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-Business Guide 2018

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Riga. Latvia
Riga. Latvia

As 2018 comes to a close we look back at all of the great advice produced by the ecommerce community on growing your business for long term success. The digital world is always evolving and the ecommerce industry is no exception, but these 8 timeless guides and lists will help your business grow in 2019 and beyond.

Long term growth requires a mixture of marketing, design, cost optimization and sales which is why we’ve compiled this concoction of highly valuable articles [in no particular order] for any ecommerce business owner.

The Ultimate Guide to Social Media For E-commerce by Neil Patel

Neil Patel is one of the most well-known content marketers in the world and is the founder of Kissmetrics, Crazy Egg and Quick Sprout where he helps fellow digital and content marketers improve their strategies and growth numbers through various tools and guides.

In this guide Neil dives into social media marketing specifically, and in 2018 as it became harder to grow social audiences organically this guide was a necessary read for anyone relying on social channels to boost sales.

5 Fundamental Guidelines for eCommerce Usability Design

Ecommerce owners often forget the important of design in driving sales. It’s not just about looking pretty anymore it’s also about helping your users complete their goal of purchasing a product from you without much hassle. All business can benefit from improving usability through design and this guide is the perfect place to start.

Have you ever quit in the middle of a shopping experience online due to a poorly built and designed website? Millions of other people have too and in order to avoid the same fate for your store we recommend taking a dive into this guide to make sure your site isn’t breaking any of the major design rules.

Google Shopping: How To Dominate AdWords as an e-Commerce Business

While Facebook and Instagram get a majority of the praise when it comes to paid social media marketing there is another major contender you should be utilizing; Google AdWords. To many upcoming marketers Google’s ad network is usually at the bottom of the list of channels they include in their strategies, but those who do include it quickly realize its power.

When a user searches for a product on Google that typically means they have intent to purchase it sometime down the road. Grabbing the user’s attention either at the beginning or the end of their product research stage usually leads to quicker and more frequent conversions. In contrast, networks like Facebook or Instagram typically show ads to users without any intent to purchase unless your ad convinces them otherwise which can be costly depending on your product.

Product Sourcing: A Guide for eCommerce Entrepreneurs

The act of cutting costs is essential to increasing profits as there is only so much someone is willing to pay for your products. At Sourcify we have helped hundreds of companies improve their product margins through better and more streamlined sourcing. In some cases we’ve helped increase margins by over 60% while delivering the same product the business owners were sourcing before.

Our guide will help you navigate the sourcing industry to not only improve your sourcing but it will also help you get a better idea of how the industry itself works. If you’re looking for professional assistance in the near future we can also join you on a call to get things rolling.

The Ecommerce Entrepreneur’s SEO Starter Guide

In 2019 growth will come from a variety of channels and what worked in 2018 won’t necessarily work again next year. Paid platforms have become saturated leading to the rising cost of ad impressions and for most entrepreneurs the added cost is not a welcome one.

However, there are still cost-effective channels like search to help boost your traffic and sales with minimal added costs. In 2019 SEO will be and evermore important channel and learning to master it now seo company will only help you stay at the top of your industry in the long run.

For any e-commerce startup business, properly coordinated logistics are the key to success. Discover the top seven things you should know when planning the future of your online brand.

Your e-commerce startup has defied the odds. You’ve grown it from an idea on the back of an envelope into a full-fledged company with real customers and real revenue. However, your success could lead to your downfall if you’re spending too much on logistics or not shipping products the way customers expect.

Perhaps you’re selling unique sustainably sourced apparel, non-toxic pet toys, or eco-friendly home decor. Regardless of the product mix, your company may be ready to outgrow your current e-commerce logistics situation. Your dream come true could turn into a logistics nightmare. After all, you may be an expert in your niche, but logistics is a science all its own.

One of the advantages of a digital native vertical brand startup is your company isn’t saddled with legacy systems and procedures. You can incorporate best practices from the beginning rather than rediscover them along the way. You can integrate technology and analytics from the ground up that will help you control costs and deliver on your brand promise.

A wise person once said “you’d better learn how to manage your inventory before it manages you”. After all, inventory on a shelf or rack represents your investment in the business. Tracking that inventory is critical for your cash flow and opens the way for more complex analysis that will guide your strategic thinking.

Managing logistics in e-commerce is critical — it’s essentially the core of your company. Depending on what stage you’re in, it may be time to partner with third parties to store your products and fulfill your services.

As you’re planning for the future of your business, here are some things you need to consider to take your e-commerce logistics to the next level. The shipper must be as disciplined as possible to reduce cost while providing the service customers expect, check out this list of self storage in Birmingham providers to find a nearby location.

Demand Planning

Retailers typically base their inventory forecasts on historical data. As a startup, you may not have that luxury. So how do you know how much inventory you’ll need? There are a few techniques to use until you build your own sales history.

ecommerce logistics - man with credit card in hand viewing products onlineFirst, monitor site traffic and social sharing. If your social media efforts start to pay off, demand could spike, and you’ll want to be ready. Look at seasonal trends such as changes in the weather and holiday-driven purchases. If spring comes early, outdoor items and apparel could see unanticipated demand.

Of course, stock up to support your promotional efforts such as discount codes and free shipping thresholds. Scalable warehouse space can help you plan for increasing demand without investing in long-term leases.

Visibility

As your e-commerce logistics needs grow, it becomes more difficult to see the big picture. Companies that experience rapid growth may add logistics capacity in an ad hoc fashion, bolting on pieces to deal with a surge in orders or new products. Perhaps you’ve expanded to use several warehouses, drop shippers or other logistics tactics.

However, those pieces may not communicate very well, leaving the organization with an incomplete picture of their inventory and sales performance. It can be difficult to see your entire inventory situation and have that reflected in quantity counts on your internal systems as well as on your website.

Shoppers want to be able to see if an item is available before they go through the checkout process. It’s a balancing act to keep enough stock on hand but not have excess inventory tying up cash and shelf space. The answers are different depending on your market space, and the best solution is always a moving target. Work with logistics providers who can help you develop the systems and operational discipline to make your inventory work for you.

Free Shipping

In a recent study, 73 percent of online shoppers said unconditional free shipping was “critical” to their purchase decision, according to Inc. magazine. Amazon boasts more than 100 million Prime subscribers worldwide, Fortune magazine reported, so free and fast shipping is obviously vital to consumers.

The advent of free shipping is both a curse and a blessing for e-commerce sellers. It wasn’t too long ago that 10-day delivery time was standard. Then in 2014 delivery times fell to about six days. By 2016, it had shrunk to three days. Now it’s closer to two days, and overnight for some Amazon shipments.

The thought of no-cost shipping spurs many online purchases, but of course, the shipping is only free to the consumer.

Your customers now expect two to three days for delivery, but don’t want to pay for it. Marketing techniques like minimum order sizes or promotional offers can help drive orders with free-shipping offers. Discipline in your supply chain can reduce costs to make free shipping a competitive advantage rather than a financial drain.

Last Mile

Last-mile service typically represents up to 28 percent of the total shipping costs, according to a study from the University of Delaware.

Keep in mind the last mile may be a lot longer than an actual mile — we’re talking about the final delivery step to the consumer. That may be via UPS, FedEx, or the U.S. Postal Service or another carrier. For a B2B delivery, the last mile could occur via an LTL carrier.

ecommerce logistics - delivery man walking down street with packages to in handConsumers may judge their entire interaction with your company based on the delivery experience. A sustainable last-mile strategy must satisfy consumer expectations while balancing costs and resource requirements. For instance, app-based last mile logistics providers may allow smaller players to compete with Amazon for tight delivery windows.

Reflecting the increasing competition, e-commerce companies are beginning to focus on the last yard service -, the next level of granularity. The last yard represents the customer receiving a package and moving to the end user. Think of shippers stocking customers’ refrigerators with fresh produce or delivering parcels to package lockers. In a recent study more than 70 percent of shippers and third party logistics providers (3PLs) recognized the need for “last-yard” services, Supply Chain Dive reported.


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