2019 is now full steam ahead, and you’ve probably got some goals set to make this year better than the last. Well, we asked some e-commerce experts, both within ShippingEasy and some of our partners, to offer up some things you need to know for the year to ensure your success selling online. Below are their tips, guidance, and expertise to help you prepare to make 2019 your best year yet!
Follow these tips from e-commerce experts for success in 2019
Gain customer loyalty by getting personal
Do your customers feel connected to your brand, service or product? With the abundance of technology out there, it’s easy to lose sight of what really drives humans: emotion. The more you connect with customers, the more compelled they will be to make a purchase — and come back to your store. Not sure where to start? Sharing your company purpose on your “About Us” page and composing handwritten thank-you notes are quick and easy ways to relate to customers on and off the screen. By featuring apps that allow for better customer engagement — like live chat and product reviews — Volusion lets store owners connect immediately with customers to ensure better service and retention.
Ashley Eaton—Partner Marketing Specialist, Volusion
USPS First Class no longer just based on weight
A great low-cost option for shipping domestically is USPS First Class Package Service. You can include tracking on any package less than a pound. The rate charged by USPS has always been based just on the weight, but that is about to change. Starting January 27, 2019, the USPS rates for First Class Package Service will also account for distance. So just like Priority Mail, the zone (1 through 9) for the shipment is used to calculate the rate. This can have a significant impact if you are on either coast and use First Class to ship across the country. Learn more in ShippingEasy’s Guide to 2019 USPS First Class Shipping Rates.
Gregg Sporar—Product Evangelist, ShippingEasy
Print your shipping labels without ink or toner
With the growing popularity of online marketplace websites and the social acceptance of re-selling, more and more people are shipping from home. This means home offices are starting to look a lot like warehouses! These sellers need to watch their bottom line closely and cut out costs, particularly on expensive ink and toner refills. One way is to implement direct thermal technology. The DYMO 4XL label printer prints pre-adhesive shipping labels, barcodes and more without the use of ink or toner. Print ink-free with the DYMO 4XL today!
Drew Klipp—Associate Brand Manager, DYMO – Newell Brands
Make optimizing your reorder process a priority
Maintaining “lean inventory” isn’t just a buzzword, it’s #goals. To have only a few more units in stock than you need to fulfill all incoming orders requires a precise understanding of how quickly your products are selling and the time it takes to receive replenishment stock from your suppliers. Implement a tool that will optimize the reorder process by using your sales and inventory data to alert you when it’s time to reorder and how much to buy to meet your forecast.
Sam Caplan—Product Manager, Inventory Management, ShippingEasy
Watch out for Amazon’s Private Label Brands
Amazon has been growing their private label brands quite rapidly over the last few years, bringing in products such as clothing, mattresses, and most recently, children’s toys. Although Amazon is still trying to perfect their business model in these particular categories, I would steer clear from any category that Amazon is expanding into. Instead, continue to pick obscure products that you can improve, without competing directly with Amazon.
Greg Mercer—Founder and CEO, Jungle Scout
Craft your email marketing based on where your subscribers are in their customer journey.
The customer journey maps every interaction your buyers have with your product or service, so consider all touchpoints as you craft a marketing plan. Ask yourself questions like “What do I want my customers to know about my brand?” and “How can I make customers feel valued and appreciated?” By meeting your subscribers where they are with your brand, whether they are first-time buyers or loyal VIP members, you are creating and nurturing hard-earned relationships and ensuring your company’s success. Personalization and automation are your friends, and with ShippingEasy’s Customer Marketing tool, all your customer data is in one place so you can market directly from our platform!
Lindsay Lewis—Email Marketing Specialist, ShippingEasy
Weights, weights, weights!
Having trained people to ship for 3 years, one thing I have repeated more than any other has been “weights are the biggest impediment to automated shipping that exists.” Obviously, some products do not have uniform weights, and this can not be automated, but for the vast, vast majority of people shipping, identifying and setting up individual product and packaging weights will save more time than literally anything else. Make a spreadsheet including product name, SKU, and product weight, and you are light years ahead of most small businesses when it comes to shipping. Then, throw that information into ShippingEasy, write a couple of rules, and be amazed at how much easier the shipping process becomes.
Michael Trotzuk—Product Education Specialist, ShippingEasy
International sales aren’t scary anymore!
If you want to diversify and grow revenue, consider the fact that one-third of online buyers have purchased an item located internationally. Australia, Canada, and Russia are the biggest hunters for products outside of their countries. With carriers giving direct rates and more website platforms supporting international rates, now is the best time to hop into the international market. Start small if you need to by offering your services to specified countries then expand when you’re ready.
Gabi Pritchard—Product Marketing Manager, ShippingEasy
Make your customers sticky
Running an e-commerce business is akin to keeping multiple plates spinning at the same time. You’re dealing with orders, product, inventory, and all the while, customers are coming in and out of your “door”. All customers are good customers, but the best customers are those that are repeat customers. By using ShippingEasy’s Customer Marketing tool and taking advantage of features like automated email marketing campaigns and real-time analytics, we can help you keep those plates spinning. We can take the position of being your silent partner to help you keep in touch with your customers and remind them why they shopped with you in the first place. This effectively turns them from a one-time customer into a repeat, “sticky” customer.
Josh Williams—Shipping Onboarding Specialist, ShippingEasy
Don’t sleep on voice technology in e-commerce
With the proliferation of smart speakers like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Facebook Portal, customers will be increasingly using voice to make purchases. This means your product listings and descriptions will need to be thorough and include keywords based on how customers would speak about your products. From the seller side, we expect to see even more voice technology in the warehouse and office, as ShippingEasy is leading the way with the announcement of our Amazon Alexa integration late last year.
Rob Zaleski—Digital Content and Brand Manager, ShippingEasy
Audit your tech stack to ensure optimization
With the ever-increasing amount of e-commerce tools and applications to leverage, it can be tricky to understand which ones you should be using to stay competitive. Selecting what marketplace to create your store on is no longer the only big decision, as we see thousands of tools and even many platforms emerging that help with marketing, SEO, product sourcing and design in a single source. I suggest that e-commerce sellers do an audit of their tech stack at least twice per year to stay up to date with most beneficial technologies.
Dylan Lozano—Strategic Partner Manager, ShippingEasy
Not all online marketplaces and e-commerce platforms fit your individual needs
When deciding on whether or not to sell on a marketplace like Amazon or an e-commerce platform like Shopify there are many things to consider. Do you want full control over branding and content? Many e-commerce platforms offer out-of-the-box templates and plugins that can help you customize your new website. You also have the option of hiring a developer to build what a plugin cannot. For marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, your products are added to the marketplace, but your brand won’t be featured. Buyers will be able to see that the product is being shipped from your company name and catch a glimpse of a logo on your packing slip or seller profile, but in most cases, there will be very little to customize in terms of the buying experience. On the other hand, the lack of customization usually translates to a smaller initial investment when getting started as a business and less to maintain moving forward.
Cory Harvard—Enterprise Technical Consultant, ShippingEasy
Good things come in small packages
Using the correct sized box when shipping orders is an important step to maximizing shipping savings. This will help ensure you don’t overpay on dimensional weight pricing (which is based on volume, rather than physical weight) when you could have paid less based on the weight if the order was in a smaller box. Of course, you can’t keep 100 different box sizes on hand to make sure you have the absolute perfectly sized box for every order. If you can keep 10 to 12 box sizes on hand and be aware of which size you’re selecting when packing an order, this is enough to optimize huge savings in your process across all orders.
Kevin Nuest—VP of Product, ShippingEasy
This is just the beginning of the type of expertise you can find here at ShippingEasy. Did you know we have in-house e-commerce experts that will personally guide you through optimizing your shipping processes, your warehouse fulfillment, your email marketing, and your inventory processes? Even better, it comes at no extra cost to ShippingEasy customers. Learn more about our experts and what they can do by clicking below!