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6 Top Tips to Plan Now for a Blockbusting Christmas

Posted on 05/08/14, filed under 3PL, eCommerce tips | 1 Comment

With the sun blazing outside the last thing you’re likely to be thinking about is Christmas. But anyone in business, and especially anyone who has experienced the ecommerce Christmas whirlwind, will know it is never too early to start planning.

So to help you start your Yuletide preparations, here are our 6 Top Tips to plan now for a blockbusting Christmas:

  1. Stock up – when the Christmas shoppers start you don’t want to be running out of stock and losing out on sales, therefore it should be in your plans to prepare which products you wish to promote during the winter and Christmas and stock up closer to the time. You should also consider planning a stock control system which syncs your stock levels with the amount of products in stock displayed on your website. Nothing is worse than selling a product to a customer which is out of stock.
  2. Have Christmas offers – offering special Christmas deals during the seasonal upsurge of shopping spend is a great way to encourage more sales and give yourself an edge over your competitors e.g. free shipping, 2 for 1 on Christmas gifts, a free gift when you spend over £x for instance.
  3. Offer special shipping and delivery dealswhat customers want at Christmas is to spend little money on delivery and to receive their products as quickly as possible – especially those last minute shoppers. Therefore, consider offering free or discounted shipping, or a special ‘last minute purchase’ delivery deal. Customers are more likely to spend more on products if they get a discounted or quick delivery. Also make sure your last order date and your returns policy are prominently displayed – customers want to know if they can return gifts or receive orders in time for Christmas.
  4. Ramp up customer support – the more purchases during Christmas the higher the chances that customers will have enquiries. It is important to deliver very efficient, helpful customer support and educate your customer service team on any special offers and changes during the Christmas season. Good customer support can generate returning customers and a glowing business reputation.
  5. Use a third-party logistics (3PL) provider – there are pitfalls to DIY warehousing and distributing, and these are likely to be exacerbated during a busy period such as Christmas. Using a 3PL company enables you to make your order fulfillment seamless, improving the customer experience you provide and boosting your reputation. Orders will go straight from your website to the warehouse, where they will be fulfilled by professionals with specialist equipment and technology.
  6. Plan how to clear excess stock – it is important to start planning now what you will do should you end up with excess stock after the merry spending season. Because clearing your shelves could mean increasing sales and profit.

Start planning now and find out how you can maximise and streamline your business to make this your best Christmas yet by calling RT Page on 01903 736300 or contact info@rtpage.co.uk

Related Blogs:

Making Sure Your Stock Sells Out Every Time

4 Must-Knows for Ecommerce Businesses This Christmas

The 4 Pitfalls of DIY Warehousing & Distribution

Making Sure Your Stock Sells Out Every Time

Posted on 24/07/14, filed under eCommerce tips, Warehousing | No Comments

No business wants shelves full of stock so to maximise sales you need to know what’s selling and what’s not, what trends are influencing sales at different times of the year, and have a plan what to do with unsold stock.

5-step guide to selling all your stock

1. “Smell what sells” – as English business magnate Alan Sugar would say, monitor what sells like hotcakes and what’s gathering dust and organise your stock into A class, B class and C class items according to their level of popularity. Take into consideration seasonal holidays, events and even weather forecasts, which could influence the popularity of products e.g. winter coats, gardening tools, tents. This enables you to order the right amount of each product so you don’t have extra stock or miss out on sales, saving you money and increasing your profits.

2. Update item descriptions – make the product descriptions marketable, give shoppers a reason to buy e.g. “with summer around the corner…”, and think of seasons and events. Both product and shipping information should be clearly explained in detail, as this has been found to improve sales.

3. Adjust prices – review and adjust the prices of your items according to their popularity, stock level and your competitors’ pricing. This will help you sell your excess stock and least popular items whilst giving your products a competitive rate.

4. Make offers – if one item tends to be bought with another regularly, package them together in a special deal or offer the second item at a discount if they buy the first. Alternatively offer discounts on excess stock, either cutting the price on single items or if the shopper spends over a certain amount, or pair them with a popular item at a reduced rate. Giving discounts is a great way to entice customers to buy more.

5. Damaged items – if an item can still be fixed explain its condition and emphasise the discounted price to buy the item. Show the option to get the discounted/damaged item next to the one in mint condition – some shoppers can fix the item themselves and in some case they prefer to buy the discounted damaged item.

These changes will keep your inventory fresh, save costs by reducing excess stock and improving stock management efficiency. Start making stock management easier and increase sales by calling RT Page on 01903 736300

Shipping & Returns: What the Customer Wants

Posted on 25/06/14, filed under eCommerce tips, Transport | 1 Comment

How often have you decided against buying products online just because of the cost of shipping, unclear delivery times or an awkward returns policy?

Today customers want to save their time and money for products not postage and if you don’t meet their expectations you run the risk of losing sales and their loyalty.

What Customers Want

Free Shipping

Offering free or discounted shipping is always a great way to increase sales, customer satisfaction and returning customers.

  • 93% of shoppers have taken some form of action to qualify for free shipping e.g. searching for a promotional code. In fact 70% of customers were inclined to buy more products if it guarantees them free shipping.
  • More than half of customers who don’t qualify for free shipping or who find the cost of delivery is higher than expected will abandon their basket full of products.
  • Over 80% of shoppers are willing to wait for an extra two delivery days to save money on shipping, while 33% will wait five.

Delivery Tracking

Customers will sit on their hands a few extra days to save money but will still be wary of making a purchase if they can’t track their order or don’t have an expected time of arrival.

  • 60% of people say an estimated or guaranteed delivery date is important
  • 40% want to be able to keep track of their delivery either on the retailer’s website or by email or text notifications
  • 79% are satisfied if they could track their order

Clear and Convenient Returns

A clear returns policy can lead to recommendations and recurring business from online shoppers. The clarity and convenience of a returns policy can affect a customer’s decision both before and after purchases.

  • 63% of customers look at the returns policy before they making a purchase
  • 62% of shoppers expect a returns label and an automatic refund if they return a product after purchase
  • 66% say paying for shipping is the biggest problem when returning goods

It is clear that shipping and returns policies are now major factors in a consumer’s decision whether to buy from a business in the first place and then become a returning customer.

Make your shipping and returns more customer-focussed by calling RT Page now on 01903 736300 or contact info@rtpage.co.uk

How to Choose the Right 3PL Provider

Posted on 12/06/14, filed under 3PL, Pick and Pack, Storage Space, Supply Chain Logistics, Transport, Warehousing | 1 Comment

Outsourcing to third party logistics (3PL) companies is something a number of growing companies are doing in order to become leaner, flexible and gain a competitive advantage. But this is only possible by having the right 3PL provider for your business.

Choosing the Right 3PL Provider

Services on Offer

Do they provide the services you require? Not every provider will offer the full supply chain package, such as

Outsourcing to multiple companies can be more time, money and hassle than it is worth, so try to keep it all under one roof where possible

Resources

Check to see if the 3PL provider is able to adapt and have the resources should your business expand or have busy seasonal periods, particularly if you are a start-up business. For instance, it is worth using a 3PL provider who has up-to-date IT systems such as a warehouse management system (WMS); these streamline and improve their quality of service they deliver to both you and your customers.

Geographical Location

Consider the geographical locations of warehouses and where they are willing to distribute your stock to. If there is not a warehouse close to the network you cover then you risk limiting the amount of customers you can ship to or, even worse, lose customers where you cannot offer quick delivery times.

Experience and Reputation

As your ecommerce business grows your supply chain can become complex, making delivering a good quality service to your customers difficult. Ensure your 3PL provider is highly experienced and has a good reputation in dealing with larger supply chains and networks, check out their client list and testimonials.

At RT Page we have 50 years’ experience within warehousing and distribution, we know how important it is to pick the right 3PL provider to suit your business. Our expert team offer a complete logistics service tailored to the needs and future objectives of your business.

Whether you are a start-up business or an established ecommerce company planning to expand, we’re here to help improve the efficiency of your supply chain, saving you costs and gaining you profitability and a competitive advantage. Simply call RT Page on 01903 736300 and discover how outsourcing can help grow your business.

Ecommerce: Should you expand abroad?

Posted on 29/05/14, filed under eCommerce tips, Transport | No Comments

The UK is the fastest growing and most developed ecommerce market to date. Now more online retailers are planning to accelerate their growth by expanding their businesses overseas.

But is this what everyone should do?

Britain Makes the Most Online Sales

Britain’s success in the ecommerce market is being largely driven by its compact size, making delivery more cost-effective and having high internet penetration. The United States may have the biggest ecommerce market by absolute turnover, but Britain makes up a larger proportion of internet sales (11% in 2013 compared to 7.3% in the US.)

Opportunities Overseas

British retailers have experienced huge success abroad including clothing retailer Next, who deliver to 60 countries from a UK warehouse, experienced 86% growth of online sales last year and are expecting it to rise a further 50% in 2014 to £150 million.

UK retailers are beating competition because they offer

  • A wider choice
  • Competitive prices
  • Quick and reliable delivery

In 2012 British retailers made £4 billion worth of sales but this is predicted to increase to £28 billion by 2020.

In just the first quarter of 2014 there was a 13% rise in overseas customers browsing for UK apparel, with the growth strongest in China, Germany, France and Russia.

With the state of the ecommerce market in this country, the popularity of online shopping and interest coming from overseas, ecommerce businesses are in prime position to retail their goods abroad, even from just a single warehouse in Britain.

Will you join the action? Discover how you can start shipping your goods abroad and accelerate your business growth by calling RT Page on 01903 736300 or contact info@rtpage.co.uk.