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How To Run An Efficient Back Office For Your Online Shop
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How to Run An Efficient Back Office for Your Online Shop

The first rule in running any business efficiently is tight, well thought through processes with bespoke software to drive them.

Defining Your Processes

This is the first and most important stage. The information and workflows charted during this operation become the basis for all subsequent steps. As this is the most crucial step, attention to detail is all. If you are not confident at drawing up your processes in a useful format, it may be worth engaging a business process consultant to help you with this.

When it goes well

Initially, draw out the ideal process, such as when a sales order is processed with absolutely no hitches. How it should work when everything goes perfectly to plan and no revisions or corrections are required.

When it goes wrong

Now take your perfect, ideal process flow and change it. Put in the feedback loops and returns to accomodate the extra decisions and actions required when something goes wrong. This will help you plan for future events where you will need to react quickly to a mishap.

It is difficult to think through every way in which things can go wrong. You may need to do this in several stages. Don't feel you should rush this exercise. It could well be very helpful if you were to make an initial attempt then come back to it after a few days. You could surprise yourself with what you have missed out. The back of your mind will have been working over the situations you have been imagining and may well have come up with a better method with which to deal with them. Don't rush it!

Inputs and Outputs

A key area to look at is inputs and outputs. At each stage of the process, do the inputs and outputs make sense? In this situation, one of the main outputs is the output from your online shop. The sales and customer information for each online sale. When this arrives in your office, probably by email, what do you input it in to? This is where the investment in bespoke software pays you back many times over.

Bespoke software will have your newly drawn out processes hard-wired into it. This means that the member of staff will be guided down a set sequence of steps. When the information for a new online sale is received, they will have one option open to them. This means there is a much lower risk of mistakes and much less staff training required.

The smoothest and most efficient way to tie your processes together so that your business operates in an integrated fashion, is bespoke software. One of its key advantages is that it integrates your software with your processes. It can also tie together your existing software programs. In this situation, your ideal solution would be a program which filled the gap between your online shop and your book-keeping software. Or, even better, a program which replaced both of these and filled the gap in between. A single, integrated system. This would make your marketing and customer retention much more straightforward, and greatly reduce your staff training requirements.


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