7 Operations and Fulfillment Tips to Boost Efficiency

The ability to quickly and accurately fulfill customers' online orders is a task that many retailers struggle with. The consequences of not doing so are severe, most notably frustrated customers who won't return to shop with your brand. Follow these seven tips to provide customers a better shopping experience, all the way through delivery:

Better Than Santa's Elves

For operations professionals in the cross-channel retail industry, the risks and rewards of the holiday shopping season are well known. Order peaks can be five times to 15 times higher than the average week. If you get behind processing orders, you may not recover until Christmas is over. For many companies, the entire year's profit results from fourth-quarter sales.

Digital Gift Cards Produce Increased Sales for Home Depot

Home Depot prides itself in being an innovative company that's always at the forefront of new technologies. The brand's use of digital gift cards speaks to that culture of innovation.

Editorial Meets E-Commerce

The intersection of content and commerce isn't a surprising development. Retailers have known for years the benefit that having relevant content (e.g., blog posts, product and how-to videos, customer reviews) on their site can have for their business, from improving organic search rankings to creating a better overall shopping experience. Retailers shouldn't worry about editorial integrity holding them back. Their job is to sell things and consumers know it. Magazine publishers dabbling in some form of e-commerce aren't as fortunate, however.

Express Launches Loyalty Program to Drive Repeat Purchases

Specialty retail apparel chain Express has launched Express NEXT, a new points-based loyalty program open to all Express customers throughout the United States. Express NEXT replaces Express' previous loyalty program, which was only available to Express credit card holders. It's designed to meet shoppers' habits in-store and online, as well as reward brand interaction via social media.

Getting Started With International Shipping

Retailers are increasingly taking advantage of the global reach of the internet to sell to international consumers. Along with that growth opportunity comes the challenge of making sure your packages get to your international customers. An international order not reaching its final destination not only means the loss of the goods but also a chargeback fee (i.e., loss of money) and, worst of all, a very upset customer.

How to Use Catalogs to Drive Sales

Cross-channel retailers have heard for years that catalog marketing is no longer practical. It's too expensive and not a sales driver is the line that's repeated. There are hundreds of companies that would argue otherwise, however. When managed properly, a catalog marketing program can still be very profitable. Here are two tips to help your catalog marketing program reach profitability:

How to Use Segmentation to Increase Email Relevance

Reggie Brday discusses cutting through the clutter with relevant, targeted emails.

Pay it Forward

A look at how retailers are leveraging cause-based marketing campaigns to grow brand awareness and their bottom lines.

Reverse Showrooming is the Newest Retail Trend

One of the biggest threats to brick-and-mortar retailers is "showrooming," a practice whereby consumers walk into a store with a smartphone to look at merchandise and then — after making use of the expertise of the store's associates — ultimately make their purchases online from a competitor at a lower price. Retailers are increasingly battling back against showrooming by mimicking the practice — reverse showrooming, if you will. They're encouraging shoppers to whip out their smartphones right in store aisles, but to buy online from them.

Tommy Bahama Partners With Major League Baseball to Acquire New Customers

Lifestyle apparel retailer Tommy Bahama has leveraged its relationship with Major League Baseball (MLB) into a successful tool for introducing its brand to a new audience — and sell some limited-edition shirts in the process.

What Cross-Channel Retailers Need to Know When Getting Print Bids

Stephen Lett gives a guide to factors you might not consider when looking for your next printer.