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Only a seller rushing to catch deadlines during the biggest flash sale of the year will be able to tell you the importance of time in online retail. With thousands of sellers selling millions of products and exchanging billions of rupees, the value of time and efficient time management really shines in these moments. This article is about finding simple ways to manage time more efficiently in your online retail business.

As retail moved from offline to online a couple of decades ago, it brought with it many changes in the fundamental modus operandi of selling. Yet, technology moves at a breathtaking pace, and to keep up with it in terms of organisation is a mammoth task. The fact that we can buy anything that we want from the comfort of our homes and even pay for it may still seem mind boggling to the previous generations.

The online retail market is structured in such a way that your service matters as much as the product you sell. This means that you are constantly being evaluated for everything including delivery time, packaging, returns, social media interaction, etc. In such a scenario, time becomes an even more valuable commodity. Let us look at a few simple ways you can save time in your online retail business.

How to Save Time in Your Online Retail

1. Get Yourself an Inventory Management System

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An inventory management system is an automated tool that is like your trusted assistant in the online retail business. Imagine that you list your products on four different online retail channels. A multi-channel inventory management system like Browntape forms the backbone of your business by connecting the listings pages of all your channels to your main inventory.

Every order that you get on any of your sales channels is funnelled through to your inventory to make sure that the same product is not ordered twice, saving yourself quite a bit of time and inconvenience. Browntape also provides you with a user-friendly interface that presents information in such a way that you don’t have to waste your time hunting for it. Your daily stats are right at your fingertips.

2. Clarify Your Returns Policy

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One of the major issues that ends up becoming a time waster for both buyers and sellers is the returns policy. It is not a good sign to get caught off-guard every time a buyer asks to return a product. You must have a robust returns policy in place and mention it clearly on your website. This way, the buyer can easily initiate the returns process without you having to spend time personally guiding/haggling with them about product returns. Making clear policy is perhaps the most important thing you can do to save time.

3. Spending Time on Social Media

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Social media, as every one of us, knows by now, is a black hole. We turn to it every time we want a break from work. We are perpetually logged in, always connected, so much so that it is a norm in corporate offices to block social media websites like Facebook and Twitter on their internet. It is not uncommon to hear that social media is the biggest source of procrastination of this generation. While all this might be true, the question is how do we approach social media if we want to do productive work through it?

It is imperative that a business must have social media pages, but it is more important to really learn the ropes so that you don’t just end up wasting time on it. We previously wrote about common blunders that businesses do on social media here. It is important to understand that every social media platform is different, has different audience, different etiquette and different returns. It is important to have a core social media strategy that fits with your larger business plan rather than being like a ship without sails on social media.

4. Delivery Timings

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When it comes to time, the most important thing you are going to be judged on is delivery timings. Delivering a product late or failing to notify customers about delivery is one of the worst mistakes that you can do in ecommerce. Moreover, logistics and delivery are generally outsourced to third-party businesses, which means that these things might be beyond our control as sellers. While this might be true, it is important to partner with trustworthy logistics providers that are ready to share in-transit data so that you can intimate your customer about the arrival of their product. Logistics in itself is a difficult game with a lot of ins and outs, but efficient management of time here is the most important thing from your customer’s perspective.

5. Automate

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Finally, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to tools that can automate them for you. This can be as simple as automating bill payment for your phone, internet or electricity provider. It could also be having an automated mail delivery system sharing transit information with your customers. The best part about automation is that the more you get into it, the more it reveals its power.

For example, you can set flags in your inventory management system to notify you via email or text message once the inventory in your warehouse is lower than a certain threshold, or if the demand for a certain product is higher than a certain number. By responsibly using automation, you can use your time more efficiently in terms of the quality of work that you do, helping you grow your business faster.

This is what we have on saving time in online retail. To know more, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading ecommerce experts, and we are always happy to help!

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