As we approach year-end, many of you business owners are reflecting on the year to see what worked, what didn’t, and what can be optimized. This type of reflection is one of the best things you can do when gearing up for Q1 2022, because it’s coming up fast.
This type of year-end review or audit should be done regularly to make sure your business is operating as smooth as possible and potential revenue is at its maximum. So, today we’re focusing on a five principles to maximize operational efficiency for your online store. These optimizations, in particular, are easy to implement–no long business processes–and can get you 3-5% increase in revenue overnight.
1. Get an External Audit Done on Your Online Business
One of the best things you can do to maximize operation efficiency is to get an audit done. It’s a simple task that doesn’t get performed often enough by most businesses but can definitely add a lot of value.
The audit works best if you get someone that doesn’t know your business. So that could be a expert that you’ve never met or contacted before, or it could be someone you know and trust. As long as they aren’t familiar with your business, that’s never seen your funnel before, then the audit will come out with the best results.
This auditor should test everything about your funnel. Have them go through your checkout process, shipping, and anything else. Ask them to tell you what they see, what works well, and what confuses (e.g., copy; checkout flow) them so you can fix things.
These audits should be done at least once per year, so a year-end audit makes a lot of sense to be performed in December. But really audits should be done pretty often—at least as often as you update your funnel.
DirectPayNet also performs audits, if you’re interested in us performing one for you. We’ve always gotten great reviews from our top clients who have asked us to perform audits on their sites, so please get in touch if you’re interested.
2. Test Your Entire eCommerce Shipping Process to Maximize Efficiency
Shipping is part of your audit, yes, but it should also be performed outside of that and much more often. Once per month, you should have the shipping process tested especially when you sell to particularly large regions or different countries. For example, shipping to the east coast is not the same as to the west in the USA. Both of those areas should be tested. Or if you ship internationally, test out each region at least.
You need to test the entire process: from the moment the order is place to the moment the package arrives. What does the package look like on arrival? Is it damaged? Is there liquid on it? When the customer opens it, are they disappointed by the materials inside? Overwhelmed?
Then, you need to try and refund the purchase and perform some customer service on the order. See how well it’s handled, how long the process is, and the end result. This is a good opportunity to get the customer’s perspective on your team members, which can help you understand retention rates. Doesn’t matter if it’s customer service on social media or your own app, these are metrics you want to know and improve.
Getting supply chain and fulfillment right can greatly impact your ecommerce business and streamline deliveries while improving the customer experience. The number one outcome is a reduction in chargebacks. This past year has seen a lot of supply chain issues due to the pandemic, so it’s really important that you get your merchandising and inventory management system updated. Not only are you ensuring that your shipping and fulfillment partners are doing their job and getting your products out without damage, you’re also in tune with delivery time frames. When you can accurately inform customers about delivery dates, you’ll reduce chargebacks and refund requests.
3. Know Who Your Best Traffic Source Is
We don’t mean discover who they are, we mean get to know them better. You should already know who your best traffic source(s) are. Get in touch with them, have a call—a review. If your main sources are affiliates, get them on a face-to-face meeting where you review what you can for them that results with them promoting you more. What will it take? It’s not always more money. Sometimes it’s faster payouts or access to more creatives or special offers.
Once you get the engine running on your top traffic source, you’ll have more money to test other traffic sources and maximize those revue streams.
4. Check Your Reserves to Increase Operational Efficiency for Your Online Store
If you have a merchant account or you process credit cards, you’re using a payment processor. That processor could be holding reserves that you (and they) forgot about. This is common especially for high-risk merchants, meaning merchants who work with supplements or in the adult space or dropshippers. A lot of the time, these processors are holding maybe 10% that you aren’t seeing back.
Call up your processor and ask about the reserves. How much is being held? How often are they adding in? What’s the frequency of your payouts?
It’s so common that reserves go unnoticed. Money goes in and never comes out simply because merchants and payment processors aren’t paying any attention to them. This is even more true when you have multiple accounts open for omnichannel sales. We get it: it can be tough to keep track of it all.
If you’ve been consistent all year and things are going well with your processor, then it’s important to keep in constant communication with them. This is when it’s a good idea to call them up about the reserves. If your chargebacks are around 5%, then maybe you should hold off on that call (because this is the purpose of the reserve).
Reserves might never go away for your merchant account, but you can try to cap them. Another good solution is to request payouts if they aren’t coming often (or at all).
5.Add DCC to Your Checkout
Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) is such a good way to maximize operational efficiency for your online store when selling internationally. DCC is perfect for digital goods, but also works when shipping out physical products if you have a physical store too (digital is just simpler because there’s no shipping to take care of).
DCC is available with nearly every single payment processor. It doesn’t matter if you use 3rd-party processors like Stripe and PayPal or you have a merchant account of your own. Simply call them up and say, “I want DCC on my store” and they’ll turn it on for you.
When you add this feature, it shows customers the price of your products in their local currency in real-time which improves overall customer satisfaction. So if you’re running a US-based retail store and someone visits it from London, they’ll see prices in pounds. It automates the currency displayed based on which region the customer is visiting from. It’s hugely beneficial when selling internationally to countries who use the same monetary symbol. For example, USD, CAD, and AUD all use $ but each has a different value. It leads to chargebacks so often when someone buys a product thinking it’s denoted in their currency when it isn’t. They see the charge on their card statement and dispute it because it’s more than expected.
DCC will increase conversion rates considerably in your non-local markets. Best of all, it can be turned on in just a few hours and open up your store to a ton of new customers.
With these simple tricks to your store operations and payment processing, you can maximize efficiency and boost profits in just a few days.
These tips are meant to be fast solutions. They take just a few days—if that—to perform and you will be surprised at the results.
DirectPayNet is here to help you through this entire process. We help our clients obtain the proper payment processing they need for their store, industry, and region. But we also help our clients get more money back from their processors and giving them as much free cash flow as possible.