Archive for the ‘Email Marketing’ Category

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.

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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).

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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 »

It’s time! Get Your eCommerce Site Ready for the Holidays

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Posted by: Laura Hills, VP Marketing, Dydacomp

It’s that time of year – shoppers are starting their holiday shopping earlier and earlier and retailers need to be ready with timely offers, the right amount of inventory, and sufficient staff to handle the demand and to be ready to keep up with customer demand.  For a growing number of consumers, Back to School signals the start of the holiday shopping season.


When Consumers Begin Holiday Shopping

 

When consumers begin holiday shopping

Source: National Retail Federation (NRF) 2012
Following the lead of these early birds, well prepared retailers can begin holiday advertising and promotions to catch the almost 40% of shoppers who start shopping in September and October.  Help them to find the perfect gifts at the right prices early on.

Here are 5 Top Insights to help you prepare for the 2013 holiday shopping season.

  1. Free shipping increases online spending – but it must be managed appropriately. Take advantage of group shipping rates and “least-cost shipping” options to increase bottom line revenue.
  2. Manage stock levels to meet seasonal demand spikes and maintain inventory control. Be prepared for the Black Friday through Cyber Monday sales period.  Use last year’s sales as a benchmark for this year’s needs.
  3. Leverage best practices to ensure that you have visibility across all sales channels. Utilize cross channel online inventory control especially if you use third party eCommerce solutions and offsite fulfillment centers – have what you need so you don’t disappoint.
  4. Employ marketing and customer service approaches that work to engage and delight your shoppers. Use customer data to segment your site visitors and create targeted marketing for each segment. There’s no such thing as an over-satisfied customer.
  5. Optimize your existing operations to enable expansion into new marketplaces to uncover more buyers. Focus on the consumer experience and preferences that drive shopper’s choices. Don’t forget about Amazon, eBay and other online outlets for sales.

 

For additional information on how to be prepared for the upcoming holiday season access our on-demand webinar, “The Top 5 Insights to Help Prepare for Season and Holiday Rushes”.  You and your shoppers will be glad you did!

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SMB Marketing Tactics Help Win and Retain Customers

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Posted by Laura Hills, VP Marketing, Dydacomp

SMB marketers share many of the same challenges as their larger counterparts and have the same desire to make their companies successful.  What is interesting, according to a recent study conducted by BtoB Magazine[1] is that SMB marketers are more active in social media marketing than marketers at larger companies and are also more likely to rely on content, email, search techniques and webinars than marketers overall.

This study found that email is the favored distribution channel for SMB marketers, with 71% citing this as their most important channel compared with 64% of marketers overall.   Content marketing was identified as the number one role for all marketers coming in ahead of branding, managing the website, company events and search marketing.  Seventy percent of SMB marketers see content marketing as their primary task compared with just 58% of marketers overall. Webinars and virtual events are used more often by SMBs at 35% versus 28% for marketers overall.

Another study that looked at marketing tactics used by SMBs found that 38% of small businesses offer customer loyalty programs.  BIA/Kelsey’s ongoing study of advertising behaviors, “Local Commerce Monitor” shows that SMBs use of loyalty programs has remained steady from 2012 to 2013 with 21% likely to add loyalty programs within the next 12 months.  Businesses are recognizing that these programs are important to customer retention and will help them to increase their sales.  SMBs tailor their loyalty program offerings and rewards to fit their frequent customer profile and target specific customer segments.   SMBs are taking advantage of transaction marketing tactics that include deals, coupons and loyalty programs to win and retain as many customers as possible.

For additional information on best practices for growing your business, we invite you to view our on demand webinar Tips, Tricks and Tools You Need to Drive Business Growth in 2013.



[1] “Defining the Modern Marketer: SMBs Driving Results.”  Sponsored by Eloqua. Conducted by BtoB Magazine, May – June 2013.

 

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Shorter Holiday Selling Season Calls for Creative Retailing

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Posted by: Laura Hills, VP Marketing

Retailers aren’t letting a shorter holiday selling season in 2013 [there were 32 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2012 but only 26 days this year] dampen their sales expectations as they gear up for this year’s holiday shopping.

As evidence of the optimistic outlook, the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported that the country’s retail container ports are anticipating a 5.1% increase in the number of cargo containers in September 2013 over September 2012.  Import volume at the New York and New Jersey ports is expected to rise 10.6% over 2012 in the fourth quarter of this year and first quarter 2014 deliveries are expected to increase 6.7% over 2013.  It looks like retailers are eager to stock up to be ready to meet customer demands.

Several factors are contributing to the positive outlook for holiday sales.  Ben Hackett, founder of Hackett Associates who produced the NRF’s Global Port Tracker Report noted that “Second quarter GDP was well above expectations and surprised most forecasters, the unemployment picture is improving, and we believe consumer confidence will translate into increased sales during the fourth quarter.”  Despite ongoing concerns related to the shorter selling season, the consumer spending impact of a government shutdown, increased payroll taxes, unemployment levels, and small income gains, the National Retail Federation expects U.S. sales in November and December to rise 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion. That would surpass the 3.5 percent increase seen in 2012 and average growth of 3.3 percent over the past decade.  Retailers have already started the big holiday push and will keep this up to attract shoppers across all channels.

Retailers who don’t want to wait for Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming up with creative ways to attract customers sooner.  Here are some suggestions to attract more people to your site this holiday season:

  • Be mobile optimized.  You can’t ignore the trend.  More and more shoppers are using smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices not only to browse, but also to shop and place orders.  There’s no telling when, where and on what device your shoppers will be accessing your site so it’s up to you to be sure everything looks great and works well across all devices and across all of your shopping channels.
  • Have real people available to respond to inquiries.  Help shoppers resolve any ordering issues that they encounter.  Don’t lose or frustrate customers by not being able to talk to a ‘live’ person during the holiday season.
  • Put together gift suggestion guides on your website and email the link to your loyal customers.  It’s not always easy coming up with just the right gift and shoppers will appreciate your help.
  • Attract early shoppers by starting now.  Twenty percent of shoppers will start their holiday shopping in October, so don’t wait for Black Friday to get their attention.  Time your promotions and let customers know that you’re fully stocked and ready to meet their holiday shopping needs.
  • Plan a holiday season contest.  Contests are a good way to drive business and get new customers for your brand.  According to Listrak, three to four percent of recipients of contest offers place orders from the registration confirmation email.  Contests such as name Santa’s newest elf will engage shoppers.  Encouraging your audience to vote for their favorite names enables you to widen your reach even more.

For additional information on how to be prepared for the upcoming holiday season, access our on demand webinar, “The Top 5 Insights to Help Prepare for Season and Holiday Rushes.”  Happy selling!

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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.

 


August Deals Can Boost Your eCommerce Sales

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Posted by Laura Hills, VP Marketing, Dydacomp

According to Jeanette Pavini, popular MarketWatch columnist, August is a great month for deals that include and extend beyond the typical back-to-school items. [1] Today’s shoppers are armed with up-to-date information on what sales and offers are trending so they look for great prices on items such as computers and other electronics, storage systems, cleaning supplies and even last minute summer vacations during August.  While August is also a good month to buy a car, auto accessories are becoming increasingly popular gifts.  You can read about consumer guidance for purchases in August in an article by Lindsay Sakraida in DealNews entitled “The Best and Worst Things to Buy in August.”

If you offer these items, be sure your customers are aware of any deals and special offers that you may be promoting by creating targeted promotions and messaging to keep key shoppers informed.  Some states even offer tax holidays 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.

See the full text of Jeanette’s article for additional consumer advice that shoppers may be looking at to take advantage of the August sales and determine if you can get in on offering bargains to attract new or repeat customers.  You can also view our webinar on demand entitled Tips, Tricks and Tools You Need to Drive Business Growth in 2013.

Happy selling!



[1] August Best Buys Start with Back-to-school Clothes  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323854904578635951961932538.html

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.

Make Your Inventory Work Smarter–Use Multichannel Order History to Take Advantage of June Shopping Trends for Dads, Grads and Brides

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Posted by: Laura Hills, VP Marketing,

Beyond traditional Father’s Day, graduation and wedding gifts (e.g. electronics, power tools, and household items), auto parts and home improvement products (e.g. paint, hardware and garden supplies) now rank high for purchases made in June.  In fact, FatWallet (an online shopping resource for millions of consumers) has seen a 65% increase in online sales made at top retailers from Memorial Day sales through Father’s Day since 2010.

“June may seem like a flat month for shopping and saving, when in fact, it’s a better time to buy a number of homeowner must-haves versus any other time of year,” stated Brent Shelton, FatWallet Spokesperson.  “With three weeks of sales events for these categories, consumers have time to shop smarter by comparing the variety of savings offered to them,” continued Shelton. “Every retailer will have products priced to get shoppers’ attention, so it’s a great time to buy gear for the guys.”

Whether you sell online, by catalogue or in person, ensure your retail inventory is well positioned to work smart for you by taking advantage of shoppers’ demands for Dad, Grads and Brides in June. Just follow these key tips:

#1 – Identify and target your best customers and prospects.  If you are not marketing effectively to your existing customers then you are missing out on the best opportunity to capitalize on your inventory and grow your business.

#2 – Ensure you have visibility into prior customer orders and preferences across all channels.  This will allow you to easily segment your list and target specific offers to increase response rates from your best shoppers.

#3 – Make your inventory work smarter for you by using order history across multiple channels as a gauge for buyer behaviors to adjust inventory levels needed every day versus what’s needed during peak periods.

For additional tips on how to better focus your target marketing efforts, click here to download Dydacomp’s special report, “Retail Trends – Is Your Back Office Keeping Up With Your Online Store?

The MarketWatch press release, “June Shopping Trends Lead to Sales Growth in Tools, Automotive and Home Improvement,” can be accessed at http://www.marketwatch.com/story/june-shopping-trends-lead-to-sales-growth-in-tools-automotive-and-home-improvement-2013-05-31.

 

 

Last Minute Holiday Tips for Your eCommerce Store

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Posted by Fred Lizza, CEO, Dydacomp

The results are in and Cyber Monday was a resounding success for etailers. But online merchants are still working feverishly to boost end of year revenues. Below are a couple of recommendations to help you make this holiday season even stronger.

PriceGrabber conducted a recent survey and found that 88% of respondents plan on conducting research before moving forward with a gift purchase. To ensure these shoppers are finding you, syndicate your product listings across the Web’s most popular shopping channels. Using a solution such as GoDataFeed will help you gain visibility on more than 70 online comparison shopping sites, marketplaces and affiliate networks

You should also have several promotions standing by in case sales aren’t exactly where you want them to be this time of year. For example, if you ran a free shipping promotion that didn’t boost sales, try offering ‘buy one get one’ discounts. Or offer a discount with a coupon code that gets circulated on the coupon sites. These sites are free and give you additional opportunities to reach those researching shoppers.

Another powerful promotion you can run is targeted to abandoned shopping carts. If you’re able to capture the email from an abandoned cart, you can send an automated email with an additional discount offer if the transaction is completed. This will go a long way in pushing that order through and gaining a new customer.

These are just a handful of tips that will help you this holiday season. Feel free to contact us at info@dydacomp.com or 800-858-3666 if you have any questions or would like additional tips.