Thursday, May 24, 2018

10 Ways To Actually Get Happy, Loyal Customers

Getting website traffic and sales simply isn’t enough in this day and age. Both e-commerce and brick and mortar stores need to be doing everything they can to create an experience that leads to customers who aren’t only happy, but loyal. You’re looking for customers who will shop from you again and again while also recommending you to their friends and family.

Today we have some easy, concrete ways you can create those loyal customers, and it won’t even take that much extra work!

1.      Think About Your Own Loyalty

What brands and businesses are you loyal to, and why? Is it the quality of their product? How does the company treat you? Last time you had a problem with the service, what did the company do about it? Go even farther by thinking about what you wish companies would do for you. Take notes, because this is exactly what you want to be doing for your own customers.

2.      Show What Your Company Stands For

Customers aren’t necessarily loyal to brands only for what they offer in terms of products and services, but for what those brands stand for and believe in. This doesn’t mean you have to take a strong political stance, it simply means you must show that your brand stands for something.

Airbnb focuses on the experiences of hosts and guests all across the world, helping people find ways to integrate themselves into the local communities of places they visit. Burt’s Bees offers natural care products that promote healthy living, while also showcasing its dedication to sustainability. Make sure customers know what your company cares about to build a loyal following.

3.      Have a Positive Response to Negative Customer Feedback

It is impossible to make every single customer happy, but you can still create a satisfied customer by having the right attitude when you receive negative feedback. Don’t allow yourself to respond to your customer with an emotional, knee-jerk reaction.

Acknowledge the anger from the customer in a professional manner, being sure to avoid accusatory language. Offer an item exchange or discount when applicable. Outweigh the cost of losing them as a customer, along with their negative feedback to their friends and family, versus taking a temporary financial hit to see what is feasible.

4.      Use an Engaging, Achievable Loyalty Program

Signing customers up for loyalty programs certainly isn’t a new concept, but it is one that is often misused, resulting in a waste of time and resources and a lack of customer loyalty. You should absolutely create some sort of loyalty program, but you need to do it in a way that actually inspires loyalty.

You’ll want to set a clear, simple goal for customers for this loyalty program. You need to provide a clear finish line to keep customers motivated. Many coffee shops offer a free drink after a certain number of beverage purchases, and it works very well. Figure out how you can use your unique products to create a reward that customers will love.

5.      Be Patient

Nothing turns a customer off more than a representative who seems in a rush to end a conversation. Maybe you’re simply in a bad mood or maybe you are overwhelmed by tasks, but you should give every customer the same, unrushed attention.

If you called in with a question about the shipping of your product, you’d be pretty irritated if the representative you spoke to gave you a corporate answer in a two minute phone call. You may choose not to shop with them again. Don’t let this happen.

6.      Make Communication Easy

Your customers shouldn’t have to go on an epic quest to find contact information. This information should be both easy to find and convenient for your customer. Automated phone lines are very unpopular, so if you need to have one make it simple. Offer live chat or even video chat when you can. And don’t forget to respond to social media messages.

You always want to pay attention to your customer service hours. If your phone lines are only open during business hours, it’s going to be difficult for many customers to get in contact with you. If customers do have to email or leave a message, make sure you get back to them as soon as possible.

7.      Be Consistent

Whether you’re dealing with long-time customers or brand new prospective ones, the experience should be consistently excellent for each person.

You should take strides to ensure the same levels of service across all aspects of your company, including customer service, returns, communication, and storefronts. If a customer has a fantastic experience chatting online with a staff member only to be told something different over a phone call, they’re less likely to remain loyal.

8.      Pay Attention to Details

The little things really do matter when it comes to customer service. There’s tons of small details you can use to impress your customers, at very little or no cost to you. Including a handwritten note in a shipment, offering free coffee at a brick-and-mortar store, and checking in with customers during the buying process can all leave customers feeling valued and appreciated.

Take a look at what your competitors are doing and think about what your customers want. Once you’ve done that, find ways to stand out with details your competitors aren’t using.

9.      Get Personal

It is easier than ever to personalize a person’s shopping experience through email, mobile alerts, and more. Customers want to feel like you care about them, and there’s no better way to do that than to acknowledge your repeat customers.

There are a few ways you can do this; acknowledge how many times a visitor has shopped with you, offer suggestions of products based on items they’ve already bought, give them a coupon based on previous purchases…there’s tons of ways to make your customer feel valued!

10.   Never Break a Promise

Never promise something that you can’t deliver. If you promise something and don’t deliver, customers are not going to be happy. If a customer is unhappy they’re likely to tell friends and family about the bad experience they’ve had.

In fact, you should try to over-deliver on your promises when you can. When you exceed expectations customers are likely to tell you about friends and family for good reasons.

We hope that is implementing these strategies for you! Please feel free to contact us with feedback!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Tackling Top Warehouse Problems

Running a warehouse is always a challenging job, but there are ways you can make your warehouse operations more efficient.

Today we want to take a look at some of the most common problems warehouses face and give you the solutions you need to work better, not harder.

Challenge 1: Inefficient Picking

Your strategy for this depends greatly on the size of your warehouse, the types of products, and how quickly you ship products out. The best way you can do this is to create pick lists that contain only the information your picker needs. Separate the information in a way that works for your warehouse, whether this is by SKU, location, or product type.

Challenge 2: Narrow Aisles

Narrow aisles make it difficult to navigate and can lead to damaged products as machinery tries to operate in tight spaces. The best way to deal with this problem long term is to invest in narrow aisle forklifts. This machinery is specifically designed for narrow aisles. These forklifts can be manufactured in a way that even allows operators to stand instead of sit, which gives them a better view while working.

Challenge 3: Not Enough Floor Space

It’s hard to be efficient and stay organized when you simply don’t have enough space. A great way to alleviate this problem is to install vertical storage units. You’ll need to invest in the right equipment to get products down, but this will give you a lot more space to work with.

Challenge 4: Inventory Inaccuracies

If you are suffering from inventory inaccuracies this signals that you do not have the correct systems in place. By implementing the right technical systems you should be able to see your inventory orders accurately and in real time. Investing in this type of system allows inventory levels to be changed across all channels at the same time. You can also use cycle counting instead of only one single physical count of your entire inventory once a year.

Challenge 5: Re-Slotting

Order picking means the product needed will be taken from the storage location. While there is nothing wrong with this, most of the time the remaining products in storage are not reorganized. This means you aren’t maximizing your storage space which can lead to more space problems down the line. Make sure you re-slot often to make sure you’re making the best use of the warehouse space you have.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Increase Sales With an Email Newsletter

It’s no secret that an email newsletter is a great way to increase sales and audience engagement. If you don’t have an email list it’s never too late to start. If you do have an email list but aren’t seeing the results you want, now is the time to make a change!

Why You Need to Utilize Email

·        Let customers know about new products
·        Build loyalty with exclusive offers
·        Additional customer feedback
·        Increase website traffic
·        Increase sales

Getting Started

Starting your email list is actually very easy and should take you no more than half an hour. The first step is to choose the right email software for your business. We won’t go into detail about that here, as it depends entirely on your company, but do note there are free options and priced options. The free options generally won’t get you very much in terms of subscriber count and special features, so be aware of that.

Once you have your software, upload all the contacts you already have and add an opt-in form to your website. And that’s it! Now it’s time for the challenging parts.

Building Your List

No one is going to sign up for your email newsletter just because you have one. There’s so many emails going to our inboxes every day that most people are unsubscribing from email lists. But don’t give up, because there are a few ways you can get subscribers!
·        Offer an incentive to opt-in, such as a coupon
·        Give exclusive content and sales through your email
·        Collect email addresses at in-person events
·        Make your email easy to share so your current subscribers do the marketing for you
·        Publish landing pages that take subscribers to free content
·        Make giveaways that are unique

Creating a Newsletter People Will Read

Now that you have a list ready and a marketing strategy for your email newsletter in place, all that’s left to do is start creating that newsletter. But if you create a bland newsletter with nothing but coupons, you’re not going to generate as many sales as you think. Instead, work on creating an email newsletter that people actually want to read.

1.      Make sure you choose an email template that is mobile friendly. While desktop use isn’t going away anytime soon, more and more people are checking their email on their phones. That’s why it is so important that your emails are easy to read on a mobile device.
2.      Keep in mind that some email clients won’t load images or HTML properly, so having a plain text version of your email is very important. You also want to add alt text to your images so people know what they are looking at if the image doesn’t load.
3.      Make your newsletter both educational and promotional. Think of the email newsletters you read. How many of those newsletters are the ones that do nothing but send discounts and information on products? Instead make sure most of your emails provide educational content, with a link to related products.
4.      Use attention-grabbing email subject lines. You have less than a second to get your customer’s attention long enough to get them to open your email. Having the right subject line can make that happen.
5.      Have a call-to-action in your email. After your subscribers read your email, what do you want them to do next? Make sure you know and create a CTA so they know as well.
6.      Don’t rely on images. Most good emails will have a couple eye-popping images plus copy to explain the purpose of your email.
7.      Test your emails before you send them. Your newsletter may look perfect in your design, but when it sends you may notice the format looks strange. It’s very important to test every email before you send it out to your audience.
8.      Advertise your newsletter on social media, and give your audience a preview of why they should sign up!
9.      Use segmentation. By tailoring your emails to different people you will get an increased click-through rate. Don’t rely on one list, break that list into other smaller list as well!
10.   Don’t give up! Building a successful email newsletter takes a lot of time and effort, so don’t get discouraged.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Storage Solutions For Your Business

Whether you have a large warehouse or a small workspace in an office building, you need storage solutions for your business. But how do you determine what storage system is right for you? Today we’re going to break down some of the most popular storage solutions that you may want to use for your business.

Totes with lids are an easy, affordable way to store items. Totes with lids allow your containers to be stacked to help you save on space, and in general these containers are very easy to move around. Additionally these totes are very durable and stand up well to daily use. Totes are available in all sorts of sizes, so you should be able to find one that fits your needs fairly easily.

These lightweight containers are very easy to transport and extremely lightweight. Often they have die-cut handles for easy transport. These are excellent for storing documents and smaller items. They’re available in a lot of different colors, which makes it easy to organize by product. They even come in larger sizes.

There are tons of plastic bins out there in a large variety of sizes and styles. You can invest in individual bins, large, stackable plastic bins, and even entire bin organizers. You can use these bins strategically when you don’t have a lot of space, and they’re ideal for organizing smaller items. Plastic bins can come in various colors and clear plastic styles, depending on if you want to be able to see the contents of the bins or not.

Corrugated bins are similar to plastic bins, except they are made from corrugated materials. More often than not these bins have an open top making them easy to sort through, plus the corrugated bins can be easily labeled anywhere on the bin using a marker. Corrugated bins are durable and easy to assemble, and even come in stackable options!

An easy way to keep boxes organized is to invest in a carton stand. Carton stands come with dividers so boxes can be stored in an upright position and easily dispensed. Stands are mobile making it easy to move them across your facility. This can save you a lot of space when it comes to your shipping supplies.

Mixing and matching these different storage solutions to fit your specific facility space is a great way to get organized.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Help Your Business Blossom

It’s time to shake off the lethargy of winter and refresh your business for spring. Whether you’re a new business or well-established, it’s never a bad idea to take a look at your business and find ways to boost sales and improve customer service.

We’re bringing you our top ten ways, some big, some small, to help you boost your business this spring.

1.      Update Your Photography
Photography is more important than ever, so take the time to go through your product line and take note of what items need better photographs. Ideally you’ll have more than one photograph of your product. Some examples of additional photographs you’ll want besides the studio shot includes lifestyle shots, detail shots, and shots of the product from different angles.

You can also consider changing the feeling of your business by changing the tone of your photographs. It’s spring, so consider using more natural light with clean backgrounds. Some of your products can likely be re-branded for the season, so if you have the manpower test this out on a few items!

2.      Check Your Shop Stats
If you don’t have a routine in place to track your businesses analytics, now is the perfect time to start! If you’ve not set up analytics, do it. If you have, take a close look at those statistics. Take note of what products are selling and which ones are not. How is traffic arriving to your website?

You may also want to check your business data across different timeframes. You can check out your shop stats by week, month, or even for a year. Pay attention to what times of year you are selling the most products. Knowing the busy and slow periods of your business can make it easier to build your business strategy.

3.      Update Your Copy
Your copy is important not only as a tool to convey information to your customers, but to search engines. Your product descriptions should highlight the most important aspects of your items while also answering customer questions.

Don’t focus only on product copy, though. Take a look at your About section, as well as any other page on your website that you may not update often. There may be errors you never noticed, or there simply may be a better way to convey the message you want to put out to the world.

4.      Reflect On Your Brand
What makes your products and your brand unique? How does it stand out compared to the competition? What can it offer to your customers that other products or companies cannot? Take some time to reflect on these questions. Record your answers and use them to improve your marketing strategy.

Make sure your tone, graphics, packaging, and social media all reflect the answers to these questions. You want not only to do what your competitors are not, but to be true to your brand across all aspects of the company.

5.      Share Your Story
People are craving personality, and make sure you show it. Corporate responses and posts are a thing of the past. Give your customers a look at work behind the scenes. Let them get a glimpse of the employee culture at your company.

While you don’t need to give an entire history of your business, customers like to see where you’ve come from so giving some background can be a great idea. Show how you’re involved in the local community. Show the people behind the brand to inspire trust. This can be through social media, on your company website, or both!

6.      Create Social Media Routines
You likely already have a presence on social media, but if you don’t have a routine for social media posting, you’re missing out. A social media routine can save you a lot of time and stress. While some platforms benefit from spur-of-the-moment posts others, such as Facebook, are great for scheduling posts ahead of time.

Creating a social media routine can seem overwhelming. Start by breaking down the tasks you need to do daily, weekly, and monthly. Daily you should be checking each social media profile, replying to comments, and working on new content. Weekly you should be scheduling posts and checking your stats. Monthly you should be creating a social media strategy and coming up with new experiments. You can use these guidelines to build out a proper social media schedule.

7.      Consider Customer Feedback
Take a look at reviews from your customers across various platforms including Google and your Facebook page. Take notes from these reviews to see what shop policies can be updated to better serve your customer base.

If you don’t have a lot of feedback, don’t be afraid to reach out to your customers requesting it. You can’t make improvements to your business if you don’t know what customers like and what they hate. When looking at feedback figure out what you can change, what you can’t, and how you can improve your business overall based on what your customers are saying.

8.      Meet With Your Employees
Your staff is another great way to get feedback on how your business is operating. Check in with specific projects and also the work your employees are doing on a daily basis. Brainstorm ways you can improve the business with them. Ask for their ideas, and don’t just ask, but put them into practice if you think it could work.

Not only will this help your sales, but it will have a huge impact on employee morale. The better your employees feel about their work, the harder they’re going to work, especially if their ideas are being tested.

9.      Get Your Workplace Organized
Whether you want to get your space, shipping area, or documents organized, now is the time to do it. Getting organized can take a lot of time, but it will make your business run more efficiently down the line.

It will probably feel overwhelming at first, and that’s okay. Break your list down into manageable tasks to make your given project easier to handle. Make sure you let your employees know when something is being re-organized so they’re not caught off-guard, and also so they’re prepared to be more patient with hiccups that may come up during the process.

10.   Celebrate Your Milestones
Take some time to celebrate the successes your company has had. Share good news not only with your family and friends, but across social media and with your employees. If your company reaches a big milestone, celebrate! Reward the hardworking members of your team!

You should be proud of your accomplishments. Think about those accomplishments and what that success means to you. What can you do to keep that momentum going? When you use this thought process it becomes easier to keep your business growing.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Go Eco-Friendly With Your Shipping Supplies

Earth Day is just around the corner. While the rise of e-commerce has come with many benefits, one of the most concerning issues we face when it comes to e-commerce is the amount of waste it produces. Not only does shipping increase our carbon footprint, but packaging materials often end up in landfills.

But there are multiple ways to combat this problem, and even ways to do so without breaking the bank. While it is true that sustainable packaging is more expensive than standard packaging, there are ways to offset these costs.

One option is to allow customers to choose green shipping options when they place an order. This pushes some of the extra expenses of eco-friendly shipping supplies onto the consumer. And because your customers must choose this option, only customers who want to spend the extra money on sustainable practices will have to do so. You may also present customers with a delayed shipping option. With this option packages would be held for shipping until a larger number of products were being shipped to that area, decreasing the use of fuel.

You can also aim to decrease the amount of packaging used during shipping. Of course you need to abide by federal laws and use the right amount of packaging to protect your products, but take a look at your shipping practices and see if there’s any packaging that can be eliminated.

You can actually save money with this next tip – reduce the size of your shipping containers. Not only do you use fewer materials, but your package takes up less space, so your carbon footprint is improved. This helps you save money and helps the environment at the same time.

Consider leaving a note in the shipment asking your customers to recycle the packaging materials. If paper documents are already included with your shipments, it is simple enough to include a message about recycling on that document.

We have eco information about our shipping supplies on our website in an easy to scan chart. While all the terms are explained in detail on the website, we’re breaking them down here in quicker terms as well.

Made From:

Recycled Content – Materials created from items that were purposefully sorted to be re-used.

Post Consumer Waste – Waste that is produced by a consumer after using a product that is then re-used for new manufacturing.

Conventional Product – Products are new with no recycled content, or very little.

After You Are Done:

100% Recyclable – Item can be recycled in its entirety.

Biodegradable/Compostable – Products are able to be broken down naturally by living organisms, eliminating waste.

If you’re looking for some specific eco-friendly products, we published a post last year listing some of them on our website.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

How to Get More Done in Less Time

No matter the size of your business, everyone is looking for ways to improve the efficiency of their workplace. When you’re running a business there is always something to do and never enough time to do it. Today we’re here to teach you how to get more done, and how to spend less time doing it.

Re-Asses Your To Do Lists

This takes a lot of time initially, but it will save you a lot of time down the road. Look at all the things you need to do and break them down into different categories. From there, create a monthly to do list, a weekly to do list, and a daily to do list. This makes all of the tasks seem more manageable. With everything organized you don’t waste time trying to figure out how to balance all your tasks.

Track Your Hours

For one week, write down each task you do in a spreadsheet along with an estimate of how much time you spent on that task. Once you’ve done that you have physical evidence of what tasks are taking up most of your time. More often than not, people discover that they are spending too much time on tasks that are not essential. With this information you can make changes to your work habits to improve efficiency.

Create a Routine

For businesses where the tasks are constantly changing, this may seem impossible. What we mean by a routine is not to do the same tasks at the same time each day. What your routine looks like each day is up to you, but what you should be doing is creating a basic formula for your day. Get to work at a set time and check your email. Review your to do list. Take your lunch break at the same time each day (or try to). By setting some basic routines you will better time your tasks.

Spend Less Time on Daily Tasks

Speaking of routines, one thing you want to avoid is spending too much time on daily tasks. These tasks make it challenging for you to make any headway in your to do list. It is important to find ways to accomplish these tasks more quickly. Take a look at your daily tasks and break them down into specific steps. How can the amount of steps be reduced? Which of these tasks could you train other employees in so you have more time on your hands for other tasks?

Set Boundaries

This includes boundaries when it comes to your working hours, taking on additional tasks, and answering questions from your co-workers. If you answer emails at two in the morning, people will always expect you to be available via email. If someone asks you to complete a task, ask about how urgent it is so you can add it into your schedule appropriately. And while you shouldn’t brush off all requests or questions from your co-workers, sometimes you simply won’t have time to assist them. Let them know this, kindly, and offer an alternative point of contact for the issue.

Determine Your Working Habits

Are you sluggish in the morning or do you find yourself getting burned out near the end of your shift? Arranging tasks so that you are working on the most challenging items when you are most productive makes a world of difference. Schedule your day so your more tedious, simple tasks are being done when you are at your lowest point of productivity.

Be Patient

The fact is that all of us go home at the end of the day with things at work we’ve still got to finish, and that’s okay. If you had everything done you’d show up at work with nothing to do. Tackle the mindset that you must get all your work completed immediately. It’s simply not possible, and realizing that can eliminate a lot of stress.