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10 Do’s and Don’ts of Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion Rate Optimization, or CRO, is at the heart of successful ecommerce. Converting more visitors to buyers means you make better use of the money you spend driving traffic to your site.

Every time a customer visits your ecommerce site, you have an opportunity to improve your conversion rate. You should learn from their actions to make your site and your value proposition better for the next visitor. Use tools and data to get in touch with what works for your customers and continually improve your approach.

These 10 Do’s and Don’ts will help you find the right path to conversion optimization on your site.

Do’s

1. Use the latest technology: Conversion Rate Optimization is about using the latest technologies available in digital marketing to improve conversion. Try the latest tools and platforms and stay up-to-date with emerging technologies.

2. Be a scientist: When you are improving your conversion rate, act like the lead scientist for your ecommerce site. Create experiments and test different versions of pages and popups with different content and color choices.

3. Try something out of the ordinary: Remember, act like a scientist, keep an open mind and form hypotheses, and run experiments. Try something different and you’ll be surprised by what works!

4. Measure your results: There are plenty of tools available to help you capture and measure results. Google Analytics offers a suite of tools for tracking your site’s performance and conversion rate. Other tools to consider are Optimizely, and Unbounce. You’ve got to capture and review data. Using a software tool saves a lot of time and effort.

5. Focus on what’s important: While you should try something out of the ordinary, keep your attention on what’s important. You can change all the colors you want, but when your shipping costs are too high, for example, you need to offer a discount for free shipping to see measurable results.

6. Optimize sales and signups: Some customers may not be ready to buy when they visit your site. Give them the opportunity to signup to an email list and you’ll have the opportunity to market to these visitors over the long run.

7. Keep your finger on the pulse of your site: It’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of your ecommerce site. You know your site and your customers best. Keep an eye on the key metrics that you know are important for driving conversions on your site.

8. Know your audience: While it’s important to use the latest technology and try things that are out of the ordinary, it’s important you know your audience. Be sure your messages are audience-directed towards the values and needs of your customers.

9. Use exit-intent technology: Exit-intent technology gives you a second chance to convert visitors right before they leave your site. By offering an incentive in a well-timed message you can increase conversion rates by up to 10%.

10. Get as much data as you can: Conversion Rate Optimization is a numbers game, you’ve got to have enough data to see what works and what doesn’t. Use one of the testing tools and make sure you have their code setup across your entire site so you can capture as much data as possible.

Dont’s

1. Predict the outcome before it happens: Scientists actually have a name for this, it’s called confirmation bias. Keep the mindset of a scientist running experiments. You don’t know the outcome until you see the results.

2. Think you know everything: Don’t think you’re so right that you can’t be wrong. Stay focused on the numbers as they are, not what you think they should be.

3. Be afraid to use paid traffic to get started: Any new ecommerce site needs a way to get visitors through the door. Don’t be afraid to run paid advertisement on search engines or social media to start gathering data on your site. You need enough data to start with, and the clock is ticking. Don’t sit there and watch the clock, and don’t be afraid to use paid traffic to give your ecommerce site an early boost.

4. Be afraid to make mistakes: Unless you try some new ways of approaching your customers, you won’t know what works. You might have a few misses, but even pro athletes don’t make 100% of their shots. Don’t hold yourself to an impossible standard, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

5. Try to hit a home run everytime: Everyone wants to wake up to a 300% increase in conversions, but trying to make drastic changes can result in a decrease in conversions. Conversion Optimization is the science of making incremental improvements and tracking them over time. It’s the incremental improvements that add up to a big difference in the long run.

6. Change too much at once: When you change too many things at once, it becomes very difficult to determine which change made a difference. Change one thing at a time and measure the results. This could be the amount of a discount you are offering, or the copy on your site. Don’t try to do too much at once or you’ll go nowhere fast.

7. Make a decision too soon: Don’t make a decision too soon, you could miss a great opportunity to connect with your customers. Change one variable at a time and make sure you have enough data to make a clear decision before optimizing your conversion rate further.

8. Ignore your instincts: You know the core metrics of your ecommerce site better than anyone else. Follow your instincts, look for trouble areas, and then use that data to help you pinpoint where the problem is.

9. Spend your time copying and pasting from one platform to another: Use tools that can simplify or reduce the amount of time needed for your tasks. Integrate platforms when you can, and automate tasks that don’t require your attention. Don’t spend your time copying and pasting, look for tools and platforms that have integration and automation built-in.

10. Forget your business metrics: Don’t forget to track important business metrics when you look at the conversion rate on your ecommerce site. Sales and profit are the bottom line for any business.
There’s one important ’Do’ we forgot to mention: Do have fun!

Make your own path to conversion optimization and have fun trying different experiments. When something works and you start seeing results, you can announce like Dr. Frankenstein in his laboratory, “It’s alive! It’s alive!”.

Keeping things light-hearted will also help you keep an open mind. Being open-minded, capturing as much data as you can, and using the latest software and tools are sure steps on any path to ecommerce conversion optimization.

 

About the Author

Csaba Zajdo is the founder of OptiMonk and several other projects specializing in conversion. OptiMonk is one of the most powerful lead generation tools in the world, leveraging the power of Exit Intent Popups. We’re pioneering the use of exit-intent technology at OptiMonk, we’ve developed an easy to use platform that has customization and testing built-in!

The Complete Approach To E-Commerce Marketing On A Budget

SEO

You know your new business isn’t going to survive without some marketing, but after getting everything started, the funds aren’t exactly flowing. Don’t worry; you are not alone. Maintaining a strong marketing campaign while just starting out is a challenge many e-commerce companies face. It’s not easy, but if you have some time to spare, it can definitely be done.

Of course, you should take some time to optimize your website for the search engines with high-quality content and keywords, but there are a lot of other things you should be doing if you really want your business to succeed — and most of them won’t cost you a dime.

Join the Conversation

Forums can be found on a wide variety of websites. These online gathering spots are filled with people looking for information. Seek out forums or LINKED IN groups in your industry and offer expert advice on the topics being discussed. Provide solutions to common problems, give insight into your market, and just be helpful in any way you can. However, American Express points out that you should never use the forums as a place to directly sell your product. Once people realize you are the specialist you claim to be, they will likely click on your profile, where they will discover the link to your website.

Go the Extra Mile

Customers love to feel like they are valued. It’s a simple fact: if they feel appreciated, they will repurchase time and time again. If you think customer service is not applicable to your online business, you should rethink that. First, you want to make sure to personally make phone calls or send emails to upset customers. Additionally, Microsoft believes that you should include a hand-written thank-you note and/or a free sample of one of your other products in any orders you send out.

Offer Free Information

Another great way to attract customers is to give some of your wealth of knowledge away for free. Forbes suggests creating short e-books that are applicable to your business. Offer them for free to anyone who is willing to give you their email address. It is also a wise idea to design one-page tip sheets that are aesthetically pleasing, include your company logo and website address on them, and then promote them on image-centric social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram.

Participate in Social Media

Speaking of social media, you also want to make sure you have a strong presence on all of the heavy hitters, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. That being said, you need to be using the sites to build relationships with your users, not to throw your product in their face over and over again. Post engaging content that is meant to inform or entertain your audience, and reply to the comments you receive. You should only promote your e-commerce site once per week, if that. When you establish trust with your followers they will be much more likely to turn into paying customers.

Consider Affiliate Links

Instead of putting all of the pressure of marketing on yourself, why not recruit others to spread the word for you? By offering people a percentage of the sales they can bring to you, you will encourage them to share your site with everyone they know. Obviously, you don’t want to give too much away, but the more enticing you can make the percentage offered, the more willing people will be to share.

Be Active at Trade Shows

Just because you do all of your business online, that doesn’t mean your marketing efforts are limited to this platform. Trade shows are one of the best places to network and introduce your product to a new audience. Find as many trade shows as you can within your industry and rent out a booth. Yes, it may seem expensive, but the ROI is unbeatable. To capitalize on your investment, put in the extra effort to make your booth stand out from the crowd. It is also wise to give away some sort of promotional item with your company’s name and website on it so people can easily remember you after they leave. The more unique you can make this item, the better your chances of making a lasting impression.

As you can see, there are many ways you can spread the word about your new company, even if you don’t have deep pockets. Just an hour per day spent on your online marketing efforts can produce results that make it all worth it.

About the author:
Mark Ditteaux is the President and COO of Mark-it-Smart, Inc. Bag Warehouse, a subsidiary, supplies conference bags to businesses based on their unique promotional needs. The company brings more than 15 years of marketing and promotional experience to help with your promotional marketing campaign.

Big B2C Ecommerce Targets B2B Ecommerce Franken-sites

Website

What does your B2B e-commerce website look like today? Is it unnavigable to all but the heartiest of your customers? Does integration to your order creation system involve spreadsheet dumps? Is it columns and rows of eye-straining part numbers with no pictures and little to no product description? Is it something your IT team duct-taped together with B2C e-commerce apps, hacking, tacking, cutting and customizing until now no one can manage it except the ones who built the Franken-site monster?

Here’s the big question: Would you shop there? Honestly?

Some big B2C e-commerce players are moving into B2B E-commerce, and they are well aware of the missteps of their B2B cousins. Do the names of Amazon and Ali-baba sound familiar? If you’re a wholesaler in a largely commoditized industry, those names should strike fear into your heart.

It’s no secret that consumers today love to shop online; global B2C e-commerce sales are set to top $1.5 trillion this year, and that figure promises to continue to grow until it reaches $2.3 trillion in 2017. Here’s a newsflash: those same customers tired of faxing an order to you also shop for retail products online. They wish they could do the same with you, in fact, almost 90% of your customers do.

To little fanfare, B2B e-commerce has been a steady climber. In 2013, B2B saw online sales increase to $559 Billion. Why has it been so slow to rise compared to B2C when the potential payoff of B2B e-commerce is triple that of B2C? Why do many businesses still buy and sell using paper invoices, faxes, phones and checks?

  • Complexity has been one reason: It’s not easy to put together a B2B site with B2C-like personalization down to the user level – not when there are multiple ship-to’s, contracted prices, earned discounts, dozens of catalogs for different lines of business, and multiple customer types. Go ask the developers who put together your current Franken-site.
  • Business Processes have to change if the e-commerce initiative is to succeed. Too often businesses are not willing to make changes about the way they create orders, the very fundamentals of their business, until they feel the heat; only a very few innovators make the change because they see the light.
  • Integration to back-end ERP Order Creation systems sounds easier than it really is – for all the reasons listed in the first bullet point and because it has to be in real-time.
  • CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) of configurable products, a common thing in B2B, adds a whole extra layer of complexity to e-commerce because of the need for customer-specific, real-time pricing and validation of configurations

But if you’re serious about B2B e-commerce, and you don’t wish to face extinction because of the turf invasion of B2C predators who know how to deliver a great customer experience to your bread-and-butter customers, then here are some trends you should pay attention to:

  1. Mobile devices
    Over 67 percent of the global population uses mobile devices, and growing. The customer base is mobile, for B2C and B2B, and that makes a big difference in how you need to sell to your customers.A good mobile strategy starts with Responsive Design. E-commerce websites must render well on mobile devices. One bad experience on a mobile device guarantees a customer won’t return. E-commerce companies must create a seamless omni-channel experience that allows customers to browse and make purchases the exact same way, no matter what kind of device they’re using.
  1. Security
    In the wake of recent high-profile data breaches, the need for security is clear. Customers want to know their sensitive data is being protected, and PCI-DSS standards are evolving as the e-commerce demands grow more complex. The consequences of a public data breach or a regulatory penalty can be huge, both in the form of monetary losses and the loss of customer trust; customer trust is something that takes years to establish and minutes to break. That’s why even a single data breach is one too many.
  1. Big data and analytics
    The B2C e-commerce industry has been using big data and analytics to drive better results for years. Across B2B industries, organizations are re-discovering the years of business data available to them from backend systems; this discovery represents a tremendous opportunity to understand and serve customers better. The mere fact that big data exists doesn’t necessarily mean you will gain value from it; in fact, big data is just as likely to overwhelm with useless data as it is to provide data you can actually use. Investing in analytics is the only way to separate out the valuable from the irrelevant.
  1. Software solutions from a vendor of B2B e-commerce solutions
    Software has always been an important part of the e-commerce equation, and a lot of B2C solutions are available. None of them have the architecture to take on the complexities of the B2B world. Because of this, there are far fewer B2B offerings, and fewer still who take the time to build out-of-the-box integration between the e-commerce storefront and the back-end system. You wouldn’t go to a car-dealer to purchase a truck for your shipping fleet. For the same reasons, you don’t look at B2C solutions to solve B2B e-commerce problems. Yes, the truck is more expensive – but no matter what modifications you make to the car, it will never deliver your products to market, and neither will a B2B Franken-site patched together from B2C solutions.

About the Author:

Steve Sassi, SAP E-Commerce Specialist at CDI Technology, the leading provider of B2B and B2B online payment solutions for the e-commerce industry. With over 10 years of experience in the software industry, Steve has expertise in web store solutions, payment solutions and mobile solutions.

Hey Small Businesses! Texting Your Customers Works

Texting

My name is Ben Bakhshi, I am one of the founders of Coordinato, a platform for sending phone/text/email messages and reminders for small businesses (eCommerce and physical). I have learned a lot about the Text Message marketing industry while building this business, I’d like to share a tidbit to help small businesses grow.

If healthcare companies send text messages to provide better healthcare (proving that in fact, people read text messages from their service providers), shouldn’t you consider using the same channel to help grow your business? The healthcare industry has been effectively using text messaging to communicate with patients for years now. Hospitals have successfully increased patient health measurably by decreasing no-shows due to appointment reminders sent by SMS. Retails have been doing the same. Today, it doesn’t take big budgets or systems, and in fact, it can all be done for free.

People read text messages (and they are cheap to send)

Traditional retailers use text messages to market products to their customers all the time. Online businesses, who have a good mobile website, can use texting to drive new sales from old customers. If you sign up for a retail credit card, or join a membership to get a discount, chances are that the retailer will be keeping tabs on your shopping, and sending you text messages to remind you to shop more (and buy more of what you want). But sending mass text messages is no longer only for large companies with big budgets. If you are a small business has or is able to collect your customers’ phone numbers, you should start to consider periodically sending messages to your customers.

Thanks to Twilio, and other SMS technology companies, the cost to build software that utilizes texting has gone down dramatically. These days, the smallest of businesses can use a flurry of web tools to send texts and grow your business.

We will briefly cover the goals of text message marketing, and then I will provide you with free & paid tools to get you on your way.

Goals of Text Message Marketing

Increase incoming business immediately, without annoying your customers.

Your messages should be on point and should highlight something that is immediately available. Your customer will read the message, but they probably won’t remember it. If they can’t act now (get in the car, go to a website, make a phone call, or respond by text) then they will forget about the message, delete it, and go on with their lives.

For example, you can send message 1 week before a customer’s birthday, offering them discounted services. Or, might have received new merchandise, you can include a URL in your message, letting your customers visit your mobile website and make a purchase.

Do not be annoying. You should think twice about sending a text message more than once a month. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer, would YOU want to get a message once a week advertising to you?

You may want to track the performance of texting as a channel. If your customers are not responding, they may be getting upset, or your messaging is not relevant. Feel free to follow up. If you notice that an SMS marketing campaign was unsuccessful, pick up the phone and call a few customers to find out why they were not interested in the offering.

Ask for a referral. If a customer had a great experience with you, feel comfortable sending a text asking for a referral. You don’t have to offer a referral bonus, but you can if you think it will help you and the customer.

Discuss these and more issues with your team, and figure out the right way to balance effectiveness and courtesy with your customers. Your previous customers are one of your most important assets. Leveraging them will help you grow your sales, and also help you grow your referrals.

How to send text messages online?

You can send messages one at a time, very easily, using Google Hangouts, which Google has migrated features into from Google Voice, is available standalone or via Gmail. Just enter the phone number, enter the message, and boom, your customer receives it. Google offers this totally for free, and you can receive incoming messages as well.

If you want to send group messages, or schedule text messages into the future, check out some of the more advanced platforms. There are a number of services out there, here are two of our favorite, feel free to Google around for more, I have seen dozens of them. AppointmentReminder.org, focuses on appointment based businesses who want to send reminders to their customers. SignalEngage.com which offers text, email and online marketing tools help you grow your customer base.

Go ahead and start texting your customers, you won’t be disappointed.

Get Personal To Stand Out from the Competition

E-commerce

E-commerce consumers have choices about where they spend their dollars, but your ability to personalize their experience can be a huge competitive advantage. Here’s how you can customize your e-commerce experience, and why it’s so important.

Don’t wait to address the customer. Email remains a low-cost and highly efficient marketing channel, but as an e-commerce retailer, you have a superior advantage over offline retailers thanks to your ability to collect relevant online data from e-commerce visitors (even those that don’t order). You’re able to continually hone those analytics and insights to better predict what your customers may find interesting. With that said, don’t underestimate the amount of emails customers receive — or how little time you have to get noticed in their inbox. Regardless of why you’re sending the customer an email, personally address the recipient in every subject line, whether that means mentioning an item they’ve previously purchased, or acknowledging something about them that you know (which may be propensity toward a certain promotion, brand or product category) based on their past search behavior. In Experian’s 2013 Email Market Study it was revealed that multichannel retailers experience a 37 percent increase in unique open rates for emails with personalized subject lines compared to emails without personalized subject lines.

Make your brand’s personality personally relevant. Personalizing your customer’s online shopping experience in a way that leads to brand loyalty requires communicating your brand’s value in a way that is meaningful to their personal values. That starts with understanding your various customer segments and addressing each accordingly to reinforce your shared value system, based on data you collect over time. In one study cited in Harvard Business Review, the majority of respondents indicated they don’t view brands as something they have a “relationship” with, regardless of how frequently a brand messages to them — unless there is a sense of shared values. Experiment with creative ways to communicate and demonstrate what your brand stands for, understanding that your message may be different across segments. For example, one customer segment may care about your donating a portion of proceeds to a non-profit organization that aligns with your (and their) interests, while others will be moved by messages about your sourcing products based on parameters that align with their values.

Act like a personal shopper. Retailers with brick-and-mortar storefronts have the luxury of forming a connection with customers to personalize the shopper experience once they’re in store. Though you may never meet your customers face to face, you can deliver a similar one-on-one interaction that personalizes their experience. As customers browse your site and place items in a shopping cart, for example, leverage automated upselling tools that suggest additional products they’re likely to respond to, based on the data you already have about them (a study by McKinsey indicates that such cross-sell techniques can increase sales by 20 percent, and profits by as much as 30 percent).

If your site offers a promotion triggered by some kind of required threshold (like free shipping based on a certain order amount, or a free item with the purchase of another), make the consumer aware of how near they are to reaching that money-saving opportunity, and make their experience seamless by guiding them through to reach that redemption requirement. (In one infographic compiled by BrainSINS, e-commerce retailers noted a 54 percent increase in their average order values by personalizing the shopper experience in a similar way.) Likewise, think about personalization as a convenience offering: If the customer indicates a need for rush shipping on an item but it’s not in stock, let them know immediately and suggest an alternative product. Even features like live chat for customer support present an opportunity to make the customer feel special, even if it’s simply to acknowledge them by name and thank them for their return visit.

 

About the author:

Don Amato is Vice-President, Sales of Chicago Tag & Label in Libertyville, IL. The company delivers business solutions with custom forms, labels and tags for all types of businesses, including ecommerce.

4 Simple SEO Techniques You Can Implement Today

Social MediaGoogle is continually improving algorithms, and this is evident from the recent ‘Penguin’ and ‘Panda’ updates changing the way websites rank, and the best way to optimize your website to rank higher. With ever changing techniques it can be hard to keep up – but the basics of SEO have remained the same for quite some time. We’ve shortlisted 4 simple, white-hat techniques you should always use when it comes to search engine optimization…

1. Stop keyword stuffing

The general rule for keywords is to target broad keywords on the homepage and long-tail keywords in the internal pages of your site. However, it is not uncommon to see many SEO companies attempting to keyword stuff the homepage with as many keywords as they can fit in. Google penalizes sites for this, and attempting to cheat the system doesn’t get you anywhere with SEO anymore. Similarly, keyword stuffing guest posts and links won’t help you either – it’s always better to aim for organic, quality links that will bring real traffic to your site and naturally boost your SEO.

Stick to broad keywords on the homepage, and target long-tail keywords on internal pages of your site. As always with keywords, make sure you are including them within relevant, high-quality content and avoid sounding like a keyword churning robot. Google wised up to this a long time ago, and so should you.

2. Make user experience your main focus

If Google’s updates have taught us anything, it should be that user experience and high quality content is key. Whether it’s creating a quirky, interactive web design, writing high-quality informative and sharable blog posts or even just improving the speed of your site, user experience should always be the main focus of your SEO strategy. Consumers are expecting more and more, and with the competition and huge global corporates turning their main focus to the consumer you need to too, or you’ll fall behind.

User experience is all about creating great content, shortening the customer journey and creating a connection with consumers. All of which can also be helped massively by the use of social media…

3. Use Social Media

There is much controversy regarding how effective/ineffective social media actually is for generating business and improving SEO, although the expectation for businesses to be at least present across platforms is here to stay. Social media acts as a customer service platform and creates a close, familiar bond with business and consumer, and it is a mistake to fail to use this to your advantage.

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and any social media platforms you use give you the tools to effectively share content and drive your audience back to your website. Google recognizes this spike in click-throughs and will reward you for it, so regularly update your social media and interact with consumers.

Social media and SEO go hand in hand, and by responding to consumers quickly and informally you create a connection that ultimately improves user experience, so use it to your advantage and learn to love it.

4. Realize that there are no shortcuts

No really, there isn’t. Many SEO companies will practice black-hat techniques that may improve your rankings in the short-term, but the long-term effects are more than likely damaging to your site. Remember that quality always wins over quantity, and organically improving rankings through creating a great user experience and producing high quality, sharable content is best way to improve SEO. Not only will this improve rankings, but it will make sure you rank for the keywords that are relevant to you, bringing the right audience to your website and generating you more business.
Don’t be fooled by the concept of just paying for links or a quick-fix, these practices simply don’t work anymore. A good SEO strategy will take time and effort, but Google will reward you for it.

About the Author:

This blog was written by Rhianna Holt at Digicrab.

A Date with Your SEO Specialist: 4 Things to Watch Out for

SEO

It’s no secret that every successful ecommerce website has a remarkable SEO partner. After all, search engine optimization plays a major role in boosting any online business. This is the reason why you need to get to know your SEO specialist better.

Just like in a real date, the getting to know stage will give you an idea if you wish to proceed with this person to the next level or find a better partner. There are certain things you need to watch out for so as to determine the true worth of your current SEO company.

1.  Background

When you go out with someone for the first time, your conversation mainly revolves around your backgrounds— where you studied, what work you do, what your family is like, etc. In the same way, you must find out how long the SEO company you work with has been in existence, how it came about, what services it offers, and what its track record is like.

2.  Quality

In trying to figure out if a person is cut out to be your partner in life, you also try to assess quality. It’s not a matter of excellence, but rather a matter of suitability. You might actually meet someone who seems to be way beyond your standards and seems to be the perfect partner. But you need to go out with that person several times to see if you guys click.

With your SEO specialist, it works the same way. There ought to be a spark, a gut feel that you can work well together and trust each other. At the same time, it’s important to check how they do their SEO. Learn the analytics and strategies they use, the reports they provide, and more. These will help you determine their actual quality and if they’re a good fit for your business.

3.  Communication

Relationships bank a lot on good communication, even if you’re just in the initial stages. Between an online entrepreneur and a SEO specialist, communication also means a whole lot. This is why you have to be clear about it from the very beginning. Ask for a well-defined communication plan that includes how often you’ll be contacted and through which channel, what types of reports you’ll receive, how long meetings will last, and how and when you can get in touch if you have concerns or questions.

4.  Length of Partnership

If you’re experienced in dating, you can tell whether someone is good for a one-night stand, a temporary fling, or a long-term relationship. Finding out where your present SEO partner stands is of great importance too. You ought to sniff around and keep your senses on edge to figure out if your SEO specialist is a scammer or a real deal, great for short-term campaigns or cut out for lengthy partnerships.

Since you’ll always be in need of SEO expertise, it’s essential to not waste your time on short-term stints. Besides, you don’t want to be a victim of fly-by-night sort of SEO companies. Hence, you need to do your background research well and take the time and effort to truly get to know the specialist you’re currently working with. This way, you can shortcut your way to a genuine keeper and not squander precious time, sweat, and money on something worthless.

 

About the author
Joe Palko is the CMO of 3dcart. Prior to joining 3dcart in 2011, Joe was a true internet pioneer co-founding his first e-commerce website in 1994 which later sold to America’s largest mail order pet supply retailer in 2007. Joe also co-founded Solid Cactus in 2001, which was later sold to the Web.com Group in 2009.

Top 5 Benefits of Off-Site Inventory Management

inventorymanagement

Inventory management can be a challenge for an e-commerce company. Many companies start out small and have limited space. They might want to offer large product lines to their customers, but it’s a challenge to store the products at their location.

If your company is taking off or you want to expand your product offerings, but you’re facing the challenge of limited space, you might be considering finding a warehouse or switching to a larger one. Off-site inventory management is the perfect solution to this problem. This method can have many benefits for an e-commerce company, including the following:

1. You can avoid the hassle of a warehouse.

When your company manages inventory itself, you have to cover the cost of the warehouse space, the overhead costs of running the warehouse and the employees for the warehouse. As your company expands and as time goes by, you have to manage all of those aspects in addition to your office and your own company’s staff.

By managing your inventory off site, your company won’t have to deal with all the work and expenses involved with a warehouse. J.M. Field Marketing explains that instead of handling the inventory management yourself, you can trust another company to take care of that work for you. You will only have to pay inventory management of the products that are ordered, instead of all those upfront costs to get started and the ongoing costs associated with running your warehouse. Plus, you can rely on a company that is experienced with inventory management.

2. Maintain control over your inventory.

You don’t have to completely hand over your inventory management to another company and have no idea what’s going on with it. Your company will still have control over your inventory, so that you can manage your business. You will be able to track the purchasing and the inventory in stock at the off-site location. This way, you can follow trends of your business and understand any changes you need to make to stay successful and to grow.

3. Your company will be able to handle ordering fluctuations.

One of the challenges of an e-commerce business is handling extra orders during busy seasons or when the business is growing quickly. A reputable, outsourced fulfillment service can handle these changes, without your company needing to worry about it. It should be a positive for your company when you are getting extra orders, not a dreaded challenge to overcome. Off-site inventory management can turn it into a profitable experience.

4. Your company can focus on other areas of the business.

When you take inventory management off the plate of your company, you are freeing up your time, resources and efforts to focus on other things. Your company can focus on retaining customers and marketing to attract new customers.

You won’t have to worry about your marketing efforts growing your company too quickly, because your off-site inventory management services will be prepared for the growth. Instead of managing both an office team and a warehouse team, your company will be able to focus its efforts on just one and rely on another company for the warehouse side.

5. Cut down on the cost of shipping.

Since inventory management is the specialty of inventory fulfillment companies, they are able to engage in bulk shipping. This can greatly reduce the shipping costs of products. Another way these companies often cut shipping costs is by choosing more affordable alternatives, such as shipping parts and assembling them on site. These shipping savings can be passed onto your company and to your customers, which can make them more likely to purchase, to become repeat customers and to be happier overall with their buying experience.

About the author
Don Amato is Vice-President, Sales of Chicago Tag & Label in Libertyville, IL. Chicago Tag & Label custom forms, labels and tags help streamline processes in many industries including retail, industrial, manufacturing, distribution and medical environments.

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