A Differentiating Edge for Ecommerce: Packing and Packaging

Below is a guest post from Jessica, a staff writer at Rakuten (aka Buy.com).

WebScout may help you design and develop a smashing ecommerce website that converts like a king, but if you don’t follow through with differentiated packaging during your fulfillment process, you’ll be missing out on high-potential repeat and referral business over time.

Packing, packaging, shipping and fulfillment is a big, big deal in the ecommerce today. When just under 90 percent of all online customers confess to leaving their shopping cart because of shipping costs alone, this is something to examine when trying to build business for an online store.

But creating innovative, smile-producing packaging is also just as critical to generating referrals and repeat orders. Many online retailers think as long as what the customer ordered arrives safely and on time, that is all that matters. Clearly this does matter, but it isn’t the only thing that matters, as the example below demonstrates.

A Question: Which Retailer Would You Choose?

If you were an online shopper and you had the choice to order from two different online retailers, with everything else (including product price and shipping) remaining the same, but one retailer’s package came in a plain brown box while the others’s came gift-wrapped like a present and filled with pretty paper, which would you choose? According to a 2013 survey, more than half of all customers would choose the retailer who sent the items in premium packaging.

How to Make Your Packaging Stand Out

You may think it will cost a lot more to make your company’s packaging really stand out. It will definitely cost you some extra time to scope out how to make your brand stand out from the pack. But it doesn’t have to cost a lot to actually put your plans into action.

Here are some ideas to price out:

– Choose a box color other than brown – preferably one that matches a color in your company’s logo.

– Order bulk stickers and place one above the return address on each package. Place a few more inside the box for customers to use and share.

– Instead of just using a box, package your smaller items in decorative gift bags (available for just cents online) tied with colored twine that matches your company logo.

– Be SURE your products are secure inside the container – no one feels good opening a box to see broken purchases!

– Tuck a note inside each order – on the front is your logo and inside is a handwritten PERSONALIZED note saying “Thanks for ordering!”

– During holidays and special events, have some bulk postcards printed up and add one to each order to encourage customers to take advantage of coupons, sales and freebies.

A Word About Free Shipping

The word “free” and all that it suggests will always be popular among consumers. But the key to offering free shipping is to offer it in a way that will not adversely impact the minimum profit your company needs to make per order.

Here are some ideas that can help you offer free shipping:

– Determine the point at which it makes financial sense to offer free shipping (is it a minimum order of $30? $50? $75?) and advertise that as a perk to customers.

– Hike your product prices to incorporate the costs of offering free shipping.

– Negotiate with your wholesale vendors to buy in larger quantities to get lower prices or change what you order so it is affordable enough to throw in free shipping too.

– Find another way to cut your costs: such as spending less time on inventory tasks, or optimizing your pay per click spending, or using smart automation technology to control ongoing marketing efforts and other operational expenses.

– Shift advertising funds you may have unknowingly been wasting to fund free shipping instead.

– Offer free shipping only for purchases that qualify for ground or media mail delivery.

– Offer free shipping as a promotional perk only at certain times each year.

– Offer free shipping instead of offering coupons or product discounts (many customers prefer the former anyway!).

– Give each customer the option of free shipping under certain sets of circumstances – they can choose the most cost-effective for their needs.

With these tips, your company can reinforce your brand and value to customers and earn referrals and repeat business as a reward!

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who has worked in eCommerce for the last five years.  She currently writes for Rakuten Super Logistics and recommends them for all your online order fulfillment needs to further your success.

 

This Info Will Help Get Your Website Mobile – Ready in 2015

tips to make website mobile ready

If you’re wondering whether or not your business needs to have a mobile presence, the
resounding answer is YES. Consumers are using their phones to review items and make purchases now more than ever, a trend that experts say will skyrocket in 2015. The benefits of mobile marketing are endless: accessibility, affordability, immediacy, visibility, and many more. But with changes in technology and how people use their smartphones, there are a few ways in which mobile marketing is changing in 2015.

Here are a few key reasons to embrace mobile marketing in 2015:

  1. Mobile purchasing is becoming easier: With more companies building mobile sites and new technology being developed, making purchases on your smartphone has never been easier. WebScout’s Laura Greeno was quoted in Web Retailer’s 2015 predictions for ecommerce. Greeno says one reason why mobile purchasing will be so prevalent in 2015 is “Additional mobile pay options will emerge to compete, expand and integrate with Apple Pay to make m-commerce even faster and easier.” Also, mobile purchasing allows for impulse buying that satisfies the consumer’s desire for instant gratification.
  1. Continued Proliferation of Smartphones: one of the greatest benefits of having a mobile friendly website is the simple accessibility of the medium. In 2014 alone, the amount of people using smartphones globally grew 25%.  And by 2017, it’s predicted that ⅓ of all people will use smartphones. Mobile marketing allows you to reach potential customers no matter where they are. According to Inc., more than half of email marketing messages are viewed on mobile devices. This is significant because email marketing is still reported to be the most effective form of marketing, period. Social media is also a factor. Inc. reports that smartphone users are 33% more likely to be engaged on social media than PC users. This matters because social media is a common way people find out about and make decisions regarding products and promotions.
  1. Greater Efficiency: According to IBM’s analytics, 22% of Cyber Monday sales were mobile purchases, up 27% from the previous year. With the possibility of so many people accessing mobile sites at once, companies are focusing on making sure their mobile platforms are functional and user-friendly. This means more mobile friendly websites and less apps. While apps can be innovative and flashy, they’re also prone to bugs. They require consumers to download the app, as well as install occasional updates. People are much more likely to access your company through a Google search leading to your website. And speaking of Google, mobile websites can improve your overall search engine visibility while an app cannot — it’s not the same as a web app and isn’t viewed in the same way by Google and the like. Also, when searching on a smartphone, websites with mobile optimized interfaces seem to enjoy better prioritization than those that are not.
  1. More Personalized Service: In 2015, mobile marketing will be more integrated than ever. Rising trends such as proximity technology will allow customers to have their orders ready before they step foot in the door. Also, customer loyalty is becoming more of a priority in mobile. Starbucks, for example, has succeeded in cultivating not just a mobile site, but a mobile experience for customers. Their platform is complete with a loyalty program that offers multi-tiered levels of discounts and promotions to incentivize consumers. It’s no wonder they’ve been named Mobile Marketer of the Year twice in the past 3 years.

The number of people with smartphones today is rapidly increasing. And while in previous years mobile marketing has simply been an advantage for those savvy enough to use it, in 2015, any company that doesn’t have a mobile presence will be at a disadvantage.

WebScout can help you optimize your website for a better experience for the growing number of mobile users. Contact us for a free consultation.