Christmas and New Year’s Holiday Closure

Hello from Medallion!

The holidays are almost upon us. We wanted to take a moment to say thank you for your business and to share with you our holiday hours for Christmas and New Year’s.

Medallion and Sprocket Express’ 2020-2021 Holiday Season Closures

Our holiday season hours are as follows:

Christmas: Closed Friday December 25th

New Year’s Day: Friday January 1st

Thank you again for allowing us to be your warehouse and fulfillment partner.

 

Building an E-newsletter List? Make Sure You Are CAN-SPAM Compliant

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Have you ever felt burned by getting a piece of mail from your bank, cable company or insurer whose envelope blared “Important Account Information Enclosed”? You know the outcome: You opened the envelope, that “important information” turned out to be an ad.

Translate that print tactic into untold millions of e-newsletters in distribution, and you will understand why the CAN-SPAM business compliance guide was created.

Email a Powerful Attraction Tactic

Even in an age of Facebook “likes” and Twitter “tweets,” email and e-newsletters — when handled right — continue to be a robust tool for marketers.

  • According to 2011 statistics published by Exact Target, 42 percent of subscribers are more likely to purchase from a company whose emails they subscribe to.
  • The other side of that coin? Content Marketing Institute notes that the e-newsletter open rate can go as low as 8 percent, with monthly newsletters averaging in the low-20 range.

So the audience making up your e-newsletter lists needs to be one you screen carefully — those on your list should be the people most likely to find your information valuable enough to subscribe and to read at least occasionally with few opt-outs. If you use purchased e-newsletter lists, ensure they are from reputable sources consisting only of “opt in” subscribers.

Keeping Out of Trouble

Once you’ve identified an audience to invite as subscribers, you must establish an acceptable template for your message. Just a few false moves, and your carefully crafted e-newsletter could end up in the spam folder.

CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003) establishes standards for commercial email, including e-newsletters. It spells out what you can and cannot say, and sets penalties for violations.

Under the CAN-SPAM rules, for example, you are required to:

  • Identify the nature of your message as an e-newsletter.
  • Tell recipients where you are located. Your e-newsletter must include both an email return address and a valid physical postal address.
  • Tell recipients how they can opt-out of your e-newsletter, and honor their request within 10 business days.

Conversely, the CAN-SPAM law prohibits:

  • False or misleading header information. In other words, the “To,” “From” and “Reply to” headers must accurately identify the person or company initiating the email.
  • Deceptive subject lines. No false promises, “gotcha” wording or other text that doesn’t reflect on the actual content of the e-newsletter.
  • Sending through an open relay or using harvested email address (both examples of technology that allows spammers to find and use lists).

And of course, the CAN-SPAM act requires you to truthfully describe any products or services you are offering for sale in your e-newsletter — and if you are positioning this information as an ad, you must identify it as such.

How to Attract More Subscribers

Subscribers can quickly become un-subscribers, so identifying and attracting new audiences is an important part of your e-newsletter strategy.

How can you encourage people to opt-in?

  • Promote your e-newsletter on your website’s homepage. Keep a colorful sign-up icon near the top of the screen, as you can never rely on visitors scrolling all the way down.
  • Invite new customers to subscribe. If someone makes a purchase through your website, follow it up with an email invitation to the newsletter. You can use the same tactic with visitors who leave contact information on your landing page.
  • Include a “send to a friend” link on every e-newsletter to encourage forwards from subscribers.
  • Promote your e-newsletter on your social media pages; include sneak-peeks of articles or offers that subscribers will find in the newsletter.
  • Offer a free gift to new subscribers. It can be a special deal or item associated with your business, or something general, such as a drawing for an iPad. (However, all giveaways and drawings must be “no purchase necessary” in nature and something anyone may enter.)

Test and Test Again

The way you handle your e-newsletter lists may change once you see how many people opt-in and opt-out of their subscriptions. As with most forms of web marketing, e-newsletters can benefit from testing and measuring results to create the ideal marketing tool for you.

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.

The Amazon Effect: Considerations for eCommerce and Brick and Mortar Store Owners

Learn About the Amazon Effect

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 and Massachusetts 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 2018 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 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.

Are You Using The Power of Three to Boost Online Sales?

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Are you familiar with the “power of three?” Studies show that three is the sweet spot when it comes to the brain’s ability to grasp concepts.

This principle can simplify your plans for boosting your company’s online sales. Focus on optimizing these three opportunities for a well-rounded approach that produces steady growth.

1. Grow Your Customer Base

Not surprisingly, this is often the primary goal of most companies. Gaining new customers expands your reach in the marketplace and offsets attrition from accounts that drop off due to business closings and other factors.

The trick is to set yourself apart from the competition by demonstrating that your product or service can best solve a prospect’s problem. This requires a thorough knowledge of your target audience along with compelling content on your website.

Customer conversion is essential, but it’s the most expensive and time-consuming way to increase online sales, which is why you can’t afford to ignore the other two methods.

2. Grow Your Average Order Size

Once a customer makes the decision to buy from you, the hard part is over. You’ve established a level of trust that makes them willing to spend money on your product or service.

Effective ways to increase order size include:

• Upselling a related product, such as suggesting a belt to go with a pair of pants.

• Offering a discount for multiple quantities.

• Selling an upgrade to a higher level of an item, such as a cell phone with more memory.

• Bundling similar items, much like Amazon does when they suggest an additional book on the same topic.

• Suggesting complementary products, such as batteries to go with the kids’ holiday toys.

• Providing options for longer commitments, perhaps a one-year membership instead of one month.

• Selling extended warranties.

• Including a menu of add-ons.

• Offering expedited delivery.

• Showing products other customers have bought at the same time as the current item.

3. Grow Your Number of Repeat Sales

It’s a well-established truism in sales that it’s less expensive to keep existing customers than to find new ones. Satisfied customers pay benefits in repeat sales, plus they’re more likely to provide referrals.

Promotions can play a major role in bringing past customers back for more. Send follow-up emails with coupons, sales and suggestions for similar or related products.

Selling online doesn’t mean you can ignore customer service. It’s actually even more important, because buyers can find new suppliers from the comfort of their living room. Superior customer service is the best way to make sure your company makes a lasting impression.

The Leader in California and Massachusetts Fulfillment Services for Online Retailers is Medallion!

At Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics, your success is our success. Our comprehensive offering of California fulfillment services provides everything you need, from warehousing and order picking to credit card processing and shipping.

Let our California and Massachusetts fulfillment services company handle the details so you can concentrate your time and energy on growing your online sales.