E-commerce is a rapidly growing industry that, far from being some shopper fad or trend, has changed the way businesses interact and trade with consumers on a global scale and it’s here to stay.
Any business, from the lone home-worker to the grand multi-national must have an online presence and cater for distant customers if it wants to remain relevant and competitive.
For almost any enterprise, e-commerce trading has a number of advantages over bricks-and-mortar premises; although there’s mounting evidence that the retail sector in particular needs to provide consumers with both in an omni-channel shopping experience.
An online presence with e-commerce capabilities can enable businesses to:
According to industry research firm eMarketer, e-commerce is forecast to grow by 20.2% across the board, with emerging markets in the Middle East, Africa and China being responsible for driving global B2C sales in excess of £1.5 trillion this year.
Although e-markets in Europe and the US are well established, they have not yet reached maturity and according to Forrester, are also forecast to maintain “a slightly more modest 9.1 per cent” growth until 2018.
However, despite strong consumer demand for e-commerce, there are a number of barriers that all businesses wanting to implement or increase online sales, face.
For many, those barriers relate to infrastructure, skilled personnel, costs, consumer trust but most importantly of all, competent distribution logistics; without the capacity to deliver goods, e-commerce organisations simply fail to deliver.
A recent study conducted by comScore explored the impact of viable delivery options on consumer trust and shopping habits.
Those surveyed cited transparent shipping information, including a “projected timing of delivery, clear communication while goods are in transit and clear communication of a company’s returns policy” along with free or discounted delivery options as major factors influencing their purchasing decisions.
While most participants agreed that a delivery window of up to 5 days was acceptable, a failure to provide information about the delivery service in its entirety in a concise and clear way directly contributed to 55% of those asked to ‘abandon shopping carts’ before making a purchase.
However, sites which manage consumer delivery expectations well and offer a user-friendly returns policy could expect return visits from 48% of their consumers with the same amount making retailer recommendations to their friends.
It seems that for any sized business, deciding how to meet customers’ delivery service expectations and finding the right distribution partner is vital for overall e-commerce success.
The good news is that because the very essence of e-commerce is global trade, any business whether small or large, whether in a mature or emerging market, can benefit from using an established international mail house or distribution centre, anywhere.
Organisations like Asendia, a British consolidation of La Poste and Swiss Post are already equipped with a variety of delivery solutions including distribution, order fulfillment, secure storage and pick and pack services that cater for the specific needs of the e-commerce industry.
To improve your online operations or source the right distribution solution for your start-up, contact Asendia directly for advice and information on adopting a tailored delivery service suited to your e-commerce venture.
The traditional office is disintegrating, being replaced by new creative ways of working that focus on the team as well as the individual.
A lot of business owners and managers now work in an open-plan office. The benefits are obvious – all team members can work together in an open, social environment and talk to each other more freely than if they were segmented in different offices and rooms.
It’s a great way for people to share ideas and support each other throughout the working day. Though, as creative and social as that may all seem, not everybody enjoys working in that way. For the person that enjoys leaning over their desk for a quick chat with a colleague is someone else swamped with work that could do without the distraction and needs a bit of peace and quiet to complete their tasks.
For those that have invested in the open-plan formula but need to consider the individual an office partition is a fantastic way to create privacy without segregating people and going back on the working philosophy.
An office partition is a temporary wall that can be raised and joined with other partitions to section new areas off and create a new room. Office partitions are typically cost-effective, sturdy, and very easy to set up.
No one person is the same and office managers shouldn’t expect all of their employees to work as one unit all the time.
Office partitions are a great way to create privacy, and if managers are looking for a longer-term solution then there are all manner of materials and partitions they can invest in.
Solid partitions are available in glass, for instance, to let people know that managers are still more than approachable despite the new wall being there.
Partitions are also available in a range of heights. If people are looking to only section their desk off then smaller partitions are a great option, however there are partitions that can reach the ceiling if they need to create an entirely new room without commissioning builders.
It’s the casual nature of partitioning that makes it so popular with managers and business owners. Especially for those that are renting office space – why go through the hassle of liaising with landlords and builders for a new room when a partition is a more than adequate solution?
Managers are only limited by their requirements and imagination when they’re looking to invest in office partitioning.
The main thing to remember though is the workforce. If partitions are going to improve people’s work rates and keep them happy at the same time then installing them is an excellent idea.
Especially in offices that can be noisy at times. Putting everything in its place with office partitions is a brilliant way to improve an office and the morale of the people that help run it all day long.
Learn more about office partitions and how to create the perfect working environment for staff by contacting the Planscape team today.
The question is not IF you should run a company blog but HOW to do it and do it right. Blogging is the best way to connect with your customers in a more authentic, personal way. So get on with it, don’t let lack of technical knowledge stop you – internet is full of how to start a blog tutorials and if you want a professional design (which you should if you care about your image in your customers eyes) let professionals like The Print Group take care of your new blog’s looks.
Here are Top 5 tips to create a successful blog for your brand.
Internet is flooded with blogs. A lot of competition? Luckily for you a huge majority of them are boring and generally waste of disk space. Your task is to end up in the exclusive club of truly interesting blogs worth reading. Think what your readers want to know about you and your business and deliver it in a grasping way. Keep posts short and informative – the goal is not to waste the readers’ time while presenting yourself as an expert.
Think about what words your customers type into the web search engine that lead them to your website. Make a list and then use them on your blog – in the headlines, leads, main text as much as you can but while keeping it natural. These will both get your readers attention and increase your blog’s and website’s SEO value.
If your business doesn’t yet have profiles on all the major social networking sites then first think why on earth not and then open them ASAP. Once your Facebook, Twitter and other accounts are up and running connect them to your new blog and make sure that every time you post new content on your blog you promote it via social media. Like it or not they are one of the most effective ways of keeping connected with your customers.
One element it’s hard to imagine a blog without is the comment section. Make sure you read your readers comments, answer the questions, reply to suggestions. Don’t be afraid of criticism – it should motivate you to improve. Don’t give in to online hate – it’s your right to delete offensive comments and ban unwanted readers.
If there’s one thing that kills a blog it’s lack of updates. A blog post once a week is the bare minimum to keep your readers attention, twice is better. Don’t worry – you won’t run out of ideas for new posts, most of the time it’s quite the opposite – blogger lack time to post all they have to say and answer all their readers questions.
Stick to the plan, blog regularly, keep it interesting and stay in touch with your readers and your blog will become a powerful tool in support of your business. And while you’re at it remember to have fun.