Posts Tagged ‘ecommerce tips’

Romance and Winter Deals Attract Shoppers

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Posted by: Laura Hills, VP Marketing, Dydacomp

At this point consumers have received their holiday bills and they’re paying them off, just in time for the next popular gift giving occasion –Valentine’s Day.  For retailers, Valentine’s Day has become more than just a holiday to celebrate love, it’s an important part of retail’s winter season. Consumer spending on Valentine’s Day gifts results in notable retail sales, so much so that many businesses see it in their bottom line each year.

Valentine’s Day has become a global holiday celebrating love and romance that often includes gifts from chocolate and flowers to over-spending on lavish gifts.  Men reportedly outspend their female counterparts by two to one.  Fat Wallet, a growing resource for online shoppers, is predicting Valentine’s Day Sales to reach $19 billion this year and is ready with special deals and coupon offers.  In 2013 CNN reported that 40.7% of people used their smart phone to make a Valentine’s Day purchase.

So how can your customers show their love and affection while still trying to save some money?  And what about other good deals typically found in February?  We turn to Jeanette Pavini, MarketWatch columnist to help us navigate Valentine’s Day opportunities and beyond. Online and multi-channel retailers can take advantage of Jeanette’s insight and plan promotions to attract online shoppers for everything from romantic gifts to tax preparation software and more.

Here are Jeanette’s recommendations to shoppers:

  • The more than 23,000 jewelry stores in the U.S. sold an estimated $2.8 billion of merchandise in February 2013, thanks to Valentine’s Day. Engagement rings and diamonds are a good buy in February and this year the halo setting (a small circle of diamonds around a center stone) is the trendy design.  In addition, earrings and bracelets are popular and many retailers will be offering good deals to showcase their products and move their inventory.  One note of caution – be sure to keep the store tags on any jewelry that you buy until you are sure the person wants to keep the item.  Returning jewelry can sometimes be tricky.
  • Perfume is a popular Valentine’s Day gift and many retailers opt to promote fragrances by offering a gift with purchase.  Some of the best gift with purchase deals can be found in February.  Check the sizes and prices carefully; you typically pay less per ounce when buying the larger size.
  • Tax preparation software companies are getting more creative in selling their once a year products. TurboTax has teamed up with Amazon to offer special incentives on their products, offering a $50 upgrade to TurboTax Deluxe users who opt to put $500 of their refund toward an Amazon gift card.  Items that can help people get organized for tax preparation will be welcome at this time of year also.
  • Travel to Europe is a bargain because it is cold there which tends to keep people away.  Cities like London or Paris have plenty of indoor attractions and airlines are offering good deals (with the exception of President’s Day – February 17).  Europe’s Carnival season has been slow in recent years and prices are expected to remain low all winter.  Hawaii’s peak season doesn’t get underway until mid-March so if you’ve got the time, you can book before airfare and hotel rates rise. Travel accessories and off-season clothing would play well with these travelers.
  • February is Canned Food Month and you can stock up and save especially with the family-sized options.  Just keep an eye on the expiration dates and be sure to buy only what you know you’ll use.  This is a good time to buy canned goods to donate to food pantries – the items are on sale and the need is high as the holiday donation season has ended. If you have a disaster supply kit (and if you don’t now’s a good time to think about creating one), swap out your close to expiration canned goods and replace with the sale items you can pick up in February.

Take advantage of historical sales and shopper patterns to see which of your customers could use some ideas for Valentine’s Day.  Be the online retailer to offer specials, sales and promotions to attract your best, repeat customers.  Get your offers out early and often to capture shoppers’ attention and be ready to fill last minute orders for procrastinators.  Keep your audience informed and be sure you are visible across all platforms.

The full text of Jeanette’s article, “Winter Deals That Might Surprise You” can be found at

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/
SB10001424052702304007504579347021413822800
.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day and happy selling!

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

Holiday Season Offers Exceptional Deals

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Posted by: Laura Hills, VP Marketing, Dydacomp

Consumers have become savvy shoppers and adapted to the spending cycle of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.  While they clamber for deals over this weekend, they also realize that more promotions will follow over the next few weeks.   With only 25 shopping days this season, retailers are pulling out all stops to attract shoppers both in store and online.

Jeanette Pavini, MarketWatch.com columnist has provided some shopping insights for consumers looking to take advantage of great deals and discounts to help them fill the stockings of family and friends. These cover a wide range of products to help buyers stretch holiday dollars. Below are items that she is highlighting to shoppers as trends for December.

  • Classic Toys are never out of style.  Kids may have digital wants but according to the National Retail Federation’s 2013 Top Toys Survey, classics like Barbies and Legos still make it to the top of many wish lists.  Lego offers bundled sets at one low price that can be given as two separate gifts.  If you order Barbie and accessories from the Mattel website, signing up for their email list before you shop will save you 10%.  If you missed the Thanksgiving and Black Friday toy specials, you can still get a bargain as many of the season’s most popular toys are discounted even more in December.

  • Hot items from the NFL.  If your NFL team is like mine and out of the running for a playoff spot, you may be able to grab some clearance priced licensed gear during December.  And these prices will likely go lower after December 25th as retailers try to empty their shelves. Game tickets are also subject to a team’s success (or lack of) with underperforming team tickets available at a discount – TiqIQ’s NFL Power Rankings has the average price for the Jacksonville Jaguars at $59 whereas Chicago Bears tickets are averaging $374.

  • DVDs can be a great buy. Blockbuster is closing its doors, announcing the closing of its remaining 300 stores by January.  They have planned giant close out sales for movies, music and even video games.  In addition, with more people streaming movies, stores are finding themselves with excess DVD inventory.  Clearance bins often have great buys on popular and classic movies.
  • We all need clothing. If you can wait until December 26th, the bargains will get better.  Clothing, accessories, and shoes are the most returned gifts which often get further mark downs before being returned to the shelves.  Excess inventory will typically be reduced after the holiday for even more savings.
  • The go-to Gift Card.  Many retailers and restaurants offer gift card bonuses at this time of year. Buy a specified amount of gift cards and get a bonus gift card that you can give as a gift or use to treat yourself.  Just be sure to check the fine print and expiration date of the bonus cards – these often expire within a shorter time period and may require a minimum purchase.

Great offers that no one knows about won’t bring shoppers to your store or website so continue to reach out to your shoppers with whatever promotions and deals you are offering.  For additional holiday sales strategies, view Dydacomp’s webinar, The Top 5 Insights to Help Prepare for Seasonal and Holiday Rushes.   

The full text of Jeanette’s article, “Surprising Deals of the Holiday Season” can be found at MarketWatch.  http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304011304579220462813394556

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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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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Mobile Device Shoppers Taking the Lead in Online Spending – Are They Finding You?

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Posted by: Laura Hills, VP Marketing

In the second quarter of 2013, consumers using smartphones and tablets increased their online spending by 24% over 2012 reports comScore Inc., the global leader and preferred source for digital business analytics.  Internet Retailer estimates that total online sales increased 16.2% to $54.54 billion for the same time period.

comScore also reports that the 2013 second quarter sales marks the 15th consecutive positive quarter for eCommerce and the 11th consecutive quarter of double digit growth.   “Increased spending growth for the second quarter not only reflects the long term shift towards digital commerce, but also the near-term signals of sustained improvement in consumer sentiment,” says Gian Fulgoni, comScore chairman.

This is definitely positive news for online retailers, but only if shoppers can easily find them online. Etailers need to be sure to focus on getting in front of their ideal customers and prospective customers through direct site, paid search and search engine access. It is easy to identify just how easy (or difficult) it is to find your business by doing your own searches to see where you are listed on the popular search engines.  And don’t hesitate to look for help if needed to boost your rankings – not everyone’s an SEO specialist.

With over 5 billion Google searches per day, more than half done on a mobile device, your business may be hard to find.  Know the keywords that people are using to find you, and be sure your site is optimized for SEO rankings.

About.com offers the top 10 factors that positively affect your search engine rankings: [1]

1.        Keyword Use in Title Tag

2.        Anchor Text of Inbound Links

3.        Global Link Popularity of Site

4.        Age of Site

5.        Link Popularity within the Site’s Internal Link Structure

6.        Topical Relevance of Inbound Links to Site

7.        Link Popularity of Site in Topical Community

8.        Keyword Use in Body Text

9.        Global Link Popularity of Linking Site

10.     Topical Relationship of Linking Page

In addition, be active on social networks where your customers are likely to be.  Update your site content and offer promotions and/or links that direct them to relevant content, giving visitors reasons to visit often while keeping the search engines running. Your site should be optimized to be displayed and function across all popular devices.  Make sure that there is no loss of integrity or functionality on mobile platforms as more and more shoppers are using them to making their online purchases.

For additional tips on managing your retail back office operations, read this white paper entitled:  “Is Your Back Office Keeping Up With Your Online Store?”


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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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The Top 5 Business Issues You Need to Fix Today

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Posted by: Molly Griffin, Marketing Associate

2011 was a record year for eCommerce sales as companies achieved double-digit growth compared to 2010. U.S. e-commerce sales totaled $194.3 billion in 2011, up 16.1% from $167.3 billion in 2010, according to an estimate released by the U.S. Commerce Department.

But merchants expand online business and sales increase, some businesses struggle due to inadequate eCommerce sites that fail to meet customer expectations. These issues can arise when eCommerce sites lack the synchronization needed to ensure a seamless online shopping experience. Not even the top retailers can avoid all issues completely. Electronics provider Best Buy had to cancel orders from November and December due to a system error, leaving holiday shoppers scrambling to find gifts in time. Learn how accurate inventor management, customer management, seamless order processing, and more can help you prevent issues from arising in your business.

Join us for a webinar to learn the top 5 business issues you need to fix now on Thursday, February 23rd at 2pm EST. If you want to ensure that your business is running smoothly and able to capitalize on the projected growth in 2012, this is a must attend webinar. Citing data from the $4 billion in annual multichannel sales from Dydacomp’s merchant community, this event will expose the five key issues that you have to address in order to successfully drive new sales, grow your customer base, and experience that double-digit growth.

By attending this webinar, you’ll find out:

  • More effectively market to your customers and prospects
  • Smash through the bottlenecks that are standing in the way of growth
  • Transform your customer service team into knowledge workers
  • Streamline key processes to dramatically boost productivity

 Title: The Top 5 Business Issues You Need to Fix Today

Date: Thursday, February 23rd

Time:2:00PM – 3:00PM EST

Register now!

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Ecommerce Success This Holiday Season

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Posted by: Molly Griffin, Marketing Associate

Online sales continue to reach record levels as the end to the 2011 holiday season quickly approaches.  Comscore reported today that total holiday eCommerce spending for the first 46 days of the November – December 2011 holiday season has reached $30.9 billion, a 15% increase versus the same time in 2010.  Free Shipping Day 2011 (Friday December 16) ended with an astonishing $1.07 billion in eCommerce sales, a 14% increase from 2010.

Free Shipping has been a major eCommerce trend from the start this holiday season. Dydacomp CEO Fred Lizza was recently quoted in a recent article for eCommerceTimes discussing the power of free shipping. Fred stated:

“We’ve seen statistics suggesting that over 50 percent of retailers are offering free shipping this year. Retailers have found room in their budgets to provide this to lure more consumers to shop with them. And it’s working…” Click here to continue reading the eCommerceTimes article.

Accurate inventory management was another influential factor on eCommerce sales this holiday season.  It enables eCommerce business run efficiently and ensure customers received their orders on time.  Fred was quoted in a BizReport article advising merchants on the importance of inventory management during this busy holiday season:

“Inventory tracking is a ‘gotta-have’. In today’s economy, there’s a very high price for lost sales because of out-of-stock conditions, and absolutely nobody wants to carry excess inventory. Shoppers will not tolerate ordering a product, then being told later it’s out of stock. They want to know at the time of placing an order – online, by phone or in-store – that the items is available, in-stock and when it will be shipped and delivered. That’s especially critical as the holidays get closer…” Click here to continue reading and to learn more eCommerce tips to end this holiday season a high note.

Be sure you also take a minute to review Fred’s top five tips, from an article in Retail Online Integration, to ensure your eCommerce site is optimized and ready to finish the holiday season strong.

What tips do you have to share with other merchants on what enabled you capture eCommerce sales this holiday season?

Good luck and we hope wish you a  successful end to 2011 holiday season.

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Important Multichannel Order Manager Tip for Your Multichannel Business

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Posted by: Bill Houghton, Dydacomp Implementation Team 

The holiday season has kicked into high gear and online measurement firm ComScore reports that holiday season eCommerce spending during the first 34 days of the holiday shopping season is quickly approaching $20 billion. Comscore also reported that this is a 15% increase in eCommerce spending compare to the same time period in 2010.

Dydacomp Support team is on standby to help ensure the success of your business during this busy time.  It’s highly recommended that you backup your M.O.M. systems as often as possible to ensure the integrity of the data during this busy holiday season. Also, make sure you test the backup version to verify that it contains a full working copy of the entire MOMWIN folder. For more information on how to backup your M.O.M. system, visit this blog.

I also wanted to bring up an important feature in M.O.M. that is often unutilized by many M.O.M. users. M.O.M. provides your business the ability to assign and manage Product Attributes in both your SiteLINK eCommerce store and your Multichannel Order Manager System.  If set up properly, product attributes provide a simple way to setup size/color items. Once set up, these features help to improve the quality of your website and facilitate the customer’s ability to order the product that fits their needs. They will also enable you to improve your inventory management efficiency which will contribute to the overall improvement of your order management processes.

Failure to establish product attributes will display product information in normal listing of size color items on a web page or when placing them on an order.  This can be tiresome and tedious if you have a large number of size color items to hunt through as seen below:

Once you set up product attributes, you can create  more innovative and functional design to allow customers/order takers to easily perform a size color search:

Product attributes also allow you to create drop down menus and radio button selection options for your size/color choices to make it easier to select which attributes you want listed on your site.  Product Attributes enable you to keep all size color products at a base price and then modify items to change any unit price.  These features can enable you to cut your product setup time in half.

To set up products attributes, go to the Product drop down menu, and select the Maintain Stock Items option. Once in the Stock Item lookup screen, select the product you wish to add product attributes to. Once in the Stock Item screen, select the Product Attributes Tab and check the box for Enable Product Attributes. Then you can add the size/color attributes to that stock item:

Hope this helps to improve the management of your M.O.M system during this busy time of year. If you have any questions please contact support at 973-237-0300 or online at the support section of the website. 

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Free Shipping This Holiday Season

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Posted by: Molly Griffin, Marketing Associate

Free shipping has become one of the most popular incentives offered by eCommerce retailers during the holiday season to increase online sales.  According to ComScore, free shipping promotions have helped to boost spending as over half of all online transactions so far this holiday season have involved free shipping. Comscore also reported that in the 2010 holiday season, consumers who received free shipping on an order spent about 15% more than those who did not.   If you haven’t joined the free shipping trend this year, it might be time to give in and accept that the incentive could  help  increase your online sales.

One way to incorporate a free shipping offer this holiday season is to sign up for Free Shipping Day 2011 on December 16. The Free Shipping Day event has already attracted more than 1,500 registered merchants who will offer free shipping for the 24-hour period with guaranteed delivery by December 24th.  Last year’s Free Shipping Day was the third heaviest online spending day of the year at $942 million, so don’t miss out on this great opportunity to capture new sales.

To register, simply sign up on the Free Shipping Day website  by selecting the ‘Merchant Sign-Up’ link, providing a quick summary of your business on the online form, and then selecting the product category that you wish to be listed in on the site. Best of all participation in the program is free for merchants and it’s a great opportunity to generate new traffic to your site.

Before you register for this 24hour event, you should evaluate the impact the day might have on your eCommerce business. You want to ensure that you can offer free shipping to customers while still making a profit on December 16, 2011. One option to can consider is offering free shipping on orders over a certain amount, which would still qualify you for a listing on the Free Shipping Day website.

You also want to make sure that your eCommerce site is equipped to handle the influx of orders that will occur on December 16, 2011.  Take a minute to check out Dydacomp’s best practices for online retailers during the holiday season to help guide you to ensure that your online store is prepared to handle this busy holiday Season.

 

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