Resources to Grow Your Online Store in the Digital Age – Become Your Own Influencer

Medallion Fulfillment - a Fulfillment Company

The phenomenal explosion of social media has given rise to a new occupation: online influencer. People with a knack for promotion and a keen understanding of their audience can make a six-figure income.

Isn’t your money better spent on partnering with a fulfillment warehouse that can help you maximize sales and offer a stellar customer experience? Use our valuable tips to become your own influencer and control the narrative that shapes your brand.

1. Know your audience.

Before you do anything else, define the audience you want to reach. This is the core around which you’ll build your overall strategy.

Don’t stop at basic demographic data such as age and gender. Take a deep dive into who these people are and what motivates them. Where do they live? What are their interests? What are their preferred channels of communication? There are a number of analytics tools that allow you to gather this information.

2. Leverage your social media platforms.

Social media is not passive. It’s intended to create a connection between people who might otherwise not have the opportunity to interact. Boost engagement with followers through these tried-and-true methods:

• Post colorful, eye-catching pictures
• Share quirky videos that have the potential to go viral
• Include hashtags
• Conduct giveaways
• Incorporate user-generated content

3. Make content relevant.

This is where steps 1 and 2 intersect. The most professional, well-crafted content is all for nothing if it holds no interest for your audience. Target marketing, where you craft a program to reach your most likely consumers, is more successful and cost-effective than traditional mass marketing, which is the generic, “throw everything against a wall and see what sticks” method.

As an example, you probably wouldn’t get any results posting retirement-related content for a target audience of twenty-somethings. Many sellers use their customer data to build buyer personas that represent their ideal customers. This technique helps to humanize your audience and determine what content would be most appealing to them.

4. Follow a consistent schedule.

Random postings come off as an afterthought. When you follow a specific schedule, people will become accustomed to the rhythm and look forward to your posts. It also helps you get in the habit of planning your topics.

There’s another compelling reason to create a social media schedule. Instagram and many other platforms give preference to accounts that post on a regular basis.

5. Team up with a complimentary brand.

Cross-promotion is a great way to tap into an audience you may not be currently reaching. Look for a brand that appeals to a similar customer but is not a direct competitor. Activities can include anything from links and guest blog posts to co-sponsoring contests and giveaways.

Burger King is a high-profile example of a successful cross-promotion strategy. The fast-food chain has marketed tie-ins with a wide range of movies and TV shows, most notably The Simpsons and a number of Disney films.

6. Follow other influencers.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. It always helps to learn from the best. Follow some of the top influencers and pay attention to what they do. How often do they post? How do they interact with their audience? Also note what kind of posts generate the most response from followers.

Build Your Brand with First-Class Fulfillment Warehouse Services

No matter how well you market your brand, it means nothing if you can’t follow through with excellent delivery and service. We offer scalable, customizable fulfillment warehouse services that can grow along with your business.

Contact Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics to learn more about our programs, including our Amazon replenishment warehousing service.

B2B Fulfillment Centers Just Don’t “Get” eCommerce Distribution

Medallion Fulfillment is a 3PL service provider in California and Massachusetts.

eCommerce has revolutionized the way consumers shop, but it’s been an even bigger change for retailers. After decades of operating within a conventional sales model, B2B fulfillment centers are having a tough time adapting. Here’s a look at why a B2C fulfillment warehouse is better equipped to handle the needs of the contemporary marketplace.

B2B Fulfillment Centers vs. B2C Fulfillment Centers

  1. Staffing Requirements

When shipping to retailers, B2B fulfillment centers process bulk quantities. An entire pallet can consist of a single SKU that can be picked in one spot at one time. In contrast, a B2C fulfillment center works with smaller individual orders, where pickers may need to handle hundreds of units that are stored from one end of the warehouse to another.

Top B2C fulfillment centers understand that accurate forecasting is the key to proper staffing. They will work with retail partners to determine projections based on seasonality and other factors, then plan labor needs accordingly.

  1. Streamlined Process

Working with smaller orders also increases the possibility of errors, while at the same time magnifying their effect. If a B2B fulfillment center ships the wrong product to a retailer, they can refuse the item or even decide to keep it. When a consumer receives the wrong order, the retailer must make good on it, whether through a refund or replacement, which is inconvenient for both sides.

B2C fulfillment involves more detailed and repetitive tasks that require consistency and accuracy. Many B2C fulfillment centers are using robots and other high-tech tools to automate certain steps. Regardless of how the tasks are being accomplished, they call for a higher level of quality checks and documentation than might be found in a B2B fulfillment warehouse.

  1. Quick Delivery

When receiving shipments, traditional vendors rely on the predictability of set schedules. Vendor A has a 21-day lead time with a 50-pallet minimum, and so on. This allows them to plan their inventory around a specific set of conditions.

On the other hand, eCommerce retailers are working with orders directly from consumers. Each one is different, and customers are conditioned to expect rapid delivery in two days or less. B2C fulfillment centers cannot afford to work with long lead times, so they need to have inventory at the ready in close proximity to the seller’s customers.

  1. Customization

Orders processed by B2B fulfillment centers tend to be basic, revolving around a limited number of individual items. B2C fulfillment centers are often dealing with more complex orders that involve smaller quantities of products in different configurations. For example, an eCommerce vendor may sell pre-packaged assortments or “kits” built around a theme or purpose.

When orders follow a predictable pattern, it is easy to set a structure for filling them, but equally easy for that structure to be disrupted by the slightest deviation. B2C fulfillment centers use batching, inventory control and other methods to create a system that is flexible enough to accommodate a wide range of orders and efficient enough to process them accurately.

  1. Ability to Scale

If you are an eCommerce retailer, you have to look further down the road than today’s orders. You have an eye toward future growth, with a detailed plan at what the next three to five years will look like in service of that growth. Partnering with a B2C fulfillment warehouse that understands and supports this process will be invaluable.

Your #1 Choice for a B2C Fulfillment Warehouse

Let Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics be a part of your present and future. Contact us to learn more about our B2C solutions, including our Amazon replenishment warehousing service.

Tips to Build Ecommerce Sales in April

Logistics and supply chain management for online shopping concept : Fork-lift moves a box with a red shopping cart logo, 2 cartons on a laptop computer. The image depicting delivering goods or products in a store.

When it comes to ecommerce sales opportunities, April may seem to stretch out like a vast wasteland. The lucrative holiday season is a fading image in the rearview mirror, and people are scrambling to pay their income tax bills.

But this doesn’t mean you should simply coast along and hope for the best. April is the perfect time to try some creative strategies for boosting sales. Use these expert tips to keep your fulfillment warehouse pumping out orders through the month.

  1. Fine-Tune Your Email Marketing Strategy

Does your website make it easy for visitors to join your email list? Pop-ups, floating banners, and opt-in check boxes are all dynamic ways of encouraging customers to provide their email address. Be sure to use vibrant calls to action, such as “Get Started,” rather than the generic “Sign Up.”

Don’t treat your email list as a one-size-fits-all program. Ask customers questions, such as what type of promotions they like or how they heard about your shop. Use the information to segment your email list for personalized marketing that will build loyalty and repeat sales.

  1. Leverage the Power of “Scarcity”

There’s even an acronym for it these days: FOMO, or “fear of missing out.” No one likes to feel left out of something that they believe everyone else is enjoying. According to credit reporting company Experian, creating a sense of urgency in promotional emails doubles the transaction rate of regular marketing emails.

Limited time offers, flash sales and countdown timers are all ways to generate excitement. But don’t stop there. Direct the momentum by providing clear, easy-to-follow instructions on what steps customers should take to capitalize on the offers.

  1. Build Brand Awareness

How often do you monitor Facebook, Instagram and your other social media platforms? Do you use Google Alerts and other tools to follow your mentions? Your brand is your identity. Make sure people are receiving the image you want to project. If you find any discrepancies, use the information to tweak your marketing methods.

  1. Review Data Analysis

When your goals are vague and unfocused, it’s difficult to create a plan of action. Goals should always be measurable so you can track your progress and stay motivated. Reviewing data on a regular basis lets you see where you stand and make any necessary course corrections.

  1. Know Your Audience

Who is your target audience? No matter how carefully crafted your marketing program is, it won’t matter if it’s focused in the wrong direction. Google and Facebook have useful tools that reveal information about your website traffic, such as how people are finding your site and where they’re located.

Buyer personas offer a detailed picture of your target customers. Put yourself in their shoes. What are their pain points? What motivates them? Where do they congregate online? The more specific you can make these personas, the better equipped you are to find and reach your audience.

  1. Improve Customer Service

With the sales journey taking place digitally, customer service becomes even more important than ever. Software company Zendesk conducted a survey that revealed 84 percent of respondents use customer service as a deciding factor on whether or not to buy.

Customer service can be the element that sets you apart from your competitors. Give your customers plenty of options to contact you and then provide prompt follow-up.

Is Your Fulfillment Warehouse Helping or Hurting You?

Don’t let supply chain and logistics issues distract you from growing your sales. Contact Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics to learn about our cost-effective, scalable fulfillment warehouse services.

Tips for Handling Shipping Delays While Building New Opportunities

Keep Your Customers Happy with Transparency on Shipping Delays

Just as customers had come to expect lightning-fast shipping from your online store, along came the pandemic and all bets were off. Supply chain snafus created a trickle-down effect that caused delays on inbound and outbound shipping.

Are you resigned to riding out the storm, hoping that things get better soon? Take a proactive approach and use these helpful tips to turn shipping problems into opportunities for growing your business.

1. Be fully transparent.

In the interest of closing sales, it can be tempting to make vague promises about quick shipping. Some sellers take the attitude that once a sale is final, the customer will just have to accept the shipping time, no matter how long it takes.

This position may help to pick up a few sales, but you’ll lose far more in terms of repeat business. If you’re up front about estimated shipping times and offer prompt communication about delays, customers will appreciate the honesty.

2. Build a strong relationship with suppliers.

When you’re an online retailer, communication flows both ways. It’s just as important to maintain frequent contact with suppliers as with customers. The more information you have about product and parts availability and supplier shipping issues, the better equipped you are to give your customers realistic delivery windows.

Help your suppliers by providing accurate projections of inventory requirements and timelines. They’ll appreciate the effort to make their job easier and consider you to be more of a partner, which can pay dividends in a long-term relationship.

3. Be accessible.

Ghosting has become an acceptable way to deal with personal relationships, but this practice of disappearing with no notice has no place in the business world. Clearly define the methods customers can use to reach you, whether it’s email, phone, chat, or a combination. Few things will set people off on the social media warpath like a business that is unresponsive or, maybe worse, sends customer down the voicemail rabbit hole.

4. Offer free shipping.

Have you resisted jumping on the free shipping bandwagon? Yes, it can be difficult getting past the idea of giving up precious profit margins. But free shipping can offset the perceived drawback of shipping delays, tipping the scales in your favor. Consider the fact that, according to a UPS survey, four out of five shoppers rate shipping costs as a significant factor driving their decision to purchase.

This doesn’t mean you have to adopt a blanket free-shipping policy. Tie it in to promotions and incentives to create additional excitement and urgency. For example, you might offer free shipping for ordering during a specific time period, or reaching a minimum order value. Build repeat business by making free shipping a perk in a customer loyalty program.

Are you just not in a position to offer free shipping on any level? Keep it in your back pocket as an option to satisfy customers who experience major shipping problems. Pay the shipping cost retroactively or offer discounts to cover the amount.

5. Partner with a fulfillment warehouse.

You may find that dealing with today’s heightened supply chain and logistics difficulties is taking valuable time away from the main focus of growing your business. Teaming up with a fulfillment warehouse lets you shift the heavy lifting to an experienced and capable company, leaving you free to concentrate on sales.

Scalable, Cost-Effective Fulfillment Warehouse Solutions

With more than 35 years of experience, Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics has the know-how to handle your needs through any fluctuations in the marketplace. Contact us today to learn more about our customized programs, including our Amazon replenishment warehousing service.

The Amazon Effect

Learn About the Amazon Effect

Considerations for eCommerce and Brick and Mortar Store Owners

In the increasingly crowded and competitive world of eCommerce, Amazon remains the gold standard. The impact of the online retailing behemoth has been so primal and far-reaching that marketing experts have coined a term for it: “Amazon Effect.”

As the leader in California fulfillment services, we work to stay on top of trends and innovations influencing the industry. Here’s what you need to know about the Amazon Effect and how it applies to your business.

Shifting Buyer Expectations

Amazon’s principal effect has come in the area of buyer expectations. Consumers are demanding a buyer’s journey be “frictionless and immediate,” and these expectations cut across the digital arena to goods and services purchased in brick-and-mortar locations.

These three benefits top the list of what retailers are expected to provide today:

• Free shipping, which is most prominently featured in Amazon’s Prime membership program. While shipping costs can be steep, Amazon has found that it’s paid off in powerful customer loyalty and add-on sales.

• Speedy turnaround time, where customers receive orders in days rather than weeks. Amazon Prime’s free shipping takes only two days, and same-day delivery is available in more than 10,000 locations.

• Easy access, with a variety of options for ordering and delivery. For example, Amazon offers delivery or pick-up for grocery orders and certain items are eligible for subscriptions where orders are entered and delivered automatically.

Generational Differences and the Millennial Mindset

Not surprisingly, younger consumers who have spent their entire lives with technology are more demanding when it comes to eCommerce fulfillment and delivery. A survey of online shoppers in the U.S., Canada and U.K. found that less than 50 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 were fully satisfied with their orders.

Other studies have uncovered the “Millennial Mindset,” which Amazon has embraced with great success. The Millennial Mindset is a group of six brand values that buyers from 18-34 rate highly in their shopping experience:

• Social Circle: Is a brand popular within a buyer’s circle of family and friends?

• Self: Does a brand generate an emotional connection?

• Innovative: Does a brand lead its field in creative advancements?

• Trusted: Does a brand have consumers’ best interests at heart?

• Purposeful: Does a brand contribute to the greater good?

• Accessible: Is a brand easily assimilated into a buyer’s lifestyle?

While this mindset originated with Millennials, it’s having a ripple effect through other generations. At this point, Generation X has adopted the mindset nearly as completely as Millennials have.

Countering the Amazon Effect in Brick-and-Mortar Stores

• Use locations to complement eCommerce, not duplicate or compete with it.

• Engage high-tech solutions to track in-store behavior

• Leverage mobile apps with mPos, location-aware coupons and personalized service.

California Fulfillment Services that Exceed Customer Expectations

Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics provides a comprehensive set of eCommerce services that scale to meet your specific needs. Contact us to learn more about why we should be your first choice in cost-effective and efficient California fulfillment services.