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The Secret to Shifting Slow-moving Stock

Posted on 06/02/15, filed under eCommerce tips, Storage Space, Warehousing | No Comments

What to do about merchandise that has not proved as popular as anticipated is a quandary all online retailers in every sector face from time-to-time.

We’ve put together some of the top tricks to help you shift your slower-selling stock.

Withdraw items from sale, keeping them for a later date (especially if they are seasonal).  This way, instead of having to reduce the price for ‘sales’ purposes, you can reintroduce the product to the market a year later – still at the original price.

Attach the item to another, faster-moving product, with the slow-moving item effectively offered at a discount if bought with the more popular one.  Customers will find this bundled package a good deal, even if the second item isn’t something they were setting out to buy.  Similarly, you could bundle two or more of the slow-moving items together and offer them at a discount.

Run a one-day only or similar short-term sale.  Hesitant customers will realise they have to buy now, rather than wait and miss the promotion.

Use eBay to target a different, and perhaps larger, market.  It can be done anonymously, so that it does not intrude on your main business, or as an eBay shop.  A larger market can be reached whatever your online retail platform by being prepared to try something differing and make a product that is not selling very well in the UK available internationally.

Reconsider how you present the product.  Are the images right?  Is the language used in the description convincing?  Use your bestselling item as a point of comparison, and also have a look at how a competitor describes a similar product.  Make sure your shipping information is clear, as uncertainty about delivery can deter even the keenest customer.

Add some product reviews and testimonials, if there aren’t any already.

Adjust the price, though not too soon: it is better to do this only if the other steps have proved unsuccessful.  If your competitor is charging less for the item, you should consider following suit.  If you do lower the price by a sizeable margin you should take the opportunity to promote this.  You can do so on your website, via an email promotion or through social media.

With a little ingenuity, and the tips we’ve given above, sales will pick up and you can clear some precious warehouse space, making it available for one of your more profitable product lines.

For more help with making your stock management more efficient, call RT Page on 01903 736300.

How 3PL Can Help Reduce Online Returns

Posted on 22/01/15, filed under eCommerce tips | No Comments

Christmas 2014 was dominated by online sales, with many of the big high street names putting their rise in sales down to significant increases in online purchases. House of Frazer reported a record year for sales, which was boosted by an increase of 31.2% in online sales. Meanwhile, John Lewis reported an increase of 19% in online sales over the five weeks prior to 27th December – 56% of which were click and collect orders.

But whilst these are all significant signs of the growth in ecommerce, there is the inevitable deluge of returns as incorrect or unsuitable items are returned. An estimated £500m worth of unwanted goods are expected to be returned, according to a study by LCP Consulting.

Returns are always going to be a problem for e-tailers but there are ways to help minimise returns and here are our top picks for reducing the rate of returns in 2015:

Provide size guides where necessary
One of the top reasons for online returns is the incorrect size being ordered by the customer. If you’re selling size-related items ensure you are supplying shoppers with a size guide to help them select the right fit. House of Frazer launched a sizing tool for users to input their height and weight, these measurements are then used to suggest product sizes whilst the customer is shopping.

Display plenty of images to illustrate products
Let customers get a good look at what they’re about to buy by displaying as many images as possible. Online-only fashion retailer ASOS even uses a short catwalk video to give their customers a better idea of what the item looks like. This will ensure the product meets your customers’ expectations and minimise returns.

Turn to the experts
For a customer receiving the incorrect item from an online order is frustrating, but also adds unnecessary costs for you. Choosing to work with a reliable 3PL (Third Party Logistics) company will mean you have an expert team and fully-equipped warehouse at your disposal. Using an experienced team, whose job it is to pick and pack online orders on time and correctly, will ensure all of your orders are met, minimise mistakes and, most importantly of all, ensure your customers are happy.

If you would like to speak further with someone about working with an expert warehouse team call RT Page today on 01903 736300.

Consumer Demand Supports 3PL Growth in 2014

Posted on 19/01/15, filed under 3PL | No Comments

2014 was an excellent year for ecommerce businesses. Central to the success was the increase in omni-channel distribution. Omni-channel distribution is the multichannel approach to retail in which retailers create a seamless shopping experience both on and offline.

Consumers have become more demanding as technology has improved. They want to buy what they want, when they want it and where they want it. This always-on shopping experience includes:

  • The ability to buy online and collect the item in-store (known as click-and-collect)
  • A choice of multiple delivery options – including next day delivery or in-store collection at their convenience
  • Mobile-friendly so that they can browse when and where they want
  • The ability to try an item in store, but have the option to get it delivered at home if the size or colour they want is out of stock in store
  • Being able to return an item to a store even though they bought it online
  • Deliveries every day of the week

Convenience is central to today’s consumer and as a result third party logistics (3PL) companies are being pushed to deliver an ever more responsive service to the consumer. Whilst distribution centres have been providing a warehouse-to-customer service for years, the omni-channel supply chain is a new service the industry must tackle.

More than two thirds of UK consumers have used a click-and-collect service, 56% of John Lewis’ online sales were represented by click-and-collect sales – showing the importance of this new home delivery alternative. This coupled with their 19% growth in online sales over the Christmas period, which accounted for 36% of all trade, shows again the importance of a reliable third party logistics company to ensure an all-round seamless shopping experience.

To find out how our 3PL warehousing services can help you meet the demands of today’s consumers contact us now on 01903 736300.

Royal Mail Price Increase Brought Forward

Posted on 12/12/14, filed under News | No Comments

Royal Mail has announced to customers using their Royal Mail Wholesale services that they will be bringing forward their annual price review and increase, from the beginning of the financial year in April 2015 to the start of the calendar year in January 2015.

The new prices, which have not yet been announced, will start from the 5th January 2015 and are expected to affect the following services:

  • Royal Mail Advertising Mail
  • Royal Mail Business Mail
  • Publishing Mail
  • Some response services and pre-sorted deliveries

For further details and updates please read Royal Mail’s official price changes announcement.

The Ecommerce Warehouse of Tomorrow

Posted on 26/11/14, filed under 3PL, Storage Space, Supply Chain Logistics, Warehousing | No Comments

Today, more businesses are turning to the web to retail their products and, as a result, their customers now expect a quicker and more efficient service from them. This means ecommerce businesses have to adjust their warehousing and logistics to meet their customers’ needs and compete for online market share.

How does this trend shape the future of warehousing?

Location – improving convenience and speed of delivery are becoming key factors to achieving a competitive edge. For some ecommerce businesses this could mean localising their warehouse facilities to their customers’ doorsteps or expanding abroad to facilitate overseas customers. Local warehousing solutions can therefore play a key role in the battle for online market share.

Flexible storage – as more businesses go online, the flexibility of warehouse space is also crucial. Online retail allows many more customers to shop at the same time compared to a physical store. Businesses need to make sure their warehouse space and operations can cope with the increased ecommerce demand.

All under one roof – the high speed and demand of online retail has forced businesses to make their supply chain leaner. To achieve this, many are now conducting multiple processes under one roof or outsourcing to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider to manage their supply chain, right the way through from collecting orders and stock management, to delivery and returns. This streamlines their supply chain and makes their customers happy by providing a quick and easy service.

Warehouse technology – with online retail and order complexity increasing the warehouse must be designed and operated to accommodate changes in space requirements and stock selling at different rates, in order to deliver an efficient service. As a result there is a growing interest in adopting technology such as a warehouse management system (WMS), hardware scanning and automated storage and retrieval systems, which drive operational effectiveness and productivity.

Warehouses will become an evermore important part of the retail supply chain if they offer a clear way to drive efficiencies and please customers in the ecommerce process. Choose the right 3PL provider to make your business excel and be future-proof by contacting RT Page on 01903 736300 or info@rtpage.co.uk

Related Articles:

Is it time to outsource my warehousing?
How to Choose the Right 3PL Provider
Shipping & Returns: What the Customer Wants