What happens when you try to sell everything, everywhere? Most channel management software is good at a few things – listing on Amazon and ebay, repricing, shipping…
But what happens when your channel manager does not support multiple stores on a channel, or sync inventory with your retail store or multiple warehouses? Mistakes happen. And mistakes are costly.
Then there are systems that try to do everything (commonly called ERP’s or Enterprise Resource Planning software). For a very select few these are a good choice. But for most of us they are a bad idea. Why? Because nothing does everything right. Why should your channel manager do payroll? There are apps for that.
Cloud apps abound and they are very cool. But cloud apps are still best at simple applications. Even the most powerful have limited functionality and are not customizable.
So whatever you are using is inherently broken. What do you do?
At Channergy our philosophy is unique. For 20+ years we have worked closely with direct marketing as it has evolved from catalogs to omni channel. We are not 20 somethings with venture capital out to change the world with our idea of the perfect app. We are not old either! Our philosophy is grounded in real world experience and constantly evolving so it is fresh and wise at the same time. Here is what we have learned.
Your Channel Manager needs balance – not too little, not too much. It must also be customizable. In all our years talking to thousands of customers we have found no two that are exactly alike. However, finding the right system does not mean you are done. It requires commitment and work. Nobody likes to hear that, but our most successful customers have taken that path and the rewards are great.
That’s the bad news. Now comes the good. The harder path is not about huge learning curves or years of accumulated technical expertise. It is about traits we all already possess – persistence and commitment. No vendor should ever sell you software and walk away. Support is nice, but that is initiated by you when you have a question. Implementation (a.k.a. Onboarding) is key. Setting up your system to meet your individual needs and making sure you know how to use it is not automatic. You must be involved and you must take ownership of the process, but you should never walk that path alone.
With Channergy your implementation tech is also your support tech. We do not outsource to 3rd party or overseas services so we know our product and we know your specific needs. That is a powerful combination.
To summarize, your channel manager should offer you the following:
- Balance – a system that offers you the features you need without bogging itself down with bloatware, unnecessary features and functionality outside its mission.
- Customizability – no system out of the box will do everything you need exactly the way you want it. Customization may be offered by the vendor or accessible by you to do yourself.
- Onboarding – you can’t do it alone! Help with implementation and launch are critical as is ongoing support from dedicated support staff that knows the software and your unique needs.
- Commitment – both parties must be in it for the long haul. This is mission critical software you will be using to run your business every day. The person in your organization who researches, buys and then implements the system should not be the only one involved in the process. Include users, managers and anyone else who will benefit from your new system.