Limited Time and Limited Stock Offers – Why Scarcity Gets Shoppers to Commit

Are you creating the sense of urgency necessary to cinch sales? Turns out, losing the lollygagging looky loos and getting shoppers to commit may be simpler than you think.

Urgency & Sales Motivation

To prevent people from “thinking about it” and possibly forgetting about it   scarcity is key to taking advantage of the buyer psychology not to miss out. Limited time offers and limited stock prevent pesky procrastination.

How Much Does Scarcity Affect Buying Decisions?

In a study by WhichTestWon, a simple countdown timer resulted in nearly 9% better conversions than a product page without a timer. Another retail study conducted by Digital Commons at the University of Nebraska indicated consumer competitiveness, in-store hiding and hoarding, and urgency to purchase in stores using perceived scarcity strategies including limited quantities and limited time sales.

What Types of Perceived Scarcity Tactics Can You Put to Work for Your Business?

• Limited time offers
Time restricted sales, such as holiday and game-day themed offers ramp-up the psychological trigger to avoid loss.

• Limited quantity
Use limited stock to your advantage, showing scarcity to boost perceived value. Advertising real-time stock is a great way to accomplish this.

• Limited quantity/limited price
Airlines use this all the time, boasting “only 3 seats at $50.” The rest may be $51, or $40, but since they don’t show availability – the buying public remains unaware.

• Flash sales
Very limited time offers on hand-selected items.

• Product page countdown timers
Rather than simply posting the date, countdown timers ticking away the sale offer a visual reminder of product scarcity.

• Timed shopping offers
Express and free shipping deals for those that act fast are another super incentive.

• Copy-writing tactics
The language you use can also create urgency, such as “Going fast!” or “Supply is limited!”

The Devil in the Details

Remember, the goal here is to motivate purchases – not lie to customers, which creates a bad image for your brand. Base all scarcity tactics on something – a need to make room for the upcoming season’s inventory, overstock. Don’t just toss a timer on a page and expect a sales boost. And don’t overdo it. Encourage procrastinators – but don’t pressure customers and incite buyer’s remorse.

Getting shoppers to commit is easy with rapid response and delivery. Make things happen with the help of Medallion Fulfillment and Logistics for you order processing and fulfillment needs. Learn more today.

Don’t Burn Up Profits Using Discounts & Specials

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.

Brand Building to Boost Business

A brand, such as Starbucks or Apple, is much more than just a name. Branding encompasses all the thoughts, feelings and emotions people experience when they hear the words “Starbucks” or “Apple.”

Your brand represents the commitment you make to your customers through your product or service. Is your business trendy or classic? Who is your target audience? What is your mission?

Building a brand requires careful thought and consideration. Use these guidelines to create a brand that’s unique, memorable and appealing.

Seven Tips for Creating a Vivid and Memorable Brand

• Figure out who your target audience is. Learn more about their wants, needs and shopping habits by talking to them and following relevant social media accounts.

• Develop a positioning statement. You’ll be tempted to include everything but the kitchen sink, but communicating too much ultimately communicates nothing at all. Stay focused and craft one or two lines that sum up why your business matters.

• Choose a business name, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. If the name is too on-the-nose, it could be awkward if you plan to expand your offerings down the road. You also have to consider logos, website domains and trademark registrations.

• Once you have a name, it’s time to work on fonts and colors. Unless you have a specific reason for choosing something a little more complex, stick with clean and simple fonts.

• Choose a palette based on the  psychology of colors, but make sure you consider how it looks in black and white and against different backgrounds.

• What would a brand be without a logo? In addition to the design elements, check to make sure it’s scale-able across a range of sizes.

• Write a short but punchy slogan that immediately paints a picture. A slogan is a great way to maintain consistency, but you can certainly adapt it over time as you refine your marketing efforts and strategies.

Now that you’ve created a polished and powerful brand, start applying it across all phases and segments of your business. Don’t forget that consistency is key.

California Fulfillment Services: The Solution for All Your Order Processing Needs

Looking for a California fulfillment services company that will help maintain the integrity of your brand? Contact us to find out why Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics will provide the consistent service your customers expect.

Why You Need and How to Get a Federal Employer Identification (EIN) Number

Make Sure You're Aware of This Important Tax Information

If you own and operate a business, you may be required to obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) and should consider doing so even if not required. Commonly referred to as a federal tax ID number, an EIN is like a social security number for your business. Just as your social security number is used to identify you as a unique individual by government, financial and other institutions, an employer identification number is used to identify a business as a unique entity by government, financial, tax and regulatory agencies. Obtaining and using an EIN to identify your business to the Internal Revenue Service and the various federal agencies that regulate businesses is a smart way to separate and differentiate between your personal and business obligations and liabilities.

Issued by the IRS as a tax identification number, an EIN is a unique identifier assigned and tied to the individual owner of a specific business. EINs are used by employers, sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, non-profits, government agencies and certain other business entities. By using an EIN to identify their business, sole proprietors who have been using their social security number as both a personal and business identifier can create an important layer of legal separation and privacy between their personal and business affairs. Using an EIN rather than a social security number for business transactions prevents access to the personal information tied to your social security number.

An EIN provides the additional benefit of creating a continuous business identity even if the name, focus or location of your business changes. This allows business owners to capitalize on tax, financial or regulatory advantages developed in previous years. As long as business ownership and operating status do not change, your EIN follows your business through the inevitable cosmetic and directional changes that accompany the definition and growth of a business. You can use the same EIN even if you change the name or address of your business or add additional locations. However, because an EIN is issued to the specific owner of a business and not to the business itself, a change in ownership necessitates obtaining a new EIN. A new EIN must also be obtained if the status of your business changes; for instance, if you incorporate your business or take on partners and begin operating as a partnership. A new EIN is also required when a business files for bankruptcy or establishes a profit sharing or retirement plan.

Despite its name, you do not need to be an employer to obtain an employer identification number. You are required to obtain an EIN if your business operates as a corporation or partnership or you offer taxable products or services, collect sales tax, have employees, withhold taxes on income, have a Keogh plan or file any type of federal tax return. However a business owner can apply for an EIN even if not required and will generally find it to his advantage. An EIN is required on income tax forms, employment tax reports, social security records and tax payments and is required to apply for a business license. Most banks also require an EIN to open a business account.

The application procedure is simple and painless. While you can apply for an EIN by contacting your local IRS office and filling out form SS-4, online application is fast and easy. Available at www.irs.gov, the EIN application form can be completed online. As soon as you complete the online application, you will receive your EIN and can begin using it immediately. Make certain you download, save and print the EIN confirmation page. Because it takes about two weeks from the date of issuance for a new EIN to be fully integrated into the IRS data base, business owners must wait two to three weeks before filing electronic returns or making electronic payments. The EIN is a federal identification number. While many states also use the federal EIN, some require state identification numbers.

Taking Care of Business While You’re On Vacation — Cool Things to Check Out

Tech Tips for Vacation from Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics

Like it or not, your work may be going with you on summer vacation this year.

Don’t get us wrong – a little R&R is vital to your physical and mental well-being. If you can completely detach yourself from the office or the warehouse and enjoy your time off, more power to you.

But by the same token, you’re not going to relax very easily if yu spend your vacation time fretting over missing vital messages or constantly phoning in to stay apprised of new order-fulfillment opportunities.

Aware of this conundrum, technology providers have graciously stepped up to create devices, data plans, programs and apps that help you manage your business and your email from wherever you are. They go a step beyond texting and Skype to deliver some rather cool options.

Summer business tips for keeping up while chilling out

Whether you’re hitting the road or hanging out at home, you can enjoy some time away from the workplace without worrying about falling behind. You may find the answer in free apps, or opt to pay a monthly surcharge or subscription rate – but you may discover that the investment pays off in peace of mind.

The Choices Are All Yours

Single-number convenience
If you’re the kind of manager who gets tons of voicemails, there’s no need to subject your fellow vacationers to the sound of a fulfillment or shipping challenge being addressed. Free – at least until the end of 2012 – Google Voice is an app that delivers phone and texting from the same number and, even cooler, voicemail transcription. This means Google Voice lets you download your voicemail and read it like email. The app also boasts of “cheap international calls” outside North America.

Computer access programs
Stuck on the tarmac? Ditch the Skymall magazine and catch up with the folks back home. GoToMyPC is a screen-sharing subscription program that uses the Internet to connect your mobile device (laptop, netbook, tablet or smartphone) to the computer back home. Available in different pricing tiers for individual and multiple users, this program enables full access to the “host” computer, from email to documents to downloads – you can even transfer files between devices. Just remember to keep your work computer running and connected online before you leave, and GoToMyPC will do the rest.

Windows Live Mesh does GoToMyPC one better – it’s free. This app also recreates the host-computer experience, though you do need to have Windows Vista or Windows 7 or above. You’ll also need Internet Explorer downloaded on your computer to make it work – remember that if you’re tied to Firefox or some other browser.

Personal WiFi
The days of ducking into a McDonald’s or parking behind a Panera Bread to score some need-it-now WiFi are over. Now you can tote your personal WiFi hotspot in your pocket with a data-plan-enabled mobile phone. A variety of hardware and software options – at varying price points – can attach your phone to your laptop or tablet and enjoy Internet access anywhere. Just remember to carry a charger with you – WiFi functions are notorious battery-suckers on phones.

If your spouse and kids are similarly tied to the Internet, you can keep everyone happy on vacation using portable devices. Verizon’s Mobile Hotspot connects up to five phones, tablets, game systems, laptops and other devices simultaneously, while Droid Razr Maxx is a tiny powerhouse that fuels up to seven devices and frees you from the slow access and annoying service charges of hotel and airport WiFi.

Email folders
You use email folders at home; now you can use them anywhere. Creating email folders on your smartphone or tablet takes little time and goes a long way toward helping you organize your communications while away from the workplace. Most plans work with the most popular mail servers, like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail and Microsoft Exchange. If you have the iPhone 4, Siri will even transcribe and send your email for you.

It’s Your Time

You earned your summer vacation – make it a meaningful one. With robust technology at the ready, you can keep up at your convenience, return to the warehouse rested, ready – and without millions of emails and voicemails waiting to bury you.