Filtering: what is it good for?

Product Filtering and Curation

A lot of suppliers have thousands and thousands of products. So why use filtering to narrow it down? Because when your customers have a world of choice available to them, filtering will help you run your store efficiently enough to put you ahead of the competition. For that you want customization aka product curation aka filtering.

For example: you just want to sell smart backpacks and not have your customers searching through pages and pages of the more generic kind of kid’s backpacks to get to what they want. It’s not like the “old” days of early eCommerce when you’d have a simple catalogue with only 50 SKU’s; nowadays things are in a constant state of flux and you want your list – and therefore filtering ability – to be dynamic. You, as a Data Here-to-There client, can define how you want your filtering done in our Product Mapper before you get your store online or upgraded to a “next level” store or even marketplace with our system. Here’s an example of what a store’s Product Mapper can look like:

But filtering isn’t just about curation to enable your customers to find what they want quickly and easily. It’s also a matter of your brand’s reputation, which can be make-or-break in the online world. If you try to put certain products into certain marketplace, you may find your reputation taking a hit — if you don’t get everything right — right out of the gate. Or you may even find yourself shut down. The right kind of filtering will enable you to protect your store.

Here’s an example. Shopify’s payment gateway has a ton of restrictions. Say your catalogue includes a type of beauty product that claims to make any woman who uses it look way younger, in a short amount of time. There are restrictions against this type of claim that will be noticed by Shopify’s bots and so your products will never pass their gateway. Other products including licensed toys, or rails (a certain type of gun accessory) can also cause a product or even whole store to not make it through the gateway.

Also you have to be aware of Shopify’s Risk Assessment team, which can send you a takedown notice. Or you could inadvertently violate their copyright protection rules.  Amazon also refuses to carry certain things, such as certain brands of cell phones, video game cheat codes, or Streaming boxes where you can get pirated movies . 

Trying to carry any of these can cause you to get a warning or even have your store shut down. It’s great to be able to load thousands of products into your store quickly via dropship suppliers… but the other piece of making that formula work is to have built-in category filtering.

What does Category filtering do?

Category filtering – lets you take any category — for example, clothing — and filter it down to just the specific types of clothing you want in your store, such as just women’s clothing → scarves (only, not ties), or just men’s clothing → ties (only, not scarves), certain brand names but not others, and so on. Here’s another example:

Stock level – You can also filter by stock level. Say for instance you have a pretty lean operation where you want to ensure that you only offer an item that you can be sure you have in stock, and can ship immediately.

Manufacturer names filter – This filter allows you to keep certain products out of your store. Say your supplier has 10,000 products and you want to leave out a certain brand for whatever reason: copyright issues, or you simply don’t feel that products from that brand fit with your brand.

Fitment Filters – select products by fitment

Poison word filter – allows you to keep anything containing one or more keywords out of your store e.g. explosive, ammunition, guaranteed, click here, links to, etc. You can also keep out specific SKU’s; maybe ones that have caused your store to be flagged in the past. Bot filters can also be problematic.

Custom filtering – Custom filtering will let you customize based on any of a number of criteria. For instance you can custom-filter by price. Say you only want high-end, or a certain margin; say 30% markup; or if it goes down to 10% you can set it to filter out. You can also filter by weight. Maybe an item is so heavy you would have to pay a liftgate service and/or a bulky shipping costs. You don’t, so you filter these out!  You can filter by dimensions if you only want to carry products that are within a certain range, or not over a certain size. You can even add custom fields in the supplier data. Say there’s a column for “dropship enabled” or a flag for “discontinued” or “minimum number of boxes”.

We can make custom filters for any of these. Custom filtering can be popular because doing this sort of operation manually in Excel (or whatever spreadsheet you’re using) can be very time-consuming for you or your employees. This is an area where automation really shines as it can result in substantial savings of both time and money for you and your store. You can add other fields too. Do you want to filter by title? Description? Shipping code? We can filter by just about anything!

Do you have an idea for a filter that you don’t already see on this list? Let us know! We can probably do it for you.

 

What is meant by “Order Synchronization”?

 

Online store owners are constantly in search of new ways to streamline their operations. With eCommerce growing at a ferocious rate, it becomes more and more necessary to deliver orders to your customers with accuracy and efficiency. Continued loyalty of customers might even come to depend on your ability to fulfill their unique specifications while still ensuring that orders are processed and shipping quickly and efficiently. Order synchronization and automation are the keys to achieving this.

What is the normal process without order synchronization? Well, something like this:

  • Your store gets an order. You have the products, so someone from your operation gets the items, pays the supplier for them through their payment gateway, whether that’s Stripe, PayPal, or something else.
  • Without order synchronization you must then communicate the SKUs to their supplier via a website, or maybe even just a phone call or simple email. Without automation this is a manual process. You then have to copy and paste all the order details over to the supplier.
  • Then the supplier boxes the items, adds the labels, and so on. There are also tracking numbers (UPS, Canada Post, FedEx, etc.) which need to be sent from the shipper back to your store — and then forwarded to the customer. These tracking numbers must also be manually copied over.
  • There may be other pieces of information which likewise would have to be copied and pasted, communicated manually to the customer. These can include line items, addresses, notes, or anything else required.
  • Finally the supplier gets the order and fulfills it, and you must then send confirmation to your customer.

This is a far cry from the ideal scenario, where your store receives customer order electronically in a clean and consistent format, which is then automatically translated into a sales order, which is then communicated to the supplier in the exact format they require, fulfilled, and the confirmation automatically received by you in a form that can be instantly transmitted back to the customer. The advantages of this process over the old one should be self-evident: your team can stay focused on doing what they do best – creating excellent products and, marketing them and making sure your customers remain satisfied. Better still, automating your order synchronization process decreases human error so you don’t have to worry about your store’s reputation being trashed at Amazon, Ebay, or some other crucial supplier.

Until recently this scenario has not been possible, but now it is. We can reduce your cost per transaction, shorten your dispatch time, and virtually eliminate the manual steps of the whole order fulfilment process. And we can automate this entire process for you, without you having to learn to use any new tools, or wade through any technical mumbo jumbo!

With order synchronization our system will automatically:

  • Map your store’s shipping methods to your supplier’s shipping method — since in the “real” world, those don’t always match
  • Synchronize the tracking data. Once the order is fulfilled by the supplier, we retrieve the tracking numbers and send them back to the store.
  • Notify your customer that their order has shipped, as well as transmit the tracking numbers.

Does that sound simple? That’s because it is! Sometimes you want to keep your order process simple, and keep the details to a minimum, but then when you go to your supplier they might have 5-10 shipping methods! We can help you pick the shipping and routing methods that will best streamline your process while still maximizing satisfaction to your shoppers. If yours is not a big store, that’s not a problem. Our solution works for all sizes of stores from a mom-and-pop style startup to a entire online marketplace. Whatever the size of your operation, Data Here-to-There’s Order Synchronization will virtually eliminate your manual labour and potential for human error.