Archive for the ‘Customer Spotlight’ Category

Attracting Shoppers Is Critical to a Successful Holiday Shopping Season

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Posted by: Laura Hills, VP Marketing

Facing the shortest holiday selling season in quite some time, many U.S. retailers are already well into their holiday promotions and special offers to get shoppers into their stores and placing their online orders as early as possible. Traditionally, U.S. merchants have focused on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, to get their holiday sales season underway. Black Friday is followed by Cyber Monday when the best online deals are typically offered.gift-card-bow

Kimberly Greenberger, an analyst with Morgan Stanley predicts this year’s holiday season to be the most promotional-oriented and discounted since 2008 with eCommerce sales accounting for between 12 and 13% of overall retail sales.  Last year’s eCommerce figure was 11% of total sales.

This year, Black Friday is November 28th and Cyber Monday is December 2nd, which are both late in the holiday shopping game.  Hanukkah is early this year and all of this has prompted many retailers to get a big jump start on this critical selling season.  Wal-Mart has already kicked off its online deals, starting with an online sales event on November 1st – a full month earlier than usual.  They offered some of the lowest prices to be found this season along with free shipping on 99% of online items – more typically the type of promotions that were previously reserved for Cyber Monday.

Wal-Mart isn’t the only major retailer to get an early start.  Toys R Us started their holiday ads earlier than ever before and even offered cash back incentives to loyalty rewards customers who purchased specific toys by October 31 – Halloween.  They’ve added another incentive and are offering their Black Friday deals to their loyalty rewards members on the day before Thanksgiving.  Target is also spending more on holiday advertising, extending its price-match policy and expanding its buy online/pick up in store service.  Best Buy has run Holiday Kickoff sales via email and in the stores while L.L. Bean and Lands End are offering early discounts as well, both online and in store to attract this year’s budget conscious shoppers. Many retailers have even opted to open on Thanksgiving this year to give shoppers more time for their holiday shopping.

So how can you as an SMB retailer attract customers to your site to do their holiday shopping? Follow the lead of the big box retailers and get out there early and often.  Look to promote your products in the online and social media places where you know your customers will be congregating.  Take advantage of social media channels that your shoppers will likely be visiting this season and become highly visible. This could be the time for Our Staff’s Holiday Picks Pinterest page.

Use third party sites to feature your items and associated promos.  Many customers time their purchases according to coupons and other promos that you can easily distribute.  Keep in mind that mobile device usage for product and gift research as well as actual ordering is growing rapidly so be sure to make your offers attractive and easy to read on all platforms.  The larger retailers will continue to use Free Shipping, often with a minimum purchase, to entice customers which means you should too, if at all possible.  After a decade of offering free shipping on orders of $25.00, Amazon has raised their limit to $35.00 for orders to receive free shipping.  If free shipping isn’t possible for you, link your order management and fulfillment system directly to your carrier so that you can provide the lowest shipping price options.

Higher visibility helps lead to higher sales and there are ways to attract large numbers of motivated and ready-to-spend holiday shoppers.  Incorporate a third-party service, such as buySAFE, to verify that you are a reputable merchant and all information shared over your site is guaranteed secure. According to buySAFE, displaying this seal has resulted in a six-percent increase in conversion rates.

Study shopping abandonment data on an ongoing basis and reach out to those shoppers.  Consider running targeted campaigns to drive consumers back to your site to complete their orders – sweeten the deal, if needed with additional incentives.  Come up with catchy headlines and text to cut through the deluge of holiday promotions out there.  Help your shoppers by counting down the shopping days and devise promotions that tie into time, such as a gift a day promotion, featuring different items each week, or play off the 8 Days of Hanukkah or 12 Days of Christmas. Consider a Wrap It Up Early theme or ‘Tis the Season to Be Shopping with special items and prices offered.

For additional tips to help you have a great holiday selling season, access our on-demand webinar, “The Top 5 Insights to Help Prepare for Seasonal and Holiday Rushes”.  There’s no such thing as over reaching your customers this holiday season, especially with targeted and enticing promotions and offers.

Happy Holiday Selling!

Tags: , , , , , ,

Posted in CEO, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Spotlight, Ecommerce, Email Marketing, Industry News, Multichannel Order Manager, Search Marketing, Shipping, SiteLINK News, StoreFront.net, Webinar | No Comments »

November Deals Can Help Shoppers Stretch Holiday Budgets

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Posted by: Laura Hills, VP Marketing, Dydacomp

Black Friday has been the unofficial kickoff to the holiday shopping season, featuring unbeatable prices especially for popular electronic gifts, gadgets and gizmos. But this year that has changed.  With only 25 days between Black Friday and Christmas, this is one of the shortest shopping seasons in the past decade with retailers and shoppers facing six fewer days to shop than in 2012.

According to a recent survey from Shop.org, 32% of retailers will be offering discounts earlier than they did last year which helps shoppers who want to maximize their holiday budgets. To see what’s trending for your customers to stretch their budgets and manage their expectations in November, we’ve taken a few tips from Jeanette Pavini, MarketWatch columnist.

Below are Jeanette’s November deals and promotion suggestions to shoppers that range from gifts, home improvements and turkey dinners to help make the holidays bright. We’ve included a few of our own suggestions as well.

  • In addition to shopping and comparing early holiday promotional pricing for electronics, Jeanette recommends shopping on Mondays as additional discounts and rebates are often offered earlier in the week. Trade-in/trade-up programs are becoming more popular which can go a long way toward making holiday electronics purchases more affordable.
  • Photos and portraits are popular holiday gifts and November is the month to get these done. You’ll have the finished photos in time for the holidays and many studios offer photo greeting cards at reduced rates if you are having photos done.
  • Start home winterizing projects now to help reduce utility bills and also save on winterizing materials and products including insulation, weather stripping and programmable thermostats.  Consider a switch to LED lighting for the holidays – the electrical savings can offset the cost of the replacing the lights.
  • Look for food retailers to be luring shoppers in with extra coupons, low price guarantees on popular holiday food items and other holiday special offers. Look for free shipping if you are purchasing holiday food items online either for yourself or as gifts.  Don’t overlook the free with qualifying purchase items when shopping since you’ll likely spend over their qualifying amount as you stock up for parties, family dinners and extra food and holiday goodies to have on hand.
  • If you are not already a loyalty club member at the places you do a lot of shopping, now’s the time to sign up. These programs typically offer both savings and rewards which can help to stretch holiday budgets. Check credit card promotions for those that offer significant incentives and rewards (think cash back) that you can enjoy throughout the season and beyond.

Reach your shoppers early and often and keep them informed about special products, pricing or promotions that you are offering. View Dydacomp’s webinar, The Top 5 Insights to Help Prepare for Seasonal and Holiday Rushes for additional holiday sales strategies.

The full text of Jeanette’s article can be found at The Wall Street Journal.

Happy holiday selling!

Tags: , , , , ,

Posted in CEO, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Spotlight, Dydacomp News, Ecommerce, Email Marketing, Industry News, Multichannel Order Manager, Shipping, SiteLINK News, StoreFront.net, Webinar | No Comments »

Technology Helps Sporting Goods Retailers Score with Customers

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Posted by Laura Hills, Vice President of Marketing, Dydacomp

The Sporting Goods industry generates close to $40 billion in annual revenue and covers a wide variety of activities from individual to team sports and from archery and biking to yoga and ziplining.  Sporting goods retailers are starting to see a rebound in consumer buying habits as more people of all ages are becoming active for the health and well-being benefits while continuing to support local recreational sports and their favorite professional teams.

Local and online retailers are challenged to remain competitive despite pressure exerted by cost conscious consumers and price and inventory competition from department stores and big box stores. Critical to success in retail sporting goods is awareness of market trends, product mix shifts, customer needs and preferences. Sporting goods retailers need to have the ability to collect, analyze and be responsive to consumer demands, sales trends and changes in sporting equipment to be successful and score sales with their customers.

Sporting goods retailers need to implement effective market strategies to:

  • Offer the right mix of equipment, accessories and sports attire
  • Continuously analyze consumer preferences, shifts and sales trends
  • Manage inventory levels to stay ahead of seasonal sports and identified trends
  • Effectively time promotions, sales campaigns and special events to increase visibility across multiple channels
  • Provide special services, such as personalization, team outfitting or sports instruction clinics, whether in person or online

Small to medium sporting goods retailers need to find ways to differentiate themselves from what is available through mass market channels or to extend their business through online channels.  On a local level, they can stock unique or hard to find items, support local sports teams, provide extra services, and offer quick delivery with hassle-free returns to develop customer loyalty.  To sustain a multichannel business model, sporting goods retailers need to seamlessly integrate all business processes across all channels of business to capture data, manage inventory and shipping and create the best experience for their customers.  Dydacomp’s whitepaper “On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! Order Management Best Practices for Sporting Goods Retailers,” addresses the technology needed to capture, integrate and utilize data across multiple channels to level the playing field with larger retailers.   Click here to access this special report.

Tags: , , ,

Posted in CEO, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Spotlight, Ecommerce, Email Marketing, Industry News, Multichannel Order Manager, Search Marketing, Shipping, SiteLINK News, StoreFront.net | No Comments »

As Car Sales Rise Aftermarket Auto Parts Retailers Can Benefit

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Posted by:  Laura Hills, VP, Marketing, Dydacomp

New car unit sales rose 1.5 million in August of this year, which was the highest level in more than six years and a 17% increase over August 2012.  Toyota, Ford, Nissan, Honda, Chrysler and General Motors all posted double digit gains over August 2012 and are running leaner, more cost efficient organizations contributing to greater profitability. Chrysler and GM each forecast that total U.S. sales in August ran at an annual rate above 16 million, a pace not seen since November of 2007, a month before the start of the Great Recession.

The recovery in the auto industry is not confined to a single market segment.  It is broad based and includes luxury and small car buyers, along with work truck buyers which signal increased confidence among all consumers.  A combination of factors has been cited as the impetus behind this growth including:

  • Need to replace older vehicles (average age of cars and trucks is 11.4 years)
  • Low interest rates
  • High trade-in values
  • More people are working
  • Sweet lease deals
  • New vehicle designs
  • Fuel efficient options
  • Uptick in construction raising demand for pickup trucks

Aftermarket auto parts and accessories are also experiencing significant growth, with online sales well outpacing brick and mortar sales.  Hedges & Company, a digital agency specializing in the automotive aftermarket is forecasting online sales be nearly $4.4 billion in 2013, up from a revised $3.8 billion in 2012 to grow by 15.5% from 2012.

Several auto industry trends will greatly impact the aftermarket and aftermarket retailers need to take notice.   These include:

  • Big engines in both cars and trucks remain hot.  This has always been a sweet spot for the aftermarket companies that sell parts for these large engines, including parts to improve gas mileage and should continue.
  • Two new pony cars are expected in 2014 – a new Mustang and a new Camaro, which are always popular in-demand cars.  Aftermarket parts and accessory dealers need to be ready to react quickly with new products for these vehicles.
  • New light truck and SUV registrations have shown a 10.6% increase over last year.  This definitely is good news for aftermarket parts and accessory retailers in the truck market.

Amazon sells more auto parts and accessories than any other online retailer but many retailers who started selling through eBayMotors and Amazon are now looking to drive more customers through their own websites.

Just as the automakers have retrenched and improved their operations to weather the economic storm, aftermarket retailers need to refocus their efforts to better respond to shopper demand.  Customer satisfaction basics now drive the auto industry and aftermarket retailers need to be able be equally as responsive in connecting with their target audiences.  With more online business, you need to be sure that your eCommerce operation is ready to handle all of your customers’ needs. Provide better product descriptions, be sure your online order process is easy to use, add how-to videos, live customer support and become the go-to place for aftermarket parts and accessories.

For additional information and help with growing your auto parts and accessories business, plan to attend that 2013 SEMA from November 5–November 8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  The SEMA Show is the premier automotive specialty products trade event drawing the industry’s brightest minds and hottest products. SEMA offers its members a variety of business tools and resources to help you make smarter business decisions and be more strategic and targeted with your promotions.  For information on the 2013 SEMA Show click here. 

For Dydacomp’s special white paper, The Keys to Drive the Business, Best Practices for Aftermarket Auto Parts Retailers, click here.

For the Associated Press article on U.S. auto sales for 2013 by Tom Krisher and Dee-Ann Durbin, click here.   (http://www.theledger.com/article/20130904/NEWS/130909697/1178?Title=Double-Digits-Automakers-Report-Big-Gains-for-August).

Tags: , , , , ,

Posted in CEO, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Spotlight, Dydacomp News, Ecommerce, Email Marketing, Industry News, Multichannel Order Manager, Payment Processing, PCI Compliance, Press Release, Search Marketing, Shipping, SiteLINK News, SMB Index, StoreFront.net, Support, Webinar | No Comments »

Is Your eCommerce Site Mobile Ready?

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Posted by: Laura Hills, VP Marketing, Dydacomp

International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that U.S. IT spending will increase by 4.6% in 2013.  According to Stephen Minton, VP-global technology and industry research at IDC, “The U.S. economy overall is relatively stable and the forecast for the U.S. economy going forward over the next 15 months is looking pretty solid.”  IDC also projects global spending for mobile devices to be up 39% this year with smartphone spending expected to increase by 18.5%.  Global PC sales will decline by 7.2% which is a result of increased mobile technology spending and an economic slowdown in China.

What all this means for eCommerce retailers is positive – fewer shoppers will be sitting behind a desk when browsing, collecting data on products or placing an order.  Growing numbers of shoppers will be accessing your website and eCommerce store from an increasing and diverse array of mobile devices.  Many will be multi-tasking; a Nielsen/Yahoo study revealed that 86% of mobile phone users access the Internet on their handset while watching television.[1]  You may be competing for their attention with the Big Bang Theory or trying to engage them during the latest episode of The Voice!

To be sure that your shoppers and site visitors have a positive experience, you need to keep your site and all of its content completely mobile enabled – displaying and functioning without any interruptions or loss of integrity across mobile platforms. And you need to be sure your site and online store are attractive, easy-to-use and contain relevant information to hold the attention of visitors and buyers.  If you haven’t already done so, test your site through multiple mobile devices to make sure it’s mobile ready.  Review your site on a regular basis and keep the content up-to-date and as engaging as possible.

Optimizing your site with new, timely merchandise can increase sales and make a good impression which can lead to repeat customers.

 


Apparel Retailers Dress for eCommerce Success to Attract Shoppers

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Posted by Laura Hills, Vice President of Marketing, Dydacomp

Apparel retailing is a highly competitive sector and apparel retailers are keenly aware that today’s shoppers have no limits as to where, how and when they shop.  Where once the brick and mortar storefront was the only way of getting apparel into customer’s hands, shoppers today expect to be able to shop 24/7, 365 days a year.  According to Moody’s Investor Services, online apparel and footwear sales are expected to exceed $40 billion in 2013 and $45 billion in 2014.  It is estimated that online apparel and footwear sales account for close to 20% of total eCommerce sales in the U.S. and smart apparel retailers are honing in on this fast growing segment.

Apparel retailers must be active and visible in a variety of sales channels to reach the widest variety of new and repeat customers. Technology has enabled etailers to offer improved online merchandise presentation to present multiple views of an item in varying colors and styles so that website shoppers can interact with their selections.  Detailed customer reviews offer valuable online shopping assistance to simulate shopping with a friend.  Online shoppers are also attracted by special promotions, especially “free shipping,” which more retailers now feel pressure to offer.  Multi-channel retailers with brick and mortar locations often allow in-store returns to further enhance the flexibility of the online shopping experience.

An order management system can help online retailers gain visibility and bridge the gap between their eCommerce store and their back office to stay on top of available inventory and order progress across all sales channels. Order management systems support Customer Service activities to effectively engage with customers with timely and accurate order information.

“Best in Class” Apparel and Multi-channel Retailers focus on:

  • Effective Inventory Tracking – never miss a sale by stocking the latest fashion items
  • Superior Customer Service – solving problems and surpassing shopper expectations
  • Being Proactive – anticipating their customers’ wants and needs
  • Delivering Convenience – across all platforms and according to the shoppers’ schedules
  • Promoting Value – promotions and offers helps shoppers stretch and save their clothing dollars

A consumer-facing website, catalog sales and physical stores, or any combination, require a high level of coordination and information management with the objective to create a personal shopper experience across all retail platforms, encouraging shoppers to return again and again for their apparel needs.

Apparel retailers benefit from seamlessly integrating all business processes across multiple sales channels to capture data, manage inventory and shipping and create the best online shopping experience.   Utilizing an integrated order, inventory and customer management system will enable access to a complete history of previous purchases to create an enhanced level of personal service.  Having this information at the fingertips of customer service representatives facilitates up-selling and cross-selling and gives customer service staff the ability to make relevant purchase suggestions based on customers’ preferences from past purchases.  Capturing this information lets the retailer create targeted mailings and promotions aimed directly at the most likely to buy shoppers.

At Dydacomp, we have worked with thousands of SMB retailers and have learned from them what best practices they follow for success.  By delivering positive shopping experiences and interactions, apparel retailers create targeted promotions to attract and retain a constant stream of customers. Dydacomp’s whitepaper “Dressing for Success – Best Practices in Apparel and Specialty Retailing” addresses the characteristics, strategies and practices to grow your business.  Click here to access this special report.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Customer Satisfaction, Customer Spotlight, Dydacomp News, Ecommerce, Industry News, Multichannel Order Manager, Shipping, SiteLINK News, StoreFront.net | No Comments »

Gearing Your eCommerce Site for Back-to-School

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Posted by Laura Hills, VP Marketing, Dydacomp

Gone are the days when back-to-school shopping involved visits to local, downtown shops as the primary source for children’s clothing and stationery needs.  The local 5 & 10 variety stores took a back seat to online shopping and big-box stores, supermarkets and drugstore chains, all offering deep discounts.  And, then there are the increasingly popular dollar stores that have made their way into shopping centers across the country.

In its annual back-to-school survey, the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported that parents are planning to spend an average of $634.78 on clothing and school supplies for school age children under the age of 17.  This is a drop of 7.8% as compared to 2012, but still indicates robust spending which is good news for retailers that cater to back-to-school shoppers.  The NRF estimates that back-to-school and back-to- college spending will reach $72.5 billion nationwide this year.[1]

The back-to-school selling season, typically the last two weeks of August and the first two weeks of September, is crucial for retailers that rely on back-to-school revenues to sustain their business.  It’s interesting to note that 10 states now start school before August 15th; all in the South plus Arizona and Utah.  And, colleges routinely start freshmen in August, particularly if sports are involved.

Recognizing that shoppers are continuing to be cautious about their spending, many retailers have already begun to offer special sales and promotions to attract buyers.  According to Bill Tancer, General Manager of Global Research at Experian Marketing Services, 41% of retailers that feature back-to-school promotions sent out email offer in July to try to get a jump on their back-to-school sales.

According to the NRF, back-to-school shopping will start:

  • 45.2% – Three to four weeks before school starts
  • 32.1% – One to two weeks before school starts
  • 14.6% – Two months before school starts
  • 5.4% – The week school starts
  • 2.7% – After school starts
  • How can you make the most of this prime season?

How can you make the most of this prime season?

  • It pays to know just who is doing the actual shopping; parents, the children or grandparents.
  • Be sure you know your audience and design special offers to appeal to each target.
  • Use the data that you have gathered in your order management system on your customers to determine who has purchased items for school aged children and, if possible, their grade levels to create even more specialized offers.
  • Stay on top of fashion trends and have a list of typical school supplies by grade and for the college bound students to help drive additional sales.
  • Make these lists easily and readily available to your shoppers along with alternative suggestions; ‘if they like this then they might also like that.’
  • Package or group similar or related items to make shopping easier.  Think of color coordinated notebooks, folders and accessories, or coordinating sheets, towels and room decorations.  If possible, offer group and quantity pricing incentives.

Many states offer tax break shopping days throughout August and September for the back-to-school shopping season so check whether this applies to you and be sure to let your customers know about this special incentive to get their back-to-school shopping done.

Make sure your inventory levels can meet the increased demand during this buying period.  Provide increased customer service staff to handle peak season online orders and calls.  If you have a physical store, be sure it is well staffed and stocked.  Nothing can lose a customer or a sale quicker than having a customer wait too long for service or not having the items that the customer wants or needs.

For more information on how local SMB and big-box retailers are gearing up for the back-to-school sales season, read “Back to school crucial time for retailers.”

For additional tips on how to better focus your target marketing and inventory management efforts to take advantage of the back-to-school selling season,  click here to download Dydacomp’s special report, “Retail Trends – Is Your Back Office Keeping Up With Your Online Store?



[1] National Retail Federation 2013 Back-to-School Survey

Accurate Inventory Visibility is Key to eCommerce Success

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Posted by Fred Lizza, CEO, Dydacomp

Help! I’ve just sold the same item on Amazon and through my eCommerce store.  I didn’t have enough in inventory, so I sold the same item twice to two separate buyers. How can I avoid this?

Does this sound familiar?

Inventory accuracy is a serious concern for multichannel SMB retailers.  It’s a problem either way to be overstocked or understocked.  Overstocked inventory leads to reduced margins, tying up cash that could have been invested in new equipment or products, enhancing an eCommerce store, or beefing up marketing efforts to drive additional sales. On the other hand, not having enough inventory results in backorders, cancellations, lost sales and possibly lost customers.

So, how do you strike the right balance?

Inventory visibility helps retailers determine what products are selling, when additional inventory is needed, and when it’s time to consider moving inventory on a third party business channel. This ability to plan and forecast is critical to a successful retail operation. Selling across multiple channels adds to the complexity of inventory management. Multichannel retailers need to track inventory across eCommerce operations such as Amazon, eBay, Google Checkout, eCommerce platforms, offsite fulfillment centers and/or phone/catalog fulfillment.

According to RFID Arena, inventory accuracy is currently trending at only 63% here in the U.S.[1]. They report that inaccurate inventory is often attributed to:

  • Improperly registering inbound goods
  • Poor record keeping
  • Lack of integration between order and inventory management
  • Items incorrectly marked
  • Shrinkage

So what’s a retailer to do?

Retailers can take the guess work out of inventory management by using technology to oversee inventory levels across all sales channels.  Use an automated order and inventory management solution to keep close tabs on every item in inventory, to track bin levels to know when to reorder and restock the best-selling products.  Alerts and reports help retailers determine when to discount or drop slow moving items and when to expand product offerings.  This way, they can quickly respond to changing market and consumer demands to keep inventory levels where they need to be.  This provides greater inventory control and helps avoid out of stock situations.  

Whether shipping direct or drop shipping from a warehouse or fulfillment center, cross channel inventory and purchasing control are essential across all platforms including third party eCommerce options. With an automated and integrated inventory system retailers will be better equipped to flexibly source inventory and handle complex supplier and multi-supplier fulfillment requirements to better meet customers’ demands.

Read more, access our latest whitepaper; Is Your Back Office Keeping Up With Your Online Store?  The Top 5 1/2 Reasons You Need an Order Management Solution.



[1] Why RFID impact on inventory inaccuracy is the key in most ROI calculations – http://www.rfidarena.com/2013/5/23/why-rfid-impact-on-inventory-inaccuracy-is-the-key-in-most-roi-calculations.aspx

 

Gift Retailers Rely on Online Presence and Presents

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Posted by: Laura Hills, Vice President of Marketing

John Keiser, president of the Gift and Home Trade Association based in Marietta, Georgia acknowledges that the recent economic challenges weeded out the serious gift retailers from those people who had some extra money and thought it would be a neat idea to open up a gift store around a central theme.   For gift retailers, thinking outside the box and increasingly thinking beyond their brick and mortar locations has been crucial to their continued growth and success.  According to Nancy Lee, president of MyRegistry.com, a NJ based free online gift registry for weddings, baby showers and other occasions, “…it is becoming essential for even the smallest gift stores to have a web presence.  Without a web presence, gift retailers can be completely overlooked.”

Gift stores typically cater to wants rather than needs and cautious consumer spending along with changing demographics have greatly affected gift buying habits.  The gift industry has been heavily affected by online shopping as more people turn to convenient, readily available online options to fill their gift-giving requirements.  This has required retailers to establish a recognizable brand identity across multiple channels to continually attract new customers as well as repeat buyers.   Being able to offer one-of-a-kind quality merchandise not commonly found in larger retail stores along with providing exceptional customer service in an engaging shopping environment, whether online or in a store, can make a gift retailer the go to source for the many gift-giving occasions throughout the year.  Even target destination venue gift shops, such as zoos, colleges, national parks and museums have created online eCommerce sites that offer their products to wider audiences without ever leaving home.

Whether your gift business focuses on a central theme (pre-made gift baskets, chocolates, flowers, specialty foods, unique clothing and accessories, etc.) or provides a variety of items, once you have created and sourced the products that you will offer, it is essential to create a website that attractively and accurately displays the items, provides selling features, appealing graphics and pictures or videos along with interesting descriptions to attract interest.  Running a multichannel gift business that includes an eCommerce store in addition to your brick and mortar storefront can present unique challenges.  Ask any gift store retailer and they’ll tell you that opening their gift store wasn’t the hard part – staying in business is.

At Dydacomp we’ve worked with many SMB gift retailers and, through their experiences, have learned what has been most effective in helping them grow.  From these experiences, we have put together a paper entitled: “Food & Beverage Gifts of Distinction – Best Practices in Specialty Food & Beverage Retailing” offering suggestions and references that can help you reduce costs, increase efficiency, improve the shopping experience and get your message out across multiple channels.  Click here to download this whitepaper.

M.O.M. Customers Attending Dydacomp User Conference & IRCE Attendees Agree That Order Management Is “In”

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Posted by: Laura Hills, VP Marketing

Having just returned from a weeklong trip to Chicago for Dydacomp’s 2013 User Conference and exhibiting at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exposition (IRCE), I wanted to share some feedback, tips and perspectives on the business of Order Management.

The Dydacomp User Conference brought together a variety of our Multichannel Order Manager (M.O.M.) and SiteLINK eCommerce web store customers for a program featuring Dydacomp corporate and product updates along with wisdom shared by a panel of customers, industry experts, influencers and partners.  Not to mention the networking among customers that is always a highlight.

Fred Lizza, CEO, shared Dydacomp’s mission to simplify conducting and growing commerce for small and mid-size businesses.  He shared some impressive statistics based upon the aggregate of Dydacomp’s customer-base merchant accounts.  Over $2.6 billion sold and fulfilled in 2012 with more than 80,000 orders placed and shipped daily.  On an average day our customers invoiced and posted over $8 million and managed over $4 billion in inventory.  These businesses may be classified as SMB but nothing they do is small.  Their contribution to our economy and the impact they have on their customers is BIG.

Curt Barry, President of F. Curtis Barry & Company, delivered the conference keynote entitled You Can’t Improve Something You Haven’t Measured.  And When You Do – What’s Your Strategy? By sharing his wisdom related to measurements and strategies across merchandising, inventory management, marketing and fulfillment, Curt accomplished just what he set out to do –get our audience thinking, and more specifically, thinking about the metrics behind the business strategy.  Regardless of the business size, whether you’re an etailer, retailer or running a distribution or fulfillment business, what are the metrics that matter to you and what metrics help you determine if the business is going in the right direction?

Through the variety of  sessions and conversations at our User Conference followed by myriad conversations with attendees at the IRCE, one thing was apparent – “Order Management” is now a term that is top-of-mind.  After a couple of decades, it’s becoming understood and accepted for its place in business success – the “in” thing.

At our conference and at the IRCE, we heard time and again that the merchant’s website has become the center of their universe; even if their customers are catalogers or visit their retail stores.  Everyone was trying to figure out the true value of social media; particularly Facebook and Twitter.  They knew they ‘had to be there’ but are their customers really making buying decisions there?  No question that a social media approach is good for business, but is the chatter effective or just noise?

Everyone agreed that product videos have become effective sales tools, and the more homemade the video, the better.  Consumers love to hear the opinions of others – even better when you can see it in action.  One customer now has a video for every product on their website and it’s had a direct and measurable impact on business growth.

We learned so much from our time with our customers, partners and the internet retailers we met at the IRCE.  We are the multichannel order management provider with the longest and deepest experience in our industry.  We’ll share more wisdom and tips as time goes on.  In the meantime, you can follow us on Twitter (‏@Dydacomp) and/or like us on Facebook.