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5 ways to improve your online sales strategy

Online sales are increasingly important in today’s economy, from mittens to Mercedes, so hear what one expert has to say about improving YOUR sales.

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online sales

Boost your online sales

Whether you’re selling boots or houses, your online sales strategy has room for improvement, even if you’re Nordstrom. Times change and consumers’ expectations shift, and keeping up is a challenge for everyone.

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We dug into the mind of Steve Weber, President and CEO of nChannel, the leading provider of multichannel management software that simplifies selling for retailers. He has over two decades of software industryexperience, and is a 13-year veteran in the retail space. He is the former VP of eMarketplace Outsourcing Services for Sterling Commerce, a division of IBM. More recently, he was named Microsoft Partner of the Year for Dynamics Retail and awarded Microsoft Retail Independent Software Vendor (ISV) of the year.

He offers unique insight into online sales, offering his top five tips in his own words below:

“For today’s retailers,” Weber notes, ” online sales aren’t what they used to be – it is imperative that sellers deliver a smart, intuitive process that engages customers and keeps them coming back for more.”

“Luckily, there are some simple improvements that can make a world of difference,” he adds. Below are his actionable tips you should pay close attention to.

1. Create an Endless Aisle

Give the impression that you carry infinite inventory, in other words, an “Endless Aisle.” Of course, no one literally carries infinite inventory, but with drop shipping (outsourcing fulfillment for some or all of your orders to your suppliers) implemented, it’s possible to avoid ever having a customer see that “out of stock” message. With an endless aisle the customer experience is improved on by way your inventory management and supply chain teams.

2. Show Real-Time Product Availability

Customers want product availability information instantly. Weekly, daily, or even hourly updates don’t offer enough accuracy. Being able to reflect inventory status in real-time improves the customer experience and keeps users informed every step of the way – helping to better manage expectations about product availability and timing.

3. Communicate About Orders

To keep customers happy (and wanting to shop with you again), give them accurate and up-to-date order information. This means centralizing order data across all systems. This empowers the support, sales, eCommerce, and store management teams to give customers accurate updates about their pending orders. It also allows for smooth handling of changes or cancellations, the ability to split orders for individual item fulfillment, and close tracking of order status. Customers want to know the details of how their order is progressing.

4. Merchandise Smarter

Make information about each product comprehensive and easily searchable. Helping customers navigate products with a variety of criteria ensures they can find what they need and you can more easily manage inventory. Multichannel management platforms, like the one nChannel delivers, can help retailers organize products by region, brand, season, promotion, etc. to simplify updates and merchandising. It can also perform bulk updates to help sellers manage pricing and promotions, as well as enable them to search keyproduct data more easily.

5. Treat B2B Customers Like Retail Customers

When you sell products to other business (wholesalers and manufacturers, for example), they should get the same experience as a shopper. B2B expect the same integrated, multichannel experience. Anticipate B2B-specific challenges, like credit account management, customer-specific pricing, and complex account management teams and be sure the right processes and technology are in place to properly support their needs.

The takeaway

Retailers and shoppers alike need their online shopping experience to be easy and efficient, so taking steps to lay a stronger foundation for your overall online sales strategy, will in-turn improve your online sales.

#OnlineSales

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

Business Marketing

Gloves that translate sign language in real time

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new wearable tech translates American Sign Language into audible English in real time.

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Advancements in technology never cease to amaze. The same is true right this moment as a new technology has been released that helps translate American Sign Language (ASL) signs into spoken English in real time.

This technology comes in the form of a hand glove – similar looking on the front side to what one would wear in the winter, but much more advanced when in view of the palm. The palm side of the glove contains sensors on the wearer to identify each word, phrase, or letter that they form via ASL, and is then translated into audible English via an app that coincides with the glove.

This is all done in real time and allows for instant communication without the need for a human translator. The signals are translated at a rate of one word per second.

The project was developed by scientists at UCLA. “Our hope is that this opens up an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate directly with non-signers without needing someone else to translate for them,” said lead researcher Jun Chen.

The hope is to make communication easier for those who rely on ASL, and to help those unfamiliar with ASL adapt to the signs. It is thought that between 250,000 and 500,000 people in the United States use ASL. As of now, the glove does not translate British Sign Language – the other form a sign language that utilizes English.

According to CNN, the researchers also added adhesive sensors to the faces of people used to test the device — between their eyebrows and on one side of their mouths — to capture facial expressions that are a part of American Sign Language. However, this facet of the technology is not loved by all.

“The tech is redundant because deaf signers already make extensive use of text-to-speech or text translation software on their phones, or simply write with pen and paper, or even gesture clearly,” said Gabrielle Hodge, a deaf post-doctoral researcher from the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) at University College London. “There is nothing wrong with these forms of communication.”

What are your thoughts on this advancement? Comment below!

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Business Marketing

Stand out with video as part of your resume (but be careful)

(MARKETING) This new tool helps you stand out in the job market, as video now dominates – so it’s possible to use this to your advantage (with caution).

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In the midst of a pandemic, people are finding themselves thrust back into the job market sooner than expected due to mass company layoffs or underemployment as a freelancer. Fields are oversaturated and jobs are sparse so it can be hard to stand out in today’s job market.

Although standing out in the job market is hardly a new problem, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t use some new and creative solutions. One company, VCV.ME has designed a tool to help you get creative and stand out from your competition.

VCV.ME turns your traditional resume into a video à la Instagram stories.

The process is simple. You answer a few questions and upload a video of yourself then the tool will provide you with a sharable link.

VCV Founder and CEO, Arik Akverdian, believes that video is the future saying, “Video will represent 80% of all internet traffic by 2021 according to Cisco, and according to eMarketer 94.1% of millennial internet users were streaming digital video in 2019. With growing demand for video social media such as TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram stories, and others, we’re bringing the short video format to the job market.”

There are some obvious limitations to using this tool in your job hunt.

First, not all employers will take videos as part of an application both for technical and legal reasons.

On the technical side, many automated tracking systems are not designed to filter that kind of file, so there may not even be an opportunity to showcase it. That’s not to say there aren’t some work-arounds. Many job applications will have a place for applicants to link to their portfolio or websites. An alternate option for this tool could be to place the video introduction on your website.

Another problem with the tool is how it exposes candidates and hiring managers to bias.

As more companies work to remove bias from their hiring practices and hire more diverse candidates, a video intro just won’t fly. Some companies have removed names and even alma maters from their applicants in order to make more unbiased hiring decisions. A video introduction would expose many characteristics that people have conscious and subconscious biases towards such as race, gender, age, and ethnicity.

Although VCV.ME’s intentions are to help candidates stand out in the job market, it’s worth questioning whether they would be standing out for the right reasons, so tread carefully.

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Business Marketing

Why should you take Facebook’s ‘Summer of Support’ courses

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Every company can use a little marketing advice, well Facebook has partnered with big companies to give you some free digital marketing courses.

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Our world has turned into a place of upheaval and unrest and we are continuously surrounded by more and more evidence of it. One thing that the majority of us are constantly seeing is announcements from companies. Some of those are about closing hours, but others are more helpful. As they all attempt to get used to this new world that COVID-19 has created we begin to see some different tactics. Some are only politically motivated, but others are more focused on helping out their communities.

Earlier this week Facebook announced that they will be putting on a six-week digital marketing education series. This series will be an extensive collection of videos with a full in depth set of courses that will cover a large amount of topics. The company has put together a cast of renowned entrepreneurs for the presenters as well.

The topics will be done in themed weeks starting on June 24th, and running through the month of July. They include categories such “The Changing World” & “Resilience”. Focusing primarily on the world that is here and now, with recommendations on how to adapt to it. With this world in a constant state of flux the push for adapting to change and staying in front of the tide is crucial for a small business.

The next two courses will be going forward with discussing “Reinvention” & “Re-Emergence”. Encouraging struggling companies to take a serious look at their potential for moving forward, or changing the things that they can to stay more on top of their client base. They also plan on attacking the confusing world that we will have when things get closer to normal.

The last two weeks are focused on community and customer care, which is actually their names as well: “Customers & Commerce” & “Community”. These will help develop a sense of how your business affects your community and the impact you have on it. Keeping that in mind you can then develop a plan for how you want your community to see you and shape things within it.

These courses are all set up for free and open to anyone. With a completely online set up with their new “Summer of Support” mini-site they are prepped to reach millions of people. They’ve organized this with a range of partners as well: Dell, PayPal, American Express, & Small Business Roundtable. A helping hand for people who wouldn’t currently be able to source things like this.

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