Google Ups Its Game in eCommerce with a New Deep Shopify Connection

As Amazon continues its quest to strong-arm eCommerce retailers into submission, another online giant has decided not to roll over. Google, which holds a commanding 90 percent of the search engine market, has joined forces with top eCommerce platform Shopify to challenge Amazon’s dominance.

Google Takes on Amazon

While Google has so far been only peripherally involved in online retailing, Amazon has been encroaching on Google Ads, which was the recipient of more than 50 percent of digital ad revenues in 2020. However, Amazon grew their own advertising market share from 13.3 percent to 19 percent during the same time.

With more than half of online shopping excursions beginning at Amazon, advertising was a logical extension of their other services. Similarly, Google recognized the opportunity to leverage their own robust ad business into providing an alternative for small and mid-sized eCommerce retailers who feel stifled by the lack of options.

The Changing Focus at Google

The new venture is the brainchild of Bill Ready, who joined Google in January 2020 as the company’s President of Commerce and Payments. Ready had previously served as COO of PayPal and CEO of Venmo and Braintree.

Ready’s arrival at Google coincided with the onset of the unprecedented global pandemic, which in turn triggered a seismic leap in the already robust eCommerce industry. Shortly thereafter, Ready took the first step in shifting Google’s strategy by offering online retailers free listings in Google Shopping.

So, what exactly is the new Google Shopping? What it’s not, according to Ready, is an eCommerce retailer or marketplace. In a blog post sent to Forbes in early May, Ready referred to it as a platform for consumers to discover a wide range of products across a spectrum of sellers, from national big-box stores to small independent retailers.

Days later came Google’s I/O Developer conference, during which Ready officially announced the company’s partnership with Shopify. He expounded on his vision of the venture as part of an overall plan to “democratize” eCommerce with a “free and open” system for consumers and retailers alike.

Why Google Shopping?

Here’s a look at what to expect from Google Shopping now and in the future:

• With just a few clicks, merchants in Shopify’s network of 1.7 million+ retailers can install the platform’s Google channel to auto sync their inventory. They can also link a new or existing Google Ads account, and the free listings policy will continue.

• Shopify sellers can feature their products on heavily trafficked Google platforms, including Maps, Images, Search, Lens and YouTube. More than 1 billion “shopping journeys” occur on these platforms daily, making them fertile sites for new customers.

• Google’s powerful access to comprehensive sets of data will power Shopping Graph, an AI-generated model that makes connections between products, sellers and brands. In an example of this synergy, when a shopper views images of products in Photos, it will trigger a suggestion to search for places to buy the items via Lens.

• Amazon isn’t the only online presence in Google’s crosshairs. The company is testing a program that allows YouTube users to shop for products they discover through their favorite content creators. This is in response to the growing presence of TikTok and Facebook in the eCommerce arena.

Coast-to-Coast Fulfillment Services to Fit Your Needs

How do you set yourself apart in the competitive eCommerce field? Sophisticated shoppers insist on exceptional service, rapid delivery, and complete responsiveness. Let Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics handle your storage and shipping needs while you focus on growing your business.

Our scalable, cost-effective solutions include our Amazon replenishment program. Contact us today to learn more.

Beyond Amazon, the Power of E-commerce Marketplace Diversification

Grow Your Business by Thinking of More Resources than Amazon

Plenty of businesses use Amazon as their primary online marketplace. But many observe the old adage and don’t put all of their eggs in one basket. Diversification is a successful e-commerce strategy that allows your business to reach more customers in more places.

Our clients use a variety of marketplaces to expand their businesses. These are some of our favorites. Sprocket Express and Medallion Fulfillment integrate with all of these markets quickly and efficiently so that you can ship all of your orders using one easy fulfillment interface.

eBay

This year marks eBay’s 25th anniversary as an online marketplace. It was one of the first and continues to function as a major selling platform. Although Amazon has risen to number one with roughly three times the annual gross merchandise volume (GMV), eBay is still the second leading marketplace in the U.S.

Similar to Amazon, an e-commerce eBay “shop” allows retailers a single branded storefront for all of their listings. Whether used in conjunction with a brand website or as the primary online presence, the eBay shop is a powerful selling tool.

Sprocket and Medallion Fulfillment are fluent in multiple e-commerce marketplaces and already integrates with eBay for a seamless experience, allowing multi-channel merchants to focus on their products and leave the marketplace protocols to us.

Walmart.com

Walmart is the third largest e-commerce marketplace in the United States and represents serious competition to Amazon. Approximately 95% of Americans have shopped at Walmart or Walmart.com in the past year, so this is a massive audience and it continues to grow.

It is easy to start selling on Walmart with these seven steps. Marketplace items appear in search results on Walmart.com alongside other items.

Shopify

Shopify is an e-commerce platform designed to allow clients to easily build a website with a shopping cart solution. As one of the most popular e-commerce cart packages, this software option is a powerful online selling tool.

For businesses who prefer to sell mainly on their own websites, Shopify is an ideal choice. You can also use the platform to build your own marketplace for your brand. Look for a fulfillment service like Sprocket Express a division of  Medallion Fulfillment, which is already integrated and ready to connect to your site in fifteen minutes.

Rakuten.com Shopping

Buy.com (recently named Rakuten.com Shopping) is one of the largest online retail marketplaces with over 20 million customers in the U.S. On this platform, e-commerce sellers can create their own fully branded “storefront” to maintain cohesive brand identity.

As an added bonus, Rakuten clients have access to an e-commerce consultant to advise sellers on ways to expand exposure and increase sales. Customers of the marketplace also earn cash back, which promotes loyalty to the platform and encourages repeat business.

Retail EDI

Companies that sell to wholesale customers to supply their retail stores often use Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to transmit orders. This is the most efficient way to resupply because the system does all of the work behind the scenes and all the store has to do is enter the quantity of an item to trigger the order.

EDI is a powerful strategy for B2B sellers and can trim time and staff expenses, contributing to a healthier bottom-line and less error in the supply chain. Sprocket Express is equipped with full EDI capabilities to allow our wholesale clients to focus on expanding their businesses without devoting valuable time to processing large orders.

In Conclusion

Sprocket Express a division of Medallion Fulfillment is expressly designed to serve multichannel marketers and omnichannel sellers. With built-in integrations for numerous marketplaces, we are prepared to serve your business wherever and however you choose to sell.

We currently support multi-channel platforms for over 25% of our clients, so we can also coach on carrier selection, shipping method strategies and more, based on your unique business needs.

Startups and New Businesses Have Special Financial Needs, How to Plan for Success

Important News and Reminders for January

For many new entrepreneurs, managing finances is one of the more intimidating aspects of a startup business. Ensuring that funding, expenses and other financial elements are controlled from the beginning prevents minor issues from snowballing into major problems.

The good news is that financial management is not as difficult as you might think. Our fulfillment warehouse has been part of several successful startups, so we’re offering these expert tips to get your fledgling business rolling with solid financial planning.

Manage Expenses

In the beginning, expenses can be a huge drain on cash flow during the time you need it the most. Fortunately, most costs can be reasonably estimated ahead of time. Create a year-long budget covering rent, wages, materials, taxes and other fixed expenses and focus on keeping them as low as possible.

Avoid Commingling Funds

As the owner, you may feel all funds are ultimately yours so the line between personal and business finances becomes blurred. When you keep both sides completely separate, it’s much easier to track business finances and prevent personal spending from draining the company account. You should also formally pay yourself a salary rather than simply dip into company funds.

Keep Detailed and Accurate Records

When it comes to judging your company’s performance, you can’t afford to rely on gut feelings or instinct. Make sure an experienced accountant, either in-house or outside, is keeping track of revenue and expenses. Review financial statements regularly and make adjustments based on a clear, overall picture.

Don’t Overdo It

You may feel compelled to take on as many roles as you can to save money, but that strategy can actually be counterproductive. Learning unfamiliar skills on the fly can end up costing more time and money than hiring an experienced person in the first place. Delegating work frees you up to focus on your passion and grow the business.

Learn to Negotiate

Don’t take vendor terms at face value. You’ll be surprised at how often suppliers are willing to make concessions to gain your business. Prepare a game plan ahead of time so you know what your goals are. Remember that it never hurts to ask!

Invest in Technology

Business technology has become so advanced and so widely integrated that your company will be at a serious disadvantage from day one without it. Any investment you make in technology will pay for itself in money and time savings.

Establish an Emergency Fund

Financial experts recommend that people maintain an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses, and a company is no different. Put aside a percentage of income during peak times to help tide you through the slow periods.

Fulfillment Warehouse Services That Grow Along with You

Are you struggling with adjustments as your business expands? Our fulfillment warehouse services can be tailored to meet you specific needs today and scale to accommodate future requirements. Contact us at Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics to learn more about why we are the first choice for one-stop warehousing, inventory control and order processing services.

New Important Updates for January

Important News and Reminders for January

Here are a few links to help you understand some of the big changes that have already taken effect and could impact your bottom line. 

NOW through January 24th, USPS Rates have DECREASED to 2020 Rates

  • Temporary Rate Increase has EXPIRED
  • First Class Shipments reduced $0.25
  • Priority Mail Shipments Reduced $0.40
  • NEW 2021 Rates Take effect January 24th and can be downloaded here https://pe.usps.com/PriceChange/Index

UPS 2021 increase started on December 27th

UPS Announces 2021 General Rate Increase – ParcelIndustry.com

FedEx 2021 increase starts January 4th

FedEx 2021 General Rate Increase – ParcelIndustry.com

The cost of shipping is an unforgiving part of the new normal. Managing your shipping costs has never been more crucial to your success.

Value Added Tax (VAT) Must Be Collected Starting January 1st for the UK

Effective Jan 1, 2021, Value Added Tax (VAT) must be collected for all goods
entering the United Kingdom (UK).

There will be a 20% VAT rate on goods valued up to £135 (about $180 USD), which you must collect unless your online marketplace (e.g. eBay, Amazon, Etsy, etc.) is already collecting it. Current procedures for goods valued over £135 remain the same.

To prevent your UK shipments from being delayed, held, or returned by UK Customs in 2021, please consider the following steps:

1. Register for a VAT number with the UK: https://www.gov.uk/vat-registration
2. Collect VAT at the time of purchase.
3. Make quarterly VAT return payments to the UK.

In addition, you should include your VAT number on your customs declarations.
This process will vary depending on your shipping software, so be on the
lookout for instructions early next year.

California and Massachusetts Fulfillment Services that Exceed Customer Expectations

Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics and Sprocket Express provide 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 and Massachusetts fulfillment services.

Tips for Turning Instagram into a Sales Generating Machine for your Store

Medallion Fulfillment - a Fulfillment Company

So you’ve optimized your website content and you regularly engage with followers on Facebook and Twitter. If that’s the extent of your social media campaign, you’re ignoring a dynamic platform that can be a valuable tool in your online arsenal.

Instagram is more than just a place to post pictures of artfully arranged food. With approximately 800 million active monthly users, Instagram provides a great platform for you to connect with prospective customers.

Among the top 100 brands worldwide, 90 percent have an Instagram account, yet the business world has barely scratched the surface of the platform’s potential. Follow these tips from Instagram marketing experts to get orders flowing through your fulfillment warehouse.

Follow the Leader

Why spend time trying to reinvent the wheel? Large companies such as eBay and Amazon have the time and resources to research the impact of hashtags, relationship between text and image and other elements that make up effective Instagram posts. Study their accounts carefully and apply their methods.

Tell an Intriguing “Story”

Instagram Stories is a feature that lets you post a set of videos and still images in a slideshow format. Each Story stays online for a period of 24 hours, making it a perfect vehicle to tease promotions, new items and any other information you want to highlight.

Team Up with Influencers

Influence is a valuable commodity in marketing, and Instagram Influencers can help you exponentially expand your reach. Influencers are Instagram users who have established a reputation of expertise and trustworthiness in a particular area or niche.

Not sure where to start? Tomoson is a digital marketing platform with a searchable database of more than 50,000 Influencers that can be filtered by demographics, total reach and other criteria.

Walk in Your Customers’ Shoes

As with any social media marketing, an Instagram campaign requires careful planning and curation to achieve the desired results. When posting content to your Instagram feed, take a step back and view it as a customer would. Are the images and text projecting the image you want to cultivate?

Think Quality, not Quantity

Instagram marketing isn’t just a numbers game. You want to develop a base of followers who are truly interested in your brand and what you have to say. Instead of putting your Instagram feed on autopilot; focus on ways to connect with quality followers:

• Look for users via hashtags that correlate with your business and follow them first.

• Downplay blatant self-promotion in favor of engagement-based content, such as asking users to share photos based on a certain theme and marked with a hashtag.

• Create an emotional connection through posts about volunteer work or other personal passions.

Fulfillment Warehouse Services for Your Unique Success “Story”

Follow through on your Instagram campaign with impeccable customer service. Let our scalable fulfillment warehouse services provide a seamless customer experience, from ordering through delivery.

Contact us today and learn how Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics can handle your fulfillment warehouse needs, leaving you free for the important business of growing your sales.