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.

New 2022 Rates for USPS, UPS, and FedEX

USPS Vehicle in New York City

Shipping in 2022 just got a tad more expensive starting as early as January 9, 2022. The United States Postal Service (USPS), United Parcel Service (UPS), and FedEX have all announced new rates for 2022. We’ve summarized the highlights below and have linked to the various websites and announcements if you want to do a deep dive into package sizes and time sensitive shipping updates.

United States Postal Service (USPS)

Still awaiting final price approval, but scheduled to take effect on January 9, 2022, the USPS expects to raise prices about 3.1% for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express. See all the details at the USPS website.

Shipping for domestic Priority Mail Flat Rate packages will be also higher. See the summary table with the expected updates below.

Product Current Changed
Small Flat-Rate Box $8.45 $9.45
Medium Flat-Rate Box $15.50 $16.10
Large Flat-Rate Box $21.90 $16.10
APO/FPO Large Flat-Rate Box $20.40 $20.00
Regular Flat-Rate Envelope $7.95 $8.95
Legal Flat-Rate Envelope $8.25 $9.25
Padded Flat-Rate Envelope $8.55 $9.65

Although USPS published increase is an average of 3.1%, Shipware.com predicts that most shippers instead will see a rate increase of 5 to 8%.

“The announced average price change for Priority Mail is 3.1%, however, most shippers will realize a 4.9% increase (1-5 lbs), while ecommerce prices will increase an average of 6-8%.” Read the full article to check your impact.

United Parcel Service (UPS)

Bucking the trend UPS’ price rate increase takes effect just after the Christmas holiday on December 26, 2021. The rate increase will be one of the largest in UPS’ history. Expect a 5.9% average rate increase plus a hefty Fuel Surcharge.

Large package shippers will get hit again with a higher than average rate increase. Shipware.com say, “The large package surcharge will increase within a range of 8% to 16.7% and the additional handling charge for weight and dimensions will increase from 5.2% to 13.9% depending on zone.” Read the full article to check your impact.

For regular shippers the Fuel Surcharge is added to your weekly shipping statement. UPS describes the surcharge:

“UPS uses an index-based surcharge that is adjusted weekly. Changes to the surcharge will be effective on Monday of each week. The surcharge will be based on the National U.S. Average On Highway Diesel Fuel Price as reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) for the week that is two weeks prior to the adjustment, rounded to the nearest cent.”

The posted sample grid show a surcharge of 9.2% to 12.75% on the UPS website page for reference Your shipping may also be affected by Peak Surcharges for shipping into the US from overseas. View the table. Visit the Shipware.com website for a good summary of all the rate increases for UPS to get a high level overview.

FedEX

FedEx will increase shipping prices on January 3, 2022. A whopping 5.9% average increase is expected. with Fuel Surcharge increases to be factored in as well. This is the largest increase for FedEx in eight years. Most shippers will feel more than a 5.9% impact.

Additional information from the FedEx website show additional increases that will impact shipping costs in January.

• Effective Jan. 17, 2022, FedEx Freight will introduce a No Shipment Tendered surcharge that applies when a pickup is performed and no shipment is tendered to the carrier.

• Effective Jan. 17, 2022, the International Out-of-Delivery-Area Surcharge and International Out-of-Pickup-Area Surcharge rates will be determined based on the corresponding tier of the ZIP code, postal code, or city of the shipment’s origin and/or destination location for International Express Freight and Parcel services.

• Effective Jan. 17, 2022, a Delivery and Returns Surcharge will be assessed on packages that are delivered or returned using FedEx Ground Economy services.

• Effective Jan. 24, 2022, the Additional Handling Surcharge and Oversize Charge rates for U.S. Express Package Services and U.S. Ground Services will be determined based on the shipment’s zone”

You can read the full rate change notice on FedEx for more information. Or preview the rates now in a PDF from the FedEx website.

Shipware.com says this about the FedEx rate increase: “This is the first time since 2013 that the average parcel increase is greater than 4.9%.” For a high level summary of the new FedEX rates read the full article.

Rates May Change, But Medallion’s Customer-Focused Service Does Not

Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics knows that increases in shipping costs squeeze your bottom-line. You want to get value from the services you receive and keep your customers happy and loyal. Medallion understands this as your 3PL service provider.

Rest assured we do all we can do to keep our costs low and our prices affordable to boost your bottom-line.

An Important Note from Our Company President

Read and important note from our company president.

Dear Valued Partner,

As we enter the holiday shopping season it is important for all of us to recognize that the logistics business is under a lot of stress.

• Inbound stock is running behind schedule with many container ships still queued outside of L.A. and other major ports.

• Acquiring quality staffing and packaging supplies remain an issue.

• Last year our carriers sometimes restricted how many packages they would pick up per day.

Even though we are faced with these challenges, be assured we will continue to do our very best to process your incoming stock and outgoing orders in a timely manner.

However, due to the difficulties we face, we ask for your patience… especially if you are running sales that create order spikes.

Although we do not anticipate it, unforeseen spikes in our aggregate order traffic MAY lead to longer processing times and possible shipping delays if carriers enact volume restrictions.

As always we will work hard to process all orders quickly and efficiently.

We wish you all the best for the holidays,


President

Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics – West Coast

Sprocket Express – East Coast