FINANCE, BUSINESS STRATEGY
Software Advice | November 07, 2023
Small and midsize retail businesses (SMBs) are grappling with a challenging confluence of factors: a rise in product returns and escalating consumer demands for eco-friendly practices. Establishing a sustainable returns process has become paramount for recouping expenses and retaining customers. According to Software Advice's 2023 Retail Returns and Sustainability Strategies Survey, a remarkable 93% of SMB retailers place sustainability at the forefront of their approach to managing customer returns, with 58% identifying inventory cost optimization as a tangible advantage of their existing returns procedures.
To enhance their returns strategies, SMBs have adopted a diverse set of tactics, including logistics and packaging:
A noteworthy 59% of SMB retailers are now utilizing environmentally friendly logistics, up from 43% in the previous year.
The percentage of SMB retailers collaborating with third-party specialists to handle product returns has surged to 49%, a substantial increase from the 31% reported in 2022.
Right-sized packaging is embraced by 63% of these businesses, and 55% opt for recyclable or reusable shipping containers.
Smaller retailers are increasingly acknowledging the potential of returned products, if properly assessed, can be resold or recycled, thus reducing waste and recuperating some of the lost sales. In fact, recycling is deemed a top action in managing returned items by 51% of retail SMBs, followed closely by repackaging and refurbishing. Thanks to these measures, 35% state that they can recover over half of the cost of a returned product.
In addition to cost recovery, an efficient and eco-conscious returns process can boost a retailer's market standing. This year, 41% of retail SMBs report that their current returns process has heightened their competitiveness in the marketplace. An impressive 64% note a substantial increase in customer satisfaction stemming from their current returns process, a significant uptick from the 35% reported in 2022.
However, while sustainability endeavors are closely linked to customer satisfaction, 63% of SMB retailers concede that their company's actions do not align with their public messaging—a notable increase from the 46% recorded in 2022. To avert the disparity between actual efforts and messaging, it is crucial to effectively monitor the reverse logistics process. Leveraging technology such as point-of-sale systems, inventory management software, and business intelligence tools can furnish the transparency necessary to ensure alignment.
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Software Advice, established in 2005, simplifies the software procurement process by providing personalized guidance and industry-specific insights to help buyers identify the most suitable software solutions in as little as 15 minutes, all at no cost. The company has assisted over 950,000 businesses in finding the right software to meet their unique needs. With a repository of over 2 million verified user reviews, Software Advice empowers individuals to make confident technology decisions.
Business Wire | September 27, 2023
DigitalOcean Holdings, Inc., the cloud for startups and SMBs, today announced the launch of DigitalOcean Managed Kafka, a new, fully managed data streaming platform as a service offering for Apache Kafka. DigitalOcean Managed Kafka helps small and medium-sized businesses across industries, including video streaming, the Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, gaming, and eCommerce, access and process data streams in real time while eliminating the complexity associated with the Kafka administration. Through this offering and other enhancements across DigitalOcean’s portfolio, startups and tech entrepreneurs can more easily grow their businesses in the cloud.
“While Kafka is the gold standard for data streaming, it frequently presents technical challenges for smaller businesses with budget and resource limitations. We are excited to introduce a solution that makes this technology more accessible and meets DigitalOcean’s standard for simplicity,” said Megan Wood, Chief Strategy & Product Officer at DigitalOcean. “By reducing the burden of implementing a new platform, companies can shift their focus away from the complexity of managing their data streaming services and get back to building apps that differentiate their business.”
As businesses receive higher amounts of data inputs, the ability to rapidly capture and process this data becomes crucial. Thousands of companies, including over 80% of Fortune 100 companies, rely on Kafka to optimize their data streams and provide leaders with insights that inform decision-making. With DigitalOcean Managed Kafka, startups and SMBs can benefit from the ability to scale up and down clusters with ease while setting up alerts for proactive maintenance. Additionally, DigitalOcean customers can expect end-to-end security via private networking and data encryption along with cost-effective, predictable pricing starting at $147 for a three-node cluster.
“DigitalOcean's Managed Kafka offering has been a game-changer for us at Datacake,” said Lukas Klein, Chief Technical Officer at Datacake. “By taking care of the operational aspects of running our Kafka cluster, we have been able to focus our attention on what really matters – building a great product. With this new service, we were able to migrate seamlessly to an event-based architecture while maintaining the highest levels of operational security.”
Alongside DigitalOcean Managed Kafka, DigitalOcean has been making investments in its product and infrastructure offerings to provide peace of mind, increased productivity, and more affordable solutions to SMBs and startups. Some of those recent updates include:
GPUs with the acquisition of Paperspace-The computing power needed for training AI models and deploying at scale
Premium CPU-Optimized Droplets-Higher outbound network speeds, higher performance, and faster disk writes than standard Droplets
Enhanced memory and storage for Basic Premium Droplets-More flexibility with a wider choice of virtual machines
Low-cost support plans for every size of business-Eight-hour response times for all issues, regardless of severity
Object Storage in the Bangalore data center-Increased performance with compute and storage in one location
In addition, over the coming quarters, DigitalOcean will unveil the following enhancements and capabilities to continue to make DigitalOcean the cloud of choice for SMBs and startups:
More flexible storage offerings -Effortlessly accommodate dynamic storage requirements with Scalable Storage for Managed Databases, a cost-effective solution that helps businesses expand their data footprints with confidence
Faster, frequent, and comprehensive Backups -Ability to create daily Droplet backups that are differential, significantly reducing the time required to create them
Better performance for a range of products -Extending the premium variant to the General Purpose line of Droplets, providing newer generation CPUs, faster NVME drives, and up to 10 Gbps of outbound data transfer speeds making them ideal for running e-commerce, consumer, and SaaS apps
DigitalOcean simplifies cloud computing so builders and businesses can spend more time creating software that changes the world. With its mission-critical infrastructure and fully managed offerings, DigitalOcean helps developers at startups and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) rapidly build, deploy and scale, whether creating a digital presence or building digital products. DigitalOcean combines the power of simplicity, security, community and customer support so customers can spend less time managing their infrastructure and more time building innovative applications that drive business growth.
Lenders Cooperative | October 09, 2023
Lenders Cooperative has recently introduced an exceptional benefit exclusively for members of the American Bankers Association, designed to transform small business lending. In response to the evolving requirements of financial institutions nationwide, Lenders Cooperative has unveiled an advanced Loan Origination System (LOS) specifically tailored for small business lending, encompassing both Conventional and SBA lending.
This dynamic workflow platform has been instrumental in empowering community and regional banks across the country over the past few years, equipping them with the automation and efficiencies needed to compete effectively in today's dynamic lending landscape.
ABA members are entitled to substantial cost savings on the cutting-edge Small Business Loan Origination System (LOS) paired with the Turnkey Back Office Labor Solution (LSP). Lenders Cooperative extends the privilege of no implementation fees and per-unit pricing to ABA members for both the LOS and LSP offerings.
Key highlights of Lenders Cooperative's LOS and LSP offerings for ABA members encompass:
Cutting-edge LOS Platform for Small Business Lending: Crafted with small business lending as its primary focus, the LOS platform ensures that financial institutions can efficiently oversee the entire loan origination process. Its user-friendly interface and robust data analytics capabilities make it a valuable tool for bankers seeking to deliver exceptional service to their small business clients while streamlining internal operations. Furthermore, fifteen distinct third-party vendors, each contributing to the execution of essential workflow tasks, have already been integrated, enabling banks to implement and go live with minimal development resources.
No Platform Implementation Fees and Per Unit Pricing for ABA Members: ABA Members stand to save significant amounts on implementation expenses and can enjoy per unit pricing, ensuring a swift return on investment with the very first loan processed.
Support for Conventional & SBA Loan Products: The platform offers comprehensive support for both Conventional and SBA Loans, accommodating a wide range of lending needs. This flexibility empowers banks to cater to businesses of all sizes and across various industries.
Comprehensive 1071 Reporting Package: With the imminent 1071 regulatory requirements, the platform includes a complete 1071 Package, ensuring that banks remain compliant with upcoming mandates and alleviating the reporting burden on financial institutions.
Turnkey Back Office Labor Solution: In addition to the LOS, banks will also benefit from a turnkey back-office labor partnership capable of providing invaluable assistance in loan processing. This staff augmentation model enables banks to scale their business lines without incurring additional personnel costs.
For the next 12 months, every ABA member contracting with Lenders Cooperative's Loan Origination System will have the full implementation and setup fee waived. This exclusive offering underscores the unwavering commitment of both ABA and Lenders Cooperative to support and empower ABA members as they navigate the evolving landscape of small business lending.
About Lenders Cooperative
Lenders Cooperative comprises a community of over 140 forward-thinking banking institutions. These institutions harness best-in-class loan origination software in conjunction with shared services encompassing credit underwriting, SBA LSP support, bank operations, and white-labeled call center assistance. The Cooperative's offerings, crafted and upheld by seasoned bankers, provide clients access to a profound knowledge repository, the opportunity to exchange optimal methodologies and direct involvement in steering the advancement and execution of innovative technologies.
BILL | September 11, 2023
BILL, a leading in financial automation software provider for small and midsize businesses (SMBs), has announced the introduction of a new BILL Financial Operations Platform for SMBs, which integrates category-leading solutions across accounts receivable (AR), accounts payable (AP), and expense and spend management. With this new launch, BILL is delivering the most extensive capabilities for SMBs to enhance and manage cash flow within a single platform.
According to BILL's State of Finance Automation report for 2023, over 80% of respondents believe that automation is essential for managing their finances in order to achieve more strategic business objectives.
Bill payment is crucial, but they are also seeking more comprehensive and integrated solutions for managing more of their cash flow. The challenge is that, until recently, many SMBs were required to manage their incoming and outgoing cash flow across disparate systems and applications that are not integrated.
With the latest integrated financial operations platform by Bill, SMBs can acquire better real-time business insights into their cash flow. In addition, businesses can optimize their cash flow more effectively with a variety of payment and funding options, such as Pay By Card, international payments, virtual card, the BILL Divvy Corporate Card, and real-time payments like instant transfer.
The BILL’s New Financial Operations Platform includes:
BILL Accounts Payable automates the complete AP process to simplify invoice entry for SMBs by leveraging data capture and artificial intelligence to streamline approvals. It also offers flexible payment options, enhancing the efficiency and transparency of financial operations.
BILL Accounts Receivable automates AR through invoice generation, estimations, payment tracking, and collections, allowing SMBs to be paid quicker via ACH, credit, and debit cards.
BILL Spend & Expense is an all-inclusive expense and spend management solution that incorporates free software with corporate cards to offer SMBs customizable control and real-time visibility over their business finances. To simplify the customer experience, Divvy from BILL will now be known as BILL Spend & Expense. The features and capabilities of Divvy, such as setting budgets, monitoring expenses, and gaining access to the credit businesses need to expand, will remain unchanged.
Irana Wasti, Chief Product Officer at BILL, mentioned,
“By offering ongoing innovation in our platform, BILL continues to revolutionize the way SMBs and accountants use financial automation to succeed. We’ve pioneered a more integrated and exhaustive experience to provide SMBs the ability to enhance and manage their financial operations in one place – assisting them make the right financial decisions so their businesses can thrive.”
[Source – Business Wire]
BILL, headquartered in California, is the industry-leading financial operations platform for small and midsized businesses (SMBs). As an advocate for SMBs, the company is automating the future of finance so that businesses can flourish. Its integrated platform enables businesses to more effectively manage their payables, receivables, expenditures, and expenses. Hundreds of thousands of businesses rely on BILL's network of millions of members to pay or get paid faster. BILL is a trusted partner of prominent U.S. financial institutions, accounting software vendors, and accounting firms.