For most Americans, shopping online is nothing new. In fact, 53% of Americans purchased something online in 2011. But while shopping online is not exactly novel, it’s still a process that can be fraught with indecision, uncertainty and, when something occasionally does not meet expectations, frustration for consumers. For some online shoppers, there are a lot of unknowns when buying sight unseen, such as:
Fortunately for e-tailers, many of these concerns can be addressed and minimized in two simple steps.
1. Have a clear, well-defined returns policy.
Returns policies that clearly state when an item can be returned and for what reasons can give would-be purchasers the confidence to click “buy.” Review your current returns policy and ensure that it includes specific instructions on how and where online returns can be made—can they be returned in-store? Do they include a pre-paid returns label? Can they be dropped off at any U.S.P.S. location?
2. Provider your customers with detailed package tracking information.
Partner with a reverse logistics company that provides detailed data for both retailer and consumer. Newgistics’ Transit Triggers service starts with dynamic barcodes on our delivery and SmartLabel® return shipping labels. They’re embedded with an extraordinarily rich level of data, integrating tracking information with order-specific details.
Here’s how Transit Triggers Work:
Once an order ships, parcel scan events can generate automated customer emails containing updates on shipment status as well as precisely targeted marketing messages. So while you’re providing peace of mind, you can cross-sell similar merchandise or offer promotions based on the customer’s order history. Newgistics even enables you to start notifying customers about tracking events sooner, since we provide visibility on outbound parcels as soon as they enter our network.
Even when orders are returned, you can transform the anxious wait for an account credit into a positive brand interaction that promotes repeat purchases.
Eliminating the “black hole” of uncertainty with an easy-to-understand, customer-centric returns policy and an accessible package tracking system goes a long way toward building a shopper’s confidence and improving their willingness to purchase online. While shopping online may have lost its novelty, shopping online with greater confidence will not go out of fashion.
By any standard—even the National Retail Federation’s BIG Show’s own standards—NRF 2013 was a BIG show. According to the NRF, the 2013 show saw record-breaking crowds with more than 27,600 attendees. More than 500 companies exhibited, and for the first time the expo hall spread to two floors of the Javits Center.
The retail industry looks to the NRF BIG Show for the coming trends over the next year, and vendors and retailers alike look for cues to determine the course of development and investment throughout the coming year. Notably in 2013, mobile continues to be on everyone’s mind and at the cutting edge of retail technology. From mCommerce to the use of mobile devices in-store for improved customer engagement to mobile payments (the big questions remains if consumers finally adopt mobile payments and mobile wallets), the Customer Experience and Mobile Pavilion was a happening place. Whether you didn’t make it to NYC, or simply didn’t make it to as many sessions as you would have liked, the NRF has you covered. It has posted show highlights on its BIG show blog. Give it a look for recaps of speaker sessions and announcement highlights.
Here’s a look at what key retail analysts and editors had to say about NRF 2013:
During their post-NRF debrief webinar on Jan. 23, RSR analysts Paula Rosenblum, Nikki Baird and Steve Rowan identified cloud applications as “emerging from the fog.” They noticed many technology vendors delivering solid solutions on the cloud, which they found to be an improvement from previous years. When asked what trends they saw in eCommerce, they responded that more than ever you cannot have a conversation about eCommerce “in a vacuum.” It always quickly turns into a conversation about multi- and omni-channel.
Payments also received quite a lot of attention. RSR analysts also noted that retailers are taking a hard look at not only trendy mobile payments, but also at traditional POS systems. PYMNTS.com covered payments news in a three part series, which you can find here, here and here.
Chain Store Age takes a look at the top technology deployment announcements were made at the show.
Retail TouchPoints posted an insider’s look at its editors’ perspectives along with session recaps, as well as a list of the top acquisition announcements.
RIS News published a great collaboration of perspectives from industry analysts on the “Top 10 Things You Missed at NRF 2013.”
It truly was a great show. Here’s to a great year in retail!
Spring approaches, and warmer weather is just around the corner – as is the start of the annual trade show season. While some of us probably attend more of them than we would like to, trade shows can provide exhibitors and attendees with a valuable forum in which to learn about new services, listen to the needs of the market, and identify potential opportunities to make improvements across the business landscape.
The connection between shipping companies and trade shows may not be obvious, but in fact, any budgetary item accounting for up to 40 percent of an organization’s landed operating costs, such as shipping, deserves to be reevaluated each year. Trade shows provide the perfect opportunity to consider new shipping services and providers.
For far too long, many companies have looked at their shipping service provider as simply an engine that puts products into the hands of their customers. And while that will always hold true in some ways, the days of shipping service providers simply moving products from one point to another are past – or they should be. Shipping is a business function that impacts:
The impending trade show season presents all of us with an opportunity to look at what is out there in the way of services that can help address business issues that are fresh on our minds coming out of the peak selling season. It also allows us to challenge the status quo by identifying areas that require improvement for which creative solutions may exist from an unlikely source. Whether your need is to lower costs, improve inventory management practices, create a better customer experience, or increase revenues – it is likely that your shipping service provider can help you address those issues. If they cannot help you identify new opportunities – then maybe it is time to consider alternatives.
At the end of the day, trade shows should inspire you to identify new ways to solve business problems, old and new alike. So whether your need revolves around shipping, a new ERP platform, a third-party contact center, or any number of other business requirements, there are a lot of new ideas being presented that just may surprise you—if you are willing to go beyond your comfort zone. And if you are able to get a little fun and sun in your schedule while escaping a colder climate, that is okay, too.
After peak season, how can you take a fresh look at your business and make improvements for next year? Evaluating the previous season and assessing the performance of your company as a whole is one of the largest challenges coming out of peak, particularly when analyzing the impact something as ‘simple as shipping’ has had on the overall operating plan. But considering the fact that transportation can account for up to 40% of a company’s total annual operations budget, an accurate assessment is essential.
By establishing a formal process to measure post‐peak performance, your company can drive improved results for the year ahead. A thorough review of peak performance includes a taking hard look and asking the right questions of areas all across the business, including:
By establishing a formal process by which post peak performance will be evaluated, your company will be better positioned to drive improved results for the year ahead. So what questions should you ask of each area? Take a closer look by downloading the PDF “Assessing Performance After Peak.”