Archive for the ‘Webinar’ Category

Using Social Media To Help Grow Your eCommerce Business

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Posted by Laura Hills, VP Marketing, Dydacomp

multichannel-order-management-social-media

Marketers are placing a high value on social media with 86% of marketers responding to a recent survey indicating that social media is important for their business.  This is up from 83% in 2012.  Facebook and LinkedIn are the two most important social networks for marketers and if forced to choose only one platform, 49% of marketers responded that they would select Facebook.  Despite Facebook’s popularity among the marketers surveyed, only about one in three find their Facebook efforts are effective.

In a recent survey of Dydacomp SMB retail customers, 50% of respondents indicated that social media is one of the emerging channels that they plan to leverage in 2013.

The 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report conducted by SocialMediaExaminer.com reveals current and relevant insight to marketers as they evaluate their social media marketing efforts.  This annual survey, now in its fifth year, of 3,000 marketers seeks to understand and then share how social media is used to grow and promote a wide range of B2C and B2B businesses.  A little more than half of the respondents are self-employed or work for small businesses (2 to 10 people).  Responses are summarized and presented in easy to read and follow graphics with nearly 70 charts to visually convey the report’s findings.

Get information about social media time commitment, benefits, pitfalls and platforms that your peers and perhaps competitors are using and compare yourself against other marketers.  Are you getting the same results?  What more should you be doing?

The 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report is a must read for anyone that needs to evaluate the commitment to social media marketing.  Click here to access this special report.

 

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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!

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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!

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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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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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Almost 40% of All Amazon Retail Sales are Generated by 3rd Party Online Merchants – Are You One of Them?

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Laura Hills, VP of Marketing, Dydacomp

Twenty percent of all people will visit Amazon online this year. Amazon continues to be the most visited online retailer to-date.  The Amazon Marketplace represents an opportunity for your business to reach over 173 million new customers and can enable you to achieve significant growth. One longtime electronics seller, Amazing Deals Online–who has been on Amazon for twelve years– reported a record holiday season in 2012 with an over 70 percent increase in sales from 2011. Now that’s a pretty impressive statistic.

Amazon’s strategy focuses on three core values:

  1. selection,
  2. price, and
  3. convenience with the goal of offering the widest possible selection of items at the best Dydacomp-Amazonprice while providing the easiest repeat shopping experience.

Third party online merchants fit right into this strategy because they enable Amazon to offer wider product selections to a vast audience. In a note to investors just before Amazon reported its 2012 year-end results Stifel Nicolaus analyst Jordan Rohan said he believes the value of merchandise sold by Amazon versus third parties on Amazon (known as gross merchandise value, or GMV) has just about hit a 50-50 split. By 2015, Rohan says Amazon will hit $180 billion in GMV, and third-party sellers will be responsible for most of those dollars. Shouldn’t your company be tapping into this resource?

Amazon has tremendous power as a sales channel and the Amazon Marketplace enables businesses to sell products directly to end users on Amazon.  Listing your products on Amazon Marketplace will get your products in front of a significant volume of traffic.  So, if you want to sell more products, extend your geographic presence, build brand awareness and increase overall sales and revenue, Amazon Marketplace could be just what you need.

To help you get started, Dydacomp has created a special on-demand webinar that provides additional information on selling through Amazon Marketplace.  It is a must watch if you are considering Amazon Marketplace or looking for a more efficient way to manage your existing Amazon Account.  Click here to access this free on-demand webinar.

registerwebinar

 

Same Item Sold Twice??? Managing Inventory in an eCommerce World

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Multichannel selling is complicated enough without having to deal with inventory challenges. For example, if you’re selling on Amazon, eBay and your eCommerce site, how can you ensure that you’re not selling the same item twice? You need to be able to accurately track your inventory across all channels.

At the same time, when it comes to inventory, the last thing you want is to have too much on hand and too few orders coming in, leading to reduced margins. You also don’t want to have too little inventory on hand, resulting in backorders, cancellations, and lost customers. It’s a balancing act and it is major issue for all companies.

Selling in multiple channels significantly complicates inventory management and other business processes. Visibility into your inventory and forecasting is critical to a healthy operation, and that’s why you must attend Wednesday’s business-critical webinar!

In 60 minutes, you’ll discover the keys to inventory management including tracking inventory across eCommerce operations, catalog fulfillment, managing continuity programs and drop shipping. You’ll gain expert insight to keep orders flowing out the door.

By attending, you’ll also learn how to:

  • Gain insight into the needs of your customers to drive up sales
  • Track inventory on eBay, your website, offsite fulfillment centers and/or shopping channels like Amazon fulfillment
  • Determine what products are selling and what periods may require more inventory
  • Decide when to unload inventory on a business channel such as eBay
  • Manage inventory products sold as a set or group with a special price
  • Accurately allocate inventory to any channel

Wednesday, September 12th
12:00PM – 1:00PM ET
Click here to register now!

Process and Fulfill more orders with less staff : Why You Need an Order Management System

Monday, August 20th, 2012

You’ve done a great job getting your eCommerce store up and running. Now comes the hard part… fulfilling orders!

Does this sound familiar? You thought you could do everything using your eCommerce platform but you’re quickly finding large gaps and bottlenecks in your processes. It’s becoming a headache to fulfill the orders, print out the paperwork, find the inventory, and integrate with a shipper. You’ve reached the tipping point where you now need a solution to help your business grow.

Attend Dydacomp’s informative webinar on August 29th to find out how an order management system can make your life so much easier. This is a must-attend event if you want to be able to seamlessly process a growing number of orders and keep your customers happy.

By attending, you’ll discover how to:

  • Integrate all of your sales channels, order management, accounting, and shipping systems
  • Gain greater inventory controls and establish the best inventory levels
  • Manage everything from simple quantity discounts to the most complex “product-of-the-month” club
  • Improve customer service and create targeted email campaigns
  • Build reports that support every area of your business operation
  • Eliminate double entry of data

Wednesday, August 29th
12:00PM – 1:00PM ET
Click here to register now!