Are you the kind of business that sends the same generic mass email campaigns to all your customers and sees "industry standard" opening rates, clickthroughts etc?
Or do you want to be one of the smart ones that sees on average 53% better performance with your campaigns with email list segmentation?
I know that you're the smart one and are using some form of segmentation. Right?
But since there's a million and one ways to segment an email list you can always be doing better. This article is all about that - making you better at list segmentation to ultimately drive more clicks and more money in the bank.
What’s the difference between $1,299.99 and $1,300?
A whole lot more than a penny.
Today you’ll learn just how important that $0.01 is as we lay the foundation for an effective pricing strategy by using psychological pricing tactics — your golden ticket to selling more and being more profitable.
Each of these items can change, become more complex, and can leave customers furious when you're looking to expand internationally.
The entrepreneurs featured in today's post learned this firsthand during a botched international expansion effort that resulted in a delivery driver literally demanding what the customer felt was a ransom for a package she had ordered.
Besides outlining exactly how to do business internationally so you can avoid similar mistakes, the business featured today will also show you exactly how to incorporate a charitable donation option at the checkout to better support your corporate social responsibility efforts...
And gave it away online to everyone without compensating you
Believe it or not, this was the least of the concerns facing the entrepreneur being featured today when he found himself in the midst of a major transformation; the internet's impact on musicians that required them to abandon their over-reliance on selling albums to generate sales.
But cultivating a social following and monetizing an artist's audience with merchandise rather than records, as this entrepreneur has done, isn't easy and comes with its own pitfalls that must be avoided.
Besides entertaining you with a behind the scenes look at the digital agency behind some of your favorite artists, today's post will also reveal one key merchandising strategy and two tools you can use to 10X sales just like this entrepreneur has done for some of his well known clients...
This post was written by Amanda Spencer, a retail expert at Headstart Copywriting.
The popularity of online shopping has been growing for years: a recent study found that 69% of American adults made an online purchase in 2018, and of those, 25% made at least one online purchase monthly, with 16% making weekly purchases.
As online shopping becomes more popular, so does package theft
Given the rise in online shopping, it’s not surprising that package theft is also growing. Data from the U.K. shows a 22% increase in package theft between 2016 and 2019, and a 2019 U.S. survey showed that 36% of shoppers had experienced at least one stolen package, with 56% reporting that they knew someone who had a package stolen. And especially during the holiday shopping season, when orders for electronics and other high-value gifts soar, “porch pirates” are a growing problem.
Now that so many retail outlets have closed their doors to in-person shopping because of COVID-19, many shoppers have turned to online stores. But while shipping volumes have reached near-holiday levels, there’s also been a huge shift in online shopping patterns:
An April 2020 survey of more than 30,000 Canadians showed that nearly 3 in 10 people had purchased items online that they would ordinarily have bought in-store.
A May 2020 survey found that 25% of U.S. respondents had purchased hygiene products (such as toilet paper) online, 25% had made an online grocery order, and 24% had ordered household cleaning products.
While there’s little doubt that fewer people are ordering high-value items or making discretionary purchases, the shift towards ordering lower value goods hasn’t led to a reduction in package theft. In fact, the opposite is true: One recent study found that claims for stolen packages increased by 131% between February and March, and that March had more claims for theft than in any previous month, including the holidays.
Why so many damaged packages?
Another unfortunate side effect of COVID-19 has been a sharp increase in the number of damaged packages. But when shipping companies handle high volumes of packages every year during the holidays, why is this different?
It’s simple: while shipping companies can plan (and staff) for the holiday rush, with COVID-19 they didn’t have a chance. It’s the perfect storm of delivery disaster. Combine greater-than-normal demand, fewer drivers, and less space on trucks with retailers (many of whom are selling online for the first time) shipping items that would normally be purchased in store, and the result is a nearly 20% increase in damaged packages between February and March 2020.
Who is liable for damaged or stolen packages?
In most cases when a package is stolen or damaged, the retailer or seller will either issue refunds to consumers or agree to replace the item. Amazon’s A-Z Guarantee program sets the standard here, and even purchases made from their retail partners will almost always be refunded or replaced if the package goes missing.
Some businesses may also try to shift responsibility to the shipping or delivery company, requiring customers to file a claim with the shipper before they’ll issue a refund for missing or damaged goods. For consumers, this can be a frustrating experience, especially when packages go astray: first, they need to wait for a set period (to ensure that the package is truly lost), and then, because tracking often mistakenly shows that packages have been delivered, in some cases they must also try to prove that they did not receive the package.
What about package insurance? Some online platforms offer buyers a chance to purchase insurance at checkout. For merchants, many major shipping carriers such as UPS, USPS, and FedEx offer optional shipping insurance for an additional fee; other carriers have more limited options. If you’re shipping with FedEx, for example, be aware that their liability for lost or damaged packages is capped at $100, and FedEx will only increase their liability if the package is packed and shipped at a FedEx location, and even then, the maximum declared value that FedEx will accept for certain items (including jewelry, artwork, collectibles, and antiques) is $1,000.
How can brands best respond to this current situation?
Offer a range of delivery options
The most effective way that brands can combat the problem of stolen and damaged packages is to offer customers different ways to receive their products. Here are some of the most common:
Click and collect: Even though most customers are shopping online, many still want an in-person shopping experience. Right now, the best way to provide that is with click and collect (also known as curbside pickup or buy online, pickup in-store). Click and collect offers customers a chance to support local businesses, gives merchants a chance to maintain physical connections with customers, and removes the risk that a package will get lost or damaged in shipping.
Local delivery: Another option is for brands to implement a local delivery system. With local delivery, merchants coordinate delivery themselves, rather than relying on a third-party shipping provider. Local delivery is ideal for online brands that may not have a physical storefront or for brands that operate in verticals where delivery is expected (think fast food), and for brands who want to keep their staff employed by using them to deliver orders.
Package insurance: Brands can choose to add package insurance for shipped goods at checkout. This may work well when brands can’t offer click and collect or local delivery, but who should cover the extra costs? In an environment when your customers are likely considering every purchase carefully, adding these fees at checkout could lead to an increase in cart abandonment. Not ideal, especially at a time when every sale is essential. A better choice may be to absorb the costs yourself, and the short-term financial hit may well lead to greater customer loyalty and repeat purchases over the longer term.
Communicate with customers
In a world where COVID-19 has forced brands to make rapid changes to their business models, transparent communication with customers has never been more important. As brands pivot and shift in reaction to changing lockdowns and regulations, here are some strategies to consider:
Provide a comprehensive FAQ, and be transparent about shipping costs, timelines, and policies. Unsure about where to start? Look at the questions or customer feedback you’re getting most often.
Offer an online chat feature or include a contact us form with a clear statement about when customers will receive a response. Given the pressure that delivery companies are facing right now, assume that at least a few of your shipments will go missing or be damaged in transit. Make it easy for your customers to find information about what they should do if this happens. Above all, don’t make it the customer’s responsibility to track down missing packages
Add banners or headlines on your website with key information about shipping. Keep these short, clear, and easy to read, and make sure they are updated as needed.
What else can brands do to limit shipping problems?
Contact your shippers so that you understand the current delivery expectations and give customers a realistic timeline for when their package will arrive. If parcel tracking is an option, consider making it standard, at no added cost to customers. This will help build trust in your brand.
If your store is new to online shopping, cut down on damaged parcels by making sure you’re using the right kind of packaging to ship your products. In addition, consider reducing the inventory that’s available for shipping. This may help streamline your processes, as will ensuring that the bulk of what you sell can be shipped in the same boxes or envelopes.
Ultimately, it’s the retailer’s responsibility to make sure that customers receive their merchandise. Unless you have good reason to suspect fraud, your brand may be better served by going the extra mile for your customers and not expecting them to do the legwork when a shipment goes missing or is damaged. No one knows just how much the retail landscape will change in a post-pandemic world, but it’s likely going to take some time before business returns to normal. And while this may hit your bottom line in the short term, it’s also an opportunity to build the exceptional customer relationships that will help your brand survive and thrive in the months and years to come.
What if I told you there was a way to increase your profits today simply by not showing the same price to everyone?
I'm not talking about increasing prices across the board, but rather tweaking based on I.p address, inventory levels, or even time of day.
It's called Dynamic Pricing, and it's what giant retailers, from Wal-Mart to Staples, and of course Amazon, do in order to keep profit margins high, while remaining competitive in different local markets.
Dan Virgillito demystifies this dark art, and even gives you the tools to make it work within Shopify Plus.
“It’s good,” said Warren Buffet, “to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.”
In the world of B2B ecommerce — where $7.7 trillion is on the line this year alone — it’s better still to learn from other people’s successes.
This isn’t a round-up post, and it’s not a beauty contest.
Instead, today’s article is a detailed examination of 9 standout features from 9 different B2B ecommerce websites … ranging from international tech conglomerates to personalized chocolates, baby carriers, and engine belts.
(And the last one reveals one of B2B’s best-kept secrets.)
This post was originally written by Dan Virgillito in August 2017 and has since been updated for accuracy and readability.
Even without COVID-19 related international border closures, multichannel inventory management is one of the top challenges in ecommerce. Both overstocking and being out of stock can cost you the equivalent of nearly 12% of sales every year. Carrying costs, reverse logistics, and a negative customer experience imperil future repeat sales.
Fulfilling orders efficiently, regardless of the channel through which orders are placed, requires knowing how much stock you have, where it’s located, and the ability to ship inventory from the warehouse closest to the customer automatically.
Don't have time to read the full article? We brought in the experts from Deloitte, 6 River Systems, and UPS to share best practices for logistics management and supply chain during a pandemic.Watch the webinar.
Multichannel inventory problems
The nearly $2 trillion in costs associated with mismanaging inventory consists of the mostly hidden cost associated with overstocks, out-of-stocks, and preventable returns.
Overstocks (e.g., too much inventory)—$471 billion
Out-of-stock items (e.g., Not enough inventory)—$634 billion
Preventable returns (e.g., shipping the wrong item)—$642 billion
Successful multichannel ecommerce involves more than simply listing products on a variety of platforms: It requires a multichannel inventory management solution too. For most retailers, it’s hard enough keeping track of inventory and orders when selling on a single platform. But when you’re selling on a Shopify store, as well as Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and in physical locations, inventory management can be a nightmare.
Fully 55% of ecommerce brands still use pen-and-paper manual processes to manage logistics. Research indicates, however, that inventory opacity, inaccurate or nonexistent demand forecasts, and a lack of automation thwart multichannel fulfillment in the following ways:
28% of companies lack inventory visibility across stores, warehouses, and vendors
34% of companies lack necessary software integrations
38% of companies lack order management, inventory management, point-of-sale (POS), and third-party logistics (3PL) software
Without proper inventory management, you risk angering your customers with out-of-stock messages, delays, and cancellations due to inefficient fulfillment processes.
Multichannel inventory management requirements
Many brands rely on inventory management workarounds, like using multiple stores to track inventory by location. But this increases your workload when you have to recreate, sync, or update inventory for each store. Manually tracking inventory with spreadsheets relies on fragmented data, making it impossible to operate across channels, and prevents the inventory visibility needed in peak seasons or for special events like flash sales.
Multichannel inventory management solutions allow you to focus on growing your business rather than inventory management. Today’s cloud-based solutions are powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and leverage automation to streamline workflows. They let businesses easily track, manage, and organize inventory sales, purchases, and production across channels.
Here then are some of the benefits of implementing a multichannel inventory management solution:
#1: Real-time visibility and synchronization
You need a view of your inventory quantities and locations to fulfill orders across channels. It’s a no brainer. It’s next to impossible to manually update and synchronize inventory counts between locations and across platforms. Without real-time visibility, costly out-of-stocks, deadstock, and preventable returns are more likely.
Fast-growing, high-volume brands rely instead on multichannel inventory management solutions that sync inventory across channels and provide real-time visibility from a centralized hub on which they can rely as a single source of truth. These solutions allow businesses to improve sales and reduce the time spent in managing inventory.
Case study: How Chubbies synchronizes inventory
For instance, Chubbies—the men’s shorts company—acknowledge that keeping their customers satisfied is more complicated than just their hilarious marketing campaigns and radical shorts. The lack of visibility into inventory was one of their barriers to growth as the company expanded into new channels.
Chubbies brought on Stitch Labs as their inventory management solution, allowing them to move products from their warehouse to their virtual warehouse, which gave them a threshold of reverse and synchronized inventory. With this preventive measure, they stopped customers from ordering out-of-stock products entirely. On their highest volume day, they reduced backorders by 93% from the previous year.
#2: Optimize demand forecasting
Improved inventory visibility also helps brands better track their inventory turnover ratio, a key metric in assessing the health of the business. This type of insight informs product pricing adjustments and future restocking decisions, improving profitability.
Turning inventory quickly means it’s not tying up your working capital and taking up valuable warehouse space. It’s essential to have the right balance of inventory—you need to know how much product you’ll need and where to allocate it.
If you limit the inventory you hold but market it effectively across multiple channels, you run the risk of overselling—selling items you don’t have in stock. Robust inventory management systems can help you identify out-of-stock (OOS) patterns. For example, retailers can identify OOS trends by regularly auditing inventory and noting the days and times of week stockouts are most likely to occur.
Likewise, OOS can be also be prevented by implementing inventory management solutions that position brands to set specific rules that automatically reorder inventory when certain thresholds are met.
Inventory management systems can help you accurately forecast demand and better position you to manage and replenish inventory appropriately based on marketing spend as well as the historical impact of seasonality. Combining quantitative and qualitative modeling in this way better predicts demand and allocates inventory accordingly, maximizing profitability.
If you’re a multichannel sports retailer, for instance, it would be useful to know exactly how many basketballs were sold on each of your channels during December for the last five years. This would allow you to make informed purchase and marketing decisions for the coming Christmas season.
An efficient multichannel inventory management software also allows you to scale up during a rush or holiday season and scale down during the off-season. As a result, you’ll be able to reduce costs by not purchasing inventory until it’s needed.
Case study: How LowCarb Canada prevents stockouts
To illustrate, LowCarb Canada—a health food retailer that provides low carb grocery alternatives for Canadian consumers—used Stitch Labs to avoid overstocks and out-of-stocks.
With two Shopify websites, two brick-and-mortar outlets, and more than 2,000 SKUs, the VP of Purchasing, Andrew Singh, was spending 15–20 hours a week on inventory management. He was making and updating purchase orders—some with 400 different SKUs—manually, and was ballparking order estimates to save time.
While ballparking helped them move stock quickly, it also led to repeated stockouts. Andrew went looking for a better tactic to order goods strategically and forecast demand based on historical estimates.
“Using forecasting with Stitch allows our warehouse to run out of products at the same time,” said Singh. “I’m buying intelligently and saving money by consolidating our shipments.”
Forecasting accuracy becomes critical as multichannel retailers scale and subtotals increase by a staggering amount. Stockouts can be even more costly at these levels, so a multichannel inventory management solution is critical.
#3: Locate inventory closer to customers
To ship faster and cheaper, you must have the right inventory in the right locations. Having multiple strategically located fulfillment centers or retail locations positions brands to intelligently route orders to the fulfillment center nearest the customer.
While local fulfillment is vitally important for international customers, it can also help reduce delivery times across wide geographical areas such as the United States, and fragmented geographical areas such as Japan or Indonesia.
Multiple fulfillment centers also help reduce transportation and delivery costs. Savings can be passed to the customer, or allow for incentives such as free shipping.
Part of a multiple fulfillment center strategy is integrating an order management system (OMS). An OMS allows you to check stock levels across multiple locations, pick a fulfillment center closest to your customer, send order details straight to that location, and have stock levels automatically update across all your channels.
The importance of systems integrations such as these for inventory management and order fulfillment can’t be understated. In fact, integration is the top challenge in fulfilling multichannel orders worldwide:
Automation frees up your team to focus its time on growth opportunities instead of repetitive stock reordering tasks. With automation, you’ll never run out of inventory as you receive automated backorder notifications and replenishment reports in real-time.
For instance, if the quantity of an item in stock drops below the reorder value, automation can instantly alert you that the item needs reordering. With the right integrations, replenishment may be automated, too, or the automated restock alert may be checked against predictive demand forecasts and reordered.
Case study: How Rohr Remedy optimizes inventory management
Rohr Remedy, an Australian company that sells skincare products based on traditional bush medicines, was having trouble managing inventory across their retail, wholesale, and online channels. They were looking for an inventory management system that could easily integrate with their current systems such as Xero and Shopify, and eventually decided to work with Trade Gecko.
According to Emily Rohr, the founder of Rohr Remedy, the benefits of switching to a multichannel inventory management system were startling.
“In using Trade Gecko, we've definitely reduced the amount of time we spend on inventory,” she said, “and that’s made a massive difference in us being able to supply our customers. We’re getting more orders because we’re more streamlined.”
The Multiple Warehousing feature has been particularly beneficial for reducing delivery times and keeping customers happy, as it allows the company to allocate every order based on shipping location.
Multichannel inventory management solutions
Many of the top multichannel inventory management providers offer simple one-click integration with Shopify Plus. When evaluating the right solution for your business, understand that there will likely be overlap with other systems you already have. Your OMS, for example, may overlap with features in the inventory management solutions (IMS) you’re evaluating.
Shopify Fulfillment Network (SFN) is a 3PL that when combined with your Shopify Plus commerce platform offers an end-to-end multichannel inventory management solution that gets orders to your customers easily and quickly. With a vast network of strategically located fulfillment centers nationwide, full-service 3PLs like ours ensure you have the right merchandise at the right location so orders ship faster and cheaper. SFN provides businesses with AI-powered inventory intelligence that recommends where inventory should be stored. Not only does it easily integrate with your existing systems, but it also enables a branded experience and same-day fulfillment capabilities.
TradeGecko is a powerful cloud-based IMS that combines all your sales channels, locations, and currencies for easy management of products, orders, and customers across multiple Shopify stores. It integrates with popular bookkeeping software such as Xero, QuickBooks Online, and ShipStation, allowing you to send quotes and invoices with built-in credit card payments directly to your customers. The TradeGecko mobile app allows you to create and manage orders, view detailed reports, and track sales trends while on the go.
Stitch Labs is an inventory operations platform that helps you centralize your orders and inventory across all your sales channels, to streamline multichannel operations, boosting productivity, and increasing profitability. The IMS lets you avoid overselling and stockouts by creating alerts and automatically generating orders and stock adjustments based on real-time data. With Shopify Plus insights, you can quickly identify which products and channels are driving profitability, while accurately responding to forecast and demand.
Orderbot is an order and inventory management system that allows you to consolidate orders that flow from multiple channels with clear inventory and fulfillment visibility. It contains all the key functionality you need, such as multi-currency, integrated payment gateways, a fully published API, and import/export capabilities. Whether you have one or more warehouses, multiple Shopify stores, B2B channels, or even marketplace integration with Amazon, Orderbot’s focus on visibility helps you keep up to date with both current and future orders.
Upgrade your inventory management capabilities
Whether you’re running an ecommerce store that is currently selling products across multiple channels, or you’re thinking about reshaping your business to incorporate multiple channels, it’s essential to recognize that manual inventory management is no longer sufficient for proper inventory management.
Cloud-based multichannel inventory solutions can help you organize your business, keep your customers happy, and give you the best chance for future growth.