How To Scale Your Amazon FBA Business With A Prep Service
MyFBAPrep co-founder Taylor Smits knows a thing or two about scaling an Amazon business — after all, he and fellow co-founders Bart and Tom help customers do just that on a daily basis.
From tools to partners to Amazon’s inner workings of Amazon, Taylor’s seen it all over the course of his career. Prior to founding MyFBAPrep, Taylor cultivated his eCommerce experience for almost 10 years. After, he broke into dropshipping in the pet industry, then private label, and finally wholesale before launching MyFBAPrep with his co-founders.
During that time, Taylor learned how easy it is to become hyper-focused on certain elements of your business. But, to scale your eCommerce business, it’s critical you take a step back and look at the big picture. This means identifying ways to streamline and optimize your operations to enable you to accomplish more.
Outsourcing your logistics is an incredibly effective way to do this.
Taylor sat down with our friends at Sales Funnel HQ to talk about scaling your Amazon business, explaining how partners like MyFBAPrep can help eCommerce professionals build momentum, expand faster, and blast their business goals out of the water. The video below was recorded in 2020, but the insights are still relevant today. No time to watch? Read on for the inside scoop!
Take stock of your business
As an eCommerce business owner, you’re probably always on the lookout for ways to grow and scale your business. A key strategy for achieving this is to take stock of your operations and find ways to outsource certain tasks or processes. Outsourcing can help you streamline your business to increase efficiency and, ultimately, drive growth.
- Frees up time and resources to refocus on core competencies and strategic priorities. You’re able to work on growing your business instead of being bogged down by administrative or low-value tasks.
- Reduces costs by leveraging the expertise and resources of external vendors and service providers.
- Gives you access to specialized skills and technologies you may not have in-house. For example, you could outsource your marketing or IT functions to experts in those areas, rather than try to build those capabilities internally. Meanwhile, outsourcing your Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) prep ensures your Amazon orders are properly packaged and stored at Amazon prep centers and warehouses across the country — one less thing for you to think about.
This can result in faster, more effective solutions and give you a competitive advantage in your industry.
- Helps you manage risk and uncertainty by spreading your business across different providers or geographies. Diversifying your vendor base reduces the impact of any individual partner’s failures or disruptions. As a result, you maintain business continuity and are able to meet the needs of your customers without interruption.
Taking stock of your business and finding ways to outsource can be key stepping stones for scaling your business. The advantages outsourcing provides enable you to position your business for long-term success and growth.
Partner with Amazon prep services
Enjoy more time and resources to focus on critical aspects of your business operations with an Amazon prep service. Instead of spending hours packaging and labeling products, sellers can use that time to research new suppliers, develop better products, or work on their marketing strategies.
Third-party prep centers offer several other advantages that can help eCommerce businesses stand out on the Amazon platform: For one, they ensure products comply with Amazon’s strict standards, which can be difficult and time-consuming to navigate on your own. Additionally, because they handle a large volume of products, these centers often have access to more competitive shipping rates, which can save businesses money in the long run.
How an Amazon prep service benefits your business
An Amazon prep service can be beneficial for businesses experiencing high sales volume or struggling with their fulfillment process. This is especially true for both FBA and FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant) sellers (the former use Amazon’s fulfillment service while the latter handle fulfillment on their own).
Notably, the most successful eCommerce businesses often use a combination of the two services. A popular recommendation is to dedicate 75% of your inventory to FBA and 25% to FBM; this provides a backup option during episodes of longer shipping times or reduced inventory limits with FBA, while also helping to diversify and reduce risk.
With FBA, sellers can take advantage of the Prime badge, which is only available for products fulfilled by Amazon. Displaying the Prime badge on your products can increase conversion rates among customers. FBM doesn’t offer the Prime badge, so these items may prove less attractive to potential buyers.
When choosing an Amazon prep service, it’s essential to consider a few factors to ensure you find the right partner for your business:
- Search the service’s locations. Selecting a facility near your suppliers or customers can reduce shipping times and costs.
- Look for a prep service with experience handling products similar to yours. For example, if you sell fragile items, you’ll want to make sure your partner has a successful track record of packaging and shipping fragile objects properly.
- Research the level of customer service provided. You want a partner who’s responsive and communicates well, especially if issues arise with your products.
Wrapping up — Take your Amazon business to new heights with an Amazon prep service
Outsourcing can be a powerful strategy for eCommerce businesses looking to streamline operations, reduce costs, and drive growth. FBA prep especially would benefit from outsourcing, as it saves time, reduces risk, and ensures you comply with Amazon’s strict standards.
MyFBAPrep offers a range of services to help you navigate the complexities of FBA product prep, including labeling, packaging, and storage. By partnering with MyFBAPrep, you can focus on what matters most: growing your business and reaching more customers on the Amazon marketplace. So, take the first step towards scaling your business by partnering with MyFBAPrep for all your FBA needs.
How to Track eCommerce Inventory Across Multiple Channels
Today’s fast-paced business world forces companies to look for ways to improve their sales and grow their customer base constantly — all while working to remain competitive in an ever-growing industry. One of the most effective ways to do this is through multi-channel selling.
The basics of multi-channel selling
Multi-channel selling is the practice of selling products or services through multiple channels, such as online marketplaces, social media platforms, and a company’s own website. For eCommerce professionals, multi-channel selling allows them to reach a wider audience and increase sales by leveraging the advantages of different platforms.
One of the key benefits of this approach is the diversification of revenue streams: Selling on multiple platforms helps merchants reduce the risk of relying on a single source of income. For example, if an eCommerce business only sells on its website and it experiences technical difficulties, the business could lose a significant amount of revenue. However, if they also sell on other platforms, the business can still generate profit even if the main website goes down.
This approach also reaches a wider audience. Online marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy have millions of active users, providing eCommerce brands with a large potential customer base. Additionally, social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook allow businesses to connect with customers through targeted advertising and social media marketing.
The power of multi-channel selling
As mentioned above, taking a multi-channel approach to your sales unlocks new audiences. If you’ve previously sold through your own website and a brick-and-mortar location, adding a large marketplace to the mix will bring you hundreds of thousands of new potential customers almost instantly. Amazon is an especially rich source of leads since, according to Insider Intelligence, 61% of U.S. shoppers start their product search on the platform.
With each channel you add, you increase your brand awareness to drive sales. You also tap into new customer segments, such as those who prefer to buy through social media or shop multiple brands at once in a marketplace setting. The revenue from each channel thus contributes to your business’s overall growth.
By launching several channels, you’re able to meet your customers where they are as well. You can track your target audience throughout their buying journey in each channel and enhance customer segmentation for better targeting down the road.
Multi-channel inventory management: An overview
Multi-channel inventory management involves monitoring your company’s stock levels, tracking sales and orders, and ensuring that products are in stock and available for purchase across your various channels.
Managing inventory can be challenging, and every additional sales channel increases that complexity exponentially. This makes effective inventory management critical to multi-channel success. A solid inventory management and tracking system can ensure you have enough inventory to meet customer demand while also lowering the risk of stockouts or overstocking. Additionally, effective inventory management can reduce operations costs by minimizing waste and maximizing efficiency.
How to track your inventory
Maintaining accurate and up-to-date information about the products you have in stock helps you make informed decisions about restocking, pricing, and even promotions. It also avoids stockouts, which can lead to lost sales or, worse, lost customers.
If a customer orders a product that’s out of stock, it can lead to lost sales and damage your reputation. Worse, if this occurs frequently, customers will simply go elsewhere. With accurate inventory information, you can quickly identify which products are running low and restock them before they sell out.
You also gain a clear understanding of which products sell well and which don’t. Based on this information, you can then adjust your purchasing and marketing strategies. For example, if you notice a particular product is selling quickly, you may want to order more of it or increase its price. Conversely, if a product moves slowly, you might choose to reduce its price, add it to bundles to get rid of that stock, or simply discontinue it altogether.
In addition to helping you make better decisions about your products, inventory tracking also improves your cash flow management. When you know exactly how much inventory you have and how fast it sells, you can better predict when you’ll need to restock and how much money you’ll need to do so. This allows you to plan ahead and avoid unexpected (or unnecessary) expenses, as well as having too much stock of a slow-moving item due to premature ordering.
Inventory tracking typically employs inventory management software. These systems allow you to track your stock levels in real-time, generate reports, and even set up alerts for when your stock levels drop below a certain threshold. As a result, you’ll stay on top of your inventory and ensure you have the products your customers want in stock.
The basics of inventory management software
The market is flooded with multifarious inventory management software. However, the most important functionality to look for is the ability to update in real-time (or as close to real-time as possible). This allows you to remain up to date on your stock levels at all times.
Introducing: The Inventory Tracker Tool by MyFBAPrep
The MyFBAPrep Inventory Tracker tool allows you to track your inventory across multiple channels without the hassle of manually updating everything.
Simply enter the date on which you performed an inventory check and mark the product check complete when finished. Then, enter how frequently you run checks to see when to do it again. In the Products Overview section, you’ll see the number of items in your inventory, their total value, and any items that need to be restocked.
Each time you perform an inventory check, reset the date and checkboxes and repeat the steps above. You can quickly run your inventory reports in your inventory management software and plug those numbers into the tool to gain a bird’s-eye view of your overall inventory with ease.
Best practices for inventory control
To manage inventory across multiple channels effectively, it’s important to follow best practices, which we’ve outlined below.
Regular inventory checks
A key action when tracking your inventory is to conduct regular inventory audits. An inventory audit is a comprehensive review of your current inventory levels, including the quantity and condition of products, as well as the accuracy of your inventory records. Conducting these regularly will help you identify any discrepancies or errors in your inventory records and verify that your inventory levels are accurate and up to date.
Sales forecasting involves predicting future sales based on past sales data and market trends. This ensures you have the right amount of inventory on hand to meet customer demand. As such, forecasting helps you avoid stockouts and be able to accommodate customer needs in a timely manner.
The ABC analysis of inventory
ABC analysis is a method of classifying items into three categories (A, B, and C) based on their importance to a business. Items in category A are considered the most important and should be closely monitored and managed, while items in category C are deemed the least important and need less attention. Categorizing products will help you prioritize your inventory management efforts and focus on the items that are most important to your business.
It’s important to maintain minimum levels of inventory to avoid stockouts. Stockouts occur when a business runs out of a product and is unable to fulfill customer orders. By holding a base amount of inventory, you can ensure you always have enough stock on hand to meet customer demand.
Employ first-in, first-out
A helpful strategy for intelligent inventory management is the first in first out (FIFO) method. This approach ensures the oldest products are sold first to avoid expiration. It also reduces waste and ensures customers receive only fresh products.
Wrapping up — Track your inventory accurately for seamless sales
Multi-channel selling is a powerful strategy for eCommerce professionals, as it diversifies revenue streams and reaches a wider audience. However, managing multiple sales channels can be time-consuming and requires additional resources. To be successful, merchants must have a solid strategy in place and be willing to invest the time and effort required to manage several channels.
One key element is creating a robust inventory management system. This entails combining regular inventory checks with stock planning, analysis, and reliable software to gain a clear overview of your holdings and identify current and potential problems. By following the best practices we’ve outlined in this article, you can effectively track and manage your inventory and meet customer demand in a timely manner.
Check out the checkouts: Top 20 Shopify Alternatives for B2B and DTC eCommerce
Boasting more than 4.1 million live stores and more than $590 billion generated on the platform since its inception, Shopify is one of the best eCommerce solutions on the market.
So, it’s not surprising that setting up a successful Shopify store is a dream for many. But what happens when you outgrow the platform or want to expand beyond Shopify? From online marketplaces to website builders, there’s a growing list of eCommerce platforms you can tap into to shape your eCommerce dreams. To help you make an informed decision, we’ll break down some of the best options in this article.
Website Builders and Checkout Platforms
- Storefront builder: Wix offers mobile-optimized sites you can customize to your liking to create a memorable customer experience from the storefront to the checkout.
- Wix SEO Wiz: Lay a solid foundation for your SEO efforts with Wix’s advanced SEO tool that helps you create a personalized and well-rounded SEO strategy.
- Logo maker: Don’t have a logo? As a Wix user, you can use the Wix Logo Maker to craft professional logos to brand your store easily. This tool also comes with a library to get shoppers inspired.
- Vector Art Media Gallery: Choose from thousands of hand-crafted illustrations from icons to typography and more.
- Members’ Area: Build a community around your products with Wix’s Members area, which allows your audience to create profiles and engage with one another.
eCommerce businesses can pick from Business Basic ($17 per month), Business Unlimited ($25 per month), and Business VIP ($35 per month).
Newbie sellers, stores with small portfolios, and businesses with minimal design skills.
- Customizable themes and headless commerce setup: Set the right tone for your store by selecting one of BigCommerce’s many themes and tailoring it to fit your brand personality.
- Expansive data storage limits: Got a large portfolio? No problem! BigCommerce offers unlimited file storage with some plans and has a large bandwidth to manage high-traffic volumes.
- One-page checkout process: Tap into the power of optimized checkouts with BigCommerce’s simplified order processing system. This feature reduces friction in the buying process, like lengthy forms, to skyrocket conversions.
- Product variants: From color swatches to different sizes, BigCommerce allows you to show display different product options visually to capture more sales.
- Coupon features: BigCommerce allows users to offer customer favorites like discount codes and vouchers to improve sales.
- Bulk pricing: Whether you want to offer a bundle or kit. BigCommerce makes the process simple. The Bulk Pricing feature allows you to encourage shoppers to buy larger quantities of goods by offering bulk discounts.
The Standard Plan is $29.95 per month, the Plus Plan costs $79.95, and Pro Plan comes in at $299.95 per month.
Fast-scaling brands and enterprise-level brands.
- Embeddable storefront: Already got a website? Make the most out of it by adding online store shopping features to it using Ecwid.
- Subscriptions: Ecwid equips users to leverage recurring subscriptions and billing to increase their revenue, boost customer satisfaction, and scale on autopilot.
- Centralized controls: Manage every aspect of your store from one simple dashboard.
- No transaction fees: Unlike other eCommerce platforms, Ecwid doesn’t charge transaction fees, meaning more money in users’ pockets.
- Multiple store language options: Localization is huge for cross-border selling, which is what makes Ecwid’s multilingual catalog feature so special. Increase your store’s resonance by tweaking languages to fit the audience.
Ecwid offers a forever-free plan.
Billed annually, the costs for Ecwid are; $14.08 per month for the Venture plan, $29.08 per month for the Business plan, and $82.05 per month for the Unlimited plan.
Monthly billing is also available.
Businesses looking to start selling quickly, multichannel businesses.
You’ve got a great store. Get great fulfillment with MyFBAPrep.
- Payment processor integrations: BigCartel allows you to make transactions via Stripe or PayPal. You’ll only be liable for the fees this platform charges as BigCartel doesn’t add payment processing charges.
- Easy to use setup: Simple interface, easy-to-understand navigations, and stylish themes make it very easy to set up and start selling fast
- Business insights: paid plans offer inventory tracking and Google Analytics integrations to help you understand your sales and make informed decisions.
Big Cartel offers a (Gold) free plan, a $9.99 per month Platinum plan hosting up to 50 products, and a Diamond plan hosting up to 500 products.
No listing fees apply to the latter two plans.
Beginner online sellers, independent creatives, and solopreneurs.
5. Adobe Commerce, formerly Magento
- Onsite optimization made easy: Adobe Commerce offers a suite of drag-and-drop tools that create content that’s intuitive to use, personalized assets for specific customer segments, and update content assets fast.
- Product recommendations: Using a drag-and-drop builder and AI-backed tools, users can create groups of product recommendations to display in key touchpoints to drive conversions
- Inventory management solutions: Understand your business stock needs and customer buying behavior with real-time stock data so you can distribute stock to the right locations on time.
- Flexible fulfillment options: Whether you need to ship to a customer’s home or office or arrange a store pickup, you can handle the entire process on the platform with real-time inventory data and sourcing algorithms that accelerate fulfillment.
At present, Adobe Commerce offers two plans; Commerce Pro and Managed Services.
Get in touch to secure pricing.
Medium-sized to enterprise-level eCommerce and multichannel businesses.
Weebly is a web hosting and website builder which specializes in helping businesses create online stores, blogs, and websites stress-free.
- Design customizable themes: With Weebly’s comprehensive theme library users have countless sources of inspiration and guidance on how to style their store.
- Powerful free plan: Weebly allows you to create a website that turns heads without footing the bill.
- Easy website creator: Weebly’s drag-and-drop builder makes putting together websites easy.
- Integrated marketing and analytics: Store owners can monitor the metric on their offers and inventory and guide their strategy. You can also integrate marketing solutions.
Weebly’s basic plan is free. When billed annually, the Connect plan is $10 per month, the Pro plan is $12 per month, and the Business plan is $25 per month.
eCommerce businesses looking for simple software to get started on.
- Customizable designs: PinnacleCart’s open-source nature means users can adjust, add, and remove code to create a unique store. Users can also tap into the page builder tool to craft tailored pages.
- Professional templates: BigCommerce doesn’t leave you to fend for yourself when it comes to design and layout. Pick from 100’s of templates to get set up fast.
- Store analytics: PinnacleCart’s dashboard allows you to visualize traffic and sales information to make informed decisions.
- Growth-boosting solutions: From mobile-ready designs and advanced analytics to DIY and done-for-you marketing solutions, PinnacleCart has proprietary tools that help shop owners grow.
Choose from a free plan, Standard plan $79.95 per month, Advanced $199.95 per month, and Enterprise plan, which has customized pricing
Growth-focused eCommerce businesses.
- Comprehensive customer support: Combining resources and on-hand customer service agents, Volusion helps users get set up and poised for success in eCommerce.
- Fraud defense solution: To protect stores from eCommerce cybercrime, Volusion offers a ground-breaking solution called Fraud Score which analyzes credit cards based on email risk, IP address, banking information, and customer information.
- Extensive features dashboard: Run reports, check your CRM, track orders, study inventory levels, and more, all in one place.
- Security measures: Volusion also implements security measures like SSL certificates to encrypt stored data and tighten up defenses.
- Marketing tool suite: Whether you prefer to sell via SEO or want to experiment with affiliate marketing, Volusion has got you covered. Pick from their customized marketing tools and get started.
Volusion is $35 per month for the Personal Plan, $79 per month for the Professional plan, and $299 per month for the Business plan. Save 10% by paying annually.
Data-focused eCommerce businesses
- No-code website builder: Zyro is a no-code website builder backed by AI solutions that give users a competitive edge. Don’t have a coding background? You can still create customized storefront websites with Zyro’s drag-and-drop website builders and themes. If you like to code, Zyro also allows you to add custom code and edit their CSS.
- AI-backed eCommerce solutions: Tap into Zyro’s AI Image Scaler, Business Name Generator, Slogan Generator, AI Writer, Logo Maker, and more to take your business content assets from good to great.
- Large payments network: Zyro facilitates 70+ payment providers, including point of sale, Cash On Demand, and intermediaries like PayPal.
- Omnichannel fulfillment options: Whether your customers prefer to Buy Online Pickup Instore (BIPOS) or want their order shipped to their home by a specific shipping carrier, Zyro’s expansive fulfillment features can help.
- Multichannel selling and marketing solutions: Sell on marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, advertise on ad channels like Facebook and Google, engage in social selling, take up blogging and recover abandoned carts on Zyr’s Business and Advanced plans.
$11.99 per month for the Website plan and $14.99 for the Business plan.
Marketing enthusiasts and omnichannel brands.
Need to revamp your fulfillment process? Discover how MyFBAPrep can get help.
- Flexible eCommerce store management systems: OpenCart has built a solid reputation as a simple yet powerful (and free!) open-source platform to craft enticing stores.
- Unlimited products, manufacturers, and categories: Whether you sell digital products or physical goods, OpenCart can host your goods. You can also upload endless products and manufacturers
- eCommerce tool marketplace: Use OpenCart’s growing list of payment gateways (20+), plugins, themes, and integrations to set your store apart.
- Multilingual platform: Choose from 40 different languages on OpenCart’s latest version to give shoppers an “at home” feeling.
- Multistore option: Run different stores from one dashboard. You can even select different themes, names, designs, and pricing for each.
- Marketing suite: Use tools like discount codes, affiliate systems, and analytics to execute effective, data-driven campaigns.
Businesses with web design experience and large product portfolios
- Powerful, rich tools: From award-winning templates to font galleries, Squarespace offers a comprehensive tool stack to help craft your online store.
- Highly customizable designs: Combine features like mobile-optimized layouts, adjustable text backgrounds, and block layering features to create an aesthetically pleasing store that drives conversions.
- 24/7 live customer support: SquareSpace takes customer care seriously. So much so its round-the-clock customer service has won awards and raving customer reviews.
- Powerful marketing solutions: Broaching SEO, analytics, and much more Squarespace’s solutions ensure users understand how their marketing initiatives are performing to make guide their decision-making.
- Extensive integration: Whether you want to link your CRM or email marketing software, there’s a chance SquareSpace has integration for it as they continue to add to their extensive list.
It’s $23 per month for the personal plan, $33 per month for the Business plan, $36 per month for the Commerce Basic plan, and $65 per month for the Commerce Advanced plan. Save 30% by paying annually.
Design-centric businesses with small collections.
- Flexible infrastructure: WooCommerce’s headless commerce build means designing and adjusting store setup is quick and easy.
- Large payment options: Access a large selection of payment options, including credit card payments, bank transfers, cash on delivery, check, and over 140 territory-specific payment gateways.
- Streamlined backend operations: Access an intuitive Inventory and order management dashboard, along with live freight costs and automated tax calculations. WooCommerce also offers a mobile app so users can process orders on the go.
- Cross-border selling features: Use multilingual content and pricing in different currencies to set your store up for international success
- Inclusive product allowances: Whether you sell digital or physical products, you can use WooCommerce to drive sales
- Jetpack integration for enhanced security: You have the option to implement Jetpack to secure your website, verify customer logins, and prevent cyberattacks.
WooCommerce is free to use. However, you’ll pay for add on like domains and premium tools.
WordPress users seeking eCommerce solutions.
- Conversion boost payment tech stack: Businesses big and small can tap into a wide selection of payment solutions to close sales, including digital and plastic gift cards, invoicing, cashless payments, card detail storage, digital wallet payments, and Google Pay and Apple Pay.
- Transparent, uncomplicated transaction pricing: You can look forward to standardized transaction fees across cards, seasons, and channels.
- Payment and fraud protections: Fight against cyber attacks with Square’s comprehensive defenses encompassing encrypted payments, security monitoring, multi-factor authentication from accounts, and more.
- Fast pay-outs: Square allows you to transfer payments to your bank account after one business day for free or pay a small fee to get instant transfers,
The point-of-sale option has zero monthly fees, order processing charges are 2.6% of the sale price + 10 ¢. Per tap, swipe, or dip.
Buy Now Pay Later options cost 2.6% of the transaction price + 10 ¢ in-person and 6% + 30 ¢ online.
Retailers with an online presence.
- Unlimited, 24/7 customer service: Lightspeed has a reputation for providing excellent customer service. Alongside the on-hand support, as a Lightspeed customer, you’ll get one-to-one onboarding, webinars, and training to help grow your business.
- Integrated payments: Choose a range of payment options to serve your customers and business’s needs, including cash, mobile, and omnichannel payments.
- Customer engagement and conversion rate optimization tools: Manage relationships, boost sales and drive with customer management tools like status allocation,s (e.g., VIP, employee), omnichannel gift cards, CRM tools, customer account creation feature, Customer Lifetime Value calculations, and customer sales history.
- Omnichannel selling tools: Ensure your sales channels operate in sync with one inventory system for all platforms, integrated reporting, branding features, centralized customer data management, and social selling opportunities.
- Manage your store on the go: With Lightspeed’s cloud-backed solution, mobile inventory management feature, simplified employee training platform, and mobile POS, you can show customers your wares and move till to them.
For its eCommerce solution, Lightspeed offers a free plan, its Venture plan for $14.08 per month, and its Business plan for $29.08 per month and $82.50 per month.
B2B eCommerce platforms
- Product showcasing tools: Amp up your online visual merchandising with product collections, online catalogs, and virtual showrooms on par with the best B2C eCommerce stores.
- Appointment setting features: Use NuORDER’s those all-important meetings and close more accounts. For example, the custom list creator helps shoppers visualize their purchases and adjust their collections accordingly. You can also create reports and track sales performance.
- Proposal generator and line sheet templates: Make it easy for B2B shoppers to say “yes” to the sale with sleek proposals and customizable line sheets.
- Order management: Users can create, edit, copy, and ship orders all from the NuORDER platform. You can also access the platform offline.
Prices start from $600 per month. Contact NuORDER for a quote.
Medium to large B2B eCommerce stores.
- All-inclusive B2B eCommerce solution: Pepperi has everything you need to get a profitable wholesale store running, including a website-building application, integrated payment solutions, custom reporting, and accurate insights.
- Sales-driving tools: This platform is designed to help users upgrade sale acquisition, average order value, and increase margins. Pick from Salesforce integrations, mobile order-taking apps, and mobile CRM to product bundling promotion features along with personalized cross-sell and up-sell tools.
- Omnichannel trade promotion: makes it easy for field reps and sales reps to close deals across channels and territories.
- Integration with back-office tools: Link Pepperi with cloud or on-premise ERP and back-office systems to empower field agents and sales reps with the data and tools they need. Users can also access the tools and platform offline across all devices. You can also expand Pepperi’s third-party solutions to cover tasks like shipment tracking, payments, and business intelligence.
Contact Pepperi to get a customized quote.
Medium to enterprise-sized wholesale businesses.
- Complete eCommerce website builder solution: Crafted with data-backed decision-making and user experience flexibility as its foundation, store owners can take advantage of its tool stack to drive significant results.
- MVP Marketplace creator: Want to start an eCommerce marketplace? CS-Cart will give you the necessary tools and platform to make your goal a reality with a minimum viable product. For instance, users can access a mobile app, 500 (and counting) marketplace features, simplified vendor onboarding, a shopping cart, and no code user interface.
- Headless eCommerce platform: For brands that want to level up their eCommerce brand, CS-Cart offers a flexible platform to design and host their store. You can also onboard CS-Cart’s open-source shopping cart software and mobile app software
- Enterprise marketplace platform: CS-Cart empowers large brands eager to create a marketplace with their scalable, high-capacity enterprise marketplace solution. You can also upload unlimited products and sellers to drive growth.
- Custom marketplace: Work with CS-Cart to craft a tailored marketplace, minus the stressful code and platform build, which they’ll take care of.
CS-Cart’s code option is $75 per month, Pro $125 per month, and Advanced for $235 per month when billed annually.
Businesses setting up a marketplace.
- Affordable prices and a simple fee structure: Upload listings for as little as $0.20 and no additional monthly fees. Transactions incur a 6.5%. Sellers can also access bonus listing and advertising credits when subscribed to the Plus plan. The offsite ad fee is also fair at 15%, as you only pay when you make a sale from the ad.
- Handmade product requirement: When you’re a creative, handmade business competing against the big conglomerates with endless factory-made products can be tough. But not on Etsy; you have to make the goods yourself to sell on the platform. Plus, you can sell physical or digital items.
- Powerful business tools: Etsy’s tools equip users to operate, market, and scale their store from anywhere, including a customizable web address, store design features, Etsy ads, various payments, the Etsy Sellers App, social promotion tools, and store analytics.
- Shipping discounts: Thanks to Etsy’s partnerships with reputable shipping companies, sellers can print and use discounted shipping labels.
The free standard plan, only pay per listing ($0.20). The Plus plan is $10 per month.
Hand-craft businesses and creatives.
- Amazon FBA: The world-renowned FBA service enables sellers to tap into a network of warehouses and fulfillment centers around the globe. This benefit makes allows brands fulfillment hands-free and scale faster.
- Brand protection: Amazon takes intellectual property (IP) seriously and has many initiatives to fight fake goods and fraud, including the Counterfeiting Crime Unit. Trademarked brands can apply for the Brand registry program. Once onboarded, they will access tools like Transparency barcodes, an IP violation reporting tool, an automated IP protection tool, and a self-service brand protection solution, Project Zero.
- Global selling network: Selling in one territory but want to take your business global? Amazon allows you to store goods in one territory and ship to multiple countries under its Global selling network for a more affordable rate.
- Multichannel fulfillment (MCF): For brands that sell on multiple sites, MCF helps streamline fulfillment by using Amazon’s fulfillment services to ship goods.
- New seller incentives: Access discounted services and tools as a newbie to the platform to make your resources stretch a little further and increase your odds of success.
- Amazon ads: Use Amazon’s extensive ad network to launch and scale your products and brand.
Amazon’s Individual Plan costs $0.99 per listing plus a referral fee the Professional plan costs $39.99 per month plus a referral fee. Sellers can also incur shipping and storage fees if they use the FBA service.
Brands wanting to eliminate fulfillment and scale worldwide.
- No monthly or set-up fees: Instead, you’ll pay a commission fee depending on the product you sell, which ranges between 6% – 20%
- High-volume marketplace: Leverage Walmart’s 120 million per month site visitors to get your brand noticed.
- Business scaling tools: Learn how to sell effectively and grow your reach and sales with Walmart’s advertising tool suite, including Sponsored Search ads, catalog management, and brand management solutions.
- Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS): If managing fulfillment isn’t your strong point or you need the time to scale, look to WFS to store, ship, and facilitate returns
- A simplified application and onboarding process: Get up and running and learn the ropes quickly with Walmart’s streamlined onboarding process and learning resources.
No monthly fees. Pay a referral fee on each sale, depending on the item.
Established brands and multichannel sellers.
Supercharge your growth with powerful eCommerce platforms
And there you have it! 20 alternatives to Shopify. Whatever solution you opt for next, it’s important to determine fit before you partner up. List each of the business goals and needs, then compare each eCommerce platform’s features and benefits to decide which is the best fit. Test small and adjust your approach based on the data, and you, too, can add multiple stores to your eCommerce empire. Good luck!
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The Ultimate eCommerce Glossary for Online Sellers
If you’ve been in the eCommerce world for a while, you know the space comes with its own terminology, methodologies, strategies, and tactics. There are many to learn, understand, and implement to ensure your eCommerce business reaches its full potential. So, to get you up to speed, we’ve put together a comprehensive eCommerce glossary. Let’s dive in.
Bundling: The process of grouping products together for sale. A brand can create a bundle by packing multiple quantities of the same item into one offer, varying products, or both.
Product kitting: The procedure of taking individual items in any state and turning them into a bundle or kit, typically via packaging.
Variety packs: An offer created by packaging different items or variations of a product together, e.g., multipack chips.
Product kits: Singular items grouped together to form a new product offer. Kits can also be customized to customer specifications per order. A kit usually has a purpose, like simplifying and systemizing a process.
Listing: An online page created on a website or eCommerce marketplace to display products. It holds crucial assets like product descriptions, images, videos, and reviews. It can also act as a landing page for marketing campaigns.
Product descriptions: Text written to highlight the key feature of a product for sale. Weight, measurements, materials.
Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ): A figure that represents the lowest unit quantity you can purchase from a supplier or manufacturer, e.g., 100 boxes.
Economic Order Quantity (EOQ): The order size you need to minimize risks and costs such as holding/storage, shortage, order processing, and waste.
Hazmat: Short for hazardous materials. It’s an umbrella term for liquids and substances that can be flammable, toxic, carcinogenic, corrosive, or dangerous. For example fertilizers or cleaning solutions.
Inventory turnover: Reveals how quickly a business sells through goods. Inventory Turnover is calculated using the formula Cost of Goods Sold / Average inventory value during a specified period.
Auto-replenishment: A subscription model that sends refills to clients on autopilot using machine learning to gauge when customers need to top up their products. It’s also used as a sales and marketing selling convenience and timesaving.
Anticipatory Stock: Inventory purchased and stored in advance of a Season change or major Sale
Beginning Inventory: The value of stock items a the start of a specific accounting period
Ending Inventory: The value of stock items at the end of a specific accounting period; this is also the Beginning Inventory for the next account period
Cycle Counting: A method of periodic inventory taking where only certain portions of stock are counted at a time. This eliminates the need to close entirely to take inventory.
Periodic Inventory: Physically counting items to ensure counts are accurate with digital records; often the business needs to close while this is underway
Cycle Stock: Also known as working stock; the amount of inventory kept to fulfill anticipated orders for a specific period of time. This is replenished as soon as it is sold.
Demand Forecasting: Using various data points to anticipate demand and help make business decisions such as new products or working relationships.
Digital Inventory: Number of items in stock based on data from software and digital scanners. Physical Audits should be done periodically to ensure accuracy.
Physical Inventory: The amount of physical items in stock as confirmed by a person; can be used to confirm Digital Inventory
Pipeline Inventory: Items purchased that are not yet in-hand; may be in-transit or still being manufactured.
Excess Inventory: Raw materials that are past their expiration dates, unsold items, or otherwise unsellable stock
Psychic Stock: Inventory used for marketing, that is not for sale
FIFO (First In, First Out): an inventory and accounting method that works on the assumption that items are being sold in the order in which they were purchased.
LIFO (Last In, First Out): An inventory method based on the newest inventory being sold first.
Finished Goods Inventory: Items that are packaged and ready for sale; also referred to as Merchandise inventory
Out of Stock: No inventory available, without an anticipated restock date
Reorder Point (ROP): A predetermined inventory point at which specific SKU’s are reordered to maintain stock
Safety Stock: Additional inventory kept on hand for use in case of increased demand or supply issues
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Marketing and sales-related terms
Sustainability: The process of meeting human needs without hindering the progress of future generations or the globe. There are 4 pillars of sustainability: social, human, economic, and environmental.
Social proof: A psychological and social occurrence in which people are influenced by others and, as a result, copy their actions in a situation. Brands use social proof to convince shoppers to buy based on other buyers’ actions.
User-Generated Content (UGC): Content created by your customers and influencers displaying your products. It can take many forms, including short and long-form videos and images.
Landing page: An individual web page set up for people to “land” on after clicking on an ad or link. It can be created on a website or hosted via landing page software.
Influencer marketing: Promoting your brand and products by collaborating with content creators.
SMS marketing: Outreach method to a phone number lead list using text messages. Due to legalities, shoppers often need to opt-in to receive communications and have an opt-out option.
Content marketing: A marketing strategy that involves attracting, nurturing, and closing leads through various content assets like blog posts, case studies, and eBooks.
Email marketing: A marketing strategy executed via email campaigns. The emails educate, build relationships, and drive sales. They include newsletters, nurture sequences, and win-back campaigns.
Affiliate marketing: A marketing method that involves promoting products through influencers and industry experts known as “affiliates”.
Split testing: Also known as A/B testing, split testing is a conversion rate optimization method that involves testing different variations of an element against each other to determine which feature performs best.
Content management system: Software, also called a CMS, centralizes content assets, allowing you to create, edit and manage them across your business ecosystem.
Presale: The sales strategy of selling goods to customers before they’re manufactured.
Giveaways: A marketing strategy involving giving away products via a competition to raise brand or product awareness and increase engagement.
Referral program: A reward system that incentivizes customers to introduce their network to a business.
Customer loyalty program: A program designed to reward customers for repeat purchases and visits.
Customer retention rate: A metric that measures how many of your buyers remain your customers over time.
Bounce rate: A metric that calculates how many visitors go to a webpage and leave without taking action. The formula is: single-page sessions / total sessions.
Conversions: When a prospect or customer sees marketing material and takes action. E.g., a link click, email signup, or purchase.
Average Order Value (AOV): The typical amount a customer spends in your store. AOV is calculated by the formula total revenue / total orders.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): How much a buyer is worth to your company on average over the time they spend as your customer.
Pay-per-click (PPC): An advertising vehicle that is used to drive traffic to a website or landing page. The users typically pay for the advertising through impressions and/or clicks generated.
Advertising Cost of Sales (ACoS): A metric that reveals how much you spend on PPC, e.g. (Amazon PPC) to generate revenue. The ACoS formula is (Ad spend / ad revenue) x 100.
ROAS: A KPI which shows how much revenue is generated per $1 spent on advertising. ROAS is calculated by the formula revenue / ad spend.
Cost per click (CPC): Refers to how much you pay as a bid per click. You can set maximum bids to control costs.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO): The process of improving your website or landing page to increase the percentage of conversions it generates.
Cart Abandonment Rate (CAR): The percentage of carts users add items to and “abandon” before completing a purchase.
Return on Investment (ROI): A ratio that displays the net income to capital invested over a specified period.
Click Through Rate (CTR): A metric that shows how many people view your ad and click on it compared to how many times it’s shown.
Presale: A sales initiative in which goods are sold (normally at a reduced price) before they’re manufactured.
BFCM: Stands for Black Friday and Cyber Monday and represents two of the most significant final-quarter shopping events in many countries.
eCommerce personalization: The continuous act of providing tailored experiences and communication to shoppers on your website, including personalized offers and product suggestions.
eCommerce landing page: A standalone page built to market eCommerce products and services.
Post-purchase survey: A survey sent to a customer after they’ve made a purchase to gauge satisfaction with their experience.
Checkout optimization: The practice of improving an online store’s checkout process to increase its conversions.
Customer-first data: Insights gathered from prospects and customers with their permission and explicit consent.
Augmented Reality (AR): A technology that creates images and overlays them on the user’s view of the real world, altering and enhancing their view.
Virtual Reality (VR): Technology that creates 3D image simulations. They are used in retail and eCommerce to help shoppers visualize products in their environment or on their person.
Omnichannel eCommerce: a type of selling that aims to make the customer seamless regardless of where they start and finish their buying journey.
Multichannel selling: Selling goods on multiple channels simultaneously. Multichannel selling includes online and offline channels.
3D Secure (3DS): A security protocol built to provide additional security for debit and credit card transactions.
Headless commerce: An eCommerce solution in which the front end is decoupled from the backend. E.g., the customer-facing shopping interface is split up from the background tools and operating systems.
Cross-border eCommerce: The act of selling and fulfilling goods online internationally.
Platform migration: The process of moving from one eCommerce or web platform to another. E.g., switching from Shopify to Magento.
Amazon Seller fees: The charges Amazon levies on sellers. It includes a referral fee, a selling plan subscription, and fulfillment fees (if you fulfill via Amazon).
Live shopping: A marketing initiative in which brands sell goods through a live-stream broadcast.
Amazon seller account suspension: When Amazon removes the selling privileges of a seller account holder. The suspended seller will need to appeal with a Plan of Action to request reinstatement.
Amazon aggregator: A business model which acquires Amazon brands. They optimize the brand’s marketing and backend operation to scale and make a positive ROI.
Amazon Inventory Performance Index: A metric between 0-1000 Amazon assigns stores which measure how effectively a store manages its inventory.
Shopify Audiences: A marketing solution that helps users find and close new customers by creating an audience list of engaged buyers from ad platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Section 321: A US law issued by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) permits low-value shipments to be cleared through customs without imposing taxes and duties and with less paperwork.
Retail Arbitrage: The business model of buying goods from a physical store and selling them with a markup on marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.
Fulfillment and logistics-related terms
Distributed order management system: A rule-based system that helps users manage and fulfill customer orders while keeping costs low and maximizing fulfillment operations and actions.
Inventory management: The process of managing stock levels and flow in a business.
Direct-to-customer (DTC): A business model which involves selling goods to the end consumer with no middleman, e.g., on your own website.
Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA): A fulfillment service offered by Amazon to sellers on its platform. FBA orders get perks like Prime shipping, improving the service for customers and sellers.
Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM): When the sellers execute the order fulfillment for an order on an Amazon order.
FBA Prep: A term that refers to preparing and packaging goods to go into the Amazon FBA network.
Batch fulfillment: A type of shipping process which involves grouping packaged orders to be shipped out simultaneously.
Crowdfunding fulfillment: The processing and shipping of a crowdsourced product to funders.
Amazon Multichannel fulfillment (MCF): A fulfillment program in which Amazon handles the storage, picking, packing, and shipping of orders for goods sold online (and not just on Amazon).
Distributed fulfillment: The fulfillment strategy that involves placing inventory and fulfillment service close to demand and customers.
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Picking: Selecting goods in packing and for shipping.
Packing: packaging goods in anticipation of shipping goods to customers.
Value-added services: Premium services typically offered by 3PLs, which modernize, streamline, and improve fulfillment,e.g., pallet bagging and product kitting.
Barcoding: A service in which barcodes, e.g. UPC codes, are added to products in preparation for storage and sale.
Stock Keeping Unit (SKU): An eight-digit number (usually) that businesses with physical products use to track and manage inventory levels.
Third-Party Logistics (3PL): A service that enables businesses to outsource key parts of backend operations like goods distribution, warehousing, and fulfillment.
Fourth Party Logistics (4PL): A service that allows businesses to outsource the management of their entire supply chain and logistics to one fulfillment provider.
Fifth Party Logistics (5PL): A service that manages all aspects of the business’s supply chain starting at production and ending at delivery.
Prep and pack service: A service offered by a fulfillment provider in which they manage receiving customer orders, arrange the package with the purchased goods, and ship the items.
Backorder: An order that can’t be fulfilled when made due to a lack of available inventory.
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): Using technology to share data instead of paper-based. For example, customer data and order insights.
Zone skipping: The practice of shipping many packages to a carrier’s parcel hub near the package’s end destination.
Returns process: The process for managing when a customer buys goods from a store and sends it back to your distribution center for a refund or exchange
Shrinkwrapping: A service that involves tightly wrapping boxes or products with a polymer plastic film that “shrinks” around the object.
Relabelling: Relabelling involves taking products with premade labels, e.g. barcodes or printed packaging, and attaching new labels in line with the requirements of the sales channel and brand.
Co-packing: A service that consists of taking goods from their raw and packaging them into finished products.
Pallet bag packing: A fulfillment-related service in which goods are bundled and attached to outbound shipments to a pallet in one go.
Sort and segregation: Also known as sort and seg. A value-added service in which the fulfillment provider handles unloading and reorganizing shipments. It also includes services like stock counting, quality inspection, packaging, and repacking.
Fixed logistics: A logistics approach with more permanent fixtures through assets like leases and owned buildings and takes place in a set location, making set up and take down
Flexible logistics: A logistics model with little to no assets or long-term commitments, allowing for simple setup, adjustment, and take down.
Inbound logistics: Obtaining products and materials from suppliers.
Assembly Services: Some (not all) 3PLs offer this service to add a finishing touch that manufacturers don’t provide, such as placing items in branded boxes, or adding custom packaging
Awaiting Delivery Scan: A designation meaning that the item is out for Delivery, but has not been scanned as such; this does not mean that the package has not arrived, as there may be extenuating circumstances, however these discrepancies are often cleared up within a day or so
Carrier Facility: A location that acts as a hub for Shipping Carriers within a region, similar to a Distribution Center
Delivery Duty Paid (DDP) shipping: A method of shipping in which the Seller takes responsibility for all aspects of the sale. If you choose to use this option, the Customer is charged at the time of their order for the product, shipping cost, and associated fees. This will require you, as the seller, to estimate these fees in advance and implement them to amounts charged.
Delivery Duty Unpaid (DDU) shipping: In this case, the responsibility for Shipping costs is shared between you, the seller, and the buyer. You would ensure that items are received at the Country of Destination, and absorb any associated costs. Once the item has reached Customs, it then becomes the responsibility of the buyer to pay for import Duties or transportation costs before they can claim their items.
Delivery Exception: Any type of unexpected delay a Shipping Carrier encounters while a package is en-route. This could be anything from poor weather conditions, to a more widespread issue such as border closures.
Delivery Not Attempted: A message used to show that a package was out for delivery but was unable to be completed. The Driver may have run out of time, or encountered another issue.
Dimensional Weight (DIM): Also known as Volumetric weight, is a formula used by Shipping Carriers to determine cost per Volume for eCommerce packages
Discreet Shipping: A method of shipping where there are no labels, branding, or address to identify the Seller or what the item is. There are a number of reasons this could be selected, from sensitive contents, or detraction of theft.
Dunnage: Sturdy packaging material to protect items during shipping, such as packing peanuts or bubble wrap.
Out for Delivery: A notice that the Shipping Carrier has the package on a truck for delivery.
Packing Slip: An itemized list of all package contents
Reshipment: A replacement shipment sent if an order is damaged, lost, or incorrect.
Scheduled Delivery Pending: A message received when the shipping carrier is unable to make the delivery as expected and is unable to provide an alternative date
And, there you have it – a list of commonly used eCommerce terms. For the best results on your selling journey, keep on top of these terms to uplevel your knowledge. Also, use the services and strategies mentioned to get inspired on things you can improve in your eCommerce business for bigger and better wins.
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Leverage Automation to Make 2023 Your Best Year Yet
Automation has become a buzzword in the online selling community. As an eCommerce seller with an endless to-do list, you’re probably wondering:
- Does automation really live up to the hype?
- Is automation appropriate for my growth stage?
After all, 80% of businesses that are yet to hop on the automation train believe it isn’t necessary for them.
But the stats say otherwise. For example, 72% of successful eCommerce businesses use marketing automation, and 31% of businesses’ main reason for using marketing automation is to improve their customer experience.
Automation can provide an excellent vehicle to get out of the hamster wheel of work to scale faster and more affordably. Below, we’ll share why leveraging automation should be a priority in your eCommerce business and the key areas to automate for more success in 2023.
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The benefits of harnessing automation in online selling
You don’t need to look far before you find someone singing the praises of eCommerce automation. But why? Let’s break down why automation has become a favorite among online sellers.
Grow your business in your sleep
Arguably, the best eCommerce automation benefit is that it helps reclaim your time. The expansive capacity and durability of tech solutions allow you to multiply yourself in essence. As a result, your store stays productive around the clock.
For example, in lifecycle marketing, you can automate welcome email sequences, abandoned cart emails, and win-back campaigns.
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Make your stores more secure
Security in eCommerce payments remains a big issue. Global eCommerce payment fraud is expected to hit $41 billion in 2022 and $48 billion by 2023.
With automation, boosting security in your store doesn’t require manual 24-hour surveillance. From multifactor authentication to 3D encryptions, there’s a growing list of tools you can use to automate security checks and prevent breaches. And thanks to the advent of AI in security, many solutions are better at spotting and predicting threats than humans.
Build stronger customer experiences and relationships at scale
We know forging stronger customer connections is a surefire way to grow your leads and sales and secure repeat business. There are just two problems; time and energy, or a lack of them. Automation can make it easier to stay in touch with your target market and develop stronger ties, even when you’ve got a small team.
As expenses like ad costs and shipping continue to rise, it’s essential to find more ways to boost profits in your eCommerce business. Automation tools that improve things like customer experience, personalization, conversion rate, and ad spend optimization all help you build a healthier store and strengthen its bottom line.
Eliminate repetitive tasks from your task list
Sometimes mundane admin tasks can creep up and fill your to-do list, leaving you shuffling (virtual) papers instead of focusing on scaling. But some admin is critical to your business’ success; think customer support and accounting, so it can seem like you’ve either got to DIY or outsource. The truth is, you don’t have to do either. Automation tools can take over manual admin tasks. In turn, you’ll have more downtime to mastermind your next winning product.
Must-have automation solutions for a bumper 2023
When you’re just getting started in eCommerce automation, the endless options can be overwhelming. To avoid analysis paralysis, we’ve put together the key areas to focus on in your eCommerce automation journey to see major wins:
Sales automation involves running business-driving activities with technology to increase nurture leads, accelerate sales cycles, and increase conversions. Some areas to automate in your sales include:
- eCommerce personalization solutions: Personalization software helps you enhance customer shopping experiences with timely product recommendations and offers. Some top personalization solutions are Segment.io, Nosto, and Personyze.
- Customer engagement tools: These solutions help you keep conversations flowing with your target market and existing customers to make closing sales easier. Check out platforms like MoEngage, Userpilot, and Braze to uplevel your customer engagement stats.
- Conversion rate optimization (CRO) platforms: From plugins that host upsells and cross-sells to solutions that suggest alternative items to shoppers when a product isn’t available, countless solutions can drive more sales from your traffic. Try solutions like CrazyEgg, OmniConvert, and HotJar, to make your store more fruitful.
- Cart abandonment: Did you know the average cart abandonment rate sits at 69.99%? Luckily, you can recoup some of these would-be sales by using tools that remind shoppers of their baskets and entice them to return. Some solutions also break down insights on issues that could be causing problems at checkout. Tools to implement include Millimetric.ai, CartStack, and Rejoiner.
Marketing automation covers all the tasks you find, attract, engage, and reengage leads. When done correctly, marketing automation can have a massive impact on your store’s growth. Here are the top areas to automate in your marketing strategy.
- Email marketing: Use solutions to schedule and trigger emails according to actions a lead or customer takes once in your eCommerce ecosystem. For example, they respond to a survey and buy a particular product. Some favorites among eCommerce brands include Klaviyo, Omnisend, and ActiveCampaign.
- Content management: The onboarding tools that allow you to share and optimize are growing, going from 21% in 2021 to 29% in 2022. It’s essential to update your content to keep it fresh and relevant. Try solutions like Buzzsumo, Contentful, and Sanity to distribute content fast, track results, and tweak your approach to build a cohesive brand voice and look.
- Ad management and optimization: These days, you can use tech tools to drive more conversions. For example, you can use AdTech to segment audiences based on their behavior and run more relevant campaigns for them. You can also use the tools to upgrade content and drive growth. Some solutions include StackAdapt, Demandbase, and Yieldify.
- Social media: You can use automation to carry out tasks like social listening, post-scheduling, and analytics. Lean on solutions like Social Sprout, Phlanx, and Loomly for a well-rounded social media tech stack.
- Reviews: Securing user-generated content via reviews is eCommerce gold and can Generate UGC on autopilot and in different formats by tapping into review automation solutions like Opinew, YotPo, and Birdeye.
- Referrals: Referrals are one of the cheapest ways to scale your business. However, securing and managing them manually can be time-consuming. Use solutions like Referral Candy, MentionMe, and NiceJob to incentivize participation and place your customers in the driving seat.
Customer service automation entails systematizing and powering tasks related to customer support. Some tools you can use to ensure peak productivity in your customer service initiatives are:
- Customer service management system: Utilize features like ticketing and automated responses to increase customer satisfaction and issue resolutions while reducing team workload. Some tools to look into are Zoho, Zendesk, and LiveAgent. You can also help agents be more productive with customer management solutions like Sprinklr and Scoro.
- Live Chat: Set up virtual assistance support agents and bots before, during, and after checkout to guide shoppers through their buying journey and offer post-sale support. You can get started using solutions like Olark, Tidio, and LivePerson to optimize your checkout process.
Security automation allows you to implement, monitor, and upgrade your store’s online defenses. From firewalls to biometrics, it’s best to take a multifaceted approach to automate security. Here are some key tools to consider:
- 3D Secure payment solutions: 3D Secure solutions add an extra security layer for online card payments. Implement payment solutions that support 3D secure integrations or card brands like TrueLayer, Stripe, and PayPal.
- Firewalls, anti-virus, and anti-malware tools: With cybercriminals finding new and innovative ways to attack, threats can come from all angles. Cover all your bases with a robust security stack from brands like Sucuri, Sqreen, Astra, Sitelock, and Cloudflare.
Admin automation covers all the backend tasks your business uses to operate. Some key tools to implement are
- Listing creation and management tools: Sell on multiple channels or have a large product portfolio? Seek help from a multichannel listing tool to upload compliant listings and manage their content. Some tools to look out for SixBit, SellBrite, and InkFrog.
- Repricing solutions: Use pricing tools to maintain competitive online and increase conversions. Solutions like Prisync, Price2Spy, PriceFX, and Vendavo can help.
- eCommerce operations management tools: From inventory management and optimization to accounting and warehouse management. There are many tasks to automate in your eCommerce ecosystem. The most comprehensive tools will monitor inventory levels, predict demand, optimize stock distribution, raise purchase orders, and set up automated online payments to suppliers for smooth replenishment. They’ll also help you stay on top of your purchase orders, due accounts, and finances. Some of the best solutions for this job are Skubana, Brightpearl, and Zentail.
Fulfillment automation involves using technology to control the movement of goods from your manufacturers to your customers and back.
- Supply chain management: Automation is vital to maintain optimal inventory levels and organized order management systems. For best results, seek solutions that provide a real-time, 360-degree view of your supply chain, like Flieber.
- Warehouse management: You can also use robotics and AI-backed to manage tasks like unboxing and sortation. Look to providers like OPEX, Eurosort, EquinoxHME, and Berkshire Grey to get set up.
- Inventory optimization: It’s essential to work with stock management systems that update automatically to adjust your stock across all sales channels and provide insights to shape your stock purchases. Partnering with a 3PL or 4PL like MyFBAPrep is a great way to automate the messy part of logistics that no one really wants to touch, like picking and packing and reverse logistics. Just set your orders to send to any of our warehouses, and we’ll get items ready to go to customers without you even lifting a finger.
- Transport and delivery management: If you prefer to manage fulfillment in-house, use solutions like ShipStation, ShippingEasy, and Shippo, tap into tech solutions to gain visibility into your fulfillment process, share tracking information with customers fast, and manage carriers. Delivery management solutions like Urbantz and Track-POD can also help map out the optimal routes for deliveries to help you save time, fuel, and money.
- Returns management: Returns aren’t fun but come part and parcel with eCommerce. Make your reverse logistics process easy for shoppers and encourage them to come back with solutions like Return Rabbit, Loop Returns, Returnly, and Return Logic.
Succeed with eCommerce automation
Whether you’re a fast-scaling business with a small or large corporation looking to skyrocket productivity, automation is a safe bet.
Using eCommerce automation, you can scale your business without exploding your workload and, in essence – get more done in less time, even if you’ve got a small team.
So investigate which areas your business could benefit from some extra attention to improve performance and start to implement complementary solutions first. Once you’re getting results in these key areas, expand your automation use.
Soon you’ll be able to grow your business, lowers costs, and keep customers happy independent of your time and output.
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6 Proven Tips to Improve UX and Increase Sales For Your eCommerce Store
This is a guest post from Simon Walker. Simon is an eCommerce consultant with more than 8 years of experience helping eCommerce businesses generate leads and increase sales. Currently, he is the marketing manager at FMEextensions – a leading Magento development firm.
User experience (UX) is just as important for an eCommerce store as the display and interiors are for a brick-and-mortar store. It helps users browse a website, search for products, place orders, and remain connected without hassle.
User ease and comfort significantly contribute to their purchase decisions. An attractive web appearance may draw in users, but ensuring they stay and interact with features (and complete the checkout) requires a strong UX design.
If you struggle to retain users or convince them to place orders, you need to review your UX design. Below, I will share some valuable tips that can help you improve your website’s UX and boost your eCommerce store’s profit margins.
1. Integrate advanced navigation
When you enable customers to find products or items easily on your eCommerce store, you can expect them to place an order. One way to achieve this is to upgrade your website’s navigation so visitors understand the catalog structure and can search for products in a simple way.
Navigation should require little thought on the shopper’s part. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel; simply follow navigation best practices so visitors can quickly grasp how to maneuver around your site.
With that being said, you can introduce some creativity by improving filters and categorizing items with logic. These can be based on type, style, design, usage, best-selling, etc.
A search option is another way to improve navigation for higher conversions: Allow users to find a product or page by typing a word related to it and receiving relevant suggestions. By suggesting the closest-matching products or landing pages, users are more likely to locate what they want quickly and continue through to the checkout.
2. Optimize landing pages
The design and layout of a landing page or product page can move shoppers further along the buyer journey or stop them in their tracks.
A key component of a converting landing or product page is photography. Invest in a professional photo shoot of your products so visitors have a clear idea about the make, model, and size. To reduce server load, you can replace product photos with WebP images. WebP is the latest image optimization technique that compresses images without compromising their quality. It cuts image sizes to almost half so the pictures load faster.
Relatedly, consider your landing page’s color palette. Test different combinations to find the one that best matches your business and web design theme. Unappealing colors can discourage users from moving forward with their orders.
Also, consider each page’s textual content: Revisit the product’s copy to make it more attractive and persuasive; in the description, cut long sentences short so it’s easy and enjoyable to read, as well as informative; add keywords to the product page as well so it ranks higher in search results.
Calls to action (CTAs) are another crucial element for your store’s web pages. Sometimes, shoppers may be confused and need guidance on how to proceed with their order. With a customized CTA, you can quickly and easily move them to conversion. Again, choose appealing colors to highlight your CTA.
3. Expand product filters
Including filters to facilitate product search is mandatory. However, you can further boost its UX design by introducing more specific ones. This lets people narrow their search so they return only relevant results. Search extensions like the Magento 2 Improved Sorting make a huge difference in conversion rates.
Be sure to give attention to the display of additional filters rather than simply slapping them on a side menu. Design experts must ensure the usability of these extra filters. If shoppers find it difficult to use them, they’ll ignore them, and you’ll have wasted your time and resources.
Have your webmaster or eCommerce store managers keep an eye on their efficacy. Heat maps, for example, can help determine how easy it is for visitors to interact with these features. Consider the following tips as well to improve the UX of your product filters:
- Enable multiple filters selection
- Allow manual filter modification like price range, amount, etc.
- Base filters on a logical sequence like most recent, in stock, etc.
- Optimize filters for mobile screens
- Display selected filters above search results
4. Simplify checkout
Checkout plays a major role in your eCommerce store’s conversions. If users get stuck at any point in the process, they may decide to abandon their cart. According to BayMard, 17% of cart abandonments happen because of a complicated checkout. Other factors include difficulty in calculating order costs, compulsory user registration, and extra costs.
Look into revamping your checkout experience to secure sales and accomplish more ambitious conversion goals. You can start with autofill forms that grab users’ locations like country, state, city, etc., from their IP addresses or suggest options with the help of Google Maps. This helps them easily enter billing and shipping information.
You can also accelerate the load time between multiple steps in a checkout process for a better experience. Or, modify the design and replace a multi-step checkout with a single page (if you’re able) so that people fill in all details at once and submit without any load time delays or errors.
Consider waiving mandatory user registration as well so they can place orders as guests and create an account later if they want. This allows users who don’t want stores to retain their data to checkout with peace of mind. Although a guest checkout option reduces user data collection, it can boost your eCommerce store sales.
5. Provide a brilliant mobile experience
Mobiles, cell phones, and other smart technology are carving out a larger presence in the eCommerce industry. In fact, mobile responsiveness has become a basic requirement for online stores. Therefore, your online store must provide a brilliant mobile experience to compete and thrive in the market.
Google has included mobile responsiveness as a ranking signal, so your eCommerce store needs to comply with mobile-friendliness standards to appear higher in search results. Incorporate mobile responsiveness in the development of your webshop and, later on, optimize it for better UX.
Review how pages look on mobile screens to ensure they’re concise and on point. To target local communities, optimize your website for local searches. Help people find your eCommerce store by including target keywords.
Additionally, mobile users may expect smart functionalities like easy tap and scroll. Keep design elements accessible with tap options. Avoid making your contact form or surveys too long to answer; use checkboxes or multi-select options.
6. Integrate visual and voice search
The need to serve an increasing number of customers and preferences has made eCommerce brands expand their catalogs. As a result, shoppers have to work harder to find the right product. However, robust search and voice search offers a simple solution to this problem.
To go the extra mile, consider adding a smart visual search option for people who have images on a mobile device or computer and are searching for look-alike items. Visual search features allow shoppers to upload an image and obtain relevant results. They don’t need to know an item’s name, design, make and model, brand, or designer — your site’s search feature does the work for them.
You can boost eCommerce store sales further with smart product recommendations. Track consumers’ search and shopping history to suggest matching or related products and potentially increase their cart values.
Your eCommerce store’s conversions are directly tied to the preferences, likes, and shopping behaviors of your consumer base. If you put effort into removing the hassle from their shopping experience and making it more enjoyable, you can enjoy greater success. Implement the tips discussed in this post and keep testing various design elements to maintain a helpful and converting UX that benefits both your customers and your business.
Reverse Logistics: Best Practices to Make Returns Your Competitive Advantage
A quick browse through online marketplaces clearly shows that eCommerce is booming. Sellers and brands abound, and orders constantly pour in fast. In fact, the global eCommerce market is expected to reach $8.148 billion by 2026.
Unfortunately, the fairy-tale ending remains out of reach: Goods are regularly sent back in droves, with 30% of online orders returned on average.
If your returns stats look similar, don’t despair. With the right setup, you can hone your reverse logistics to stay in your customers’ good graces and inspire future sales. In this post, we’ll dive into what reverse logistics is and unveil the steps to build a top-notch returns process.
Great online stores have great logistics. Discover how MyFBAPrep’s solutions can help you thrive.
What is reverse logistics?
Reverse logistics, commonly referred to as a returns process, is a supply chain management feature that involves “reversing” the fulfillment process by shipping goods back to the retailer. Returns often take place through courier pickup, parcel hub drop-off, or posting items back to the business’s distribution center.
The returns process: To upgrade or not to upgrade?
You’ll see some telltale signs if your returns process needs refining. Let’s run through the most common indications that it’s time to hone your operations.
Sign #1 Customers are complaining
Time is precious, and no one likes to waste it. So, it’s easy to see why 28% of shoppers cited returns taking too long as their biggest gripes, while 24% said it was being unable to track or having to repackage their returns.
Whether it’s having to chase updates or meet complicated repackaging requirements, delays and inconveniences create a poor customer experience and discourage return visits to your store. So, if shoppers vocalize dissatisfaction with your returns process, it’s time for a makeover.
Sign #2 The process costs more than it’s worth
Just like shipping costs, returns impact your bottom line, and sometimes the resources required to process them make no sense for either party. This is why retailers like Walmart and Amazon have turned to refunding shoppers’ money and encouraging them to donate the items instead of sending them back.
So, if you sell low-ticket items or goods that can’t be resold for sanitary reasons, reassess what qualifies for returns.
Sign #3 Your returns process is unorganized and lengthy
If you have high order volumes or peak seasons with a small team, returns can quickly become overwhelming — and unmanageable.
So, if returns are delayed or, worse, misplaced or forgotten, you’ll need to streamline your returns process stat.
Ready to upgrade your returns process? Learn how MyFBAPrep can give you a boost.
How to craft an impeccable returns process
Spotting areas for improvement in your returns logistics is a golden opportunity to land in your customers’ good books. With a little effort, you can differentiate your brand and keep sales flooding in. Let’s break down the steps to take.
Refine your shopping experience
No one likes returns, especially your customers. More than half of surveyed U.S. consumers said they would do “nearly anything” to avoid having to return products, and 67% stated it’s the worst part of the shopping experience. Yet, in the same breath, 74% of shoppers have experienced buyer’s remorse after making a purchase, and 58% admit to habitually buying more than they intend to keep (aka bracketing). Clearly, something is missing in the buyer’s journey.
The moral of the story? It pays to help shoppers make smarter shopping decisions to prevent returns. So, before you jump into upgrading your reverse logistics, do some digging to learn what sparks returns in your business and when. Then, find ways to improve the customer experience and decision-making process to eradicate buyer’s remorse and reduce returns. For instance, look for:
- The most common reasons for returns
- Products with the highest returns
- Seasons or months with the greatest return rate
- Products with the most instances of bracketing
Then, based on your findings, you could:
- Launch an AI to help shoppers find products that best fit their needs
- Improve your product descriptions, images, and videos
- Implement customer suggestions and feedback into your products and website
Be open about your return policy
Honesty is the best policy when it comes to communicating your criteria for returns. It’ll inform your customers of essential information immediately, reducing the number of instances when you need to step in. So, make sure your return policy is:
- Clear: Provide transparency in your terms, including what you’ll allow, the return options shoppers can use, when, how you’ll refund, and an approximate window. Also, if you know returns will take longer than usual due to an event or season (e.g., a warehouse move or Black Friday Cyber Monday prep), communicate this upfront.
- Accommodating and customer-focused: If you can afford it, offer a longer return window. Provide labels and packaging the customer will need, along with clear instructions, if necessary.
- Flexible: Offer multiple ways for shoppers to send back items. For example, 61% of shoppers prefer returning goods in-store under the BIPOS trend.
- Well distributed: Customers should be able to find your return policy easily. Place terms and conditions for your reverse logistics in multiple areas, including your social media website and product descriptions.
Work with a 3PL to execute returns efficiently
Backlogs in your returns process can frustrate customers and hold up sellable inventory. However, when you have a ton of tasks to manage, a slowdown is inevitable. That’s the time to look into partnering with a fulfillment service like a 3PL or 4PL. The right provider can:
- Pick up customer returns and distribute them to appropriate warehouses
- Confirm returned orders
- Check the condition of the goods
- Repackage items for sale
For best results, vet your suppliers thoroughly, including asking for their performance records, testimonials, and experience.
Offer free returns (if feasible)
The customers have spoken — 81% of shoppers desire free, simple returns. To boost consumer happiness without obliterating your margins, you’ll need to be strategic about how you offer returns at no charge. For example, it could be wise to adjust your pricing model, or you could provide free returns and then focus on pushing repeat orders to offset costs. Whatever approach you choose, ensure the numbers make sense.
Assess and adjust your strategy regularly
Fluctuations are common in the online shopping world. So, assess whether your returns operations match the current needs of your customers and the market.
For example, a few years ago, contactless returns had low popularity. But during the Covid-19 pandemic, they spiked and are now an included option for shoppers. “Buy Online, Return In Store” (BORIS) is also gaining ground in the post-pandemic era, with 62% of shoppers more likely to make an online purchase if BORIS is available.
To ensure your returns process meets customer wants and needs, analyze your returns data regularly and gather your customers’ opinions on what you can improve.
Scaling your eCommerce business? Ensure your fulfillment is up to the task.
3 examples of stellar returns processes
Winning feature: Paperless returns with immediate payouts
The eCommerce behemoth has struck again with a returns process so smooth, it wows even longstanding customers. Amazon adopted paperless and packaging-free return options, along with payouts while goods are in transit to Amazon’s warehouse and issuing returns without requiring the goods back. In short, Amazon’s returns process wins time and time again.
- The simpler your returns process, the better.
- Reimburse returns as soon as possible.
- Write off items if the return costs make resale unprofitable.
Winning features: Simple process with numerous drop-off hubs and carrier options
PLT is known for more than its fashionable clothing: Their fuss-free, paperless returns process, and readily available customer support remove the hassle of sending back items. PLT offers fast support to keep customers coming back.
- Provide reusable packaging.
- Go paperless for returns.
- Offer multiple returns options.
Winning features: Extended return window and at-home collection
Returning a bulky item can be challenging, but Tediber has found a way to make the process painless with easy appointment booking to arrange a collection from home. Tediber goes above and beyond by allowing shoppers to try their mattresses for 100 days risk-free instead of the usual 14 days.
- Adopt a flexible return policy.
- Have a strategy that ensures the item is in good condition before you accept returns.
- Know what you’ll do with the returned items you can’t resell (e.g., give to charity).
Master your returns logistics
No matter what stage you’re at in your eCommerce journey, your returns process doesn’t have to be stressful or complex, as that harms your brand image. With the right tools and approach, your reverse logistics can inspire customers to continue shopping with you.
When it comes to returns, prevention is better than cure. Hone your strategy to keep your margins intact and customer satisfaction high. However, returns are unavoidable returns, so build your process around your customers, making it easy to understand and simple to execute.
Provide omnichannel returns and be ready to jump in and help shoppers quickly if they decide to part ways with their goods. Put these measures in place, and you’ll be able to replace those returned orders with the new traffic and sales your returns process drives.
It’s never too late to bolster your returns process. Discover how MyFBAPrep can set you up for success.
Falling short: 8 Amazon FBA mistakes to avoid
Boasting a $705.65 billion valuation, an estimated $162,360 million from first-party sales, and an expected 40% share of the U.S. market’s eCommerce sales in 2022, Amazon is the epitome of eCommerce success.
While the titan leads the pack in U.S. eCommerce, getting ahead in its massive marketplace is challenging and can incur costly mistakes without the right approach.
So, what can you do to minimize Amazon selling blunders?
Despite its reputation, Amazon is no longer the platform where you can list umpteen products and make a killing. Yet many sellers simply jump in without acquiring the critical skills and traits necessary to get their stores off the ground.
In this post, we’ll spotlight the seller weaknesses that lead to mistakes on Amazon and the most common errors they make. We’ll also share tips and tricks to help you dodge marketplace suspensions and thrive online.
Amazon’s rules are constantly changing. Stay compliant with MyFBAPrep.
8 Costly Amazon FBA mistakes to avoid
Small mistakes like using the wrong color shrink wrap on your palletized shipments or the incorrect dunnage won’t hurt you. But when more significant errors cost you time, money, and sales, it’s time to rethink your approach. To help you boost your Amazon selling prowess, we’ve broken down some of the most expensive errors to avoid.
Mistake #1 Not paying attention to Amazon’s fluctuating rules
Amazon is a stickler for rules. From the category you list your product in, to the items you send to their warehouses, everything must follow a strict protocol. For example, Amazon has non-negotiable requirements about how you pack goods, detailing maximum box measurements and imposing the infamous drop test.
Amazon constantly changes, and you as the seller have to keep up. You can stay up to date on your obligations in a number of ways, such as regularly reading Amazon’s Terms of Service or reviewing their Seller Central Resources for updates on essential areas like IPI scores, inventory limits, inbound shipment rules, and product restrictions. Whatever your style of consuming content and learning, develop a habit of checking and implementing the latest Amazon intel.
The strict rules may seem excessive, but they’re meant to maintain a high standard for their customer experience. If you fail to meet the requirements, things can turn sour fast.
Learn what Amazon expects of you for every product type to make adequate preparations and sell the items on the marketplace unhindered (e.g., fragile, light, oversized, hazardous goods).
Top tip: Watch your emails for announcements, check the Amazon seller app for a quick breakdown of the comms Amazon sends you (and its customers), and monitor your account’s health.
Mistake #2 Launching generic, copycat items
Amazon boasts 9.5 million registered seller accounts globally and more than 2.5 million active sellers — and that number continues to grow.
With increasing competition and ad costs on the Amazon marketplace, it’s no longer enough to launch commonplace products. Whether it’s the quantity, quality, or a game-changing feature, every product you put on the Amazon marketplace should be more enticing than what’s already on offer.
Mistake #3 Failing to optimize your Amazon listings
Listings are your real estate on the Amazon landscape. They’re also an extension of your ads since they act as landing pages, so they need to shine. Create an Amazon listing optimization checklist and make adjustments regularly based on store analytics and customer feedback.
You can protect your progress by using Amazon selling tools like Helium 10 to set up alerts to catch problems like intellectual property violations and hijacking.
Also, browse your competitors’ listings to understand what you’re up against, and review listings in other categories and eCommerce platforms for inspiration on ways to make your listings stand out.
Mistake #4 Making do with underwhelming prep and fulfillment processes
Thanks to Amazon’s next-level supply chain efficiency and world-renowned Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service, you have to have an air-tight fulfillment process. Whether you ship via FBA, Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM), or both, you need a strategy to get and stay in stock fast, as well as have goods prepped in compliance with Amazon’s regulations.
If you go the FBM route, it’s wise to use shipping options that emulate what shoppers expect on Amazon, like next- or same-day shipping, time-specific deliveries, and fulfillment notifications.
Mistake #5 Being strapped for cash
It’s normal for a growing brand to face cash shortages now and then, but frequent ones can stunt your business’s growth. Additionally, Amazon is notorious for slow payouts and increasing selling and ad costs, so it’s crucial to have access to capital to see you through leaner months.
This is especially true for Q4 prep, the holiday season, and other times when your bills for inventory and storage spike. Address cash flow before it becomes an issue.
Mistake #6 Throwing money at Amazon ads and hoping for the best
Typical ads no longer cut it on Amazon. Thanks to updates like A10 and growing consumer savviness online, you have to refresh your ads regularly to maintain their profitability. This includes assets related to your ads like a listing copy, images, and brand colors.
You’ll need a productive launch strategy to attract and maintain attention to your offer. For example, you could offer a low launch price and raise it gradually (within ToS rules), using Instagram shout-outs to drive traffic and press releases to gain media attention for innovative products.
Mistake #7 Neglecting to build a brand
Some sellers fail to prioritize branding from the beginning, which is one of the most costly mistakes on Amazon.
In a sea of similar products, branding influences a customer’s decision to buy from one name over another. So, brand your product packaging, build an external website, and grow a social media following to boost your business’s perceived value and sales.
Pricing should also be part of your branding strategy, such as selling your items at premium prices because of their superior quality.
Mistake #8 Not building experience
“Experience is the best teacher”, especially on Amazon. Complex listing indexing, affordable currency conversion hacks, and other skills take time to master, and you acquire more knowledge the longer you’re in the field.
Conducting small tests, whether in your product catalog or selling territory, as you learn the Amazon landscape will help minimize your losses and allow you to invest the most capital in what works. Expanding and updating your knowledge about Amazon, including its rules, updates, fees, and tech, is essential for long-term success.
What to prioritize to achieve success on Amazon
We’ve identified the mistakes to avoid, so the next task is to determine the best way for you to gain traction in your Amazon selling journey. Here are some key areas and tasks to focus on.
- Set up RSS news feed alerts for updates when Amazon makes a change or launches a statement.
- Visit forums for every territory you trade in to gather intel on how other sellers manage their obligations.
- Update your standard operating procedures to align with Amazon’s updates.
- State your requirements in brand and packaging guidelines and standard operating procedures.
- Read Amazon’s Brand Protection report.
Inventory prep and shipping
- Delegate product packaging and order fulfillment to an experienced Amazon prep center.
- Use fast carriers with excellent track records.
- Offer fast and simple return options for your Fulfilled By Merchant orders.
- Understand your inventory needs at different times of the year using inventory forecasting.
- Keep backup stock at key locations.
- Partner with local suppliers in case of emergency.
Need help getting your products Amazon-ready? Talk with MyFBAPrep.
Products and branding
- Double-check that products aren’t restricted or prohibited before sending them to Amazon or listing them for sale DTC.
- Ensure your packaging is sturdy and protects your items.
- Price competitively and use repricing software to execute adjustments automatically.
- Embrace Brand Registry.
- Make your name recognizable by branding your packaging, Amazon store, and social media professionally.
- Invest in A+ content.
- Offer subscriptions and bundles where possible.
- Direct your external website to your Amazon store.
- Know which metrics to track in your ad campaigns.
- Determine which optimizations will help you maximize ad spend.
- Drive external traffic through resources like PPC, blogging, and affiliate marketing.
- Pay attention to reviews and share user-generated content.
- Create an ad optimization schedule and stick to it.
Money and mindset
- Adopt a growth mindset and commit to scaling.
- Say “no” to laziness.
- Negotiate EVERYTHING, from fulfillment to stock prices.
- Save six to 12 months of business expenses for emergencies.
- Set aside a portion of your profits each month in preparation for Q4 expenses.
Take the right steps with Amazon
It takes strategic knowledge, commitment, and resources to thrive in the Amazon marketplace. However, many sellers become too focused on money-making tactics and forget to watch out for harmful errors.
To protect your business, pay close attention to Amazon’s ToS and adjust your approach based on policy and rule changes. Choose your products wisely, tweak your marketing campaigns often, and adopt reliable prepping, packing, and fulfillment to stay on Amazon’s good side.
Despite your best efforts though, you’ll slip up occasionally. But mistakes are normal, so don’t aim for perfection. Instead, take Amazon’s lead and commit to continuous improvement in every area of your business. By investing in the aspects we’ve recommended, you’ll circumvent fatal errors and guide your Amazon business toward success.
Ready to upgrade your Amazon store’s results? Make this year your best one yet with MyFBAPrep.
11 Effective Ways To Optimize Your Shipping
As more players enter the eCommerce market, it’s essential to find ways to stand out. There’s one area that online stores notoriously neglect that can give your brand a competitive edge; fulfillment.
Just 28% of people surveyed by DigitalCommerce 360 said they were completely satisfied with their online order delivery experiences. Clearly, there’s a lot of room for improvement, but you may be wondering how to go about it.
We’ve got you covered. In this post, we’ll share why upgrading your shipping is always a good move and the best ways to make it happen.
Is your fulfillment option causing problems? Get a makeover with MyFBAPrep.
Why optimize shipping anyway?
Optimizing backend processes may seem like a task to complete when you’ve got more time on have outgrown your existing ones, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Acting now to uplevel your fulfillment can pay off in many ways. Let’s explore a few:
Save cash to invest
Poorly executed shipping and expensive carriers cause businesses to bleed cash. This wastage creates an opportunity cost since you could invest this cash elsewhere in the business to scale. Conversely, the more capital you save on shipping, the more you’ll have to invest.
Drive more sales
A great shipping experience isn’t just beneficial for customers, it makes your business more memorable. This, in turn, makes it easier to sell more goods to these customers and boosts your bottom line.
Improve supply chain efficiency
An optimized supply chain keeps service consistent and high quality and has positive knock-on effects on your business. For example, you can clear goods through customs, restock items, launch new offers, and manage returns efficiently and cost-effectively.
11 Strategies to uplevel your shipping process
No matter your operation size, there are some actions you can take now to build a phenomenal shipping experience. Let’s dive into some ways you can improve your fulfillment:
1. Streamline stock receiving process
On the surface, receiving inventory may not seem like a factor that can impact shipping, but backlogs in receiving inventory can cause delays in restocking and ultimately sending goods to customers. So, analyze your existing process, and remove unnecessary steps in your unloading and stock count. You could use robotic process automation to receive and arrange stock shipments.
For example, brands like Amazon and Walmart are investing in warehouse automation to streamline supply chain management, fulfillment, and logistics. This includes tasks like receiving, sortation, and retrieval.
2. Revaluate packaging for internal and external shipments
Ever received an oversized box containing a small item or a package excessively wrapped with bubble wrap? It’s not ideal. These scenarios not only leave customers perplexed, but they can increase your shipping costs and waste. It’s also essential to use the right dunnage for the transportation of your goods to and from warehouses and in customer packages to protect items from damage. Some tips include:
- Establish criteria and standard operating procedures for outer packaging selection.
- When shipping goods to your warehouse, optimize shipment weights at the point of loading.
- Bulk ship items to your warehouses when spreading stock.
3. Upgrade your prep and pack process
The faster your prep and pack process, the faster you can dispatch orders. So create packing processes with the most efficient methods for creating. Here are some tips to optimize your prep and pack:
- Create standard operating procedures for each product’s packaging requirements and distribute them among manufacturers and staff.
- Train staff on how to create and pack each product type you sell.
- Work with one manufacturer to get labeling outer packaging.
- Pre-packing certain items ahead of time in preparation for shipment and storing them in.
- Ship and store pre-packed items in key locations.
4. Work with an experienced multichannel fulfillment provider
If organizing and shipping orders internally don’t work for you, there’s another way to build a top-tier shipping process. Use a fulfillment partner that covers multiple channels and steps such as prep, pack, delivery, and returns. The fulfillment provider should also have:
- Experience in managing the products you sell
- The facilities, equipment, and staff to execute
- Warehouses distributed in key locations
- Reliable carrier partners
For example, at MyFBAPrep, we have 50+ warehouses globally, offer 3PL and 4PL services, and can handle any volume. We’ve also transformed a shipment of 50,000 dog bones into individual packs with J-Hooks and hang tags. Plus, our team customized the prep process by making custom plywood tools to boost productivity and maintain high hygiene standards.
5. Consider zone skipping
If you’ve got high order volume and ship to specific regions regularly, shipping options like zone skipping can come in handy. Zone skipping is a fulfillment method that involves sending a large number of packages (by truckload or less-than-truckload) to a carrier’s parcel hub, which is close to the parcel’s final stop.
Many retailers and eCommerce brands engage in zone skipping because the practice of skipping carrier zones allows them to save costs and get goods to customers faster and easier with less product damage.
Before you sign up with a carrier, ensure:
- They have experience in zone skipping for your product type
- The cost and time savings are worthwhile
- Have resources to build the right prep and dispatch setup
6. Offer subscriptions
If there is one shipping service shoppers love, it’s subscriptions. The market rocketed to more than $23.18 billion in 2021. Work out the products shoppers buy the most, along with the typical buying frequency and quantity, and use the information to guide your offers.
To get your shipping right, you’ll need tech solutions to share customer data and produce order reminders seamlessly. Solutions like Nexer, ReCharge (for Shopify sellers), and Subbly,
You’ll also need to find ways to fulfill orders fast, especially if you pack and send subscription boxes once a month. For example, you could assign specific days to prep outer packaging boxes and educate staff on efficient packing methods.
7. Present shipping multiple options
Shipping costs can be the difference between whether someone buys or walks away. 54% of shoppers have abandoned an order due to delivery costs. Also, 70% of people consider free shipping to be the most important factor, followed by shipping speed and delivery options (43%) when considering delivery from retailers.
In the same breath, costly carriers and fulfillment strategies can wipe your margins, so it’s important to find a balance between customer wants and keeping profits. For example, you could offer multiple shipping options that match customer needs, e.g., free, expedited, BYOP, and price shipping and returns costs into your products. You could also look for the most cost-effective delivery channels.
Shoppers are ready to buy. Is your store ready to ship? Get your fulfillment process.
8. Make tracking goods a memorable experience
Did you know 24% of buyers will abandon a cart if delivery dates aren’t given? Tracking orders is important for both parties. But when it comes to customers tracking shipments should be an exciting experience that builds anticipation and reduces buyer’s remorse. Here are some ways to keep customers engaged during the delivery process:
- Share the parcel tracking number within 24 hours
- Provide updates on where their order is
- Show time slots on when the order will arrive in their neighborhood
- Offer an hour’s notice of delivery and driver details or allow shoppers to book delivery slots
- Share photos of where the item was left
- Share tips on how they can use the products bests
- Encourage shoppers to share content on receiving the parcel and unboxing items.
Massive growth on the horizon? Level up your fulfillment strategy to maximize results.
9. Distribute clear shipping terms and conditions
Not knowing what to expect from a company can be frustrating and blindsiding. So be upfront about your terms and conditions, especially during peak season.
Share updates to your shipping schedule in multiple areas, so regulars become aware of any changes, and place your terms and conditions in multiple high-traffic areas to increase visibility.
10. Optimize stock storage location to reduce shipping times and costs
Going out of stock slows down your shipping process and forces you to rush in orders which cut into your margins. To avoid this scenario, it’s critical to optimize your inventory and shipping, so they work together to keep optimal stock levels.
- Store goods close to demand and in quantities that will match sales velocity.
- Have buffer stock in key areas.
- Choose carriers that can offer fast and affordable transportation to hubs and shipping to customers both internationally and domestically. (Note: shipping charges should reduce as your order volume increases).
11. Make your returns process painless
Your eCommerce business’ reverse logistics process is just as crucial as your outbound shipping. The right strategy would inspire shoppers to give your brand another chance even if the product wasn’t the right fit. Offer multiple stress-free options like Buy Online Return In Store (BORIS), paperless returns, and locker drop-offs.
To keep your returns operations economical and efficient, it’s critical now which products make sense to return to your warehouses and which products can be written off a loss without requiring them back. It’s also important to know what you’ll do with goods once they are returned. E.g. refurbishing and selling them on an alternative marketplace.
Power ahead with streamlined fulfillment
Shipping offers your brand the chance to shine and make operations more profitable. Also, the better your shipping experience, the increased likelihood that customers will return. So, take advantage of this opportunity. Step back from your current operations and pinpoint the areas that need work. Ask customers for feedback and onboard reliable shipping solutions, and start your optimizations in areas that’ll have the most impact first. Take action, and soon, your fulfillment will be running like a well-oiled machine.
It’s never too late to uplevel your fulfillment process. Learn how MyFBAPrep can set you up for success.
10 Critical Questions to Ask Before Choosing Your Fulfillment Partner
Fulfillment is an important consideration for buyers. They judge companies based on the speed, cost, efficiency, and trustworthiness of their shipping and return options — and they have high expectations. So much so that over 90% of shoppers expect their items in less than a week. Moreover, 53% of shoppers have canceled an order when they found shipping to be too slow, and 54% due to expensive fulfillment.
Needless to say, your fulfillment process is a huge deal and will play a critical role in your brand’s long-term results.
So, how do you get started on your search the right way?
Today we’ll shine the floodlight on the best questions to ask when looking for fulfillment services to ensure you find the right fit.
The real reasons why brands struggle to find their fulfillment match
Picking the right fulfillment partner is a long process, but there are some common mistakes businesses make that can prolong and increase your costs.
Rushing the process
It can be tempting to sign up for the first deal you see with little research to back up your decision. But “slow and steady wins the race” when searching for fulfillment services. Ideally, the fulfillment partner you choose will be with you for the long haul, so you should take your time.
It’s a worthwhile investment to assess your options diligently before committing. Set aside time in your schedule to give the search your full attention and thoroughly evaluate your options.
Not knowing what to look for
No matter how many years they’ve operated or awards they’ve won, no fulfillment service is perfect and offers everything.
Every business is unique, which means the services and turnaround times you need from your fulfillment partner will be unique as well.
It’s vital you know what the green and red flags are when searching for a partner. This approach will up your odds of finding your ideal match. Consider your budget, products, trading territories, services required, and the desired fulfillment experience before searching.
Tip: While it’s important to find a service that provides good value for money, if a deal sounds like it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
Having unrealistic expectations
It’s critical to enter the search with a clear understanding of what services are reasonable to ask for from a fulfillment provider.
For example, if you value ownership, you can ask for more insight into the warehouse processes. A fulfillment partner should be happy to take you on a warehouse tour to see how your inventory will be handled, and most should have a warehouse management system that provides real-time visibility into where your inventory is at all times.
However, you cannot hire your own warehouse manager and expect a 3PL to put them in charge of their entire warehouse.
10 Questions to ask before you select a fulfillment partner
1. What processes do we need to outsource?
Assess your fulfillment obligations, including prep and pack, warehousing, and shipping. Remember to add the tasks that aren’t mission-critical but either take up too much of your team’s time or are simply tedious and unenjoyable.
- List the fulfillment tasks you need.
- Consider tasks you may want to outsource in the future.
- Assess the fulfillment options your competitors offer to gain an idea of what you’re up against.
2. What are our fulfillment needs?
Even if a company sells identical products, its fulfillment needs can differ greatly depending on things like internal processes, capacity, and budget.
Be specific about what characteristics and assets you want in a fulfillment service. You could look at:
- Transparency in processes
- Setup offered (e.g., flexible or fixed logistics)
- Order volume capacity
- Storage capacity
- A variety of services offered
Take note of any storage, packing, and transportation requirements. Also, acknowledge your current customer shipping expectations (e.g., two-day shipping and free, paperless returns). If you aim to target new markets, research shipping options and expectations in those regions.
- Understand your customers’ shipping wants and needs.
- Pinpoint essential characteristics your fulfillment provider must accommodate.
- Research your target customer’s shipping expectations in territories where you aim to sell.
- Ask if the provider can inventory-related initiatives like back orders, presales, and subscriptions.
3. What’s our budget?
To receive realistic quotes, it’s vital you establish a healthy budget that reflects the fulfillment services you need. If you have a small budget, it’s okay to start small. It may mean outsourcing only a few tasks until you have more capital to work with and add as you go.
It’s important to know upfront the costs of fulfillment services and materials like dunnage, shipping boxes, and custom packaging for your order volume and shipping requirements. The offer should then go into a service-level agreement (SLA).
- Shop around to gain an idea of the typical starting price for the services you need and the type of fulfillment provider you want to work with.
- Create a shortlist of potential providers based on who can provide the best value for the money.
- Gather quotes from your shortlisted fulfillment service providers.
4. What information do we need from the fulfillment providers to make an informed decision?
While you can uncover certain things on your own, like reviews and testimonials, you’ll need to request other information directly from the fulfillment provider (although some details may be proprietary).
This can include performance data (e.g., on-time shipment rate, error rate, and inventory damage), closed case studies from businesses in your niche, insurance documents, and samples of standard operating procedures they use for items like yours.
- Know what data you need, using your internal processes, executive team’s requests, and past experiences as a guide.
- Request the information you need from Sales, Customer Support, or Management.
5. What tech integrations do we need?
From CRMs and inventory management software to sales and social media channels, every business has the essential tech tools they need to operate. Before you sign on the dotted line, learn whether the fulfillment provider can accommodate your preferred stack.
- List the software you wish to integrate.
- Inquire whether the fulfillment provider accepts these tools for integration.
- Ask how much data you can export from existing tools.
- Understand the downtime involved in integrations.
- Ask whether it’s possible to integrate tools not on their current integrations list, how much it’ll cost to execute, and how long it’ll take.
6. What shipping services are must-haves?
Efficient and affordable transportation of goods from manufacturers to warehouses and then to customers is critical. So, enquire about the provider’s logistical capabilities to ensure they match your needs.
For example, if you sell in multiple territories, ask if they have access to a freight network and contracts with various reputable carriers to act as first-, second-, and third-line options.
- Understand your average inventory turnover rates.
- Know the average time it takes to ship goods using your chosen transportation method (e.g., by rail and road).
- Ask the fulfillment service about the shipping types they offer and their costs.
7. Is the fulfillment provider tech-driven?
From AI product sorting to live inventory tracking, digital transformation is sweeping the fulfillment industry. A company that’s serious about driving efficiency, speed, and productivity for its customers should be invested in technology. This could be analytics to track inventory levels, bots to handle boxing, and more. Continuous improvement should be an ongoing priority of theirs.
- Find out what tech stack the fulfillment service uses.
- Enquire which services are executed manually and why.
- Ask about pending technological improvements and when they’ll go into effect.
8. What security measures are in place to protect our inventory?
Counterfeiting, theft, tampering, and tech malfunctions pose huge risks to your business. Your fulfillment provider must have robust security systems to keep your inventory safe, no matter where it is in their ecosystem.
- Ask whether the fulfillment provider has 24/7 security and if so, how robust it is (e.g. how many guards oversee the facility and do they have quality video surveillance and alarm systems).
- Find out if they have temperature and fire control systems in place.
- Investigate how many security issues they’ve had in the past year and how they resolved them.
9. What are the service level agreements you must adhere to?
Each sales channel has its own service level agreements (SLAs). This helps to protect the buyer experience by ensuring items are delivered on time, accurately, and reliably.
You want to find a good logistics partner that matches where your supply comes from and where your consumers live.
For example, if you’re based in Florida but your shipments come into California, look for a partner that has a California warehouse so you don’t have to truck items all the way across the country before you start prep. Likewise, if many of your customers live on the East Coast, you’ll want a partner that can store inventory nearby for fast deliveries.
- Ask about a fulfillment provider’s service level agreements when it comes to turnaround time and delivery reliability.
- Find out what holidays they take that might interrupt regular delivery hours.
- Enquire about their delivery rates for other merchants and how they meet SLAs on different sales channels.
- Learn if there’s a communication channel in place for emergency support.
10. Can a provider support international expansion?
As brands look to scale and expand their businesses, cross-border selling is quickly becoming a must.
Many brands are eager to reduce risk through territorial diversification, accelerate sales, and increase brand notoriety. So, look for a provider that can help you execute cross-border strategies affordably and efficiently.
For example, at MyFBAPrep, we have a warehouse network of over 50 warehouses and partnerships with some of the world’s most trusted freight and logistics companies like SEKO.
- Ask what cross-border services the fulfillment provider offers.
- Find out how much it costs to ship goods to the countries you receive the most orders from.
- Determine pricing and timelines for shipping by region and item size/height.
The right partner is worth the effort
Finding a fulfillment partner that’s the right fit for your brand can be a research-intensive process that requires significant time and resources. But when you’re armed with precise information, you can sidestep mistakes to identify your ideal match faster.
Create a partnership framework with our questions, approach potential providers, and set up tests to verify assumptions or dispel any concerns. With a reliable fulfillment provider, you’ll have optimized shipping solutions at your disposal, and your customers, staff, and bank account will thank you for it.