Order fulfillment services of online marketplaces – A quick look

In our last edition we spoke about the top three online marketplaces in India, namely Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal. These three are bleeding themselves dry competing in various categories trying to one-up each other all the time. In fact, many experts believe that the battle of the online marketplaces comes down to who can take the highest amount of losses and still stay in the game the longest. In this situation, what matters the most for these companies then is a loyal customer base. And the only surefire way to get that is with good service, for example, efficient order fulfillment.

Order fulfillment is the whole process, which starts from the point of sales inquiry to delivery of a product to the customer. Thus, it consists of various parts that are related to various arms of a company. Right from the website UI to the warehouse efficiency, everything is tested in order fulfillment. From a seller’s point of view, the better the fulfillment, the higher the sales.

This is a new trend that has been seen for the past year in the Indian market. It is not enough for online retail sites to just be a bridge between sellers and buyers. In fact, to survive in the market it has become a necessity for them to start making sure that the orders coming through their portals are fulfilled correctly. Order fulfilment ventures by these conglomerates are thus a testament to the fast approaching maturity of the Indian online retail market.

So which of these three companies have the best order fulfillment plans? Amazon has Fulfillment by Amazon, Flipkart has Flipkart Advantage and Snapdeal has Snapdeal Plus. Let us look at them one by one.

Flipkart or Amazon or Snapdeal – What do you prefer?

Flipkart

The Flipkart Advantage badge is a hard to miss sight on the website, so much so that there are Chrome plugins for detecting them. It is especially true for buyers who look for the badge so that they can be assured that they can return the product in 30 days if dissatisfied. Flipkart launched its pet stock-and-ship service last year, and it has seen a fruitful response.

This is how it works, Flipkart Advantage merchants will be able to stock their products at Flipkart’s warehouses even before the order is placed. Once the order is placed, quality checks, packing and shipping will be Flipkart’s responsibility. As a result, the merchant will be eligible for Same Day Delivery and Next Day Delivery options, along with the 30-day return policy and order tracking capabilities. Although the exact number of fulfilment centres that Flipkart currently operates is unclear, they are aggressively planning to expand to new territories.

Amazon India

Amazon India offers its order fulfillment services using Fulfillment By Amazon, or FBA. Through FBA, Amazon basically provides pick-and-pack centres for their sellers. As an FBA affiliated seller, you just need to send the product across to the nearest fulfillment centre, and Amazon will pack, label and deliver the product to your customer. As an FBA seller, you will be eligible for Free Delivery and One Day Delivery options. Since you can delegate the logistics side of your business to Amazon, you have more time to focus on your business expansion strategies.

According to a 2014 survey conducted by Amazon, 86% sellers who subscribed to FBA saw increase in their profits. In terms of fees, Amazon goes with a pay-as-you-go model. Amazon recently slashed prices for their FBA service, starting 11th August 2015, and the new pricing policy can be found here. Currently, Amazon’s fulfilment centres are located in several places in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, New Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Telangana and West Bengal. FBA is also adept at handling customer returns.

Snapdeal

Snapdeal offers Snapdeal Plus – an order fulfilment service for its sellers. Snapdeal has over 50 fulfilment centres across 20 cities already operating around the country, and the number is likely to go to 75 by the end of this year. With this strong network of fulfillment centres, it aims to offer delivery within 4 and in certain areas, even 2 hours after ordering. Snapdeal Plus also allows you to stock your inventory in their warehouses, which means you are completely free of all inventory responsibility. Snapdeal aims for the maximum number of orders to come through this service, so that the order fulfillment responsibility rests squarely on their shoulders.

To know more about order fulfillment by various online retail sites, get in touch with Browntape. We are always happy to help!

How Browntape Simplifies the Order Processing Procedures for All Your Online Marketplaces

It’s a question most of us don’t bother to ask. It’s like asking how the plumber turns the water on, or the IT guy fixes your computer. We know that Browntape has the capacity to integrate numerous online and offline marketplaces, including your brick-and-mortar store. But it’s definitely good to know what goes on under the hood.

Since each of your sales channels is different, the specific mechanisms and architecture employed to integrate them into your Browntape dashboard also vary slightly. For example, some stores offer shipping assistance and some don’t. Some platforms are purely dedicated to online money transfer and merchant payments, while others act as online mega malls. These differences, small and big, are reflected in their integrations with Browntape.

So it’s good to know the overview of how these integrations work, and what each of them provide, to make the most of all your online and offline investments. This is exactly what we are going to do in this post.

Online Platform Integrations with Browntape: A Closer Look

  • Amazon

Browntape offers a comprehensive and seamless integration with Amazon. Here, you can import your orders from Amazon into the delightfully simple Browntape interface, which is auto synced regularly to make sure you don’t miss out on new information. Apart from that, you can forward product shipping information to Amazon to speed up the fulfillment process. Additionally, your Amazon customer feedback is directly imported to your Browntape dashboard making it easy for you to keep an eye on your performance. All data is secure and yours to use, download and analyze.

  • eBay

The online marketplace giant eBay is also not a problem for Browntape users. Auto sync your incoming eBay orders on the Browntape dashboard and watch your net inventory auto update to reflect order processing. Receive feedback from your customers and instantly reply right through the Browntape interface. All the relevant shipping information like shipping id, tracking info and other notes can be sent directly to eBay through the interface.

  • PayPal

eBay’s money transfer subsidiary PayPal can also be linked to Browntape. Record all your online transactions done using PayPal and watch them systematically being stored on Browntape. Notes and communication posted along with the transaction can also be seamlessly integrated to your dashboard.

  • Magento

Magento is a highly influential open source e-commerce content management system, and it integrates deeply with Browntape. Not only can you smoothly run all the tasks that Magento is capable of, like order and shipping management, through Browntape, but it gives you the additional power to interact with your customers through auto generated emails and keep an eye on a centralized inventory.

  • Shopify

For Indian ecommerce giant Shopify, Browntape offers some key features. You can auto sync orders, manage a centralized inventory, print shipping labels and send and receive feedback to your customers.

  • Tradus

Adding Tradus to your list of online platforms is as easy as adding your Tradus username and password to your Browntape account. Print shipping labels in bulk, manage orders and study your sales using the comprehensive analytics dashboard that Browntape offers.

  • ShopClues

ShopClues is another big player in the Indian e-commerce sector that can be easily synced and managed through Browntape just by feeding in your username and password. With this you get the full range of services that Browntape offers, like easy order management, centralized inventory, shipping labels and analytics.

  • Brick-and-Mortar Store

Finally, who can forget your offline store? Beautifully syncing your online and offline orders is one of the USPs of Browntape. You can use the Browntape interface as your primary storekeeping mechanism, by punching in orders as you receive them. Apart from that, you can also upload bulk orders from your offline warehouse through CSV and rest assured that your changes in the centralized inventory are accounted for.

Apart from the above channels, Browntape is on its way to integrate many other prominent platforms very soon. With continuous research, development and revisions, you get regular updates and newer features that make your job so much easier.

For more info, get in touch with Browntape, and sign up for our 30-day free trial. We are always happy to help!

“Bylane e-commerce surprise” (Browntape in Times of India)

This is what Times of India had to say about us ..

Even as Laxmikant Parsekar’s government struggles to boost investment and create employment, a small yet innovative e-commerce start-up has shown the way, just meters away from the chief minister’s secretariat office.

A stroll along the empty streets of the Journalist’s colony in Porvorim leads you to Browntape. Ask around and you discover that the company’s three offices are actually residential houses. At the main spread the scene is typical—young faces, spartan furniture, a very active coffee machine, stacked packets of instant noodles, and the soft hum of dozens of computers.

Browntape, the brainchild of Gurpreet Singh, Piyush Goel, and Ian Morgan, offers online retailers a platform to manage their e-commerce operations across multiple portals. Two types of services are on offer—one for established retailers who just need a tool to efficiently manage retail operations, the other an Enterprise Service Offering for retailers who don’t have the knowhow.

In the latter case, the client outsources the entire multichannel e-commerce to the company, which in turn creates accounts for the client across e-retail websites, builds catalogues, photographs products, and optimizes prices and sales, for which it charges a commission.

“We have quite a few clients in Goa who have been able to scale their e-commerce business,” says Singh, “The key thing is Goan entrepreneurs are selling all across India, are on an annualized run rate of multi-crore sales on e-commerce.”

The company to date has processed nearly 3 lakh orders of goods worth nearly $9 million. The platform boasts of 1,200-plus sellers.

So, how did Browntape take shape? In 2008, Goel and Morgan were in the UK, completing their PhDs in Artificial Intelligence. Short on cash and looking for a way to fund their bachelor lifestyles, they took to selling stuff online. When it became difficult to manage the ever-increasing orders and customers, they designed a programme to track orders and shipments. The tool, Scrobbld, gave birth to Browntape.

Singh, in the meantime, was in Goa, heading a web development team at a software company in Dona Paula; and like most who visit the state, was smitten. Fortuitously, Piyush joined his team. Itching to start something of their own, the two, along with Morgan, began to tinker with the idea of their own firm.

By April 2013, basic platform in place, they began touring the country, looking for funding. “The first couple of offers we got were more like traditional businesses where they (investors) would probably own more than half the business if they were investing,” recalls Goel. Singh throws light on the dilemma they contended with, “It is difficult to leave multi-crore offers on the table when you don’t have money to hire the next employee.”

That’s when they decided to enter GSF India’s Global Accelerator Program which is a 13-week intensive programme for internet-based start-ups. “GSF was more of an incubation kind of an investment and our first investor was Seedfund and with them K Ganesh joined,” says Singh.

Seedfund Advisors executive director Paula Mariwala says, “We basically liked the team; they had the technical knowhow as well as the passion, the drive to understand the nitty-gritty of e-commerce.”

Browntape’s choice of Goa, when tech start-ups usually head to Bengaluru, Hyderabad or Mumbai, was a worry. “We were very concerned whether they would get good employees in Goa, and initially we even put it in the clause that they would have to move to Mumbai if they wanted the funding,” says Mariwala.

Goel and Singh nod in unison on the misconstrued image most people from outside the state have of working in Goa equalling to soaking up some sun on the beach, beer in hand. “Luckily for Browntape, Goa doesn’t have a dearth of IT-savvy people,” says Mariwala, pointing out that 60 of the 100 employees are Goans. The rest “jumped at the chance to work in Goa”.

For the next few years, Browntape is looking to grow exponentially in a phase that Singh calls “land grab”—cornering a larger market share. Seedfund foresees revenue generation in the proximity of hundreds of crores. “E-commerce is definitely a hot field and there will be people eying them, so I am confident that there will be multiple acquisition or exit opportunities,” says Mariwala with a smile.

Better Order Management: The Secret to Your Success in Online Retail

Although the modes of retail have changed drastically over the years, the concept remains the same – the sale and purchase of goods or services from a business to an end-user. What once used to be chains of physical stores and multitudes of storehouses to provide for each of them is now steadily becoming online mega-stores, websites and apps. Transactions are happening at a much faster rate than they used to, as new markets keep being discovered. But a basic tenet of sales stands the test of time and technology: better order management results in better sales. Here we give you a few good reasons why you should drop everything else and start making your order management better.

How Better Order Management

Leads to Better Sales

1. It Helps You Deal with the Growing Number of Sales Channels

It is imperative that adding new sales channels in your arsenal means that your business is growing steadily. But new sales channels come with their own set of problems. New sales channels mean integrating them to the existing inventory, making sure that the warehouse is stocked to provide for the new customers, managing shipping through new sources and territories, etc. Having a multi-channel order management system goes a long way in integrating and managing your new sales channels. Even when your business grows to an extent that you are seriously contemplating a dedicated website or even a mobile site, an order management system will be your best friend while adding new sales channels.

2. It Drastically Reduces Errors in Shipping, Packing and Inventory

A growing business also means a growing amount of paperwork. Invoices need to be printed, shipping labels need to be organised and correct orders need to reach the customer in time. For a small sales channel or two, this can probably be done manually. But this will take you only a small way. After that, you need automated assistance to curb confusion, manual errors and oversights. An order management system automatically prints your correct invoices, takes care of shipping labels and updates and tracks inventory till the end of an individual sale process.

3. It Helps Avoid Overstocking and Under-stocking

A delicate balance connects a warehouse to the sales channel. A healthy warehouse is a ‘well oiled’ warehouse where products keep moving and getting replaced. Mistakes in inventory management lead to understocking and overstocking – case one where there is demand for the product but it is out of stock in the warehouse, and two where the product is eating up space in the warehouse but is unable to move because of lack of demand. Avoiding both cases requires stringent planning and foresight. With the data that is recorded with an order management system, the job of strategizing a bulk sales cycle becomes much more clinical and efficient, thus avoiding under-stocking and overstocking.

4. It Reduces Staffing Costs

Better order management, and employing an order management system reduces staffing costs. This is quite easy to understand – since an order management system is the virtual brain of your business, it takes care of various areas of operation like reception and recording or orders, transitioning them to the warehouse, updating and tracking inventory, managing customers through automated emails, printing shipping labels and invoices, etc. This means that instead of employing individuals or teams to handle these jobs, you can rely on a trusted order management system.

5. It is the Key to Customer Satisfaction

Like we said in the introduction, however evolved the modes of retail are than before, the key to success still remains customer satisfaction. Better order management results in a tight ship, where every order is taken care of with due diligence. A customer is kept informed of the status of his/her order throughout processing, and is never kept in the dark. Since the internal systems and links between the inventory and sales channels is strong, unpleasant situations like back ordering and out-of-stock don’t arise and the customer can be sure that their order reaches them in time. Result, the customer is satisfied.

To know more about better order management and other queries, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading e-retail solution providers, and we are always happy to help.

Hello to all Online Merchants in India from all of us at Browntape!

Dear Sellers,

At Browntape, we are very excited to bring our super-simple and awesomely intuitive multi-channel order management service to improve the lives of Indian sellers like you. Our aim is to bring greater sales, reduced effort and saved time for you, precious time that you would rather spend with your loved ones rather than handling the drudgery of managing your orders from online stores.

Why is a multi-channel system like Browntape required?

In an increasingly competitive landscape in the Indian commerce, both online and offline, it has become imperative for a seller to start showcasing and selling his products on multiple online websites like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Shopclues, etc. These websites spend crores of Rupees in making sure that customers are flocking to these sites to buy products and thus leveraging that resource is a no-brainer for any retailer.

However, presence on all these sites makes it very challenging for a seller to manage his operations. Orders flow in from different directions, and when an order comes in from one website, the available stock quantities need to be updated on all the other sites. Moreover, shipping labels need to be printed in bulk, shipment tracking numbers need to be added back to the orders when they are shipped, etc. Sellers across India are living in an excel sheet hell managing all these things manually. We at Browntape aim to solve sellers’ challenges that arise while selling simultaneously on multiple online marketplace websites.

What exactly does Browntape do for the online merchant?

Browntape is a multi-channel order and inventory management software for India. Simply put, it helps sellers in India control and view their online selling activities on a single platform. It comes with an option to add an offline shop. Browntape helps fulfill daily orders by allowing functions like printing bulk shipping labels, invoices, pick and pack lists and reports to be shared with staff and vendors when required. It tracks the status of orders from all channels from the time of payment till the package is delivered, and in some cases till when it is returned. It also allows for centralised inventory management for a seller, so when a product is sold on one website, the stock on other websites is updated automatically. Browntape also connects to a company branded store created using a shopping cart platform like Magento, Shopify, Kartrocket or Zepo. All the orders from Magento, for instance, flow into Browntape to be processed together with orders from all the other sales channels.

In addition to organising data for the seller it also offers features that help send automated messages to customers at various stages of order delivery. Browntape can be operated by a multi-tasking seller or a seller’s team working in processing orders and managing inventory.

An online multi-channel order and inventory management system connects to various online channels or online stores that have been opened by a seller. What that means is that, for example, if a shoe seller sells shoes on Flipkart, eBay, Amazon and Tradus, he can connect all these accounts to Browntape by simply adding the accounts in Browntape. Once Browntape and the marketplaces are connected, the seller need not log in to his online stores separately for daily tasks. This allows the shoe-seller to view his orders from various platforms and process the orders as well in a single place.

Browntape manages multi-channel inventory as well. All a seller needs to do is upload a CSV file (a Microsoft Excel format) with pre-defined details of the product(s) and their respective stock quantities. In a minute’s time the document uploads and you are ready to view your inventory. A single dashboard shows which all marketplaces a particular product is listed on. What’s more, as and when orders are processed, Browntape updates the inventory with the fresh available stock on all sites.

Browntape can currently be linked with Amazon India, UK, US; eBay India, UK, US Flipkart, ShopClues, Tradus, Rediff, PayPal, Magento and Shopify. Browntape will soon be integrated to SnapDeal, Naaptol, Homeshop18, Indiatimes Shopping, Zepo, KartRocket and more. Our website showcases the latest list of Browntape integrations.

Please note that multi-channel inventory is not the same as a multi-warehouse inventory. A multi-channel inventory is in most cases based out of a single warehouse whereas a multi-warehouse inventory brings further technicalities.

Get started with it!

You can get started with a Browntape account yourself in less than 60 seconds. If you are new the ecommerce selling, you can use Browntape for FREE till you cross 100 orders per month. Sign up for your FREE 30-day trial now or call us on 9166554000 for any queries.

Love,
The Browntape Team!