The Strategy Behind Complementing Your Online Store With A Physical Space

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article | Online Store| The Strategy Behind Complementing Your Online Store With A Physical SpaceOnce, online business existed to complement physical stores. A company who went online had the best chance of standing out on the high street. That’s because most customers started heading online to get some idea of what they wanted before heading out.

Unsurprisingly, this trend has seen a real rise in e-commerce only stores in recent years. Many new business owners now choose to scrap physical business altogether. And, it’s easy to see why given how steep rental prices are now. By relying on nothing more than a website, it’s possible to start a business for half the price you’d pay otherwise.

But, we’re seeing something of a shift in the business world right now. Rather than physical stores heading online, we’re seeing e-commerce companies opting for physical spaces. The benefit here, of course, is that they already have an established reputation to go off. In most cases, they also have existing profits to cover those costs.

But, how exactly can a physical store compliment your online efforts, and is it worth your while?

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article | Online Store| The Strategy Behind Complementing Your Online Store With A Physical SpaceKeeping up with the competition

Remember that physical businesses originally moved online to impress customers over their competitors. Now, though, opting for physical space is the best chance you have of doing that. After all, the online world is saturated with endless stores to choose from. Hence why companies like Amazon are heading to our high streets. This is your best chance to stand out from the online crowd and keep up with what the rest of your industry are doing. And, that’s the only real chance you have at making this last long-term.

Appealing to the masses

We’re told time and again that the majority of customers now come from online sources. And, there’s no denying that most do check out a website before anything else. But, consider that 60% of people who look online still prefer to buy in-store. A lot of the time, they simply check out their options on the computer. If you don’t have a physical store, then, you could lose a load of business this way. But, if you can direct online browsers to your retail space, you could see real success. This is especially the case if you blow them away with features like epoxy flooring and stand out displays for the products that they’ve already checked out. Just like that, you could increase your online conversion rates. All because you got physical.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article | Online Store| The Strategy Behind Complementing Your Online Store With A Physical SpaceMaking online shopping easier

Returns are the worst part of online shopping. Long-winded methods may even stop customers from bothering. That leaves them unimpressed with your services and unlikely to shop with you again. Which leads us to one of the best ways a physical space could compliment your online efforts. By accepting online returns in your physical store, you can secure many more happy shoppers. That alone can turn an online disaster in a real-life success.

Get your head out of that screen, then, and think about making a REAL difference to your business efforts.

Important Changes That Improve The Efficiency Of Your Shipping Operation

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article | Shipping Operations | Important Changes That Improve The Efficiency Of Your Shipping OperationOnline shopping has completely changed the face of retail and customers are increasingly buying products online and having them shipped directly to them. That means that people’s expectations are incredibly high when it comes to shipping times. There are a lot of big companies like Amazon that can offer next day shipping and, in some areas, even same day shipping. As a smaller company, you’re not necessarily going to be able to match that speed and efficiency, but you do need to make sure that you’re getting products out to people in a timely manner.

As well as speed, you also need to consider the cost of your shipping operation. If you’re not very efficient, you could end up spending a lot of money shipping products out and that’s going to seriously affect your profits. That’s why you need to make an effort to improve the efficiency of your shipping operation. These are some of the best ways to do it.

Improve Inventory Management

This is a step that a lot of people forget but it’s so important. Before you can ship anything out, you need to find the products in the warehouse and package them up first. If you’re not managing your inventory properly, it’s going to take longer than it needs to organize and pack all of the products ready for shipping. In some cases, you might find that you don’t have enough inventory to fulfill the order at all and that means you’re going to have a huge delay and you’ll probably lose that customer. It’s absolutely essential that you’re using good inventory management software instead of trying to do it all manually because that’s when you’re going to start making mistakes. You also need to set minimum stock levels so you can be sure that you’ve always got enough stock to fulfill any orders that are coming in. When you’re managing your inventory properly, you’ll find it a lot easier to pack and ship orders fast.

Better Communication With The Warehouse

Communication is the key to a successful business and it’s especially important when it comes to shipping. Good communication with the warehouse will help you with inventory management because they can let you know if you’re running low on certain things. It’s also incredibly important that they have a good idea of how sales are going. If you see a sudden sales spike and they’re not prepared for it, things are going to slow down and your products won’t go out on time. But if everybody is on the same page, they’ll be prepared for a sudden increase in orders and they can hire a few temporary staff members to help cover the extra workload. You should also have regular meetings with your warehouse staff to ask about any issues that they’re having. If they can help you to identify areas that are slowing things down, you can come up with solutions and improve your shipping efficiency.

Barcode Scanners

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article | Shipping Operations | Important Changes That Improve The Efficiency Of Your Shipping OperationIf you’re running a large warehouse with a lot of products, finding the right products to ship is often the most difficult part of the process if you haven’t got a good solution. If you’re just handing somebody a list of products and asking them to find them, they’re going to be walking up and down for ages and that’s not efficient at all. The easiest way around that problem is to use barcode scanners. If you catalogue all of your products and assign them a barcode, it’s easy for people to scan lists of products and find what they need right away.

Consider Your Vehicles

The vehicles that you use for shipping make such a big difference so you need to consider them carefully. If you’re using delivery trucks that don’t get very good mileage, you’re just wasting a lot of money for no good reason. It’s worth looking into hybrids or electric vehicles that are a lot more cost effective to run. It also reduces your impact on the environment which is incredibly important to a lot of customers these days. If you can cut down on the amount of fuel you’re using, you’ll make some serious savings.

As well as finding more cost effective vehicles, you need to make sure that they’re well maintained. Take your vehicles to the mechanic and find an off-highway drivetrain service center to make sure that your delivery trucks are always in good working order. If your vehicles break down halfway through a route and your customers are left waiting for their delivery, they’re not going to be happy. They won’t be interested in your excuses and you’ll probably lose those customers for good. So, always keep on top of maintenance and make sure that you’ve got backup vehicles on hand to take over so you’re not missing any deliveries.

Use Route Planning Software

Route planning software is absolutely essential if you want to increase efficiency in your shipping operation. People don’t realize just how much difference it makes if you’re not planning routes well, but it can really slow things down. Trying to plan the most efficient route is a big job and you’ll struggle to do it manually. That’s why you should always invest in route planning software to help you out.

Use Standard Box Sizes

If you’ve got a lot of different box sizes, your employees will have to spend time finding the right box for each product when they’re packing them. It doesn’t seem like a big issue but if you add up those extra few seconds over the course of a day, it does actually waste quite a lot of time. You’re far better off using a few different standard box sizes so it’s quicker to pack products. It’s also cheaper to buy simple, standard box sizes rather than a lot of different custom made ones. Most large companies do this, that’s why you always receive things in oversized boxes when you order something from Amazon. The only downside is that some people might worry about you wasting resources but as long as you’re using recycled materials, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Decentralize Shipping

If you just have one large warehouse that handles all of your shipping, you might be making things harder than they need to be. When you’re in the early stages of your business and you don’t have that much money, having more than one shipping location probably isn’t viable. However, if you’re doing well and you’re looking at expanding the business and reinvesting some of those profits, you should consider decentralizing your shipping operation. If you’ve got multiple shipping locations that each serve a different region, you make things so much more efficient.

It cuts down on any long journeys which means you can get products out quicker and you won’t be spending as much money on fuel costs. Serving one local area rather than the entire country also means that your drivers will know the area better and they’ll be able to plan more efficient routes.

Manage Expectations

This is so important because customers are not going to be forgiving if their products are late. People won’t mind waiting a few days if that’s what they’re expecting, so you need to manage people’s expectations properly. It might be tempting to try to get more customers by offering unrealistic shipping times but it’s not going to work. You might get a few sales but you’re never going to keep those customers long term because you’ll let them down. You’re actually a lot better off over estimating how long your deliveries are going to take. That way, people are going to get a nice surprise when things arrive a day early and if there are any issues, you can still get things there on time.

Consider Outsourcing

Making all of these changes and improving efficiency in your shipping operation can be difficult. If you’re struggling, you should consider outsourcing to a professional courier instead. They’ll have all of the infrastructure in place already and they’ll have more experience in shipping so they can often do it better than you can. Outsourcing is a good solution for smaller businesses or new start ups that can’t afford to implement an efficient shipping operation.

However, there are some downsides to outsourcing. You’re not the only company that they’re dealing with so you aren’t going to be their priority. They may also not be equipped to deal with your products if they’re particularly fragile. In most cases, they’ll have experience but if you have any specific shipping needs, they might not be able to match them. That does mean there are more likely to be breakages and issues with products and you’ll be covering the cost of that. But outsourcing is still a way more cost effective way of handling your shipping operation.

Your shipping operation is one of the most important parts of your business. Customers have high expectations when it comes to product shipping and there are plenty of big companies that can get parcels out in a day or two. If you can’t compete with that, you’re really going to struggle to keep your customers.

Setting Up a Brick and Mortar Business from Scratch

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article | Entrepreneurship | Setting Up a Brick and Mortar Business from Scratch

The majority of us become employees when we head into the world of work. This makes sense. From a young age, we are asked what we want to be when we grow up and are given ideas of different employed positions, no matter how outrageous or unlikely they might be – footballer, ballet dancer, fire fighter. When we head to school we are encouraged to get qualifications to show off on our CVs rather than the focus being placed primarily on the actual skills that we pick up along the way. This makes sense. Being employed makes for a relatively comfortable lifestyle. You have contracted hours, guaranteed pay, annual leave, and other privileges. However, it’s not necessarily the best option for all of us. There are alternative career paths out there and one of the best tends to be setting up your own business. Setting up your own business means becoming your own boss and determining exactly what direction your company will take. You can specialise in the area that you like and keep the majority of your profits for yourself – nobody else will be getting rich from your hard work. But where can you start on this journey? Well, one of the most lucrative areas to get involved in is retail. So, let’s start there!

Creating an Appealing Product

When you get involved in retail, you are going to have to provide the market with an appealing product. You need to come up with something that people are willing to part with their hard earned cash for! This is going to be a long and arduous process, but once you have a final product, all of the effort will be worth it. Identify a gap in the market, think up something that can fill it, and conduct a little market research to determine whether consumers would be interested in what you’ve come up with. If you get the go ahead, you can manufacture the product and bring it to reality!

Ecommerce vs. Brick and Mortar

The next decision that you need to make is how you are going to sell your products – you need a base where customers can find you and process sales. The main decision is ecommerce vs. brick and mortar. Now, Ecommerce is appealing for various reasons:

Cheaper to Setup – to set up an ecommerce store you only really need the help of a web designer and a product photographer. You could also call in a writer to come up with your captions, blog posts, and other written material. This is consequently extremely low cost.

Cheaper Operation – once you’ve setup, operating online is cheaper to run in general. You don’t have to fork out for commercial property, you don’t have to fork out for commercial overheads, and you don’t require as many staff.

Round the Clock Operation – the web doesn’t have opening and closing areas, meaning that consumers can browse your products and make purchases at all hours of the day and night!

Brick and mortar stores, however, have their own individual set of benefits and you can run an online store at the same time as running them!

Better Customer Service – you can interact with your customers and potential buyers on a face to face basis, answering questions more easily.

Fewer Returns and Exchanges – when customers can see and try out what they’re buying before handing over cash, you are less likely to receive return requests and exchange requests. This saves you money!

Setting Up

Furnishing Your Store

You will need furnishings to display your stock effectively. These can include shelves, rails, and other display units. Employ a merchandiser who will be able to give you advice on what types of display equipment will make your store look the most aesthetically pleasing and navigable.

Limiting Movement to Restricted Areas

If there are areas of your commercial property where you don’t want members of the public roaming, you are going to have to take steps to ensure that nobody trespasses. There are different methods that you can use to achieve this. If there are doors that lead to areas with confidential information, staff belongings, or stock, you can place signs on the doors that read “staff only”. If you are worried that people will ignore these warnings, you can add coded locks – permitted individuals can key in the code or scan a registered card to pass through. If there are outdoor areas that need to have limited access, you could make use of used sucker rods to create barriers and fences.

Using Signage Appropriately

Health and safety needs to reign supreme in your commercial property. If there are aspects of the space that pose a risk to people, but cannot be changed, you need to use signage appropriately. If there’s an unexpected step, you will need to make sure that it is highlighted and that there’s a sign warning people of its presence. If there are low ceilings, you need to do the same. You should also use signage to indicate fire exits and fire safety protocol. Then you should invest in temporary signs, such as signs for wet floors.

While Ecommerce may be appealing, remember that you can engage with this alongside your brick and mortar company. Hopefully, the above information will help you to set up a brick and mortar business effectively.

Best eCommerce Marketing Tips

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales ArticleAre you currently dissatisfied with your ecommerce business venture thus far?

Maybe you haven’t achieved the levels of success that you know you can reach. Or maybe your little ecommerce shop is bursting with customers and you’re ready to take things to the next level.

Whatever your reasoning may be, just know that there are powerful marketing tips that make it more than possible to grow your e-commerce site by leaps and bounds.

Let’s take a look at our best recommendations for 2017 and beyond.

Create a Powerful Content Marketing Plan

Whether you realize it or not, content marketing is one of the best ways to gain additional exposure for your ecommerce business.

But coming up with a plan might not be that easy.

As you will learn, or even already know, there are a few different ways to approach content marketing. The most effective way that I’ve personally come across is through blogger outreach.

Putting a customized blogger outreach plan into effect will be time-consuming and you’ll have a lot of moving parts.

Instead of leaving things to chance, and potentially creating a system that fails, I recommend using time-tracking software like Clockspot to track everyone working to help implement your plan. This includes tracking the projects of staff writers, freelance writers, project managers, virtual assistants, and anyone else involved in your content marketing strategy. Also, you might want to check some the best live chat software to help your team stay organized.

Why content marketing?

For starters, this is an excellent way to build backlinks to help improve search engine optimization. And once you start ranking in the search engines for your most valuable keywords, customers will find your products a lot easier.

Second, content marketing helps you become an authority in your niche.

By putting out high value content all over the Internet, potential customers will see that you and your company know what you’re talking about. This will help make you an expert in your industry.

Do yourself and your ecommerce site a favor and harness the power of content marketing through blogger outreach sooner rather than later.

Create an Automated Email Marketing Campaign

If you ever want to have an effective e-commerce business, you need to begin incorporating powerful strategies for your ecommerce business.

For many successful ecommerce owners, they look at email marketing as the bedrock of their strategy because it’s a great way to influence your customers to buy the product that they recommend.

Through email marketing, your customers will receive regular marketing messages from you. If you automate this system, they will be in regular contact, hear about excellent products that you recommend, and if you write your emails persuasively, you can convince them that your recommendations are worthy of their time and attention.

Consumers like opening emails, especially transactional ones like welcome emails or cart abandonment emails. That’s the bottom line and it’s never going to change. They look forward to getting emails in their inbox.

So do not hesitate to build up a big mailing list.

Make sure your emails contain helpful information about your products. Answer questions and concerns that your customers might have. And always remember to recommend and sell your products.

To automate your email marketing campaign, make sure you have access to a top email autoresponder. It costs a little bit of money, but it’s a worthy investment that will pay for itself tenfold over the long run.

Diversify Your Social Media Platforms

Right now, you may have a strong presence on one or two social media platforms. And that’s perfectly okay for the moment.

What happens if one of those platforms falls out of favor? You’re going to lose access to a major part of your customer base.

Instead of leaving yourself vulnerable, diversify the social media platforms you post on. By building a strong presence on multiple platforms, you’ll be insulated in case one or more eventually falls out of favor.

Keep Track of Your Productivity Time with Helpful Software

It’s also important to mention the in order to get things organized, you would also need to check out what are the best tools out there that will help you maintain things tidy. Whilst there’s so many apps out there, it’s very hard to suggest a specific software generally, as every business is subjective. Aside from time monitoring, website running and data organizing, there are also packages that will be useful especially to developers, applications that test quality and errors of your app, which basically points out red barriers you need to keep in mind in order for things to run smoothly. See more in this source:

Needless to say, if your project runs about application development, these kinds of apps built from devs to devs, are something you, as a developer, definitely must have.


Building an ecommerce business is hard and it takes time and dedication. But if you use these tips, you’ll be on the right path to success for many years to come.

Implementing An Effective eCommerce Strategy: A Guide

You’ve done your research and decided that going branching out onto the worldwide web is the best decision for your business. But how do you actually go about implementing that? Building an online store and an eCommerce website requires a sophisticated content management system and a strategy that combines many separate elements. Not sure where to begin? Here is a guide to help you transition to the wonderful world of eCommerce.

Finding your online voice

Firstly, you will need to think about how you want to present your company online. What sort of tone do you want to have? Formal and serious or open and friendly? You will need to consider your product or service descriptions, as your online voice will play a big role in this. If you’re not sure how to go about this, looking at your competitors is a good place to start. How are they presenting themselves? How do they describe their products? Your descriptions will require keywords that online users search for in search engines, as well as being compelling enough to convince your customers to buy.

You’ll also need to take professional quality photos to accompany your inventory, as eCommerce relies heavily on visually appealing interfaces and imagery.

Setting yourself up

The second thing you will need to do is set up your website. This can be done independently, through platforms such as WordPress, or through a professional website designer. You need to ensure that your website is easy to navigate, has a clean and sharp design, and holds all the information your customers might need.

For much large organizations, especially those running ERP, eCommerce will be part of a wider strategy. This is usually outsourced to companies who can implement comprehensive product suites, such as Omnia, which ensure you offer up real time data under the secure umbrella of the ERP infrastructure.

Create a marketing plan

Doing business online comes with many benefits, including the vast array of marketing techniques and tactics for you to utilize, many of which are either free of charge or inexpensive to use.

Take social media for example. Especially due to changing algorithms on media platforms, you should strongly consider paid promotion due to the accurate targeting options on offer. However, you can do a lot for your business by simply engaging with customers on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Regular posting shows consumers you are active and involved with your customer community, and can be a good way of showing your strengths and previous customer loyalty. Many people go straight to social media when checking out a business, as it is the perfect insight into who you are. It will certainly give your brand a stronger, more personable identity.

Focus on customers

In the face of fierce online competition, remember that your strongest strategy weapon is prioritizing your customers. Social media users respond well to brands that build and nurture meaningful relationships, while Google is constantly updating its algorithm to favor those who give greater precedence to the customer experience.