Veeqo https://www.veeqo.com Keep your inventory right and shipping on time Thu, 19 Sep 2019 13:40:27 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 6 Retail Marketing Ideas to Drive Traffic & Conversions on Your Ecommerce Store https://www.veeqo.com/blog/retail-marketing-ideas https://www.veeqo.com/blog/retail-marketing-ideas#respond Thu, 19 Sep 2019 10:00:58 +0000 https://www.veeqo.com/?p=31109 Two things every ecommerce store owner craves: More traffic. More conversions. We all know there’s a plethora of retail marketing ideas out there to achieve both of these. But are you missing out on any? Here, we take a look at six killer ideas you can action right now to drive more traffic and conversions […]

The post 6 Retail Marketing Ideas to Drive Traffic & Conversions on Your Ecommerce Store appeared first on Veeqo.

]]>
Two things every ecommerce store owner craves:

  1. More traffic.
  2. More conversions.

We all know there’s a plethora of retail marketing ideas out there to achieve both of these. But are you missing out on any?

Here, we take a look at six killer ideas you can action right now to drive more traffic and conversions for your ecommerce store.

1) Create a buzz with giveaways

One of the most effective retail marketing ideas for driving traffic to your store is to create a vital reason for people to visit.

A great way to do this is to use contests and giveaways – everyone likes the opportunities to win something for free, and competitions give you the chance to get the contact details of clients who are already clearly interested in your products.

Get creative and unique with this though.

You can range from something as simple as getting people to enter by engaging with your social media:

Retail Marketing Ideas: Cavenders Giveaway

But can also mix it up with things like:

  • Enter-to-win sweepstakes.
  • A photo sharing competition using unique hashtag.
  • Photo caption contest.
  • Vote-to-win contest.
  • Referral competition.

You can use a tool like Wishpond to easily create some pretty epic social promotions and giveaways.

Once you have the contact details for your entrants, make sure to send out offers and limited time messages to bring them back to your store.

2) Utilise the power of social media influencers

Using influencers is one of the best retail marketing ideas for driving traffic to ecommerce stores. It effectively uses the fame and credence of specific social media celebrities and popular users – people who hold a lot of sway with their recommendations.

In fact, research from Twitter and Annalect claims 49% of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers when making purchase decisions.

Use a tool like HypeAuditor to find and analyse engagement for YouTube and Instagram influencers. Then reach out to relevant, popular and engaged accounts to see about partnering up.

Some influencers will simply charge a fee to post about your product(s) on their account. But there’s also the option of just sending them your product for free and asking to review (something that works particularly well with micro-influencers).

You can even offer specific discount codes for influencers to share, allowing to the track sales generated and reward them with affiliate commissions:

Retail Marketing Ideas: Daniel Wellington Influencers

One of fitness brand Alphalete’s growth tactics is to go as far as hiring a team of influencers to act as ‘sponsored athletes’ modelling their activewear apparel:

Alphalete Sponsored Athletes

Maybe your brand has nothing to do with fitness and ‘sponsored athletes’ wouldn’t work. But you can bring influencers on board to become brand ambassadors for your products in a similar way.

Whoever you use and in whatever way, it’s essential to make sure that:

  1. They have an audience relevant to your brand.
  2. The audience is engaged, not full of fake or uninterested followers.
  3. You measure results to make sure there’s a definable return on investment (ROI).

3) Make better use of paid advertising channels

You might have been put off paid ads on the likes of Google, Facebook and Insta because you’ve found it too complex or challenging.

But this is a mistake, as they can be absolutely invaluable channels to find new customers.

In fact:

According to Smart Insights data, social and paid search combine to bring 33% of all revenue for online brands – tied with organic as the biggest sales-driving traffic source. So if you’re not making paid advertising work, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Think about:

  1. The way you angle and present your product to the market.
  2. Making sure you communicate benefits over features and specs.
  3. Having a scroll-stopping ad creative that grabs attention.

Deliveroo could have gone with something feature-based, like “Easily order takeaway from anywhere in your area”. But instead went with:

Retail Marketing Ideas: Deliveroo FB Ad

And the business selling this handy multi-tool gadget could have tried to describe it in words. But instead show how it works in a video:

It’s also important for you to think about the range of different paid advertising channels – it’s not just Facebook; if your products better suit Google, Twitter or Instagram then make use of these options.

4) Improve website page load times

You might think page loading speed is only a minor factor in whether a customer converts or not. But it can actually play a very significant role.

Quite frankly:

Slow loading websites are incredibly annoying. And the longer a page takes to fully load, the more people who are just going to give up and leave.

Not good – especially if you’ve paid out cold, hard cash for that click from Google or Facebook ads.

Web hosting specialists Wirehive recently commented on the issue, saying “our clients often choose us because of our excellent track record of delivering fast page loading speeds. This has become a crucial issue across the ecommerce industry”.

But what can you do?

  • Actively track site speed with a tool like GT Metrix.
  • Limit the use of plugins and apps on your site to strictly essential ones.
  • Re-size images on each page to only the size they actually need to be, and consider a lazy load option.
  • If you’re using Magento, make sure you know how to choose the best hosting solution.

5) Showcase reviews on your site

If there’s one retail marketing idea that absolutely every ecommerce site should adhere to, it’s a reviews section.

Having reviews shows potential customers that:

  1. Other people have bought from your store in the past; and
  2. your products and brand are trustworthy and legitimate.

The vast majority of online shoppers treat reviews as essential before they buy. So don’t just timidly put a few on product pages, showcase them right across your site.

Music equipment retailer Andertons do a great job with this.

To start, they build homepage trust by highlighting their stellar independent Feefo rating:

Andertons Feefo Rating

Then clearly showcase star ratings around the key price and ‘add to cart’ area on product pages:

Andertons Star Ratings

Before going into greater depth with each review in a neatly organised tab section alongside product description, spec, finance and delivery details:

Andertons Reviews

A reviews plugin like Yotpo is an easy and effective way to both collect and showcase high-quality reviews all over your site. Even using them to reduce cart abandonment by displaying reviews at checkout:

Yotpo Checkout Reviews

6) Think sales over branding

Branding is an important retail marketing tool for businesses. Especially when it comes to your success over the long term.

But it’s also vital to note that this should not be considered more valuable than making sales right here and now.

A new-age website with cool effects and colours is fine. Just make sure it’s not at the expense of fundamental UX and conversion principles.

For example:

Too many stores prefer their branded colours on crucial CTA buttons (like ‘Add to Cart’). Yet all this does is make these elements blend in with everything else on screen.

You want buttons and links like this to stand out from everything else, so they’re explicitly easy to locate and use for customers. You can even take the time to A/B test different colours to find the right option for your site.

Retail marketing ideas final thoughts

These retail marketing ideas have been used to great effect by ecommerce sites of all sizes. So if you’re looking for ways to drive traffic and conversions, these should be on your radar.

The key to making any of them work is to test, adjust and test again.

Whether you are just starting out and are looking to make an impression, or you want new ways to grow your business – these are some of the best ways to do it.

The post 6 Retail Marketing Ideas to Drive Traffic & Conversions on Your Ecommerce Store appeared first on Veeqo.

]]>
https://www.veeqo.com/blog/retail-marketing-ideas/feed 0
Demand Forecasting: Systems, Methods & Tools to Calculate Your Exact Inventory Needs https://www.veeqo.com/blog/demand-forecasting https://www.veeqo.com/blog/demand-forecasting#respond Fri, 30 Aug 2019 13:10:17 +0000 https://www.veeqo.com/?p=30318 Fail to forecast accurately, and you’re failing your customers. Underestimate demand and you’ll be inundated with stockouts and overselling. Overestimate and you’ve just wasted cash on unnecessary inventory. But how do you carry out demand forecasting without simply… guessing? Answer: Sales data combined with models and systems. And that’s exactly what this post is about. […]

The post Demand Forecasting: Systems, Methods & Tools to Calculate Your Exact Inventory Needs appeared first on Veeqo.

]]>
Fail to forecast accurately, and you’re failing your customers.

Underestimate demand and you’ll be inundated with stockouts and overselling. Overestimate and you’ve just wasted cash on unnecessary inventory.

But how do you carry out demand forecasting without simply… guessing?

Answer: Sales data combined with models and systems.

And that’s exactly what this post is about. We cover everything on demand forecasting in retail – including all the different types and methods, then how to choose one that works for your business.

Demand Forecasting Cheat Sheet

Want to save a hard copy of this post for later? We put it into a handy demand forecasting cheat sheet PDF to print, read offline or share with co-workers.

What is demand forecasting?

Demand forecasting is the systematic method to assess future demand for a particular product. Simply put, it allows you to scientifically estimate sales over upcoming weeks, months and years – so you know exactly how much stock to order and hold at any given time.

There are plenty of different options for how to do this.

These range from manual calculations, to automatic inventory forecasting systems, to simply opting to rely on ‘just in time’ re-ordering. But it’s generally a combination of using past sales data along with individual market knowledge.

Value of demand forecasting

It might be tempting to ignore forecasting altogether. After all, making sales is a lot more exciting than analysing data.

But it’s also a lot easier to make those sales with an extra $10,000 to spend on marketing, instead of wasting it on inventory you didn’t really need.

So here’s a few reasons quality demand forecasting can be so valuable to your business:

Demand forecasting benefits

When executed properly, demand forecasting changes the entire landscape of business operations. No longer does a company run blindly, but rather with the tools needed to perform the tasks at hand.

Having said all this:

It must be noted that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to demand forecasting.

There are several different methods and things to consider before implementing a forecasting strategy. Let’s take a look at them.

Demand forecasting graph

Research: Quantitative vs qualitative

Conducting adequate research is essential before making any kind of demand forecasting effort.

There are two different approaches or styles to this: qualitative and quantitative.

1) Quantitative forecasting research

Quantitative forecasting is all about hard data. It’s almost solely numbers and facts that rule the roost.

You’ll rely on previous sales history as well as knowing your typical peaks and downturns at different times of the year.

Here are some key techniques to think about when it comes to forecasting from your data:

  • Moving average. This is simply looking at your sales data as running averages over a select time period. E.g. a three-month moving average for the year might plot data from Jan-Mar, then Feb-Apr, then Mar-May – continually updating as new data becomes available. More here.
  • Trend analysis. This is exactly what it sounds like – looking at data over given periods of time to spot underlying trends that may impact sales in the near future. More here.
  • Exponential smoothing. This prioritises the latest data over a given time period by assigning exponentially decreasing weights for newest to oldest figures. It’s useful for making short-term decisions where the latest data can be more relevant. More here.
  • Decomposition of time series. This is breaking up a time series of data in order to look at it in greater detail. So rather than looking at an entire year, you’d look at monthly or quarterly fluctuations within that year. More here.

Of course:

To make use of any of this, you need to actually have sales data available to you.

So a quantitative approach can be highly accurate. But becomes a lot more accessible for businesses that have been around a while – with newer ones maybe not having a big enough data set to draw reliable conclusions from.

2) Qualitative forecasting research

With a qualitative approach, you’ll focus on describing a likely outcome rather than measuring it. People’s views, opinions and impressions are therefore critical.

The method features less structure, and is more about implementing instincts and experience.

But that doesn’t make the process about guesswork.

Instead, businesses use professional experience to interpret their data. There’s a heavy emphasis on what drive’s people, their attitudes and thoughts.

To get qualitative information for the projection of upcoming sales, you might choose to look at:

  • New ad campaign impact.
  • Effect of the latest technologies.
  • Recent market trends or fads.

You might also consider market/customer research via things like focus groups or surveys. Your customers would discuss and react to new product features you show them.

Combining the two

This doesn’t mean you need to pick one or the other types of research.

If you have data available, this should always be used in some way.

But what if you’re launching a brand new product? Or running a big paid advertising campaign unlike anything you’ve done before? Or an economic recession just hit?

It could be that your sales will take an otherwise unexpected uptrend or downtrend.

This is where your qualitative research of customer behaviours and market trends can add more depth. Helping to interpret your past sales data in a more accurate way.

Demand forecasting on clipboard

Demand forecasting methods

Once you’ve got your quantitative and/or qualitative research in place, it’s time to actually start forecasting demand.

There are two things to consider at this stage:

  1. Forecasting period. How long are you going to forecast for? Each month, every quarter, annually. Forecasting will then become a repeated task at the end of each period.
  2. Level of detailing. How detailed do you need to be in your forecasting? Do you just need a ball park figure, or almost nailed on numbers?

With this in mind, here are the primary methods of forecasting in relation to retail and ecommerce:

1) Passive demand forecasting

In this model, the future is based on the assumption that nothing changes.

A company knows that it doesn’t plan any significant changes to its course – like big marketing campaigns, introducing new products, adding sales channels. And so historical data is simply replicated forward continually.

Key aspects:

  • Ideal for stable businesses.
  • Contain conservative growth plans.
  • Historical data is used to estimate demand.
  • Minimal assumptions made on up or downturns.
  • Rarely used – mainly for small or local businesses.

2) Time-series analysis

This is where you use past sales data to draw conclusions about trends and seasonality.

It means going back over the past year (or several years if the data is available) to pinpoint where demand seems to rise and fall for different products.

Key aspects:

  • Ideal for medium-sized businesses with at least a few years’ worth of data.
  • Helps identify seasonal fluctuations and sales trends.
  • Useful for businesses with seasonal products or run sales at specific times of the year.

3) Causal forecasting

The causal model is one of the most advanced options for forecasting demand. And takes into account a whole host of things – both qualitative and quantitative.

It uses past sales data, as well as information about competitors, planned marketing activity and external economic forces to predict likely uptrends and downtrends.

New marketing campaign going live in three months? Sales will likely go up. New competitor? Sales could reduce. Recession about to hit? Sales will likely go down.

Key aspects:

  • Ideal for large, scaling or diversifying businesses.
  • Requires time and dedicated resource(s) to conduct.
  • Utilises both qualitative and quantitative research.
  • Considers competitor activity.
  • Evaluates economic environment.

Applying this to retail

It’s likely that you’ll set out demand forecasts for an entire year when it comes to setting sales targets.

But inventory planning for retailers should take a slightly different tact.

You’ll need to strike a balance between:

  1. Minimising cost-per-unit when bulk buying from suppliers.
  2. How confident you are that the product will sell.
  3. Ordering only what you can physically store in your warehouse.

Man forecasting in warehouse

In other words, you don’t want to order too little or too much stock at any one time.

It’s therefore likely that regular time-series analyses will be your best bet for short-term inventory forecasting as a retailer.

You’ll need to be answering questions like:

  • How well did this product sell in the last month, quarter, etc.?
  • How well did this product sell over the upcoming period last year?
  • Are there any differences in promotional activity compared to the same period last year that could cause a sales upturn or downturn?

Once you have this information, you can make an educated estimate as to how much stock you should be ordering to cover the upcoming time period.

Automated demand & inventory forecasting

There’s obviously a lot that goes into accurate and diligent demand forecasting.

And doing it all manually is simply not practical for most modern high-growth retail businesses. Especially with how quickly customer expectations and market trends change these days.

This is when software becomes invaluable.

Veeqo, for example, has a built-in inventory forecast component. This takes the guesswork out of demand forecasting by using past sales history to calculate exactly how much inventory you need:

You can easily work out how much stock is required to cover a variety of upcoming periods. And even offset the figure with an expected sales up or downlift.

All putting an end to stock-outs and over-purchasing to keep inventory levels perfectly balanced based on cold, hard data.

To see it in action first-hand (as well as all Veeqo’s other powerful features), just book a demo with one of our product specialists.

Final thoughts

Demand forecasting is an essential part of managing a growing retail business.

You simply need to have some degree of insight into how much you’ll sell. And therefore, how much inventory you need to cover those sales.

But actually doing this is undoubtedly a complex task.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide on which method to go down: one of the various manual options, or an automated solution.

Demand Forecasting Cheat Sheet

Want to save a hard copy of this post for later? We put it into a handy demand forecasting cheat sheet PDF to print, read offline or share with co-workers.

The post Demand Forecasting: Systems, Methods & Tools to Calculate Your Exact Inventory Needs appeared first on Veeqo.

]]>
https://www.veeqo.com/blog/demand-forecasting/feed 0
493 Ways We’ve Improved Veeqo So Far in 2019 (PLUS What’s Still to Come…) https://www.veeqo.com/blog/veeqo-2019-half-year-review https://www.veeqo.com/blog/veeqo-2019-half-year-review#respond Wed, 28 Aug 2019 10:00:25 +0000 https://www.veeqo.com/?p=29285 It’s been a busy six months for the product team at Veeqo. We secured a £3.3 million growth investment from Octopus Investments in March this year. And it meant we were able to rapidly scale the core Veeqo platform – packing in a broad range of new features and functionality for retailers using our software. […]

The post 493 Ways We’ve Improved Veeqo So Far in 2019 (PLUS What’s Still to Come…) appeared first on Veeqo.

]]>
It’s been a busy six months for the product team at Veeqo.

We secured a £3.3 million growth investment from Octopus Investments in March this year. And it meant we were able to rapidly scale the core Veeqo platform – packing in a broad range of new features and functionality for retailers using our software.

Here’s a little summary of what we’ve achieved in the last six months:

  • 282 new features.
  • 7 new BETA releases.
  • 204 bug fixes.

That all amounts to an incredible 493 total updates.

So let’s take a look back at the key features we released in the first half of this year.

New features so far in 2019

We released a total of 289 new features or BETAs in Veeqo. Here are some of the most popular ones:

1) Veeqo Wholesale (BETA)

To be fully released out of BETA soon, our brand new Wholesale feature was a huge focus for us in the last six months.

Veeqo Retailers can now manage their entire B2B operation in Veeqo. Meaning both wholesale and retail/B2C orders can be easily handled in one platform.

With Veeqo Wholesale, you can:

  • Easily create new wholesale orders taken via email or phone.
  • Set dedicated wholesale pricing, and apply further bespoke discounts for VIP customers.
  • Quickly create and send invoices to B2B customers – eliminating messy email exchanges.
  • Get paid quicker by including an electronic payment button within invoices.
  • Pick, pack and ship wholesale orders quickly and accurately – just like you would any other order in Veeqo.

As you can see, there’s a lot of hard work gone into getting this feature right. But it’s something we’re super proud of – and are delighted to have fully up and running.

See more about Veeqo Wholesale.

2) Improved Veeqo Scanner

The Veeqo Scanner has become a hugely popular extension to our core platform, allowing retailers to save so much time moving to a digital, paperless picking process.

And we’ve worked hard to develop it even further over the past six months.

Here are some of the improvements:

  • ‘Pick Order Screen’ only sees orders that are ‘Ready to Ship’.
  • Digital picking now shows the variant title on pickable line items.
  • The scanner can now show and manage more than six line items per order.
  • ‘Pick to pile’ is refreshed for each user after a batch is completed.

All helping to make your digital picking even easier, quicker and more accurate.

Want to see the Veeqo Scanner in action? Take a look at this webinar we recently put together:

See more about digital pick & pack in Veeqo.

3) Inventory forecasting

Our new forecast feature is a game changer for balancing inventory levels.

It takes all the guesswork out of demand forecasting by using your past sales history to calculate exactly how much inventory you need.

You can easily work out how much stock is required to cover a variety of upcoming periods. And even offset the figure with an expected sales up or downlift:

inventory forecast

We’ve also connected it with Veeqo Purchasing so you can re-order any new stock from your suppliers in just a few clicks.

See more about inventory forecasting in Veeqo.

4) Veeqo Returns

Returns has been yet another massive feature achievement so far in 2019.

This means retailers can now manage every return in Veeqo from start to finish – giving support, warehouse and finance teams a single view every step of the way. And allowing them to:

  • Quickly create customer return requests in Veeqo.
  • Manage all returned items in one place.
  • Record the reason a return was made.
  • Refund orders either partially or in-full.
  • Trigger partial refund payments to Shopify (with Magento & WooCommerce coming soon!).

returns

See more about Veeqo Returns.

5) Warehouse stock transfers

Earlier in the year, we also added the ability to transfer stock between your warehouses in Veeqo. Helping you to ensure you have the right inventory at the right locations to fulfil orders as fast as possible.

Key features are:

  • Create warehouse-to-warehouse transfers while seeing stock levels for each location.
  • View stock that’s currently in-transit to and from each warehouse.
  • Maintain accurate stock histories with automatic updates when a transfer is made.
  • Keep track of which team members are creating and receiving transfers.

warehouse transfer

6) Set item minimum, maximum & re-order quantities per warehouse

We’ve also made it even easier to manage your product re-order levels.

Each product in each warehouse can now have a different:

  • Minimum stock level.
  • Maximum stock level.
  • Re-order quantity level.

This is great if you tend to stock different amounts of the same item at each of your warehouses.

The figure will then be used when generating purchase orders for the items to help order exactly what you need.

7) Set supplier lead times

Another thing we’ve added to Veeqo is the ability to incorporate supplier lead times into your forecasting and purchasing workflow.

You can now set a specific lead time for each product, allowing for much more accurate forecasting:

supplier lead times

All ensuring you re-order at precisely the right time – and you don’t run out while new inventory is in transit to your warehouse.

8) User permissions

We’ve always been aware that not every single member of your staff needs access to every little piece of company info in Veeqo.

So we set-up user permissions. Allowing you to assign roles to each of your users and toggle which areas and actions in Veeqo they have access to:

user permissions

All meaning you keep full control of your business while reserving access to key reports, data and actions solely for those who actually need them.

9) Easily identify mergeable orders

It can take a long time to go through every order trying to identify which ones are going to the same destination – and so could get shipped together.

So Veeqo now checks the postcode of each delivery address in your ‘Ready to Ship’ orders for possible matches.

Similar addresses will be highlighted in the same colour and grouped together:

mergeable orders

You can then tag these to help identify during picking and packing, and send out all in one single shipment.

Even more new features…

  • Custom ‘ship-to’ address for purchase orders. When drafting a purchase order, a custom ‘ship-to’ address can now be used instead of the default warehouse address.
  • Create picking queues. Prioritise which types of orders you want to pick, pack and ship first by adding a queue to the Picking Dashboard.
  • Delete images for simple products. When attempting to delete an image from a simple product the button would not respond. This made it difficult to keep the product catalogues up to date and reflect the most recent images.
  • Support for Magento Bundles. Magento Bundles are “build your own” customisable products. And orders that contain these types of items can now be pulled into Veeqo.
  • Faster customer search. Searching for a customer to create a new order or in Settings>Customers is now much faster. This will make it even easier to create new orders in Veeqo.

Want to know what all the 493 updates were? Check out the Veeqo Changelog, which is updated daily.

New shipping integrations

This year has also seen Veeqo launch seven new shipping integrations so far. All allowing users to generate and print labels from inside the Veeqo platform.

The new carriers are:

New marketplace and ecommerce integrations

We recently connected Stripe to pay invoices online and over the phone as a key part of our new wholesale feature.

stripe payments

What to expect for the rest of 2019

With new investment and a growing team, we have an ambitious second half of the year planned for you.

Here’s a taste of what’s to come:

  • Improved order and product search. New search and filters for orders and products to make it even easier to find what you need.
  • Make orders mergeable. Physically merge orders together in a click of a button and ship them together quickly.
  • Marketplace integrations: Wayfair, Jet.com, Walmart, OnBuy and Amazon Vendor.
  • Ecommerce integrations: Prestashop
  • POS integrations: Square POS
  • Shipping integrations: FedEx Smartpost
  • Live parcel tracking. You will be able to track the live status of your parcels.
  • Stock history reports. See a complete history of your stock movements.
  • Dropshipping support. Manage your dropshipping orders within Veeqo.
  • Backorder allocation. Allocate stock to backorders.
  • Order routing. Route orders to be fulfilled by specific warehouses or via click-and-collect.
  • Returns portal. Let customers manage their own returns on your website and auto email them a return shipping label when necessary.

These are just some of what’s on the menu for rest of 2019. But there’ll be plenty more updates on top of these as the year progresses.

If you’re already a Veeqo Retailer, you can keep up to date with what we’re working on right now by logging into your account and selecting ‘Product Roadmap’ right at the very bottom:

product roadmap

Got an idea for a new Veeqo feature? Just head to the Product Roadmap and select the green ‘Make a Suggestion’ button at the top:

make a suggestion

Not using Veeqo yet? Book a product demo now to discover how the world’s fastest-growing retail brands are using our platform to sell and ship to customers everywhere.

The post 493 Ways We’ve Improved Veeqo So Far in 2019 (PLUS What’s Still to Come…) appeared first on Veeqo.

]]>
https://www.veeqo.com/blog/veeqo-2019-half-year-review/feed 0
B2B Ecommerce Strategy: A Complete Guide to Grabbing Your Slice of the $7.6T Wholesale Pie https://www.veeqo.com/blog/b2b-ecommerce https://www.veeqo.com/blog/b2b-ecommerce#respond Tue, 20 Aug 2019 10:00:14 +0000 https://www.veeqo.com/?p=30081 If you’re not in the B2B ecommerce market, you’re missing a vital part of that industry. B2B ecommerce sales could hit as much as $1.8 trillion by the year 2023 in the US alone. Putting it at roughly 17% of all US business to business sales, period. Other forecasts suggest this may even happen as […]

The post B2B Ecommerce Strategy: A Complete Guide to Grabbing Your Slice of the $7.6T Wholesale Pie appeared first on Veeqo.

]]>
If you’re not in the B2B ecommerce market, you’re missing a vital part of that industry.

B2B ecommerce sales could hit as much as $1.8 trillion by the year 2023 in the US alone. Putting it at roughly 17% of all US business to business sales, period. Other forecasts suggest this may even happen as early as 2020.

Globally, B2B ecommerce gross merchandise volume (GMV) is already over $7.6 trillion – yes, that’s trillion with a “T.”

B2B ecommerce global GMV

While the B2B ecommerce and wholesale trend is heading upward, you can’t expect to access this market until you understand who’s doing all the buying.

B2B buyers are increasingly millennial – and they aren’t going to engage with new wholesale ecommerce suppliers until they’ve done some online research. They may not even broadcast their interest in a company until already well into their buying cycle.

A strong B2B ecommerce strategy requires that you understand these trends.

So in this post, we help you do just that. Showing you exactly what successful brands are doing to find, secure and retain B2B ecommerce customers.

Download a printable version

Want to save a hard copy of this post for later? Download a PDF version to print, read offline or share with co-workers.

Why B2B ecommerce is so big – and what to do

As technology improves, the lines between B2B ecommerce and B2C ecommerce will blur.

The traditional B2B approach often moves exclusively through a sales team. “B2B typically relies on its sales function and account management team to establish and strengthen customer-client relationships,” said Brent Walker of C2B Solutions.

But times are changing.

Rather than attend old-fashioned sales meetings, B2B buyers are switching to a research-focused approach. Gartner Research found that when B2B buyers are considering a purchase‚ they spend only 17% of that time actually meeting with potential suppliers.

That’s because the decision makers are changing.

How B2B ecommerce will function like B2C

Why are decision makers changing so much? A lot of it has to do with demographics.

Today:

  • 13% of millennials are already making B2B buying decisions.
  • And 28% are influencing those decisions, according to research.

If that sounds low, consider that millennials not making B2B buying decisions will still have some degree of input – almost half of B2B researchers are millennials. And those numbers will only increase as the population ages.

This matters because millennials have different buying habits. They bring their online-centric research to buying decisions.

Rieva Lesonsky“Increasingly, B2B buyers are acting like consumers: When shopping for vendors and solutions, they look at peer recommendations and review sites and social media more than they used to. B2B buyers use social media to read existing discussions and learn more about an issue, get recommendations and suggestions from other users, contact individual thought leaders for their opinions, and reach out to vendors directly.

“To get a competitive edge on social media, your salespeople should be proactive. Watch conversations, share ideas, and answer questions. Being helpful on social media without an agenda will show you’re accessible and will build communication.”

~ Rieva Lesonsky
President & Founder, GrowBiz Media

We already see this in effect in the way B2B buyers approach their purchases.

Statistics suggest that many buyers are over halfway through the buying decision before they engage with a sales team.

This doesn’t mean the concept of the traditional sales team is outdated. But it does mean that if you want to introduce your wholesale offerings to businesses, you need to calibrate your approach.

What does this look like in the real world? Let’s look at some successful B2B companies as examples.

Successful B2B ecommerce examples

Companies with experience in B2B ecommerce know that the buyer trends are changing. They succeed by adapting to these trends.

Let’s look at four specific examples in more detail and break down what’s working about their approaches:

1) Flexfire LEDs: Understanding education needs

A flexible strip light might seem like an obvious slam dunk as a B2C product, yet Flexfire LEDs gets 85% of its total revenue from B2B sales.

While the website was initially focused on making sales directly to customers, Flexfire recognises the importance of B2B buyers in its business.

It’s creating a B2B portal right within its website that allows businesses to:

  1. Calculate voltage drops.
  2. Get price quotes.
  3. Find educational resources based on their unique needs.

Flexfire LEDs B2B ecommerce resources

The idea is to help B2B buyers “solve a lot of their own problems,” according to the brand’s CEO Brent Mauriello.

This means Flexfire understood very early on that the first stage of outreach was in educating buyers who are starting off in the research phase.

Shane Barker“If you’re a D2C brand, B2B ecommerce is extremely important for you. It helps you eliminate any middlemen in reaching your target businesses. Additionally, with B2B ecommerce, you can directly sell your products to your consumers and increase your margin from each transaction significantly. It also helps you offer better services to them as they will deal with you directly. These factors are enough reason for you to take it seriously.”

~ Shane Barker
Digital Marketing Consultant, ShaneBarker.com

2) Tetra Pak: Understanding millennials

Tetra Pak is a processing and packaging company that’s used to doing business with businesses. It combines its exceptional product design with a knowledge of how business purchase managers make their decisions.

They’re well aware of the B2B trends of today.

That’s why in one of their B2B marketing campaigns, they went straight for the new buying influencers: Millennials.

Tetra Pak sent out this sample mailer to brand managers at a variety of Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) businesses:

Tetra Pak millennial targeted mailer

It’s an attempt to get these brand managers to package their own products with Tetra Pak’s aseptic bottle seen in the image.

But the key is in how it’s all presented. Note the following:

  • The actual product (the bottle) is buried deep in the package with various other materials.
  • Everything has a sleek design with ample white space.
  • Bright, attractive colours.
  • Accordion foldout containing images of younger people leading active lifestyles and having fun with the product.
  • Layout of the images intentionally mimicking an Instagram feed.

In a nutshell: It all just screams millennial.

“We didn’t want to tell [prospective clients] about a package. We want to talk about what millennials are doing, thinking, and buying, and offer a solution to meet those needs,” said Larine Urbina, a Tetra Pak communications manager.

Tetra Pak understands that research-savvy millennial B2B buyers may already be halfway done with research when they reach out.

As a result, they’ve figured out how to deliver the right information based on this knowledge that’s at the appropriate stage of the sales funnel and to deliver an experience that responds accordingly.

Tired of scrolling?

Download a PDF version of this post to print, read offline or share with co-workers.

3) Google: Understanding the “age of the cloud worker”

Google’s “Cloud Worker” campaign is all about helping companies embrace changes to the way modern people and businesses work – i.e. increasingly remotely and in the cloud.

But they started by choosing the right audience. And launched the campaign by “buttering up CIOs and IT departments,” writes B2B News Network.

This included coming up with statistics and original research around how people and business are working best in today’s world. All aimed at convincing company decision makers to run their business on cloud-based principles and apps.

So like Tetra Pak, Google understood that helping with the research process was the way to go.

Google’s Cloud services included a microsite that published whitepapers, statistics and webinars designed to reach CIOs and IT departments:

Google "Cloud Worker" campaign

In short, they did some of the research for their B2B audience – and it worked.

4) Death Wish Coffee: Understanding frictionless B2B buying

Death Wish Coffee are another example of doing wholesale ecommerce the right way.

They have a great brand and make plenty of B2C sales through a slick online store. But also understand the need to replicate this simple buying experience on the B2B side of things.

First off, Death Wish are highly selective on who they work with.

You must fill out an application to be considered:

Death Wish Coffee wholesale application

Don’t have a physical location? Not aligned with Death Wish’s brand values? Your application gets instantly rejected.

If accepted though, you’ll get access to a dedicated B2B ecommerce website:

Death Wish Coffee B2B ecommerce website

This allows all approved B2B customers to login and shop to their heart’s content – with bespoke wholesale pricing and discounts included.

All this panders to the typically B2C philosophy of reducing friction in the buying process in order to increase sales. And moves it into the B2B realms.

The common thread

Of these four examples of successful B2B campaigns, what were the two common tactics in their approaches?

  1. Building trust in the early stages of research. The four companies mentioned above understood how B2B buying requires a different approach and that buyer research matters more than ever. Between 2017 to 2018, 45% of buyers were spending more time researching purchase decisions. Your content needs to be ready when they are.
  2. Creating buyer-friendly content. Whether it came through whitepapers or B2B portals, these companies also knew the importance of being able to justify large B2B purchases with proper research. In fact, they built their outreach strategies around it.

How to find, secure & retain B2B ecommerce customers

If you come away with anything from the four examples we just discussed, it should be this:

Tailor your information and sales strategies to the buying patterns of B2B ecommerce decision makers.

Ross Simmonds“B2B marketers often forget the entire buying cycle and how content can play a role in facilitating that transition from one phase to the next.

“The key is to create content (both blog posts, landing pages, directories, videos, etc.) that trigger curiosity in your target audience. Think about what your audience is looking for before they know they have a problem, what content would be valuable to them before they need your solution, and what stories will help you get on their radar and amplify your brand.

“All of these answers start with research and conversations. Two things that many B2B brands ignore, but the best marketers always embrace.”

~ Ross Simmonds
Founder, Foundation Marketing & RossSimmonds.com

The approach works: 88% of B2B ecommerce buyers reported that their best purchasing decisions came about because of high-quality information.

Next, let’s look at a few ways you can embrace B2B buying trends.

Go where the B2B ecommerce buyers are

The process starts when you can put your content where B2B buyers are already searching for it.

So how do you do that? Where should you be?

1) Social media

Nearly 45% of buyers start their research on social media.

Again, the same survey showed that millennials were a rising trend, being the most likely age group to begin their B2B research on social media.

But winning with B2B social media all comes back to content again. Providing useful, engaging posts and links for your B2B buyers.

HubSpot do this well with the Facebook page for their annual INBOUND event:

Hubspot Inbound Studio Facebook page

They stage the conference every year. But then follow this up with year-round videos and live streams from the event’s speakers.

When it comes specifically to ecommerce:

You also want to be thinking about your brand. Are you creating a strong presence and impact that B2B buyers will desperately want to be associated with?

Death Wish Coffee, again, do a fantastic job with this.

Take a look at their social platforms and it’s obvious they don’t just sell coffee. They sell a lifestyle and an identity that their customers love to be part of:

Death Wish Coffee Instagram post

Which is part of the reason wholesalers actually want to work with Death Wish.

2) Video content

We’ve all heard about the power of video in online marketing.

But it’s also powerful when it comes to B2B selling. Research suggests seven out of 10 B2B buyers watch videos throughout their path to purchase.

What does this mean for B2B ecommerce?

You need to be producing video content that helps buyers:

  • Learn about;
  • compare; and
  • generally research their B2B purchases.

Let’s take a look at Tetra Pak again.

Their product could be seen as being pretty ‘boring’ – food packaging. Yet look around their YouTube channel and you’ll see plenty of engaging and useful videos catered specifically to their B2B audience.

Like this one explaining all about Tetra Pak’s product:

Mailchimp also do a great job with video marketing. Using it to break down barriers with “getting to know us” content:

3) Paid search

For large and medium businesses, Google reports that: “Generic paid search factors in strongly toward the beginning part of the business/industrial path to purchase.”

Meaning you need to:

  1. Identify key terms your B2B buyers will be entering into search engines (especially Google).
  2. Launch and invest in campaigns to appear for these search terms.

Dale Broadhead“Successful B2B ecommerce starts with targeted traffic acquisition – the right people need to be coming to a website to buy. If using Google Search Ads, then the search terms that are being used need to reflect either a B2B product or the search intent is that of a B2B purchaser. Otherwise, this will result in wasted ad spend.

“Alternatively, if a company is using Facebook or LinkedIn ads, they need to be shown to the correct decision makers for purchasing. This probably isn’t going to be c-level and company owners, but specific buyers and purchasers.”

~ Dale Broadhead
Founder, Conversion Hut

Learn from Monday.com’s simple, clear value proposition for project management:

Monday.com paid search ad

And the congruency of CTS Sunglasses. Sending users straight to their wholesale page for searches of “wholesale sunglasses”:

Wholesale sunglasses paid search ad

4) Mobile

As far back as 2015, mobile usage was intensifying to the point of making up 45% of B2B research for buyers.

And it’s only set to increase in relevance over time. Research collected by AVATAR indicates that:

  • 55% of B2B buyers aged 18-25 use their mobile phones to research products, and 36% of those over 45.
  • 24% of B2B buyers have made a business purchase using a mobile device.
  • 85% of B2B buyers want content on B2B sites to be optimised for mobile.
  • 56% of B2B buyers said that they frequent B2B sites through their mobile phones.

All meaning you need to be thinking about the mobile experience for B2B just as much as you should be for B2C.

Make life easy for your potential B2B ecommerce buyers

Getting your content in front of wholesale buyers is a great start, but it doesn’t guarantee a purchase.

Here are some ways to make the researching process easier on your potential buyers.

  • Simplify the process. According to Gartner, 77% of B2B buyers said their last buy was too complex or difficult. And the 2018 B2B Buyers Survey found that 31% of buyers said the overall purchase cycle has only gotten more challenging year-over-year. Simplify.
  • Provide consumer-centric information. Is your information actually helpful? Gartner’s research also found that if the buyer felt the information provided to them was helpful, they were almost 3X as likely to experience “purchase ease”.
  • Provide relevant outreach. According to the B2B Buyers Survey above, 62% of buyers want to talk to someone who demonstrates knowledge and experience in their industry. Sales outreach is still important, but it can’t be from a purely sales perspective. It also has to inform and offer real value.

Adam Pearce“By opening up B2B ecommerce opportunities, the more changeable B2C levels of demand can be hedged against. For example, the difference in the seasonality of purchasing between B2B and B2C provides brands with an opportunity to level out cash flow throughout a year or season.

“But modern B2B buyers are looking for stronger communication. By having a more straightforward purchasing approach through ecommerce, combined with better interaction via email marketing, B2B buyers have increased confidence in brands. While this doesn’t mean sales teams have become redundant in terms of selling to B2B customers, ecommerce provides a better way to automate more of the process.”

~ Adam Pearce
Head of Marketing & Partnerships, Blend Commerce

Balancing B2B ecommerce with B2C

There’s no denying it, this strategy all sounds like a lot of work. And B2B ecommerce companies who’ve already found success in a direct-to-consumer model might be wary of shifting their focus.

So maybe you’re wondering:

Is it possible to create new B2B sales without losing sight of the B2C ecommerce that’s been your bread and butter?

Here are some key things to think about:

  1. Build a lead nurturing strategy. You don’t have to look at B2B ecommerce marketing as something that requires an entirely new department at your company. If you embrace lead nurturing, the process can be simple – and oftentimes, low-effort.
  2. Create bespoke discounts and tiered pricing models for B2B customers. Business-friendly pricing tiers and bespoke discounts will factor into the pricing research of B2B buyers and incentivise them to reach out.
  3. Create and manage B2B orders in one place. There’s no reason you would have to upend your business infrastructure to fit B2B orders. Make sure you can handle order management from all channels in the same interface.
  4. Make B2B payments easier. The easier you can make the buying process for businesses, the more likely they are to continue to buy. So consider setting up a dedicated B2B portal, or including electronic payment links in your invoices.
  5. Sync inventory between B2B and B2C. Overselling and backorders put a huge downer on customer experience. So syncing inventory in real-time across all your B2B and B2C channels is essential. Make your process seamless and confusion-free.
  6. Fulfil and manage B2B orders alongside B2C orders. Large B2B orders require scalability. Find ways to automate these orders rather than manually creating and fulfilling them with your system.
  7. Adapt your marketing strategy for B2B, but plug in orders to an existing system. No matter where B2B buyers find you, you should be able to integrate their orders into the same structure.

Veeqo’s wholesale B2B feature makes it possible to incorporate all of these key points without upsetting your existing business.

Final thoughts

Can you make B2B ecommerce work like B2C? Of course you can – and it can be easier than you imagine.

Here’s what you’ll need to remember:

  • Engage buyers on their terms. Are they trending younger? Where do they start their research? How much research have they done before they reach out to you? And how can you help them along their buying journey?
  • Use a system that integrates B2B into your current infrastructure. The easier you make purchases for your business buyers, the better you’ll do.

With a new style of marketing outreach in place and a management system ready to take on the big orders, you’ll be ready to capitalise on the growing trend of wholesale and B2B ecommerce. And be perfectly set to grab your slice of this $7.6 trillion pie.

Download a printable version

Want to save a hard copy of this post for later? Download a PDF version to print, read offline or share with co-workers.

The post B2B Ecommerce Strategy: A Complete Guide to Grabbing Your Slice of the $7.6T Wholesale Pie appeared first on Veeqo.

]]>
https://www.veeqo.com/blog/b2b-ecommerce/feed 0
2019 State of Omnichannel Retail Report: Where Top Brands Are Succeeding & Failing at Omnichannel https://www.veeqo.com/blog/state-of-omnichannel-2019-report https://www.veeqo.com/blog/state-of-omnichannel-2019-report#respond Sun, 11 Aug 2019 14:58:04 +0000 https://www.veeqo.com/?p=29257 Download the State of Omnichannel Report Download Your Report There’s no doubt commerce is changing – rapidly. We’re seeing traditional retail stores embrace ecommerce, and online-only brands move into the ‘real world’ via physical stores and pop-up locations. All in the name of winning the customer experience battle. And at the heart of providing the […]

The post 2019 State of Omnichannel Retail Report: Where Top Brands Are Succeeding & Failing at Omnichannel appeared first on Veeqo.

]]>

Download the State of Omnichannel Report

There’s no doubt commerce is changing – rapidly.

We’re seeing traditional retail stores embrace ecommerce, and online-only brands move into the ‘real world’ via physical stores and pop-up locations. All in the name of winning the customer experience battle.

And at the heart of providing the best customer experience is the buzzword that’s been circling retail for some time: Omnichannel.

Retailers familiar with omnichannel are striving for a solid strategy simply because consumers want to buy anywhere, anytime – with a range of browsing, purchasing, delivery and returns options.

And omnichannel provides a supply to this demand.

But omnichannel is complex, and many retailers fear it is unsustainable. So is it really worth it?

The data says yes. In fact:

  • Aberdeen Group reported that 89% of customers are retained by the strongest omnichannel retailers, compared to 33% for businesses with weak omnichannel strategies according to Aberdeen Group
  • 90% of consumers were reported using more than one device to accomplish a single objective online
  • 82% of shoppers have used their smartphone device as assistants while in-store
  • And, customer satisfaction rates are 23x higher for omnichannel companies.

It’s clear that implementing a solid omnichannel strategy is vital to brands looking towards high-growth and success. But how are retailers weighing up?

The state of omnichannel 2019 report

To find out how successfully omnichannel is being implemented by today’s top brands (and where the opportunities lie for others to take advantage) we looked at the latest data on:

  1. What customers are craving in their shopping experiences today.
  2. How some of the top brands are stacking up when it comes to providing this experience.

We analysed 63 popular fast fashion brands from all around the world to see exactly where they’re excelling, and where they’re falling behind. Providing pivotal insight into what’s working well, and where the opportunities lie to make huge gains.

Inside the report

We organised the report into five main sections:

  1. Unity between online and physical stores
  2. Multi-device shopping
  3. Delivery
  4. Click and collect
  5. Customer support

A sneak peak of what’s inside:

  • While 72% of shoppers use click and collect, only 35% of brands offered any kind of click and collect services

  • Even though 80% of consumers say they want same day delivery, only 6% of brands were able to provide this

  • Only 67% of brands responded to an email query, with 33% providing no response at all

To access the full report, download it now for free 

Download the State of Omnichannel Report

The post 2019 State of Omnichannel Retail Report: Where Top Brands Are Succeeding & Failing at Omnichannel appeared first on Veeqo.

]]>
https://www.veeqo.com/blog/state-of-omnichannel-2019-report/feed 0
How to Choose the Best Magento Hosting Solution For Your Ecommerce Store https://www.veeqo.com/blog/how-to-choose-magento-hosting https://www.veeqo.com/blog/how-to-choose-magento-hosting#respond Tue, 30 Jul 2019 10:00:11 +0000 https://www.veeqo.com/?p=29212 A page load delay of just three seconds can cost you a valuable potential customer. According to Nielsen, people only spend 10 seconds on a store to see if anything of value is available. They leave it as soon as they lose interest. Crucial time that’s used up simply causing frustration to browsers if your […]

The post How to Choose the Best Magento Hosting Solution For Your Ecommerce Store appeared first on Veeqo.

]]>
A page load delay of just three seconds can cost you a valuable potential customer.

According to Nielsen, people only spend 10 seconds on a store to see if anything of value is available. They leave it as soon as they lose interest.

how to choose magento hosting

Crucial time that’s used up simply causing frustration to browsers if your site is slow to load.

That’s why getting the right hosting provider is so crucial to your success as a Magento retailer.

So in this post we concisely cover everything you need to know on how to choose Magento hosting. Whether you’re wanting to improve your current Magento site performance, or looking to move across to the platform soon – this guide covers all the details you need for choosing hosting.

How to choose Magento hosting

So, you’ve selected Magento as your ecommerce platform.

Now the big question: what type of hosting will be the best fit for your business?

Here are the key things you need to think about:

1) Understand your requirements

Each Magento business’s individual requirements will be slightly unique to them.

So choosing Magento hosting first starts with knowing the requirements of your site.

Particularly crucial things to understand are:

  • Traffic. How much traffic does your host need to deal with? Not just the amounts of traffic over a given period, but the spikes of traffic you typically get.
  • Pages and products. Do you have only a few products on your store? Or does it consist of a huge catalogue with lots of images, videos and product data?
  • Location. Which country/region does your traffic usually come from? You might want to consider a server location as close to this as possible.

Understanding key aspects like this is the first step in how to choose Magento hosting.

2) Managed vs unmanaged hosting

Managed hosting is a service model in which the user gets a dedicated cloud server from the hosting service.

The hosting service is then responsible for things like:

  • Handling, management and administration of the service.
  • Fixing any issues and keeping performance optimised.
  • Monitoring security and making any needed updates.

Basically, it offers full-performance capabilities to the user so that he/she can run the business successfully and without errors.

On the other hand:

An unmanaged (or self-service) hosting solution is just a raw server provided by the hosting company. You have to install the relevant software and update them from time to time.

Unmanaged hosting can become a major problem when you have limited hands on deck.

Managed hosting usually costs a few dollars more when comparing just the server cost side-by-side. But you’ll likely need to employ a team for self-service hosting, making it much more expensive overall.

3) Types of server

When it comes to types of server available, there are three main options:

  1. Shared
  2. Dedicated
  3. Cloud

Shared hosting is a big NO.

It’s basically a single server shared by multiple websites. Hence, you’ll be limiting your storage space and bandwidth.

Shared hosting companies usually promise that they offer unlimited bandwidth. But in reality this never the case in practice – and a risk simply not worth taking for growing ecommerce companies.

Dedicated hosting is reliable, but unscalable and expensive. It’s also unmanaged so you will have to maintain the server by yourself.

If you have a small team, managing the server and maintaining your store – both at the same time – can become a huge problem.

Cloud hosting differs from the rest as it is completely scalable and exclusive.

You can launch a server of 1GB and scale it to 2GB to 5GB depending upon your needs. It’s also affordable, easy to manage, and doesn’t limit your store performance.

4) Security

All-round web security should be of paramount importance to any ecommerce company.

So opting for a Magento hosting company that keeps servers safe, secure and protected is also essential.

Look out for things like:

  • Blocking of banned and spammy sites to keep the IP clean.
  • Access to SSL encryption.
  • Round the clock server monitoring.
  • Strong firewalls that filter out malicious traffic.
  • Regular security patching and firmware upgrades.
  • Automated, regular backups of your site.

All these things are critical security aspects in how to choose Magento hosting.

5) Scalability

It’s important to also note that whichever Magento host you go with needs to handle the growth of your business, not just its current demands.

This means growth in traffic and traffic surges, increases in products on the store and also venturing into global ecommerce markets.

We’ve tested Magento with a few thousand products on our own platform. And some websites have claimed that the community version of Magento can easily handle 100,000 products – Magento Enterprise can even handle over 1 million with ease.

In fact, Magento launched this Enterprise version on the cloud, rather than a dedicated or a shared hosting solution. Further cementing that cloud is the most sustainable solution for ecommerce businesses.

Magento Enterprise comes at a hefty price though – usually $22,000 to $32,000 per year. So a more economical solution would be to get separate cloud hosting and launch Magento on it – something Cloudways’ ecommerce hosting platform is perfect for.

6) Support

A final, less technical (but equally vital) area to consider when choosing Magento hosting is the quality of support.

First off:

You’ll want to make certain whoever you choose offers 24/7 technical support.

Any website downtime can mean lost sales in ecommerce – any time of the day or night. So if something goes wrong, you definitely don’t want to be waiting until 9am Monday for help.

You’ll also want to ensure they have genuine experts on-hand to help among their support staff. People who know exactly what they’re doing in order to get your store back online in minutes, not hours.

A note on Magento 2

Magento 2 has been around for several years now. But Magento recently announced an ‘end of life’ date of June 2020 for the original Magento 1 platform.

Meaning support will cease to exist for it after this date, and Magento 2 will become the company’s sole focus.

So here are a few specific notes you should know on how Magento 2 can help streamline your hosting performance:

  • Response time. Magento already offers a loading speed of less than one second. And Magento 2 comes with built-in Full Page Cache (FPM) plugin, so Magento store owners won’t need to add another cache to improve the speed further.
  • Architecture. Magento 2 developers have increased the performance of the platform by adding various new technologies – notably Apache, Composer, Symfony, Nginx 1.7 and many more. This has not only improved the page loading speed, but also made it a lot lighter.
  • Customisation. Most extensions are now available as built-in modules, making customisation of your site a lot easier without the need to install various new tools. For example, in Magento 1 you had to install an extension to add multi-sites and multi-stores. But this now comes built-in in Magento 2.

Loading Magento in 2.6 milliseconds…

In summary, choosing a Magento host comes down to five key areas:

  1. Understanding your own website requirements.
  2. Choosing between managed and unmanaged.
  3. Choosing a shared, dedicated or cloud solution.
  4. Ensuring security is up to scratch.
  5. Ensuring adequate support is offered.

Cloudways is a Magento hosting solution that ticks all these boxes for most ecommerce companies running a Magento store. In fact, we tested Magento performance on Cloudways, and the store loads in just 2.6 milliseconds – check out the story here.

In the meantime, we hope this article has helped in how to choose the best Magento hosting for your ecommerce business.

The post How to Choose the Best Magento Hosting Solution For Your Ecommerce Store appeared first on Veeqo.

]]>
https://www.veeqo.com/blog/how-to-choose-magento-hosting/feed 0
How Alphalete Used Content & Community to Grow a Multi-Million Dollar Apparel Brand https://www.veeqo.com/blog/alphalete-ecommerce-teardown https://www.veeqo.com/blog/alphalete-ecommerce-teardown#respond Thu, 18 Jul 2019 19:43:00 +0000 https://www.veeqo.com/?p=28490 Building an ecommerce brand is about way more than products on a store. Today’s online world is one of accessibility, high-competition and dropshippers at every turn. So you’ve got to do something special to stand out. Case in point: Alphalete Athletics. They operate in the hyper-competitive fitness apparel sector – dominated by the likes of […]

The post How Alphalete Used Content & Community to Grow a Multi-Million Dollar Apparel Brand appeared first on Veeqo.

]]>
Building an ecommerce brand is about way more than products on a store.

Today’s online world is one of accessibility, high-competition and dropshippers at every turn. So you’ve got to do something special to stand out.

Case in point: Alphalete Athletics.

They operate in the hyper-competitive fitness apparel sector – dominated by the likes of Rhone, Alpha Clothing, Lululemon and Gymshark.

Yet Alphalete have managed to flourish:

  • Multi-million dollar annual revenue.
  • A highly engaged 750k Instagram followers.
  • Thousands of fans showing up to meet-ups in cities all over the world.
  • Dedicated gym location in Texas that also sells their gear.

So in this post we teardown Alphalete’s model to see what’s behind the success. And how they use quality content and community creation to drive sales in a competitive marketplace.

Alphalete: The background

The entrepreneurial force behind Alphalete is Christian Guzman.

He began with a simple Youtube channel – giving viewers an introspective look at his bodybuilding training in tandem with everyday life. Then started coaching and opened a gym.

This then transcended into offering CG Fitness branded apparel both online and as secondary spend purchases at his gym, which sparked his passion for creating athletic apparel.

Then came a strategic re-branding: and Alphalete was born:

Alphalete Athletics Logo

Branding is crucial in the modern ecommerce world – consumers want to support companies they personally resonate with.

And so Guzman’s mission was to niche down on creating apparel that stayed true to the style his bodybuilding and hardcore fitness-obsessed audience had come to love.

The Alphalete brand mission

Behind the logo, Alphalete was created with a clear mission:

Alphalete Mission

Guzman’s objective was to create an elite line he would wear himself as both functional work out pieces and lifestyle attire. From the very beginning, his objective was for the quality of product to speak for itself.

And with the popularity of activewear and workout gear on the rise, he knew he could gain repeat customers if quality exceeded price points. So huge focus was placed on:

  • Custom-made fabrics.
  • Engineering soft material that could endure high performance.
  • Maintaining a perfectionist level control over means of production.

Once the idea, mission and general purpose for the brand was cemented, it was time to start making sales.

Growth Tactic #1: Document the journey

Alphalete officially launched in the beginning of 2015. And Guzman conscientiously documented every aspect of its growth through his vlogs.

So viewers and potential customers were exposed to first-hand successes and growing pains of the business. Also gaining insight into the personalities and people behind the brand – showcasing the family-oriented and close-knit feel to the company.

The brand immediately benefited from this candid exposure: Guzman transferring his raw honesty to Alphalete, making potential customers feel like it was a dependable brand they could trust.

Growth Tactic #2: Launch-based ecommerce

Alphalete was initially intended to subscribe to a traditional ecommerce model.

So it was all about the standard set-up:

  • Online store listing a variety of products.
  • Consistent and ongoing ads and campaigns.
  • Directing customers to typical product pages.
  • Ample inventory of every product to make sure customers could always purchase exactly what they wanted.

However:

Given the nature and style of the brand, Guzman changed his approach to become a launch-based company with occasional restocks in between releases.

So no more pouring money into continuous marketing efforts stressing customers to buy year-round. Instead, they reallocated budget to:

  1. Continue growing and engaging their audience through quality content on social media.
  2. Run extensive campaigns to hype-up “launch weeks” for new products periodically throughout the year.

As the company grows, so does the scale of its launches in terms of volume, diversity/range of products and global reach.

Growth Tactic #3: FOMO-based marketing

A launch-based business model instils a sense of urgency within customers, incentivising them to act fast before the product is gone.

And so Alphalete leans on this perfectly by employing FOMO (fear of missing out) in their marketing:

Alphalete FOMO Marketing

The consumer view of products is transformed by making low stock seem exclusive, therefore more enticing. And this “exclusivity” also negates the need to utilise sales or discount codes the way other ecommerce brands commonly do to lure in customers.

All meaning Alphalete stopped the traditional “click this ad to buy a product” type of advertising. And transitioned into simply using appealing content to expand the brand’s reach as much as possible.

Growth Tactic #4: Authenticity with the tribe

Alphalete has completely embraced its model as a launch-based company.

Guzman prides himself on never launching the same product twice. So the company can play the FOMO and urgency cards with 100% authenticity.

In addition to brand-new pieces, every launch also features recurring products that have been redesigned to or slightly embellished.

Even bestselling products will undergo some degree of modifications before a new release.

Often times, these alterations are the direct response to customer feedback – demonstrating the brand’s dedication to client interaction and perception of the product.

It also gets the influencers talking and reviewing with each launch:

This constant modification of products means:

  1. Customers know each launch is likely their only opportunity to buy a product in its current form.
  2. Customers can justify repeat purchases at each launch by buying products in new colours or enhancements.

Growth Tactic #5: Create quality content

Alphalete produces as much graphic and video content as possible to grow their audience – going extra hard when it comes to launch weeks.

This content is usually comprised of:

  • Extensive, professional photoshoot campaigns.
  • Motivational videos and posts.
  • Workout videos and vlogs on Guzman’s personal YouTube channel.
  • Interviews and ‘day in the life’ features on Alphalete sponsored athletes.
  • Detailed sizing guides and product reviews.

The photoshoots obviously fit perfectly with the Instagram crowd:

View this post on Instagram

A punch of color 🥊

A post shared by ALPHALETE (@alphalete) on

While the motivational and instructional videos engage Alphalete’s audience with genuinely helpful advice:

But they’ll also use Youtube to combat one of the most difficult factors of a strictly online fitness apparel company: sizing.

Athletic apparel that hugs and squeezes every inch of our bodies is infamous for fitting every body type differently. Making purchasing online a challenge for the consumer.

So in the weeks leading up to launches, Alphalete will release meticulous and detailed sizing videos:

These feature models with different body types and sizes wearing and reviewing each product.

Alphalete athletes, influencers and affiliates will also blast the internet with similar videos so their followings know as much as possible before launch date.

And speaking of influencers…

Growth Tactic #6: Go big with influencers

Guzman credits much of Alphalete’s success to two key things:

  1. Quality of the apparel itself.
  2. Influencer marketing.

With the latter easily the most significant revenue driver in the company’s exponential growth over the last 18 months.

They began building the influencer team in November 2017, referring to them as ‘sponsored athletes’. And it’s been continually expanding since:

Alphalete Sponsored Athletes

Influencer selection

Of course, the first consideration in influencer selection is social media notoriety.

But Alphalete’s sponsored athletes still exhibit a lot of personal range amongst each other:

  • Global reach. The team is comprised of fitness influencers from all around the world to push the brand into different global markets.
  • Individual styles. The team is dynamic in that they don’t all subscribe to one ‘mode’ or ‘style’ of fitness – and therefore have different follower demographics.
  • Engagement. Athletes aren’t selected based on their follower numbers alone. Instead, engagement with their audience is key – which usually comes from being open and empathetic with the audience.

Alphalete’s philosophy with managing influencers is that it has to be sincere and organic. If athletes are forced to post a certain amount of times a week about products, the posts will lose their authenticity.

Therefore, athletes are encouraged to post as much or little as they wish – and to always use sincerity and honesty in product reviews.

This freedom speaks to how the brand is careful to only employ athletes who are as passionate about the brand as Guzman is himself.

Influencer business model

Alphalete divides its influencers into two tiers of sponsored athletes:

  1. Official Alphalete Athletes.
  2. The Alphalete Family – an affiliate program.

Athletes from both tiers are always provided their own personal codes for their followers to enter at check out. These don’t give a discount, but attribute orders to an influencer to gauge the impact he or she is having on sales:

Alphalete Gabby Scheyen Post

Official Alphalete Athletes are more exclusive to the brand. So they:

  • Get paid a salary with sales commission on top.
  • Frequently feature in Alphalete media campaigns or travel tours.
  • Regularly appear in Alphalete content – photoshoots, specific ad campaigns, athlete official videos, etc.
  • Are held to more exclusive contracts that hinder them from endorsing other athletic clothing brands.

On the other hand:

The ‘Alphalete Family’ affiliate athletes only receive sales commission linked to their promotional codes. They’re also granted flexibility to support other brands instead of being held to exclusive contracts.

Using influencers to open new markets

In Alphalete’s early days, their women’s line was essentially nonexistent.

As the face of the company, Guzman (and his content) appealed to men who trusted him for advice on all things fitness. So the initial audience didn’t attract many women.

However:

Growing the female influencer team saw a massive surge in women’s engagement with the brand:

Alphalete Female Athletes

This helped Alphalete transform site traffic by growing their female audience from 4-5% in 2017 to around 50% in recent campaigns.

And it speaks volumes to the power influencer marketing can have on diversifying your brand and appealing to a range of demographics.

Growth Tactic #7: Real, in-person experiences

Alphalete thrives on community and customer interaction.

So they started creating in-person experiences for customers. Helping to bridge the gap between being an online store and a tangible community.

In 2017, Alphalete’s influencer team set out on a world tour spanning seven different cities across Europe and North America:

This set the precedent for the brand to hold meet-ups and sponsored events as a consistent community-builder in the future – including most recently London in March 2019:

These meet-ups aren’t even strictly about making sales on the actual day. They’re more focused on:

  • Building community.
  • Generating social media buzz (as attendees inevitably post and share about their experience on social).
  • Encouraging and strengthening brand loyalty.

Cementing this omnichannel strategy is the Alphalete Gym, which boasts a 19,000 square foot location in Texas:

Alphalete Gym

The gym itself again focuses heavily on the idea of community. With members often featured in social content and Guzman’s vlogs to strengthen the online and offline brand.

Members and attendees also get discounts on Alphalete products and exclusive merchandise at the front desk. All creating revenue that can be easily tracked through their gym software.

Final thoughts

Alphalete shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

In fact, Guzman candidly admitted in a recent video that he feels pressure to make sure the infrastructure of the company grows with it. And to fix operational problems they’re currently facing – like minimising delivery mistakes and growing the team.

But Alphalete’s success is a great example of how to stand out in a saturated market via:

  • authenticity;
  • quality production; and
  • die hard customer interaction.

Applying these principles to any ecommerce brand is bound to have positive effects – regardless of what niche you’re in.

The post How Alphalete Used Content & Community to Grow a Multi-Million Dollar Apparel Brand appeared first on Veeqo.

]]>
https://www.veeqo.com/blog/alphalete-ecommerce-teardown/feed 0
34 Essential Ecommerce Tools to Accelerate Growth in 2019 https://www.veeqo.com/blog/ecommerce-tools https://www.veeqo.com/blog/ecommerce-tools#respond Tue, 09 Jul 2019 11:33:25 +0000 https://www.veeqo.com/?p=27888 Looking to double down on your online retail growth? You’ll need some epic ecommerce tools to help you get there. The industry is changing and expanding faster than ever. New trends, new tactics, new ideas. All huge opportunities to drive growth and sales. But there’s no way you can take advantage of everything without some […]

The post 34 Essential Ecommerce Tools to Accelerate Growth in 2019 appeared first on Veeqo.

]]>
Looking to double down on your online retail growth? You’ll need some epic ecommerce tools to help you get there.

The industry is changing and expanding faster than ever. New trends, new tactics, new ideas.

All huge opportunities to drive growth and sales.

But there’s no way you can take advantage of everything without some outside assistance.

So we put together a list of the 34 latest and best ecommerce tools to help retailers drive serious sales growth in 2019 and beyond.

Best ecommerce tools 2019

We’re aiming to highlight some genuinely useful ecommerce tools for growing your brand in 2019.

Not just regurgitate what most already use.

Yes, we know about Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, et al for your store. We’ve all seen cart countdown timers. And everyone’s already heard of MailChimp.

So the focus will mainly be on newer tools that can compliment or improve on what you’re likely already using.

Here are the categories we’ll divide them into:

Social selling tools

Social media is a key pillar of commerce. But it’s no longer just about paid ads or getting followers clicking through to your online store.

Each of these social platforms is now a sales channel in its own right.

So tools to help take advantage of this can be invaluable in 2019. Here are some of the best ones:

1) Gatsby

Gatsby is great for micro-influencer marketing. It helps identify your most socially active customers (even the ones with relatively small, yet engaged followings) – then encourages them to be advocates for your brand.

Gatsby website.

2) Outfy

Ecommerce Tools 2019: Outfy

Outfy connects products from your online store to all your social networks. Allowing you to drive sales on social by scheduling posts with product images, collages, GIFs and videos.

Outfy website.

3) Shop Instagram & UGC

Ecommerce Tools 2019: Shop Instagram & UGC

Shop Instagram & UGC is a Shopify app allowing you to embed shoppable Instagram galleries around your store. You can add stylish feeds to your homepage, product pages or even create a dedicated ‘Shop Insta’ page – showcasing both your own and user-generated Instagram content.

View on Shopify.

Note: Instagram Feed by InstaPics is a similar app for BigCommerce users.

4) HypeAuditor

HypeAuditor

Influencer marketing can be hugely successful for ecommerce brands. But how do you find the right influencers to work with? And make sure their audience is actually engaged? Answer: use HypeAuditor to analyse all the metrics.

HypeAuditor website.

5) Dealspotr Marketplace

Dealspotr Marketplace

Dealspotr is an excellent site to find engaged micro-influencers. Simply create a bespoke discount code for influencers to share, and get a clear view of your ROI in one place.

Dealspotr Marketplace website.

Omnichannel ecommerce tools

Omnichannel is now much more than the buzzword it maybe used to be. In fact, it’s quickly becoming essential for fast-growing ecommerce brands.

But providing a truly integrated experience across multiple sales channels can be complex.

These tools will help you get there.

6) Veeqo

Ecommerce Tools 2019: Veeqo

Veeqo is an all-in-one platform for omnichannel retailers to manage orders, sync inventory, ship to customers and handle returns. Meaning you can handle your entire online and offline operation directly inside one, cloud-based system.

See more about Veeqo’s omnichannel software.

7) Doddle

Doddle

Doddle is a great option for giving your online business an offline presence – without the expense of dedicated stores. It utilises their network of local UK stores and locations to make it easy for your online customers to click and collect as well as make local returns.

Doddle website.

Note: CollectPlus also offer a similar service for UK retailers, while CNC Global offer locker delivery services in the US.

Personalisation tools

Personalisation is another element becoming vitally important to ecommerce success.

But this means more than just inserting someone’s first name into your marketing emails. It’s about having a dynamic site that puts highly personalised content, products and offers in front of individual browsers.

8) Monetate

Monetate

Monetate collects high levels of data on your current customers’ buying habits in order to deliver optimal personalised experiences. It’s on the more high-end spectrum of tools, but is phenomenal at collecting and using quality data.

Monetate website.

9) LimeSpot

LimeSpot

LimeSpot uses artificial intelligence (AI) to drive more sales through personalised recommendations, upsells and cross-sells. There are apps for both Shopify and BigCommerce, but also strong options for Plus and Enterprise customers.

LimeSpot website.

10) Personizely

Personizely is a conversion and personalisation marketing toolkit for ecommerce businesses. It contains several features that integrate with Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento and more – including personalised exit intent modals, checkout recommendations and upsells.

Personizely website.

Ecommerce email marketing tools

Email has been around for a while now. But it’s still thriving as a marketing tool.

However:

This doesn’t mean you have to do it the same way it’s always been done. There are plenty of email marketing ecommerce tools out there that allow for the smartest, most up-to-date strategies.

Here’s a look at some of them:

11) Klaviyo

Klaviyo

Klaviyo is the email marketing platform of choice for many fast-growing ecommerce brands. The reason? It’s built specifically with ecommerce in mind – and comes pre-built with automated flows for abandoned cart, browse abandonment, customer winback and more as well as enhanced segmentation capabilities.

Klaviyo website.

12) Omnisend

Omnisend

Omnisend goes beyond email marketing to handle your entire omnichannel marketing needs. It integrates email with your online store, social media and a variety of sales channels in order to provide personalised messaging that drives sales.

Omnisend website.

13) SmartrMail

SmartrMail

SmartrMail is another email platform built specifically with ecommerce in mind. This time heavily specialising in providing personalised messaging to help drive upsells and recover abandoned carts in the smartest ways possible.

SmartrMail website.

Messenger marketing & chatbots

Many brands are now taking advantage of the conversational commerce trend – driving sales through automated chatbots and messaging apps.

It can take some work to get right. But it’s not nearly as complicated or out-of-reach as it might seem at first glance – especially when you have the right tools.

Here are the best ones to use:

14) Chatfuel

Chatfuel

Chatfuel specialise in helping businesses build customised Messenger bots. Allowing you to set up advanced AI sequences that drive sales by guiding people through choosing products and making a purchase – specifically tailored to your business needs.

Chatfuel website.

15) ShopMessage

ShopMessage lets you use Facebook Messenger in the same way you’d use email – collecting subscribers, then marketing to them to upsell, cross-sell and recover abandoned carts. All highly powerful when you consider the typical 81% open rates and 36% click-through rates.

ShopMessage website.

16) Tidio

Tidio is a genuine chatbot – a live chat tool that sits on your site to provide support and help to customers in an attempt to convert them into buyers. You can set up automated responses, but then also have a human take over.

Tidio website.

Download a printable version

Want to save a list of all these tools for later? Download a PDF version to print, read offline or share with co-workers.

Payment ecommerce tools

The way consumers pay for your products is changing – rapidly.

Yes, plenty of people will still take the standard route of paying by credit card in one lump at checkout. But plenty of others want different options.

These are the ecommerce tools you need to help offer those options.

17) Klarna

Klarna

Klarna allows you to give customers the option of paying in full now, at a later date or in instalments. Making it much easier to incorporate tactics like “try-before-you-buy” and “free trial” into your business model – things that can have a huge impact on checkout conversions.

Klarna website.

18) ReCharge Payments

Ecommerce Tools 2019: ReCharge

Another hot and popular ecommerce payment option right now? Subscriptions. And ReCharge Payments have your back on this – whether you’re selling monthly subscription boxes or just want to give customers an easy way to commit to recurring/repeat orders.

ReCharge Payments website.

19) Partial.ly

Partial.ly

Partial.ly is great for simply giving customers the option to create a payment plan at checkout. It’s especially useful if you sell high price-point items – helping overcome the common objection of having to pay out a big lump sum.

Partial.ly website.

Loyalty, retention & referral tools

Your current and recent customers should always be your first point of call for driving more sales. They’ve bought from you before, so they’re likely to buy again – and refer others.

So it’s crucial you have the right tools in place to encourage more sales and referrals out of current and past customers.

20) YotPo

Ecommerce Tools 2019: YotPo

YotPo is a well-known ecommerce tool now – but it’s pretty epic when it comes to loyalty and referrals. It’s all about collecting reviews, showcasing them on your site and social channels and building loyalty and referral programs to get customers ‘stuck’ to your brand.

YotPo website.

21) Loox

Loox is a reviews app for Shopify stores, but with one key difference – it encourages your customers to take a photo with their review. This all adds that extra layer of authenticity to your site, with people able to see others actually using (and enjoying) your products.

Loox website.

22) Smile.io

Smile.io

Smile.io helps you set up awesome loyalty programs to keep customers coming back. You can set up points-based programs, tiered VIP programs and even work-in referral rewards as well – turning one-time sales into a repeat buying beast.

Smile.io website.

23) Referral Candy

Referral Candy

Most businesses get at least some new customers from word of mouth, but it usually just happens organically. Referral Candy bucks that trend by adding systems and strategy to your referral campaigns – helping you get more sales from current customers.

Referral Candy website.

24) PushOwl

PushOwl

PushOwl lets you send out browser and mobile push notifications for product launches, sales or just general cross-selling opportunities. It’s a great way to re-engage past customers and keep them coming back to your store via a channel that isn’t (yet) quite so crowded as email and social.

PushOwl website.

Note: PushOwl is an app for Shopify stores. BigCommerce users can use a tool like PushAssist, while PushAlert is a good alternative for WooCommerce.

Customer support tools

The above loyalty ecommerce tools are great. And can be utilised in a huge way to increase sales and customer lifetime value.

But the basics of providing great after-sales experience and support still apply.

You need to be highly responsive and solve problems quickly. And that’s where these tools come in.

25) Gorgias

When you sell on multiple channels, customers will also be trying to contact you on multiple channels. Gorgias connects all these together so your support staff can answer questions from one interface.

Gorgias website.

26) Helpjuice

Ecommerce Tools 2019: Helpjuice
A lot of customers don’t even want to bother contacting support – they want answers now! With Helpjuice, you can build a beautiful knowledgebase so customers can help themselves. Something highly useful if you sell complex or detailed products.

Helpjuice website.

27) WhatsApp Chat + Cart Recovery

WhatsApp Chat Support

WhatsApp Chat is a Shopify app that lets potential customers chat with your store the same way they do with friends – on WhatsApp. It’s great for building a great rapport with your customers, and even has an abandoned cart recovery feature.

WhatsApp Chat on Shopify app store.

28) xSellco eDesk

xSellco eDesk
xSellco eDesk is another option for connecting up your channels into one customer support management system. It’s super easy to use and has a few different integrations than Gorgias – so could be a better option, depending on where you sell.

xSellco eDesk website.

Analytics & CRO tools

Data is the backbone of growing any ecommerce business.

It’s what tells you exactly what is and isn’t working to drive sales. Allowing you to make much more informed decisions on where to place focus and budget going forwards.

So any ecommerce tools that can help you analyse data and optimise conversions are worth their weight in gold. Here are some of the best ones out there.

29) Optimizely

Ecommerce Tools 2019: Optimizely

Optimizely is a high-power A/B testing and CRO platform. It provides hugely detailed insights into your current data, then makes it super easy to continually test new theories so you’re always striving for optimal conversion rates.

Optimizely website.

30) Lucky Orange

Lucky Orange is a phenomenal tool for analysing the customer journey to the point where you feel like you’re looking over their shoulder. It gives heatmaps, clickmaps, screen videos and everything you need to pinpoint drop-off points in your conversion process.

Lucky Orange website.

31) Kissmetrics

Kissmetrics

Kissmetrics is a great tool to segment your customers and website visitors into specific groups. And then use this data to send highly relevant emails and Facebook campaigns – rather than blanket every person with the same marketing and ads.

Kissmetrics website.

32) Visual Web Optimizer (VWO)

Ecommerce Tools 2019: VWO

Visual Web Optimizer (VWO) is similar to Optimizely in that it makes A/B testing really easy. But it also helps with creating a structured approach to testing (rather than just testing random things every now and then) as well as bringing in aspects like heat maps and forms analysis.

VWO website.

33) Compass

Compass is great for helping you focus on the right ecommerce metrics, and then make complete sense of them. It will benchmark your metrics against data from larger stores and help drive more sales with tailored action areas for you to focus on.

Compass website.

34) Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg is another great ecommerce optimisation tool that deserves a mention. It allows you to analyse customer journey data through heatmaps and videos, then run A/B tests to find the best way to plug gaps and holes.

Crazy Egg website.

Final thoughts

This isn’t an exhaustive list of all the ecommerce tools you’ll need to run a successful online store. Nor will you need every single tool mentioned.

But there could be a handful that make a real difference to your bottom line in 2019 and beyond.

So take a look through and test out the ones that you think best apply to your business.

Are there any ecommerce tools you rely on that aren’t on this list? Let us know what we’ve missed in the comments below!

Download a printable version

Want to save a list of all these tools for later? Download a PDF version to print, read offline or share with co-workers.

The post 34 Essential Ecommerce Tools to Accelerate Growth in 2019 appeared first on Veeqo.

]]>
https://www.veeqo.com/blog/ecommerce-tools/feed 0
Is QuickBooks Good for Inventory Management? https://www.veeqo.com/blog/quickbooks-inventory-management https://www.veeqo.com/blog/quickbooks-inventory-management#respond Wed, 26 Jun 2019 13:37:25 +0000 https://www.veeqo.com/?p=27070 QuickBooks is a phenomenal piece of software for businesses to keep track of their accounts. Something well backed up by their 2.55 million worldwide subscriber rate and domination of over 80% of US market share. But is QuickBooks good for inventory management? The short answer is no, especially when it comes to ecommerce retailers selling […]

The post Is QuickBooks Good for Inventory Management? appeared first on Veeqo.

]]>
QuickBooks is a phenomenal piece of software for businesses to keep track of their accounts.

Something well backed up by their 2.55 million worldwide subscriber rate and domination of over 80% of US market share.

But is QuickBooks good for inventory management?

The short answer is no, especially when it comes to ecommerce retailers selling across multiple online channels. While there are benefits to using QuickBooks inventory management, most growing businesses will need much more robust software that can push data over to QuickBooks to complete their accounts.

Here, we discuss why.

What does QuickBooks offer for inventory?

QuickBooks Logo

For what it’s worth, both QuickBooks’ Online and Desktop services offer an inventory management module as part of the software.

Allowing users to do things like:

  • Create detailed product lists along with inventory levels for each item.
  • Track inventory levels and costs across online sales channels.
  • Create purchase orders that automatically update stock levels for relevant products.
  • Receive reorder alerts when inventory levels are low.
  • Store cost of goods sold (COGS) and inventory value information and keep it aligned with final QuickBooks accounts and balance sheets.
  • Run inventory reports to see best sellers, total value and taxes paid.

And it all works perfectly well.

But inventory management is a complex subject. And there comes a time when growing multichannel and omnichannel retailers will simply need more.

The drawbacks of QuickBooks inventory management

There are a few key aspects of inventory management software that are missing from both QuickBooks Online & Desktop. Namely:

  • Not designed with inventory in mind. QuickBooks is an accounting software at heart, so the inventory tracking feature is relatively basic and isn’t a priority when it comes to development. It’s also only available on certain QuickBooks pricing plans.
  • No direct integrations. You’ll need to pay extra for third-party apps to connect QuickBooks to your online stores and marketplaces. This means relying on outside developers to process real-time sales data and provide support if anything goes wrong.
  • No order management or fulfilment. QuickBooks might manage inventory at a basic level, but there’s no functionality for managing or fulfilling sales orders. So you’ll still need to log into your various sales channels to manage and ship orders.
  • No inventory/stock rules. You won’t be able to create automatic rules controlling the amount of inventory shown on each store and sales channel.
  • No detailed inventory history. You won’t be able to see an advanced, detailed history of each line of inventory and all interactions each team member has had with it.
  • No inventory forecasting. QuickBooks won’t learn from your previous sales data to provide reliable forecasts on how much inventory you’ll need to satisfy demand over an upcoming period.

These aren’t the only drawbacks with QuickBooks inventory management. But they are among the most common issues retailers tend to find.

So is QuickBooks good for inventory management?

Not really. It can be a useful add-on feature for startups or very small retailers. But most ambitious, growing businesses will get to a point where they need something much more powerful.

However:

It should be noted that QuickBooks is an immensely effective system when it comes to managing your accounts. An essential task for any business.

So an ideal situation would be to use a system that:

  1. Was specifically built to manage inventory and prevent overselling for multichannel retailers. And ideally provides an all-in-one solution to handle orders, shipping and key aspects of an ecommerce operation.
  2. Pushes relevant sales and inventory data directly to QuickBooks. Meaning it has everything it needs to do what it does best – handle your accounts.

This means you get the best of both worlds. And set your business up for success in the best way possible.

The post Is QuickBooks Good for Inventory Management? appeared first on Veeqo.

]]>
https://www.veeqo.com/blog/quickbooks-inventory-management/feed 0
6 Checkout UX Tricks to Boost Ecommerce Conversions https://www.veeqo.com/blog/ecommerce-checkout-ux https://www.veeqo.com/blog/ecommerce-checkout-ux#respond Tue, 18 Jun 2019 15:29:11 +0000 https://www.veeqo.com/?p=19699 Even the smallest hiccup in your checkout process could be costing you major ecommerce sales. Just take a look at the data on the most common reasons for shopping cart abandonment, collected by Invesp: Notice any patterns? Of these fourteen reasons, six of them occur during the checkout process: Lack of guest checkout. Too much form-filling. […]

The post 6 Checkout UX Tricks to Boost Ecommerce Conversions appeared first on Veeqo.

]]>
Even the smallest hiccup in your checkout process could be costing you major ecommerce sales.

Just take a look at the data on the most common reasons for shopping cart abandonment, collected by Invesp:

Abandoned Cart Reasons

Notice any patterns? Of these fourteen reasons, six of them occur during the checkout process:

  1. Lack of guest checkout.
  2. Too much form-filling.
  3. Insufficient payment options.
  4. Extra taxes.
  5. Hidden shipping costs.
  6. A generally complex checkout process.

The good news is that store owners can combat the pitfalls of checkout with prudent, intelligent user-experience (UX) design.

How? That’s exactly what we dive into in this post. Covering six ecommerce checkout UX tips you can action today to up conversions.

1) Break up your checkout process

Looking for a sure-fire way to lose an online sale? You can’t do much better than to display the entire checkout on a single page or screen.

Checking out is an inherently complex process. There’s:

  • Cart adjustments.
  • Shipping.
  • Billing.
  • Coupon codes.
  • Order review.

And those are just some of the basic steps that all ecommerce sites have.

Your customer has decided to make a purchase – you don’t want to reward them with endless walls of input fields and forms. Seeing it all in one is overwhelming.

Instead, break up the checkout process into digestible chunks, bucketing the flow into steps – like shipping, billing, and order confirmation.

At the same time:

It’s also important not to simplify the process to an extreme. You don’t want a checkout that’s 56 discrete steps, each one a simple input field.

So make sure to find the right balance.

Let’s compare the checkouts between two enterprise retailers: Bed Bath & Beyond and Nike.

BB&B’s checkout is five phases:

  1. Shipping address.
  2. Shipping method.
  3. Contact & offers.
  4. Payment.
  5. Order review.

Nike on the other hand, slims it down to just two: shipping and payment.

Nike Ecommerce Checkout UX

Note that the two checkouts offer the same functionality.

Just like Bed Bath & Beyond, Nike also allows users to select their shipping method and apply a coupon or promo code. It even obtains their customer’s email and phone number as well.

The difference is that Nike’s checkout is better designed.

BB&B’s obviously works to some degree. But Nike’s looks (and feels!) like a much quicker and easier process.

2) Include a progress bar

Simplifying your checkout should be the first plan of attack for a more user-friendly shopping experience. But for some retailers, those complexities are unavoidable.

To bake more usability into a checkout that can’t be easily streamlined, you should prominently display the user’s progress through the checkout journey.

Some companies opt for a crisp, clean progress bar, while others simply number each step.

Either way, it must be absolutely clear to the customer:

  1. What step they’re on; and
  2. how many steps are left in the process.

Without it, you risk your customer growing fatigued and abandoning their cart.

Let’s examine the process of purchasing an airline ticket, a perfect example of an industry with an inherently complex checkout. We’ll use two major industry players as a case study: American Airlines and Southwest.

This is the initial screen the user sees when entering American Airlines checkout flow:

American Airlines Ecommerce Checkout UX

It’s the first out of… well, we don’t how many. That’s because AA hasn’t provided a progress indicator to show where we are in checkout, and how long we have to go before our flight is actually booked.

Compare that form field overload to Southwest’s checkout:

Southwest Airlines Ecommerce Checkout UX

There’s a conspicuous progress bar in the upper right-hand corner of the page. And they’ve also bucketed their forms in a clearer, more visually appealing way than American Airlines.

3) Utilise visual feedback

Visual feedback is a crucial element of ecommerce checkout UX – and something that follows on nicely from the progress bar concept.

The whole idea is to make sure the user is never confused about whether their data was successfully entered or order received.

The Southwest Airlines progress bar is again a great example of this:

Southwest Ecommerce Checkout UX Visual Feedback

The green tick/check mark is simple. Yet it gives that undoubted clarity that the first step of checkout has been successfully completed.

Every path-to-purchase should provide visual cues and confirmations as users progress through checkout. At the minimum, you should be validating the shopper’s:

  • Card information.
  • Shipping & billing address.
  • Any promo codes entered.

And finally, it should be absolutely, unambiguously clear that their order has been received on the final screen.

4) Cultivate credibility

There seems to be a new newsworthy cyberattack, scam or data breach every other week. Meaning the most valuable asset we have may be our privacy and security.

As online retailers, we handle often massive amounts of sensitive and highly personal information.

And while implementing security measures to protect that data goes without saying, it’s also not enough. Quality ecommerce checkout UX means showing the customer you’ve taken those measures and instil a sense of trust between both parties.

Military Hippie do this brilliantly.

To start, they remind you of the product’s five-star rating in the top-right of their checkout page:

Military Hippie Ecommerce Checkout UX 1

You’re then hit with plenty of reminders about security and reliability further down the page:

Military Hippie Ecommerce Checkout UX 2

Finally, you’re hit with another dose of strong social proof with a reviews carousel at the bottom-right:

Military Hippie Ecommerce Checkout UX 3

All this goes to say that you need to be placing strong emphasis on your commitment to protecting customer data during checkout.

Explain to the shopper why you need certain information, and link to your privacy policy if necessary. Offer several different payment methods, including secure options like PayPal, and prominently display their logos.

5) Add a guest checkout option

We know what account creation means in 2019. Entering your email address, setting a password, re-confirming that password, confirming your email, and then receiving marketing emails that you’re not interested in every week for the rest of your life (or until you finally unsubscribe).

That’s why it’s absolutely imperative for your online store to offer a guest checkout option.

Without one, you significantly increase the likelihood of your shopper abandoning their cart for greener pastures.

This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many major ecommerce sites still don’t support guest checkout. Target, for example, forces its users to create an account at the onset of checkout:

Target Checkout Account Creation

The severity of this design mistake is only compounded when you click ‘create an account’, and see the form fields Target requests for account creation:

Target New Account Form

Nearly all of these input fields are for information the user would have to enter during a guest checkout anyway!

Yes, account creation helps to further marketing initiatives and fosters brand loyalty. But you don’t have to sacrifice this for guest checkout.

All that’s needed is an account creation prompt at the end of the checkout with two input fields:

  1. Password.
  2. Confirm password.

The user should have already provided all other necessary information during checkout.

6) Trim the form-filling

Form-filling is a fundamental user task and inherent to quality ecommerce checkout UX.

Unfortunately:

The information required by ecommerce sites typically means these forms have a high interaction cost. (The mental and physical effort a user must undergo to complete a task or process.)

There are two primary reasons most checkout forms have such a significant interaction cost:

  1. A high number of forms to fill out (e.g. both shipping and billing addresses, payment info, etc.)
  2. Those forms asking the user for information that might not be readily available (e.g. credit card number and security code).

There are ways to combat the tedium of form-filling – autocomplete being the most popular method. But it’s not infallible, and can even cause more user frustration if they have to go back and fix an autocomplete’s errors.

That’s why it’s advisable to take other measures in trimming down your forms.

This can include:

  • Basic usability features – like a ‘billing address same as shipping address’ checkbox or radio button.
  • Investing in a more accurate, robust address auto-complete that can pre-fill the form based on zip/post code and other information.
  • Simply reconsidering whether you actually need all the forms currently in your checkout.

Tying it all together

Checkout is the final obstacle between you and a sale, and yet it’s one of the most difficult stretches of the path-to-purchase. It’s the last chance for a shopper to abandon their cart – and the statistics show that they usually do.

To prevent this, it’s imperative to perfect your ecommerce checkout UX. Ensuring it’s as streamlined, seamless and user-friendly as possible.

The six ways to do this we’ve talked about here include:

  • Breaking down the checkout process into digestible chunks.
  • Including a prominent progress indicator.
  • Placing a strong emphasis on visual feedback.
  • Cultivating credibility by reassuring customers their data is secure.
  • Including a guest checkout option.
  • Trimming form-filling with basic auto-complete functionalities.

Depending on the ecommerce platform you’re on, it’s possible you could implement some of these changes right now.

If not, consider enlisting an ecommerce design agency to help implement all of these solutions and more.

The post 6 Checkout UX Tricks to Boost Ecommerce Conversions appeared first on Veeqo.

]]>
https://www.veeqo.com/blog/ecommerce-checkout-ux/feed 0