Results are in, Q4 of 2018 was one of the biggest quarters ever for ecommerce. Stores upped their game this past holiday season, and it shows. Now that 2018 is over and things have calmed down, we’re looking back at the results, analyzing the trends, and sharing what will help your business start 2019 on the right foot.
ShipStation partnered with several industry leaders to share lessons learned and how we should move forward in 2018.
- MORE MARKETPLACES LEAD TO MORE REVENUE
For many, loyalty no longer lies in one shopping location. More than half of product searches start at a marketplace and 65% of consumers are comfortable buying from a merchant they don’t know on a marketplace they trust. If the consumer can’t find a certain product or price on one site, they look elsewhere. However, it is possible that your customers are loyal to a certain marketplace. Having a strong presence on multiple marketplaces can also help increase the likelihood of potential customers discovering your products.
What to do in 2019: Relax, there’s no need to start selling on Amazon, eBay, and Jet.com all in one day. While it may seem overwhelming adding another marketplace to your list, it may be just the thing to push your business towards additional profit. Adding marketplaces requires lots of moving parts to coordinate seamlessly. Make sure to keep the flow of information between all marketplaces in sync and correct at all times. When pursuing a multichannel ecommerce strategy, considering using a leading platform, like ShipStation, that can help manage the flow of information between marketplaces.
2. Many Benefits to Free Shipping
As many can attest, free shipping attracts many people to their site. 58% of online shoppers reported they were likely to abandon their cart because of added shipping costs. Free shipping is one of the main reasons your customers are shopping online, so tending to this need is essential to maintain the customers who visit your site every day and even those who visit sporadically.
What to do in 2019: It has become pretty clear – free shipping is a major ecommerce must-have for online shoppers. We understand, offering free shipping to your customers all the time can expensive. Free shipping is never actually free for the business. Costs, to some extent, can be controlled with a couple different strategies.
- Choose carriers and service levels wisely: Try to discover the best combination of carriers and service levels for each of your shipments. Once you figure out which carrier or service level is best for your budget, set it and forget it! For your convenience, here’s a list of your best rates using ShipStation. On a shipping solution like ShipStation, use the automation tools to lock your price-friendly option into place and never have to spend copious amounts of time entering in this information again.
- Minimize packaging: Today customers value companies that don’t use excessive packaging and focus on protecting the environment. Reducing packaging size can reduce shipping costs. That doesn’t mean your packaging can’t be cute! There are plenty of ways to design specialty boxes and plastic shipping bags. This extra attention to detail may even increase sales as 50% of consumers report they would make additional purchases from businesses with above average packaging.
3. See Emails As Marketing Opportunities
Emails help your business connect to your customers in a highly personalized way, without breaking the bank. Connecting with your customers through emails can help to increase customer retention and bring more revenue to your business. It is already difficult and expensive to acquire customers in the first place. Spend time nurturing your current customers with strong email content.
Strategically developing emails is an easy way to increase engagement with your customers. There are many ways to do this. Learn how Springbot has helped companies like Hammock Gear use emails to increase their bottom lines.
What to do in 2019: Treat all emails, even transactional emails, like marketing opportunities. Give your customers more of a reason to utilize your email content. Take ShipStation’s branded tracking page for example. Tracking emails have an over 100% open rate. This means that many of your customers are opening these emails multiple times, tracking the shipping status of their purchase. Loyalty emails can also be beneficial for your business. Thank your customers for sticking by you by offering them a discount. This is a great way to increase business and show your customers you value them.
4. Hassle-Free Returns Alleviate Loss
Returns have been a long-time nemesis of ecommerce companies. According to TotalRetail, 30% of all sales are returned. And when this happens, your business experiences increased supply chain costs. Sometimes the returned item cannot be resold because of wear, damage, or the passing of time. It’s clear – the growing cost of returns cannot afford to go unchecked much longer.
What to do in 2019: Not to fear – there are many ways to mitigate the loss that occurs with returns and even turn it around create more loyalty and repeat purchases. ShipStation users who used ShipStation’s Branded Returns Portal saw a 16% increase in average order volume. The Branded Returns Portal helps save you time and money by turning your returns process into customer self-service. Your customer can self-report why they are returning an item which over time provides data on common reasons for returns. Our friends at BigCommerce shared a white paper on how the value of a positive return experience can go a long way.
The Branded Returns Portal will overall increase sales and better the customer service experience, alleviating much of costs returns produce. For more advice on your company’s returns process, we have dedicated many blogs to the subject!
5. Mobile Sales Take the Lead
Optimizing for mobile sales is essential when a large part of ecommerce is taking place on smartphones. Mobile sales accounted for a lot of transactions in 2018 and are expected to increase this year. Smartphones have become tools to shop with and given their increasing functionality, the buying process should become easier for shoppers.
EYStudios just released a case study for Stylin Online, a pop culture apparel and accessory superstore. The mobile experience was a quintessential part of how they helped the business grow.
What to do in 2019: There are plenty of ways to make your website more functional, but some of those actionable steps require the work of a mobile developer. While those may be necessary to implement in the future, here are some tips anyone can put into effect today.
- Include a fixed navigation bar: Design is the key to a mobile-friendly website. A fixed navigation bar will help customers find their way as they browse your shop. Including a search button can also assist customers if they are looking for a specific item.
- Shorten product listings: On mobile, you have far less space, so it is important to shorter product listings to fit the page appropriately. Keep it simple – share product name, details, price, and an add to cart button.
There are plenty of actionable steps you can execute today to take 2019 ecommerce by storm. Whether that’s the tips listed here or a more long-term strategy, ShipStation and our DigiVision Partners – EYStudios, BigCommerce, and Springbot – are here to support you and your business along the ecommerce seller’s journey.