Tips to Moving One-time Shoppers into Lifetime Buyers

California and Massachusetts Fulfillment Services

Year-end holiday sales have traditionally made up at least 20 percent of a retailer’s annual total. Thanks to a strong labor market and a high level of consumer confidence, international business consulting firm Deloitte is predicting a 3.6 to 4 percent increase in holiday spending for 2016.

Now for the bad news: holiday customers shop with you primarily out of convenience, rather than a strong affinity for your brand. While they have a solid impact on overall business, they rarely translate to repeat customers.

Three Ways to Convert One-time Shoppers to Lifetime Buyers

It costs far more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. Here are some tips to keep those lucrative seasonal customers coming back for more.

1. Educate Them

Yes, consumers like to save money, but your brand and its message are what earn their loyalty. Instead of bombarding new customers with come-on’s offering discounts and promotions, follow up with a welcoming email explaining who you are and how your company can solve their problems with your products or services.

2. Add a Personal Touch

With the increasing amount of competition in the marketplace, your company has to stand out above the others to gain sales. Offering superior customer service is a great way to set you apart. Using a proactive approach to address customer questions and concerns demonstrates that you consider them to be more than a faceless seasonal transaction. For many sites chat functions for immediate interaction is a great way to add a personal touch.

3. Retarget One-Time Customers

Converting seasonal customers means getting them to think of your company as a year-round solution to their needs. Social media lets you target specific audiences with information such as new products, coupons and even “non-ads” thanking customers or asking for feedback.

Focus on Marketing and Let Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics Handle the Rest

Sales and marketing is a full-time job and should have your focus to help your business grow. Leave the ordering, warehousing, packing and shipping to us. We have more than 25 years of experience in providing professional and cost-effective fulfillment services so you can concentrate on growing your business. Contact us today for more information.

How to Take Product Photos for Your Store Like a Pro But on the Cheap

As online shopping continues to grow market share, the sense of touch has been removed from the buying process, making visual appeal more important than ever. According to ecommerce consultant BigCommerce, two-thirds of consumers rate image quality as “very important” when it comes to online purchases.

Before you rush out and hire a pricey photographer, check out these great tips for cost-effective and professional-looking DIY photos.

1. Technique Is More Important than Equipment

Don’t let anyone talk you into dropping hundreds or thousands of dollars on a state-of-the-art camera. If you can afford it, then by all means, but modestly priced cameras and even smart phones are capable of producing high-quality photos. Decisions such as lighting, staging and processing play a more significant role.

2. Create Your “Studio”

• Set up a table as close to a window as possible without getting into the shadow cast by the windowsill.

• Use poster board or mats to create a generic white background, “sweeping” it from the horizontal tabletop to the vertical wall to provide a seamless look.

• You’ll need at least two lights. Clamp-style is preferable as they stay in place but can be easily moved around. Make sure to use identical light bulbs with a cooler shade.

3. Include Action Shots When Appropriate

In many cases the white background will be sufficient, but some products have more appeal when shown in use. For instance, a picture of a person wearing sunglasses can be more attractive to potential customers.

4. Don’t Stop at One

Take a number of pictures of your product from a variety of sides and angles. Multiple views are the best way to overcome the two-dimensional aspect of online images.

5. Keep It RAW

For best results you should shoot in RAW format, which captures all of the visual data and gives you greater latitude in editing. In addition, changes don’t affect the original file so you won’t have to worry about losing data.

6. Evaluate and Adjust

After every session, review your work with a critical eye to see what worked and what didn’t, and then apply your findings to future photo shoots.

Ecommerce Fulfillment Services for the Busy Entrepreneur

Are inventory, order processing and logistics taking valuable time away from the business of driving sales? Contact Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics to learn more about our comprehensive ecommerce fulfillment services.

When Does it Make Sense for a Business to Use a Fulfillment House? When Should You Upgrade Services?

Fulfillment Warehouse Owner

Most ecommerce companies are surprised by how little third-party fulfillment costs, particularly when compared to how much they already spend to warehouse, package, and ship their own products.

Outsourcing order fulfillment is cost effective and allows you to switch variable costs to fixed costs. Gene Kent, President of Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics said, “Many times companies are surprised at the overall cost savings our services have supplied when they review their bottom-line after the first six months. As we have heavily invested in technology, both in order processing and bar coding in our warehouse, we are able to process orders faster and cheaper than you can typically do yourself.”

When you compare the total cost of order fulfillment, i.e. maintaining a warehouse, lease payments, staff, benefits, unemployment taxes, insurance etc., to an order fulfillment provider’s fixed cost model, you quickly realize that making the switch saves money. Your business can save from 20 to 50 percent on current order fulfillment expenses.

Many businesses, who are using a fulfillment house already, forget that as they grow their business needs grow, and they should review their fulfillment agreement periodically in order to add additional work and time saving services. Existing office staff may need to outsource an additional portion of the paperwork that is part of the supply chain process or move to automation for ordering in order to be efficient and handle the increase in sales volume.

Our office staff can help your business office operate more efficiently by taking on the tasks that are closely aligned with the order and shipping functions of your business.

Minimizing Errors Saves Money

A high quality order fulfillment company satisfies customers which lead to repeat business. “Our warehouse bar coding system eliminates problems. When customer merchandise is received in our warehouse it is immediately bar coded and entered into inventory. Handheld scanners are used by our packers and your inventory is tracked all the way to order shipping. We are using one of the most technologically advanced order and inventory management systems allowing business owners to review stock and order statuses of items on our system 24/7 from anywhere in the world just by using the Internet.” said Gene Kent.

Looking to Expand Your Reach?

Looking to expand beyond your current sales base? Fulfillment houses are ideal for companies seeking to sell products overseas because they have the expertise to ensure your products arrive on time and safely. If you’re seeking to expand your company’s customer base by providing customers more alternatives for ordering products and paying, don’t increase your overhead, outsource the fulfillment process.

Wholesale Orders or Business to Business Orders

Our warehouse.As your company expands, a fulfillment company can handle your wholesale or B2B orders. Wholesale orders from large retail chains, catalogs and other mass merchants have different demands than business-to-consumer orders. The penalty for noncompliance with an order from a chain of retail stores for even something trivial, can be costly.

Fulfillment houses routinely work with wholesale orders and can develop order processing checklists for your account to assure that your orders are completed based on the requirements of the wholesaler; saving you costly charge backs.

Huge, Sudden Increase in Orders

If you’re considering adding new distribution channels or initiating major new promotions, be prepared for potentially thousands of new orders overnight. A huge increase in orders may overwhelm your back-end system; delaying shipments which leads to unhappy customers. An experienced fulfillment company knows how to properly take care of a large increase in orders. A fulfillment house allows you to ramp up very quickly without increasing your overhead.

If your company has a difficult time maintaining a balance between inventory supply and demand, a knowledgeable order fulfillment company can make a huge difference.

Foreign Companies Selling in the U.S.

Businesses based outside of the United States, partnering with a fulfillment service save time and money because they don’t need a warehouse, office and a staff in the United States; they can focus on obtaining new customers.

The Real Advantages of Partnering with a Fulfillment Service:

  • They know how to handle opportunities and problems which may occur as your business expands.
  • Only pay for fulfillment services when you generate sales.
  • Reduce fixed cost overhead.
  • No need to obtain a larger facility to store products when the business expands.
  • Bulk shipping rates available to fulfillment companies; high shipping cost can break deals with clients.
  • They buy shipping materials in bulk at better rates.
  • An active fulfillment company stays current with the latest software and order processing technology.
  • If your business experiences low volume and high volume days, fulfillment firms eliminate the employee cost associated with the fluctuation.
  • You refine and improve your backdoor operations.

Many nationally known companies reap the benefits of partnering with a third party fulfillment center. Small, medium and large businesses can do the same. With 29 years as a fulfillment service provider, Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics understands your culture, brand, and products from a depth of real world experience.

Isn’t it time to find out how you can save time and money on order processing while you work on expanding your market and sales?

About the Writer Jan Stewart

Jan Stewart is a professional writer for Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics, a family owned Los Angeles based fulfillment firm. She writes exclusively for the Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics newsletter on topics of business tips, how to promote your business online, and establishing your brand in the marketplace.

Online Selling Tips for Promoting Your Products on Google Shopping

Learn About the Amazon Effect

With platforms dedicated to product feed and promotions, Google Shopping aims to simplify business for online merchants. The program is also tightly integrated with Shopify, a hugely popular e-commerce platform.

But don’t expect to set up Google Shopping and sit back while orders flow into your fulfillment warehouse. You’re at the mercy of Google Shopping’s control unless you take some proactive steps to optimize results.

Here are six expert tips for ways to get the most bang out of your Google Shopping buck and truly keep your fulfillment warehouse busy filling orders.

Optimize Your Website

• Are your product titles consistent with manufacturer listings?

• Does your own brand use titles with high search volume keywords?

• Is your page content unique, or do you simply copy-and-paste from other websites?

Add Negative Keywords

The word “negative” automatically sounds counterproductive, but this is an essential factor in your promotional strategy. When you enter negative keywords into Google Ads Shopping Campaigns, they keep your ad from showing for untargeted traffic you do not want.

Clicks without conversions do nothing but cost you money. Proper use of negative keywords helps assure that your ads will get in front of people who have a genuine interest in your product or service.

Segment Your Google Shopping Campaigns

Your products don’t all sell at the same rate, so why should they all get equal amounts of your promotional budget? If everything goes in the same bucket, it’s difficult to tell which items are the most profitable.

When you segment campaigns, you get more specific data that lets you compare the individual performance of different items. Suggested categories include:

• Price

• Brand

• Best sellers

• Seasonality

Bid Strategically for Activity

Cost per click, or CPC, is another factor that should not be cookie-cutter. A good rule of thumb is to divide the price of a product by its profit margin, then multiply that number by the standard conversion rate. (According to SmartInsights, average conversion rates are 3.73 percent for traditional devices and 1.14 percent for mobile devices.)

Make Sure to Adjust Bids for Mobile Devices

As noted in the previous tip, there’s a significant spread between conversion rates for desktop and mobile. Google Shopping does allow you to set separate bids for mobile so that your budget is concentrated in the area that’s most productive.

Understand as you set your bid, that sometimes the first clicks you get during a path to a sale may be on a mobile device and the conversion may be on a desktop. Bid down mobile too far and you may cut your conversion activity.

Set Up Remarketing Campaigns

Based on the average conversion rate, it’s clear that even the best campaigns capture only a minority of shoppers. What’s more, only two percent of those conversions are captured on the first visit! When visitors drop off, re targeting these visitors with a remarketing campaign keeps your message in front of those prospects for up to 30 days.

Medallion: Your Full-Service Fulfillment Warehouse

Just as online marketing campaigns are not one-size-fits-all, a great fulfillment warehouse should be able to accommodate your individual specifications.

At Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics, we consider ourselves a partner in your success. Our services are flexible enough to scale up or down to fit your requirements.

Contact us today to learn why Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics is the right solution for your fulfillment warehouse needs.

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.