Are you smarter than a floor lamp? Probably, but digital technology has permeated home décor in ways we’d never have imagined. What once was considered showy and pretentious is quickly becoming a source of convenience, posing the inevitable question of “why not?”
SMART technology dates back to the late 1980s, when all tech was in a veritable explosion of growth and experimentation. Patented as DViT (Digital Vision Touch) technology, it represents “self-monitoring, analysis, and reporting technology.” So the term itself is self-fulfilling, with roots that are – like most nouveau concepts coming out of the Silicon Valley – acronym-driven.
Cell phones were early adapters, facilitating operations based on apps or voice instruction. Our shared friend Alexa, Amazon’s SMART tech contribution, stands ready to answer questions to the best of her ability. But how can SMART technology make your life easier? How about turning on lights in a dark room based on a voice command? Turning off your oven without being near the kitchen?
It seems futuristic, but it’s not exactly superfluous. Imagine entering a dark house and having to navigate around furnishings to manually turn on lights. That reality for many has transitioned into obsolescence in the era of SMART technology. In the vein of television remotes, SMART operations that kickstart lighting fixtures and a host of other essential living components are the wave of the future and an integral part of the present.
SMART lighting harnesses an LED concept to emit light through a process that may be TMI (too much information) for the lay reader. Let’s just say it’s a handshake between like-minded digital waves, and it accomplishes tasks such as turning on, dimming, and turning off lighting. It can make ultra-contemporary fixtures and lamps change lighting color, or adjust brightness based on the time of day. Versions are automated, while others kick in with voice commands or instructions given through a cell phone app.
The Ins and Outs
SMART technology ventures outdoors as well. Check out this sleek SMART garden wall light, an upscale addition to covered patios. Or make a splash with this high-end, artistic indoor SMART ceiling light. But though SMART technology conjures up visions of decadence, it’s also a mainstay in simpler, more traditional light sources such as this floor lamp.
The key is not in the external structural design, but rather the engine that drives lighting. This relatively inexpensive wall-plug SMART outlet serves a number of functions necessary for products using Apple products, Alexa-enabled devices, Siri voice commands, and even Google Assistant. For a more fancy model, try this SMART outlet USB-enabled wall plug Wi-Fi socket using voice control to effect wireless operation from distant locations.
Increasingly, furniture manufacturers and even appliance makers are finding ways to incorporate SMART technology within, for example, sectional sofas, allowing for device-charging, light control, and even media operation.
An important consideration is the age of your electrical wiring system, naturally. Older structures would need updating to be compatible. But if you’re contemplating a remodel, or building a new home or office building, you should put SMART technology at the top of your list of must-haves.
Moving merchandise through moving pictures
It’s no secret that supply chain disruption is rampant for many industries. According to the New York Times, the world is short on everything ranging from computer chips to coffee and copper. In a world where online shopping is up by 32% since 2019, how are ecommerce brands supposed to survive?
In this two-part guide, we’ll show you how to survive the supply chain disruption as an ecommerce brand.
WHAT'S CAUSING THE CURRENT SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTION?
There are several reasons why the world is experiencing a supply chain disruption in 2021, and possibly into 2022. If you remember the panic toilet paper buying when the pandemic hit, in a way this became a trickle-down effect.
That’s because supplies began panic buying more materials than they needed to keep up with demand. This ranged from all kinds of items and materials, including plastics, wood, and even soybeans. No matter what industry you are in, you are likely observing some effect of supply chain disruption and product shortage.
Production in China slowed down during the height of the pandemic. Serving as the world’s factory for nearly all everyday items (and much more), availability for materials came to a screeching slow down.
Meanwhile, the current shortages are also causing price inflation. As the global economy works to recover from the pandemic, businesses and customers alike are feeling the crunch.
HOW IS THE DISRUPTION AFFECTING ECOMMERCE?
Product shortages are causing problems ranging from dissatisfied customers to having a plan for an economic downturn.
The disruption is forcing ecommerce brands to predict how customers and even your competitors may respond to economic downturns. It’s also making brands look into alternative suppliers and devise a plan of how to get what they need.
However, the effect of the disruption isn’t entirely negative. The disruption presents an opportunity for some or all the following:
- Rethinking your strategy of customer loyalty
- Devising a better plan for a new supply network
- Pick up market share
No matter the positive or negative effects of the disruption, here is how you can start handling shortages.
WHERE TO START WITH HANDING SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTION
Ecommerce is incredibly competitive, and having a plan on how to handle disruptions can save your sales as well as your reputation. However, brands must face reality that this disruption is likely going to last for quite a while. Without a plan, you’re sailing on a sinking ship.
Consider Your Inventory
The first approach is looking at your current inventory. What do you currently have that you can ship to customers quickly and affordably?
This is the time to start stockpiling on items needed for inventory. Imagine what you would need if your supply chains were entirely unavailable to you. Even though there is likely going to be a wait, put your orders in as quickly as possible to build up inventory. This way, you won’t be caught unprepared or unable to supply customers with what they need.
Get a Backup Supplier
There’s no better time than now to consider a backup supplier. What other suppliers can you reach out to for fulfilling inventory needs? You might need to consider new suppliers from other corners of the globe to help bring in new inventory.
Partner with Logistics Professionals
When you’re having trouble determining the logistics of low (or no) inventory, it can pay to partner with the professionals. They can potentially help you find new sources of inventory that you may have otherwise overlooked.
Create an Emergency Plan
Consider what you will do if there is no inventory available to buy. This will be part of your plan of action to stockpile what you need. However, you’ll also need to consider how you will communicate emergency plans to customers.
Customer communication is a major aspect of surviving a supply chain disruption. In part II, we’ll show the best practices of customer communication during a supply chain disruption---a big key to surviving the uncertain.
Fast-forward to this point, more than halfway into 2021, and we are still here. After a brief period of “reopening” after a vaccination purported to liberate us from isolation, a resurgent Covid-19 wave has yet again imperiled virtually every aspect of our lives.
How did your store fare during the initial lengthy duration? Did you thrive or struggle? Whatever is your story, it’s about to again face challenges. But the shift toward online buying has paved the way for a potential continuation of opportunity.
Lockdowns hitting physical retail establishments last year bumped up the statistics for ecommerce merchants worldwide, but not by a significant margin – at first. Eventually, those numbers increased, reflecting comfort among consumers who grew familiar with and appreciative of the convenience of buying online.
Averages being averages, not everyone fared the same. The Latin American marketplace Mercado Libre doubled its daily sales between the second quarter of 2020 and the same period of 2019. Coronavirus, not a friend to anyone, did boost sales in the US for ecommerce merchants. Year-to-year sales increased just over 32 percent at the height of the lockdown. Perhaps Americans were more motivated than anyone to shift their shopping venues.
Not all good news
Though a general trend sent consumers to their computers and phones in record numbers, that did not translate to a universal benefit for all sellers. The reason will resonate as obvious: averages are driven by big players, and all in all, the existing ecommerce giants such as Amazon and Walmart saw the most gigantic hikes. In other words, either those who had experience with established online sellers were more likely to go to them for all or most purchases, or shoppers who were new to the game decided to trust the marquee merchants over smaller entities.
“Digital divides” played a role in this; online infrastructure was prepared to deliver, so to speak. Mid- to small-level sellers had a lot of catching up to do. And for some it never really materialized.
That said, this continued global struggle with a pathogen that doesn’t seem likely to go away presents a renewed opportunity to seize on what is already existing in everyone’s business model, provided they made early efforts to transition.
An important factor for sellers around the world is the role governments play in facilitating access and relaxing regulations. Convincing elected officials that economic fitness, including critical levels of tax revenues essential for day-to-day operations, is a primary goal, is paramount. Most understand but may lack the willingness to invest at a time when budgets are shrinking. Economists understand this is the opposite of good economic policy. An organized effort to convince them otherwise could make an extraordinary difference that benefits all.
How to Handle Abandoned Carts that Don’t Result in Sales (plus 3 Helpful Tools)
Welcome back to the How to Handle Abandoned Carts that Don’t Result in Sales series. In part I of the series, we discussed the following:
- The reasons why customers abandon their carts: lack of trust or unexpected costs.
- How to reach out to abandoned cart customers in a timely manner: time is of the essence.
- Best practices for customer outreach: how to reach out to customers who abandoned their carts, using email and other avenues that we’ll discuss in part II.
Implementing the advice from the last blog can help you create an outreach plan at the precise timing. But what if you can automate some of the process while saving sales at the same time?
Now, we’ll discuss tools that can help you automate abandoned cart problems and regain sales.
1. Optin Monster
Optin Monster is a popular pick as a cart abandonment saver tool. It uses advanced page-level targeting to track the behavior of your visitors.
From there, Optin Monster will provide your customers with irresistible offers. This tool also comes with attractive and beautifully designed templates which are entirely customizable. Some of the approaches that Optin Monster includes countdown timers, floating bars, and geotargeting.
2. BigCommerce Cart Abandonment SoftwareWant to send automated emails for abandoned cart users? BigCommerce Cart Abandonment Software implements this approach.
It works like this: a customer adds an item to a cart. They close out of the browser or leave without purchasing.
From there, BigCommerce Cart Abandonment Software will send an email to your customer and remind them to come back.
You even have an option to add a coupon for extra enticement. Keep in mind that one of the reasons people abandon carts is unexpected (or high) shipping costs. An automated email with a coupon for free shipping can sweeten the deal.
3. Chatra Live Chat + Cart SaverHow about a pop-up chat box in real time when a customer abandons their cart? That’s what Chatra Live Chat + Cart Saver is all about.
This is a powerful plugin for engaging visitors. An interesting advantage is that you can see what customers are typing before they hit the send button. It’s almost like reading their mind!
How can you take advantage of undecided shoppers with live chat, including Chatra and similar services? Several approaches include:
- Determining the average time on the website from the time of browsing to making a purchase, triggering a live chat option after that time period. You can track time on your website by using Google Analytics.
- Nurture customers who reach a specific dollar threshold in their cart.
- Assist with payment problems in real time if incorrect information is submitted during checkout.
Implementing an automated process for abandonment carts can be a game changer for saving sales. Keep an open mind in terms of which approach works best for your business. You may begin with one idea or automated tool and then switch to another, tweaking to get your desired results.
Understanding your customers and their behavior can assist with scoring more sales while increasing buyer confidence. Meanwhile, these 3 automated tools can help you save time while overcoming abandoned cart obstacles.
How to Handle Abandoned Carts that Don’t Result in Sales
As customers browse your products, it’s not uncommon to add products to cart without making a purchase. Unfortunately, the average abandoned cart rate is 72%, which can seriously take a bite out of your profits.
While frustrating, there are solutions to help this happen less often while having more successful transactions. In this two-part series, we’ll show you to handle abandoned cart situations that don’t result in sales.
Why Do Customers Abandon Carts?
Before we dive into effective strategies for handling abandoned carts, it helps to know why people abandon carts in the first place.
There are several common reasons:
- Unexpectedly high shipping costs or taxes
- Requirement to create an account
- A time-consuming checkout process
- Slow shipping and delivery
- Website performance problems
- Limited payment options
- Lack of reviews and/or social proof
- Browsing and researching product, leaving the item in the cart to return to it later
The good news is that there are ways that you can reach out to abandoned cart customers and alleviate their concerns.
Reaching out to Abandoned Cart Customers: Time is of the Essence
There is a strategic process for reaching out to abandoned cart customers, especially if you want to do it effectively.
Timeliness is important when it comes to reaching out. You’ll want to act quickly, as the experience at your online store will be fresh in the customer’s mind.
Meanwhile, a timely outreach can help tap into the purchase mindset. A customer might still have the idea of an item or shopping on their mind, making it easier to lead them back to the cart.
Another important note to keep in mind is accessibility. The customer might still be on their computer or on their phone. If this is the case, it can be a quicker and easier process to finish the purchase.
Best Practices for Abandoned Carts: Customer Outreach
Now that you know the importance of timeliness, it’s time to think about best practices to put into action.
One of the most popular ways to reach out to customers with abandoned carts is via email. Abandoned cart emails can be quite effective when used correctly, helping you to regain up to 14% of your sales.
You’ll want to send the email within the first 2 hours of the abandoned cart occurrence. If this doesn’t yield a response, send a follow up email 24 hours later.
In the email, you’ll want to include a photo of the item that the customer is considering. This approach will get the item back on the customer’s mind. Providing a link to their cart can give them quick access to make the final purchase.
If you still find yourself having a hard time with abandoned carts, this is a chance to add a discount to the product or offer free shipping. Since unexpected costs can contribute to abandoned carts, this is one way to address the issue.
For part II of our abandoned cart series, we’ll discuss tools to use for abandoned carts. These automated suggestions will help save you time with the ultimate goal of customers finishing their transaction.
Thankfully there are innumerable useful hints on how to market an ecommerce business, and they range from commonsense to proven to edgy, new approaches developed after the phenomenon of online buying reached its multi-decade stage.
Following are strategies known to generate business and, more importantly, to keep it.
- REWARDING REPEAT CUSTOMERS
Once you hook a buyer and deliver both excellent products and superior service, consider offering them a loyalty bonus in the form of a discount, exclusive sales info, or anything you create as an appropriate and do-able campaign.
- TAP INTO THE UNKNOWN
People seem to crave a quasi-gamble, as evidenced by the volume of lottery tickets sold every week. Carry that over to your ecommerce store by converting lookers into buyers, enticing them with a “mystery discount” they will only uncover after spending time on your site. It’s a tactic that’s irresistible to some, and unoffensive to those who aren’t terribly interested.
- PERSONALIZATION PLUS
Online shopping is as personal, if not more personal, than in-store buying. Consumers tend to execute targeted searches in their spare time. Consider developing segregated sub-stores within your main store, setting up “lifestyle segment promotions” aimed at luring buyers in search of something special.
- ‘TIS THE SEASON
Holiday or seasonal promotions are as old as time in the commerce sector, and in ecommerce, they reflect a superb sales strategy. Take great care in presenting a campaign that is aesthetically pleasing, well planned, and reflective of an offer that is unique – not just an extension of a current sales promotion.
- FLASH-BANG FOR EFFECT
Repurpose the tried-and-true “flash sale” invented by predecessors in commerce. Whether you’re offering a clearance price on older inventory or a temporary price reduction on current fare, these tend to be effective for capturing the attention of shoppers. Even better, design a secret flash sale that teases with a graphic offering a percentage-off deal by “unlocking” through a website click.
- NO DOWN TIME
Our final tip is to be on-brand, on-time, and on-target every day. Accomplish this by ensuring every visitor to your store’s site experiences the full potential of engagement and interest. Promotions should target existing customers, but also be incentivizing new buyers who want to be part of the club. In short, make every contact count.
For a bevy of fabulous tips, facts, strategies, and overall info on the evolving ecommerce world, check out ecommerce specialist Namogoo. They are awesome.
One way to push ahead is to expedite an analysis of trends that drive consumer choice in real time. The pace of demand and taste is always evolving, and often doing so faster than the pace at which most can adjust. This is the time to acquire a method of quickly figuring out what is most likely to make your online store a success. The answer is to turn to rapid customer research.
While there are several ways to accomplish this, we find several useful resources that can guide sellers. Depending on the user research method you prefer, you can get into varying levels of assessment with respect to what your buyers and potential buyers want. Shopify, with its frequent and generous tip offerings to ecommerce vendors, supplies this collection.
The pandemic-induced physical lockdown that prevented customers from making quick trips to local stores naturally shifted more and more consumers to online shopping, a phenomenon that was widely celebrated among ecommerce vendors. It also established a new list of demands and considerations that each seller should have studied in order to take advantage of the expanded buying class.
Three important factors stand out:
- Will the pre-pandemic campaigns designed to lure in those already comfy with online buying serve the new brand of internet shopper? Research experts’ tips on whether your prior messaging is applicable now, especially as we head into the holiday shopping season.
- With the second year of pandemic-forced limitations on in-store buying, are you comfortable with your approach to marketing, inventory, and policy issues that were used last year? More physical stores are considered “open” now; that said, an increasing rate of Covid-19 infections may lead to more actual lockdowns. You must prepare your holiday business strategies accordingly, knowing that you will face a potential loss of online business, yet must prep for another banner year of mass sales.
- Customers’ shopping experiences should always be the hallmark of your business strategy, so make sure that your efforts to conduct rapid research takes into account the post-sale satisfaction levels you count on to make a name for yourself and your store. In short, customer service is still key.
Color Of The Year
Las Vegas Market
Social Media Marketing
Tips And Tricks