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The following Thought Leadership piece was written by our CEO, Martin Bysh. In light of the current Coronavirus outbreak, Martin highlights fulfilment centres like Huboo, who are keeping calm and helping the Nation carry on.

 

Martin Bysh, CEO:

Much has been said about the bravery of NHS staff, and rightly so. Were it not for their courage and extraordinary hard work there can be little doubt that this country would already have suffered much greater losses.

However, not enough is being made of the bravery of the less obvious heroes of these terrible times. The millions of people that make it possible for the rest of the country to self-isolate. Those that every day brave the possibility of contagion as they work to make sure the country is not driven to its knees and the economy is not unsalvageable.

Working in factories, logistics, in our supermarkets and chemists. Working outside of their homes so that as many people as possible can remain home & remain well, so that their individual sacrifice can mean the safety of many, so that the NHS can endure.

These men and women, unable or unwilling to self-isolate, support what is barely less than a war effort against this terrible disease. Often risking public transport (driven by equally brave souls), interacting with as many as hundreds of people every day, their co-workers and customers, so that we might interact with none. They keep our bins emptied, our utilities flowing, our shops open. They deliver our entertainments and essentials, allowing life to retain a semblance of what it was, providing sustenance to our bodies, minds and souls, while we wait. They make waiting possible.

I hope I can be forgiven for selfishly mentioning some of these heroes closest to me. At Huboo our amazing staff are here every day, keeping hundreds of self-employed clients and small businesses in business (precisely the kinds of businesses that there is little protection for from the government’s emergency measures), without which the post-corona economy will be left in tatters. Businesses whose customers (which includes the government) would otherwise struggle.

To help keep the self-isolated safe and sane, my huboo heroes ship everything from vitamins to protective clothing, hand sanitisers to board games and home-ed essentials… and are permitted none of the usual social pleasures of working with friends: distanced from them, masked, lunching separately, ritually cleaning and self-sanitising…

Mass self-isolation should help prevent the NHS from being totally overwhelmed, or at least delay this, and that is a benefit to everyone in this country, whatever their current state of health or employment. I don’t ask that we applaud the unsung heroes of our new isolation, just that we recognise their role in making it not merely possible, but sustainable.

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As a growing business it’s easy to get stuck in a perpetual order fulfilment cycle that never seems to end. Orders are coming in – which is great – but the mechanics of order fulfilment can eat into the time available for other crucial activities such as sales and marketing.

If you’re locked into customer service and distribution by simply picking, packing and posting but not growing your business, this can damage your chances of growth.

Outsourced fulfilment is, for many ecommerce businesses, the obvious solution. No more warehousing, goods-in, picking, packing, posting.

But what should you actually do with the time you free up once you no longer have the burden of fulfilment?

Here are some suggestions on what you can do with the time you free-up to build your ecommerce business.

How to scale your business through digital marketing

Whatever market you’re in, whether it’s reselling or selling your own products, the best way to build your business is by scaling-up.

Selling from your own site, or from one channel isn’t necessarily going to get you the traffic and profile you need to achieve long-term growth.

The answer is to make sure your presence is felt and seen throughout a range of channels, and, via good SEO and online advertising.

Good SEO and customer nurture takes time. SEO tends to work over three to six-month cycles, so you need to be thinking ahead. Working on SEO for Christmas in December is not going to work!

Online advertising such as PPC, Facebook advertising etc. can deliver results much faster. It can take just a few weeks or even just days to set up and get going. However, the upfront costs are higher, and the risk of losing money is substantial.

All this does take time and patience, it’s not something that can be rushed if you want to get the best results. Having removed the burden of order fulfilment you should be able to dedicate far more of your attention to these marketing activities.

Not only that, but ecommerce is a highly competitive space, so it’s really important you’re doing the same, if not better, than other businesses. It’s not just about great customer service at the point of purchase but is also about being able to reach current and future customers.

Time vs growth

With all the focus on packing and posting, have you thought about your growth strategy? Do you have a 2 to 5-year plan in place? Have you even had time to plan, or have you lost sight of your plan?

As an entrepreneur, you know how important it is to take a step back from your business and take stock of where you are now and where you want to be in the future.

If you’re a medium-sized business, then freeing-up staff from processing orders means they can focus on growing other parts of the business, such as customer engagement or refining logistics processes.

Even as a fast-growing startup reseller, more time on your hands gives you the freedom to look at and assess better product offerings and areas of growth. While your competitors are wading through boxes and processing customer orders, you have the space to develop the next phase of your business strategy.

How to improve staff productivity and retention

Outsourcing your fulfilment can have a positive impact on your business, and can be done at any stage, but you will get better ROI when your order numbers reach a tipping point. If you’re processing 1-2 orders over the course of a week, and it’s more a of hobby-based business, then it’s probably more cost-effective to keep it in-house.

However, if you’re seeing a rapid increase in orders, then it’s time to act and get outsourcing. This is when you’ll really start to see a better return. If you start to add up the hours and you notice the hours spent packing and posting is outstripping the focus on growing your business, then it’s really time to find a fulfilment partner.

As we all know, especially with growing businesses, when times get busy it’s all hands on deck, no matter where you work within an organisation. This inevitably means you lose time, and some of your team, to tasks that distract from their day to day jobs. Not only will this have a knock-on effect on employee workloads, deadlines and objectives, but it could also have a long-term impact on staff retention.

If you already have a warehouse team in place, but you still need to grow, then outsourcing fulfilment can be more flexible and cost-effective than extending the inhouse team.

Staff shortage, or dealing with sales spikes, will no longer a problem as this is all seamlessly taken care of by your partner and immediately takes the pressure off your existing staff.

Great customer service

Imagine what you can do with the time saved from outsourcing your fulfilment!

Not only do you have time to grow your sales funnel, but you also have time to focus on customer engagement or service.

Customers expect rapid responses to their enquiries. With more staff time dedicated to customer service, your customer satisfaction should go up.

What does this mean in return? It means happier and more engaged customers, who will become repeat customers, increasing their lifetime value and therefore reducing churn due to slow response times or missed emails.

It all seems like a no-brainer doesn’t it? why not get in touch and find out how we can help free-up your time to be the business you want to be.

Call us on: 01722 444 025

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At Huboo, we care about our staff and like to think we’re so much more than a faceless warehouse, so each month we like to profile a member of the team. This month, we’d like to introduce you to our latest Human of Huboo, Star.

Meet Star

With a passion for motorbikes, Star is a Warehouse Operative at Huboo

She’s a Star by name and a Star by nature who works in the Warehouse and is responsible for picking, packing and scanning orders, as well as checking-in client stock and managing stock levels.

“True to my love of all things motoring, I also drive the Forklift and move stock around the warehouse. I mention that because it’s something so many people want to do when they see a warehouse in action. They have Forklift envy!”

As a fulfilment company, our warehouse staff are probably some of the most important members of the Huboo team. They get all your goods and products out to customers on time, safely and in good condition, which we couldn’t do without the great work Star and her colleagues do on a daily basis.

“I love the variety of work that we do in the warehouse and we all support each other to get the work done. My co-worker and another Huboo Human, Cala, has taught me so many skills since I joined the company, which has been really useful.”

Quick Fire Questions

What makes you irrationally angry? When I don’t have the right tools to get a job or task done.

Favourite Film: In Time

Best holiday: Living in Australia for a year.

Dream dinner guest: Jessie J

Biggest fear: Dying

Something you really love: Positive Dreaming

Fun fact: I can walk on my toes.

Who would play you in a film of your life? Sandra Bullock

What would your super-power be? To be able to fly

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Avasam is a fully automated DropShipping platform that connects suppliers and sellers who sell through multiple sales channels. It provides all the tools businesses need to grow, from sourcing to selling to shipping, automating processes between multichannel order, inventory and warehouse management systems, with direct integrations for marketplaces, shipping providers and payments.

Work began in 2016, after helping several online sellers configure DropShipping arrangements that highlighted many problems with DropShipping. Complaints typically centred around finding reliable suppliers, communicating order or inventory information, payments, and too many unique arrangements causing problems for sellers working with multiple suppliers. DropShipping was time consuming and expensive, with too many potential errors causing delays and dissatisfied customers. Ultimately, it wasn’t providing the value that many businesses needed, and so some sellers were avoiding or limiting it, working with just one or two suppliers.

We developed the Avasam platform to resolve all the issues of traditional DropShipping by standardising and automating processes. As we built the platform, we worked closely with suppliers and sellers, designing automation for every step of the DropShipping process. By reducing the need for human interaction and helping to eliminate the issues with supplier reliability, businesses can fully capitalise on the opportunities that the DropShipping model offers.

For suppliers, listing inventory on Avasam means increased the exposure of your products and brands. Avasam sellers do the hard work of marketing your products on websites and marketplaces worldwide, and secure sales on your behalf – which of course, in turn, increases your profits. You’re in complete control of what you want to allow Avasam sellers to sell, and which sellers you want to allow to sell your products. And unlike some traditional DropShipping setups, you’re not required to offer credit and you’ll only dispatch goods that you’ve already received payment for, lowering potential risk.

We’ve built an outstanding user experience for users of the platform, but you don’t need to learn new processes – we can add Avasam to your existing setup so that Avasam orders appear in your current order management system, alongside your other orders. Currently, there are over 60 integrations with marketplaces, shopping cart providers and shipping services, with all order updates, tracking information and so on being sent automatically.

With Avasam automation, and Avasam sellers driving those sales for you, your team won’t need to handle additional admin – they’ll just need to be ready to dispatch those extra orders. You’ll be free to focus on the business of sourcing new products to add to your inventory, and to work on scaling your business further.

We’ll handle your onboarding, and complete your setup with absolutely no downtime required. We’ll add your existing inventory information to the platform, allowing Avasam sellers to start selling your products on their sales channels worldwide immediately.

We’re already helping hundreds of businesses to sell more. To find out more, or to arrange a discussion about how DropShipping with Avasam can work with your existing setup, visit www.avasam.com or call on 0330 113 7788.

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