Yes, You Can Compete with E-Commerce Behemoths
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Yes, You Can Compete with E-Commerce Behemoths

These days, it may seem an impossible task for small to mid-sized companies to successfully compete with the large e-commerce companies, many of which are household names. However, with a well-optimized supply chain, combined with excellent customer service, it can be done.

Ensure the Customer is King
Whenever a customer visits your website, make sure they receive excellent service, right from the moment the order is placed to its delivery. Look at the process objectively and ask yourself if any changes will improve that experience or make it unnecessarily complicated. Be upfront about shipping costs and delivery times to avoid customers abandoning an order at checkout. If they need a refund or wish to return an item, ensure the entire process is smooth and easy-to-navigate.

Use Reverse Logistics
The average return rate can be as high as 40% or as low as 8%. In 2015, total product returns equated to a $260 billion loss in sales. It is essential to ensure your products can be returned effectively and economically, and still in perfect condition.

Talk to Your Customers
When needed, pick up the phone and talk to your customers. This type of human touch is frequently lacking in today’s high-tech environment but is usually greatly appreciated by customers who want to feel valued.

Provide Real-Time Tracking
Once an order is ready for shipping, provide your customers with real-time tracking. Also, offer them different shipping options. Look into using different shippers to reduce costs or to save time. These solutions provide your customer with more control over their order.

Think Like the Big Guys but Offer Something Different
E-commerce giants operate well-run companies, but they often fail to offer more unique products and services. Learn from the way these companies are run, but whenever possible, provide different services for your customers that they cannot get anywhere else.

Learn to Judge Your Inventory Level Correctly
If needed, invest in a good inventory management system that will also help with forecasting orders. This should link inventory in physical and online stores. Sales are often seasonal, so make sure you are prepared to fulfill extra orders or to cope with a slump in sales.

Minimize Shipping Costs
Make sure every order is packed efficiently into the right sized cartons, ensuring every order is received undamaged. If you do not have a system, investigate software solutions to help you. Our BlackBox software can be seamlessly integrated into existing warehouse systems and will provide optimal results, order after order.
Contact us to find out how our BlackBox software could assist your business, enabling you to compete more effectively with the e-commerce behemoths.

Reverse Logistics: Reducing Online Returns
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Reverse Logistics: Reducing Online Returns

Most of us will regularly shop online, and especially given that many companies now offer free shipping. However, if your company has seen significant growth in online sales, it has almost certainly seen the number of returns also increase. This problem of returns is called reverse logistics and can dramatically affect the bottom line. Increasingly, companies are looking at how to reduce online returns, or how to turn this situation into an opportunity. Reducing the costs of reverse logistics and ensuring products are returned more effectively is crucial for any company dealing with online sales.

Obviously, the ideal situation is zero returns, but given this impossibility, there are several ways you can reduce this number. Often the reason given for returning an item will fall into one of three categories. The product might not be as described, or the customer receives the wrong item, or that item is damaged.

Provide Detailed Information About Products
If the product isn’t as described, this issue can be fixed by providing more detailed information about the product. Whenever possible include high-resolution photos that can be magnified or videos where appropriate.

Include Consumer Reviews
Make sure the product has up-to-date reviews. When an item receives good reviews, it motivates people to purchase it. Consumer reviews will frequently contain useful information about the durability or fit of an item, and which elaborate on the product description. The information derived from reading reviews can prevent consumers from purchasing the wrong item.

Ensure Customers Receive the Correct Item in Perfect Condition
Make sure your employees are properly trained and continually update their knowledge. Invest in software that downloads customer orders, reducing the risk of human error.

Choose the Right Cartons for Shipping
There is little more irritating than receiving an item packed into an inappropriately sized box. This is even more concerning for companies aiming to become more environmentally aware. Our BlackBox software selects the best cartons to use for every order, eliminating wasteful packaging and excess shipping costs if online returns are required.

State Your Returns Policy Clearly
Customers want to know about the online returns policy so ensure this information is easy to find. Ideally, offer free returns as this can significantly increase sales. Over 90% of consumers in one survey would consider buying from an online store again if they found that returns were easy. Try to ensure customers wishing to return items can easily generate a shipping label and provide tracking and email notifications so they can see the status of their online returns.

Contact us now to learn how our software can save your business time and money.