Neuhauser will speak at the upcoming Internet Retailer Conference & Expo, which is being held at Chicago’s McCormick Center from June 5-8, 2012. The company is sponsoring this year’s Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide giveaway, which will include the Echo Rank’s top 100 rankings. The inaugural Echo Rank contains some surprising results, including a stellar performance for Office Depot, which ranks at #28, far above leading competitors OfficeMax and Staples, which are both ranked in the 300s. Read more
Gift cards are successful at increasing sales because when people actually use the cards they tend to spend a greater amount than what is on the card. If they use a $50 gift card towards a $75 purchase, their reasoning for surpassing the card’s amount is that they only had to spend $25 out of their pocket for $75 worth of product(s). Even though the purchaser is buying a specific dollar amount for the gift card, gift cards actually motivate people to spend more than the amount on it.
Because it has been so popular, customers are astutely aware of retailers offering a gift card option, and are now visiting the store and/or site with the sole intention of purchasing one. Since they are purchasing a gift card for somebody else, curiosity often gets the best of them and they naturally browse around the site or store for themselves. Upon checkout, they buy the gift card in addition to the items they found while browsing. Read more
Early in the dot-com era, a lot of companies set-up their online presence for failure because they did not think through all the processes involved in fulfillment. Most companies that were successful were the ones that already had a catalog business. The reason for their success was because of a well-established fulfillment system. You have to understand that when dealing with fulfillment systems, you also deal with the logistics of shipping, maintaining inventory, procuring, etc. The companies that failed did not realize this importance.
Let’s look at the different parts of a warehouse/fulfillment system. You now have a well maintained eCommerce site. This site is accepting orders from customers. Now that you have the orders in the system it is important to ship it to them (fulfill). Only after fulfilling an order can we collect the funds from our customers. This presents the first problem that needs to be solved. The solution of this problem is the first piece of the fulfillment system, i.e. the communication channel between the eCommerce site and the warehouse/fulfillment center. Once the channel has been established the second thing that you need to think about is the protocol of communication between the eCommerce site and the warehouse. The third piece of the puzzle is the warehouse itself. For managing a successful and profitable warehouse is to manage not only the space but also the flow of products once they have been picked to where they have been packed and loaded to be shipped. To do all of these aforementioned tasks there are systems designed by companies like Manhattan Associates, Sterling Commerce, RedPrairie, etc. To complete the fulfillment system is the final piece of the puzzle, the backend accounting processes. Read more
There are different steps in order fulfillment process, which involves not only order placing but also returns and exchanges. The next section deals with the different challenges that are encountered in fulfillment and some possible solutions.
The following are the steps in order placing. Keep in mind that this is about eCommerce sites and not traditional order fulfillment processes.
- Order is placed on eCommerce site.
- Payment for the order is cleared.
- Warehouse receives the order.
- Packing slips get printed
- Pickers pick the product.
- Arrange shipments.
- Packages are shipped to customers.
In the above steps the picker can only pick if the product is available in the warehouse. This brings in the process of inventory management as a precursor for successfully completing the steps off the order place scenario. Arranging the shipments and shipping the products also brings the logistics of shipping and business processes like agreements with the shippers, and insurance against lost product into warehouse management. Some of the organizations have a separate department that deals with loss prevention. Read more
There are several factors which govern the success or failure of any loyalty program and retailers are always trying their best to ensure the marketing strategies do not include them. Sometimes not having an accurate target will translate to not gaining true customers. This might result in defecting patterns in the customer lifecycle and so to overcome this, you need to make sure that the loyalty programs are affordable, multi-usable across different brand outlets of the same retailer and give unique benefits like free shipping. Read more
Consumers everywhere want to have control over their shopping experience, and not experience any pressure from online salespeople. They want room to shop and decide at their own pace how they would like to add, delete or modify their basket items. Even the slightest interference through online sales push initiatives may irritate them. For retailers to be effective in merchandising, marketers need to understand this behavior.
Here are some tips for this: Read more
Reviews are the most recognized way of gathering feedback from customers and experts for a particular product or service. Through reviews, customers talk to each other, thereby giving the retailer a tremendous amount of insight into the reception, positioning and performance of the product. Reviews are much better than a focus group, as the people involved are not getting paid for it, and thus have better credibility and respect inside he social community. Read more
Replacement or acquiring a new order management system is a daunting task – how do you resolve and arrive at a decision. System project teams within a retail company are the best option to arrive and there is no limitation on the time frames which can vary depending on the complexity of the requirement. However when it comes to evaluating potential solutions, there are some standard steps which a marketer and retailer can follow: Read more