Online shopping

More Business Buyers using Amazon

In a recent survey by B2BecNews, it was discovered that nearly 8 out of 10 business buyers were using Amazon to purchase and you would naturally think that it would be a place where manufacturers and distributors are planning to sell their products, if they are not doing so already.

Corporate buyers would love to see more sellers on the Amazon marketplace, but the survey revealed that the manufacturers and distributors surveyed had no future plans to sell on Amazon marketplace.

The survey, which covered corporate buyers from a range of industries including automotive, consumer electronics, industrial and healthcare products found that a staggering 78.4% of B2B buyers researched and made a purchase from Amazon Business, and it is possible that number would be even higher if more manufacturers made their products available on the B2B channel.

Only about 40% of manufacturers sell on either Amazon Business or Amazon.com, and nearly 50% of manufacturers that don’t sell on Amazon, did not have any plans to do so. 10% planned to do so in six months or less, just over 5% thought they would do so in six months to a year, another 13.5% had plans to sell in 1 to 2 years time, so many are ignoring the opportunity to tap into potential buyers who are seeking products that they may sell.

Corporate buyers, who are accustomed to buying online for their personal purchases, are looking for the same ease and simplicity when they make purchases for their business. Amazon B2B offers buyers a streamlined shopping experience which equals the ease with which buyers shop online for themselves.

Manufacturers and distributers who have a website or portal for buyers often believe that they don’t need to be on a marketplace, but research is showing that this is not the case. The opportunity to buy several types of products from different suppliers in one place is also attractive to busy executives.

The numbers below indicate where buyers are most likely to go for their purchases:

Amazon Business – 78.4%
Alibaba – 36.5%
ThomasNet – 28.4%
Global Sources – 24.3%
Wholesale Central – 16.6%

If you are interested in selling on a B2B portal, but not sure where to start, contact xocbox to learn how we can help. Tel 858-752-3803, or email info@xocbox.com.

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More Online Stores add Bricks and Mortar Presence

 

All through 2017 and even into the beginning of this year we are learning of bricks and mortar stores closing.  Household names like Sears and Macy’s have seen many store closures and you could be forgiven for thinking that the long talked about demise of the bricks and mortar store is finally here.  Will 2018 be it?  No.

The numbers reported by Forrester and the National Retail Federation show a different picture, with more brands planning to open stores rather than close them this year. The best examples of these are stores that used to be ecommerce pure-play stores such as Warby Parker and Amazon.  These stores have realized that a physical presence helps to build their brand and increase market share both online and offline.

As retailers continue to evolve they are looking for ways to integrate both the digital and physical world and new ideas keep showing up in our in-store shopping experiences.  Self-checkout is becoming more and more common, and buy online and pick up in store is a great way to get people into the store to browse for more products.

Landlords are also taking notice, and realizing that many of the online stores that are just testing the waters in the bricks and mortar world will not want to sign a 10-year lease until they know they’ve got the selling formula right, have started to offer short-term leases or even pop-up store locations and the concept of the “anchor” tenant is probably long gone.

The list of etailers who have made the decision to go brick-and-mortar continues to grow – look out for these at your local mall – Bonobos, Casper, Untuckit… if they are not already  there, it’s just a matter of time.

pedestrians-and-shops
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EDI for Yahoo Stores Eliminates Data Entry

As ecommerce stores try to compete with Amazon and Walmart, they continue to seek ways to not only speed up the process from the time the customer places an order to actually receiving the product at their door, but also try to cut their own costs and become more efficient.

These two scenarios present a challenge because at first glance it appears that it is difficult to present the customer with a more efficient process from purchase right through to delivery, and lower administrative costs at the same time.

Yet xocbox has helped Yahoo Store Merchants do this by offering an EDI solution which enables them to eliminate some manual tasks, and frees up employees’ time so they can work on higher value projects.

Unlike some of the web-EDI solutions offered to online stores, the EDI solution that xocbox offers Yahoo stores is a fully integrated product which means that you do not have to re-key data into a third party product in order to pass the data on to the EDI trading partner.

A great benefit to Yahoo merchants is that this has allowed them to trade with suppliers who will only sell to them if they use EDI, enabling them to offer a much greater selection of products, and increase their sales revenue.

xocbox provided the back-end system required to achieve this, and worked with their suppliers to ensure that transactions were processed correctly. Once all testing was complete, they were up and running with a new supplier. No additional staff or training was required by the store to do this, and they were able to introduce a new line of products to their store.

With xocbox EDI Yahoo stores are able to manage their orders, and also product onboarding and inventory.

By transacting with your partners electronically you can save time, offer a greater range of products, and free up time to do other valuable tasks within your business.

If this sounds like something that would work for your store, learn more about the Benefits of xocbox EDI products here, or call xocbox at 858-752-3803.

For those looking to automate just about everything – from product onboarding, taking orders, and shipping products – read about the xocbox No Touch Store, where you literally don’t have to touch a thing.

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Are Etailers Leaving Money on the Table?

dollar signs

I 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.

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Many Small Businesses Still Not Online

shop online on all devices

The results of holiday sales 2014 indicate that online retailers had a good year.

The web tracking company, comScore, released data this week showing an increase of 15% in November and December, better than their original estimates.  These figures do not include sales made on mobile devices.

The figure is expected to increase to over 17% when mobile sales are taken into account, and this falls into line with many other reports and research that shows shoppers are now very comfortable making purchases on their mobile and tablet devices.

Big box stores and large enterprises have certainly embraced this, but smaller businesses appear to be having a more difficult time keeping up with technology trends, as noted in research from the nonprofit group, SCORE, which is supported by the Small Business Administration.

Their research showed that only 51% of small businesses have a website, yet 97% of consumers begin their product search online.

They also found that the small businesses that do have a website often lacked a call to action, did not engage in social media, and were not mobile and tablet friendly.  There were even some that didn’t have a phone number, so contact by customers was difficult, if not impossible.

When you look at the volume of sales being made online and on mobile devices, it is clear that if your company does not have a website, you need to get one.  Also, if your site is not yet mobile friendly, that is something you should have on your 2015 To Do List.

If it is that simple, why don’t more small businesses have a website?

The main reasons cited for not having a web presence were:

  • Lack of time – they are working round the clock to run their business, so don’t have time to devote to new technology and / or skills.
  • They don’t feel web savvy enough to delve into ecommerce, and stick to what they know.
  • The task is just too big.  They don’t take credit cards in their store, so the jump to internet retailer is too daunting.

At xocbox, we try to make getting your business online an easier process, and one that doesn’t give you nightmares.

We can help your business, if:

  • You do not have an ecommerce site, and do not know where to begin because the large number of products you carry makes it overwhelming. We can help you get products online, and use xocbox tools to add and edit products.
  • You need to integrate your online store with bricks and mortar, and point of sale system. Manage inventory and work with suppliers / drop ship vendors to ensure that products sold online are actually available.
  • You have an ecommerce site, but find it difficult to keep on top of the volume of work involved keeping products up-to-date.   xocbox tools reduce the data entry required in most ecommerce platforms.
  • You don’t already have a catalog and SKUs set up.
  • You have products with many colors and sizes, and need to quickly create professional looking listings with multi-views and swatches.

Contact xocbox today, and learn how we can help your online business.

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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.

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