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Ware2Go: UPS Launches Flexible Warehouse Fulfillment Solutions

The industry of e-commerce is on the rise. While already crucial to a business’s financial success, efficient e-commerce practices are predicted to become more and more essential in a society that expects goods to be purchased conveniently and delivered quickly. According to leading market research provider Statista, 360.3 billion US dollars worth of physical goods were sold in 2016, and that number is only expected to increase to 603.4 billion US dollars by 2021. Another study by Statista states that currently, 9% of retail sales in the United States are goods purchased via the internet, but if trends in countries like China, in which online sales of physical goods amount to 23.1%, and the UK, in which online sales of physical goods amount to 19.1%, are to be evaluated, the United States is soon to follow in their tracks. This emerging trend of e-commerce has been putting small businesses, who are already facing heightened competition as a consequence of global growth, at a significant disadvantage to larger businesses. While large businesses have the funds and resources to open warehouses all over the country, or to purchase the services of career warehouses (which require long-term volume and time commitments, as well as individual contracts for each warehouse) so as to get items to customers as efficiently as possible, small businesses cannot afford to do so. As a result, small businesses often must ship items from far-away locations and take days or weeks longer than their larger competitors to reach customers. According to Dotcom’s Distribution’s 2016 study, 87% of online shoppers say delivery time affects their decision to buy a product and 44% of online shoppers say quick delivery increases their trust in a brand. Bloomberg News claims that 60% of buyers expect 1-2 day delivery. Research by KPMG’s network of independent consulting firms, published in 2017, states that 43% of consumers cited “delivery options” as the most important factor in deciding where to purchase an item from online, following only “lowest price” at 57%. While large corporations are making moves to meet this demand for quick service, smaller companies have been…

10 Ways to Drive Holiday Sales on Pinterest

Stand out from the competition and reach holiday shoppers that are already looking for brands like yours. We’re still at least two months away from peak holiday season—when retailers start blasting their holiday playlists and offering their steepest deals of the year. But on Pinterest, holiday shopping has already begun! That’s right: Christmas-related searches and saves on Pinterest start ticking upward as early as September (two times earlier than when shoppers tend to begin exploring products on other platforms). So, why does this happen? Because shoppers use Pinterest to help them decide what to buy (finding the perfect holiday gift or tracking down the ingredients for a festive recipe). And here’s the best news: Most of the inspirational ideas that people find on Pinterest actually come from brands—87% of people on Pinterest say brands help them find the right products when planning for the holidays. So, what’re you waiting for? Here are 10 easy wins to help you reach more holiday shoppers on Pinterest this season. 1. Meet holiday shoppers where they’re at We’ve identified four main types of holiday shoppers on Pinterest: The time-saver, the gifter, the guest and the planner. Check out our holiday shopper insights to learn who they are, what they care about and how your brand can reach them with tips on relevant messaging and creative. 2. Tune into what your customers really want this holiday season Log in to our Audience Insights tool (you’ll need to have a business profile) to find out what they’re searching and saving. You’ll also be able to find data on your audience’s age, gender, location and device use to help you decide what products to feature in your ads. 3. Like gift shopping, it’s best to start earlier than you think Since holiday shoppers primarily use Pinterest to discover new ideas, it’s important to launch your holiday campaigns on Pinterest earlier than you might on other platforms. If you can reach people as they start making that list and checking it twice—before they’ve decided on a brand or product—you’re more likely to pop back into their mind when they’re ready to make a purchase. As a general…

Shopping on Instagram (and Beyond) – What to Expect

Instagram as it stands is crucial to the development of businesses everywhere. Whether it’s paying Instagram influencers to promote brands, managing user-generated content campaigns, or purchasing Instagram ads, Instagram has developed as one of the premiere apps for businesses looking to increase their brand awareness. Since the 2016 launch of the “Instagram Business Profile,” in which Instagram began to offer analytics data and a user-friendly advertisement creation system, the number of businesses marketing on Instagram has risen from 1.6 million in 2016 to 15 million in 2017 to a whopping 25 million today. According to Instagram’s internal data 80% of Instagram users follow business accounts, and according to eMarketer, 71% of businesses in the United States have Instagram accounts. Instagram Business users have been employing tools such as branded hashtags (hashtags increase engagement by at least 12.6%), user-generated content campaigns (users are 4.5% more likely to engage with your brand if you employ influencers), and Instagram analytics and public data that reveals information such as top-performing post-types (tip: photos with faces get 38% more likes) and the 80/20 rule (20% of content should be promotional and 80% should focus on engagement) to gain followers and increase brand awareness ( Now, Instagram has developed a method to translate that brand awareness directly into sales. According to The Verge, Instagram is in the process of developing a tie-in shopping app that allows Instagram users to browse the goods of businesses they follow and directly purchase them. This app intends to make it easier for users to reach and purchase content they already enjoy, and in turn makes it easier for businesses to remind individuals who enjoy their content that they are more than just a page with great content, but a brand with products users can take home. This app will be particularly helpful in promoting small businesses in the world of online shopping, which attracts 79% of shoppers in America. Online shopping for small businesses has been historically dominated by websites such as Amazon that bring products of all different types together on an accessible platform, but that does not promote individualized content…

Shelf Engine uses machine learning to stop food waste from eating into store margins

Shelf Engine’s team While running Molly’s, the Seattle-based ready meal wholesaler he founded, Stefan Kalb was upset about its 28 percent food wastage rate. Feeling that the amount was “astronomical,” he began researching how to lower it — and was shocked to discovered Molly’s was actually outperforming the industry average. Confronted by the sheer amount of food wasted by American retailers, Kalb and Bede Jordan, then a Microsoft engineer, began working on an order prediction engine. The project quickly brought Molly’s percentage of wasted food down to the mid-teens. “It was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done in my career,” Kalb told TechCrunch in an interview. Driven by its success, Kalb and Jordan launched Shelf Engine in 2016 to make the technology available to other companies. Currently participating in Y Combinator, the startup has already raised $800,000 in seed funding from Initialized Capital, the venture capital firm founded by Alexis Ohanian and Gerry Tan, and is now used at more than 180 retail points by clients including WeWork, Bartell Drugs, Natural Grocers and StockBox. Shelf Engine’s order prediction engine analyzes historical order and sales data and makes recommendations about how much retailers should order to minimize waste and increase margins. The more retailers use Shelf Engine, the more accurate its machine learning model becomes. The system also helps suppliers, because many operate on guaranteed sales, or scan-based trading, which means they agree to take back and refund the purchase price of any products that don’t sell by their expiration date. While running Molly’s, Kalb learned what a huge pain point this is for suppliers. To alleviate that, Shelf Engine itself buys back unsold inventory from the retailers it works with, taking the risk away from their suppliers. Kalb, Shelf Engine’s CEO, claims the startup’s customers are able to increase their gross margins by 25 percent and reduce food waste from an industry average of 30 percent to about 16-18 percent for items that expire within one to five days. (For items with a shelf life of up to 45 days, the longest that Shelf Engine manages, it…

No Cheap Brands, 7 Eleven Small Business Owners Push Back. Lesson About Brand Power

The NY Times reports that 7 Eleven franchisees, independent business operators, small businesses are pushing back against the 7 Eleven HQ or franchisor in a few areas. I’ll address one area. Often when you walk into a local convenience store you see two main brands – the store brand and the name brand you know. The retailer makes a higher profit margin on the store brand – but 7 Eleven owner operators are saying that their customers aren’t buying the store brand. This goes to show you the power of BRAND. If you have a STRONG brand, you can charge a higher price. Frankly, I’ve tasked the off-brand food and it often doesn’t even taste as good most of the time.  

The 5 Most Important Shop Fittings for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, you have a significant number of challenges to meet, particularly when it comes to planning and laying out your storefront. You need to make sure that there’s adequate room for customers to walk and browse. You need to meet requirements where disability access is concerned. You also need to display […] The post The 5 Most Important Shop Fittings for Small Businesses appeared first on SmallBizClub.

The Pros and Cons of eCommerce

It is 2018 and shopping has now become synonymous with online retail as much as with physical stores. New businesses are faced with the challenge of deciding which route they should take, and existing ones are trying to weigh up the benefits of shifting into the alternative. The brick-and-mortar store might seem like it is […] The post The Pros and Cons of eCommerce appeared first on SmallBizClub.

How Touch Screens Can Benefit Retail Environments

Advancements in technology over recent years have meant that the retail industry has blossomed, providing consumers with more ways to purchase products than ever before. However, following a surge in technology, including purchasing through phones and tablets, overall sales in physical retail stores has dropped, with online sales continuously rising. With this in mind, the […] The post How Touch Screens Can Benefit Retail Environments appeared first on SmallBizClub.

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