E-tailer Tips for Success

Online spending is expected to increase 62% by 2016 and U.S. e-commerce retail sales are expected to increase 41% by 2017.  Consumers are spending less time surfing the web and more time visiting familiar retail websites like Amazon and eBay, so repeat business and customer reviews are more important than ever.

Handling returns or price adjustments seamlessly can turn a negative experience into a positive one while helping you develop close relationships with your customers.

Here are some additional tips to help make your e-tailer business a success:

 

  • Send an email and follow it up with a First-Class postcard to a customer notifying them if their shipment will be late.  By using multiple media channels, you ensure your customers receive your message.  A report by Epsilon shows that 73% of emails are ignored by consumers. The postcard is an excellent tool to cut through the clutter.   If an item goes on back order due to high demand, offer incentives for them to not cancel their order such as a discount on a future order.  Consider extending free shipping for a delayed order – these measures can help ensure that your business does not receive costly negative reviews or a lost sale.  Remember:  it is always less expensive to grow and nurture an existing customer than acquire a new one.

 

  • Use an omnichannel campaign with mail and social media to promote your products and build a brand personality.  Sending a digitally enabled mail piece can link your customers to your social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  This makes it easier to directly link new products and connect to customers on a personal level.  Motivate customers to connect with you by offering a discount that works only if they scan the mail piece and then “Like” you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter.  Be creative with your promotions and offer sales, but also make sure to respond to comments and messages and use social media as a way to gather real-time feedback from your customers.

 

  • Fast shipping can win customers over and keep them loyal. This is especially true around the holidays and when shoppers need items on a deadline.  The U.S. Postal Service offers world class shipping solutions like day-specific delivery Priority Mail.  This can help you meet the needs of customers with fast, efficient and affordable service.  You can always count on the largest delivery network in the U.S. to provide upfront, affordable pricing.

 

  • Take professional pictures of people using your product. Writing an enticing product description is important, but a consumer may not even read it if they cannot visualize themselves using the product.  Investing in a professional photographer can grab the attention of your consumer increase sales.  Likewise – if you have good photography skills – invest in a high end camera to ensure images on your site are crisp and sharp.

 

  • Offer free returns as an added incentive for choosing your site. To save money on return postage, try Scan Based Returns.  There are several software packages which allow shippers to print out the return label or email it to customers to print. The business owner is only charged if the return label is used.  Your business will save money and customers will be happy to have the option of an easy return.

 

You can give your customers the same personal service on your eCommerce site as they receive from a brick-and-mortar counterpart.  The U.S. Postal Service offers discounted rates, free tracking, free supplies to your door, free package pickup, Saturday delivery, and zero surcharges for residential delivery.  All of this helps keep your shipping costs low while not compromising speed.  You can ensure your customer experience is the best it can be with fast service at a competitive price.

cliff-rucker-uspsThis article was contributed by Cliff Rucker, Vice President, Sales, United States Postal Service®. Cliff oversees the direction and management of the Sales organization, including market competitiveness, business development, and sales for all commercial mailers, including small, mid-sized and large businesses.

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