Knowledge Base

Creating and sending purchase orders (POs) can be daunting for inexperienced business owners. For some, it can be hard to keep track of all of them as they pile up, while others stress about filling these important documents flawlessly to ensure smooth order processing. Thankfully, there is software available that can help manage the entire process, from start to finish. Businesses can leverage technology to create and send purchase orders quickly and accurately. These systems often come with additional features such as automated reminders, tracking capabilities, and more. Our article will answer all your PO questions - e.g., What is a purchase order? Why are they important? How do they work? - and teach you about the various ways businesses use purchase orders, as well as how to create and send them yourself. Purchase Order Definition So you've heard the term many times and are wondering, “What is a PO, exactly?” In a nutshell, a purchase order is a legally binding contract created by a buyer to communicate a seller's demand for goods or services. It is generated after the buyer and seller agree on the terms of sale, such as pricing, quantity, delivery date, and payment terms. The PO serves as a formal record of the details of the transaction between the two parties and can be used as a reference in case of any disputes. POs are typically used for business-to-business transactions and can be sent electronically, via fax, or by mail. A complete PO will include all relevant information, such as vendor details, product/service descriptions, prices, delivery methods, and payment conditions. Once it is received by the seller and accepted, it becomes subject to the terms both parties must abide by. The Role of a PO in Business POs are created anytime you need to buy anything from a vendor. For example, if a company needs to buy 500 chairs for an office renovation project, it would place an order using a PO system. This ensures both parties have clear documentation outlining the specifics of the transaction. The purchase order system is essential to any successful purchasing process and helps ensure goods and services are delivered on time and per the contract terms. It also allows companies to track their spending more accurately and helps them budget accordingly. Having a purchase order system in place also ensures better communication between buyers and sellers and eliminates any confusion over what has been ordered or agreed upon. This ultimately leads to more secure transactions with less risk of misunderstandings or legal action from either side. Why Is It Important to Have a Purchase Order? Imagine you are a business owner who has just been handed a PO from a potential new client. You've never seen one before, so you're not sure what it is exactly, but you should learn how to use it. Here are some reasons buyers should know the ins and outs of POs: To make sure they’re ordering the correct items To make sure they're getting the best price possible To make sure the order is correct and can be delivered on time To keep track of buyer and vendor expenses To make sure buyers are within budget By taking the time to learn more about this vital tool, business owners can streamline their operations and improve customer satisfaction. How do POs Work? A PO is essentially a document sent from a buyer to a seller, stating the products, quantities, and agreed prices for goods or services the seller will provide to the buyer. It also serves as an offer from the buyer to purchase those products or services at the given price. The PO serves as legal protection for both parties, and it must be approved by both before any transaction can take place. Once a purchase requisition form is filled and accepted, buyers are protected from price increases or ordering errors, as all costs and terms must be clearly stated in advance. The supplier typically then sends an invoice to the buyer, which contains all of the same information as the PO. This invoice signals that the order details have been finalized and are ready for payment. Once payment is received from the buyer, it signals that all obligations regarding the PO have been completed. How to Create a PO in a Few Easy Steps Log into the company’s procurement system or software and find the purchasing order form. Fill out the PO with all the necessary information, including supplier contact info, item name, description, quantity required, unit price, total cost, payment terms, delivery terms, and expected delivery date. Once you've completed the order form and double-checked all your entries for accuracy, submit the purchase order request to management for approval. Obtain a signed copy of the approved PO from the purchasing department manager before sending it to your supplier to ensure both sides have agreed on all of its contents in writing. Forward an electronic or hardcopy version of the PO to the supplier. The supplier will confirm receipt of the PO and provide an estimated delivery date for the requested goods or services. When the goods or services arrive, check that they match what was ordered and submit payment according to the agreed-upon price. Following the purchase order process will ensure that you have a complete and accurate record of all purchases made by your purchasing department. This information can be invaluable in helping your company better manage suppliers, negotiate more favorable contracts and stay compliant with relevant laws and regulations. 10 Tips for Using Purchase Orders Effectively Planning: When issuing a purchase order, it's important to allow enough time for the supplier to fulfill the order and anticipate any delivery delays. Pay attention to detail: Make sure that all information on the PO is accurate and up-to-date, so there are no misunderstandings between you and your supplier. This includes pricing, payment terms, shipping details, product specifications, etc.  Stay organized: Keep track of all POs issued by organizing them into folders or using filing software such as Excel or Quickbooks. This allows you to quickly locate a PO if necessary and also helps with budgeting and accounting tasks. It’s also easier to rely on legal protection in case of disputes if you can easily locate all relevant documents. Follow up: If there are any discrepancies with the PO, address them immediately. This will help ensure that everything is done properly and promptly.  Use the latest technology: Automation tools such as PO software can help streamline the process by automating many of the manual tasks associated with issuing purchase orders. This can save you time and money while ensuring accuracy and efficiency. Negotiate terms: Don't be afraid to negotiate payment and other conditions that may benefit both parties involved in the transaction. Establish relationships: Good relationships with suppliers are vital for ensuring future success with purchase orders. Open communication and following up on time can go a long way toward achieving your business goals. Monitor performance: Make sure your suppliers are fulfilling their obligations according to the terms of the PO. Doing so will help you identify any areas in which improvement is needed or where alternative suppliers may be necessary. Stay compliant: Staying updated on applicable laws and regulations when issuing purchase orders is essential for remaining compliant with local, state, or federal laws. Familiarize yourself with all relevant rules and make sure that all of your purchases follow those rules accordingly. Leverage data: Analyzing the data associated with your purchase orders - be they on the buyer or seller side - can help you identify opportunities for cost savings, streamline the buying process, and improve supplier relationships. Bottom Line Using POs effectively is an essential part of any successful business nowadays. Following a strict purchase order process can help your business save time and money while ensuring accuracy and efficiency.  For example, a PO system for a small business uses automation, and tracking data from your POs can also provide additional insights and help you make more informed business decisions. By following this guide, you will be well on your way to using purchase orders effectively.

By Bojan Jovanovic

It’s hard to imagine the modern world without barcodes. They are on almost every product we buy, from food to clothes to electronics. We tend to take it for granted that this technology will be there to make our lives easier.  But have you ever wondered about the history of barcode technology and barcode scanners? Have you asked yourself: When was the barcode invented, and how did it become so ubiquitous? In this article, we’ll answer those questions and take a brief look at the history of this fascinating technology. What Is a Barcode? Let’s start by explaining what a barcode is. A barcode (often spelled as two words, ‘bar code’) is a machine-readable representation of data typically used to track inventory or products. Barcodes can be found on almost any consumer product today, from food items in the grocery store to books at the library.  Barcodes work by encoding data in a series of parallel lines of varying widths. The widths of the lines are read by a scanner, which converts them into digital data that a computer can process. Before we delve deeper into the barcode history, here are the most common types:  The Universal Product Code (UPC), used on almost all retail products in the United States The European Article Number (EAN), mainly used in Europe International Standard Book Number (ISBN) A Barcode Scanner A barcode scanner employs data capture technology to read barcodes on products in retail stores, identification cards, and postal mail. A typical scanner consists of three main components: an optical reader, a decoder, and a cable connecting the two.  The optical reader is the part of the product code scanner that "reads" the lines in a barcode by shining a light on it and converting the reflected light into an electrical signal. This signal is then sent to the decoder, which converts it into digital data that a computer can read. The First Barcode We’ll take you back to 1948, the year when the first barcode was invented and created by Bernard Silver, a graduate student at Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia, and Norman Woodland, an inventor and a Drexel alumnus.  The two men came up with the idea while working on a project for a local supermarket chain, whose owner asked the institute for help in developing a way to read product information automatically during checkout. The barcode history timeline continues with Silver and Woodland realizing that a system of lines and spaces could be used to encode information that a machine could read. They got the idea from Morse code, which uses a series of dots and dashes to represent letters and numbers. The initial barcode was designed as a “bull’s eye” made up of a series of concentric circles. Silver and Woodland filed a patent for their invention in October 1949, but it was in 1952 that it was patented. However, a powerful 500-watt incandescent bulb they had built into it and a bulky oscilloscope didn’t make the system practical enough for commercial use.  Collins at Sylvania and KarTrak System The next figure in the turbulent history of barcodes was David Jarett Collins, an engineer at Sylvania Electric Products Inc. He was among the first to realize a need for an automated system to track and identify railroad cars. Working on a problem, he developed a KarTrak ACI (Automatic Car Identification) system in the 1960s.  The system used a pattern of blue and orange reflective stripes applied to the sides of railroad cars. A photoelectric sensor was used to read the stripes and could automatically identify a particular car as it went by.  Collins’s system is yet another piece of the puzzle that answers the question, “When was the barcode invented?” It was a much more efficient and upgraded version of the original Woodland-Silver barcode.  The new method soon became widely accepted and was set as the US standard in 1968. However, it was abandoned in the late 1970s due to technical difficulties, high costs, and poor read accuracy. A Gamechanger - The Introduction of Lasers Collins formed the Computer Identics Corporation in search of a new market for his barcode technology. This time he turned to helium-neon lasers, which were invented in 1960 by Theodore Maiman.  Lasers are, obviously, more precise than the 500-watt incandescent bulbs Silver and Woodland were using and can be focused into a very fine beam of light. This made them ideal for reading barcodes. Much before the first barcode scanner was invented, Collins incorporated a mirror that enabled the code to be reached from multiple angles, making things much easier and more reliable.  Collins and his Computer Identics Corporation installed the new barcode scanning system at a General Motors factory in Flint, Michigan, in 1969 to monitor the production of car axles. This marked the start of barcodes’ commercial journey. UPC Is Born After the successful installation at General Motors, the next step was to develop a system to be used on all products in a store. In 1966, the National Association of Food Chains (NAFC) formed a committee to develop such a system. RCA Corporation was among the committee’s members, and as it purchased the rights to the Woodland-Silver patent, it became one of the main players in the history of the barcode. However, the winner of the unique technology race was IBM, with its linear UPC (universal product code) system, which was ultimately selected as the NAFC standard instead of RCA’s bullseye code. The UPC was first scanned commercially on June 26, 1974, on packages of Wrigley’s chewing gum at a supermarket in Troy, Ohio. The barcode had finally arrived as the standard for product identification and tracking.  The UPC code consists of 12 digits, with the first six digits identifying the manufacturer, the next five identifying the product, and the last check digit used to verify that the barcode has been read correctly. The Usage of Barcodes Today Since the barcode invention and commercial deployment, retail has never been the same. Barcodes have become an integral part of our lives and are used in various ways.  We use them to track inventory, for security purposes, in libraries, print labels, and get information about a product. In addition, barcodes are utilized in many other industries, such as health care, manufacturing, and transportation. With the development of POS systems (point of sale), barcodes have become even more important, as they are used to price and track products at the time of purchase. In libraries, books’ ISBNs (international standard book numbers) are now barcodes used to keep track of inventory. Knowing barcodes’ origin, one could barely imagine their usage in hospitals. Yet barcodes are now printed on patients’ wristbands to help reduce medication errors. Barcoded tickets are also widely used at airports and concert venues to help keep track of people and prevent counterfeiting.  Indeed, barcodes have come a long way since their humble beginnings and continue evolving as our needs change. The Introduction of QR Codes In the 1990s, barcodes took another leap forward with the introduction of QR codes (also known as matrix-based 2D codes). QR stands for “quick response,” and these two-dimensional barcodes can store more information than traditional barcodes.  They contain the finder, alignment, and timing patterns that serve to determine the code’s orientation, distortion, and coordination.  When was the matrix barcode invented, then? The QR code history started with the Japanese corporation Denso Wave in 1994 when they were developed to track vehicles during the car manufacturing process at Toyota. In the beginning, they were simple 2D codes, but they continued to develop until the Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) registered QR codes in 1999.  Later, new forms of the code were developed: In 2004, the world welcomed the first micro QR code that could be printed in a small space. Four years later, the iQR code enabled rectangular code modules and boasted 80% higher data capacity. Finally, FrameQR was developed in 2014 and brought a “canvas area” to the code. This allowed companies to add branding and design elements to their codes more freely. Thanks to those who invented the barcode, we can now use QR technology to store website URLs, contact information, and small amounts of text. It can also be used to trigger actions, such as opening a URL in your browser or adding a contact to your address book.  The Future of Barcodes As barcodes continue to evolve, we can expect to see even more uses for them in our everyday lives. Now that we know the answer to the “How long have barcodes been around?” question, we can only imagine what the future holds for this technology.  With the advent of cloud-based inventory management software, barcodes are becoming even more important for managing products and tracking inventory in real time, no matter where you are.  We are also likely to see more uses for QR codes as they become more widely adopted. So, whether you’re using a barcode to keep track of your inventory or scanning a QR code to get information about a product, there's no doubt that these little symbols are here to stay. Final Thoughts A combination of barcodes and barcode scanners is critical to managing inventory for businesses of all sizes, especially in the grocery industry. With a long history that dates back to 1948, barcodes have come a long way, and they continue to evolve as our needs change. Laser technology made it possible to read barcodes much faster, and the QR code was introduced in the 1990s to store even more information. Today, barcodes are used in many industries, such as health care, manufacturing, and transportation. We hope you won’t take them for granted the next time you see them. In this article, we explored who created the barcode and how its history brought it to its important place in business today.

By Danica Djokic

Do you ever wonder how those little black-on-white lines can hold so much information? Or how do barcodes work, and why are they so important to businesses? In this article, we will explore the world of barcodes and learn how these simple markings can do so much. Stay tuned for an in-depth look at one of the essential pieces of technology in the modern world. What Is a Barcode? A barcode is a machine-readable code in the form of numbers and parallel lines printed on product packaging. Barcodes were first developed in the 1970s from an earlier idea based on Morse code. They have since become an essential tool for businesses of all sizes. Barcodes can be printed on labels or directly onto products and are read by scanners that are connected to a computer system. Barcodes are used extensively in retail and have helped streamline the checkout process. In addition, barcode technology can be used to track inventory levels and product movement throughout the supply chain. As barcodes become more ubiquitous, they are also being used in other industries, such as health care and manufacturing. How Does a Barcode Work? Barcodes are read by optical scanners that use a beam of light to scan the code. The scanner converts the light reflections into electrical impulses sent to a computer system. The computer system then decodes the impulses and translates them into the product information stored in the barcode.  What’s also important to note is that barcodes can store a large amount of information in a very small space. This means that businesses can track a variety of product data, such as price, color, and size. Types of Barcodes All barcodes can be split into two categories - linear and two-dimensional. Linear barcodes, also known as one-dimensional (1D) barcodes, are the most common type. They are composed of a series of parallel lines that represent numbers or other characters. Two-dimensional barcodes are less common but are becoming more popular due to their ability to store more information. These barcodes are composed of a series of dots or squares that can be read in two dimensions. Now, let’s take a closer look at the different barcode types. UPC The most common type of 1D barcode is the Universal Product Code (UPC). UPC barcodes are used extensively in the retail industry and can be found on nearly every product sold in a retail store.  The universal product code consists of 12 digits divided into two parts: The first six are the manufacturer’s identifier, and the last six are the product’s identifier. The UPC barcode is printed on every product sold in stores and is a vital part of the retail industry. Thanks to the UPC, retailers can efficiently track inventory and sales and ensure that customers get the right products. EAN Code The European Article Number (EAN) is another 1D barcode example used extensively in Europe. EANs are very similar to UPCs but have a few key differences.  EANs are composed of eight or 13 numbers depending on the product size. If the product is small, such as a book, it will have an 8-digit EAN. If the product is larger, such as a piece of furniture, it will have a 13-digit EAN. These numbers combine a country code, company code, and article number, while the last digit represents the check digit. EANs are often used on products sold internationally, as scanners in any country can read them. This makes them a vital part of the global supply chain. Data Matrix Code Data Matrix codes are 2D barcodes that can encode a large amount of data in a small space. They are made up of black and white squares that form a big square or rectangle and are used in industries where tracking and traceability are critical. These codes have a maximum encoding capacity of 3,116 numerical characters and 2,335 alphabetic characters. Each Data Matrix has its own perimeter finder and timing pattern, and they are made up of square or rectangular blocks of black and white cells. Data Matrix codes may store both large and small symbols. A barcode scanner can more easily read the code if there is a blank space around its perimeter. PDF417 Code PDF417 is a type of 2D barcode used to store information. The name stands for Portable Data File 417. PDF417 codes are used in various contexts, including but not limited to driver’s licenses, passports, and other identification documents.  The information stored in a PDF417 code can include text, numbers, and other data. These codes are read by scanning them with a barcode reader. The reader decodes the information, displays it on a screen, or prints it out.  PDF417 codes are also used in some financial transactions, such as mobile payments. In these cases, the code typically represents a unique identifier for the transaction. PDF417 codes have been used since the early 1990s and are now one of the most common barcode types. QR Code QR codes are becoming increasingly popular, especially as a way of sharing information or accessing content quickly and easily. But what exactly is a QR code? Simply put, a QR code is a two-dimensional barcode that can be read by a smartphone or other devices with a camera.  When scanned, the QR code will direct the device to a specific website or online content. QR codes can be used for various purposes, including sharing contact information, providing directions, or linking to a video or social media account.  Businesses have also begun using QR codes to offer customers special deals or promotions. While QR codes are most commonly used with phones, they can also be scanned with laptops and tablets. So, the next time you see a QR code, go ahead and give it a try. Benefits of Using Barcodes Barcodes have become essential to modern life, appearing on everything from groceries to library books. While they may seem like a simple way to handle inventory tracking, barcodes offer businesses various financial benefits. Here are some of the key benefits of using barcode systems: Improved accuracy: Barcodes can be read quickly and accurately, which reduces the chances of human error. This is especially important for businesses that need to track a large number of items. Reduced costs: Using barcodes can help businesses save money on labor costs associated with inventory management. Barcodes can also be used to automate the ordering process, which can lead to further cost savings. So if you’re unsure how to use a barcode system, consider hiring a professional to help get you started. Faster transactions: Barcodes can be read quickly, which helps speed up transactions. This is especially beneficial for businesses that experience high volumes of traffic, such as supermarkets and department stores. Improved customer service: Barcodes can help businesses keep track of sales data and customer purchase history. This information can be used to improve marketing efforts and customize the shopping experience for individual customers. Improved security: Barcodes can be used to track products and prevent theft. This is especially important for businesses that sell high-value items or handle sensitive information. As you can see, barcodes offer a variety of financial benefits for businesses, large and small. How Does a Barcode Scanner Work? A barcode scanner is a device that can read and interpret barcodes. It encodes the data from the barcode into a form that a computer can read. The computer then uses this data to look up information about the product, such as the price, in a database. Barcode scanners come in various shapes and sizes, but they all work using the same basic principle. So, how are barcodes read? A barcode scanner contains a light source, a photosensor, and an electronic decoder.  The light source is used to illuminate the barcode. The photosensor is used to detect the reflected light from the barcode. The electronic decoder is used to interpret the data encoded in the barcode. Barcode scanners can be handheld or fixed. Handheld barcode scanners are portable devices that can be held in one hand while scanning barcodes. Fixed barcode scanners are mounted on stands or other surfaces and are used to scan barcodes placed within the scanner’s range. Barcode scanners are commonly used in retail settings for pricing and inventory control. However, barcode scanners can also be used for other purposes, such as tracking assets or collecting data. Final Thoughts Barcodes are essential to many businesses, helping track inventory and product movement throughout the supply chain. By understanding how they work, you can ensure you’re making the most out of them. There are different barcode types, so choose the one that best suits your needs.

By Nikolina Cveticanin

Inventory accounting follows and marks the changes in inventory assets. This allows businesses to track how much inventory they have, what it is worth, and when it needs to be replaced.  It helps businesses avoid overstocking or undersupplying products, which can lead to financial losses. In this article, we will guide you through the advantages of this type of accounting and show you how it can lead to a more successful business. What is Inventory Accounting? Simply put, this is the process of tracking and reporting the value of a company's inventory. The goods that make up the inventory are placed in one of three categories: raw materials, work-in-progress, and finished goods. This is important to know, as your inventory can go from one category to the next until it is sold. Keeping track of all three categories is part of good business practices as it makes it much easier to calculate your profits at the end of an accounting period. It’s a vital tool for businesses of all sizes because it provides essential information about your company's assets and can also help improve decision-making, increase efficiency, and boost profits. Inventory Accounting Terms You Need to Know Before choosing the most suitable accounting method, it would be beneficial to get acquainted with two key terms - cost of goods sold (COGS) and ending inventory (EI) Cost of goods sold (COGS) can include materials, labor, and shipping. COGS is a key figure in many financial calculations, such as gross margin and operating expenses.  There are several different methods for calculating COGS, but the most common is to use beginning inventory plus purchases minus ending inventory. This method gives the company a good idea of the actual cost of its goods and allows for more accurate financial planning. Ending inventory (EI) is the merchandise that a company has on hand at the end of an accounting period. The ending inventory is essential for keeping a steady inventory balance because it represents the merchandise that will be used to generate sales in the next accounting period.  Accordingly, companies must carefully manage their ending inventory levels to ensure they have enough merchandise to meet customer demand.  Different Methods of Accounting for Inventory Management  There are several different inventory valuation methods used by businesses to determine the cost of their inventory. The most common ones are the first-in, first-out (FIFO) method and the last-in, first-out (LIFO) method.  The FIFO method assumes that the first items purchased are also the first items sold, while with LIFO, the assumption is that the last items purchased will get sold first.  Other less common inventory accounting methods include the weighted average and specific identification methods.  The weighted average method calculates the cost of inventory based on the average price of all units in stock, while the specific identification method tracks each item individually from the moment it enters the supply to when it is sold on.  We’ll get into each of these methods more to bring you the complete picture of their advantages and disadvantages. But no matter which inventory accounting policy is used, accurate inventory records are essential for proper financial reporting.  The Right Method for Your Business The choice of valuation method can have a significant impact on a company's bottom line.  As a result, accountants and financial managers must understand each method's pros and cons before choosing one for reporting purposes. FIFO Method The FIFO accounting method, or "first in, first out," is a method used to calculate the cost of the inventory on hand. The assumption with FIFO is that the first items acquired will be removed from the stock before the others. It is most often used in manufacturing and retail environments where products have a shelf life or expiration date. When using FIFO, the first inventory purchases are assumed to be sold first and are therefore charged to the cost of goods sold.  This method can help to prevent spoilage since older items are more likely to go bad before newer items.  While the FIFO inventory accounting method is not always the most efficient way to determine the cumulative inventory value, it can be a helpful tool for keeping track of stock levels and ensuring that materials are used in a timely manner.  It can help businesses avoid obsolescence, as older items are less likely to be sold if they can’t compete with newer items in stock. For example, stocking older iPhones isn’t likely to be profitable as the new model will be much more desirable than its previous generation.  The FIFO method is all about efficiency - by ensuring that the items sitting around the longest are used first, we can avoid waste and ensure everyone gets what they need.  LIFO Method LIFO stands for "last in, first out." It's a method of accounting for inventory management in which the most recent products added to inventory are the first ones sold.  The main advantage of LIFO is that it closely resembles the real-world flow of inventory, which can give business owners a more accurate picture of their actual profits and losses. LIFO can help businesses maximize their profits by selling goods that are likely in high demand. In some cases, LIFO can also help to improve customer service levels by ensuring that the most recently received items are the ones that are shipped out first.  This method can also have some disadvantages, however. For example, if prices rise, businesses using LIFO will report higher costs of goods sold and lower profits than those using other methods. As a result, LIFO is not always the best choice for businesses. Also, LIFO inventory accounting can lead to difficulties in managing inventory levels, as businesses may find themselves with a surplus of older items that are no longer in demand.  Weighted Average Method The weighted average accounting method uses the average cost of a company's goods sold during a period to determine the value of its ending inventory.  The weighted average cost is calculated by taking the total cost of goods available for sale and dividing it by the total number of units available for sale.  This method is a lot simpler than both FIFO and LIFO methods. It doesn’t offer the same level of accuracy as those two, but it does represent an efficient way to calculate your overall profit over a certain fiscal period.  Specific Identification Method This method is best used when accounting for stock comprising a small number of high-priced items like cars, machines, or jewelry.  That’s because this method assigns a specific cost to each unit of inventory rather than averaging the cost across all of them. The process is generally done by tracking inventory from the time it is purchased until the time it is sold, which requires additional resources, and, therefore, isn’t for businesses with a high number of different items that need to be tracked. How to Manage Your Accounting A company's inventory is one of its most important assets. It represents the raw materials, finished goods, and work in progress that a company has on hand to support its operations. As such, it is essential to have an accurate valuation of inventory in financial reporting. While many businesses choose to outsource their inventory accounting, there are several benefits to doing it in-house.  The most important benefit is that you'll have complete control over your data. This means you can customize your reports to fit your specific needs and ensure that the information is always accurate.  With good inventory management software and POS system providers that permit third-party interfacing with accounting software, you will be able to track inventory items as they move through the system. If you can find affordable accounting software, you'll also save money by avoiding the fees associated with outsourcing. Ultimately, accounting inventory by yourself can give your business a valuable competitive advantage. Whichever way you manage your accounting, doing so will offer several advantages. It can: Help keep track of inventory levels and value, Enable better detection of obsolete inventory, Help avoid overstocking or undersupplying products, Provide useful information for financial reporting, Help save money on inventory costs. Bottom Line In our inventory accounting guide, we showed you why this is such an essential tool for small businesses and how to use it to your advantage.  This type of accounting allows businesses to track their inventory levels, value their inventory, and make informed decisions about purchasing and selling merchandise.  It can also help businesses to manage their cash flow and provide information about when inventory levels are low and need to be replenished.  Overall, inventory accounting is a valuable tool that can help small businesses to run more effectively and efficiently.

By Djordje Tresac

Barcodes can be found on almost anything these days, from products at the grocery store to educational books at the university shop. They have many uses, including identifying products, ensuring improved inventory control, and scanning prices. What exactly is a barcode? Here we will delve a little bit deeper into what a barcode is and what it means, the different types of barcodes, their parts, and how they are used. What Does a Barcode Mean? One of the common challenges people have with barcodes is understanding what they are and what they mean. At its simplest, a barcode is a machine-readable representation of data. This data can be used to identify and track objects with a barcode reader.  Because barcodes can be read by machines, they can be automatically entered into a database to track inventory and inventory management. This can save businesses money by preventing them from overstocking products or accidentally selling items for less than they are worth. Types of Barcodes The most common type of barcode is the Universal Product Code or UPC. This type of barcode is used on products at the grocery store. Another common type of barcode is the ISBN, which uses 13 digits and can be tracked online without requiring a barcode scanner. Next, there are GS1 barcodes. What is a GS1 barcode? These barcodes are similar to UPC barcodes, but they are primarily used to track inventory and prices. GS1 actually stands for “global standards one,” which is an internationally recognized barcode standard for goods.  This type of barcode can be found on products at the grocery store, construction materials, books, and many other shippable items. Finally, there are QR codes. QR codes are a newer type of two-dimensional barcode that has become more popular over the years. They can be used to store information about a product or website on various surfaces, including stickers, posters, and even t-shirts that you can wear.  QR codes can quickly be scanned by a smartphone to instantly access anything on the internet, from company websites to restaurant menus. As you can see, all types of barcodes have a purpose in business and deciding on which one to use ultimately depends on the way your business operates. Parts of a Barcode Barcodes have two main parts: the human-readable part and the machine-readable part. The human-readable part is the series of numbers or letters that you can see. This part is used to identify the product. The machine-readable part is the series of black and white bars that the machine reads. This part tells the machine what the product is and how it should be tracked. Uses of Barcode Technology So what is a barcode used for? Barcode scanners and technology can be used in a variety of ways. The most common use is helping businesses with inventory balance, tracking goods, and querying the database for product prices on the spot.  This can be helpful for retail stores to prevent overstocking or selling below market price. Barcodes can also be used to track library books, products at the grocery store, and other items. However, some types of barcodes, such as QR barcodes, can also be used for marketing purposes. Since they are 2D, these barcodes can be printed on signage, mugs, hats, and all sorts of business marketing materials. Benefits of Barcode Technology There are several benefits of using barcode technology. One is that it can save retail stores time and money by preventing them from overstocking products, miscalculating inventory, or accidentally selling items for less than they are worth. Another benefit is that barcodes can be used to track a variety of objects, from college books to products at the grocery store, with barcode scanners. This can be helpful for people who are trying to keep track of their belongings and for retail stores using it for part management and inventory control. Final Thoughts A barcode is a machine-readable representation of data used to identify and track objects. They can be found in almost anything, from products at the grocery store to library books. Barcodes can save businesses time and money by preventing them from accumulating too much inventory, miscalculating, and wasting precious resources. Additionally, barcodes can be used to track a variety of products and objects. This can be helpful for people who need to keep track of their belongings or for businesses that need inventory tracking. The uses of barcode technology are endless and will continue to evolve over the years with the adoption of QR code technology by the average smartphone user. Now that you know what a barcode is, you will know exactly how they work next time your shop at a retail store or use the postal service.

By Milos Djurovic

Amazon is a behemoth of a company. It dominates the online retail market and shows no signs of slowing down. But what many people don't know is that Amazon's success relies heavily on its distribution network.  This system consists of many parts, all of which work together to ensure speedy and accurate delivery of products to customers. In this article, we'll take a look behind the scenes at how inventory management at Amazon works. We'll examine the segments of this system and how they all work together to make Amazon the giant it is today! The Importance of Amazon’s Inventory Management  Amazon has made a fortune by being extremely efficient in its inventory management. It has come a long way since it opened its first warehouses in 1997, both in terms of storage space and supply chain logistics. Although the company now owns storage space of over 300 million square feet in the United States, it has also made steps toward a simpler, just-in-time inventory system. This means Amazon orders products from suppliers when they are needed to fill customer orders. Owing to this approach, Amazon can avoid the cost of storing excess inventory. Moreover, the products are less likely to become outdated or damaged while sitting on shelves. Of course, this system requires a high degree of coordination between Amazon and its suppliers. But, by carefully managing its inventory, Amazon has been able to achieve unprecedented levels of efficiency and profitability. How Does Amazon Manage Its Inventory  When Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in 1994, he had a simple mission: To be Earth's most customer-centric company. To achieve this goal, the people at Amazon have always been willing to experiment and take risks, whether it's developing new technologies like the Kindle or reinventing the way we shop with Prime.  Behind the Amazon inventory management system lies a simple insight that eCommerce customers want their goods as quickly as possible and to get as close as they can to the experience of shopping at a physical store. To help them achieve that, Amazon uses modern tech throughout the process, from online shopping to the last stages of delivery. The company has a team of data scientists who analyze customer buying patterns and use that information to forecast future demand. The goal is to maintain a good inventory balance, meaning get exactly the right amount of stock. In turn, this would reduce waste and ensure that the products customers want are always available.  Amazon uses technology to keep track of its inventory. It boasts GPS-enabled devices that scan items as they are loaded onto trucks and uses RFID tags to track items as they move through warehouses. This allows the team to know exactly where each item is at all times, so they can quickly find and ship it to the customer who ordered it.  State-of-the-art logistics ensure that products are delivered efficiently to Amazon warehouses. In the delivery of goods to an Amazon fulfillment center, the use of its custom app Relay streamlines the process for both the warehouse and the delivery vehicles. Another big part of Amazon's warehouse management system is its use of robots and artificial intelligence. With more than 520,000 robots in their fulfillment centers around the world, Amazon teams get considerable help from these robots in moving inventory around and loading it onto trucks for shipping. In addition to physical robots, Amazon relies heavily on artificial intelligence to help manage its inventory. For example, the company uses AI-powered algorithms to predict which items are likely to sell well in the future and stock accordingly.  The company became the third approved provider of drone delivery services in the US. This innovation is meant to give Amazon an advantage over its competitors by lowering the costs of last-mile delivery, which is often critical in terms of the resources it requires.  Thanks to these efforts, Amazon is able to keep its inventory well-stocked and fulfill customer orders quickly and efficiently.  Amazon Facilities and Shipment Process Facilities play a vital role in this system, as there are currently 305 Amazon fulfillment warehouses. These are giant storage spaces that hold inventory and are connected to Amazon’s distribution network. When customers order items from Amazon, they are sent from the nearest fulfillment center. The company also has over a thousand distribution centers, which are used to store products before they are sent to fulfillment centers or customers.  Although the fulfillment center is at the heart of Amazon’s operations, there are five facility types that make up the Amazon distribution network. We’ll take a quick look at what they are and what part they play in Amazon’s order management. Cross-Dock Center Amazon cross-dock centers are basically large warehouses where inventory is sorted and then shipped out to fulfillment centers. The term "cross-docking" comes from the fact that these facilities typically have loading docks on both sides of the building so that inbound and outbound shipments can be loaded and unloaded. As the first stop in Amazon’s warehouse system, cross-dock centers have a much smaller staff than traditional warehouses since there is no need for employees to pick and pack orders. Instead, the focus is on rapidly and accurately sorting inventory as it arrives so that it can be quickly reloaded for shipment to its final destination. Fulfillment Center The Amazon fulfillment center network is one of the most important pieces of infrastructure in the company's business model. By stocking inventory in large warehouses and using sophisticated software to track sales and trends, Amazon was able to create one of the best inventory management systems on the market.  Each Amazon fulfillment warehouse stores merchandise until it is sold. When an order is placed, the appropriate item is picked off the shelf and shipped to the customer.  As Amazon’s average fulfillment center is 800,000 square feet, the company uses a complex system of barcodes and scanners to keep track of all the items. When an item arrives at a fulfillment center, it is assigned a barcode that is scanned into the system. This allows Amazon to track the location of every single item in its inventory at all times. Sortation Centers Amazon sortation centers are distribution facilities where orders are sorted by destination ZIP code and then shipped further. At a sortation center, workers scan and sort customer orders before loading them onto trucks for delivery. By sorting orders according to their destination ZIP code, Amazon is able to reduce shipping times and costs.  Delivery Stations Delivery stations are also an essential part of Amazon’s warehouse management structure, as the last-mile delivery that they serve contributes to cutting delivery costs.  These delivery stations are small warehouses that package and ship orders to customers. Amazon workers at these facilities pick, pack, and ship customer orders. Some delivery stations also serve as sorting centers, where packages are sorted by destination before being sent out for delivery.  Amazon Prime Now  Amazon Prime Now is a service that offers ultra-fast delivery of items from local stores and restaurants. It is currently available in the United States, the UK, and select markets across the world. In each city, Amazon has established so-called "Prime Now hubs," which are staffed with drivers and personnel who fulfill orders placed through the Prime Now app.  How Do Fulfillment Centers Work  A key part of Amazon’s eCommerce inventory management strategy, the fulfillment center network ensures the speedy service Amazon customers have come to expect. However, these centers don’t function the same way you would guess.  Most businesses designate areas of their storage facilities for certain types of goods, let’s say, apparel or tech. But because of the enormous space that Amazon’s warehouses occupy, this wouldn’t be efficient at all. Instead, as soon as the commodity arrives at the fulfillment center, it is placed on the first available shelf. Both the item and the shelf barcode are scanned and entered into the system so the item could be located.  When something needs to be picked up for shipment, it’s usually time for robots to assist. The robot waits for the Amazon employee at the designated shelf, its job being to take the item and drop it off for shipment. This saves time, as workers don’t have to cart from the shelf to the shipment area.  How Can You Benefit From Amazon’s Warehouse Management? Anyone who has ever shopped on Amazon knows that the company is an eCommerce powerhouse. But what does this mean for you, the customer? Well, there are certain benefits to Amazon's efficient warehouse management. For example, you can often find great deals on items that are in stock and ready to ship. Moreover, Amazon Business is one of the prime wholesale websites where you can find supplies in bulk and pay less, especially if you're stocking up for your company.  There are also advantages if you’re using Amazon Marketplace to sell your products. You can benefit from Amazon’s FBA inventory management service. The Fulfillment by Amazon program takes care of the entire process from order to delivery. The only thing left to do is optimize the keyword research for your product and push it up Amazon Marketplace rankings. Then sit back and watch your sales volume go through the roof. Bottom Line Amazon has become synonymous with eCommerce for good reason; the company has revolutionized the way we shop. Certainly, a big part of Amazon's success is the efficient management of its massive inventory. By leveraging a combination of fulfillment centers, robots, and artificial intelligence, Amazon is able to keep track of every single item in its inventory at all times and ensure that popular items are always in stock.

By Djordje Tresac

Inventory control is the main goal of part management. Any company that works with physical assets needs to stay organized to function properly, and part management is followed by additional costs. As such, in order to run a successful manufacturing or service/repair operation, it’s necessary to have the right amount of resources at the right time, and that’s where an organized spare part management system comes in. Effective Spare Parts Management An effective parts management system will allow you to: Know what parts and components are required for each product or service Track where each part or component is located Determine how many of each part or component you need Control inventory levels for each part or component Minimize waste and inventory costs As you can see, spare parts management can reduce downtime, as it can eliminate any inefficiencies in your daily operations. It can also increase customer satisfaction by helping you provide fast service and reduce your overhead costs.  Best Practices for Spare Parts Management There are many benefits to integrating an effective parts management system in your business, and that’s why we’ll explore some of the ways to optimize it further for your organization. Identifying Critical Components Any operation wanting to implement successful parts management needs to identify what components are essential for their business to run without interruption.  You can do this by looking at factors such as downtime costs, frequency of failures, lead times, and conducting an ABC analysis. By knowing which parts are critical, you can ensure they’re always in stock and available in the event of an emergency. Once you’ve identified the critical components, you can focus on your efforts to improve the availability of those components. This may involve stocking more inventory, developing better supplier relationships, or implementing just-in-time delivery.  ABC analysis is a method of categorizing items according to their consumption value, which represents the value of the item over a specified period of time.  Items that are considered essential for the operation and have the highest consumption value are classified as "A" items, while those that are less critical are classified as "B" or "C" items.  This type of analysis can be particularly helpful in spare parts management, as it allows managers to focus on keeping a stock of essential items while minimizing the cost of less important ones.  Applying such practice to your part inventory management system does come with additional costs, but it can provide peace of mind and safeguard against unexpected disruptions.  Inventory Volume and Sawtooth Diagrams You can graphically contextualize when you need to order new parts by using sawtooth diagrams. In the example below, you have inventory levels of a certain part represented on a y-axis and time on an x-axis.  Each peak is the maximum inventory capacity for that part, and the distance between them is the time between each shipment. However, the lead time determines when you need to reorder the part before it’s gone from your inventory. This approach is easily implemented in your business operations, but before applying it, you’ll need to determine the maximum and minimum inventory levels needed for each part in the inventory.  Maintain a Bill of Materials Efficient spare parts management greatly depends on having an up-to-date bill of materials by providing a clear and concise list of all the parts you need.  This can help reduce the time needed to find and order the correct parts, as well as prevent ordering unnecessary parts. Economic Order Quantity The economic order quantity is a mathematical formula that helps businesses determine how much of a product to order at a time in order to minimize the costs of inventory.  The EOQ takes into account the costs of ordering, holding, and spoilage of inventory. Determining the EOQ is the perfect way for businesses to find the ideal amount of spare parts to order, and it can also be applied to any kind of product. Work Order Process Standardization  Standardizing work order processes within your organization is a great way to improve your parts inventory management. Once implemented, the process needs to be precise and easy to follow.  Before implementing your own work order process, consider the following:  How difficult is it to obtain parts without a work order? How do you identify employees that don’t follow procedure and lead to imprecise inventory tracking? Is your work order flexible enough so that high-priority work orders can be focused on? Can you process work and purchase orders on time to avoid waiting for delivery? You should have a system where each spare part is associated with a work order. Other departments need to have an overview of all work orders for the sake of efficient spare parts planning. Inventory Control - Employee Training Maintaining an accurate overview of your inventory will depend on how well you train your employees in regard to spare parts management procedures. That’s why it’s important to invest enough time in proper inventory management for employees who handle spare parts. There are plenty of resources online, including seminars and training programs. It’s up to you as a business owner to choose one that covers the basic procedures and software solutions you wish to implement.  Taking Stock Of Lead Time An essential part of spare part management is to know your suppliers’ lead times. This is essential for inventory managers, as it allows them to plan out what parts they need to stock and in what volume.  We’ve already mentioned the importance of keeping stock of critical spare parts, as not having them stocked can have a significant financial impact on your business. You also don’t have to keep non-critical parts in reserve, as having too much inventory stock can incur additional costs. Managing inventory effectively includes avoiding expensive shipping options and establishing regular order times based on part expenditure.  Sometimes, managing your spare parts inventory will require you to order parts and components from other manufacturers, as your main supplier might not be able to make the shipment. Therefore, keeping a list of substitute suppliers is necessary to reduce wait time for the manufacturing and maintenance departments.  Risk Calculation Equipment malfunctions and machine overhauls are unavoidable, and that’s why the parts warehouse inventory needs to account for the risk of downtime. An effective part management system can help reduce downtime by ensuring the correct parts are available when needed. However, it’s easy to overcompensate and create unwarranted expenses.  As such, it's necessary to maintain inventory adequately while also minimizing the amount of money tied up in it. This can be difficult for small businesses to budget correctly, and it's important to take into account the amount of risk associated with each item in stock. For example, a business might have a critical piece of equipment that needs a particular set of parts to function. If those parts aren’t readily available, the company could be at risk of losing money or, worse, shutting down entirely. The parts management plan should account for this, and in this case, it would be important to have a large inventory of spare parts for the critical piece of equipment. However, if the business is able to order the parts as needed, it would be less important to maintain a large inventory of spares, especially non-critical ones.  Investing in a Spare Parts Management Software A computerized maintenance management system - CMMS - can help enforce some of the best spare parts management practices. For example, a CMMS can ensure that parts are ordered and received in a timely manner, that they’re properly stocked and tracked, and that they’re properly used and maintained.  Additionally, a CMMS can help identify potential problems with spare parts management and address them before they become larger issues. One handy practice for parts management is known as “just in time,” or JIT. This strategy calls for having only the necessary parts on hand and not keeping any more inventory than necessary. This can be difficult to do without a computerized system. A CMMS can help managers see which parts are being used and predict when they’ll need to be replaced. This allows them to order just enough parts to meet the demand, rather than making approximations and ordering too many or too few. Overall, efficient inventory management software can help maintain inventory accuracy, confirm stock locations, maintain stock levels, and ensure effective management processes. Limiting Access - Inventory Control System In order to maintain an efficient spare parts management process and avoid inventory inaccuracies, make sure that only parts department employees have access to the inventory. Consider the following practices to implement better security measures:  Having parts inventories limited to authorized employees Implementing physical security measures Installing security camera systems Instructing employees on the proper procedures and conducting regular reviews of essential spare parts Fortunately, smart security systems are becoming quite popular and affordable. These security measures can help deter theft, protect inventory from damage, and ensure that only authorized personnel has access to parts.  Closing Thoughts Spare parts inventory management can be a complex and time-consuming task. However, it’s a crucial part of keeping a business running smoothly and avoiding costly downtime.  By following the tips and best practices outlined in this article, you can ensure that your spare parts are managed effectively and efficiently.

By Nikolina Cveticanin

In the past, you could become an Amazon seller only if you partnered with the company and shipped your products directly to its warehouses. That's no longer the case, and you can sell products through this famous and reputable eCommerce provider, both physical and digital, without having stocks at Amazon fulfillment centers. Now you’re probably wondering how to sell on Amazon without inventory and what the most affordable or worthwhile option is. Read on to learn everything you need about the offered options and the pros and cons of each. Ways To Sell on Amazon Without Inventory There are four common ways for prospective Amazon sellers to start selling their products through the Amazon store, and these are: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) Third-party Logistics (3PL) Amazon Dropshipping Digital Products These options cater to different types of sellers, so let's review them in more detail. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) FBA is the best way to sell on Amazon without inventory for many sellers. If you are considering becoming an FBA seller, all you need to do to start your online business is prepare a product and ship it to the nearest Amazon fulfillment center. Amazon picks up from there, as it takes care of storing, packaging, and shipping your products to their buyers.  Owing to these benefits, many people become FBA sellers. Furthermore, you benefit from the following if you choose this selling method: 24/7 customer support Improved visibility of your product Possibility to work at your own pace Access to Amazon Prime customers  Optionally, you can use retail arbitrage to find products at discounts that meet customer demand However, to make money on Amazon without inventory in this manner, you must accept the following drawbacks: Prices are dictated by the market, and you may have little say in this Lack of notifications in case of stock decrease in the FBA inventory Potentially high FBA fulfillment storage fees in the Amazon warehouse, depending on the product size and weight Although many sellers find FBA fees high, they still stick to this option because of the following features: They don’t have to provide customer support to shoppers as Amazon takes care of it. Access to Amazon's large storage centers where their inventory is safe. Each time an order comes in, Amazon ships the product on their behalf. Sellers benefit from free two-day shipping for Amazon Prime customers. As such, their product is exposed to 200 million Amazon Prime members, which leads to more sales. So, if you’re unsure how to sell on Amazon without inventory and keep eCommerce sales simple, this is the way to go. Third-Party Logistics (3PL) If you find that Amazon charges overly high fees for its warehouse space, there are several types of 3PL providers that could help you maximize profits. So, if there aren't any Amazon no-product platforms that work for your goods, you can also use third-party logistics. This option allows you to sell products online via Amazon and eliminates the need for your own warehouse space. However, note that this eCommerce selling option is worthwhile only if you can find a third-party provider that's more affordable than Amazon, which may be challenging.  To benefit from the potentially lower costs of third-party logistics, search for a 3PL provider that offers packing, shipping, and customer support services from their third-party fulfillment center. Before deciding to sell on Amazon without inventory through third-party providers, you should take the following pros and cons into consideration: Advantages Disadvantages Reverse logistics Inventory management  More time for you to focus on other aspects of online sales You don’t control the physical inventory Startup expenses could be on the higher side You can’t control quality in every stage of the process  Limited flexibility regarding the distribution of your product Another thing to keep in mind before choosing a third-party provider over the FBA program is that you might encounter potential issues with shipping.  If you sell on Amazon without inventory and they cause damage to your goods, for example, they'll take the blame and compensate you. On the other hand, if a third-party provider causes such damage, getting reimbursed may prove challenging.  Amazon Dropshipping Dropshipping by Amazon is another popular option for retail sellers who don't want to purchase inventory. It involves creating an Amazon storefront, also known as a product listing and a product detail page. Every time a buyer orders an item, you buy it from the manufacturer, who then sends it to the customer. If you choose the dropshipping method to sell on Amazon without storing a product, you only need to promote and sell the items. Your dropshipper will be responsible for filling the order and keeping track of the inventory. Dropshipping Strengths If you choose Amazon dropship, you can take advantage of the following benefits: Affordable services that will help you kickstart your eCommerce business. Receiving data and analytics in real time, which allows you to learn more about your online audience and the demographics you wish to target. Checking out market demand by using existing products before creating your own, based on the performance of others’ goods. Even though these pros sound great, it’s advisable to learn about the downsides before choosing dropshipping to sell on Amazon without holding inventory. Dropshipping Weaknesses There are also some cons that pertain to dropshipping: Finding a reliable dropshipping provider tends to be tricky as the dropshipping industry is highly competitive. Since the manufacturer designs the products, you won’t have much influence over product quality and appearance.  There is no guarantee that a dropshipping website's products will succeed or meet customers' needs and expectations. Amazon Dropshipping Rules and Regulations Selling on Amazon without inventory in this manner is subject to the company’s dropshipping policy. Some principal rules you'll have to follow by choosing this option are: Your chosen supplier agrees to let you be their only dropshipping representative on all invoices, external packaging, and packing slips. You'll have to delete any mention or sign of a third-party dropshipper from your products before shipping. If any info or contact details belong to another seller on your product, you must remove them. You're not allowed to buy other online retailers’ products and have them delivered to your customers. You'll have to deal with customer returns for your products by yourself. Digital and Print-on-Demand Products Knowing how to sell on Amazon without inventory will also come in handy if you wish to sell intellectual property online, as these processes are quite similar. Besides selling digital products, such as music, ebooks, and digital art, you can sell t-shirts and other print-on-demand (POD) products this way. ​​To sell digital products like ebooks and audiobooks on Amazon, all you need to do is upload them. But if print-on-demand products are your trade, you must search for a third-party POD service to register. After that, you can synchronize the service with your Amazon seller account and promote the product among your customer base.  Benefits of Selling on Amazon Without Stocking a Product Aside from individual strengths relating to the chosen method, let's take a look at some general pros of selling products without inventory on Amazon: Amazon protects sellers against fraud. Traders avoid substantial upfront investments, which reduces the risk and allows them to direct cash flow elsewhere. Amazon's transport system is reliable, fast, and safe, so customers get their goods reasonably quickly. Sellers get access to a substantial customer base through Amazon business. It’s also a great idea to rely on the Amazon keyword research tool to improve your product's chances of being found. People selling on Amazon can focus on improving their goods, advertisements, and customer service responses since they don't need to deal with logistics issues. Final Words You can start, grow, and improve your eCommerce business by learning how to sell on Amazon without inventory. There is an array of options depending on the type of goods you offer, and you can always switch methods if one doesn't suit your business style. The best thing is that Amazon is among top-rated wholesale websites and a synonym for online shopping. Now that you know how to sell products on Amazon without inventory, choose your preferred method and begin selling. But first, read the Amazon policy carefully to avoid potential penalties down the line.

By Nikolina Cveticanin

Retail inventory is a balancing act. You want to have enough on hand to meet customer demand, but you don’t want such excess that you’re wasting money on storage and losing potential sales.  In this article, we will discuss how retail inventory balance can be optimized to increase sales. We’ll also look at the benefits of using an inventory balancing service to help with your retail needs. What Is Inventory Balance? This term refers to the process of ensuring a company's stock levels are in alignment with consumer demand. This involves moving excess inventory from one retail location to another where it is needed while quickly and cost-effectively restocking locations with low or no inventory available.  Optimizing your inventory status in this way ensures you always have the right products in stock to meet customer demand and better your sales.  Why Is It Important for Businesses? Businesses need to track their inventory levels for a variety of reasons:  It provides insight into how much inventory is available to meet customer demand, helping avoid stock-outs and lost sales due to insufficient inventory levels. Inventory balance monitoring can help businesses identify potential theft or fraud.  Tracking inventory can help businesses keep tabs on their expenses and better understand their cash flow.  Keeping track of inventory saves money by avoiding the need to purchase excessive levels of a certain item. When businesses know how much inventory they need and when they need it, they can make better decisions about their production levels and their purchasing budget. In short, inventory levels are an important metric for businesses to track in order to optimize their operations and bottom line. How Businesses Can Track Inventory There are several methods businesses can use to optimize their results according to the best practices for inventory balancing: The Continuous Order Model works on the principle of safety-stock ordering: As soon as the stock reaches a predetermined level, it is time to buy more of that item. If your business doesn’t use too many items, you should opt for the Periodic Review System. It requires that you review the inventory at fixed time intervals and plan your inventory balancing from there. The Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) model is based on predetermined purchase patterns and attempts to reduce supply chain costs. The main goal of using this model is to optimize inventory balance for ROI increase purposes by lowering the total cost of doing business. What model you choose will mainly depend on the scale and dynamics of your business. With choosing the right system, there are certain best practices you will want to employ to get the best results. Best Practices for Keeping Track of Your Inventory  A common method that can help businesses with inventory balancing is using a point-of-sale (POS) system.  These systems allow retailers to keep track of stock levels in real-time, so they can quickly take action if products start running low or need to be restocked. POS systems are essential for effective inventory management, as they provide real-time data on sales trends and demand patterns. If you’re interested in investing in this option, you should know that this is just one of the advantages a POS system can bring to your business. Keeping your stock up-to-date with a POS system can also help with inventory accounting if you get a POS system with solid accounting software integration. Another strategy for monitoring and optimizing retail inventory is to work with an inventory balance service. These services allow retailers to connect and collaborate, so they can easily exchange excess products in high demand or short supply. One popular inventory balance method is software that automatically tracks inventory levels and values. This software is typically designed for specific businesses, such as retailers or manufacturers, and can be customized to fit their needs.  In addition, businesses can use this type of software to manage backorders or set reorder points (ROP), which can help ensure they always have the necessary inventory levels on hand.  Another option is to hire an outside company to take care of the inventory balance management. This can be a cost-effective solution for businesses that don't have the time or resources to do it themselves. Whichever method you choose, inventory balancing is essential for keeping your business running smoothly. While inventory management software can be a helpful tool for businesses, it is important to keep in mind that it is not a perfect solution. This type of software can be expensive, and it may not always be accurate. Businesses will still need to do a physical inventory count periodically to confirm the software’s accuracy.  However, for businesses that need to track their inventory levels closely, inventory management software can be a valuable tool. Challenges Businesses Face When Trying To Maintain an Accurate Inventory Most inventory management processes rely on historical sales data. This is what is called demand forecasting. The model doesn’t always provide the right solutions as consumer demand is not constant. An example of this would be the EOQ model. A business’s inventory is one of its most important assets. It is essential for efficient operations and strong financial health. However, maintaining accurate inventory balance planning can be challenging for businesses of all sizes.  One common issue is incorrect or outdated records. They are caused by items manually entered into the system, errors, or items not scanned adequately into the system. This can lead to overstocking or understocking, both of which can have a negative impact on the business.  Another challenge is managing inventory levels across multiple locations. This can be difficult to do manually, and it can be easy to lose track of what is in stock and where it is located.  Businesses can use inventory management software to help overcome these challenges and maintain an accurate balance of their inventory. With the right tools in place, businesses can ensure that they have the right amount of inventory on hand at all times. Bottom Line Achieving a perfect inventory stock can be tricky, but it’s essential for any business that wants to be successful. By following the tips in this article, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring that your business always has just enough stock on hand to meet customer demand without tying up too much capital or incurring unnecessary costs. Whatever inventory balance strategy you end up using - be it using modern technologies like POS systems, working with other retailers in your industry, or simply adjusting your ordering practices - it’s important to be proactive and always think ahead in the constantly changing world of demand and supply.

By Nikolina Cveticanin

If you’re in the business of shipping and logistics, then you’ve probably heard of 3PL. But what is it? How does it work? What are the benefits and drawbacks of using a 3PL provider? In this article, we’ll answer all these questions and more!  Starting with 3PL and the meaning behind this abbreviation, we’ll define what a third-party logistics company is. We’ll also explain how they differ from other types of logistics providers and take a look at the services they offer. Finally, we’ll discuss some of the pros and cons of using a third-party logistics provider for your business. So, whether you’re just starting out in shipping and logistics or are looking for a better way to manage your operations, read on for everything you need to know about 3PL! What Is a 3PL? A third-party logistics provider, 3PL, is a company that provides logistics management services to businesses. 3PLs manage the transportation and storage of goods, as well as import and export compliance and customs clearance.  In some cases, a 3PL may also provide value-added services such as inventory management, assembly, and packaging. By outsourcing logistics needs to a 3PL, businesses can save time and money, as well as benefit from the expertise of a company that specializes in this area.  While there are many types of 3PLs, they all share one common goal: to provide efficient and cost-effective logistics solutions for their clients. How Does 3PL Work? 3PL providers can handle everything from transportation and warehousing to fulfillment services and return management. In addition, 3PL providers often have access to a global network of resources, which can help businesses expand their reach and tap into new markets. 3PL providers generally work on a contract basis, meaning businesses only pay for the services they use. This can be a cost-effective way to outsource logistics functions, as businesses only incur costs when they need to use 3PL services.  In addition, 3PL providers often have established relationships with transportation suppliers, which can help businesses get lower rates on shipping. Overall, working with a third-party logistics company can be an efficient and cost-effective way to manage your business's logistics needs. When choosing a 3PL provider, it's important to select one that offers the services you need, and that has a good reputation in the industry.  In addition, be sure to review the terms of the contract carefully before signing so that you understand exactly what you're getting into. Different Types of 3PL Services When it comes to logistics, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The type of third-party logistics services you need will depend on the specific needs of your business. To help you choose the right 3PL partner, here is a rundown of the most common types of 3PL services. Transportation Management With transportation management services, businesses can outsource all or a part of their shipping operations. This includes tasks such as route planning, carrier selection, and freight negotiation. Transportation management services can help businesses save money and improve efficiency. Warehouse Management A 3PL provider can take over all or a part of a business’s warehouse operations, including receiving, inventory management, and shipping. This can free up valuable resources so that you can focus on other aspects of your business. Order Fulfillment If you sell products online, you may need assistance with order fulfillment. 3PL companies can pick, pack, and ship orders to your customers. This service can help you improve customer satisfaction and reduce shipping costs. Furthermore, order fulfillment software can help you scale your business more effectively. Returns Management  Returns are a fact of life for any business that sells products online. A 3PL provider can manage the returns process for you, from handling customer inquiries to processing refunds. This service can help you minimize the cost and the hassle of returns. In addition, a good returns management system can help you reduce the number of returns you receive. Inventory Management  An inventory management system is a critical component of any logistics operation. A good inventory management solution can help you track your inventory, optimize your stock levels, and reduce your overall costs. It can also help you improve customer satisfaction by ensuring that you always have the products your customers need in stock. Freight Forwarding If you need to ship goods internationally, you’ll need the services of a freight forwarder. A freight forwarder is a company that specializes in arranging international shipments. They handle all the details of your shipment, from arranging transportation to completing customs paperwork. Ultimately, freight forwarders can help you save time and money on international shipping. Value-Added Services Many third-party logistics companies offer value-added services such as product assembly, packaging, and labeling. These services can save you time and money by eliminating the need to outsource these tasks to other vendors. When selecting a 3PL provider, be sure to choose one that offers the type of service you need. And don't be afraid to ask for referrals from other businesses in your industry. Chances are good that they've worked with a 3PL provider before and can give you some insight into which companies are worth considering. Benefits of Using a 3PL A 3PL can provide many benefits for businesses of all sizes, including lower shipping costs, improved customer service, and increased efficiency. Perhaps the most obvious benefit of using a 3PL is that it can save you money on shipping. 3PLs have relationships with major carriers like UPS and FedEx, and they can often get discounts that you wouldn't be able to get on your own. In addition, 3PLs can help you optimize your shipping routes to reduce costs further. Another benefit of using a 3PL is that it can improve your customer service. A good 3PL will have experience in handling customer orders and will be able to quickly resolve any issues that may arise. This can free up your time to focus on other aspects of your business. Finally, a 3PL can help increase the efficiency of your logistics operations. A good 3PL will have state-of-the-art warehouse management systems that can help you keep track of your inventory and orders. This information can be invaluable in planning future production runs and ensuring that you always have the products your customers need in stock. As you can see, there are many 3PL advantages and reasons to consider using one for your business. If you're looking for ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency, a 3PL may be the solution you're looking for. Disadvantages of Using a 3PL While third-party logistics solutions can offer a number of advantages to businesses, there are also some potential disadvantages that should be kept in mind.  One of the main 3PL disadvantages is the loss of control over the shipping process. When businesses use a 3PL, they are essentially outsourcing a key part of their operations to another company. This can lead to communication breakdowns and delays, which can ultimately impact the customer experience.  Also, businesses may have to sacrifice some flexibility when using a 3PL, as these providers often have set schedules and processes that may not always align with the needs of the business.  Despite these potential disadvantages, 3PLs can still be a valuable option. Once businesses master the basics of 3PL and how to integrate it, they can start reaping the many benefits it has to offer. Who Is 3LP For? Third-party logistics providers can be a good option for businesses of all sizes. However, they are often most beneficial for small to medium-sized businesses that don’t have the resources or capabilities to handle shipping themselves.  In addition, businesses that have complex shipping needs or require value-added services such as product assembly, packaging, and labeling may find it helpful to use a third-party logistics company. If you're considering using a third-party logistics provider for your business, be sure to do your research to find a reputable and experienced company that can meet your needs. 3PL vs. 4PL: What Is the Difference? Now that we know what a third-party logistics provider is, you may be wondering what a 4PL provider is. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, there is actually a major difference between the two.  A fourth-party logistics provider (also known as a lead logistics provider) is essentially an extension of your company. They work closely with you to develop a customized logistics solution that meets the specific needs of your business across the entire supply chain.  A 4PL provider is typically more expensive than a third-party logistics provider, but it can offer a number of advantages, such as increased flexibility and customization. Furthermore, a fourth-party logistics provider can provide a higher level of service, as it’s more invested in the success of your company. So, which is right for you? It really depends on your business plan and the needs of your business. If you're looking for a more hands-off approach, a third-party logistics provider may be a good option. However, if you need a more customized solution, a fourth-party logistics provider may be a better choice. Final Words Now that you know what 3PL is by definition and how it works, you can make an informed decision about whether or not it’s the right solution for your business.  Think about your needs and goals, and weigh them with the advantages and disadvantages of using a third-party logistics provider. By taking the time to do your research, you can find the best solution for your business.

By Nikolina Cveticanin

“What is web hosting vs. domain?” is the question many beginner website builders want to know the answer to. In a nutshell, web hosting allows you to have a website anyone on the internet can access, while a domain is your website’s address, which the audience types into the search engine to land on your site. They work together to keep your website online and accessible, so let's discuss each term in more detail. The Difference Between Hosting and Domain Although new website owners often buy web hosting and a domain name together, they are still two different things. The domain is your unique address on the internet that visitors use to find your site. You can have a domain name without a website, but not vice versa. Web hosting stores all the website's files, making the site accessible to visitors. Thus, you need to host a domain to create and launch a website. What Is Web Hosting? When you build a website, you need to store its folders, files, and data somewhere. That's where a web hosting provider comes in. A web host is a company that owns servers designed specifically for website storage that store various websites for a certain price. If we imagine that your website is a living being, for example, the web host’s server would be its home. There are different types of hosting services, so let's see what the most typical ones are. Web Hosting Types Web hosting companies offer various types of web hosting, and below are the most common among them. Shared Hosting This hosting type is most popular among small businesses and owners of small websites. Its main benefit is a low price, as little as a few dollars a month, since the web hosting company hosts various websites on a single server, thus keeping the costs down.  But, when your website grows and receives loads of traffic, consider switching to fully dedicated hosting that caters to your website's needs only.  Virtual Private Server Hosting VPS is a website hosting plan that caters to moderate- and high-traffic website owners. VPSes are separate sections of a server, each hosting solely one website. That makes VPS hosting ideal for websites needing more resources for their website files than shared hosting can offer but whose owners aren't ready to move to fully dedicated hosting just yet. Besides, website owners may configure their VPS with the help of the most efficient VPS hosting companies to ensure the resources they receive are completely in line with their business needs. WordPress Hosting WordPress hosting is a service that caters to the platform powering around 30% of the web. It provides an optimized hosting environment configured to run WordPress fast and smoothly. Choosing the right WordPress hosting provider is essential because not all offer the same web hosting service quality.  Cloud Hosting You can also choose cloud hosting and keep your domain name and website there. The thing about cloud hosting is that different servers host a single website. That way, if one server has issues, another can take over and keep the website running, which is critical for websites requiring high availability, such as eCommerce websites.  When it comes to pricing, cloud hosting tends to be pricey. Besides, if you are about to start building your first website, this option may not be your best choice since you need experience configuring servers to make them work optimally. What Is a Domain Name? Remember the comparison we mentioned earlier with the website being a resident and the web hosting company its home? By the same analogy, the website's domain name would be the home address. As such, choosing a memorable domain name for your website is essential to helping your audience find your website. Some well-known domain name examples are google.com and yahoo.com. But there are many domain extension types (or top-level domain domains) website owners can add to their domain names, including: Generic, such as .org, .com, and .net Sponsored, including .gov and .edu Country, like .us  Besides choosing a web host provider, finding a good domain registrar should be among your priorities, as you’ll also need to register your domain with an official organization. Hosting a Domain vs. Hosting a Website Hosting a domain name pertains to hosting the address of your existing website or one you intend to build in the future. A domain host manages the DNS records and connects the domain name with your email, for example. Domains hosted by a hosting company will each have a portion of its server.  Before you can host a website, you need to choose a hosting company. As mentioned, you can keep the web host and domain name separate if you wish. Various web hosting providers are available on the market, some of which are free. Even so, free web hosts may not be ideal for various reasons, so consider choosing the one that offers discounted website hosting for the first year. If you select a free option, remember that you'll need to add the company's subdomain address to your domain name, which might make it come across as less professional. Now that we’ve answered the "What is web hosting vs. domain hosting?" question and dispelled confusion related to these terms, let's see how you can find these hosts before creating a new website. Buying a Domain Name and Web Hosting You can combine a domain name and a web hosting account or purchase these services from different providers, depending on your needs and objectives. Below is an overview of the available options. Getting Web Hosting and Domain From the Same Provider Many people are confused when it comes to buying web hosting and domain names from the same provider. Still, getting them in one place provides various benefits, such as: Web hosting providers tend to include a domain name in their web hosting plans for free or at a discounted price. Another major advantage of having website domains and hosting with the same provider is easier management. The next advantage is convenience, especially when you're new to website creation. Once you set up your account, the provider will automatically link the domain name and hosting. Buying a Domain and Hosting Separately If you prefer to purchase a domain name and web hosting separately, you should keep in mind several things. Web Hosting First and foremost, numerous web hosting companies are available today for you to choose from. The most significant differences between these providers are their web hosting quality, uptime, loading speed, and customer support. They may offer monthly or annual plans.  Some reputable web hosting companies are Bluehost, GoDaddy, Hostinger, HostGator, and A2 Hosting.  Domain Name You can buy a domain name for as little as several dollars, depending on the domain registrar. The domain will be yours for as long as you renew the registration, which typically lasts a year. Thus, you need to renew your domain name registration before it expires, so remember to keep this in check if your provider doesn't send expiry notifications. Now that you know where to get a domain name and hosting, let's see if it is possible to transfer your website address to another provider.  Moving a Domain Name to Another Hosting Company Even if you purchase a website domain name from one domain name registrar, you are free to transfer it to another domain company. Once you register the domain, it's yours, and you can do whatever you want with it. All you have to do when transferring the domain is follow both providers' instructions. Remember to wait at least 45 days after expiry to change the web host because a domain name remains in the register of The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the organization managing and coordinating the domain name system during this period. If you try to transfer your domain name before the 45-day period is up, you could lose your prepaid funds for that year. Transferring a Website Without Changing Its Domain Name You can also move your website from one web hosting provider to another.  Let's assume you bought the domain name and web hosting services from GoDaddy and want to switch to Bluehost. Transferring your site from one host to another is a straightforward process: You simply move your files and data. After that, edit the settings of your website's domain name to indicate that you have a new web hosting provider. Difference Between Host and Domain - Bottom Line Web hosting and domain names are two different things, but both are essential for building and maintaining a website. A domain is the address of your website, while web hosting is where you store all the files and data related to your site. Even though you can purchase a domain before actually creating a new website, launching it is impossible without web hosting. You can choose to obtain a domain and hosting from the same provider or purchase them separately. To keep the domain, you must renew it before the expiration date, with the expiration period typically being one year. Additionally, you can transfer a domain name from one provider to another.

By Nemanja Vasiljevic

Word of mouth has always been the most powerful form of marketing. It is human nature to trust the recommendation of a friend or family member over any other type of advertising: It’s honest, it’s personal, and it’s reliable. But what if you could get that same level of personal recommendation from a complete stranger? That’s the power of online customer reviews. In the article you’re about to read, we’ll discuss why online customer reviews are the ultimate salesperson for eCommerce businesses and how you can make the most of them. What Are Online Customer Reviews? At its simplest, a customer’s online review is a written testimonial about a product or service purchased and used by an actual customer. These reviews can be left on the website of the business in question, on a third-party review site, or even on social media platforms. There are two main types of online customer reviews that businesses should be aware of: 1. Ratings and Reviews These are the most common eCommerce product reviews, and they usually take the form of a star rating (from one to five stars, for example) along with a written comment. Customers will often be asked to rate their overall experience and specific aspects of the product or service they purchased. 2. Testimonials Testimonials are similar to ratings and reviews but tend to be more extensive. They also usually include the customer’s full name, location, and headshot. Many businesses will showcase testimonials prominently on their websites. We can also differentiate between private and public reviews. Private Reviews Clients review a product or service and share their reviews directly with the business through email, phone calls, or direct messages. Public Reviews Public reviews are those that anyone can see; they are left on a website or third-party review platform. Public reviews are more important for businesses because they are more likely to be seen by potential customers and impact their purchase decisions. How Customer Reviews Affect Businesses Both positive and negative reviews customers post online can have a major impact on your business. If you’re still wondering why online customer reviews are the ultimate salesperson for eCommerce, note that statistics show that 89% of B2B buyers search online for product or service reviews and photos before making a purchase decision. The impact of customer reviews is evident in both the short and long term.  In the short term, they can help (or hurt) your business by influencing the purchase decisions of potential customers looking actively for information about your products or services. In the long term, customer reviews can also help you improve your business by giving you insights into the areas where you need to make changes or improvements. Of course, the effect of online seller reviews is not always positive. Businesses have been known to crumble due to negative reviews, especially when such reviews go viral. This is why it’s so crucial for companies to manage their online reputation. What Can Positive Customer Reviews Do For Your Business? Positive and authentic customer reviews can have many benefits for your business. Here are just a few examples: 1. They Can Increase Sales and Conversions This is probably the most obvious benefit of positive customer reviews. If potential customers see that others have had a good experience with your product or service, they’re more likely to purchase it themselves. Higher conversion rates mean more sales and more revenue for your business. 2. They Can Help You Attract New Customers In addition to increasing sales and conversions, positive eCommerce reviews can also help you attract new customers. After all, potential customers are more likely to trust a business recommended by someone they know and trust. This powerful marketing tool is called “social proof.” With real customers’ words and sentiments about your product or service, your marketing campaigns will be more effective, and your advertising budget will go further. 3. They Can Improve Your Search Engine Ranking In recent years, Google has increasingly used customer reviews as a ranking factor in its search algorithms. Businesses with positive reviews of their online stores are more likely to appear higher up in search results, which can lead to even more sales and conversions. The SEO factor is becoming increasingly important for most top-rated e-commerce platforms. 4. They Can Build Trust and Credibility Positive online reviews can help build trust and credibility for your business. After all, if customers are willing to leave positive reviews, they must be pretty happy with your product or service.  This can encourage potential customers who are on the fence about your business to give you a try. Finally, potential customers are more likely to trust a business recommended by someone they know and trust. 5. They Can Improve Customer Retention Positive online business reviews can also help to improve customer retention. If customers are happy with your product or service, they’re more likely to stick around and continue doing business with you. This is especially important for businesses that rely on repeat customers or subscriptions. How To Get Authentic Positive Reviews - Our Tips There’s a common misconception that happy customers will automatically leave positive reviews and unhappy customers will bad-mouth your business to anyone who will listen. This is not always the case. In fact, getting positive customer reviews requires an active effort. You need to reach out to your customers and ask them for feedback. Luckily, there are a few ways you can do this and improve your online reviews section: 1. Send a Follow-Up Email After a customer has made a purchase, send them a follow-up email and ask them to leave a review of their experience. This is a great way to get honest feedback about your product or service. You can include a link to the comment box or a star-rating system in your email, attach a short survey, or even ask for video testimonials. 2. Use a Pop-Up or Sidebar Widget Another way to encourage customers to leave reviews is to use a pop-up or sidebar widget on your website. These widgets can be triggered after a customer has made a purchase or spent a certain amount of time on your site. This makes leaving a comment more convenient for customers, encouraging them to do so. 3. Get Social Media Reviews Online businesses’ reviews can be solicited via social media platforms. You can post about your product or service on your company’s social media page and ask customers to leave their thoughts in the comments. You can also run social media ads that link to review pages or use hashtags to encourage customers to post about their experiences. 4. Leverage User-Generated Content Another way to get positive customer reviews is to leverage user-generated content to resonate with your target audience. UGC is any content created by customers, such as product photos, videos, or reviews. Once you create your eCommerce website and add UGC, you can use it for your social media pages or marketing campaigns. 5. Incentivize Customers To Leave Reviews One of the best ways to get online reviews for your business is to offer an incentive. This could be a discount code, a free product, or entry into a contest. Customers are more likely to take the time to leave a review if they know they’ll get something in return. How To Deal with Bad Reviews No company is perfect, and even the best businesses will get the occasional negative review. The important thing is how you deal with those bad reviews. Companies need to consult online reviews daily and take the good with the bad. When you see a negative eCommerce review, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and remember that not every customer will be happy 100% of the time. Here are a few tips for dealing with negative reviews: Respond to All Reviews, Good and Bad It’s important to respond to all customer reviews, both positive and negative. This shows that you pay attention and care about your customers’ experience. A simple “Thank you” is usually sufficient for a positive review. For a negative review, you’ll want to take the time to address the customer’s concerns and offer a solution. Thank them for their feedback: This will show that you take shoppers and their reviews and concerns seriously. Apologize for the inconvenience: Even if it wasn’t your fault, an apology goes a long way. Offer a solution: Let the customer know what you’re going to do to fix the situation. Follow up: Make sure to follow up with the customer after you’ve implemented your solution. Don’t Take it Personally It's important to remember that negative reviews are not a reflection of you as a person. They’re simply feedback about your business. Try not to take it personally and stay focused on finding a solution. Use Negative Reviews as an Opportunity To Improve Your online store reviews, even negative ones, can be a great opportunity to improve your business. Use the feedback to identify areas where you can make changes. Maybe there’s a problem with your product, or your customer service could be better. Whatever the case may be, use negative reviews as an opportunity to make your business even better. Monitor Your Online Reputation Finally, it’s important to monitor your online reputation. This means regularly checking review sites, social media pages, and other online platforms for mentions of your business. If you see a negative review, reach out to the customer and try to resolve the issue. If you see a positive review, share it on your social media pages or website. Final Thoughts Even though it might be tempting to buy positive reviews, it’s not a good idea. Not only is it unethical, but it can also lead to long-term damage to your business. It’s much better to focus on earning positive reviews through excellent customer service and offering incentives. You can turn online customer reviews into a powerful marketing tool for attracting new customers. Just remember to be professional, respond to all reviews, and use negative reviews as a growth opportunity.

By Danica Djokic