The Retail TouchPoints Blog

Jul 29

Are You Mastering Amazon Fulfillment?

By Alicia Fiorletta, Senior Editor 


Many third-party sellers are turning to Amazon to extend their brands and bring their products to more customers. With an active user base that now exceeds 244 million, I can’t say I blame businesses of all sizes for trying to get a piece of the Amazon pie. 

But how can organizations optimize Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA), and ensure inventory management, product sourcing and repricing are efficient and drive growth? 

Teikametrics delved into a few best practices with an E-book, called: Mastering Fulfillment By Amazon.Here, I’m going to outline a few key takeaways, but in the end, I’ll let the piece speak for itself.

1. How does FBA work? First things first, for those of you who don’t know, here’s a breakdown of what FBA is all about. As a part of the FBA program, sellers leave all the heavy lifting (such as picking, packing, shipping, returns and customer service) to Amazon. Cool, right? Sellers simply ship products to Amazon, and then store inventory and list it on the site. Amazon takes care of the rest!

2. Why is FBA valuable? You can reach more customers that already trust and love Amazon, and in turn, are very eager and willing to shop on the site. In addition, you get access to Amazon Prime Members, who receive free two-day shipping on FBA products. 

3. What are some secrets to success? I’ll only give you a few! (You have to check out the E-book to get the rest.) As a third-party seller, part of the job is scouting and selling profitable products to add to your selection. Most importantly, you need to constantly track and measure sales and identify top-performing products. Then, you need to make sure these popular products stay in stock and  nix the not-so-popular ones. It’s as easy as supply and demand! 

Want to learn more about how you can maximize profits with FBA? Check out the E-book to learn more! 

Jul 28

Transcending Gift Cards: Three Benefits For Brands And Retailers

By Monika Kochhar, SmartGift

Buying for others is hard. When faced with mounting pressure and waning time, we have all resorted to the quick…the easy…the thoughtless gift card. According to CEB TowerGroup, U.S. shoppers spent $118 billion on gift cards in 2013. However, e-gifting, a powerful alternative to gift cards is poised to grow exponentially from $300 million in 2012 to more than $10 billion annually by 2016. This trend is compelling top brands and retailers to step outside the boundaries of gift cards by “filling a niche for customers seeking to simultaneously buy and send physical gifts to recipients”

While businesses must constantly navigate the shifting sands of technology and consumer behavior, gifting as a practice provides retailers with a true north for marketing, sales and brand building. Rooted in the ancient human desire for consumption and exchange, gifting is an emotional and necessitous spend that creates an authentic and significant opportunity to drive more revenue. This truth is in part what’s behind the rise in e-gifting, a natural improvement of the gift card market in today’s personalized commerce.

Here are several benefits for taking your strategy beyond gift cards and capitalizing on the promise of e-gifting.

Read More

Jul 25

Urban Flight: Why U.S. Retailers Need To Adapt To Domestic Migration

By Graeme McVie, LoyaltyOne

There is a significant migration underway in America. Big city dwellers are on the move — not necessarily to the suburbs, but rather to more affordable, up-and-coming metropolitan areas. According to census data released earlier this year, Americans are leaving cities like New York, Chicago and Detroit in favor of mid-size cities like Austin, Raleigh and San Antonio. 

While there have been periodic, often cyclical shifts in population between cities of different size for younger people and from the Frost Belt to the Sun Belt for older ones, this latest trend includes all population groups and encompasses many different demographics. These current shifts require a new thinking on customer engagement across industries, but is and will continue to be felt strongest in the retailer sector.  In short, retailers can’t operate under traditional assumptions of who their shoppers are going to be moving forward.  

The impact of this new round of urban flight on retailers is already dramatic. Some have already lost significant market share to existing competitors that have made adjustments in their merchandising strategies or to retail newcomers that have a more targeted value proposition.

Read More

Jul 24

Are You Speaking Your Customer’s Language [Across Devices]?

By Alicia Fiorletta, Senior Editor 

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Relevancy motivates shoppers to purchase certain products and remain loyal to specific brands and retailers. However, the entire notion of personalizing browsing and buying experiences can seem like a daunting task, even for the largest of retailers. 

Retailers shouldn’t through in the towel, though! Research from SDL confirms that it’s more important than ever for retailers to prioritize personalization, and focus on creating seamless experiences across all channels and devices. 

In the fourth installment of its “Five Truths For Marketers,” SDL confirmed the importance of language in driving buying decisions. We already talked the importance of content; language is a natural extension of that. 

The survey of Millennials indicated that 82% of people are more likely to buy if promotional materials are in their language. Online shoppers also are more likely to buy (75%) if web site content is in their language. When it comes down to language’s overall impact on sales, 56% of consumers said language was more important than price. Yes, you heard that right; at the end of the day, retailers should focus on localizing their shopping experiences instead of their discounting strategies. 

Although this research is compelling for brands and retailers with an international presence, U.S. retailers also should be taking note. After all, one in four Millennials living in the U.S. speak a language other than English at home. 

Language is driving success for best-in-class retailers, but let’s get down to the good stuff: Omnichannel demands and expectations. 

In the fifth and final installment of the survey, SDL focused on how consumers see brands, and what they are seeking in terms of the overall experience. 

More than half (60%) of Millennials said they expect a consistent experience from brands, whether they’re shopping online, in-store or via mobile. 

With 30% of Millennials admitting that they touch more than four devices over the course of 24 hours, it’s no surprise that 58% said they expect to engage with a company whenever they choose and through which ever channel or device they want. 

Now is the time for retailers to pump up the omnichannel volume, and tailor their experiences by consistently tracking customer behaviors and attitudes. 

At the conclusion of the survey, SDL encouraged executives to ask themselves the following questions: 

Jul 23

What’s In The Box?

Subscription services are cropping up more and more, providing customers with a monthly dose of products they may not otherwise know about. 

From Birchbox, to BarkBox, Plated and NatureBox, these start-ups are engaging a passionate group of consumers and are driving product discovery. 

But do these businesses successful retain customers and keep them loyal? The RTP team shares their thoughts and experiences with subscription services: 

Debbie Hauss, Editor-in-Chief: This type of model can work well for companies trying to expand their consumer base or test new products. It also can help introduce a new brand on a smaller scale in order to test the concept for a larger introduction. Product quality and diversity will be key to success. Beyond sample subscriptions, other types of subscription services have seen limited success, in my opinion. For example, my son tried a shave club but wasn’t happy with the quality or selection. I tested a wine club subscription but when the company wanted me to pay a fee on top of the monthly cost of the products, I balked. Generally, I wouldn’t put all my marketing “eggs” in one subscription box strategy.

Alicia Fiorletta, Senior Editor: I think the key to a successful subscription service is providing a great selection of products, flexibility and service. I’ve tried my hand at a few subscription services. After a year I unsubscribed to one service because the company started sending me the same product samples over and over. in my opinion, the value of these services is discovering new products. So the fact that I was getting the same product made me lose interest. However, I’m now a happy member of another service, which tailors the boxes based on personal tastes and styles. Customers also get to get a sneak peek at their boxes, and swap out products they already have or don’t like. This makes customers more satisfied with their monthly purchase, and gets them excited to try the new products. 

Kim Zimmermann, Managing Editor: I think the key is to make it affordable and easy to sign up and opt out. I know several friends who are dog owners who have a subscription service for dog products and love it. I might not want to pay for a big bag of treats that will go to waste if the dog turns his nose up at them (as mine sometimes does), but if I can try the out as part of an affordable subscription, the dog may stop barking incessantly at the mailman and actually look forward to deliveries. 

Glenn Taylor, Associate Editor: Subscription boxes aren’t guaranteed to satisfy consumers every time they’re delivered to someone’s front door. However, the guessing game that comes along every month can bring a sense of excitement to the consumer as long as the products are on the mark most of the time. If the business model constantly evokes a positive feeling, I think it can be valuable to little-known businesses that have partnered up with subscription box companies to distribute their products.

Brian Anderson, Associate Editor: SMBs and start-ups can greatly benefit from partnering with subscription service companies — such as NatureBox — due to the considerable boost in brand awareness. It is common for detailed information about each product to be shipped in these box services, providing customers with additional insights on the brand and its entire product line. This level of reach is oftentimes unavailable to smaller retailers, so partnering with companies that offer box subscriptions can help the company grow exponentially.

Samantha Polak, Editorial Intern: I think subscription boxes are a great concept for picky shoppers and those who continuously suffer from buyer’s remorse. Personally, I can spend hours in a store debating between two brands, wondering which one I’m actually going to like and if it will be worth the money. Subscription services can resolve this “checkout anxiety” by providing consumers the chance to sample products before purchasing full sizes. The boxes also introduce shoppers to new brands and products that they wouldn’t have otherwise tried, helping up-and-coming businesses grow their consumer base and increase brand loyalty.

Krystal Vadhar, Social Media Manager: As someone who enjoys trying out different subscription services, I see many benefits from enlisting in this new business model. There seems to be a subscription box that caters to all types of interests, age groups, hobbies and much more. Likewise, there are many different businesses that range in different prices. The biggest pro I see from this model is the fact that these services ship the items directly to you on a timed basis (usually monthly). Consumers enjoy shopping and even more so, receiving presents. By subscribing to these boxes, they are signing up to gift themselves multiple samples of presents every month! In turn, consumers can try out products in the convenience of their own homes and decide whether or not they would like to purchase more items. 

What are your thoughts on subscription services? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!