are etailers leaving money on the table?

dollar signsI was recently asked a question about common issues that we see that are causing small and medium-sized etailers to leave money on the table in their online retail stores.

Of course, no-one would be doing this on purpose, but sometimes opportunities can be missed because they are not immediately apparent.

One thing we have seen is that merchants are missing opportunities to keep shoppers on their site by not optimizing their home page or landing pages.

The first thing a shopper should see is the most attractive merchandise and the best offers. This could be products that are well priced or popular for other reasons – such as Back to School products.

For example, if you sell apparel that has price variations according not only to size, but also color, your home page can show an attractive or seasonal color with the price below, and also show a price and label for the less expensive color.

By showing the lower price alongside the more expensive price of the product shown in the image, the shopper is drawn to the product.  Even if they eventually buy the higher priced product, the lower price on the home page attracts their attention.

Another example would be making sure that bestsellers are visible above the fold on the website and out of stock items are pushed to the bottom or removed.

This is something that can be updated on a regular basis, or automated in response to events and triggers, such as a product going out of stock.

xocbox can help with automation and placing of products on landing and section pages – contact us for details.

 


Cyber Monday was a winner!

holiday decorations in storeFigures just released by comScore show that retail sales on Cyber Monday were over $2 billion, and these figures do not include sales made through a tablet or mobile device.  Wow!

The report went on to say that consumers spent 26% more in 2014 than they did in 2013 over the holiday weekend, and online sales are continuing to outstrip those of bricks and mortar stores.

Any retailer who has still not been able to get their products online, or has a website that doesn’t have mobile and tablet capability for shoppers is losing out on valuable revenue.

Contact xocbox if you are struggling to keep up with listing your products, and running your business – our tools can help you manage your store, and we have a great new product coming in the new year!


Black Friday Week or Month?

holiday shopping pictureLast night I purchased something from a local Banana Republic store, and at the checkout I was given a coupon called TGI(B)F which said “Early Access to Black Friday”, and had discounts I could use from November 24 through November 27.

The sales associate cheerfully told me that if I couldn’t deal with Black Friday shopping, I could shop early from Monday 24th.

I also read an article saying that Walmart plans to make it Black Friday week.  Walmart’s Black Friday begin at 12:01am on Thanksgiving and will include five days of sales online and in their physical stores, taking us through Cyber Monday.

It looks like many retailers such as JC Penney, Staples, Macy’s and Target are planning to open on Thanksgiving  – with some as early as 5pm.

Retailers are increasingly aware that shoppers are turning to the web to shop at times that suit them, not retailers, and Black Friday has become symbolic with the start of the holiday shopping season, not necessarily the one day for the best bargains.

With shoppers researching prices online, and checking spot sales in bricks and mortar stores, the 2014 holiday shopping season is going to offer bargains for weeks to come.

So don’t worry about rushing out the door to bargain hunt, as soon as you’ve eaten your turkey dinner – retailers will surprise us with flash sales right through the holiday season, and the best bargains may appear as we draw closer to the end of December.

 


Free Shipping

shipping options in store

I have just returned from the WooConference 2014 in San Francisco, and came away with lots of ideas and information.

With a host of great speakers, we didn’t know what to expect, and the interesting thing is they all offered great new ideas, and reiterated some of the concepts we know we should all be offering.

One of the things all store owners must be thinking about at this time of year is Free Shipping, and is it really worth it? Well the answer is, a big YES!

Speaker after speaker mentioned the value of having free shipping available in your online store.

One speaker stated that 73% will shop with Free shipping offered, and that 90% will buy more from your store if free shipping is offered.

Another speaker said that research showed 44% of shoppers will drop out without free shipping, and go elsewhere.

So how can you make free shipping work for your store?

If you can’t sell all your products with free shipping, try offering free shipping on the total value of an order over a given amount, such as $100. This not only attracts shoppers, but entices them to spend over the $100 amount in order to benefit from the shipping offer.

Another way is to offer free shipping on products that you are planning to mark down in the next few days / weeks. You may sell them at full price, simply because you are offering free shipping.

Try offering free shipping on combined purchases in a certain category or categories.

Set up an email campaign offering free shipping to those who buy a product / products before a certain date.  This way you will benefit from receiving revenue quicker.

Show a FREE SHIPPING label on your home page, so shoppers know it is available as soon as they land on your store. If possible, have free shipping in your header, so it appears on every page.

There is no question that competition is stiff in the online marketplace, but free shipping is here to stay and it is what shoppers have come to expect, not just from the big box stores, but from any online store or marketplace.

So don’t despair – in the long run, the more you sell, the better rates you can negotiate with your shipping service, so figuring out how to get started is crucial to your ongoing success.

Why not start by talking to your local shipping store?  By passing more work their way, you may be able to solve your own shipping problems as well.


Are you ready for the holiday season?

holiday cardsBack to School is behind us, and the Holiday Season is just around the corner, so now is the time to make sure you have everything in order for that traditional increase in sales during Halloween and Christmas.

The short shopping season of 2013 meant that many etailers had difficulty fulfilling orders in time, and some unlucky shoppers received their gifts long after the holidays were over.

The 2014 holiday season will again be short, with just 26 days between Black Friday and Christmas, only one day more than 2013, and predictions indicate that online sales will increase, with consumers spending more time shopping on mobile phones and tablets, and less on retail sites.

Thanksgiving falls during the last week of November again this year, and Cyber Monday will be in December.  So if you’re feeling behind schedule with your store planning, what can you do now to make sure you don’t miss those all important holiday sales?

  1. Most importantly, don’t panic!  There is still time to do some last minute planning.
  2. Make sure you have all your holiday orders placed with your suppliers, if you don’t already have products lined up in your warehouse.
  3. Ensure you have all your packaging materials and boxes ready to go.
  4. Plan out your holiday promotions and add these to your website in October.  Be ready for early gift shoppers by suggesting gifts by product type or gender, and create gift baskets or sets under a specific dollar amount.
  5. Make sure you have plenty of accessories, and gift-type products ready for your site by October.
  6. If time permits, make some seasonal color changes to your website and theme, however, products and promotions are still your main focus.
  7. Decide how you will cope with the extra workload – do you need to hire temporary staff for the season?  Think about the extra strain on your resources such as customer service,  product fulfillment, and gift wrapping.
  8. Plan your email marketing campaign, and social media strategy.
  9. Plan your delivery cut-off dates and make sure these work with your shipping carrier.
  10. Think back to what worked best for you last year, and repeat that process.

The Holiday Season is the most exciting time for shoppers and retailers alike, and even with last minute planning, you can still create a great experience for your shoppers, and a profitable holiday season for yourself.