e-Bay Seller Reports

Illuminate’s e-Bay intelligence tool allows you to request sales reports regarding any e-Bay seller. This enables you to gain valuable information regarding your competitors. The data is available from within the main Illuminate system, and the following data is included :

– Product Image, with a link to the listing on e-Bay.
– Product Name
– Current Product Price
– Total sales in the selected period
– Quantity sold in the selected period
– Number of distinct sales in the selected period
– Current average sold price
– Total number sold
– Current number of watchers
– Brand, as shown on e-bay
– Current Shipping cost

Sales are sorted in descending order of ‘Total Sales’, so that the most relevant items will appear at the top of the list. The sales report can be exported to Excel (.xlsx) format, if required.

Initially, 14 days of historic data will be available, which then builds over time via automated nightly updates. You could therefore build years of data on your competitors, as long as you maintain your Illuminate subscription.

Any number of e-bay sellers can be entered, and sales data retrieved and viewed within Illuminate.

e-Bay intelligence is included in all of our subscription levels. For pricing, see here

For further information, please contact our sales team.

Date : 4th June 2017

Top e-Commerce Trends for 2017

We’ve put together a few thoughts regarding what we think will be important in the eCommerce sector this year.

Multi-channels joining together
Top retailers who have both on-line presence and bricks-and-mortar stores are joining them together into one seamless offering . For example, customers may like to research and order online and collect the item in store same day. Or perhaps if an item is to be returned, to return it through a different channel to the one they used to purchase – for example, take it back to a store, even if they originally purchased online. A real-time view of stock availability and locations are the keys to success in this area.

Stock Management more important than ever
Items being out-of-stock and, conversely, holding too much stock are long standing issues for most retail businesses. These result in lost sales on the one hand, and your much needed cash being tied up in inventory on the other. A new breed of AI based inventory management and forecasting solutions is emerging, combining data from purchase history, consumer trends, social and even factors such as the weather, to give more accurate inventory forecasting capabilities.

Next Day Delivery
Amazon has continued to raise customer’s expectation with its prime service for next day delivery. Other retailers are following suit and are reducing the cost of next day delivery, with some such as ASOS offering its own annual subscription model. This will continue to be a trend in 2017.

Mobile to grow, but desktop is still dominant
Mobile, particularly apps, will continue to become a significant sales channel. However, many mobile web sites and apps still fall short of giving a satisfactory user experience. Too many retailers still giving a poor UI for payment, reviews and account management when viewed on mobile devices.
Purchasing through a desktop PC or Mac will continue to be the preferred method of purchase for many people, as product images and other detailed information are best viewed on a large screen.

Merging Multiple EBay, Amazon or Magento Orders

If you’ve been selling on EBay, Amazon or Magento for a while, you’ll understand the problem of receiving multiple orders from the same person to the same address. Merging multiple orders like these can present a major challenge to retailers. They can often appear as individual orders, which can lead to inefficiency in your pick-pack-ship operation – particularly frustrating when it’s a Monday morning or the Tuesday after a bank holiday.
Merging Multiple EBay, Amazon or Magento Orders

Illuminate deals with this problem seamlessly. On order import, orders from the same buyer being delivered to the same delivery address (and by the same delivery method) are auto-merged, so that only one order with multiple items appears in the system. The system can also be configured to merge these orders if the buyer has bought multiple items from you hours apart, and you can configure the system rules to control this. If the items are being delivered from different warehouses, then different packing notes and dispatch labels are produced for the different parts of the order.

The original order numbers are retained within the order record, so that you can easily track any customer enquiries which relate to one part of the order. Once dispatched, all orders on the source system (Amazon, EBay or your Magento store) are correctly marked with tracking or dispatch information, as required.

Orders can also be merged manually, if the user has the correct level of system privilege. This process is very easy to use and can be undertaken by anyone with a basic knowledge of the system. A full audit trail is retained within illuminate so the whole process is fully audit-friendly and accountable.

If you’d like to know more, please contact us for a demo. Please visit our ‘Contact’ page for more information, or choose the ‘Chat’ option from this page – we’re very friendly.

Python scripts for EBay, Amazon and Magento Inventory Management

We’re very pleased to announce our new Python scripts for EBay, Amazon and Magento Inventory Management.

Python is a very popular scipting language available on Linux, Mac and Windows. It was made popular largely by Google. It is currently in very high demand and there’s a very good chance that your technical team will already know Python. If they don’t, it is very easy to use, yet powerful too.

Illuminate’s new scripts work with EBay, Amazon and Magento and can act as a basis for your own scripts. They interact with their target systems and will efficiently transfer data to and from the Illuminate multi-channel order and inventory management system, or any other system, to EBay, Amazon or Magento.

Python scripts for EBay, Amazon and Magento Inventory Management
The scripts can help in many areas of inventory and order management, such as :

– Export of data from Illuminate, or any other data source, into EBay, Amazon and Magento
– Mass-listing of products
– Automated listing of products
– Interacting with suppliers, for example data exchange via XML or JSON.
– Export of data from EBay, Amazon and Magento into target systems such as other corporate sales systems or Excel.
– Monitoring of Inventory, listing and sales levels for products.
– Auto-import of inventory levels from suppliers.
– Automatically placing of purchase orders with suppliers.
– Writing customised good inwards and warehouse assignment scripts.
– Interacting with barcode and other devices.

The scripts work securely, with all of your Illuminate data stored on our ISO-27001 compliant servers. Our servers are located wherever you are – in the UK, EU countries, the USA and Australia.

The scripts work on both Python 3.6 and 2.7.

The scripts are available on all plans. For further information, please contact our sales team on 0207 720 6531.

Date : 22nd September 2017

Inventory Management using Barcodes

Illuminate enables you to control several key areas of Inventory Management using barcodes and barcode scanners. Illuminate’s own barcode scanner, the i4, is a handheld barcode scanner which integrates seamlessly with your Illuminate system using Wi-fi.

Stock Checking using Barcodes
Inventory Management jusing Barcodes
Using the stock-check mode, you can perform stock checking easily and quickly. Simply scan an item (or the barcode at its location in your warehouse). You can then see the expected live stock level, and correct it if necessary. The expected stock level takes into account any back orders and orders still to be picked and packed.

Despatch using Barcodes
Order despatch can be made considerably more efficient using Illuminate’s barcode scanning integration. Firstly, each item should be scanned as it is picked. Then, when the item has been packed, the despatch label on the front of the completed package can be scanned. This automatically updates illuminate, marking the order as despatched and moving it to the correct outgoing order queue within the system. The courier label can also be scanned, if present, updating the back-end sytems as necessary.

Good Inwards using Barcodes
When arrivals from suppliers come into Goods Inwards, the incoming despatch note can be scanned. The scanner will match the incoming despatch note to one within Illuminate, and open it for the goods inwards process. Items can the scanned, either individually or in bulk, and (once confirmed) they will be allocated to the warehouse as required. Back orders which can be fulfilled will also be updated to indicate that they are ready for despatch. If any items on the supplier PO are not present, these are highlighted for further action as necessary.

Illuminate’s i4 scanners are available on all plans, for an additional monthly charge starting at £35 (ex VAT) per month per scanner. All software and hardware support/upgrades are included in the price.

Date : 24th July 2017

EBay Inventory Management

Online business owner
Illuminate’s EBay Inventory Management enables you to easily manage all of your EBay Inventory, as part of your overall inventory management system. Here’s our quick guide to getting you up and running with EBay Inventory Management within Illuminate.

Log into EBay via Illuminate

EBay Inventory Management

Within the Illuminate Start Screen, choose ‘EBay Accounts’, and add each of your accounts which you wish to use with Illuminate. Note that you can use multiple accounts with the system.

Retrieve Existing Listings (optional)
You can also, if you choose to, retrieve all of your existing listings from EBay. They will then be used to populate either new or existing products within Illuminate. This can save a lot of time and re-keying ! All data is retrieved, including images and variations. Once retrieved, any new products will be categorised under their first and second level EBay categories.

EBay Basic Data
Illuminate allows you to add/edit many EBay attributes, including:

– Product Name
– SKU
– Price
– Category
– Quantity Available (this can be linked to the products’s master stock level within your Illuminate system).
– Condition
– Listing Duration (including ‘Good Til Cancelled’)
– Listing Type
– Returns Policy
– EAN/UPC
– Brand
– Product Description – a full HTML editor is provided within Illuminate
– Item Specific fields
– Shipping Types and costs, both domestic and international
– Despatch Time
– Payment Methods

Default values can be specified for most of the fields, allowing you to create listings quickly and effectively.

EBay Variations
EBay variations can also be edited within Illuminate, including the ability to set up multiple dimensions (e.g. Size/Colour), and to set up SKUs, prices and quantities available for each.

Multiple images for each variation can also be added, meaning that a truly rich listing (and EBay User Experience) can be controlled from within Illuminate.

Once you’ve set everything up, Illuminate can be used to estimate fees, then upload, revise and edit listings once they have gone live.

If you’d like to know more, please get in touch.

Date : 23rd August 2017

Getting Ready for Peak Retail Season

September marks the end of summer, and also the start in earnest of the run up to the Christmas period. For many retailers, December is the peak retail season of the year and it’s essential that you are properly prepared to navigate this busy period.


Christmas Online Retail

A few thoughts on the December period, which includes Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and New Year, are listed below.

General Points
– Making sure that orders can be fulfilled. Your Order and Inventory Management System should control all of your sales channels, taking items out of stock on one as they are sold on others. In short, make sure you don’t over-sell!
– Making sure you don’t over-order any stock. If relevant, you should analyse your sales from previous years and only order in what you think you can sell. Have a clear strategy for stock sales and clearance to run down any excess stock.
– Making sure that customers get their orders in time! This goes without saying at any time of year, but even more so at Christmas.
– Have a clear returns policy.
– Have a clear cut-off time for last ordering dates, both before Christmas and in the run-up to new year.
– Having a reliable courier service. Consider having a ‘tracked only’ policy in the last few days before the Christmas cut-off.

Customer services
-Be clear on customer service opening times and the days on which you’ll be dispatching goods.
-Respond to customers queries in the run up to Christmas. Prioritize customers who have actually ordered and those who are enquiring about high value items.

System Availability
-Make sure that your systems will be able to cope. We’d recommend some stress testing well before December.
-If your hosting has been unreliable in the recent past, consider upgrading to one with 100% up-time or a server cluster.

If you’d like to know more, please contact us for more information.

Date: 1st September 2017

Why Choose Illuminate Multi-Channel Order and Inventory Management ?


making the righr choice

Why choose Illuminate over other systems ?
Illuminate multi-channel Order and Inventory Management captures orders quickly and efficiently, whether they originate from the Internet, EBay, Amazon, mail order or telephone. This applies whether you are operating B2C, B2B operations or both. Illuminate’s Order management screen allows telephone or mail orders to be entered easily. Your staff will have the enter customer addressess efficiently using the postal code look up function, enter selections based on keywords or catalogue code. Illuminate will prompt the staff for cross-sell and upsell items and if the item is unavailable suggest a suitable subsitute.

– Postal code look-up to locate the address quickly and accurately.

– Powerful searching – if the customer forgets the product code, it’s simple to search on a keyword to find the product.

– Customer search facilities to review previous orders, RFM value of customer and complaints.

– Automated back order option to allocate stock immediately.

– Real-time stock control – staff are immediately away of the products stock status – instock, on order, etc.

– Delay shipment – staff can delay the shipping of an item this is particularly helpful if the product is for a particular occassion e.g. birthday.

– Gift Orders – staff can create separate shipping addresses.

– Look up substitution products.

– Immediate credit card authorisation with fraudulent checking.

Shipping

Inventory Management

Illuminate will expertly manage outgoing and incoming packages with real time information at your fingertips. Illuminate allows you to place general and specialised handling and shipping charges on products. This could be the postage charge to other countries, extra postage for special items such as heavy weight or large size, or a special handling fee for certain products.

Tax
Illuminate incorporates many different types of tax models, allowing for different country taxes and different categories of tax etc. Flexibility is the key and you will be able to deal with various scenarios of different tax settings.

Returns
Management of the product returns process can determine the success or failure of an entire mail order business. Illuminate will manage your returns with ease so you can offer your customers a superior service and deliver a positive impression.

Order Entry Screen – products can be entered using codes, keywords or look-up facility.

For more information, please Contact Us

Date : 6th July 2017