In today’s competitive market for eCommerce software solutions, instability has been rocking the boat for thousands of online sellers. Recently there has been a huge wave of IMS/OMS apps either sunsetting or getting acquired then quickly abandoned. This has been forcing many eCommerce businesses to desperately search for a new software solution and quickly transition their operations without hitting the brakes. Managing your day to day operations while trying to lay the groundwork to find which software solution is right for you can be extremely stressful. Especially when you don’t even know where to start. Many businesses will opt into using a service such as Software Advice to help ease the research burden as their days are already occupied with the struggles of running their business. Others take the initiative into their own hands and try to personally research all options before making a decision. Going hybrid on this approach is probably going to be your best bet. Make use of any of the various services to refine your search parameters, and then focus on those narrowed-down options for your ongoing research. Knowing the key questions to ask each of your candidates is the most critical component in this process. Before committing to a sales call or a demo, use this blog as a guideline to help arm yourself with the right tools to be prepared for your initial meeting.
In a previous blog we covered what we feel a solid IMS/OMS should include in their functionality. Here we will expand on how you can prepare, and know the right questions to ask upon that first call. This will help ensure you acquire applicable and relevant data when exploring new solutions and finally making your transition.
Set Realistic Expectations:
Unless you are a simple pick-pack-ship operation, you may find that unicorns do not exist. Trying to find a software that does exactly everything you need, in the same fashion as the previous software you were using, will only lead to your frustration. Realize that many softwares might accomplish the same goal, yet do it in a slightly different manner or may have a different visual layout. Adaptability and flexibility need to be in your toolbox when moving from one software to another.
Generally what we recommend is to find a solution that hits about 85% of your needs, and evaluate what you can do operationally to make the latter 15% work. A good software solution will already have plans and recommendations in place for this, so make sure this is a key part of your discussion when interviewing potential candidates.
Be Transparent, Mention Everything, Assume Nothing:
Upon your first meeting make sure to be transparent about everything in your operations, especially if you have some major changes coming in the future such as acting as a 3PL for other companies, or needing visibility on your stock in a 3PL warehouse. You want to make sure the software will handle not only your current goals but what you might have in store further down the road.
Most softwares charge by plans based on various benchmarks such as # of orders, users, connected stores etc. Misrepresenting this by connecting one store and onboarding just to test it out may save you a few dollars up front on a lower plan, but could cause you to lose your allocated onboarding slots when wanting to get the rest of your accounts set up, or even a misconfigured account based off of the limited information provided. Be transparent, as most companies will accommodate your requests if a conversation is had in the beginning. Lastly, trust your gut, if a sales member alludes to being able to handle a certain feature, especially if it is a critical part of your operation, make sure to get full clarification on how it works to ensure it aligns with what you were expecting.
Gather Feedback from Your Whole Team:
See what pain points your operational team has been facing on a daily basis. Survey on what functionalities are missing currently, and determine bottlenecks in your pick, pack, and shipping flows. Make notes and present this to your candidates during your interview process to see what they can offer to help normalize these setbacks.
What Questions Should You Ask Your Potential Candidates?
1. Have You Recently Been Acquired?
From 2022 until today, there has been a huge wave of IMS companies either sunsetting or in the process of being acquired, leaving long term customers in limbo as to what will happen next. Most of the time these acquisitions are made to monopolize and dissolve the competition. In this short period, we have seen the sunsetting of Stitchlabs, Trade-Gecko, Quickbooks Commerce and most recently the acquisition of Skuvault by Linnworks. While usually pitched as a great thing for current customers, this is not always the case. Do your research on each of your candidates, check the reviews, compare reviews, and ALWAYS make sure to sort them by the most recent to see what current customers are saying about the new changes.
2. Is Your Software App Based or Cloud Based?
In today’s market, you will want to choose a cloud based solution for several reasons. Cloud based software offers a range of advantages over the traditional apps which will be fading over a period of time. With a cloud based solution, you get accessibility. You have the ability to pick up any device handy, log into your account and check stats or fully manage your operation. Cloud based solutions also offer real time updates for everyone in the company without the need to upload or transfer any changes made in one app to have it consistent with another. Last but definitely not least, cloud based software will protect you from data loss if your device fails you. No need to rely on your personal hardware to store your information. Other noteworthy mentions are better encryption, security, and increased performance and stability.
3. Are There Any Additional Costs Involved in Onboarding?
Onboarding from one platform to another can definitely be a stressful time. But it doesn’t have to be. Make sure to always ask for the type of support you will get when making the transition, and if there are any additional costs associated with it. These costs are often hidden and sometimes implemented weeks down the road after you have put your hard work and valuable time into getting initial things set up.
4. Is There Continued Support After Onboarding?
When contemplating a switch between software companies, it is crucial to ensure not only a smooth transition but also sustained support post onboarding phase. That is why it is always essential to inquire about their continued support policies once the initial setup is complete. Establish whether there will be adequate assistance available for troubleshooting, updates, understanding new features, and if this support incurs any additional costs. Reliable and ongoing support can significantly enhance your user experience, ensuring that the software continues to meet your needs and remains a valuable asset to your operations. Moreover, understanding any associated fees upfront will help avoid unexpected costs, allowing for a more informed decision when choosing your next software provider.
5. How Do I Navigate the Pricing Structure?
Your best solutions will give you plans that are customizable to fit any stage of your company’s volume and growth. Verify with them if adding an additional sales channel, or user will force you to take the next tiered package costing hundreds of dollars just to add a few simple things. Additionally, opt for companies that charge month to month rather than locking you into long term contracts.
6. What Do You Have Planned for the Future?
Inquiring about the future plans of your potential inventory management / order fulfillment solution is a wise step in ensuring a long-term, beneficial relationship. The eCommerce driven tech landscape is rapidly evolving. Aligning with a forward-thinking software provider can help keep your operations at the forefront of industry advancements. Understanding a candidate’s roadmap for future developments, updates, and expansions, you can better gauge if their vision aligns with your own growth and evolving needs. Additionally, a provider with a well-thought-out future strategy is likely to be more stable, innovative, and better prepared to adapt to emerging challenges and opportunities. This transparency will not only help in anticipating the trajectory and potential longevity of your collaboration, but will also provide insights into the provider’s ability to sustain and enhance your operational efficacy in the long run.
7. How Do You Secure My Data and Privacy?
Check to make sure your potential solution follows the best practices and is up to date on privacy and security standards. Ask if they support 2FA, and see if they can provide any documents up front.
Here are the various ways in which SKULabs makes transitioning from another inventory management software to its platform a breeze for new customers:
No Onboarding Fees:
Transitioning to a new software often comes with hefty onboarding fees. However, SKULabs will waive this for new customers by not charging anything for onboarding, making the switch cost-effective for businesses of all sizes. This commitment to affordability ensures that the transition doesn’t weigh heavy on your pockets.
One of the main challenges when switching IMS platforms is the lack of technical support during and after the transition. SKULabs provides full support from a dedicated team of experts during the entire transition process. Their hands-on approach ensures that all your data is accurately migrated, and the system is up and running smoothly. This personalized support continues post-transition to ensure your operations continue to run seamlessly.
Easy Data Migration:
Data migration is often the most nerve-wracking part of transitioning to a new IMS. SKULabs has streamlined this process to ensure a smooth migration of all your critical data. The App is simple to use and setup is a breeze. Once your store is connected, and with a few simple clicks, your catalog is built, connected to the sales channel for order import, and even populated with your initial stock from your sales channel if desired.
A modern IMS should easily integrate with other critical systems like eCommerce platforms, shipping, and accounting software. SKULabs supports integrations with a wide array of platforms ensuring that your business operations continue without a hitch. This seamless integration capability minimizes downtime, keeping your business operational during the transition.
SKULabs helps to make this migration simple by operating in basically a read only mode when you are going through your initial set-up. This enables you to continue your day to day operations as usual until you are ready to go live and make the full transition with the click of a button.
Training and Resources:
Adopting a new software comes with a learning curve. SKULabs provides extensive training and resources to get you and your team up to speed with their platform. Their library of tutorials, webinars, and a knowledge base is a great resource to help you maximize the use of your new IMS.
SKULabs boasts a user-friendly interface that is intuitive and easy to navigate. This drastically reduces the time it takes for you and your team to get accustomed to the new system, making the transition smoother leading to a more productive and happier team!
Switching to a new inventory management system need not be a stressful endeavor. With SKULabs, the transition is straightforward, supported, and cost-effective. The absence of onboarding fees, coupled with dedicated support and a plethora of resources, makes SKULabs a choice worth considering for any merchant seeking to elevate their inventory management processes.
Now is the perfect time to discuss how we can help you migrate from your abandoned inventory management platform to a company dedicated to your success and focused on your future!
Chat with one of our experts today.Schedule a meeting or give us a call at 1800-243-2986 to learn more.