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Is shopping with you fullfilling?

Posted on 17-9-2014 by Leanne O'Sullivan

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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Product Fulfillment - A chance to secure a lifelong buyer or expensive time waster?


This week I have been doing some intensive ecommerce research.

Yep that's right I have been shopping up a storm online! all in the name of understanding the art of product fulfillment.

One of the great joys and unexpected bonuses of shopping online is that it is a little like getting a present, a present for yourself, (or maybe others). 

Part of this is created by the experience a customer has with you after the initial transaction online. This contributes in no small measure to making sure that they come back and shop with you online!

Each time I purchase from a new online e-tailer, I take particular notice of the following key processes that add to the overall 'online shopping' experience.

1. Packing notification

2. Shipping Notification - A tracking advice as to what stage my order is up to in the delivery process

3. Beautifully and Carefully wrapped items. You may think that sounds a little girly, but I will elaborate on that further below.

4. A little thank you note for my purchase

5. Simple and clear instructions on how to return any of my items if I need to.

How these 5 things are done or not done are deal breakers for me. 

A key way to keep your customers coming back and shopping in the future is determine by how well you fulfill their order.

So what am I looking for?

Send a notice of despatch

Advise them of their tracking numbers - I love how easy Australia Post make this for online retailers. 

Pack my items well 

This is truly the sign of a savvy etailer. 

Someone who does not see taking the care to pack items as part of the hook to bring me back to your online store is going to loose me over time. Remember I can buy what you sell from anyone, so stand out and take care with wrapping. 

I am huge fan of how Birdsnest never fail to wow me with my purchases, whether for me or someone else, I always feel like it is a present and they are genuinely excited by me purchasing again from them. 

I had a bad experience last year of an upmarket etailer that I was purchasing from for the very first time. It was no Birdsnest experience, let me tell you! My expensive silk dress was jammed into a very small package, there was no thank you for buying (as I was a first time purchaser) and I had to struggle to read the VERY small print to see what I needed to do to send it back!

Personalise the purchase

If you want me to buy from you again, it is easy to acknowledge me in some way, especially with a first time purchase. Today data collection processes make this very EASY to do and can be automated, so make me feel welcome if you want me to come back.

Product Returns

Finally, don't make it hard for me to send items back when they don't fit. Today I had to send back some items to Dotti for my daughter and it was so easy to do this. All the documentation and instructions I needed was clearly in my package. Plus some handy information regarding future discounts for me now that I am part of the Dotti nation.

These are small steps, but if you build them into the process of shipping your items, they can add thousands to your bottom line over the year.

So don't think of the after sale shipping process as a time drain and cost. 

This is how you can provide the WOW factor for customers and ensure that they come back to you time and again.

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Top 3 Mistakes Starting An Online Business

Posted on 11-6-2014 by Brendon O'Sullivan

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
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Each year I speak to dozens of entrepreneurs looking to launch their business on-line, with not only a presence but including eCommerce, or custom 'line-of-business' application.

Sadly, we've seen many of these fail - not due to technology - but due to unrealistic expectations.

We've identified the following as the Top 3 Mistakes that are commonly made when setting up an on-line business.

1. Have A Hard Conversation With Yourself

Setting up business is hard work, offline as well as on-line; do you recall what was involved with setting up your premises - the fit-out, choosing furniture, installing phone lines, internet and other services?

Did it take twice as long and cost twice as much? There were headaches right?! 

Are you ready to go through the same again to launch your business on-line?


2. Don't Assume Your On-line Business 'Works Like Magic'

Also, and unfortunately, 'build it and they will come' is not a game plan for a successful on-line business. 

The technology required to drive your business on-line, and manage it from the back-office, is normally complex, sophisticated and unfortunately prone to both technical and user errors - you will need to spend time understanding how it works, how its maintained and will require your patience. 

(This is probably the biggest problem we see) 


3. Setting Unrealistic Revenue Expectations

Generating income and meeting budgets is gazing into a crystal ball; it's rare that income comes as easily or as quickly as you would hope.

First you need to attract customers, then you have to convert customers to sales, then you have to retain those customers. 

Our own business has been powering away at this for the past 15 years and we fully appreciate that it's hard work. 

Complaining about the failure of any of the above as a result of not being realistic is not a strategy for a successful business.

Rather, be honest with yourself and appreciate that on-line success comes as a result of investing in a lot of work, time, cost and the effort that is understanding the engine that powers your on-line business to success. 

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Business Catalyst & Xero

Posted on 20-12-2013 by Leanne O'Sullivan

Friday, December 20, 2013
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We have had a significant transformation in our office at the start of this financial year - we made the leap from our normal network based accounting package and put the final piece of our business administration into the cloud.

We discovered XERO and have been in love ever since!

We love many things about XERO but what we love the most is how we could seamlessly integrate our website with XERO to automatically push new purchases with all data required across into our accounts.

No more double handling!


It is absolutely fantastic for our event system and we have started to roll this out for other clients who have also discovered the magic of accounting in the cloud and XERO in particular.

If you have XERO why not chat to us today about getting BC and XERO together.

We know you will love it too!

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Focus on your email marketing

Posted on 30-9-2013 by Brendon O'Sullivan

Monday, September 30, 2013
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Are you making the most of your email marketing? We use the email marketing system of Adobe Business Catalyst extensively, and promote same to our clients. Along with our great friends at Pretty Pollution in Sydney, we help our clients send thousands of email campaigns each year. 

We've discovered a number of ways to ensure email marketing campaigns are successful and, while it's convenient to just have one or two large mailing lists, you're potentially losing out on conversions by bombarding your audience with communication that may not apply to them.

For example, we have a number of clients with eCommerce websites, and a number of clients without. If we're advertising eCommerce-only services to the clients without that feature, they'll eventually just automatically assume that our communication is no use to them and our campaigns will go straight into the trash.

To avoid this, the most successful email marketers use targeted lists to ensure that the audience they're reaching will actually have a use for the product. With Business Catalyst you can achieve this in two ways; by multiple mailing lists, or via custom reports.

Mailing Lists

One of the great things about Business Catalyst is that there is no limit to the number of mailing lists you can maintain. These lists are static, which means that they won't be automatically updated by the website - rather, new readers will need to be added either by you or by themselves through the website. As such they're great for seldom-changed databases.

You can have exactly as many as you need to make sure that you're not advertising to the wrong audience. 

To create these lists, you just need to create a new Excel file with your desired audience and upload it to a new list in the Email Marketing area of the website; 

Grab our tutorial on that here.

Custom Reports

Custom Reports are a great way to target users dynamically, especially where the audience will change regularly. 

Say you want to target all of your customers that placed an order greater than $100 over the past month - with custom reports, this will always be updated to match the last month without the need to constantly keep it updated manually. 

You just need to create and save a custom report for it to become available in the Campaign Recipient list.

Excluding Lists or Reports

In addition to the ways you can select recipients to receive your communication, Adobe Business Catalyst recently introduced a function whereby you could select lists to exclude. 

You can view a video tutorial on this here

but the long and short of it is that you can select lists to exclude; even if you have users in a recipient list, if they appear in an exclusion list they won't receive the campaign. 

If you need a hand with targeting your campaigns, feel free to get in contact with us today and start increasing your conversions!
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Sh#! - I forgot about my shipping

Posted on 30-5-2013 by Leanne O'Sullivan

Thursday, May 30, 2013
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A real challenge for any online store is how to handle freight....


And the bigger the item the more difficult it is to work out what your freight costs are.

We recommend a few simple steps with freight to make our client's lives easier.

1. Aim to cover your costs only over the entire breadth of your sales. 

Don't try and match freight costs sale by sale. Set flat rates in most instances and aim to have a free shipping component with a certain dollar spend.

 A good way to do this is to calculate your total freight spend over a year on a certain sales figure. Work out your average freight cost/$ generated and apply this average to sales through your store.

2. If you can't accurately weigh and measure your items exactly - then forget trying to cover your costs exactly as you will be unable to do so.

If you know exactly how much your items weigh, then by all means capture this and build it into your own freight model. 

3. Take advantage of the build in freight calculators of Adobe Business Catalyst. 

The Australia POST integration with Adobe Business Catalyst is fantastic but only for items up to 20 kilograms. 

4. If you are a supplier of large items, approach a freight contractor about setting a series of freight prices for your business based on weight, location and delivery locations

This is potentially a great way to smooth out your freight costs across your entire eCommerce store. You may be able to put together a simple tiered pricing structure that you canplay with for your larger items. 

Alarm bells normally ring for us if our shipping conversations with clients start to consume hours of solid thinking time, let alone a complex method of making their cart add up the considerable variations.


Just remember FREE SHIPPING - your competitors are!






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From Click to Ka-ching!

Posted on 14-5-2013 by Leanne O'Sullivan

Tuesday, May 14, 2013
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Before you spend another cent on social media campaigns, hit send on your next email campaign or pay for Google Adwords - read on!


It is no use sending traffic to your eCommerce store if once you get them there, you can't get them to buy.




We have listed some tried and true methods that you can use right now to get them to click that buy button!


1. Make it easy for them to get into your store and to see what you have on offer

  • Have you named your categories so that they make sense to your customers.  
  • Are your images large enough to be easily assessed for that buying decision. 
  • Are you using a ZOOM tool to enlarge your images?
  • High quality photography is a MUST for your store - do not scrimp on this item. SAVE MONEY in other places, but high quality images will add hundreds to your bottom line.
  • Colours - are they pleasing to the eye? Avoid colours that are hard to look at and become distracting - such as flouro colours!
  • Buy Button - is this a contrast colour from your other links or buttons? Make sure it stands out and draws attention

2.   Shop in your customers shoes

  • Get your store road tested by family and friends or new staff who are not familiar with it. Tell them nothing and test the process.
  • Keep this buy process simple and try not to get them to fill in too many items to actually buy something.
  • Avoid making them become a member to buy - ALWAYS have a shop as guest feature
  • Wish lists - if you want them to come back - create a wish list feature so that they can save ideas for next time they shop.
  • Make sure your check out area and view cart process are easy to see - don;t have them leave in frustration
  • Include images of your products in your cart
  • Perhaps get them to sign up to your newsletter after the purchase process on the thank you page. This is great way to highlight the other parts of your site that might interest them - rather than cluttering up the buy process

3.    Put your customers mind at rest re site security

  • Make sure that your site is protected via HTTPS (SSL/TSL Protocol). 
  • Showcase perhaps the payment gateway you are using, show their logo and link to their security page.
  • Highlight your card logos as well as PAYPAL

4.    Focus on providing excellent customer support. 

  • Make sure your refund policy is clearly available
  • Highlight your delivery methods and time frames easily
  • Show your phone number prominantly through the site - so that people can contact and speak with a real person.
  • Provide an online FAQ section that is easy to find and navigate
  • Include some online videos that will help people browse and buy from you

5. Merchandise your online store.

  • Don't forget to group items together - make sure people can easily grab the rest of the outfit
  • If the item has a spare part, a widget, an add on - make sure that your customers can Add to Cart with one click!

6. If you are discounting - have a real discount! 

  • Today's online shopper is very savvy and also suffers from 'Discount Fatigue'. So if you are having a sale  - don't tinker with discounts.
  • Go the whole way or bundle items to add value.



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Tuesday Tip - Drive conversions with m-Commerce!

Posted on 07-5-2013 by Luke Hardy

Tuesday, May 07, 2013
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It's no secret that the huge rise of tablets and smartphones has changed the way that consumers shop. 


According to a February 2013 media release from ACMA, almost half of Australian adults now own a smartphone

They also also found that 9.2 million Australians went online via their mobile phone and 4.4 million accessed the internet using a tablet in the six months to May 2012. As an Online Business specialist, we've seen this trend increasing now faster than ever.

But do people still prefer to use a traditional desktop or laptop device to make online purchases? Not so much.

  • Mobile e-Commerce (or m-Commerce for short) accounted for $5.6B AUD in retail sales in 2012 - up from $155M in 2010. That's a 3600% increase in the space of two years. 
  • Based on a poll of 3,200 people, the study forecast that 64% of Australians would own a smartphone by the end of 2012, compared to 51% in 2011. These totals hit 39% and 18% respectively for tablets.

As the owner of any store knows, first impressions matter. 

If your potential customers are faced with a tiny screen they're forced to zoom in and scroll around on, you're potentially losing leads. There are two ways of providing your customers with a seamless mobile shopping experience:
  • With a responsive design that resizes automatically to the screen size. This is ideal for both mobiles and tablets, as it takes advantage of the screen resolution to provide a smooth viewing experience. This is the best idea for a new website, as it can be costly or technically difficult to convert an existing design to a responsive layout.
  • With a mobile version of your online store; a completely separate area of your website that is displayed on mobile devices only. Instead of displaying a scaled down version of your website as a responsive design does, it's a completely new layout optimized for mobile displays - big icons and reduced information on the screen so your customers just get the information they need, rather than having to scroll across multiple screens. While easier and more cost-effective than a responsive design, they are not as versatile, nor provide as smooth a viewing experience.
Whichever way you go, optimizing your store for m-Commerce will ensure that you aren't left behind. 

Contact us today to talk about an m-Commerce solution for your store!




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Adobe Business Catalyst Update - March 2013

Posted on 27-3-2013 by Luke Hardy

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
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As part of their commitment to the Business Catalyst product, Adobe is continually releasing updates and enchancements to make the software better. The update that was rolled out last night is one of the biggest, and most exciting, we've seen.

What does it mean for you?

eCommerce

Fancy being able to include discount codes in your customer's invoice or order? How about gift vouchers? 

Email Marketing

Lots of very nifty things happening here. While there are some very cool updates...
  • Changes to the mechanics of email delivery mean that your campaigns are significantly less likely to be marked as spam by the recipient email system. 
  • Updates on the routing information included in the email code will assist with transparency and security. 
  • The precursors to some changes that will trim the editor down to display only the tools you need. 
The really big update here is the addition of recurring campaigns, an extension of their inclusion of dynamic content support for email campaigns.

Case study: One of our clients sends a weekly campaign including a link to their price list literature item. To do this each week, they need to do the following:
  • Upload a new file to the literature item
  • Create a new campaign
  • Update the campaign send details
  • Send the campaign
With this feature though, they can set up a weekly (or daily, fortnightly, monthly...) campaign - or have us do it for them - after which they'll have to do the following:
  • Upload a new file to the literature item
  • Create a new campaign This happens automatically!
  • Update the campaign send details This happens automatically!
  • Send the campaign This happens automatically!
And of course this doesn't just cover literature. How would you like to be able to create a campaign to automatically send a monthly recap of your blog posts to your subscribers? Or upcoming events? Latest news items? It really is just set-and-forget!

If this is something you're interested in, contact your account manager to talk about how these new features can work for you!
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Think like a Shopper

Posted on 04-9-2012 by Fran Drew

Tuesday, September 04, 2012
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Many of our first time clients are unsure of how to set up their online store as “window shoppers” throughout the world embrace online shopping.  

Remember you have a lot of competition out there; it isn’t just the new boutique around the corner that has everyone buzzing.  With over a million sites going live throughout the world each day, retail has never been so competitive.  

Marketing experts believe the average shopper makes up their mind about whether or not to buy something within two seconds of seeing it.

Here are some tips on how to take the “window shopper” to the checkout and maximise your sales while you have them in the palm of your hand.

  • Visuals, visuals and more visuals - have the best images possible.  If you can’t access them from your suppliers, hire a photographer skilled in retail photography to do a shoot for you.  Just because you have a nice SLR and took some great holiday snaps doesn’t mean you will necessarily know how to make your stock look great. You won’t regret the investment.
  • Think like a shopper, set up your categories so they are easy to find.  Just because you call your stock a certain name in store. Will your “window shopper” find it?  Experiment with Google, can you find what you were looking for when you searched it?  Maybe your “window shopper” couldn’t either.
  • Set up your catalogue like you would your physical store.  Remember when you found that cute little boutique on the coast which snaffled your week’s holiday pay?  How did they do it?  
  • Use every means available to you to encourage add on sales.  Think of your stock, if you create a new window display, do you have that gorgeous cocktail dress displayed in the window on its own? Use related products to entice the shopper.  What girl doesn’t need a new pair of killer heels to carry that dress?
  • Use enhancement features; hover tools, poplets, description boxes anything that allows the shopper to “touch & feel”.  Make it as easy as possible for your “Window shopper” to become your customer and  enjoy the experience.
  • Lastly, reward your customer.  Keep them up to date with the latest arrivals with regular email campaigns and give them a little treat every now and then.  Maybe a season launch discount or a pre-sale tip-off and  and they will return to your store over & over again.
As part of our commitment to our S+S clients, we offer monthly information sessions which allow our clients to access the latest tips and tools to maximise the success of their online store.

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Become a Pinterest Pinning Guru in less than 10 minutes!

Posted on 13-8-2012 by Brendon O'Sullivan

Monday, August 13, 2012
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Fast-track your understanding of Pinterest with this great 5 minute slideshow presentation including a 2 and a half minute introductory video.

(For best viewing, click the 'Fullscreen' icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the slideshare)

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