Old Stock Weighing You Down? Get it Moving Again With These Quick tips…

Managing your stock and inventory levels is crucial for the successful running of your business. At some stage during your inventory process you will discover that you have stock that is outdated or simply isn’t selling.

It might be tempting to hold onto stock but this is a mistake. Stock that isn’t selling will cost you – in time and resources. Storing stock that isn’t moving will limit your ability to generate new revenue by taking up valuable storage space, as well as preventing you from fully utilising the space you have with new and fresh stock. Not only that, but you will have to continue to pay the costs of storing the stock while it merely sits there gathering dust.

If you find you are holding onto old stock or stumped for ideas on how to offload it, try these three tips to get things moving again!

Tip #1: Time for a Sale!

Consumers love a bargain, especially online shoppers. In an era where price comparison is just one click away, bargains don’t hang about for long. So, if you have product that’s been hanging about for longer than 3-4 months without being sold, it’s definitely time to move it along.

Of course, sales only work if they are well publicised so ensure you use different channels to get the word out. Use social media to announce your sale with some well placed posts or ads. You can also use your email list to send out sales offers and draw more customers in with your deals.

If it’s a seasonal time of the year then you can naturally brand your sale to align with it. But you don’t have to wait until the run up to Christmas or January to introduce a great sale!

One way to create an engaging sale is to get creative. Pick a fun theme and brand your sale to fit the theme. Take inspiration from the type of stock you have and see if you can come up with an unusual and interesting sale that fits with your brand and items.

Tip #2: Bundle Slow Moving Stock

There are a few ways you can bundle your old stock to get it moving. You can choose to bundle a few items of the stock together and offer a discount for all items. Or you can decide to pair stock that isn’t selling as well with some of your more popular items. For example, you can offer box deals where you add the slow-moving items in with the more popular items.

You can also bundle like for like stock together and create themed offers. This can be a great way to engage customers as they feel they are getting more of a bargain when extra items are included.

Tip #3: Offer Enticements

Giving customers a great deal is a clever way to get rid of old stock and increase customer loyalty and satisfaction. Customers will feel they have got a great deal, and by offering flash sales, or offers such as ‘Buy one get one free’ you can increase the chances of moving your old stock.

You could also offer free shipping on old stock or extra points if you offer a reward or loyalty system on your website.

If you find that you really can’t move stock from offering discounts, bundles and enticements another way to move it is to donate it. Depending on your stock this can be a great solution as it can give you social as well as business benefits. Increasing your brand standing by donating to charity can help you to grow your business, as well as freeing up your space, and most importantly helping those in need.

If you want to get really creative on your website you could also offer an enticement to customers by asking them to choose which charity they would like you to donate to. Many charities even have dedicated services to pick up unwanted stock from businesses, so it’s worth investigating in your area to see what your local charity needs are.

Will Your Ecommerce Business Benefit From Using a Fulfilment Centre?

Today’s global marketplace is busier than ever. Online sales are forecast to grow between 8-12%  in the next few years, with hundreds of billions of US Dollars being spent worldwide by 2020. With this thriving Ecommerce economy, it’s never been a better time to build an online business.

This doesn’t mean that growing your business is easy. Competition is fierce and modern consumers expect the highest levels of service. Although most customers don’t give a second thought to what happens behind the scenes once they click the ‘buy button,’ for the online retailer it’s absolutely crucial to ensure fulfilment runs smoothly. After all, once you’ve done the hard work of capturing attention in an information-saturated online world, it would be reckless to squander it with poor service.

Unfortunately this is the situation many Ecommerce retailers find themselves in as they begin to grow and have to cope with multi-layered business needs.

You must become proficient in core areas such as:

  • Advertising
  • Accounts
  • HR
  • Social Media Presence

You will also need to address a variety of other challenges, like time-management and building your business brand. Smart business owners know that at some point they need to optimise their time and skills so they can focus on the bottom line, improving products and ensuring the smooth running of the business.

The challenges of dealing with logistics for a growing business as orders increase has led many managers to streamline their process by choosing Third Party Logistics (3PL) to take care of their fulfilment.

Outsourcing of warehousing has become popular because of its flexibility and ability to add several key benefits to online businesses. If you’re growing an online business, choosing an effective 3PL company to work with could be one of the most cost-effective choices you make as you scale your business.

So, how do you know if 3PL is right for you? Below are some of the top reasons that fulfilment companies have become so popular in the last few years:

Benefits of Fulfilment Centres

Easing Logistical Headaches

When it comes to running your own business logistics can be a huge headache. If you don’t have the space to store items, or the correct processes and technology in place to quickly and easily fulfil and keep track of your orders, you are very likely to cost yourself and your business when you get disappointed customers.

Most customers don’t pay attention to logistical processes around receiving their order or returning an item – unless they find there are issues and problems with the process. With the dominance of Amazon and other large companies that offer quick, easy and cheap delivery, it’s vital that you remain competitive by offering top level service.

3PL companies can ease your logistical nightmares by using their top range technology – both in terms of warehousing facilities and In-house IT systems.

Competitive Rates

Because fulfilment centres specialise in their role in logistics they can offer you highly competitive rates compared to the cost of going it alone. Because they have greater buying power when it comes to bulk buying packaging and fast and efficient warehousing equipment, they can save you money on these essential aspects of logistics.

Shipping rates are also a huge concern for any online retailer. Did you know that 28% of customers will abandon their shopping cart if the costs of shipping are too high? So, it’s important that you get the best possible deal when it comes to rates with couriers.

As 3PL companies have large contracts with the main courier companies they’re able to demand lower rates for shipping – and can pass these discounts onto you. This means you can maintain an edge over your competitors by charging less for shipping.

Save on Staff Costs

By outsourcing your logistics you’ll be able to free yourself of the costs associated with running a warehouse workforce. This means saving time and money on staff training, sickness, HR services and managing safety for a busy warehouse. This can make a real difference to you in the long run as you free up your resources to spend on growing your core business.

 

Increase Your Flexibility and Effectiveness

Freeing up the time you and your staff would otherwise spend on picking and packing, handling returns and dealing with tracking processes and couriers could be the gift you need to take your business and professional growth to the next level.

Because many 3PL companies are well-used to customers who are smaller and have fluctuating needs they can offer the kind of flexibility in their fulfilment services that is hard to achieve on your own.

At Meteor Space we can offer all the above benefits, plus a whole host of additional services. So if you’re interested in taking your business further with outsourcing your fulfilment, get in touch today to find out more!

 

Social Media can Supercharge Your Lead Generation – Here’s how

Social Media is not always the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to gaining valuable leads for your business. Although companies are recognising the benefits they can get from having a Social Media presence that addresses areas such as communicating with their customers, many are still not aware of what a powerful tool social media can be when it comes to those all-important leads.

In this post we’ll discuss some key ways you can use Social Media to pull in even more potential customers, and how to tailor your use to get the best possible results.

So, what is Social Media Lead Generation?

When it comes to lead generation, the days of only or mostly traditional advertising are long gone. Since the advent of Google in particular, the scale and scope of digital lead generation has increased at a dizzying rate.

It’s now possible to reach a huge number of customers using smart social media strategies at a fraction of what a traditional national advertising campaign might cost.

Social Media lead generation can help you to connect to your customers by engaging them across platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram – building awareness and trust with your target audience.

It can also be incredibly cost-effective – with only a mere 6 hours per week on one channel, 66% of marketers say they found lead generation benefits. Another study by ‘Quick Sprout’ found that social media’s ‘lead to close’ effectiveness was significantly higher compared to outbound marketing. Twitter and Facebook are the most popular tools to use, with Twitter accounting for 82% of all social leads and 40% of marketing professionals citing Facebook as a core part of their business marketing strategy.

The bad news is that as marketing techniques have changed over the last few years, so have the habits and mindsets of your potential online customers.

Because your target customers have such a huge amount of information to process when they go online, attention spans have markedly decreased. In addition, customers have become accustomed to ‘filtering’ their online experience – and ignoring messaging and advertising that doesn’t tie in with what they are searching for.

This is why it’s important to have a social media strategy that builds engagement, as well as showcasing what your business has to offer.

Below are 5 tips that can help you generate leads though social media.

Five-Step Social Media Lead Generation

Build Relationships

As we’ve discussed, building great relationships with your customers is vital to your social media presence. You may already be using channels such as Twitter or Facebook to share details of products and services with your customers, however generating leads means you need to become more active.

Creating interesting and helpful content regularly, and engaging with your customers by being responsive to them, helps to build awareness and trust of your business and what you have to offer. When it comes to B2B leads, LinkedIn is a great way to build networks and find new clients. Ensure your profile is up to date and you take the time to interact with business leaders and grow your influence on this channel.

Develop Your Brand

Because Social Media has such a reach it’s important to identify your business brand and keep growing that brand with all your interactions. This means choosing the right platforms for the industry you’re in, as well as choosing content that’s relevant and will be of interest to your target audience.

Knowing what your company voice will be, and keeping on message, is important to create a strong brand, as well as using visuals that customers will be able to associate with you. You can use custom templates to ensure your posts stay within brand, as well as choosing which kinds of colours and images to consistently use.

Finding your voice is about knowing what your business values are, and the type of customers you attract. Who are your target audience and what kind of writing will best reach them? Knowing your customers and posting content that speaks to them is a huge part of developing a great brand that customers come to trust.

Use Savvy Social Media Ads

Advertising through social media is a great way to target the people who are interested in your product. Depending on the nature of your business and who you want to reach you can use a range of channels which can offer highly targeted adverts to get your message to the right people. The most popular channels for these types of adverts are: Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn.

You can use your ads to draw people to your products or services, as well as linking them to gated content, which we’ll explore shortly. Targeted ads are a great way to save money as they help you to send messages to the people most likely to be interested in your service, rather than blanket targeting many people who may be uninterested in what you have to offer.

 Offer Quality Content

This one might seem obvious, but it’s important that you keep your social media channels up to date and relevant. Make sure the basics are always correct such as contact information and opening times and the core parts of the services you offer.

Offering informative and entertaining posts that add value to your potential customers is key. Don’t write content for the sake of creating a post, make sure you are on message and the content you offer is well-written, with advice and information that your customers will find useful. As we’ve discussed, attention spans are getting shorter and consumers are developing the ability to ‘tune out’ information that isn’t immediately engaging – so try to keep your content sharp, on brand and informative.

Build High-Value Gated Content

Gated content is content that you offer potential customers in exchange for something from them. Usually this takes the form of asking for a subscription or information such as their email address or answering a short survey before they are able to access the content.

Because of this, gated content has to be perceived as adding value to the consumer, or they will simply click away without taking action to get past the gate.

Great gated content can take the form of a short EBook, a video talk and explainer, a short course or a high-quality PDF that shares useful information. By creating landing pages on your website that you can link to via social media ads, you can entice potential customers to engage more deeply with you – and capture the important information you need (such as their email address) to further engage them with your business.