website, it can slow it down significantly. To prevent this from happening, you’ll need to reduce the size of the images you’re uploading. Compressor.io makes downsizing images easy and helps to protect the image quality. This means fast resizing of images, so they still look great but won’t slow your site down.

Customer communication

5. Zendesk

Zendesk connects email, chat, social media, and phone channels in one dashboard. Since it’s online, your support agents can help customers from anywhere.

6. Gorgias

Gorgias is an email template tool for Gmail, Outlook and LinkedIn that helps you respond faster to your customers. It’s designed to recognise repetitive pieces of text, display relevant customer information, and suggest a response. Gorgias is also developing a desktop version of the tool, which will integrate with other tech tools that hold customers’ information and let you complete more complex tasks quickly, such as refunding customers.

7. Mailchimp

Every eCommerce store should have a good newsletter system. A newsletter is a cost-effective medium for building relationships and maintaining regular contact with customers and prospects. Mailchimp is one of the best emailing tools out there, and if your contact list is less than 2,000 and you send less than 12 emails a month, it not only makes emailing easy, but is completely free.

Project management and internal communication

8. Trello

Trello is a project management tool that works almost like an online version of sticky notes. You can create cards with ‘to do’ lists, attach files, add comments which alert different team members, and move the cards around into various stages, such as ‘ideas’, ‘in progress’, or ‘for approval’.

9. Slack

Slack is an instant messaging tool that’s great for communication amongst your team. You can set up open channels including staff both inside and outside your business, helping to cut out huge email chains. You can also set up private groups for sharing sensitive information. It’s a smarter, more efficient way to manage projects and teams.

10. Asana

Created by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, Asana is a workflow and collaboration tool that allows you to manage all of your team’s tasks. Like Slack, it aims to reduce the need for email, which can be a huge time waster for employees.

11. Mindmeister

Mindmeister allows you to capture your ideas, develop them and share them in collaborative, visual mind maps. It’s a shared platform for brainstorming, allowing your team to be more efficient at innovating.

Time management

12. Freedom

If you find yourself getting easily distracted when you sit down to work, installing a blocking tool can be of great assistance. Freedom allows you to temporarily block whatever sites you find the most distracting (think Facebook and Instagram), so that you can focus your attention where it needs to be. It works across all your devices (so there’s no cheating!) and you can schedule productivity time in advance.

13. Wunderlist

Wunderlist is an easy way to get things done. It’s a place where you can capture your ideas, create to do lists, set reminders and manage multiple work projects.

14. Rescue Time

This time management app tracks the time you spend on websites and apps to give you an accurate picture of how you spend your day. If you’re not sure where all the hours in your day go, this is a good place to start.

15. Plan

This app lets you schedule time in a calendar with related notes and create a schedule to get your to-do lists completed. Its insights feature shows you how much time you’ve been spending on each project over the past month, and separates how long you’ve been in meetings compared with how long you’ve spent completing tasks.

Shortcuts

16. Launchy

Install this tool and you’ll be able to launch your documents, files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes. While it sounds simple, it’s the little shortcuts like these that add up to much greater productivity throughout the day.

17. AutoHotkey

AutoHotkey is a free, open-source software for Windows that allows users to automate repetitive tasks. You can use it to expand abbreviations as you type them, and automate almost anything through sending keystrokes and mouse clicks.

Accounting

18. SmartPayroll

SmartPayroll automates the payroll process, making paying wages and fulfilling tax obligations easy for small and medium Australian businesses. Paying wages can be stressful, and this simplifies the process and stores all your information online for easy access.

19. Receipt Bank

Receipt Bank extracts the information from your receipts and invoices quickly, accurately and efficiently. Rather than manually typing in data from each of your receipts, simply upload a photo and all the data will be added for you and published to your cloud accounting package. If you find yourself spending hours scrolling through receipts for your data entry, this tool is a must.

Marketing

20. Google URL Builder

If you want to know how well your advertising campaigns are working, Google URL Builder allows you to create custom links, so you can get exact results on how effective each particular campaign was and find areas for improvement.

21. StoreYa

Using this tool you can easily add a contact form to your website so that users can quickly contact you should they need to. You can also add exit pop ups or launch a referral programme on your site.

Social media

22. Bitly

Bitly is a great tool for sharing content on social media, offering shortened links (bitlinks) you can easily monitor. You can view how your bitlinks perform on Bitly’s user interface, save all your links and make notes on them. It’s also possible to check out if someone else shared a bitlink related to your content. It’s a more efficient way to garner information about how users are interacting with your campaigns.

23. Hootsuite

If you use social media, you need to be using Hootsuite. Hootsuite allows you to schedule your posts, comments, tweets and other updates across all social channels from one platform. By scheduling in advance, you’ll create more time for other important tasks.

Blog content

24. Portent’s Content Idea Generator

If you struggle to find interesting titles for your blog posts, Portent’s Content Idea Generator will generate some possible titles for you based on what people love to hear. While its suggestions aren’t always on point, it can churn out some crackers too and will certainly get you thinking when you feel you have writer's block.

25. Dlvr.it

Dlvr.it helps you share your blog posts post by automatically linking them to your social media. It’s the fastest way to share great content with your audience and makes it easy to manage and measure the flow of your content everywhere your audience is.

26. Google Alerts

If you want to know whether or not people are talking about your brand, you should utilise Google Alerts. It ensures you are notified every time someone mentions you on the internet, allowing you the opportunity to respond accordingly. Google Alerts can also notify you on new content related to a subject you are interested in, making social media sharing and articles for your newsletter easy. No more trawling through the web to find newsworthy items!

Reporting and analytics

27. Cyfe

Cyfe is an all-in-one business dashboard app that helps you analyse all your data, whether it’s from social media, analytics, or sales. Features include pre-built widgets, real-time reports, historical data, domain name mapping and more.

28. Heatmap.me

If you’re a visual person, you’ll love Heatmap.me, a tool which allows you to quickly view how people are interacting with your website. It gives you an instant peek at how your site is performing and allows you to see quickly the areas that are gaining attention and those that are causing headaches or being neglected.

Competitor analysis

29. Alexa Traffic Rank Toolbar

An excellent tool for checking out your competitors, Alexa Traffic Rank Toolbar allows you to see information related to their website with just the click of a button. You can see how popular it is, which queries drive traffic to the site and related sites.

30. SimilarWeb

Another great tool for finding information on your competitors is SimilarWeb, which allows you to learn more about how your competitors generate traffic to their websites. You can see which is their preferred social platform, and who are their top referring sites.

Work smarter

When things are so busy, it can feel like you don’t have time for new tools - but spend a little time familiarising yourself with the ones that will help you most, and you’ll soon see that time repaid several times over. Once you work out a system that makes you more productive, you’ll see the benefits it provides to your efficiency levels - and eventually, to your bottom line too.

Don’t get beaten by your competitors

Don’t get beaten by your competitors

I am astounded by the number of times I search for a product online, click the option to purchase, only to find that I then need to phone the retailer to pay. In 2016, this kind of disconnected experience is not good enough. Connected consumers want the freedom to buy from anywhere at any time, with a recent Zendesk survey revealing that 67% of consumers use multiple channels to make purchases.

Omnichannel Retail

Omnichannel retailing gives customers the freedom to have a connected, multi-channel purchase experience. Originally, omnichannel was about connecting the physical store with ecommerce, mobile, and social media, but has now evolved to a flexible and seamless shopping experience for consumers, regardless of whether the customer walks into a store, browses on a website, or orders via mobile phone.

As a customer, I want to be able to pay for my order from my office computer and call into the store on the way home to collect it. Alternatively, let’s say I’m looking for a new BBQ. I might also want to be shopping in-store, make the purchase on my mobile device, or via a self-serve point-of-sale device, and then leave the store, without having to wait in line to be served. I might also want to organise for the item to be shipped direct to my house and be there in the afternoon so I can cook for my guests that night.

To fully realise the omnichannel experience, retailers need to focus on the following points:

  1. Focus on making the customer the centre of the experience.
     
  2. Document and walk-through every step of the customer journey (including the automated emails you send to your customers).
     
  3. Integrate all channels. A good ecommerce SaaS platform will enable you to retain one warehouse (or multiple warehouses) and list your products through multiple channels.
     
  4. Redefine what the store is—you might find you are able to lease a smaller store but change the customer experience in the store.
     
  5. Streamline the logistics. Customers are seeking flexibility and convenience. Your ecommerce platform should be configured to offer a range of different fulfilment options.
     
  6. Enable cross-border trade. Third-party warehouses and logistics , drop-shipping, or international carriers allow retailers to sell internationally and the good quality ecommerce Saas platforms are now enabling this functionality.
     
  7. Watch out for the next big change. Australian retailers need to regularly monitor consumer adoption of new technology. For instance, augmented reality and artificial intelligence are starting to become commercially viable and are gaining traction in US, European and Asian retail.
     

Sell Everywhere

With online shopping cart SaaS solutions starting from around $49 per month, anyone in retail can start offering an omnichannel experience to their customers. If you are a retailer or wholesaler and you are not currently providing your customers with an omnichannel shopping experience, you are:

  1. Losing market share;
     
  2. Not providing your customers with the best experience possible;
     
  3. Losing future shares of customer spend; and
     
  4. Experiencing a higher costs base than those who are running an omnichannel experience.


As digital continues to touch every step of the customer journey, retailers are having to build their businesses and develop marketing strategies to enable customers to convert on any channel. According to a 2015 study by IDC, multi-channel shoppers have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel.

Increasing the presence of your products and brands across channels can also help increase total sales. According to Deloitte, awareness generated through websites, apps, and online marketplaces creates a related positive affect across all sales channels, not just online.

Manage Everything

The first part of omnichannelling is being able to sell everywhere. The second part, which is often the forgotten component to omnichannelling, is being able to manage everything to create seamless processes for you and your staff.

For some time now, there have been a number of expensive enterprise solutions such as Hybris from SAP, Demandware, NetSuite or Magento, which have offered retailers the opportunity to integrate their back end. However, a number of SaaS solutions are now starting to make the same seamless integration possible for small to medium enterprises at a fraction of the cost.

The quality and robustness of some SaaS platforms presents an opportunity for retailers to enjoy enterprise-level functionality for a fraction of the cost. Why spend $30,000 on annual license fees and another $40,000+ to maintain your ecommerce platform when you can achieve the same performance for much less? At the same time, retailers need to ensure they don’t settle for the cheapest option or the option that their web developer recommends without undertaking some further analysis. Selecting the right platform to enable your business to Sell Everywhere and Manage Everything can really help you grow your sales by providing an amazingly connected customer journey and reduce your annual operating costs by streamlining your back of house processes.

Things to look for in a good ecommerce Saas Platform:

  1. An agnostic platform (i.e. one that allows you to integrate with other best-of-breed SaaS solutions), but one that has POS, order management, shipping and logistics and inventory all built into one platform. This will save you, your staff, and your accountant many headaches.
     
  2. With inventory in the Cloud you are protecting your business against Facebook’s recent launch of peer to peer eCommerce or Amazon as it continues with its global domination. A Saas platform with inventory in the Cloud will allow you to sell on any of these platforms/marketplaces.
     
  3. The ability to run multiple warehouse locations.
     
  4. Will write and maintain all of the core integrations themselves, so you are not relying on third-party connectors.
     
  5. Ability to sell into negative inventory.
     
  6. A core platform that is very feature-rich. You get what you pay for. Many retailers building their business get caught out with having to purchase many ‘add-ons’ which can add up to hundreds of extra dollars every month.
     
  7. No transaction fees or excess bandwidth charges. How many of you are being penalised by your SaaS platform as you grow your business?


I hope this introductory blog on omnichannel shopping has given you a few things to ponder. If you start your journey by understanding the specific traits of the omnichannel shopper and build your offering around their desires and behaviours, you’re making a great start. Get to know who they are and what motivates them to shop online and in-store by using tools that will help you measure online and offline purchases across channels. The next piece of the puzzle to is to study your staff journey as they go about their daily routines. What can you automate through your ecommerce platform? Which processes as part of the journey are being performed by outside suppliers/contractors that you can also automate?

With the right platform, you should be able to exponentially grow your sales and reduce your costs, resulting in a significantly enhanced bottom line and more time to focus on growing your business.

What You Really Should Look For When Hiring New Staff

What You Really Should Look For When Hiring New Staff

Hiring the right person for the job isn’t always a straightforward process. There are many variables to consider and whether you are a startup looking to hire your very first member of staff or already have a few team members on board and are looking to expand, the right person with the right skills can really enhance your work environment and have a positive impact on production. Hiring the wrong person does just the opposite and can not only be a costly exercise, but it can also be time-consuming and even have a negative impact on employee morale.

When you hire someone who is buzzing with new ideas, wants to know more about your business and is passionate about what they do and what their potential role could be at your enterprise, you’re not only enhancing your work environment instantaneously, you’re also making a solid, serious investment in your business. Here we’ll run through some of the best tips from industry experts on how to attract the right employee and what key attributes you should be looking for in every candidate.

Know the role you’re hiring for

Human Resources Expert Susan Heathfield suggests that finding the right employee begins with attracting the right applicants through a solid and well thought out job description. This should start with a thorough analysis of what the responsibilities, duties, skills and outcomes will be for that role. After taking the time to do this, it’s easier to create a job description which will help you develop a well-rounded and targeted hiring strategy - making finding the right person easier.

Have a checklist

Susan Heathfield also suggests having a checklist to review whenever a candidate applies. Prioritise what key requirements are most important and also list the qualifications, traits and even characteristics you’re looking for in a new employee. Once again, by honing in on what you’re looking for, you’re able to more easily screen potential employees during the initial resume submission process and then at the interview level.

Ask the right questions

Of course, initial interview questions may focus around past experience, qualifications and expertise, but what about asking questions that assess someone’s cultural fit for your business? You want to ask questions that not only determine one’s suitability for the role as it stands but also how this individual may fit within your workplace and what they’ll contribute. Do your research and create a list of questions which are targeted and relevant and also give you a holistic idea of the candidate, how they work and what their personality is like.

John Scharz, CEO and founder of workforce analytics company Visier, suggests asking things like:

  • Why do you work?
  • What makes you get up in the morning and do what you do?
  • Who are you going to be in 10 years from now?

Drive and ambition can be partly measured by asking questions like this and you want to hire someone who has the drive and passion to grow along with your flourishing enterprise.

Don’t underestimate potential

Many skills can be learnt on the job or during special training. Don’t underestimate the importance of the personality of a new employee or their level of social intelligence. Maynard Brusman, owner of consulting firm Working Resources and a psychologist recommends hiring someone based not only their qualifications but also on their social skill set. "Social intelligence — being able to navigate social situations and work well with others — is very important.”

Tom Gimbel, CEO and founder of staffing and recruiting firm LaSalle Network, also believes that having social intelligence is important in a future team member, "Consider soft skills — like interpersonal skills, communication skills, thought processes and emotional intelligence — because they matter."

Find someone who is highly adaptable

In most businesses, change is one of the biggest constants, so hiring someone with an ability to adapt and be flexible should be high on the priority list. Asking a candidate about ways that they’ve previously adapted and shifted to evolve in a changing workplace in the past is a great place to start. You want to find the right person who has the ability to not only take on a new role but also continue full steam ahead should the company’s direction change or their role evolve.

Look for a love of learning

Having a key interest and pursuit of gaining new skills - even if completely unrelated to the position they are applying for - shows a desire for knowledge and an eagerness for learning. Steve Leveen, CEO and founder of Levenger, says he looks specifically for individuals who are collectors. “It doesn’t actually matter what they collect. Just that they are really interested in something, that they have passions.”

Search for those with a commitment to their career

Steve Olenski advises that it’s important to seek out an employee who is committed to their career and its progression. He argues that you don’t want someone who will simply chop and change their role in different businesses just to obtain a higher salary. Finding someone who wants to grow within a company and who has strong attributes of loyalty will pay off in the long run. Identifying candidates who frequently switch jobs should be a red flag for any potential employer.

Let the interviewee ask their own questions

It’s important that a candidate can also determine whether they want to pursue a role at your business and if it’s the right fit for them too. Opening up and providing honest answers when questions are posed in the other direction is just as important to ensure the right candidate is chosen who will enjoy working for your company, contribute in all the right ways, and be in it for the long haul.

Consider involving your current employees

In most cases, being able to work in a team environment (at least some of the time) is vital to any role. If you want to really gauge how a potential candidate will work within a particular team, why not involve a few employees in the hiring process? Each candidate should meet with a few different staff members individually and the feedback you receive from your trusted employees can also help guide you to make a final decision. If you have a few candidates who are on par with one another, going through this process can be a good way to gain additional feedback from the rest of your team. It also gives the candidate a chance to meet their potential colleagues and this can help them to visualise themselves in the role and how they’ll fit within your company culture.

Remember, there’ll always be something to learn

The truth is, each candidate will have to do some amount of learning and development when they commence a new role. No one is usually ever perfectly qualified for a position. So remember that while skills and experience are important, having a team member who contributes to your company culture in a positive way and brings their own passion to the table is also something you don’t want to discount. By asking the right questions and being prepared for the interview process, you’ll be able to hire the right person who will bring immense value to your business.

Why It’s Never Too Early to Start Your eCommerce Business

Why It’s Never Too Early to Start Your eCommerce Business

With more than 1.46 billion digital buyers worldwide, there’s no doubt that an online store is an excellent way to make money.

And with our continually growing reliance on digital media, eCommerce is only going to grow. In the Asia Pacific region, PwC research suggest sales will reach US$1.3 trillion by 2019.

Getting in now could be the best thing you ever did.

Why get into eCommerce?

Earn from anywhere

For bricks-and-mortar businesses, location is of primary importance, making a huge difference in terms of visibility and sales. In eCommerce, however, you can set up a storefront at your own domain name and sell products to people all over the world. eCommerce lets you sell to a person in Brisbane from your home in Sydney. It allows you to take a holiday in Asia while still collecting orders. It allows you to schedule your own hours and work from anywhere in the world.

Earn while you sleep

There’s not too many businesses that allow you to earn money while you sleep, but eCommerce is one of them. Sure, there’s still a lot to do, but there are automated processes that go ahead whether you’re awake or not. With a global customer base, you could wake to find a series of new orders.

It’s easy to get started

With increased eCommerce use comes more eCommerce tools to make setting up an online store relatively simple. There of course are costs associated with starting an online store, but they are minimal - especially when compared to a physical store. Some eCommerce platforms (like ours!) offer free trials to make starting your online store even more achievable.

Everything is measurable

One of the advantages to selling online is being able to track everything. You can see where a customer came from, how they interacted with your site, what they purchased, what they left in their cart and more. This data provides vital information you can use to build your online store.

Why it’s never too early

So you know that setting up an online store is a great idea. But are you ready? The answer is… YES.

You don’t have to risk it all

When you start a new business, there’s a lot than can go wrong. But starting an eCommerce business doesn’t mean risking it all. There’s no reason why you have to jump in the deep end - you can start off small and work it on the side of your current job. That’ll give you great insight into whether or not it’s worth putting more resources into.

You’ll build personal financial security

When you work for someone else, you never really know what’s around the corner. Anything can happen - but should the rug be pulled from under you, at least you have your eCommerce store to fall back on.

Waiting won’t help

It’s easy to keep waiting. Perhaps you think you’ll have a bit more time to work on things in the near future. Perhaps you think you should wait til you find the perfect product. The reality is that there will always be something telling you that ‘later may be a better time’. Don’t wait to see if someone else can succeed at something you know you’ll be good at.

Building a new business is exciting

The opportunity to make money, to build a brand name, or to make a difference in your industry is exciting. Grabbing the bull by both horns does something to a person. It sets a fire inside that’s hard to extinguish. You might not think you’re ready right now, but as soon you get started and set the ball rolling, you’ll be amazed at how motivated you become.

How to Write Fashion Product Descriptions That Sell

How to Write Fashion Product Descriptions That Sell

A smart fashion retailer knows that product descriptions can mean the difference between making a sale, and losing a potential customer forever.

They can give the consumer the information they need to feel comfortable parting with their money. They can change “that’s a nice coat” into “I MUST have that coat”.

The good news is that communicating your product’s value is easy when you follow these simple tips…

1. Know your ideal customer

When you’re trying to write for the masses, you end up pleasing nobody. Instead of thinking about all of your potential customers, think about your ideal one and speak directly to them. They are the ones you want to convert because these are the ones that will be repeat customers.

Oxford Shop does this in their description of their ‘Stretch Travel Shirt’, where they speak directly to professional men who like to travel.
 

Stretch Travel Shirt_Oxford
Image via Oxford

2. Avoid jargon

You might have been in the fashion industry for years and know a thing or two about inside fashion lingo, but the average shopper might not. Don’t use words only you can understand, and keep product titles simple.

3. Watch your tone

It’s important to remember who your target audience is when writing product descriptions. Your voice should express the personality of your brand. If you are a retailer of high-end suits and office wear, you want to avoid sounding too trendy and stick to words such as “polished”, “classic”, and “delicate”. If, however, you are a retailer of brightly coloured streetwear, you can afford to adopt a language that reflects this, using words such as “funky”, “unconventional”, and “expressive”.

Culture Kings provides a good example - with their young, urban vibe, they can get away with saying things like “this crew has all the good and so much more”.
 

Crooks and Castles C&C Fleece Product Description

Image via Culture Kings

4. Be creative with descriptive words

Adjectives allow the buyer to tap into how something may make them feel, but avoid using self-praising phrases such as “excellent” and “superior”. Consumers don’t want to feel that you’re suggesting they don’t have the ability to judge a product for themselves. Instead look to descriptive words that offer the details that build up to “excellent” and “superior”, such as “elegant” or “durable”, depending on the type of product.

5. Think about benefits

Sure, the technical details are important, but mundane features and specifics don’t drive sales - listing the benefits does. Shoppers want to know how they will feel in an item and how others will perceive them when they wear it. Make it clear what’s in it for them if they buy.

Men’s suit brand InStitchu sells the benefits by evoking images of successful businessmen in both the names and descriptions of their suits. The below description reads: “The beauty is in the name. Wear this rakish grey glen plaid jacket and all will know that you are the Boss. Named after the 3 time Melbourne Cup winning champion jockey of Makybe Diva, Glen Boss. Featuring a notch lapel and made from premium Super 130's 100% wool.”
 

InSitchu Mr Boss Suite Jacket

Image via InSitchu

6. Make them scannable

Studies suggest that more than 79% of Internet readers scan through text, picking out individual words and sentences. So in order to decipher whether or not a product is worth reading more about, it must first offer a product description that will stop a reader mid-scan. To make scan-friendly product descriptions you should:

  • Use short, enticing and easy to understand product names
  • Use bullet points for technical specifications Ensure a lot of white space within the copy Be concise Use an easily readable font size Offer two descriptive lines to draw readers in

7. Answer their potential questions

Think about any questions your customers may have that aren’t necessarily answered by your images. “Does that handbag have an internal pocket for my phone?”. “How will I get in and out of that tight dress?”. The latter question is answered perfectly by The Iconic in the below product description, which explains that there’s an invisible zip at the back of the dress.
 

The Iconic Product Description

Image via The Iconic

8. Be mobile-friendly

With approximately 81 percent of Australians owning a smartphone, today’s customers are frequently shopping on-the-go: from on the train, while on their lunch break, or while waiting for a bus. Your descriptions need to be accessible to a mobile audience, so as well as making them scannable, keep them succinct, with short sentences and paragraphs that get straight to the point.

9. Give style advice

In a physical store you would try to connect with every person that entered in the hope of converting them into a buyer, and the same must go for eCommerce. Think about how you would pitch a product in person and then try to put it into words for online readers. As a fashion retailer, customers will assume you know a lot about trends and style, so offer advice about how they can best wear your clothes.

Net-a-Porter does a great job of coming across like an expert with friendly advice to offer. The below description suggests: “Try yours with a fluid skirt and sandals.”
 

Net-a-Porter Product Description

Image via Net-a-Porter

10. Keep description lengths consistent

For the sake of providing a consistent user experience, keep the length and amount of data in your product descriptions the same across each category. If a product doesn’t warrant the same length as an other, readers may jump to the conclusion that your product range is inconsistent in quality.

Convert more customers with the right descriptions

Your product description may be the deciding factor that helps you seal the deal when a customer lands on a product that takes their fancy. Follow these tips and you’ll be one step closer to making your fashion business dreams a reality.

CEO's Mid-Year Update

CEO's Mid-Year Update

2016 has been a busy year at Neto. In our mission to deliver an open commerce platform that enables anyone to sell anything, anywhere, we have released a new sales channel (Neto Point-of-Sale), re-architected our technology stack and expanded our list of native integrations and support services.

In addition to building out our platform, we have also built out our team.  I am now lucky enough to share the office with over 100 talented individuals who all share my vision to empower our merchants to achieve their dreams by transforming how they do business every day.

We understand that our platform is critical to the success of our merchants. We also understand that having visibility over our product roadmap is important when doing your own business planning. Therefore, I am pleased to announce that moving forward we will start to share our product feature roadmap with you. This includes features being worked on and those that have been planned up to 6 months in advance of release.

You can now find our roadmap online by going to: http://www.neto.com.au/roadmap.

The release of our first public roadmap is particularly exciting because it includes a feature that has been at the top of our customer feature request list for many years, FULLY FEATURED INVENTORY. This includes: costed purchase orders, COGS tracking, multi-location stock takes, stock adjustments and transfers. This major feature will enable you to better manage one the biggest pain points in your business and will ultimately position Neto as a truly end-to-end digital commerce platform.

We have been working with select customers and partners in the planning and development of our new inventory module. This has been an exciting and motivating experience. In coming weeks and months I will start to share our progress with you, so that you too can provide feedback and input into this game changing feature. For those of you with a bricks-and-mortar presence, you will be happy to see that we are going to continue to invest in building out Neto POS. This includes adding features such as split payments, loyalty and gift cards.

eBay merchants can look forward to improvements to the usability of our eBay integration and 3rd party app developers can expect new API endpoints and functionality.  We are also in the final stages of testing several new payment integrations. These include: Stripe, Braintree, eWay Rapid 3.1 and new versions of Paypal Express and Afterpay. All are expected to be released within the next 4-8 weeks.

Thank you for being a part of the Neto community and all the best for the second half of 2016!

Regards,

Ryan

CEO

10 Tips for Coming Up With a Killer Business Name

10 Tips for Coming Up With a Killer Business Name

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

In one of Shakespeare's most famous lines, he reminds us that a name really is just... a name.

But is a name more when it comes to business?

Let’s for a moment look at some of the perks of a smart business name.

A creative business name can:

  • Create curiosity: A good business name gets people intrigued about what you actually do.
  • Be unforgettable: A good business finds its way into a person’s memory bank.
  • Offer heart: A business name that displays the heart of your brand reveals your character.
  • Pack a punch: Sometimes people only have a couple of seconds to remember you.
  • Make people smile: A smart, creative or funny business name can make people look twice.
  • Provide a point of difference: In a sea of competitors, a smart business name can make you stand out.
  • Tell your story: Your business name can say a lot about your brand.
  • Evoke emotion: A powerful business name can encourage people to feel something.
  • Create opportunity: If you sound interesting, people will ask about you. Bonus promo tool!
  • Build trust: A trustworthy-sounding name can offer a great first impression.

So with this in mind, maybe you should spend a little time deciding on your business name. After all, it’s going to stay with you throughout your business journey.

Tips for choosing a stand out company name

1. Think about your audience

It’s important to choose a name that’s going to sit well with your audience. When venture capital business CB Insights was initially founded, co-founder Anand Sanwal wanted to name it something cool and funky. He settled on “Chubby Brain” without properly thinking about who he would be working with. After speaking with the investment banks and other institutional clients that would be citing his startup’s data in their marketing materials, he soon learnt they weren’t happy with the name and so it was changed to CB Insights.

2. Make it simple

A business name shouldn’t be a challenge to spell, recite or remember. It should be simple and to the point. A number of leading companies have all chosen names between five and ten letters, and all are easy to say, spell and remember. Think Google, Starbucks and Kodak.

Do remember, however, that short url names are in high demand, so check your name is available before you become too settled on it.

3. Enlist a focus group

Once you have a shortlist of names, it could be a smart move to see how your target audience responds to them. Survey as many people as you can and gather opinions. Remember, the right business name might not necessarily be the name everyone likes best - it could be the one they remember the most.

By enlisting a focus group, you also open yourself up to possible suggestions you may not have thought of. When Richard Branson was about to launch his mail order record retailer, one of his workers suggested they name the company “Virgin” to reflect the notions that they were virgins of the business world. Branson loved the idea and decided to embrace their naivety rather than conceal it.

4. Don’t obsess over a descriptive name

The name of your company doesn’t have to make it clear what your business is - think Apple. When Steve Jobs wanted to create a new line of personal computers in the 70s, computers were considered foreign and inaccessible. So when it came to choosing the company name, Jobs searched for a friendly, inviting name that people were familiar with.

5. Think about what people can gain from your company

When consumers are shopping around, they want to know the benefits of choosing a particular brand. That’s why when in 1971 Bill Bowerman and Philip Knight (the founders of Blue Ribbon Sports) were to launch a new line of soccer shoes, they settled on the name Nike. Nike is the Greek mythological name given to the Winged Goddess of Victory, and the duo wanted their customers to feel that by choosing their product, they would become victorious. In fact, the name was so powerful that in 1978, Blue Ribbon Sports officially changed their company name to Nike.

6. Be original

If you want to stand out from your competition, think of a name that no other business has or can replicate. That’s exactly what Reuben and Rose Mattus did when naming their ice cream store Häagen-Dazs. Not only was the name unique, it used a completely made up word! They settled on it because they thought it sounded exotic and would appeal to those looking for foreign-sounding brands.

7. Don’t narrow your focus

A common naming mistake is to focus on a name that reflects what your business does now, rather than where you plan to go. Avoid picking names with a specific geographic location or product categories that won’t allow you to expand your product line.

8. Check your competition

This might be an obvious point, but check the availability of your name where you will be operating. Free searches are available online to determine whether your proposed company name is similar or identical to another already registered.

9. Use a thesaurus

A thesaurus is a great way to come up with a whole list of words that may be relevant to your startup company. Create a long list of options and then test out combining words with others. If nothing else, it’s a great way to get the creative juices flowing.

10. Look at your name from a personal perspective

As the founder of your startup company, it’s wise to choose a name that means something to you. Many companies choose names based on founder surnames - think BuzzFeed (named after founders Jonah Buzz and Mark Feed) or startup location - think Duane Reade (whose first warehouse was located between Duane Street and Reade Street in Manhattan).

Don’t overthink it

When all’s said and done, it’s your product and service that will make your customers fall in love with you, so make sure that they are your main focus and don’t spend too much time obsessing over your name.

10 Examples of Outstanding Customer Service That Fuels Loyalty

10 Examples of Outstanding Customer Service That Fuels Loyalty

You put a lot of work into gaining your customers.

So once you have them, you don’t want them to simply buy from you once, and then leave you to go out acquiring new customers.

That’s exactly what might happen if your customer has a bad experience with your customer service.

In a world where your competitors are only a click away, it’s not surprising that customer service has been called the new marketing. Excellent customer service will outshine any well-orchestrated PR campaign, no matter how elaborate.

Let’s look at some interesting statistics released by New Voice Media...

  • 59% of 25-34-year-olds share poor customer experiences online.
  • 58% of consumers would refuse to use a company again following a negative customer experience.
  • 60% of consumers wouldn’t exchange good service for cheap prices.
  • 69% of consumers will recommend a company following a positive customer experience.

As well as recommending your business to others, it’s no secret that loyal customers tend to buy more, more regularly.

But how do you obtain customer loyalty?

Effective customer relationship management means organising your entire business to focus on the needs of customers. That means learning about your different customer segments and thinking of ways to make life easier for them. It means offering added-value, incentives to stay loyal, and personalised experiences. It means monitoring and analysing the contact you have with your customers, and keeping a continual dialogue with them, where their feedback is welcomed and responded to. You’ll also need to develop a consistent brand and encourage employees to deliver high-quality care.

Or you could simply take inspiration from these excellent customer service examples, and do something that’s so unexpected and delighting that your customers can’t help but spread your name because of it…

1. Responding to a Tweeted request for a steak

Morton’s Steakhouse from the US is (by their own assertion) “widely regarded as the best place for prime steak anywhere”, but they still surprised many when they answered author and business consultant Peter Shankman’s airport-based tweet. Shankman was getting ready to board the final leg of a long day of flying when he tweeted, “Hey, @Mortons - can you meet me at Newark Airport with a porterhouse steak when I land in two hours? K, thanks. :)”

Sure enough, two hours later there stood a tuxedoed man carrying a paper bag consisting of a 24oz Morton’s porterhouse steak, along with all of the trimmings, napkins and cutlery. Someone at Morton’s had seen the tweet, got approval for the idea, arranged for a chef to cook the steak, travelled 23.5 miles to the airport, tracked down Shankman’s flight information, and had worked out where to meet him once off the plane. That’s an impressive amount of effort!

2. Flying a mother-in-law in to deliver eggs

The Ritz-Carlton knows that stories have the power to inspire and motivate employees as well as impress customers. Every day, employees of the Ritz-Carlton around the world gather for 15 minutes to share examples that reinforce their service values. One such story involved a couple travelling with their allergy-suffering son on a trip to Bali. They discovered their specialised eggs and milk had been ruined en route and were devastated. After informing the manager of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel (where they were staying), a quest began to retrieve the ruined items. Unfortunately, no store in Bali sold the products needed, so the hotel’s Executive Chef arranged for his mother-in-law, who lives in Singapore, to go to the store and buy them before boarding a 2.5 hour flight to Bali to deliver them.

3. Taking on board a 3-year-old’s suggestion

When an observant little three-year-old wrote to grocery giant Sainsbury’s to suggest that their “Tiger Bread” be called “Giraffe Bread” due to its colouring and pattern, they were clearly amused. So much so that the little girl received a response from the chain saying, “I think renaming tiger bread giraffe bread is a brilliant idea - it looks much more like the blotches on a giraffe than stripes on a tiger, doesn’t it? It is called tiger bread because the first baker who made it a looong time ago thought it looked stripey like a tiger. Maybe they were a bit silly.” The customer service manager that wrote the letter then went on to change the name of the bread to Giraffe Bread.

4. Sending get well flowers to a customer

If there is ever an example company when it comes to great customer service, it has to be Zappos. The online shoe and clothing store is renowned for the epic lengths it goes to to keep customers happy, and there are so many stories that customers flock to buy their products. Take the story of one lady, who ordered six pairs of shoes for her mother following medical treatment that had left her feet numb and sensitive to pressure. Her mother tried them on but not all of them worked, so she called the company to explain why she was returning so many shoes. Two days later, the mother received a large bouquet of flowers from Zappos, wishing her well and hoping that she recovered from her treatments soon. The customer, her mother, and her sister were also upgraded to Zappos VIP Members.

5. Shielding customers from the rain

This next story shows that gestures don’t have to be grand to get noticed. A Wendy’s employee, having noticed an old man about to step out into the pouring rain, ran outside, picked an umbrella out of an outside table, and held it over the gentleman as he walked from the restaurant to his car. The scene was captured by a man sitting in his vehicle, who then shared an image on Reddit and recounted the story.

6. Sending a personalised birthday gift from the CEO

Valve Corporation is an American video game developer and CEO Gabe Newell has an army of fans. The company today is worth billions of dollars, but no matter how big it gets, Newell is always quick to respond to and address the needs of the company's ever-growing customer base. When one customer asked him to sign a piece of paper and send it to him for his birthday, he went above and beyond to make his birthday gift special. Instead of a piece of paper, Newell sent a Portal mousepad with his signature, and a copy of The Sacrifice with a ton of signatures from Valve employees.

7. Free food delivered to a snowed-in veteran

When neighbourhood grocery store Trader Joe’s heard that a local WWII veteran was snowed in at his house with little food, they arranged for a home delivery of low-sodium foods to match his dietary needs. The store doesn’t usually make house calls, but they made an exception at the request of his daughter. Better yet, they didn’t charge a cent for the the delivery or the groceries.

8. A pilot waits for grieving grandfather

A lady rang Southwest Airlines to arrange a flight for her husband, enroute from a business trip in L.A. He needed to get Denver hospital, to see his three-year-old grandson for the last time. The boy, who had been beaten into a coma by his mother’s boyfriend, was being taken off life support that evening. The passenger arrived late to the plane and thought he was going to miss his flight. Fortunately, the pilot, who knew the man’s reason for travel, wasn’t going anywhere without him. The plane had waited.

9. Wife said no, Apple said yes

When the iPad 2 was launched, a man purchased one online only to return it to the company almost immediately. His explanation for returning it came in the form of a Post-It note which simply said “Wife said no”. Return processors must have got a kick out of the note, as not only did they give the man a full refund, they returned the iPad to him with a Post-It note that said, “Apple said yes”.

10. Custom toys for a child in hospital

When Bungie Studios, one of the most beloved game developers in the industry, heard a little fan of Halo was in the hospital at Christmas and unable to enjoy their latest release, they sent him the next best thing. Well actually, something better. The entire Bungie team took turns signing a customised get well soon card (which suggested that “world domination can wait”), and they also sent a custom helmet based off the main character along with shirts, toys and custom art from the game’s designers.

The message? Go above and beyond

Stories are one of the most powerful marketing tools you can harness. Customers love to share their positive experiences, so if you can find ways to surprise them by going above and beyond just like these companies did, you’ll be sure to win their loyalty.

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