Archive for the 'General Interest' Category

How to Boost Profits for Your E-Commerce Store

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Every commercial business has one overriding aim, and that is to make money. As much as you love being an entrepreneur, the chances are you don’t want to do it for free. As well as covering your running costs, you also want to see a return on the time, effort, and hard work you put into your e-commerce business. There is plenty of money to be made online, but you need to increase your profit margin to earn your share. Here are some ideas to help you begin boosting profits for your e-commerce store:

Analyze Your Sales

Closely monitoring your sales and interpreting sales data play a vital role in boosting profits. Establishing which products are your biggest sellers and working out the profit margin will provide valuable insights. You may be able to buy these best-selling products in bulk and reduce the wholesale price you pay, which will elevate your profits further. Carrying out an inventory will also help you establish which products are not selling; you can then decide whether to reduce them and sell them off to claw back some cash and reclaim storage space in your warehouse. Selling these items off will help free up extra space to order more profitable products you know will sell well and boost your bottom line. 

It can be tempting to buy up items you know will be popular right now but are just a passing trend. If you think you can accurately predict demand, this could provide a great return. But, if you do not judge it right, you could be left with a warehouse full of surplus stock once the trend has passed.

Cut Shipping Costs

The cost of shipping goods to customers can be a drain on your business. One option is to pass this cost onto your customers, but this could result in lost sales and complaints. A better option is to look for alternative options that save you money on your shipping while still offering a reliable and prompt delivery service. Looking for affordable international UPS shipping prices should help you reduce your delivery costs and maintain fast and efficient shipping of your goods to customers. 

Perfect Your Promotions

Increased sales mean a bigger profit, which is why promoting your business in the best way is so vital. There are many methods to boost your sales, and if you measure your results carefully, you should be able to establish which ones are most effective. Offering discounts to customers on their next order is a great way to keep them buying more from you and becoming loyal customers. Sharing new products on social media can be an excellent opportunity to attract interest in your site and more visitors. Add-on sales are also a helpful way to increase the value of each transaction. ‘You may also like’ suggestions are a great way to encourage add-on sales, as are product bundles. It is surprising how small changes such as these can make a big difference to your profits.

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What Not To Sell On Your eCommerce Site

It’s easier than ever to start an online eCommerce store, especially with Prestashop development experts who can create the site for you or at least give you plenty of information and advice about how you should do it. However, just because you can open up an online store, that doesn’t mean you can go ahead and sell whatever you want to. Some items are just not worth the trouble, and some are never going to be sold in the numbers you need to make this a viable business. 

Finding the right products for your eCommerce store is crucial, but when you’re looking for the right products, it’s vital to stay away from the bad ones, even if they look tempting and you think they might be popular. Remember, this is your business, and you must run it correctly to stand a chance of doing well. The wrong products are not going to help you do that. With that in mind, here are some products you shouldn’t sell on your eCommerce site. 

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Counterfeit Goods 

We understand that counterfeit (fake) goods might look like a good business idea. They are cheap to buy, you can make a good profit, and people want to buy them. Unfortunately, not only is selling counterfeit goods against the law, but it’s also bad for business. 

If you’re upfront about the fact that you’re selling fakes, the authorities will soon come down hard on you, and you could lose everything you’ve built up until that point. If you’re not honest about how legitimate the products are, you’ll get in trouble with your customers, especially if they’re paying high prices. Your reputation will plummet, and again, you could lose it all. It’s just not worth it for the small reward you could gain. 

Age-Restricted Items 

As you delve deeper into the different rules and laws in place around online sales, you’ll discover that a lot of items are age-restricted. In other words, you have to be of a certain age to buy them, and as a seller, you need to see age verification before you can safely sell. Some of the products that are included in this are alcohol and knives. 

In a physical store, age verification is hard enough, but on an eCommerce site, when it amounts to someone telling you their age and you having to take their word for it, it’s impossible. The challenge is not one many new entrepreneurs want to think about because the penalties for selling age-restricted items to underage buyers are large fines and the closure of your business. 

Niche Items 

You can set up an online store to sell almost anything, but just because you have a store, does that mean people will buy from it? In the case of niche items, you might find that there just aren’t enough people interested in what you are selling to make a difference.

In general, niche items are a good idea since they will ensure your site is unique, and those who want to buy will come to you. However, if the niche is too small, then the profits will be small too, and even if you’re making sales, it will never be enough to make your site a viable business. 

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Four Great Ways To Get To Know Your Customers

Every single business out there assumes that they know their customers. The thing is, they may be familiar with the image that they portray and the general opinion from customers, but they don’t truly KNOW their customers well. If you want to be the sort of business that learns what’s meaningful to its customers, you are going to be in better stead with the people that you know.

Finding out who your customers really are is important and if you are already implementing techniques like KYC checks, you are already halfway there. Your customers are going to have different personalities and identities, and as a business owner, you need to get to know these identities and understand what you could be offering to people. When it comes down to it, if you don’t know who your customers are, you’re going to struggle to be able to offer them anything. With this in mind, here are four great ways that you can start getting to know your customers better.

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  • Collaborate. You are in a unique position as a business owner. You can learn about your customers in all kinds of ways but one of the best is in your collaboration with them. The more you work together, the better you can immerse your clients in your creative process. It may well work for you to do this, and it will certainly help you to build up a rapport with your customers that can help you to sell new ideas. You can give your customers a slice of ownership in your business processes, too, as they will want to work with you to help you to understand what they need from you.
  • Social Media. You need to be on social media as a business if you want to enable your customers to see you and join in the conversation with you about what you need. There are plenty of firms out there that won’t use the information that is in the palm of their hands, but you can get so much from your customers when you are on social media. Don’t just stick to Facebook, either. You need to get onto a range of social media sites so that you can maintain relationships and a strong social media profile. These can empower you to do more with your customers.
  • Ask. The best way to get to know your customers is to simply ask for feedback and get to know what they want from you. You have to be bold and ask your customers what they want from you and then you can work to deliver it. It’s better to be direct and know that you are getting the right information from the people who are paying for your service.
  • Serve. Lastly, you need to serve the needs of your customers. Once you know what they want, and you better understand their wants and needs, you can get on board with ensuring that you have gathered the right information to serve customer needs.
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Don’t Allow Your IT To Let Down Your Business

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One thing that is true for practically every business in the world in the modern era is that there are few things more important to it than IT. We live in a digital world and a business that isn’t willing to embrace digital technology is one that is very unlikely to succeed. However it’s not just a matter of using IT in your business, you need to be sure that you’re using it properly and making the most of it. It’s incredibly common for a lot of businesses to be let down by their IT. So here are just a few ways that you can make sure that doesn’t happen.

Strong infrastructure

Despite how important it is to the functionality of any business. IT infrastructure is something that can often go overlooked for one simple reason. That reason is that when it’s working, IT infrastructure is generally invisible. This is by design. Your IT infrastructure keeps your business moving along and a lot of the time it’s something people only really think about when it goes wrong. However, if that’s the case then you’re leaving your business vulnerable. You should make sure that you’re taking the time to manage your servers and connections so that you can be sure that they’re always functioning properly.

The right support

No matter the size of your business, there’s little doubt that IT can be incredibly complicated and that means that managing your IT is often something that you may struggle to do without some kind of support. Luckily, that support is out there. Getting support from companies that can help you in all of your IT essentials ensures that your business keeps functioning and that any problems can be dealt with as quickly and effectively as possible. The reality is that IT is something that is simply too complex for you to try and handle entirely on your own.

Employee training

The use of technology and IT in your business might be an amazing development but one thing that you should always remember is that technology is generally only as effective as the people using it. This means that you have to be sure that you’re providing all of your employees with all of the training that they need to make the most of the IT in your business. This includes everything from the use of proprietary software to creating a culture of online and digital security on every level of your business from top to bottom.

The truth is that IT is just one aspect of your business but there’s no doubt that it’s a central pillar in any business that wants to succeed in the modern world. Without a strong IT foundation holding up your business, it’s going to be a whole lot harder to make sure that all of the other elements of it are functioning the way that they should. Getting your IT right is the first step to making sure that your business is a genuine success.

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Pandemic-Proof Your Business’ Cybersecurity

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Cybersecurity remains a constant threat to businesses, but the COVID-19 pandemic has shed new light on cyber threats. As companies were forced to modify their operations swiftly in response to the coronavirus outbreak, hackers found new opportunities to gain access to in-house systems and servers. As a result, a significant number of businesses have been the victims of cyberattacks in recent months and many may still be unaware that they’ve been affected. 

As threats evolve and emerge, it’s vital that businesses implement new security protocols to combat them. This means staying up to date with the latest cyber threats and accessing advanced security measures to keep your data and systems secure. To get a head-start, take a look at these top tips to pandemic-proof your business’ cybersecurity now:

1. Identify Cloud Vulnerabilities

In response to the global pandemic, millions of businesses introduced remote working arrangements. To achieve this, a significant number of firms made hasty transitions to the cloud, often accelerating their planned transition phase to respond to environmental demands. Although cloud computing offers many business advantages, it’s vital that business owners recognize the vulnerabilities that are present. 

Providing effective security protocols are enacted, the cloud can be a secure place to host platforms and store data. However, businesses will need to decide which security measures are right for them and ensure that they’re introduced companywide. 

2. Offer Secure Digital Services

Increasing demand for online services and digital customer care is forcing businesses to consider new initiatives and experiences. Omnichannel customer service is increasingly popular as users expect a seamless, cross-device, and cross-platform experience, for example. 

Businesses will need to increase their range of digital services in order to meet the demands of their target audience, but they’ll need to do with cybersecurity in mind. By providing IT staff with training opportunities, such as the ITIL certification, or working with third-party, specialist IT service providers, companies can ensure that they’ve got the expertise required to develop effective cybersecurity strategies. In addition to this, companies will be able to implement new digital services in a way that complements their existing online presence. 

3. Educate Your Staff

Human error remains a major issue in relation to cybersecurity breaches and the increasing use of social engineering means that many firms remain vulnerable due to a lack of awareness amongst staff. Your employees are a critical line of defense when it comes to protecting your organization from cybersecurity threats, so don’t overlook the role they play. 

By educating staff about the different threats they’ll encounter and teaching them how to spot the signs of an imminent attack, you can ensure that they’re able to respond appropriately when a cyberattack looms. As a result, you can safeguard your systems and your data and mitigate an attack before it takes place.

Making Cybersecurity a Top Priority

Cybersecurity should always be a critical issue for businesses across all sectors. As we continue to adjust to a ‘new normal’ in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s vital that companies make cybersecurity a top priority. 

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Tips When Using Social Media For Advertising Your Business

Social media has fast become a key place for many businesses to build on their success. Spreading the word and making sure more people are hearing your company’s name and seeing you more often is key. That’s why you should be taking full advantage of what these platforms can offer you. With that in mind, here are some tips when using social media for advertising your business.

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Know Your Target Audience

Before you even consider investing money into advertising your brand, it’s important to know who your audience is. If you can’t list off a page of detailed information about who your customers are, then you’ll want to increase your knowledge where possible. Your target audience is going to be those individuals that will hopefully see your advertisement or promotional content via your social media handles. 

It’s important to remember that unless you have a very niche product or service, your target audience might not be all the same. You may have pockets of audiences that are completely different or only have a few similarities with other customers. It’s important to know the in’s and out’s of your audience so that you are spending your money correctly and not wasting it by it hitting the wrong people.

Learn More About ROI

Return on investment is something to learn more about because what you spend on advertising needs to be worth it when it comes to those conversion rates. What is a CTA? It’s essentially the percentage of visitors to your website that will then convert to sales or actions you’ve set. So when you come to organize these paid advertisements, it’s good to see what social media platforms have better conversion rates for your business. There’s no point in wasting money on one platform if it’s just not working.

Set A Budget

A budget is an important thing to have in place so that you are getting the most out of your money but not spending so much that it hinders your business stability. Spending money on advertising is certainly necessary to improve exposure for the business and to attract customers both old and new, but it’s not everything. Make sure you consider what platforms need hitting and how much things will cost on estimation. 

Always try to overbudget where you can so that if you do end up spending less, it’ll at least feel like you’ve made a saving. Budgeting is especially important for new businesses or start-ups where the cash flow might not be as big as other companies.

Find What Works

When advertising on social media, not everything will work out the way you’d hope it would. Even those who have consistently done paid advertising online will have one or two campaigns that might not perform as well as they’d hoped. With that being said, find out what works for your business and don’t spread your advertising too thinly.

Social media is a great way of advertising so use these tips to make sure your business benefits from the online world.

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Improve Your Online Security This Week

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Running an online business is difficult at the best of times; but during a global pandemic we have to up the ante when it comes to our digital presence and capabilities. From setting up your office at home to employing people remotely – there are many elements to consider and ways to make your business succeed during these times. 

Today we want to talk about some of the ways you can improve your online security this year even at home and ensure that your online business prevails. 

Install dedicated servers 

The first thing to consider when running a business at home and remotely is to have dedicated servers for your operations. Servers can be overloaded very easily with a lot of activity and when you have people accessing it from many different locations it can be difficult for it to cope. Install dedicated servers for your business and also ensure that your servers are protected and private to those in your business. Protect your assets and data and keep everything in one secure place. 

Choose better passwords 

One of the most important things you need to do as a small business owner is force your workers to choose strong passwords. There should be no names, birthdays, pet names or anything that can be easily guessed by hackers. Use a service such as LastPass to generate random passwords with lots of letters and numbers as well as special characters and make sure everyone has their own LastPass account where their details are stored securely. You can allow access to certain people in the business and ensure that only those who need passwords will have access to them. 

Choose authority levels 

As well as having authority levels with passwords for accounts, you can also have levels of access for documents and files such as accounting or employee details. These can be password protected and accessed only by those who NEED access. This is an essential thing to do because if you allow access to all company files for everyone who works for you, people could use this as a way to get to their coworkers and it can cause some serious problems. 

Reduce application usage 

Applications such as email, account management, CMS, CRM, photo editing and more are great for business. However, when opening yourself up to hackers these can all be dangerous as they put your information in places where they can be accessed. For example if Adobe was hacked and account details were stolen; your bank details could be taken and used. It is important to only sign up to applications you need, and once you finish using one – delete your account and details. 

Keep everything locked 

It is important to always lock your computer when you walk away from your desk. This is a practice that can be done in the office as well as at home to avoid people getting access to information they shouldn’t. 

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Why Is Data Classification Important?

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Data classification is vital for all businesses, especially as we hold more information than ever before, and businesses increasingly open their data networks to external collaborators. Below, we take a look at the different reasons why this is a must for data protection purposes.

What is data classification?

Data classification is a procedure that involves categorising data assets based on how sensitive they are. For example, some categories you may implement are as follows: top secret, regulatory data, highly confidential, public, internal, and such like. By classifying data, both your workforce and you will know how to protect it. You will know the measures to put in place, and how the data in question should be handled. This will reduce the chance of a data breach occurring.

It makes you aware of what the next steps should be with that piece of data

Data classification is imperative because you then know how the data should be handled from a security standpoint. For example, you know whether the data in question needs to have strict access control settings applied, or whether the data is not really confidential, and therefore, does not require protection. This does not only apply to online data either; you may need to invest in document shredding or store documents in a secure place, whereas other documents may not require this level of security and protection.

Do you know where all of your data is right now?
You should.

After all, can you honestly say that you know where all of your data is stored at present? Any data that cannot be accounted for is opening up your business to the risk of a breach, and the statistics regarding data breaches make grim reading to say the least. For effective data protection, classification is a must.

You can run your firm more effectively and you will know who is accountable for any issues

Data classification is also beneficial because it ensures that your employees are accountable for their actions and that they are actively involved in protecting your firm.

Although data classification may seem like an extra hassle and expense, it can actually lower costs at your company

Other benefits include reduced expenditure in ensuring adequate information security, as well as more efficient business activities. Data classification also forms the basis for effective protection techniques, including incident response plans and identity access management. It basically establishes the foundations for everything you do to protect your firm’s data.

As you can see, the need for data classification is evident. No matter what type of business you run – no matter the industry you operate in or the size of your company – you will handle data, and you need to make sure you classify it appropriately in order to protect it. If you are not sure about how to go about this yourself, there are businesses that specialize in data classification, so there is help available should you need it.

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Top Tips to Boost Your Conversion Rates

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Online retail has been going from strength to strength for many years now, while, unfortunately, bricks and mortar stores are finding business increasingly challenging. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen internet sales skyrocket as shoppers have turned to e-commerce to purchase goods while the stores were closed. It is plain to see why online shopping continues to grow in popularity when you can pick from millions of products worldwide and have them delivered directly to your door.

Now is the time for e-commerce stores to enjoy a boost in success. Hopefully, you will be experiencing an increased demand for your products and an uptick in sales on your website. If this isn’t the case, and your conversion rates are not as healthy as you would like, why not try to implement some changes to capitalize on the increased demand for online shopping?

Website Health Check

Before you start to introduce changes, it is helpful to assess where you stand right now. To ensure that your website changes provide you with a healthy return on your investment, you need to know the breakdown of vital stats such as the number of page visits your site receives and, of course, the conversion rate. Once you know this information, you will be able to figure out the areas that need the most improvement.

SEO

Before you even begin to think about conversion rates, you need to attract a healthy number of visitors to your website. Effective SEO is the tool that will help to increase your web presence by boosting your search engine rankings and getting your business seen by your potential customers. SEO requires specialist knowledge to achieve results, so hiring an SEO expert such as PK Seo is a wise idea to ensure that your business gets noticed and for its rankings to be improved.

Product Descriptions

While shopping online is super convenient and offers an excellent range of products, there is one distinct disadvantage. When you shop online, you cannot physically hold the products and examine them in person. To overcome this issue, you will need to ensure that your product descriptions and product imagery are as straightforward as possible and contain all the relevant specifications. Having a comprehensive product description and high-quality photos can play a crucial role in helping to convert customers.

Detailed Delivery Information

Providing clear, but detailed delivery information is needed to make it as simple as possible for customers to buy from you. Having delivery and returns information readily available on your website provides potential customers with the reassurance that they can buy with confidence from your store with no nasty surprises such as expensive delivery charges.

Chat Bots

Chat bots are becoming increasingly popular and can offer a highly effective method of increasing conversion. A chat bot can help to reduce the number of abandoned baskets your company has by providing website visitors assistance before they navigate away from your site. This can help to increase sales and give your conversion rates a healthy boost.

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Social Media Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make

Social media is, undeniably, the strongest collection of platforms when it comes to marketing online. More people are connected to at least one social media account than ever before and it offers businesses an unparalleled level of direct access. However, every social media platform is a multi-faceted discipline, meaning that marketing on them incorrectly is actually fairly easy. For that reason, we’re going to look at some of the mistakes you want to avoid as best as possible.

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Posting too much, too often

There is some benefit to making sure that you’re posting regularly. A feed that updates rarely does not leave a good image for customers who expect businesses to be there to respond to their needs at almost any time of the day. Furthermore, there is no denying that a higher frequency of posts means that your account is more likely to be seen throughout the day. However, if you’re aiming for quantity over quality, you are going to start annoying your audience members more than anything else. Try to space out your posts using social media scheduling tools to ensure that you’re posting often enough but not too often and that your posts are more evenly spaced out to times that they’re more likely to be seen.

Posting text only

Text posts can help you deliver a lot of information in an effective way, but a feed that is only text will fail to engage users as regularly as they should. There is plenty of data to support the fact that images and videos tend to get more clicks and engagements on average. Aside from using relevant imagery and posting interesting videos, you can use infographic generation tools to turn your written content into a more visually elaborate and generally interesting form.

Only posting your own posts

The “social” part of social media is an important distinction that separates it from advertising and other direct marketing methods. It’s not a one-way channel, it’s a communal experience. As such, there is a lot of goodwill to be had by sharing posts from both your own community as well as other adjacent brands. Similarly, there is a lot of bad will to be fostered by having a feed that doesn’t offer their platform to their community now and then. Make sure to curate content from other users, as well as to share relevant posts from members of your own audience to benefit from more positive social proof.

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Using the wrong social media platforms

There is a convincing case to be made for the benefits of all of the major social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, LinkedIn, and so on. Each of them may be able to offer some value to your business, but trying to manage all of them is simply not possible for the majority of businesses. As such, you need to prioritize and decide which platforms are most valuable to you. For instance, Facebook and Twitter have the largest userbases, meaning that most businesses will want a presence on at least one of them. However, others fit more niche needs, such as how LinkedIn tends to better suit business 2 business companies who are looking to speak to an audience of professionals, while the visual nature of Instagram makes it a better fit for lifestyle products that sell on aesthetic, like fashion and home businesses.

Being unfamiliar with your platform

Aside from using the wrong platform, there are also inherent risks to using platforms that you don’t know how to leverage effectively. You can learn to use any social media platform as an effective marketing tool, of course. However, if you want to hit the ground running and start building an effective marketing strategy, choosing one that you’re unfamiliar with can hold you back. Does this mean you should not use the platforms best suited to your business simply because you’re not familiar with them, however? No. With the help of teams like a Facebook marketing agency, you can ensure that you’re still making great use of a platform, even if you don’t know how to use it well. By watching and learning, you can develop the skills to better use those platforms on your own, too.

Not making use of your analytics

Are you blindly posting into the aether, hoping that your posts will stick without any ability to intuit what might or might not be successful? If so, why? Practically every social media channel available (or at least those that businesses most commonly use) provide a lot of data. Web-users produce an immense amount of data every minute. A lot of this data, at least the most relevant data, is collected and collated through analytics tools that come free with most social media accounts. These analytics can help you watch not only trends and important marketing metrics over time, but the performance of the individual posts that you make, allowing you to better see what does and does not work for your audience.

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Never boosting your posts

The cost-effectiveness of social media is one of its undeniable strengths. Most platforms are thoroughly free to use, create a profile, and post on. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s no benefit to occasionally spending a little money on your own social media presence. If you have a post that is doing very well and generating a lot of traffic towards your website or helping more customers convert, then you can pay to boost it, ensuring that it appears more widely to users outside your own page. You can use targeting functions to ensure that it reaches those most relevant to your business, as well. If you never boost your posts, you could miss a big opportunity to reach even more people.

Complete mastery of social media might be nigh-impossible for the average business owner, but you can at least learn to avoid some of the biggest mistakes made by newcomers to the field and ensure that your efforts are more likely to pay-off right from the get-go.

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Keeping your brand in the forefront of people’s minds

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The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc with most businesses. The pandemic has posed countless challenges and it can feel exhausting trying to overcome each one as it’s presented to you. Now, running a business has never been easy. But right now, it can feel like you’re constantly treading water to stay afloat. The main two problems that most businesses are facing is that people either don’t have the money to spend with their brand (through job loss, reduced working hours or reduced salaries) or simply don’t want to spend money on any non essential goods (as people want to save in case they lose their jobs, face reduced hours or have to agree to reduced salaries). Right now, you may not be able to generate significant sales and profit, no matter how hard you market your brand. But this doesn’t mean that you simply put your business on hold for the foreseeable future. Instead, you’re going to have to maintain customer interest and customer relationships so that people will be the first in line to buy from you when they do experience better financial times. Brand awareness and brand engagement are going to prove key to your business’ success over the upcoming months. Here are a few steps you can take to keep your company in the back of people’s minds until the time is right!

Entice Sales

Of course, you may need to generate some sales in order to create sufficient profit to keep afloat. To achieve this, you’re really going to have to entice consumers. This may include doing things that you wouldn’t usually. Significant sales tend to be the best way to get even reluctant people to part with their cash. Sure, this means you won’t make as much on your merchandise as usual. But it means you will generate something. Just make sure there’s still a sufficient profit margin to make it worth it!

Continue Sending Marketing Emails

You need to continue sending engaging content in your marketing emails. Marketing mails are literally designed to keep your brand in the back of consumers’ minds and are often successful at this. Rather than sales based mails, really focus on pure useful content. This will prevent people from being scared away by the concept of having to buy something and will encourage them to simply engage with your brand and see it in a positive light. Emails can be encouraging and direct people to your site’s blog. This way, you get people onto your site where they can then go on to browse other areas, but will feel like they’re doing so of their own accord, rather than being pushed straight to product pages.

Engage on Your Website

Have fun elements on your website that will keep people on your website. A Virtual photo booth is a good idea. People love taking pictures of themselves and editing them. The photobooth allows them to do this and can encourage them to share the pictures they take (with your branded logo added) with others, then encouraging others to visit your site too. Getting people engaging with your site makes it more likely that they will then take a look around your products and potentially make purchases. At the very least, it gets people to create positive associations with your brand, making them more likely to purchase with you in the future.

Maintain an Engaging Blog

As we’ve briefly highlighted earlier, you may want to direct people to your website’s blog. Blogs are extremely important nowadays. Not only can they help your site with SEO optimisation, but they can deliver genuinely useful content to your potential customers too! Make sure to fill your blog with regular, useful content. People may become regular readers, which will make visiting your page a part of their regular routine. They’ll enjoy your content, creating positive connections between your business and them in their mind. It also encourages them to browse your goods regularly. This can boost sales and see you generate more profits!

 

Of course, there are countless other things you can do to drive brand awareness and brand engagement. But hopefully, the above digital options can easily be carried out during these unprecedented times and can help to keep your brand in the back of customers’ minds when they’re unlikely to buy. This is all so important to keep in mind as we advance towards a recession – people having positive associations with your brand could really help your company to survive the upcoming months!

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Tips to Take Your Ecommerce Business to the Next Level

When you put a lot of time, effort and money into building an ecommerce level, it’s understandable that you want it to be as successful as it can possibly be. Taking your site to the next level is certainly possible, and there are some things you can do to get there. That’s what we’re going to discuss today, so read on more to find out what you can do to put your ecommerce business in a better position than ever before.

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Use a Good Web Host

One of the first things your business should try to do is find a better web host. It’s impossible to take your ecommerce site to the next level of your website is constantly down as a result of bad hosting. It might cost a little more for a premium hosting service, but it’s most definitely worth it if you want to grow your website into something more and something that can’t be ignored.

Make the Site Searchable

The website should be fully searchable because people sometimes want to find very specific things and they’ll be frustrated searching through pages and pages of content. Make life easier for them by letting them search for the things they’re looking for. A simple search bar is pretty easy to add to your site but it’ll make a huge difference to the user experience.

Create Simple Menus

The menus system your site uses should also be as straightforward and simple as possible. Your aim should always be to make it easier for your customers to find what they’re looking for, and a simple menu system will be a huge part of that. Don’t create too many different categories that overcomplicate things because that’s when it all gets too messy.

Start Taking Advantage of SEO Techniques

Making the most of the most up to date SEO techniques will help your business massively when it comes to boosting traffic. SEO companies such as SEO Shark can help with this if it all seems a little too complicated to take on alone. Make the most of these options and start making your website rank higher on search engine results pagse. Doing so will help your ecommerce business to start growing in a more organic way.

Don’t Clutter Your Website

Finally, you should remember the importance of not cluttering up your website with a lot of unnecessary data. People don’t like using online stores that seem to be bursting at the seams. Instead, these days people prefer websites that are very clean and elegant, so that’s probably the kind of aesthetic you should be aiming for. It’ll make the site look so much better.

If you make the most of the ideas we’ve talked about here today, you’ll find it much easier to start taking your ecommerce business to a whole new level. It doesn’t have to involve anything too complicated. Simply adopting these changes and putting them in place will make a huge difference.

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Getting Started with SEO as a Start-Up

If you have a start-up, you probably have a website. If you have a website in 2020, it needs to be optimized for search engines to achieve success. Google and Bing’s algorithms now make it very hard for a completely new site to rank among competitors on the search engine results page (SERP) without first being perceived by them as trusted. This is even harder if your website impacts viewers’ money or life, such as if you’re selling a product or service. So, if you’re a start-up with a website, here is what you need to know about SEO.

Google’s Starter Guide

Google has an SEO guide for websites that need Google Search to survive (i.e., any website that doesn’t specifically reject Google). This guide clearly states that the best way for a website to be featured on their SERP is by clearly benefiting their users. They outline that any SEO you undertake should be with the philosophy of making the user experience better.

The first thing they ask you to check is whether your site is already showing on Google after its launch. At this point, you should double-check that you have a robots.txt page, as if you have just launched, it can help Google’s (and other search engines’) ‘robots’ crawl through the internet and add your page to their directory.

They specify that your website needs to be secure, serve high-quality content to users, and have content optimized to be fast and easy to access on all devices. The 4th paragraph of Google’s guide is effectively a heads-up. It asks you if you need an SEO expert and tells you that doing so can save time and implies that the complex nature of SEO means there is a lot for a newcomer to cover. They recommend that you start off by getting an expert to audit your site, something that leading SEO companies typically include in a package. For example, Click Intelligence offers site auditing available in a custom package alongside content generation, pay per click strategy, PR outreach, and a lot more.

Google’s guide then proceeds to cover a lot of technical information, which can be overwhelming for those new to SEO, but is recommended for anybody looking to get a comprehensive understanding of the processes involved. However, they jump straight into the technicalities of SEO without outlining the importance of something else first. That something else is demographics work.

Proper Demographics Work

If you are significantly down the road of your start-up launch, you have probably conducted demographics analysis of your target market. If not, please understand that this is a vital component in selling products and services to both businesses and direct to consumers. When you start your SEO strategy, you will need to refer to the analysis you have conducted, as everything about your brand should be tailored to those to whom you wish to sell.

When you’re planning your SEO, you need to remember that the whole point of the exercise is to think of who you want to be searching for you and attempt to enhance your visibility to them. It can be worth it, at this stage, to conduct analyses of your competitors’ audiences, too. Really flesh this out – who are the users and how do they think, what do they want from a service, how do they search, on which devices do they search, etc. This analysis will help you understand that your audience will not search for your start-up by name almost all the time when you’re starting out. Instead, they will find your start-up by searching for a need they have that needs to be fulfilled. How do you tailor your SEO for them?

Keywords

Keywords are a foundation of SEO strategy. To successfully implement SEO, you need to understand the key terms that searchers are looking for, and tailor your site to include them in such a way that a search engine determines your site as valuable for those searching with your chosen keywords.

There are several free tools that can help you research keywords that you think might be valuable to your SEO. It’s recommended that you explore keywords as much as you can – expand on possible phrases and analyze where these search terms are active (which sites and which locations). Keywords can be short-tail or long-tail. Short-tail keywords are more general and shorter, e.g., “chocolate,” and long-tail keywords are more specific and tend to be longer, e.g., “best chocolate recipes.” Short-tail keywords are much harder to rank highly on the SERP with, so its recommended when you’re brainstorming keywords to choose a few short-tails but at least five long-tails to expand on each short-tail keyword you choose.

If you’re stuck with building your list of keywords, try a simple process with a complicated name: pattern recognition through stems and qualifiers. Take a short-tail keyword and apply different qualifiers to turn it into a long-tail keyword. Examples of these qualifiers are:

  1. Relevant adjective – best start-up
  2. Location – start-up London
  3. Brand – Nike start-up
  4. Product spec/feature – Student’s start-up
  5. Product Type – SaaS start-up
  6. Intended use – Part-time start-up
  7. Comparison – Start-up vs corporation
  8. Action request – buy start-up

Once you have developed a list of keywords, you can start to think about where you include them on your site. Then, you need to think about your content.

Content Marketing – The King

The importance of content has become a cliché in online marketing and SEO, but it is so for a reason. You need high-quality content that can take the form of a blog page, videos, pictures – anything that your demographics will willingly consume with interest. Content needs to be factual and enticing, and is important in the eyes of Google, as it gives you some authority within your niche. Factual, well-researched posts that are 100% original and inform readers about a specific problem and potential solutions are highly recommended, as they not only position your site as an expert, but can attract backlinks.

When people share your content online in blog posts and other pieces of content, they may choose to link back to your site to demonstrate their point. This establishes your site as helpful for other people, and search engine algorithms observe these backlinks and are more likely to position you higher up on the SERP, as they can see that your site is trustworthy and provides value. Backlinks have to be genuine; they can’t just be hacked by creating a series of blogs and copying and pasting content with the addition of a link to your site. When they work best, backlinks are from high-quality articles themselves. Sites that master content marketing generate 500% more leads, have 434% more pages on the SERP, and 55% more traffic, according to Semrush.

Taking care of your SEO on a regular basis involves a lot of content generation, as your site will need to stay fresh and relevant in order to generate genuine backlinks. That shouldn’t be the only thing you maintain with your SEO efforts, though. The world of SEO is ever-changing and is rife with major revolutions that can see a high-ranking page wiped from the face of the SERP (as was observed in the infamous Google Medic update).

If you feel you have the basics of SEO down, you should regularly audit your site to make sure that everything is working as planned – and stay up to date with SEO news, as any bit of leaked information from Googles’ search engine algorithm department can help to boost your site’s rankings.

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Is Your Online Presence Up To Scratch?

Starting your online venture will be the most exciting journey for you and if you already have a presence, then it’s time to start optimising that. You probably already have your ideas, your thoughts and it’s time to take a big leap towards a new business goal. Perhaps that is to have a certain amount of followers on your social pages, or perhaps it is to hit a certain amount of website hits. This is all achievable but it takes a little bit of effort and a little bit of luck to get started as well as great marketing! Where possible, look at getting a Marketing Agency involved as they will fully take the pressure off. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t still also follow through on some steps yourself, it’s more than possible. So let’s look deeper.

Brand yourself as well as possible.

Your website design is a huge reflection on your business and your style, your likes, and your personality is going to have to show through this. Perhaps you have a specific colour scheme, business logos, video and content that really defines your brand. If you opt for a monochrome, then keep this consistent throughout and be sure to always use that so people can always relate it back to you. Branding is so important because consistency in branding creates professionalism and shows a dedication to your business. Pick a specific design that you like, for example, a specific theme, colour theme and be sure that you continue this too on things such as your business cards, flyers and leaflets.you can always look at some editing and creative apps such as  Canva which have many free options too which is great for beginners.

Network like a pro

This is perhaps the most vital thing you can do in business and that is make connections and be around people who are like minded. It can be a daunting thing to pitch to someone and to communicate about your brand, but your digital business is important and it’s important that you are passionate about it and share that with others. It must resonate in your communication so by chatting with people on social media, you can learn to make new contacts and find potential clients. Make relationships with like-minded people which gives you a good sense of community and builds a wider presence. Interacting and proving you possess good solid communication shows you are reliable too as well as dedicated to your work.

All in all, the key to success in your business is passion and having a good team behind you. Get together the best of the best and ensure that you are always working to potential. Don’t feel as if you have to rush things as organic growth does take time. Don’t feel defeated if this takes more time than you wanted because the perseverance will pay off. Implement the marketing often and daily, because it truly is a full time job so if you know you’re not as on the ball as you should, then you need to change.

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Online Shopping: Why You Should Shop Directly from US Stores

Online shopping is on the rise in the Philippines. Out of the 76 million active Internet users in the country, 70 percent are online shoppers. There are plenty of reasons that many Filipinos are choosing to shop online nowadays. It’s convenient, they have more options, and it’s cheaper. With the quarantine restrictions in the country, it’s much safer to have products delivered to your doorstep compared to the traditional way of shopping.

Still, there are a lot of issues with online shopping that have not been addressed. One of which is the fact that not all internationally-based online stores directly ship to the country. However, that shouldn’t stop Filipinos who want to shop in the U.S. and ship to the Philippines. Here are two reasons that they should.

It’s Cheaper (and Safer) than Unauthorized Local Resellers

Local resellers are people who claim to have had international products shipped from abroad and are now selling them locally. You could choose to buy from them as they have the products on-hand and will take less than a few days to ship your product to you. But here’s where you may lose out in terms of money and safety.

If the product is genuine, then the price of the product should be higher than the price it’s listed online. Sellers sell to make a profit, so they’re not going to sell it at the same rate it’s listed. They’ll be raising the cost to cover the expenses of shipping, customers, and the others they’ve incurred to start their selling business. Then, they’ll add a mark-up for their profit.

If you find a seller willing to sell it below or at the online price, that is when you should be wary about the product’s authenticity. Fraudulent sellers can make you believe you’re buying an international product when you’re actually purchasing a dupe. In 2019, over 3.90 billion pesos worth of fake goods were seized by the Bureau of Customs. For example, if you know that Kylie Cosmetics’ Koko K Lipstick Kit is sold at $26, don’t believe local sellers offering the same kit for 100 pesos.

In short, if you don’t want the added costs and the lack of assurance of buying from unauthorized local resellers, you’re better off buying directly from the online store.

Not Everything Is Available Locally

The Philippine market is very limited to what’s popular or what entrepreneurs believe will sell to a huge niche. As a result, some of the things you like may not be available for sale locally, so you either have to settle for what’s available.

Of course, shipping internationally is not always easy. If you’ve ever tried buying a product from Amazon or any other U.S.-based store, you might see notices that say they don’t ship to the Philippines. That can easily be remedied with shipping services that serve as “your” U.S. address and ship your products directly to you without the added taxes and miscellaneous fees other shipping methods provide.

Shopping directly from international online stores gives you peace of mind knowing you’re buying the genuine product and having it shipped safely directly to your home. That may not be possible with all online stores, but luckily many shipping services can help you receive and deliver U.S.-based deliveries and ship it to your home in the Philippines.

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Why ECommerce Is More Important Than Ever

Photo by Negative Space from Pexels

The current global pandemic has already caused massive changes across the world. This has had a significant impact on businesses, trading and how the consumer behaves. In America alone, nearly 95% of the population has been affected by a quarantine. Businesses have been forced to shut their doors, leaving their companies only way of dealing with the consumer, online.

In the US, year-on-year revenue growth has peaked to 68%. This is much higher than the previous peak seen in January of 49% if you combine the US and Canadian e-commerce orders, you can see a 146% growth across all online retail orders. This shows that the consumer is changing rapidly. The question is, will this fall once the pandemic is under control and companies can go back to operating as usual? Or, will the pandemic change the way businesses work and the consumer buys?

Now is an essential time to ensure that your business offers a good eCommerce experience to your consumer and your suppliers. It’s wise to speak to an expert and get advice on your current status. You may find you are doing everything right but discover ways of pushing it forward even more, which will help increase turnover. Having an outsourced expert to run through your site, as a consumer, can highlight any issues which could be causing your customers to leave items in their cart and shop with someone else.

If you run a small business, it is worth talking to Shopify experts who can help you make the most of your online store. Although many smaller companies choose to create their own websites and online shopping sites using templates created by coders, it’s possible you aren’t maximising your opportunities. A small investment now could lead to higher turnover. Especially if you don’t understand SEO, a specialist could help drive more traffic to your site.

Mobile optimization is vital, as 72% of consumers use a mobile device to shop. You might have a stunning website that offers a simple experience on a desktop, but if this becomes clunky and awkward on a mobile, then you will lose consumers and see a loss in revenue.

Although the pandemic has been responsible for this sharp rise in online shopping, the general feeling amongst experts is that it has changed our buying habits for good. While the current quarantine orders look set to be lifted in the coming weeks or months, it’s likely we won’t see a huge rush of consumers heading to stores. Many people feel a lack of confidence due to their health and will stay away until there is more evidence that it is safe to return to normal life.

We live in a digital era, and while the pandemic may have pushed us quickly into a new way of shopping, it was an inevitable change that would have grown over the years. Take this time to make the steps to ensure you’re ready for the future!

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Getting Your Website Just Right For Your Branding

If you run a business and you want it to be successful, you have to make sure that you are going to have a website to back it up. A website is actually essential in ensuring that you are keeping the public face of the business how you want it to be, and yet it can be challenging to ensure that you are doing this right if you have never had to look into it before. In particular, your website provides a fantastic opportunity and challenge for branding your business, something which is always important but especially so at this current time. If you are wondering how to keep your business alive at the moment, you are going to find that getting the online branding right is hugely important.

Image Source – CCO Licence

Let’s take a look at how you can get your website just right so that it is really serving your branding mission as best as possible, and so you can keep running your business as successfully as possible online.

Get The Branding Right First

Before you do anything to the website, you have to make sure that you are actually in a position where you are happy with your branding, and that is something that takes a great deal of time in itself. If you are not happy with the branding, it doesn’t matter what your website is like – it’s just not going to work when you apply it to the website. At the moment, we have a unique challenge to try and brand our businesses in the face of the current pandemic, and it is something that you will probably be spending a lot of your time on. What are the values that you want people to associate with your brand? How are you going to get that across in a simple piece of branding? These are the things you need to think about upfront.

Image Source – CCO Licence

Image-Led Website Branding

It’s important to remember what a visual medium a website is. Even though you can introduce other elements, it is always going to be primarily visual, and you need to therefore ensure that you are drawing people in visually first and foremost. If you fail to do that, then your brand is just not going to be recognised, and you are going to find that your website is failing to do one of its primary tasks. Being image-led is something that you are definitely going to want to focus on. That could mean hiring a professional corporate photography team to take photos of your building and your office and so on – once they are able to do so safely and with social distancing in place – so that you have a more professional image of your business on the website, or it could be a simple fact of improving the way the website looks generally. A messy website is going to reflect badly on the business in many ways, so this is hugely important to bear in mind.

Your URL

It might sound strange, but it is actually also hugely important that you manage to find a good URL for your business’ website. This should be as close to the public trading name of your business as possible, or at least something very closely related to it. If you are struggling to find something suitable, it is not unheard of to centre the name of a business around the chosen URL that you manage to find, even if that seems as though it should be a little strange. It is a common way through this issue, and it’s something that you should consider if you want to keep that unity of branding strong.

Image Source – CCO Licence

Focus On The Voice

Your brand should have a voice, or else it isn’t going to seem like a strong brand. But that voice also needs to come through in the website as well as possible if you want to make sure that it is really doing its thing, and it’s something that you can easily do as long as you are careful about how you write the words on the page. These words need to fall in line with the overarching vision you have of your business. If the images are right, but the text feels off, then your business is going to struggle for it, and people will trust the authority of your website much less too.

As long as you make a point of focusing on these things, you should find that you can keep your branding going strong even during these strange times.

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The Current Remote Working Situation Is Perfect For Setting Up An Online Presence

The current worldwide pandemic is doing a lot to our businesses, whether they be previously and well established, or just on the verge of becoming something tangible. If you’re someone in the position of needing to carry on working from home, hopping on Zoom meetings and writing more emails than you’ve ever needed to in your life, you might be feeling uncertain about your ability to make tracks in the career world.

Yet, this remote working situation could be great for your online presence. Whether you need to properly set one up, or you’re in the field to develop and grow your current slice of online life, working from home could have a lot of benefits for you. After all, you’re going to be at your desk for extended periods of time, and you’re going to be hyper aware of every incoming communication that’s to do with your company.

Let’s go through some of these said benefits below. Your online presence could soar right now, and you should know about it.

Pexels Image – CC0 Licence

Users are Looking for a Distraction

People are online a lot more currently, thanks to the technological innovation of the past 20 years, and the fact that we’re all working as remotely as possible. Because of this, they’re going to be looking to the online world for a distraction, and if you provide one, they’re going to come back to you again and again.

A social media campaign creates a sense of hype, and it’s something that people can access from the comfort of their own online pages; give them a competition to enter, an online treasure hunt to follow, or even a selection of videos or curated content to keep them occupied for an hour or two. All in all, take their mind off of what’s going on outside, and they’re going to look to your online presence once again when restrictions are lifted.

Online Agencies are More Help than Ever

Optimizing your working conditions with digital power like this, as well as setting up that online presence you definitely need right now, should be one of your top priorities. You want people to come to you, and that means taking your website or social media presence to the next level. And if you’ve ever needed to reach out for help with securing your online presence, now is a better time than ever to look for that helping hand.

After all, a Digital agency is one of the most lucrative business models in the current market, and it’s guaranteed they’ll be running some kind of discount for businesses just like yours. People who are working from home, entirely alone, and have a lot to get on with – if you’re not a webmaster yourself, or you’re not entirely sure what hosting even is, it’s going to be hard to set up with no outside input.

If you’re working remotely, and it’s new to you, make sure your reach out, and keep the user in mind.

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Upscale in Your Downtime: The Lockdown is the Perfect Time to Grow Your Audience!

Businesses across the world are still reeling from the COVID-19 virus and the lockdown it has precipitated. They’ve had to completely reassess their operations, enabling their employees to work from home where they can, and placing them on furlough when they can’t. Because of the sweeping disruption to global logistics and supply chains, business has slowed down considerably, even for the lucky industries that have managed to remain active during the lockdown. However, whatever the size and nature of your business, this is no time to rest on your laurels. A proactive approach is more important than ever if you expect to remain operational long after the lockdown is lifted. It’s time to look at the opportunities afforded us by the new, more relaxed pace of business.

Image by DiggityMarketing via Pixabay

It’s time to invest in growing your brand and your audience. Here’s how…

Invest in new leads

Even if you’re only able to operate in a limited capacity at the moment, this is absolutely the right time to lay the foundations for a grand resurgence when the lockdown is lifted. One possible advantage to this lockdown is that it provides the opportunity to engage with new prospects in a way that you may not have had the time to do when you had your hands full with staying on top of your operations.

Perhaps this is a good time to invest in some new lead lists. Start working on some dynamic and engaging email marketing copy that will encourage them o check out your brand. Even if you aren’t able to get your product or service to market right now, you can still start building value in your brand. Which brings us to…

Generate valuable content for your existing followers

Many businesses are using this time to double down on their content marketing and generate more high quality, valuable and practically useful content for their followers. This is your opportunity to showcase your knowledge, expertise and experience for existing customers and new prospects alike. It’s an opportunity to help them address problems or pain points that they may experience while on lockdown. The more value they perceive in your brand, the more value they’ll perceive in your products or services. Even if they have to wait a little while before they can avail themselves of what you offer.

When it comes to building positive perception of your brand in a meaningful and engaging way, it’s pretty difficult to top content marketing through blog posts, videos, how-to guides and infographics. It was important before the pandemic, and it’s arguably even more important now.

Incentivize social proof

Finally, in times of crisis, consumers may be slow to trust. Many will have taken a financial hit by the time the lockdown is over. As such, we can expect consumer confidence to be pretty low. Nonetheless, if brands invest their efforts in building trust now, they can expect to reap the rewards later. As such, now’s a good time to start incentivizing customers to rate your business and leave reviews online. Gathering as much of this social proof as you can will help you to increase your value proposition and ensure that your brand is synonymous with quality and trust.

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Setting Up A Warehouse For Your eCommerce Business

If you have been thinking of jumping into the world of eCommerce, then you are obviously a savvy business person with their wits about them. When it comes to a business that has the promise of being strong and stable, no matter what the situation, you will do no better than dipping your toes into the world of eCommerce.

Now, taking all of the aforementioned into account, should you be thinking of making the leap into the world of online sales, then there are a few things you need to know. The first of these things is that your journey is not going to be easy.

In fact, to survive in the eCommerce world, you are going to need to be able to not only provide the product exactly as you advertise it, but you are also going to need to complete your entire sales process better than any of your competition.

In today’s post, we are going to be concentrating on the one thing you will need to get right in order to do this, and that’s your storage warehouse. If you don’t think a warehouse is important, then you need to think again.

The number one reason Amazon is so successful is mainly down to how their stock is held and managed, so if you want to see real success, stick around and see what we have for you today.

Image Credit – Pexels CC0 Licence

You Need An Adequate Space

The first thing you need when it comes to your warehouse is somewhere that can meet all of the requirements for storing your items. For example, if you store food items, you need a refrigeration area, or if you ship chemicals, you need a safe non-accessible area.

Getting the right space can be tasking to start off with, but once you find it, you will be well on your way to holding all of your stock in a single place and making the entire dispatch process easier and more efficient than it ever has been.

You Need The Knowledge

Another thing you will need to consider is how everything is stored. Now, while you may think that everything can just be thrown in wherever it fits, it’s not quite as simple as this.

In your warehouse, you should have some form of pallet racking; on this racking, you need to store certain items in specific places. For example, if you are storing glass, generally speaking, this cannot be stored higher than the chest height of your smallest employee.

Not only is storage needed for health and safety, but it can also be far easier to keep track of things when they have designated areas. If you are unsure of where to start, there are companies out there that offer pallet racking inspections, and this can do a lot for your warehouse.

Digital Solutions

The final thing you should be doing when it comes to your warehouse is setting it up as part of a single layer digital system.

Having something like this in place will enable you to keep a live inventory at all times. Having this will enable your customers to see a stock level at all times via the website.

Another great thing about systems like this is, when a stock level is running low, you can set automated orders from suppliers to ensure you never run completely out of stock.

 

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