How digital invoicing can help offer a better e-commerce experience

digital invoicing

How digital invoicing can help offer a better e-commerce experience 

With peak season upon us and no sign of the E-commerce boom settling down anytime soon, it’s no surprise that E-commerce businesses are struggling to keep up with demand. Paired with increased consumer expectations, and challenges such as supply chain problems and driver shortages, working smarter and not harder has never been more pivotal. As many e-commerce businesses look to streamline their processes to keep up with demand, one element that may have been forgotten about is digital invoicing. 

Digital invoicing is a modernised way of payment being reconciled against an invoice and reduces the time and costs associated with creating, sending, and receiving invoices. It also removes the need for paperwork, as this process lets you send and receive invoices electronically, directly into your and your supplier’s accounting software. 

As you win new customers either as an online retailer or third-party logistics (3PL) provider, you may have noticed greater challenges in how you invoice for services. From tiered rates for split consignments, pick surcharges, and the ability to bill for oversized products and handling shipping carrier and consumables charges, 3PL accounting has changed dramatically in the last few years. But how can you tell if it’s time to make the transition into digital invoicing? If you notice you are spending a lot of time on invoicing and are prone to errors because of having to rush through them, it’s probably time to consider digitising your process. Mistakes can be costly and can also affect your relationship with your suppliers if they’re made frequently. Having the ability to send prompt (and accurate) invoices to suppliers and clients not only keeps them happy, but means faster payments for your business by speeding up the overall billing process. The process of digital (or automated) invoicing also offers more accuracy and improves efficiency by removing the risk of duplicated data entry by human error. 

According to a study from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), more than 60% of CFOs lack complete visibility into transactions within their organisations. It is extremely difficult to achieve a holistic view of your supply chain, determine where to cut spending, and where to scale up without the correct reports, records and metrics. Switching to digital invoicing will also allow you to keep records of previous invoices for tax and budgeting purposes and manage late payments from customers using detailed files.

One of the most time-consuming aspects of manual invoicing for 3PLs and warehouses is billing for shipping costs. Creating and printing courier labels can be a time-consuming task, but the use of an OMS simplifies this process, allowing you to get it sorted in just a couple of clicks by sending your clients calculated invoice data to your accounting software of choice. There is also the option to create customized 3PL reporting and invoices, in line with your client’s branding. From shipping to storage costs, you’ll save hours of admin time every month by automating your billing and accounting. 

E-commerce businesses rely on invoicing for various areas of their businesses – whether it be to charge customers for products, to work out costs for storage and pick and packing of clients, or to pay couriers and other suppliers used. If you use technology such as an Order Management System (OMS), invoicing is made even easier as you can connect your accountancy systems and 3PL billing software with other channels such as marketplaces, couriers and warehousing systems using API integrations. Taking control of your finances is made easy with the ability to manage everything from one centralised platform. Once the order is confirmed and paid for, the platform sends the data to the inventory management and accounting software to update inventory levels and process payments.

Final thoughts 

In a time where customer expectations are heightened, delivery costs are increasing and competition is high, you can’t afford to not make simple tweaks to your processes. Those that don’t look to implement digitised processes are at risk of falling behind larger organisations as well as peer-level competitors.

If administrative tasks are taking over and not allowing you to spend time focusing on other aspects of your business, using digital invoices can help to save a lot of time. Automating the invoice process is an efficient way to communicate with clients about payments and keep a record of your income – whether you’re an online retailer, third party logistics (3PL) provider or warehouse. In short, digital invoices help with accuracy, metrics and saving both time and money.

Using API integrations within your OMS makes this process even more streamlined, by allowing you to connect your accountancy system with other elements of your business – from inventory to shipping and online marketplaces.