Top Four Ecommerce Trends for 2018

Online shopping has been growing at an extraordinary rate in the last few years. In 2016, worldwide ecommerce sales were over 1.86 Trillion US Dollars and this revenue is expected to grow to 4.48 Trillion US Dollars by 2021. Online shopping is hugely popular worldwide and the UK and Europe enjoy a large slice of that popularity.

Just as sales are increasing at a rapid rate, so too is the technology that companies use to sell their products. Ecommerce offers huge potential for online businesses, and keeping up with the newest trends is important so you can get the best out of your business.

Below are four of the top Ecommerce trends that businesses will find in 2018.

Digital Wallet Payments

Digital Wallet payments are on the increase as Smartphones gain popularity. A Digital Wallet gives consumers the ability to pay for goods using their Smartphone or payment platforms such as PayPal.

Customers can create accounts where their ‘wallet’ is held digitally (via apps such as Google Wallet and Apple Pay). These Digital Wallets can be used for online shopping and some websites, such as Business Insider are forecasting that in the US mobile payments volume will increase to $503 Billion, and be used by 55% of the consumer population by 2020.

Offering this additional option by ensuring your customers have quick and simple Digitised Wallet payment options can give your business the edge over your competitors.

Netflix Style Shopping

With Netflix style shopping you can increase your order value by offering your customers alternative product suggestions with notes such as “you liked this, and you may also like this.” This gives your customer a sense of the ‘personal touch’ – and it’s shown to be a popular strategy for many online retailers.

For example – 56% of online shoppers are more likely to return to a site that recommends products to them and 45% are more likely to shop on a site that offers personalised product suggestions.

In order to gain this level of insight into your customers it’s important that you learn how to use your customer data and analytics so that you can offer relevant and up to date offers or suggestions.

There are a variety of methods you can use to collect customer data and choose how to target customers with personalised suggestions – all depending on what channel you are using. Make sure you research the capabilities of the analytics on your selling platforms to ensure you get the best out of these invaluable services.

Messenger Apps and Chatbots

Chatbot use will be growing in 2018, particularly amongst Millenials – with 60% saying they already use them when shopping online and 71% of those who haven’t used them saying they would like to do so.

Chatbots can be invaluable to you as they can take on much of the human load from your business – such as compiling data, answering customer queries and filling in forms. This can help your business by allowing you to focus on other areas,

Chatbots in messenger apps are another platform that will grow in 2018. Businesses that utilise them will have the ability to send their customers personalised content, suggested purchases and offer specialised deals.

A wider range of Fulfilment Options

As the competition between Ecommerce businesses heats up the company that is able to deliver orders with speed and accuracy will win.

Despite the growing trend in areas such as Chatbots and Digital Wallets, the core ‘basics’ still make the biggest difference to your success. After all, if your foundation isn’t working correctly then all other innovations become ineffective.

As technology improves and specialist companies invest in cutting edge resources to streamline their fulfilment processes, it’s important to choose a fulfilment service that is on top of their game. Customers are becoming far more discerning and expect state of the art systems when they purchase online.

At Meteor Space we pride ourselves on staying at the top of our game with the very latest in warehouse technology and IT systems. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you offer service that’s ahead of the crowd in 2018.

Do You Need Help Managing Your Growing Ecommerce Order Volumes?

If you’ve noticed your Ecommerce orders are growing, congratulations! This means that you’ve overcome the first hurdle in building your business and found yourself a satisfied and loyal customer base.

Your next challenge is learning how you can build on your success and mange your expanding Ecommerce order volumes. This means putting rigorous stock management systems in place, so you can keep your existing customers happy and entice more people to buy from you.

Greater Number of Orders = Greater Workload

An increased number of orders is a great sign your business is beginning to thrive, but this comes with fresh challenges. Dealing with more orders means increasing your storage capacity, keeping accurate data on your orders and finding extra staff to help you deal with increased demand.

In time you are likely to find your original fulfilment methods aren’t keeping pace with your expanded business needs.

If you don’t keep on top of the increased demand your customer experience is likely to suffer as delivery time increases or mistakes are made with orders. You may find that you can’t fulfil orders in a timely way because you simply don’t have the correct stock to hand, or you lack effective staff to help you navigate your workload. In addition, increase in sales brings with it an increase in your overheads. Picking and packing goods takes time and hiring staff will certainly rack up your costs.

But don’t panic! There are tools and tips that can help you, no matter how high your volumes become.

The Solution? Outsourcing.

In the past the idea of outsourcing your warehouse needs might have occurred to you, but you felt you could put it off because you could handle your orders by yourself. Now that orders have grown the most effective solution is choosing a third party logistics company.

The high volume of stock that will be required to fulfil your expanded orders can be easily managed with a warehouse management system.

The very best of these systems:

  • Use online cloud based software that integrates seamlessly with all online baskets.
  • Helps to eradicate errors and allows for an exceptional fulfilment experience.
  • Will send regular reports to keep you informed about order fulfilment at all times.
  • Will help you to process increases in returns – which will grow in proportion to your expanded orders. Using a fulfilment provider will take the headache out of this process as they can handle returns for you quickly and efficiently.

Continue to Grow Your Business With Meteor Space

The continued development of your Ecommerce business depends on you being able to keep your customers happy and deal with orders quickly and professionally. When customers get top service they will help to build your reputation as a business to rely on with excellent customer service.

When you use a fulfilment company you can access a range of services that will enable new logistical problems to be solved – with expertise of people who are dedicated to making Ecommerce growth as smooth as possible.

By outsourcing you’ll have full control over your stock as well as gaining valuable time to focus on sales and providing the best possible experience for your customers.

If you’d like to learn more about order fulfilment with Meteor Space, please feel free to get in contact with us and see how we can help your business grow.

 

 

Do You want to Take Your Home Based Business to the Next Level?

It’s an exciting time to run an online business. In 2017 over 87% of UK households made at least one online purchase, and the UK is now second only to Norway in the whole of Europe for Ecommerce purchases.

If you’ve been growing your Ecommerce business and have found the next big product or service, the potential for exponential growth is huge. But making sales online is only one part of the process. Successfully fulfilling all your orders and having a fast and reliable process is absolutely vital to keeping your business growing and performing well.

Because very few home businesses have the resources to run their own warehousing, it makes perfect sense to outsource this vital part of your business to an experienced company such as Meteor Space.

We offer a number of benefits that can help your home-based businesses fulfil your orders.

 

  1. Cost-Effective Warehouse Storage for Your Growing Inventory

Expanding your business and meeting increased demand for your products will mean increasing your inventory. It’s vital at this stage that you have a trustworthy storage space that can hold a full range of stock so you can offer quick turnaround times. However, space can be costly, especially if the space you need fluctuates as your business changes.

Order fulfilment companies like Meteor Space will only charge you for the amount of storage you use. This means that rather than paying large fixed costs for space you may or may not use each month, you only pay a variable cost in line with the space you are actually using.

Being able to vary your costs and streamline them with your unique business needs can save you money as well as taking the pressure off constantly planning for overheads that you might not even be using at different times throughout the year.

 

  1. Professional Order Fulfilment from Specialist Staff

A well-rounded order fulfilment process ensures that your customers get the best possible experience with your company – from the moment they order, to the moment their item arrives. A smooth and hassle-free experience increases customer loyalty and will help you get those all important positive reviews.

Logistics can be difficult to get right, which is why a dedicated team of experienced professionals can be a life-saver for your business. Employing and training staff is expensive for any business, but when you are working from home it’s a cost that makes little sense. Using a specialist order fulfilment company means access to their trained and experienced staff – without having to fork out for their training and salary costs.

  1. State of The Art Technology

State of the art technology requires heavy investment. A professional order fulfilment company will use the most up to date technology, and because their business is focused on the best processes they will have the latest and most effective systems in place. Using a company like Meteor Space will ensure that you get the benefits of this technology without incurring the associated capital costs.

One example of this is the ability to fully integrate your website with our IT services – letting you access your orders online and having them picked, packed and dispatched at the touch of a button.

All these features are just part of the reason why choosing a fulfilment company like Meteor Space could be one of the smartest business decisions you make in 2018. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

Quick Tips for Outstanding Order Fulfilment

Effective order fulfilment is key to building a successful supply chain process for your business. Delays and errors with order fulfilment can cost you both money and customers, as well as causing untold damage your reputation.

Getting it right the first time should be top priority for all ecommerce business owners – so below are some quick tips to help you create an effective process.

Following these few tips should help you to navigate common order fulfilment problems.

Only Promise what you can Deliver

It’s tempting to make big promises about delivery to your customers, especially if you are trying to become ultra competitive with other businesses. However, over-promising and under-delivering is a fast way to ensure your customers are left disappointed and likely to make complaints.

Make sure you don’t promise delivery dates and times you can’t meet – failed or late delivery times almost always lead to negative feedback.

Don’t compromise on quality to try and meet unrealistic delivery times. Poorly packaged and delivered parcels will lead to a much higher return rate as items arrive damaged or incomplete.

It might be tempting to bump up the cost of delivery – but overcharging is likely to prevent your customers from completing their order or returning to buy again. No-one wants to spend the same amount (or more) on delivery as the item itself!

Keep on top of Communication

Once your customer has placed their order make sure you keep in regular touch to give them as much information as possible about their delivery.

Let your customers know when their item has been processed and dispatched and make sure you are available to answer questions about delivery.

Plenty of issues can be solved with great communication – don’t leave your customers waiting around and getting frustrated with a lack of information about their delivery. Make sure you have detailed information about delivery on your website that’s up to date and that you answer any individual customer queries promptly.

Have a Clear and Consistent Returns Policy

 

Dealing with returns is part and parcel of any Ecommerce business. How well you deal with returns can play a huge part in how your company is viewed by your customers.

Make sure your company return policy is clear and easy to understand. Provide a step-by-step guide that lets your customer know what to do if they aren’t satisfied with the item they receive.

Because buying online can lead to errors and confusion for customers, providing deals such as ‘free returns’ or ‘money back guarantees’ can be an excellent way to reassure your customer and tempt them into pressing the ‘buy’ button.

Ensure you have an effective process in place for dealing quickly with these returns and you have accounted for the cost of returns in your business projections.

Why Outsourcing Order Fulfilment Makes Sense for Your Business

When it’s time to expand your business it’s vital to get the right support structures in place to make logistics run as smoothly and cost-effectively as possible. This is especially true if you’re a small but growing business seeing the costs of In-House fulfilment spiralling.

If you have an online business it’s common for growth to rapidly pick up the pace, especially if you’ve got great products and are marketing effectively to the right customers. Without a well structured warehouse system in place to pick and pack your orders, backed up by a reliable courier service to get your products to your customers on time, you can run the risk of demand outpacing your ability to meet your customer’s expectations.

This is where Third Party Logistic Companies (3PL) come into their own – freeing up your time and energy to focus on managing the growth of your business, rather than constantly playing catch up with orders.

Cut Costs with Flexible Warehousing Solutions

Whether you’re running your online business from an office space or from your home you will need adequate storage space. As your business expands it becomes costly and time-consuming to source warehouse space specifically dedicated to your business.

Overhead costs of running your own warehouse are high. The initial outlay is not only expensive it also doesn’t change even if you’re not fully using the space. This can leave you seriously out of pocket if you decide to change stock or when demand fluctuates.

By using a fulfilment service you can cut costs by utilising flexible warehousing space that changes according to your businesses needs.

Save yourself from Staffing Headaches

Warehouses don’t run themselves, so if you choose to ‘go it alone’ with warehousing facilities you will need to source, hire, train and manage a team of In-House staff.

This means keeping up with the latest in technology and training, as well as using valuable resources on staff performance and retention. If your business is still growing, the cost of implementing changes and keeping your staff up to date with the latest technologies can be extremely expensive.

Outsourcing your warehouse means that you don’t have to worry about all these extra factors, and you can be certain that the right fulfilment company will take care of technology, training and getting the best staff for you – all covered in one simple monthly 3PL payment.

Maximise your Business Efficiency with Streamlined Orders, Delivery and Returns

Increasing sales are great – but they also come with a natural increase in potential issues and problems for your expanded customer base. Processing returns and sourcing couriers who will be reliable and give you the best price can become a logistical nightmare without the right skills and long-term relationships with different companies and professionals.

Great order fulfilment companies have teams dedicated especially to getting the best courier service possible and streamlining delivery and returns processes. This means cutting-edge tracking technology and the ability to quickly and efficiently get your product to the right person, on time.

Remember – delivery of your product and the ease and speed of any returns processes are the direct, physical link between you and your customers. This is where the rubber meets the road for your business and how your reputation will be built.

So, if your business is expanding and you need extra space and support for all your logistical needs, then using a fulfilment company makes perfect sense.

Here at Meteor Space we’re happy to offer advice about the best solution for your business, so get in touch today to find out how we can help you.