Pick and pack just got a little easier

Pick and pack

Fulfilling orders is a key element to any online presence and part of fulfilling is picking and packing the product to be ready for shipping. It is funny, this article is getting attention now but my colleagues and I have been demonstrating similar bar code scanners in our demonstrations for years. So to many I don’t think this is news but it’s certainly getting a lot of attention now. Check out some of the information in the article, it is a good read and it clearly shows you the direction people are going because of Amazon. They want to be better, faster and cheaper.

Global sales of mobile scanning devices used in warehouses reached about $850 million in 2015, up 33% since 2013, according to VDC Research. – link

The article really focus’s on the Zebra TC8000, which I think is pretty slick, but the editorial around the topic of shaving minutes off an operation is really the focus to most businesses, especially in the eCommerce world.

Check out the full article here.

Every eCommerce site should have this one simple feature

I really don’t see this often and I have written here about being notified when inventory on a specific product is available for purchase. Well, today I saw an advertisement on Facebook (these guys are getting good) and decided to click on it. Unfortunately when I attempted to order the Marines Exclusive Under Armour MARINES Performance Tee it was not available. A side bar then popped up stating “Email When Available“, I clicked on it and got the dialog below. Well done MarineCorpsDirect, well done. Now let’s see how long it takes for me to get one…

EmailWhenAvailable2

Is Pinterest in your marketing plan?

We all have our favorite stores and products and usually expect marketing emails to come from the company itself. But did you know Pinterest has been sending “Price drop emails” since last year (2013)? This is great for people who pin products to a “Wish List” board or simply “like” a product and may have intentions of buying it later.

From a consumer perspective I really like the Pinterest model for two primary reasons:

  1. I provide no information to the actual company and don’t receive “tons” of emails daily or weekly on things I could care less about
  2. I only receive price updates for the products I personally pin

I pinned this watch last year, unfortunately I pinned it because I got the watch as a Christmas present so I really don’t care about the price changes. Maybe Pinterest should have a “Did you purchase this?” option when pinning a product so these emails are not sent.

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Today, I received an email telling me the price has dropped:

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Effective & Timely Delivery – an Essential Component of Your Ecommerce Success

Guest Post by:

06df73afc8b027af893f284fbf12bd28

shippingYou can invest a fortune in creating a sophisticated, exclusive storefront design style, integrating the most cutting-edge technologies into your web store, boosting its overall performance and speed, implementing the latest marketing and promotional options or you can even set dramatically lower prices than your competitors, but all these investments and attempts may turn to be just a waste of your valuable money, time and effort, if your customers don’t get their orders in a timely manner.

Indeed, effective and fast shipping services can make a great contribution to your overall ecommerce success. While today’s consumers highly appreciate the idea of shopping online just from the comfort of their own homes or offices, as much they value the opportunity of receiving their purchases in quick terms.

Shipping Calendar

Fast delivery comes especially viable during holiday seasons, when people are typically on a crazy rush to find gifts for their beloved ones, friends and all others in their recipient lists. Here I would like to suggest a rather helpful solution – to integrate a holiday shipping calendar with strict shipping deadlines predefined into your storefront. This will provide your clients with an unmatched convenience to manage their online purchases with maximum efficiency and let them enjoy total peace of mind knowing that their orders will arrive on time.

Free Shipping

According to the Forrester report that analyzed plenty of web stores all over the world, a large percentage of online shoppers tend to abandon shopping carts being stunned by the large amount of shipping costs. Despite advanced, user-friendly store design and enhanced online shopping comfort, shipping turned to be the key factor in consumers’ purchase-making decisions.

My advice here is to offer totally free shipping that will not only convince your customers to complete their transactions, but also encourage them to purchase more products from you. Make sure that a ‘free shipping’ option is placed visibly enough on all store pages. Some other reputable researches suggest that online stores with free shipping services enjoy significantly higher conversion and customer satisfaction rates.

Multiple Shipping Options

If your online store is targeted towards the Global client audience, then make sure that it supports all world’s major shipping providers, including DHL, FedEx, UPS, USPS, Intershipper, Canada Post and Australlia Post to name a few. Your buyers will definitely appreciate the offer of both standard and customized shipping services and rates.

Absolute Honesty

And finally, just as with pricing, quality guarantees and any other specific product features, it is more than crucial to be absolutely honest and clear with your shipping options and services, avoiding any hidden fees and terms. This will surely increase your credibility level dramatically. Don’t forget – as much your clients trust you, as higher chances of their purchase-making decisions.

Do you have any other ideas or pieces of advice about effective delivery for ecommerce projects? You’re welcome to leave your comments in the form below.

Author’s Bio

06df73afc8b027af893f284fbf12bd28Nicolas Fincher is a community and PR manager at www.cs-cart.com, a well-known software development company with the comprehensive range of ecommerce platforms for start-ups and established online projects.

 

Your options for “owning the glass” in an online eCommerce site

Online retail sites are changing drastically. I have observed many sites moving to a cinematic or experiential experience with their online eCommerce sites. So what does “owning the glass” even mean? Owning the glass means the piece of technology is responsible for defining the experience and then serving up the experience. In general, there are usually two to three servers in play here:

  • Commerce Server (CS) – provides layouts, pages, navigation, catalog, search, shopping cart, promotions, pricing
  • Content Management Server(CMS) – provides content, pages, articles, layouts, navigation
  • Digital Asset Manager(DAM) – provides images, videos, text, for all channels.

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Video is stealing the show in online fashion retail!

Doing my usual shopping around on fashion sites I found this beautiful site by Salvatore Ferragamo! The site is very sleek and fresh looking with video and content mixed with the shopping experience. This is a great example of my recent post “Experiential Commerce is the future“.

A couple of things I noticed was how simple the layouts were, the responsive design and most of all how fast the site is. I am not sure who designed the site but great job Ferragamo!

Video is stealing the show in online fashion retail!

The most impressive demonstration at NRF 2014

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 12.54.27 PMI will admit that I did not see every demonstration or product at NRF and while the Intel booth had some great technology, I think the Watson + Fluid + Northface demonstration was the best.  It was the best for a couple of primary reasons. One, it showed a natural way for a person to shop and two, the responses from Watson were similar to that of a human (in context) but of course in digital format. If you Google (Watson Fluid Northface) you will see all kinds of coverage on this technology and implementation.

You can also watch Ginni Rometty showing a demo at NRF14 of the Expert Personal Shopper (EPS) on the Northface web site. This demo was also given at the IBM booth. The video is 54 minutes long but the The Northface + Fluid + Watson demo is between 20:00-23:30, yes, only about 3 minutes.

Here is a snippet of the conversation:

Ginni – “I am gearing up for a 14 day back packing trip. What equipment do I need?”

EPS – Responds with Expedition Tents, Cold Weather Sleeping Bags, Technical Packs, Expeditions in Patagonia

Ginni – “What technical pack is needed for an expedition to Fitz Roy Patagonian in the winter?”

EPS – Responds with “These are the packs suited for winter expeditions” and lists a set of North Face packs and even recommends a specific pack – the Prophet 65 pack and mentions ABS technology.

Ginni – “Can you tell me about ABS technology?”

EPS – responds with a technical article about the Avalanche AirBag System

Ginni then continues the discussion by asking how the back pack is rated.  This to me is the evolution of product search and education. Imagine going to your favorite online store and was able to ask these kinds of questions for the product you are interested in.

 

 

 

After you click the buy button

You get an email from your favorite store and see a coupon for 20% off now through the next weekend. You click on the link and you are now shopping online. You add a few items to the cart and finally click that “Buy” button. Ok, it is probably a check out button but that didn’t sound as good as the way John Mesberg said it in his post on the Smarter Commerce Blog.

Now what?

The first thing the customer does after hitting the button is go through the checkout flow. This is a critical piece in an online site. Make sure you get a very seamless and easy check out flow. I can’t tell you how many companies spend a lot of time streamlining this check out process to prevent abandoned shopping carts. Next is inventory. A well designed site should have some kind of “At Time of Purchase” or ATP of the inventory. Whether it’s an online purchase or pickup in store your site should be smart enough to know whether the items in the cart are available. Accepting the major credit cards and even a service like PayPal is very important. Many people use services like PayPal to “protect their identity” and its important to support these types of payment systems.

After check out, the customer will most likely be anticipating a confirmation email for their purchase along with a pickup or delivery date. Having your e-commerce site tied into your fulfillment centers and warehouse delivery system is key here. This allows for a streamlined delivery from the shortest packaging center, often referred to as Distributed Order Management. To put it simply, you don’t want to ship from China to a U.S. location if you have a fulfillment center with inventory in the U.S.

What if something is wrong with the order or the person wants to make a change? Maybe they clicked the “buy button” too quickly and need to “call support”. Your call center needs cross-channel visibility into all orders. Some orders may come from the phone, the web site, the mobile store, or even the brick and mortar store. Having a single call center to support all channels is ideal.

Now that the order is all set, the customer waits for delivery.

Let’s just say the customer gets his product delivered, then the fun starts. The power of social media is now at play.

They will most likely Tweet, Post to Facebook or even Google+ (just so Google’s employees know about it) that they either love the product and buying experience or didn’t. They will then use the product or wear the product and post pictures, likes, dislikes etc. Maybe even be asked if it was clothing where they got it and how much, etc. After a period of time they might have another opinion of the product – it’s still great, its out of date, it no longer works, etc. And if they are a nerd like me they will most likely blog about it. I do this quite often in my “Things-I-Like” category.

In the end it is no longer a simple “word of mouth” rule. People have access to opinions (good and bad) at their fingertips. They can quickly find the good, the bad, and the ugly of your products, your brand, and your online experience.

Related article: eCommerce Trends: The Infographic