Promise and Challenges

Cyber Monday: Promise and Challenges

Cyber Monday encourages Thanksgiving holiday shopping on the internet and even the recent reports stated that this big day has surpassed the sales of Black Friday and retail giant Amazon’s 2-day special sales events in the last few years. The shoppers bought US$7.9 and US$9.4 billion worth of products in 2018 and 2019, respectively. 

But did all the web stores profit and had a booming sales day? No! Many of them faced the following challenges:

  • Online searches failed to satisfy close to 40% of the customers.
  • Technical glitches prevented 13.4% of consumers from placing an order.
  • More than 38% did not receive their orders on time.
  • And 48% of buyers were not satisfied with the fulfillment options.

But these challenges should not deter the upcoming retail web stores. They can still carve out a niche by understanding these contemporary promises and challenges:

Online Presence

Even large businesses with a big market presence failed to capitalize on Cyber Monday. The lack of online visibility hindered them. These companies had multiple physical stores in various locations. But they did not have a proper and functioning web store or E-commerce site.

Even small companies did not rise to the occasion. They lacked the resolve to start a competent digital marketplace. Yes, some businesses tried to set up a makeshift retail store for online shoppers. But they lacked scalability options to handle the peak hour sales volumes.

Thankfully, there are viable, low-cost solutions to tackle these obstacles:

  • Start a full-fledged retail store with product catalogs and shopping carts. 
  • Facilitate easy payments, convenient browsing, and user-friendly features. Also, personalization, customization, and cloud-based storage and processing can help the business to flourish.
  • Modern, tech-savvy customers seek an efficient website to do their shopping. The store has to provide product data and descriptions. 
  • Product information management (PIM) software can enhance content discovery, item searches, order placements, and post-sale chats.

Impactful Marketing

You can create a website with sophisticated SaaS and EDI technologies. You can also deliver superior services and fast delivery times. But these investments do not bear fruit unless the store creates a buzz on the internet. And it would help if you had effective digital marketing and sales strategies to succeed:

  • Upgrade and fine-tune the store for a superior look, feel, and functionality. Deliver a memorable customer experience with a captivating site design.
  • Improve the number of organic searches through SEO and SEM. Achieve higher profits through backlinks, sales funnels, blogging, embedded links, and site maps.
  • Design and deploy a smartphone-friendly website with flexible features. It should have responsive design features with an optimized screen resolution, menu, navigation, and more.
  • Use banners to highlight special offers, discount alerts, and new product arrivals. Segment the products and set-up category pages with inbound links to engage the paying customers.
  • Rely on prompt email communications to create a loyal customer base. Offer discount coupons or send a reminder mail to those who abandon shopping carts. 

Successful Logistics

Retail store’s reputation depends on fast and accurate deliveries. But manual order processing and inventory management is a big drawback. The challenge gets exacerbated by an inability to handle large sales volumes. Also, shipping and packing delays can result from labor shortages in the store.

These obstacles can be overcome by automating the fulfillment process. Supply chain and shipping software can help reduce redundancy and human errors. Besides, the retailers can always partner with reputed wholesalers and distributors. They can also provide options for last-mile deliveries, curbside collection, and physical store pick-ups.

SWOT Analysis

Finally, analytics and artificial intelligence are at the next level. Cyber Monday sellers can capitalize on these technologies in diverse ways. They can set-up multiple channels to manage online sales, marketing, and management issues. More efficient customer services are possible by thoroughly analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

  • Customer data can get processed to deliver real-time product messages (ads).
  • Relevant communications via email, social media, web site, etc.
  • It is essential to offer secure payment options to ensure the buyer’s privacy.
  • Easy returns policy can get implemented by integrating physical and online stores.
  • Business can be expanded by partnering with like-minded retailers.
  • Innovative retail models help to keep the overall overheads low.
  • A comprehensive platform with predictive analytics can increase sales by 35% to 40%.

It is imperative to pick the right set of solutions and strategies to suit your target audience, mission, and budget.

Importance of Agile Project Management (1)

Importance of Agile Project Management

Modern software development is a complex and sophisticated activity. The agile techniques have emerged and evolved to support the industry. They facilitate efficient project management through various principles, tools, approaches, and cultural values. Let us have an in-depth look into them:

The Approach

The agile approach assists the development phase and the entire project lifecycle. It emphasizes iteration, adaptability, and responsiveness in product builds. The developers take a non-linear path to allocate fixed resources for a limited time. They also deliver the products using successive cycles of development. In contrast, the waterfall approach relies on the scope as a driver to evaluate the costs and time consequences.

Agile lacks a specific structure, and the managers get propelled by these four central values:

  1. People are prioritized over processes and tools in the project work
  2. Contracts take the back seat to produce client-centric outcomes
  3. Flexibility and responsiveness to signals are preferred over rigidity
  4. Problem-solving gets priority over record creation and maintenance

5 Key Components

These five primary components of the agile approach give pre-eminence to people. They make investors, managers, data architects, users, and other stakeholders crucial in the cycle.

1. User Stories

Analysts write short and simple descriptions from the client’s standpoint. They outline the quantum of work and the final product’s look.

2. Sprints

The products and services get improved in short bursts of 1 to 3 weeks. Iterations are useful to make improvements and upgrades.

3. Agile Board

Whiteboards and software visualization tools are essential for reporting team progress. They improve efficiency, commitment to work, and deadlines.

4. Scrum Meetings

These are short, daily conversations between project teams. Each member stands for 10 minutes and quickly talks about their assigned modules to others.

5. Backlogs

Unresolved tasks get assigned during sprint planning to the developers. This product backlog lists features, team activities, infrastructure changes, and bug-fixes.

Basic Principles

There is an excellent range of agile project management tools with features like real-time visualization, report generation, tracking capabilities, record maintenance, templates, and interfaces. They automate various vital processes and ensure smarter and faster team collaboration. 

All these software options, however, draw inspiration from the fundamental principles. Yes, agile has a manifesto developed by software professionals to teach values. It also gives direction to various stakeholders through these important principles:

  1. Assure customer satisfaction by consistently delivering value in real-time.
  2. Be open to change during any stage of the development to benefit clients.
  3. Focus on frequent deliveries by emphasizing the need for faster completion.
  4. Customer interactions and daily team collaborations are mandatory.
  5. Motivate the developers by creating an environment of trust and timely support.
  6. Implement persuasive communication techniques like face-to-face interactions.
  7. The final product or working software should be a measure of success.
  8. Teams have to work in tandem for motivation and sustained development.
  9. Stress on agility without losing track of design goals and technical acumen.
  10. Extract maximum productivity from the least effort by keeping it simple.
  11. Self-organized teams can come up with significant architecture to attain the goals.
  12. Encourage behavioral adjustments through frequent introspection and feedback. 

Common Steps

The agile approach has no uniformity, and there are multiple methodologies. The most popular ones are Scrum, Kanban, and Lean. Scrum focuses on daily activities by including the Scrum master, product owner, and team members. 

Kanban achieves task-orientation using visual displays and boards, while the Lean method focuses on waste reduction, a clutter-free system, and value addition. There are other methodologies, too, like Scrumban, DSDM, Crystal, Extreme Programming, and even agile agnostic frameworks.

Despite the differences, there are some common and much necessary agile steps. They are project planning, product map creation, daily stand-ups, and sprint reviews. These steps encompass the teams, tools, daily targets, roadmaps, timelines, and SWOT analyses.

Conclusion: Excellent Benefits

Agile productivity managers note that the approach empowers people and their interactions. They also say that the methodology consistently delivers value to the enterprise in a short span:

  • Client and end-user touchpoints get strengthened to build engagement.
  • Facilitates a light-weight framework to reduce wastage of resources.
  • Provides the management with greater control by offering flexibility.
  • Incidents and issues get discovered early, and they get quickly resolved.
  • It is easier to promote diverse viewpoints, idea sharing, and higher accountability.

CloudGen’s Project Management approach is an end-to-end solution that includes a vision definition, a strategy roadmap, project planning, and management, requirements, and uses case definition, system design, development, test, deployment, and evaluation. We assure quality control during the entire process.

Efficient-Packaging-1

Supply Chain And The Best Sustainability Practices To Know

Businesses have to manufacture and distribute their products and services at a reasonable cost and low error margin. Their managers rely on supply chain networks to achieve this goal. But the complex process involves dynamic variables like people, political factors, demand, and resources. Sustaining this activity for the modern age has become a very big challenge. Pollution and new laws are the latest problem areas in this genre.

Thankfully, creative strategies, information technology, and effective designs are coming to the rescue. Also, automated workflows help in streamlining and sustaining these business transactions. 

Let us find out the best supply chain sustainable practices that can benefit every business transaction.

Software Competence

The order processing methods involve too much paper documentation, redundant manual-intensive tasks, and high-error prone calculations. This old-fashioned way is now obsolete, and automation helps to simplify this step. Computers, printers, email tools, tracking systems, inventory management, and other software are some of the multiple tools that help to create simplified billing and fulfillment processes.

Likewise, the digitized workflows are not only fast but also scalable and error-free. Electronic files help to store and handle sales orders and inventory details. Invoices and shipping manifests can also get transmitted and received online. And an integrated electronic data interchange (EDI) system can manage multiple trading partners while enforcing superior technical standards.

Efficient Packaging

Products have to be packaged, labeled, and shipped to far-away destinations. This process involves a lot of plastic and hazardous materials. Recyclable materials can replace such inept items to enhance sustainability. The right type of boxes, shipment method, and other means help to avoid heavy packing.

Specifically, using Shelf-ready casings and automatic techniques can reduce wastage. The management software can help assess the storage capacity to avoid over-stocking, prolonged transportation, and other inefficiencies. Selecting the right size and shape box for a package can save money, energy, and space. Material usage can get minimized by reducing layers and accurately calculating the parcel’s mass and volume.

Optimal Deliveries

Managing and tracking shipments is a big challenge in the supply chain. If the cargo can get consolidated, then the transportation costs come down drastically. The order requests can get combined to deliver the products in fewer trucks by choosing an optimal route. Consolidating the items also facilitates accurate last-mile deliveries. Fuel costs can reduce by using geofencing, GPS, automatic routing, etc.

Responsible Suppliers

The supply chain efficiency is not completely under a company’s control. The business has to deal with a variety of suppliers and distributors. Choosing such trading partners wisely can go a long way in enforcing sustainable transactions. Make sure the supplier sources the raw materials in an eco-friendly way. Select your partners based on their reputation, social responsibility indicators, and responsible behavior. You can take the help of NGOs and rating agencies to choose the best.

Enhanced Inventory

Implementing environment-friendly measures within the company is not sufficient. You have to partner with other tech-savvy traders too. For example, inventory processes can get automated to reduce wastage. Your vendor managed inventory or VMI system can help you achieve high standards.

The technology improves visibility and optimizes restocking efforts through superior scheduling. It can also satisfy location or regional demands faster. Also, manufacturing and distribution processes become cost-effective. You will not have to dispose of unused materials or even spend more on transportation and fuel expenses.

Analytical Support

Supply chain management is a continuous learning process, and data can be a powerful tool to ensure higher performance. You can rely on insightful analytics to identify the weak processes. Such an integrated software system can deliver timely reports to assist in decision-making.

The process managers can operate a streamlined business at a low cost with this data. They can positively identify the growth drivers and remove or modify the inefficient workflows. Regular analyses are also vital for a more holistic understanding as well as business expansion efforts.

Circular Models

In the traditional supply chain, production materials and supplier wastage were not concomitant. But with a cyclic or circular model, no item will get carelessly discarded. This non-linear scheme facilitates open access and creates more value. 

The unwanted materials get recycled, reused, repurposed, and returned. In particular, plastic is reused in imaginative ways to reduce pollution of air, water, agricultural, and forested lands. Only reputed and eco-friendly producers and suppliers actively recycle and repair the pallets, cardboard boxes, cartons, and other packaging materials.

IoT

IoT – Internet of Things

Breaking it all the way down for everyone, what is IoT and why is it essential, we here at CloudGen are investing heavily in IoT and think you need to be too! Here is why.

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