Should You Drop the Prices of Items Potential Customers Left Sitting in Your Shopping Cart?

History of eCommerce

Online marketing is aimed at leading a customer to complete the sales cycle by making a purchase that goes to your fulfillment warehouse for processing. Fourth quarter 2017 reports show that more than three-quarters of shopping carts are abandoned before check-out,leaving a number of opportunities for conversion.

Many of these shopping carts are abandoned because the user is simply at the browsing stage. What can you do to improve the closing rates of customers who ultimately change their mind about a purchase? One strategy that’s caused some debate in the online marketplace is the idea of dropping the prices of items left sitting in a shopping cart.

Solving the Riddle of Abandoned Shopping Carts

The number one reason given by customers for abandoning shopping carts is that the additional costs, such as shipping and sales tax, were too high. It stands to reason that lowering the actual price of the item would offset the other charges and make the purchase more attractive.

Some larger companies have used a method in which abandoned items are added to a customer’s wish list. On future visits, the consumer is notified if the price of that item has gone down.

eBay: One Company’s Experience

Last month, eBay sent a letter to their sellers encouraging them to reduce the price of items left behind in online carts in an effort to close the sale. Not surprisingly, the missive generated some strong reactions on both sides of the issue.

Interestingly, one eBay seller took the opposite strategy and raised the price on abandoned items on the basis that the shopper evidently had interest. The seller reports that out of four such items, two actually sold at the higher price.

Will Customers Game the System?

The biggest objection to lowering the price on abandoned items is that customers will catch on quickly and start deliberately leaving carts behind to trigger a price reduction. Online forums show that shoppers are discussing the issue and comparing experiences to get a sense of retailer strategies.

Tips for Closing the Sale

Instead of viewing abandoned shopping carts as a problem, consider them valuable feedback to help refine your sales funnel.

• State shipping policies up front. As previously noted, the cost of shipping and additional fees is the primary reason behind shopping cart abandonment. You may want to consider flat-rate or free shipping and absorb the difference into your selling prices.

• Make sure your checkout process is as uncomplicated as possible. Studies show that seven fields is the optimum number.

• If your site isn’t already optimized for mobile, do it now.

• Use a persistent shopping cart for a seamless experience.

• Offer multiple payment options. Financial transactions have moved beyond credit cards. Include PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Wallet and other digital payment forms.

First-Rate Fulfillment Warehouse Service from Shopping Cart to Final Delivery

A great online shopping experience shouldn’t end once the customer hits “Place Order.” Contact us to learn why Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics should be your number one choice for quality e-commerce fulfillment warehouse services in the Los Angeles, California area and in the greater United States.

Machine Learning – What You Need to Know and Leverage for Your E-commerce Store

Machine Learning – What You Need to Know and Leverage for Your E-commerce Store

Your e-commerce store has access to more data than retail businesses have had at any time in the past. But the truth is that the most detailed set of data means nothing on its own. It’s the interpretation and use of that data that makes the difference.

Although machine learning is an emerging technology, many providers are already starting to prepare service offerings to allow you to use machine learning to your benefit. Google AdWords is leading the way with Smart Bidding and enhanced bidding algorithms to boost conversions. Expect to see more providers embrace machine learning to help you manage your business more effectively this year.

Machine learning is a powerful tool that processes data far more efficiently than you or your employees could on your own, but you need to prioritize applications for maximum effectiveness.

Which of these technologies would have the greatest impact on your e-commerce store and fulfillment warehouse?

Personalizing the Customer Experience

oday’s technology is amazing, but it hasn’t reached the point of allowing you to provide virtual 3D salespeople for your customers. Without that personal contact, you lose valuable input from body language and other visual cues.

Machine learning can help you recapture that advantage by using data to create customer segments. This lets you target your approach based on specific factors that drive the buying decision for each segment.

Search Engine Ranking

It’s a basic concept: before your prospects can buy from you, they have to find you. How do you get your name out in front of customers before those of your competitors? Machine learning drills down beyond keywords into the nuts and bolts of searches that end with purchases. Google AdWords clients can use Google’s machine learning to provide ad exposure based on demographics and potential actions to improve visits and conversions.

Pricing

The downside of e-commerce is that customers can comparison shop from the comfort of their own home. With machine learning, you can set pricing that’s sensitive to a number of vital factors including competitors’ prices, type of customer and even time of day. Check with your shopping cart software to see how they will be implementing machine learning to assist you in being price sensitive.

Fraud Detection and Prevention

E-commerce companies are more vulnerable to fraud than brick-and-mortar stores are, and the negative effects can remain long after the transactions. Manual safeguards are inadequate, but machine learning can rapidly “spot” potential problems.

Customer Support

How do you maintain effective customer support at scale? The answer lies in machine learning technology such as chatbots, which give your customers the freedom of self-service combined with a high level of support.

Accurate Supply and Demand Prediction

Supply and demand forecasting has long been a staple of retail operations, but machine learning can perform this process with a greater degree of precision thanks to its ability to make discoveries and connections that are beyond the scope of humans.

Product Recommendations

Product recommendations are the best way to generate add-on and repeat sales. But where employees are limited to their own knowledge, machine learning technology can infinitely process and cross-reference buying behavior to discover previously unseen trends.

Elite Fulfillment Warehouse Services for Your E-commerce Business

Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics provides scalable services that grow with your business over time. With advanced technology tools that interface with most major shopping carts, Medallion makes it easy to manage your store at scale.

Is your e-commerce company prepared to handle order-filling and logistics for your growing sales? Contact Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics to learn how our fulfillment warehouse services provide scalable services that accommodate the specific needs of your business.

How Your e-Commerce Store Can Effectively Compete with Amazon

How Your e-Commerce Store Can Effectively Compete with Amazon

When it comes to e-Commerce and fulfillment warehouse operations, does it seem like all digital roads lead to Amazon? On its face, Amazon’s infrastructure can be intimidating, and few companies have the financial resources to afford losing money, as Amazon does with its free delivery.

This doesn’t mean your e-Commerce store has to raise the white flag. You might not be able to beat Amazon at its own game, but there’s still room for you to stake your place in the e-Commerce market.

Here are some expert tips for claiming your own share of the digital marketplace.

1. Find Your Sweet Spot

Amazon may try to be all things to all people, but that doesn’t mean they’re successful at all of them. Find the area where you’re better than they are and concentrate your efforts on dominating that segment.

2. Be Proactive with Shipping

If you offer free shipping or other perks simply as a response to Amazon and other companies, it comes off as an attempt to follow the crowd rather than truly satisfy customers. Find out what your target market expects from shipping and deliver an experience beyond that.

3. Offer a Subscription Service

Making a sale is just part of the job. Repeat customers are your bread and butter. Create a subscription service, whether it’s for recurring product shipments or an annual program like Amazon Prime. Subscription services keep your customers engaged and help to establish ongoing relationships.

4. Make Technology Your Friend

Convenience is the major benefit of online shopping. Consumers don’t have to leave their home (or even their pajamas) to purchase anything – from groceries to furniture. Make sure you’re taking advantage of the full power of technology to offer a level of convenience that keeps customers coming back time and time again.

5. Build Your Brand

Customers love Amazon for many reasons, but a personal connection is not one of them. Amazon’s brand may stand for features such as price, selection and shipping, but those qualities don’t resonate emotionally with consumers. Identify what makes your company unique and use it in all your marketing.

6. It’s All About Customer Service

Studies show that two-thirds of customers who leave a company do so because they don’t believe the company cares about them. Customer service is one area where Amazon’s size puts them at a disadvantage. Put yourself above them and the rest of your competition by proving superior customer service with a personal touch.

Medallion: Your Amazon Fulfillment Alternative That Gives You Back Control

If you are already selling on Amazon or are considering selling on Amazon, make sure to ask us how Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics can be your own personal “Amazon-Like Warehouse”.

We can ship your products to replenish Amazon stock levels and allow you to continue to sell on your own website. It is important to know that when you use Amazon as your fulfillment resource, Amazon does not share customer email addresses with you. The customers remain customers of Amazon. This action prevents you, and other small niche businesses, from getting repeat sales and from marketing to your own customers; impacting repeat business. This is particularly important for sellers of consumables who would love to establish a long and fruitful relationship with clients.

Having an account with Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics and Amazon can be a win/win proposition. Medallion’s warehouse storage fees are considerably less than those that Amazon will charge and you get access to your own customer information.

Growing your sales requires full concentration. Let our Los Angeles-based California fulfillment warehouse handle your order processing and shipping needs, including cross-docking, credit card processing and telephone customer support.

Contact Medallion to learn more about our fulfillment warehouse services and how they can be customized to fit your needs.

Switch Fulfillment Houses Smoothly

How to Switch to Medallion Fulfillment Warehouse Smoothly

This article focuses on the issues and steps involved in moving your fulfillment operation. You may be starting from the point where you’ve outgrown your in-house capabilities or have chosen to move your operation from one fulfillment provider to another.

In either case, what’s at stake is the ability of your business to meet its delivery commitments to customers, and we don’t have to tell you what an interruption in service can mean to your company.

Unfortunately, transition planning isn’t a cookie cutter process. Each company has some unique requirements and special relationships with fulfillment providers and/or suppliers.

What follows are some points to consider before, during and after the transition.

Understanding the Logistics Profile

Both you and your new fulfillment company should have planning sessions so that your fulfillment company both understands your requirements and understands how to support those requirements through their operations processes.

Expect that your fulfillment company will have some different approaches in handling fulfillment than that which you are used to. Here are some points to discuss to help understand those differences:

  • Service levels required
  • Sources of inventory and replenishment lead times
  • Special product handling requirements
    • Environmental requirements
    • Fragile, liquid, hazmat
    • Weights and dimensions
    • Lot or serial number control
    • Subscription handling
  • Channel support
    • Eg. Selling on multiple channels – Amazon, Ebay etc.
    • Big box selling (EDI and routing guides)
    • Small box retail (invoicing and pre-stickering)
    • Controlling inventory availability across channels
  • The more obvious discussions
    • Order volumes, line item volumes
    • # of SKU’s and SKU churn
    • Who will handle customer service and returns
    • Packaging and assembly requirements
    • International shipping

Make sure that your requirements are understood and that you understand how your new fulfillment company will handle those requirements.

Systems Integration

Before transitioning any product into the new warehouse, you need to be certain that your systems and those of your fulfillment partner can communicate flawlessly. At the very least, you should be able to connect your ERP and/or shopping cart to your fulfillment provider’s system in order to be able to send orders and ASN’s.

You should also test the capability of sending acknowledgement information back into your operations – example; inventory status, tracking information and receipts. You should become familiar with your fulfillment company’s reporting capabilities and be certain that they meet your analytical requirements.

Your product database should be established on your fulfillment provider’s systems, and an audit conducted to make sure that the SKU’s are in sync and key product information has been passed. Having a methodology for adding and deleting SKU’s is also important.

Shipping strategy should also be discussed and incorporated into your fulfillment partner’s systems. The strategy should include what carriers will be used under what circumstances. What are the strategies for ground, 2-3 day, overnight and international shipments?

When you are very certain that your systems are properly integrated and your requirements understood it’s now time to start the transition.

Communication

At the risk of stating the obvious, it’s important to communicate the new warehouse location and cut over dates to your customers, carriers, vendors and suppliers.

Location Mapping

When practical, if the receiving warehouse can map the locations for incoming stock in advance, a good deal of time can be saved in the initial receiving and put-away process.

Moving Day

A helpful technique in moving product is to move half of the product to the new location while continuing to ship from the old location, once that process is complete, cut over to the new location for shipping and subsequently move the remaining stock.

This 2-stage movement of product will give you a level of insurance in case some key aspect of the transition has a glitch. Once shipping is successful in the new location, the remaining stock can be transitioned.

Date sensitive stock may present some complications depending on the speed at which the stock is moving and the lot size. If it can be done, we suggest using the same strategy of splitting stock by expiration date.

A good transition starts with first contact with Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics or with Sprocket Express. We work hard to make transitioning to our warehouses fast and easy. We look forward to help you experience an improvement in logistics and fulfillment warehouse performance.

Don’t Burn Up Profits Using Discounts & Specials

Don't Burn Money

Using discounts and specials to drive traffic to your site can be a double-edged sword. Used properly, such sales offers are a powerful tool for boosting conversions. Used haphazardly, however, they can eat-up profits and burn your brand. Effectively utilizing discounts and specials without damaging your brand takes a bit of finesse.

Step-1: Brand Strategy

Brand strategy is essential in choosing the best type of sales offer(s) for your biz. For brands boasting deep discounts and healthy margins, daily or weekly sales may be better for boosting sales. Higher-end brands with slimmer margins, however, do better with customer loyalty-type offers. (This prevents driving in non-loyal/price-driven shoppers.)

Step-2: Selecting a Discount-Type

Popular options include:

  • Percentage off.
    Most common with sub-$100 sales, these range from overall, small 5-20% discounts to larger 50%+ single-item liquidations.
  • Dollar value discounts.
    Most commonly used with sales over $100, pair these with a minimum purchase.
  • Free shipping with minimum purchase.
    Shipping is the #1 reason for cart abandonment!
  • Free gift.
    A great incentive – and a way to rid product that’s not moving.

Step-3: Determining Timing

  • Go weekly or monthly to drive sales and help meet revenue goals.
  • Use pre launch offers to drive traffic and boost interest in new items/businesses.
  • Take advantage of holidays and seasonal milestones to stretch revenue.

Step-4: Converting Missed Opportunities

Sales offers can also help you nab looky loos.

  • Abandoned cart emails bearing free shipping/discount offers are a powerful conversion tool.
  • Social, email, & newsletter subscriptions offers help you broaden your customer base.
  • “Like”, “follow”, “share” & other referral promos are a wonderful way to widen word-of-mouth.
  • First-time shopper offers are a great nudge.
  • Customer loyalty offers keep shoppers coming back for more.

Struggling to keep up with packaging and shipping needs after using discounts and specials? Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics can help. Contact us today.