Monthly Archives: August 2014

Top 5 Customer Retention Strategies for Online Businesses

There are many ways to improve your customer retention strategies. And, there are probably just as many ways to lose customers. If you want to avoid the latter and keep your online business thriving, you need to keep current customers in mind, as they are your bread and butter. If you keep them happy you can keep them loyally coming back for repeated purchases and telling their friends and family all about their positive experiences. When you create negative customer experiences, on the other hand, you not only lose that one customer, but when that one customer shares their bad experience with others, you lose potential advertising and the new customers that come from a good reference.

Remember: when people have bad experiences they now have the whole Internet to air their grievances to. The good news is that keeping your customers happy doesn’t have to take a whole lot of time and effort. You can’t please everyone all the time, but with these five simple strategies you can sure come close:

  1. Personalize Your Packaging
    It’s important to create a seamless customer experience where your branding message is always at the forefront. Limiting logo exposure to your website and online presence makes it easy for people to forget who sold them the items they receive when they open the box that arrives in the mail. So don’t miss this opportunity to provide personalized packaging and messaging to remind customers who you are!
    Branded Shipping Box
  2. Don’t Annoy People with Constant Emails
    While email marketing is still a valid tool for staying in touch with old customers and reaching out to new customers, there are limits to its effectiveness. Rather than sending daily emails, save email efforts for truly important announcements and information. You can add things like in-app messaging to continue reaching out to customers while you begin reducing your email frequency.
  3. Stay in Touch with Preferred Customers
    If you’ve been around a while, you probably have a select group of customers that are most loyal, purchase most frequently and spend more than others. These special customers should know they are appreciated if you want to keep them. Consider sending cards, or treating them to a gift when they reach spending milestones. They may even share the experience with others.
  4. Always Keep Old Customers in Mind
    While it makes sense for new customers to walk through each step of the ordering process and see everything you have to offer when first visiting your website, returning customers probably don’t need to go through page after page and deal with all the upsells. It should be easy for returning customers to find their past orders and build upon their previous experiences every time they return; otherwise they may stop returning.
  5. Be Proactive When Solving Problems
    There are all sorts of problems that can arise when running an online business, ranging from issues on your site to shipping delays or damaged products. One of the best possible customer retention strategies is to solve problems before customers know they’ve happened, and be proactive in solving the problem when something does go wrong.

Top 4 Consumer Behavior Trends That Should Influence Your Packaging

It’s safe to say that consumer behavior trends can and should have a large impact on the way companies package their products. Even the shape of your product packaging can have a huge influence on the way consumers perceive it, whether people find your goods in stores or buy them online and see the packaging for the first time when they open the box. The design of your packaging is crucial as well, including the way you position your logo and how you consider the general tastes of your target market. The materials you package your products in should also be chosen with the latest behaviors and trends of your target market in mind. If you want to keep up with your targeted consumer market, there are a few things you simply have to keep in mind to make sure all your bases are covered.

Here are four of the most important considerations businesses should make when it comes to product packaging:

  1. Convenience
    Modern consumers demand convenience in their busy and hectic lives, and this doesn’t only apply to the products themselves. A shopper is more likely to purchase a product if its packaging seems more convenient than a competitors’ packaging. It’s a good idea to keep up with current innovations in product packaging and see if you can incorporate more convenient solutions that make the whole consumer experience more positive from start to finish. There are always ways to make things easier.
  2. Design
    The way you design your products’ packaging should, of course, be aesthetically appealing to customers and include your logo to enhance brand awareness. Things like universal design are also important to consider if you want to broaden your market potential.
    Branded Shipping Box - Colored Box

    The key is to consider your targeted consumer markets, pay attention to their behaviors, watch the latest trends and customize the design of your products, packages and overall branded experience accordingly. People don’t want to feel like they’re being pandered to, but they do want to feel as if their wants, needs and preferences are being taken into consideration.

  3. Health
    It’s obviously important to avoid packaging materials that are thought to be harmful to human (or animal) health. Health is an especially important consideration for the food and beverage industry, where keeping products fresh and preserving perishable ingredients is paramount. Avoiding any materials that have been associated with choking hazards is also important. If you want to let your customers know how much you care, just make it clear what actions you’re taking to preserve their health.
  4. Sustainability
    People are more concerned about the environment than ever before. Just think about how unpopular Styrofoam has become since people became more aware of its environmental impact, for example. Today’s consumers are more likely to be turned off by packaging that isn’t considered sustainable and environmentally friendly.
    Green Packaging - Corrugated Boxes

    This means avoiding materials that are not biodegradable or recyclable, and promoting the environmentally friendly choices you have made, such as using any percentage of recycled materials in your packaging scheme.

How to Improve Your Ecommerce Order Fulfillment Process

The level of attention you pay to the ecommerce order fulfillment system of your online business can truly be a deal breaker. When people order products online they want to get through the checkout process quickly and seamlessly, and they want their order delivered to their doorstep as quickly as possible. It may seem pretty straight forward, but if you need a second opinion, just listen to the experts at Internet Retailer. They recently published a report that listed two metrics that are most essential in order fulfillment success for ecommerce retailers: how quickly the order fulfillment process is completed, and how quickly the product is delivered. According to the report, most orders are delivered to the customers within three days of fulfillment. Here are a few tips to help keep you on the right track:

Create and Maintain a Routine
Implementing a routine is the only way to stay on top of your ecommerce orders; otherwise chaos will ensue. A good routine will include several hours dedicated to fulfilling orders every day and a checklist to go through before each order is considered complete. It’s also a good idea to work on order fulfillment during a time of day that normally isn’t too hectic, and make sure this daily routine comes before things like breaks or conference calls.

Use the Right Packaging Tools for the Job
If you don’t invest in the right supplies and materials you won’t be able to fulfill orders with a high level of quality and attention to detail, and you’ll start losing customers. So invest in custom packaging that reminds customers of your logo and brand, make sure you have all the tools you need and don’t let yourself run out.
Branded Cardboard Shipping Box

Keeping your packaging area organized will also help you make the most of your tools and avoid running out of important items.

Keep Your Eye on the Prize
Since many ecommerce business owners do much or all of the work themselves, and often from a home office, it can be hard to stay focused without someone else telling you what to do. You have to be a tough boss when you’re your own boss. Create goals and milestones, and reach them. Find the working hours that are most productive for you, and stick with them. Write a to-do list every day, and finish it. Set alarms and reminders if you have to.

Find Ways to Improve Your Fulfillment Process
Even if you’ve found an ecommerce order fulfillment process that works for you, there are always ways to improve it, make things more organized and increase efficiency. Consider integrating automation if you haven’t already, for example. Automation tools can apply not only to orders and shipments, but also package tracking, returns processing, general accounting, inventories and more.

While quickly fulfilling and shipping orders are the most important factors to consider, customers will also be pleased with low shipping costs and a fair return policy. Keep these things in mind and you should be golden.

Four Simple Steps to Product Packaging Success

Finding the right product packaging solutions can make all the difference in the success of an ecommerce business. Receiving an order doesn’t mean you’ve made a successful sale—a customer could be unhappy when their order arrives and either return it or simply tell others about their negative experience, limiting one of the most valuable sources of advertising. Even failing to package your products in boxes that remind customers of your logo could be a failure in terms of brand awareness. Your packaging should also enable you to ship products at an affordable cost without fear of their safety in transit. When choosing the packaging for your products, here are four steps you can take to ensure success:

  1. Appearance
    Think of your packaging as a first impression. Although a customer may have been pleased enough with the impression they got from your website to place an order, the experience they have with the physical goods that arrive at their door is an entirely new interaction. So, don’t skimp on this one. You have many different types of boxes to choose from to get the appearance right, including the following:

    • Boxes with no printing
    • One-color direct printing boxes
    • Two-color direct printing boxes
    • High-end printing boxes
  2. Cost
    Look for ways to reduce shipping costs, if possible, without making a noticeable difference to customers. Although it’s obviously important to find product packaging solutions that are attractive to customers, you don’t want to go overboard and cut so deeply into your budget that you erode profits. For example, while opting for high-end printing instead of plain boxes is a good choice, you may be able to forego extras like custom tissue paper and ribbons.
    Printed Shipping Box with Logo
  3. Protection
    Protecting your products during shipment is paramount to the success of your business. This means not only choosing high-quality boxes to ship your products in, but being mindful of what you place inside the box with your products. It’s important to keep the weight, dimensions and fragility of your products in mind when choosing your filling, and choose materials that will keep your goods safe without going over budget. These are a few of the most popular options for materials to fill your boxes with:

    • Air-cellular cushioning (bubble wrap)
    • Antistatic sponges
    • Paper
    • Loose-fill foam peanuts
  4. Regulations
    Last but not least, always make sure you are complying with all applicable regulations. Obviously don’t ship items that are illegal to send in the mail, and include all information that is required to appear on the outer packaging before shipping. The most basic information to include is the country of origin, company name, product name, volume/weight of product and any special safety instructions. There are specific markings for certain types of products being shipped, particularly anything that could potentially be considered harmful or dangerous, and labels with text and/or numbers that must appear on the outside. If you’re not sure what regulations apply, look at the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (for the United States), the Guide to the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and Regulations (for Canada), and the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) regulations (for Europe).