The 50 Best Tips of 2015
21. Take advantage of third-party marketplaces such as the extensive networks developed by e-commerce goliaths Amazon.com and eBay to easily establish an international foothold. While it may seem odd to partner with entities once seen as the enemy, it’s becoming commonplace for merchants competing with Amazon to simultaneously take advantage of its dominant position by participating in the Amazon Marketplace program.
Ken Burke, MarketLive, “Is it Time to Go International,” March 19, Total Retail Report
22. Efficient fulfillment of stock is impossible without clear visibility into inventory levels. Most small to midsized retailers fulfill web orders from physical locations, and disparate e-commerce platforms can’t see store inventory levels. This increases the chances an item that cannot be fulfilled is sold, or an item that’s in stock may show up as unavailable. When platforms are integrated, inventories don’t have to be allocated to individual channels and reported availability occurs in real time.
Zeke Hamdani, Celerant Technology, “Integrated Software Satisfies Consumers’ Demand for Omnichannel Consistency,” Jan. 13, Total Retail Report
23. Don’t just ask, demand a seat at the management table. As an inventory planner, you’re responsible for your company’s largest asset. You have unique insights into which products are truly successful and, beyond that, the ability to align critical inventory ownership with customer demand. This is no time to be passive. Your input can help drive increased sales and profits for your business — but only if you’re part of the decision-making process.
Joe Palzkill, Direct Tech, “2015 Inventory Planning Wish List,” Jan. 28, Return on Inventory blog
24. Offer product recommendations like “Most Popular in (Your City)” or “Best-Sellers” or even “What Other Customers are Viewing” to new users. These recommendations give a new visitor a bearing of the best your site can offer and allows them to pick from the trending items instantly.
Rohan Ayyar, E2M, “How to Grow Customer Stickiness With Product Recommendations,” Jan. 12, Total Retail Report
25. Use creative, fun and lifestyle-branded merchandise to help reinforce the understanding in the recipient’s mind that “this company gets me,” such as Jack Link’s Beef Jerky “Beard Hat Night” at the Seattle Mariners game in recognition of the beard trend happening with their target customer base. It may be fairly obvious, but it’s worth stating: co-branding with well-known products, especially one that’s popular among target customers, is a great strategy, as the affiliation can bring both strong brand recognition and perceived value.
Michelle England, DataSource, "4 Tips for a Branded Merchandise Strategy," May 8, Total Retail Report
26. Include features that condense tasks or offer suggestions. One useful strategy that’s rare for mobile but typical for desktop is saved searches. Typing the same phrases over and over on a tiny keyboard isn’t only a hassle, it bogs down the shopping process. Perusing product listings pages, especially for retailers with a lot of inventory, can be a huge time-suck for the consumer. Publishing more items per row diminishes scrolling time and helps the shopper find what they want faster.
Eric Feinberg, Answers.com, “4 Best Practices for Creating Winning Mobile Experiences,” March 25, Total Retail Report
27. If you have separate mobile URLs, you must redirect mobile users on each desktop URL to the appropriate mobile URL.
Ken Burke, MarketLive, “How Mobile is Changing SEO,” April 15, Total Retail Report
28. Create a specific and well-placed call-to-action (CTA) button. Mobile users need a clear, easy-to-find and easy-to-use CTA button. For example, change the color to an attention-grabbing hue or add some subtle animation. Furthermore, tweak your button copy to better communicate your value proposition. Create motivating text that drives people to take action — and be specific. Adding just one word after the word “submit” can boost conversion rates by as much as 320 percent.
Chris Lucas, Formstack, “5 Tips to Save Your Ranking Post ‘Mobilegeddon,’” May 11, Total Retail Report
29. Accept mobile payments. With the emergence of smartwatches and new payment methods, particularly Apple Watch and Apple Pay, mobile addiction is at an all-time high. Within 72 hours of its launch, 1 million payment cards were activated on Apple Pay. With a mobile payment structure that’s simple and secure, Apple Pay has created a new breed of shoppers seeking out retailers that accept this form of payment. Retailers that don’t offer Apple Pay or another form of mobile payment risk losing customers.
Jeff Trachsel, NextWorth Solutions, “3 Ways Retailers Can Capitalize on Nomophobia,” June 1, Total Retail Report
30. Online retailers need to be sure their e-commerce sites are synced with store and warehouse inventory, as well as promotions and advertising efforts. Only then can they highlight products that are actually in stock and available to hungry shoppers with an itch to buy. Don’t be the unfortunate retail soul that identifies $300,000 in lost opportunity on traffic from paid search keywords that are sending shoppers to items with fragmented stock.
John Squire, OrderDynamics, “The Retail Dating Game,” March 5, Total Retail Report