Ecommerce Fulfilment Tips During The Festive Season

The festive season is the busiest sales period for most retailers, and there’s no doubt that implementing a cohesive selling and shipping strategy around eCommerce fulfilment helps brands compete, scale, and thrive during the peak season.  

Successful eCommerce businesses capitalise over the holiday season with enticing deals and special seasonal offers. But to really set your business apart, you need a fulfilment operation that supports your sales and delivers maximum efficiency at the busiest time of year. 

 

Table of contents 

1) Ecommerce fulfilment and selling tips for the festive season 

2) Inventory management during the holiday season 

3) 3pl services for festive holiday fulfilment 

4) Understanding your courier network (3pl shipping) 

5) Excess stock availability for the festive season

6) Holiday fulfilment peak season 

 

 

Ecommerce fulfilment and selling tips for the festive season

 

Bundle items to increase AOV 

Bundling items is proven to increase average order value and earn more revenue during the holiday season. Customers like a bargain, so for brands with multiple SKUs, combining products is a smart strategy, and an effective upsell revenue model. If there is slow-moving stock, bundling will create more momentum. Partner your best sellers with the lowest sellers to provide more value overall while increasing sales.  

 

Offer free shipping 

Extra costs are the number one reason that shoppers abandon carts online. 85% of customers prefer free shipping, so if your competitors offer free shipping during the holiday season, it makes sense to do the same.  

In fact, 90% of customers view free shipping as the top incentive that encourages them to shop online more often – so it might be time to make it a top priority. By simply absorbing the cost of shipping into the overall product cost, it creates the illusion of free shipping; an effective sales strategy for conversion rates.  

 

Implement a good returns plan (reverse logistics)  

Dealing with returns can be frustrating for online retailers. In the age of digital commerce, returns are becoming more common due to the nature of online shopping. A study from IMRG revealed a meteoric rise in online returns in 2021, with the same predicted for the 2022 peak season. 

Research suggests 92% of customers will purchase again from a retailer if the returns process is easy. Though product returns can be seemingly negative, they can be an opportunity to impress your customers. A 3pl logistics solution is the easiest way for retailers to automate their online returns. Selazar does quality checks on returned items and can reinject your stock to be resold. However, if you don’t use a 3pl, make sure to have a clear returns policy on your website, so customers know the exact steps, as transparency is key for building consumer trust.  

 

Get your holiday inventory in early 

When working with a 3PL provider, good communication leads to sales success. It’s important to work closely with your account manager to discuss stock volumes, sending and timelines. Sending stock ahead of predicted peak sales is critical to reaching your goals and avoiding potential delays. Products need to be logged, stored, and made ready for sale. This is typically a 24-hour process – so last-minute inbound stock processing (ISP) during the holiday season should be avoided at all costs.  

It’s important to remember that global supply chain issues are still lingering. Last year, many consumers opted to buy online earlier to avoid disruption and guarantee delivery in time for the Christmas holiday period. By planning ahead and making offers available early, you’ll be able to meet your customers’ demands and guarantee availability at peak buying times.  

 

Inventory management during the holiday season 

Managing inventory takes priority above almost everything else. Smart inventory management balances technology, organisation, and efficiency. Outdated inventory management processes cost businesses valuable time and money year after year.  

Inventory mistakes during the holiday season will cause delays and returns, resulting in overwhelmed operations and mismanagement. One poll concluded that roughly 43% of businesses still use manual inventory control methods.  This can result in delayed packages and dissatisfied consumers – which is the last thing businesses need during peak season. 

To have a successful holiday selling season, a fully optimised scalable solution is needed for the effective supply chain management. This means using fulfilment software and a warehouse management system (WMS) to keep organised, which is all overseen by dedicated and experienced warehouse staff. 33% of businesses will miss a shipment deadline this year because they’ve sold an item that wasn’t in stock. This type of inventory mismanagement is common in online retail, affecting consumer turnover. 

 

 

3PL services for festive holiday fulfilment 

The golden quarter peak season is a time of massive sales and competition. Last-minute shopping puts pressure on operators to deliver products on time – so you need a fulfilment solution that provides with speed and efficiency.  

Inefficient self-fulfilment operations slow business operations – a strong reason for brands not scaling or scaling at a snail’s pace. Using expert warehouse operators with third-party logistics solutions frees time and resources for other critical business priorities. With multiple warehouses and a global courier network powered by eCommerce solutions, it’s a no-brainer – especially during the busy holiday period.  

As consumer demand increases during the holidays, a tech-forward approach to warehouse solutions allows sellers to sell more and worry less. By combining digitally mapped warehouses, unique picking and packing algorithms, and intelligent systems for aligning inventory tracking, there are fewer chances for human error.  

 

3pl workers in an ecommerce warehouse for order fulfilment 

 

Understanding your courier network (3pl shipping) 

With the busy holiday shopping season, it’s critical to meet shipping carrier deadlines to ensure packages arrive before Christmas Day. Different couriers have different requirements when it comes to ground and air delivery. Our courier partners update their shipping deadlines to ensure proper delivery, and we make sure you stay updated 

We keep our customers abreast of all service updates or potential disruptions within our vast courier network, so you don’t have to worry. If you have preferred shipping partners, they can also be updated in your Selazar portal.  

If you don’t use a 3pl, it’s always best to communicate with your customers about expected shipping times and/or delays. For example, courier services will be suspended on Christmas and Boxing Day, so delivery warnings for last-minute purchases must be clear on your website. 

 

Excess stock availability for the festive season 

Another final tip revolves around having enough stock for special holiday promotions and offers. A surge in sales without the physical store will cause disruptions, upset customers, and massive refunds. Injecting extra capital into expanding inventory can help businesses capitalise on sales during the final part of Q4. Selazar, for example, offers asset-based lending to free up working capital, boost your growth, and increase liquidity. With our credit partners, you can receive instant money to invest in your business.   

 

Holiday fulfilment peak season  

Get your holiday eCommerce fulfilment right so your online business can thrive. Make sure you offer free and fast delivery for customers, flexible options for your business, and get inventory in on time. We are a logistics provider offering an end-to-end solution. Contact us today for your 3pl services

The impact of unboxing experiences & custom packaging

Want to increase your brand awareness and retain more customers? 

Having great products is just one part of the customer experience. There is the initial online experience – then the delivery experience. When customers receive your products, an opportunity presents itself to elevate your brand and make a lasting impression.  

Considering customer retention and what drives brand loyalty, the stats don’t lie. Going the extra mile matters. More eCommerce retailers should consider branded materials and creating unique experiences with their offerings.  

 

Table of contents 

 

1) What is an unboxing experience? 

2) The impact of unboxing experiences 

3) How to create an unboxing experience for your brand 

4) 3PL custom packaging eCommerce fulfilment 

5) Make your packaging stand out for your customers 

 

 

What is an unboxing experience? 

An unboxing experience describes the process of customers receiving and opening products with unique designs and/or inserts that make receiving packages more special. It entices and elicits more emotion.  

Custom packaging helps brands to distinguish themselves from the competition – creating a signature feel. This allows retailers to connect with consumers on a more personal level. Customers enjoy aesthetics. One study from Ipsos found 72% of people purchased products based on their packaging designs. 

You want customers to be excited about your products and your brand. Those little extra details in your packaging and unboxing process can greatly impact customer loyalty and revenue. In fact, 30% of businesses report a boost in profit after improving product packaging. 

 

girl opening a package, unboxing experience for consumer in a custom packaging box 

The impact of unboxing experiences 

A recent case study concluded that 52% of people are more likely to purchase again from a retailer online if their delivery arrives in premium packaging. Packaging is a marketing opportunity for brands, and this underscores the perception of brand value.   

Brand identity and brand association matter to consumers. Statistical data reveals that consumers are increasingly becoming emotionally attached to brands as a reflection of lifestyle and values – especially today. This could be around several topics, from health to sustainability. An astounding 89% of shoppers stay loyal to brands that share their values – and those values should be reflected in all branded materials.  

To further simplify the idea, custom packaging and packaging inserts make receiving products more memorable. Subscription box fulfilment, for example, embraces this idea very closely. Many subscription box eCommerce brands include notes and features of products, personalised letters, & more. This moves from a simple transactional service to an experience with emotional gravitas.  

 

82% of consumers feel more positive about a brand after  

reading customised content 

 

How to create an unboxing experience for your brand 

Custom packaging manufacturers work with thousands of brands to make the perfect design – complimenting and showcasing your aesthetics and brand values. 

The first step is to decide on your design. Several companies, such as pixartprinting, customBoxesCo, and Packagingbee offer pre-assembled designs you can choose from.  

Designs can be everything from luxurious to modern, quirky to simplistic. There are different aesthetics depending upon your brand’s feel. Choose something memorable and relatable to your target customer’s lifestyle. 

The second step is to decide on any inserts or special gifts.  

 

Packaging inserts 

It only takes a small effort to make a big impression. In our blog, we briefly discuss the true value of packaging inserts. Packaging inserts can be many things: Thank you cards, stickers, coupons, and branded bookmarks. It’s a chance to capture the attention of your customer and make them smile. It’s these details that create lifetime value (LTV) and brand loyalty.  

 

Thank you card packaging insert, packaging inserts for boxes 

The point is to provide unique experiences that create that “wow” factor. This effort shows you appreciate your customer and go all the way to prove it – even with the smallest of details. It creates a lasting impression that inspires and grows an audience.  

Positive word of mouth is so important for business success, as 92% of consumers say they trust suggestions from family and friends more than advertising. So, stand out!

The third step is to gather your new packaging and inserts and send them to your 3PL provider. 

 

3PL custom packaging eCommerce fulfilment 

After you’ve found the perfect branding materials, you’ve sent them to your 3PL; the rest will run on autopilot. With Selazar, you have access to your own custom online portal. This is one of the advantages of cloud fulfilment – complete access from anywhere to update your account and details for your logistics outsourcing. This includes updating any details of the custom packaging process and your custom packaging boxes.  

Within your fulfilment portal, you can specify what the presentation should look like, what and where the inserts should be, and any other details needed. If you need to make changes, simply update your account via the online portal; that change happens in real-time.  

 

Make your packaging stand out for your customers 

Custom packaging and unboxing experiences are unique branding tools in your marketing arsenal. First impressions count – so make sure to stand out to your customers. Being dynamic creates effective ways to increase your bottom line. Remember that loyal customers spend 67% more on average than new customers. Start setting up your branded packaging and inserts to embellish your brand. For any questions about using our 3pl services with your custom packaging, set up a no-obligation discovery call with us.  

 

Are dispatch cut-off times affecting your online sales?

How do internal eCommerce warehouses operate and what are dispatch cut-off times? Why are they important and how do the affect online sales for your brand?  

Understanding this shipping process matters when considering 3PL services. Brands know that partnering with a third-party logistics provider is convenient and automates the logistics extension of your brand, right? However, not all 3PLs deliver the same fulfilment service experience you need to grow your brand and retain customers efficiently. 

Dispatch cut-off times have an adverse effect on delivery times, which directly affect customer loyalty and retention. Let’s discuss. 

 

Table of contents 

 

1) What is 3PL dispatch for eCommerce fulfilment?  

2) What is shipping speed in eCommerce? 

3) How does shipping speed affect online sales? 

4) Peak online shopping hours  

5) Selazar 3pl fulfilment shipping 

6) Dispatch cut-off times summary 

 

 

What is 3PL dispatch for eCommerce fulfilment? 

3PL dispatch is one of the steps in the logistics process for shipping products to customers. It’s actually the last step a third-party logistics provider performs in the warehouse – which becomes a holding place between the warehouse and the courier.   

After an order is completed online, it is picked by a warehouse worker, packaged, and then distributed to the dispatch area, referred to as “ready for dispatch.” This is a specific area of the warehouse where scheduled pickups happen by the courier. Throughout the regular work cycle and scheduled pickups, if an item is not ready for dispatch, then it won’t be collected and shipped by the courier. Therefore, if items ordered online at 2 pm online are not ready for dispatch at 5 pm when the courier shows up to pick up the packages, the item will most likely go the next day. This affects shipping speed, obviously. This is where the devil is in the details for efficient parcel shipping solutions.  

38% of online retailers are worried about meeting fast delivery expectations for customers 

Hyperfocus on this process makes the difference between 1 – 2 day delivery and 3 – 4 day delivery, or more. You need experts you can rely upon.  

 

What is shipping speed in eCommerce? 

Shipping speed is the time it takes for a package to reach its final destination. There are two parts to this, one being processing and the second being shipping. The processing phase (in the warehouse) is where the product has been picked, packaged, and then has been “made ready for dispatch.” The second part is when the packages are then picked up by the carrier and shipped. It’s important to distinguish processing time (I.e. warehouse work) from shipping with your customers. Some brands even choose to add these details to their website for transparency – a smart idea. 

Processing can be done within minutes to an hour with a good 3PL. The quicker the processing – the quicker the shipping.  

boxes in warehouse, fast shipping for dispatch ecommerce fulfilment 

How does shipping speed affect online sales? 

Shipping speeds affect final checkout conversions with customers. Customers have higher expectations in 2022 when it comes to shipping speed – so much so that 83.5% are unlikely to shop with a brand again after a poor shipping experience (I.e., waiting too long). Not only do brands need to be more efficient in their shipping, but they should also be transparent in their shipping times. 

Customers like to be informed when their packages will arrive in 1 – 2 days, 3 – 5 days, etc. They are more likely to make a purchase this way. Add it to your FAQs on your website and include a separate detailed shipping page.  

Approximately £16 billion in sales revenue are lost each year because of cart abandonment. The average cart abandonment rate across various industries is 69%. There are many reasons for this; however, the facts remain shipping speed is one of the most valued customer touchpoints. 

 

Slow delivery time is responsible for 26% of all shopping cart abandonment 

 

Expensive and unexpected shipping costs are also an increasing factor for UK shoppers to ditch their carts. Look into offering free shipping and absorb the cost of delivery into your product charges. 88% of consumers are more willing to purchase from an eCommerce store that offers free shipping.  

 

Peak online shopping hours 

Making sure orders go out and are ready for dispatch quickly is what differentiates businesses and competition in the eCommerce industry. So, what are the peak online shopping hours for most online orders?  

Peak online shopping hours are between 5 pm and 9 pm, Monday through Friday. Why is this? People are home from work, and they are on their phones – ready to make purchases.  

Industry-standard in the 3PL eCommerce warehousing industry is between 2 pm and 5 pm.  So, if peak shopping times are between 5 pm and 9 pm, why would a 3PL have cut-off dispatch times at 2, 3, or even 5 pm? Doesn’t make sense, right? This is a missed opportunity – leaving cash on the table. Next-day delivery should be a critical focus for your business and your customers.  

49% of shoppers say that next-day delivery makes them more likely  to shop online 

Injecting orders into the courier network later into the evening ensures that products are being processed faster and that deliveries get to customers quicker. When 3PLs process orders the next day after an order was placed online, it’s more likely the package will arrive 72 hours or more later after purchase. If you’re a brand that wants to wow your customers, then have higher expectations when it comes to your logistics provider.  

 

person shopping online next day delivery for ecommerce fulfilment

 

Selazar 3pl fulfilment shipping 

In an effort to be a leader in the eCommerce fulfilment industry, we offer later dispatch times into the evening. Any order placed online with Selazar is guaranteed same-day dispatch by 10 pm. On top of this efficiency, our average picking speed is also 37 seconds on average.  

Picking is the part of the process where a worker physically travels to where your stock is stored in the warehouse. This happens when the online order is processed and assigned for picking. Because we use tech-first strategies and digitally map our warehouses, we’re more efficient in this process than most 3PL services.  

A higher service level always matters, which is why most orders are processed within 30 minutes of the online order being made. A recent survey concluded 45% of consumers expect a maximum delivery window of 2 days – a standard that should be expected from your 3PL service provider.  

 

Dispatch cut-off times summary 

The writing is on the wall. Understanding dispatch cut-off times and understanding network injection matters. Slow shipping speeds have a negative adverse effect on your sales. In the modern age of eCommerce, quicker gratification is important as online shopping has increased. Automating your logistics increases your chances of a better shipping experience for customers. As experts in our field, we ensure rapid and efficient shipping, raising retention for brands and increasing loyalty. Contact Selazar today to set up a free no, obligation discovery call so we can learn about your business and priorities. 

Christmas Delivery Cut-Offs: How to maximise sales with clear order deadline dates

Whilst hordes of shoppers dashing for that last bottle of Chanel No.5 on Christmas Eve has become a rare sight, the peak season frenzy is very much alive and kicking. But what has changed? It’s simple: last-minute shopping has become an online affair where nobody gets hurt, but competition is rife

Unlike bricks and mortar stores, eCommerce retailers’ Christmas delivery cut-off dates vary from business to business. Product types, fulfilment operations and courier partners often determine the last Christmas order date to guarantee festive order fulfilment for your customers.

In the final golden days and weeks of the year, some retailers will make a large proportion of their annual revenue. But converting sales in a crowded market during peak season can be challenging. In fact, online shopping cart abandonment is at its highest in December. As shoppers browse for Christmas gift ideas and scour Black Friday sales, retailers are more prone to ‘online window shoppers’ than any other time of year.

That’s why peak season sales conversion tactics need to be taken seriously. By leveraging your Christmas delivery cut-off dates to convert sales, you can drive peak season profitability and smash the end-of-year shopping season. Here’s how:

 

Start the countdown early…

If you want your sales to convert, you need your customers to know the countdown is on. Publishing your Christmas delivery cut-off dates on your website and featuring them in your marketing campaigns will encourage indecisive shoppers to take action and place their orders in time for gifting.

Keep the message clear on your website and highlight the last order date and time throughout your shopping journey. Adding a countdown-style timer to crucial web pages will visually stimulate your customers to complete their orders as they see the clock ticking down.

If you’re running email marketing campaigns over the peak season, incorporate the Christmas delivery cut-off date alongside your promotions. This will reinforce the message regularly, whilst being supported by the allure of a hot deal to entice readers to click through to your website and fill their baskets.

 

Hook customers with Christmas delivery promos

These days, online shoppers are increasingly taken aback by delivery costs (especially premium next-day delivery charges) and often go in search of a competitor offering the best value package rate for their desired product, including shipping.

Offer short-term free delivery promotions in the run-up to your delivery cut-off dates. This will hook customers at the checkout and close sales quicker and easier than usual. But that’s not all – low-cost shipping offers will encourage your customers to buy more – increasing your average order volume (AOV) and driving your peak season profits.

Don’t worry if your business isn’t able to offer free shipping with every purchase. To stay profitable as you approach your delivery cut-off date, try offering free shipping with a minimum order value or on key product promotions. This will help sweeten the deal and convert those significant eleventh-hour sales.

 

Get gift cards at the ready

Some customers will always slip through the net, no matter how hard you try to get the Christmas delivery cut-off message out there. When last-minute shoppers fail to place their orders on time, they’re likely left with nowhere else to go. That’s why you should always try to offer something to your customers. Cue the gift card.

Gift cards are compact and easier to post than large parcels, so the last date for a gift card delivery could potentially the extended to reach your customers on time. Another option for late customers is printable gift cards. Break the mould with a clever or attractive printable design to pleasantly surprise your customers with a memorable brand experience.

 

Take on Peak Season with Selazar

Getting products from your store to your customer’s door isn’t easy. We know how tough peak season can be for online retailers – from stock storage and forecasting to picking, packing and shipping. Partnering with Selazar means you sell your products, and we take care of everything else.

Want to bring your brand closer to your customer?  Get in touch with one of our 3PL experts. They will show you how we guarantee peak season satisfaction for online businesses.

 

Scale your business with extended payments (3pl billing)

Any experienced online business knows the extensive costs of doing business today. There are dozens of outgoings – from hiring employees to marketing, taxes, utilities, etc. It can feel quite overwhelming, especially while the eCommerce space is flooded with a myriad of competition. Not only do businesses have to work diligently to acquire customers, but they want to keep them coming back. Learning to work with a budget to keep sales moving and staying afloat means paying particular attention to overhead costs and accounts payable. For online brands that work with a 3pl to scale their business, they know the benefits.  

It’s a convenient service. It alleviates logistics and shipping stress.   

From storage to pick, packing and shipping, various services associated with this process save time and money for businesses overall. However, depending on the third-party provider, these costs can radically differentiate – without offering much flexibility.  

Finding those little fragments of savings or bespoke financial options can make a massive difference in your bottom line – such as extended payment terms.  

 

Table of contents 

 

1) What are extended payment terms? 3pl billing

2) Benefits of extended payment terms 

3) Supply chain issues 

4) 3PL extended payment terms summary

 

What are extended payment terms? 3PL billing

Running a business is a lot like riding a rollercoaster – various ups and downs. With rising inflation and looming economic predictions for 2023, it can be challenging to manage a business’s finances, look forward, and plan. Therefore, it’s always helpful to have bespoke payment solutions from your logistics service provider. 

With Selazar, you now have the opportunity to delay payments for up to 90 days (also known as credit terms). This type of strategy leverages your cash instead of paying invoices daily, weekly, or even monthly. 

This extended period is an innovative approach to 3pl pricing – helping more online retailers manage cash constraints. With a 3pl provider, typical payment terms can be anywhere from 1 to 30 days, but with Selazar, they can be extended up to 12 weeks or 90 days – far surpassing current industry standards.  

While the current payment collection is done on ‘the spot’ upon delivery of our service, the introduction of payment terms will allow the qualifying customers to settle their invoices in 6,8,10 or up to 12 weeks. It’s a convenient service that directly debits via the Selazar online portal. The length of credit terms ranging from 6 weeks to 12 weeks will depend on the credit terms granted to each individual brand, based on the credit score assessment through third-party verification. 

Bottom line – it’s a lifeline for growing businesses.

 

 3pl staff moving stock in ecommerce warehouse

Benefits of 6, 8, 10, or 12-week extended payment terms 

We believe every online business trying to scale, deserves an extended payment term because we understand it can be challenging for SMEs to find the cash flow needed to run a successful eCommerce business. Sometimes inventory from the manufacturer arrives late. Sometimes last-minute expenditures come up. With additional capital flexibility, you can reinvest more into your business and feel confident it will succeed.  

Any brand, regardless of size, has a fiduciary responsibility to manage cash flow. While this task seems simple enough – extended credit terms can often be overlooked by accountants and CFOs.  

Though brands may be experiencing healthy growth and steady receivables, many brands are still cash-poor, hindering scalability. Investing money in other areas can be delayed, jeopardizing overall business health. Having six weeks to ninety-day credit terms from your logistics supplier creates breathing room for your online business, especially in current financial times.   

With economic uncertainty looming, banks will be forced to mitigate risks in investment with SMEs. Fewer institutions will be willing to free up funds for scalability. On top of that, interest rates are likely to increase in 2023. Regardless of economic outcomes, our business benefits are here to stay and assist online brands with more options, should they need them.  

 

“The higher the inflation rate, the more interest  

rates are likely to rise” 

-Investopedia, 2022 

 

Therefore, negotiating extended credit terms with your 3PL provider offers a safety net.  

3 main business benefits of extended payment terms include: 

  1. Freeing up working capital to invest in other areas of the business 
  2. More time to pay off alternate costs 
  3. More investment in inventory 

 

Supply Chain benefits 

During the pandemic, we saw a lot of supply chain issues, such as the UK HGV driver shortage.   

This created various problems for online retailers – such as shipping delays and increased shipping charges. This has led to many stock shortages for online retailers, causing monetary constraints. With so many national and global burdens, bespoke benefits are an asset to your business for these common issues.  

I.e., anticipate your problems as well as your solutions.  

Extended 3pl payment terms circumnavigate and mitigate typical supply chain headaches for brands. Where there is freedom, there is opportunity. Supply chain issues continue to be a hindrance worldwide for online retailers, so future-proofing your business and ensuring financial security with extended terms can offer some relief.  

 

3PL extended payment terms summary 

Take advantage today of the extended payment terms for your brand today. Along with the typical 3pl services of picking, packing, and shipping, our extended payment terms assist clients all year round. With a dedicated account manager, you can rest assured that your brand has the time and attention it deserves, both for you as well as your customers. Contact Selazar today to set up a free no obligation discovery call so we can learn about your business and priorities.  

UK ECOMMERCE: Scale Your Brand Into British Markets

Expanding your brand across borders internationally can feel like a daunting task. As much as you want to grow your business, breaking into an unknown market (such as the UK eCommerce market) can be challenging. Though many have low hopes for the UK economy in a post-Brexit world with a looming recession – new data helps confirm positive outlooks in key retail sectors.

Unfortunately, we currently have an energy crisis, increasing inflation, trade disruptions and political instability. However, eCommerce is stronger than ever, with the UK being the third largest eCommerce market in the world – next to China and the states. Uk customers are more involved than ever in online shopping. In this key growth period for online brands in the UK, is it time for your brand to expand there as well? 

 

Table of contents 

 

1) UK Ecommerce Market 

2) Popular UK eCommerce sectors 

3) How to Identify and target UK customers 

4) Get a reputable UK 3pl fulfilment partner 

5) Scale your eCommerce brand into the UK 

 

UK eCommerce market 

The UK eCommerce market is growing at a rapid rate, and by the end of 2022, it is predicted to surpass £200 billion. The growth of the UK eCommerce market is due to a number of factors, including increased consumer confidence and the rise in loyalty programmes. It’s important to know how these factors influence the UK market, which sectors are experiencing growth, and what this means for consumers looking for online products.  

The UK has the highest eCommerce growth rate amongst European countries. It is home to some of the biggest and most successful online retailers, including ASOS and John Lewis.  

On top of this, it’s worth bearing in mind that 40% of all purchases on Amazon are made through mobile devices. This means that you need a responsive website if you want your business to thrive on these digital channels. 

With a spike in working from home, more people are shopping on social media platforms – which is good luck for brands. Social media has more purchasers now that do it directly through a channel’s app. This is helping to fuel further UK eCommerce growth. Shopify stores are growing more with independent sellers vs Amazon as more exciting products hit the market every day.  

 

Graphs and a calculator with man typing on laptop uk ecommerce market

 

Popular UK eCommerce sectors 

Online shopping is a growing trend that’s here to stay. If you’re an online business owner or marketer, the most important thing you can do is start looking for growth opportunities. You might be surprised by some of the answers we found here at Selazar. In our research into the top eCommerce sectors nationwide, we uncovered some interesting facts about what people are buying and how they buy it.  

Social commerce, personalisation, and augmented reality make building trust with customers easier. Unique marketing and positioning allow brands to thrive today on various online platforms. With increased online shopping activity from the pandemic, omnichannel shopping experiences are boosting convenience and reducing costs for customers.  

Thanks to the agility and low prices of online marketplaces today, UK customers are enjoying a period of online buying with multiple options.  

 

5 popular UK eCommerce sectors are: 

 

1. Apparel  

Sales growth: 2021 actual: 29.1%, 2022 forecast: 3.4% 

 

 2. Electricals 

Sales growth: 2021 actual: 2.1% forecast: -4.1% 

 

3. Home, furniture, and flooring 

Sales growth: 2021 actual: 15.6%, 2022 forecast: 2.8 % 

 

4. DIY & gardening 

Sales growth: 2021 actual: 13.7%, 2022 forecast: .4% 

 

5. Health & Beauty 

Sales growth: 2021 actual: 9.7%, 2022 forecast: 7.8% 

 

Non-traditional sectors such as garden furniture are seeing unique growth – with a rise in sales of £1 billion over the past five years. This doesn’t just mean people are spending more on their outdoor spaces but also that they’re buying more products online – not just chairs and tables but also plants and other items that can be delivered quickly and conveniently. But this isn’t unique to gardening – the same trend could be seen across many sectors.  

 

Targeting UK eCommerce customers 

To identify the eCommerce market in the UK, you want to explore those aspects that make British consumers unique. You want to devise a plan to profile the typical buying habits so you can highlight key areas for opportunities.  

The UK population is approximately 70 million people in 2022. Internet penetration in the UK is 95.53% and is expected to reach 97.5% by 2025. Mobile internet user penetration is similarly high at 90.3% – and it is expected to reach 93.59% by 2025. By targeting your key demographic in the sectors listed above, you, too, can compete in an entirely new growing space. It requires a deep understanding of target marketing for your customer profile – including age, gender, and interests. 

Referring to the above statistics for popular UK eCommerce sectors, it’s perfectly clear that UK customers have a vast array of interests – which is where your online brand can potentially capitalise, differentiate, and innovate. 

Now that online shopping is the new normal – much of it thanks to Covid, shoppers are more eager than ever to explore new and exciting products. 87% of people in Great Britain alone made purchases online. Where you can provide new value with unique products from your non-UK brand – this presents a real growth opportunity.  

 

Loyalty programmes 

With customers becoming more demanding, loyalty programmes will become a key feature of eCommerce in the UK. Customers will expect to be rewarded for their loyalty, and companies must ensure that they give them the right incentives. This means that rewards will have to be more generous than those currently offered. Also, brands should think about how they can reward customers based on their online behaviour rather than just their spending habits or past purchases – as this will help them engage with consumers who are already active online shoppers.  

 

Get a reputable 3pl fulfilment partner 

If you’re a company looking to expand into the UK market, you need boots on the ground you can trust. You need a service that can house and manage your stock and deliver it to local customers when they buy from your online store. They offer many services if you’ve never worked with third-party logistics (3PL).  

 

Warehouse storage 

Third-party logistics companies house and manage your stock for you in the area you’d like to sell. Because customers prefer quicker delivery times, it’s important they receive your products as quickly as possible – so you can remain competitive while creating loyal customers. 

Packaging items 

3PLs package your items as soon as they are sold on your online store. Warehouse personnel pick them from their shelf location and place them in their proper box. Brand-focused sellers also offer custom packaging with custom inserts and more.  

Sending items 

3PLs develop a strong local network with courier partners to deliver packages quickly and efficiently. Companies like Selazar offer same-day dispatch – whereas courier partners drive to our warehouses and pick up sold stock for your customers.  

 

Warehouse worker holding box for ecommerce fulfilment shipping 

Scale your eCommerce brand into the UK 

The UK eCommerce market will be worth over £200 billion by 2023. The online retail sector is one of the most important for any economy, and as people’s lives become more digital, it is important that you consider how your brand can adapt to this change and benefit from it. The UK is a great place to expand your business because it is one of the largest markets for eCommerce. The opportunities are endless if you want to reach consumers here. So, get creative, think outside the box and let’s see how far your ideas can take you! Should you want to use our UK 3pl services, contact us today so we can help you expand your eCommerce goals in the UK.  

ECOMMERCE TRENDS: Popular Industries being Fulfilled in 2022

It’s interesting what types of products become the new eCommerce trends each year and what stays consistently trendy. Why do certain items sell so well, and what value do they bring to consumers? Considering we’re already nearing the end of 2022, the trends have been clearly obvious.  

As an online business, it’s important to follow the trends to decide your own offerings – to see where there may be some opportunity in the online marketplace – especially leading up to peak season. If your business can benefit in a way to scale your revenue and expand your brand to emerging markets, then following eCommerce trends matters.  

Today we’ll be going through different online retail industries to determine the best-selling products and the latest trends in those categories. From Babywear to subscription boxes, we’re covering the most popular offerings and product trends in 2022. As a 3pl like Selazar, we house and ship thousands of different products each year for online order fulfilment, so we too like to stay up to date on the latest eCommerce trends. Please read through the article to find out more about how your business may be able to benefit from emerging markets.  

 

Table of contents 

 

1) Ecommerce trends and market in 2022 

2) Baby product fulfilment trends 

3) Beauty products fulfilment 

4) Fashion fulfilment and apparel 

5) Fitness fulfilment and sports equipment 

6) Health and wellness fulfilment 

7) Homeware fulfilment 

8) Jewellery fulfilment and accessories 

9) Pet fulfilment and accessories 

10) Subscription box fulfilment 

11) Ecommerce market 2022 conclusion  

 

Ecommerce trends and market in 2022 

The eCommerce market in 2022 is booming, and thousands of new products are being released daily. At the moment, the eCommerce industry is valued at over five trillion dollars. Last year global sales were just below that – but predicted to reach 5.4 trillion in 2022. With advances in technology, manufacturing, and trends, something new and exciting is always coming out. Plus, in the post-Covid world, consumers are more comfortable today than ever shopping online. This allows exciting new product offerings to gain traction rapidly! 

Some of the biggest product trends we’re seeing this year include the baby market and general health and well-being retail. Covid has had a positive effect on many industries, creating innovation but also shop-from-home confidence. 

Now to play devil’s advocate, if you’re thinking about expanding your online product offerings, the bestselling products may not always be the best option for your business necessarily. For example, products with a low-profit margin. If the profit derived from hot-selling products is fairly low, it will take significantly more time and effort to scale. Your business may be more prudent to target hot-selling items (or bestselling niche items) with better margins. That specific counsel is for your business to decide.  

 

ecommerce trends, ecommerce market 2022, uk ecommerce

 

Furthermore, in this process, you can develop sound strategies to increase your revenue if you understand which products are best to sell and why customers are buying them. Your strategy will also benefit by studying buyers’ demographics, comparing competitors’ prices and assessing the shipping costs. 

 

Baby product fulfilment and trends 

The global online baby product retail market is worth £11.3 billion pounds, progressing at a CAGR of 9.83%. This meteoric rise includes baby toys, baby gear, baby apparel, and baby diaper products.  

Many of the baby product trends predicted in 2021 have come true, from online shopping and artificial intelligence to new health strategies. More than ever, parents are shopping online. With schedules that don’t allow much time for shopping in-store, they are shopping online instead. Selling trends for baby products for 2022 include items that help parents manage their children’s sleep, feeding and other daily care. This includes baby bottles, baby bouncers, and baby highchairs.  

 

Babywear and accessories are on a major rise right now, with lots of growth potential. In a single category, baby clothes are estimated to increase by 17% by the end of 2022. Technology is also advancing baby swings to mimic a host of different movements, such as rocking, swinging, and bouncing – a big advantage for parents that need to rest weary arms. Companies like 4moms are innovating this niche, and the popularity will certainly grow into 2023.  

 

Beauty products fulfilment trends

Beauty products include a range of products such as skincare, personal care, fragrance, hair care and colour cosmetics. In 2022, beautiful skin is the focus of beauty collections, with products to help reduce imperfections and promote a healthy glow. In 2022 eCommerce will account for 25.4%  of the global beauty and personal care market.   

Beauty product trends now have a hyper-focus on organic, all-natural ingredients. More consumers want quality, not quantity. Following the rise of K-Beauty and a wider knowledge of ingredients, beauty shoppers want to see what they are paying for. A growing holistic approach means more products with powerful active ingredients will be used to solve a variety of skincare problems. In the UK, the beauty industry is valued at £12 billion, but the UK organic cosmetics market specifically is expected to grow to £339 million by 2025 

In a post-Covid world, there’s more emphasis on health which is why clean makeup brands are coming to the forefront. Meeting consumer expectations for quality all-natural ingredients are expected to skyrocket further in the coming years.  

 

Fashion fulfilment eCommerce trends 

 

Online spending habits have created seismic shifts in the online fashion industry. Brands that focused on athleisurewear in 2021 saw a huge demand – in fact an 84% increase since 2020. Again, a likely trend in a world focused more on health than ever.  

The online fashion trends in 2022 include a wide variety of colours to wear to work or for fun and are getting ever more creative. We see new techniques and concepts being taken advantage of by fashion designers worldwide, leading to an endless stream of new products being released regularly.  

A major fashion trend we’re seeing now is jumpsuits. They are one-piece outfits designed for comfort as well as style. Women like them because they can be used for smart and casual occasions, reducing the amount of time it takes to make decisions for two-piece outfits. Jumpsuits are a one-stop shop for women and taking the fashion world over.  

 

fashion fulfilment, fashion trends 2022, fashion 3pl

Fitness fulfilment and sports equipment eCommerce trends 

Online shopping is the fastest-growing market space for sports and fitness products. In 2022, 90% of those with a fitness or health interest are expected to purchase sports equipment online, while another 72% will browse the internet to find out more information.  

DIY fitness and exercise from home were increasingly popular last year – with 52% of people surveyed saying they have done home workouts since March 2020. However, as lockdown protocols slowly lifted in 2021, more people started getting back into the gym.  

 

Fitness and sports equipment buying trends indicate in 2022 that the industry will continue to innovate by delivering new, improved products – but we’re seeing a shift from self-taught exercise programmes at home toward formal training sessions, which will drive demand for new devices for personal training. This includes gym bags and duffle bags, which are functional gear designed to make it easy to transition from home to the gym or office to the gym. Statista’s global market value of gym bags was £3 billion in 2021, which is increasing this year.  

The next on the list of bestselling sports equipment in 2022 includes smartwatches. More and more brands are popping up around health and technology, driving prices down for consumers who appreciate real-time data around their health journey. The global smartwatch market has continued to increase for the fifth consecutive quarter, a 13% increase from last year. While Europe has maintained flat growth, the largest markets for smartwatch purchases include North America, India, and China.  

 

Health and wellness fulfilment and trends 

Health and wellness are a constantly changing product category with innovation, technologies and start-ups bringing new products to the market. As our lives are getting busier, with less time for proper nutrition and exercise, the demand will grow. We’ll see more opportunities for companies to provide their customers with unique new products that help them take control of their health.  

Top health and wellness decision-makers will increasingly turn to online sources as their first point of contact for product/service information. This growth will be driven by an increased number of healthcare professionals, consumers, business analysts and others who are utilizing eCommerce platforms to find answers to their questions. Forums, social media channels, video channels and review sites will also grow in popularity with consumers. 

The health and wellness product trends in 2022 currently include meditation aids, gut health support, and products to help with immunity and a better night’s sleep. This includes vitamins, sleep sprays (such as relaxation-inducing magnesium), bedtime drinks, and even CBD products. Globally the health and wellness market has reached a market evaluation of $1.5 trillion. Fulfilling health and wellness products is very popular and easy with a 3pl, as many of them have a longer shelf life.  

 

Homeware fulfilment selling trends 

The trend of online shopping is continuing to grow steadily since Covid – even for homewares. The best-selling homeware products in 2022 are the ones that are useful and convenient to use. The bestsellers not only include furniture, such as coffee tables or wardrobes, but also electronic appliances, like laptops and TVs. The top 10 bestselling homeware products in 2022 increased by 10% compared to last year’s sales.  

One of the bestselling products on Amazon includes the Vertuo Plus Coffee and Espresso Machine. It has over 10,000 five-star ratings. 2020 created a trend of ordering everything online, including coffee. With billions of coffee drinkers globally, it’s no surprise that coffee machines are on a steady rise. Other popular products include: Memory foam mattresses, knife and cutlery sets, outdoor patio gear for hosting, mini-fridges, fans, and egg cookers.  The UK and abroad have seen steady and robust growth in the last year due to rising urbanisation and increases in online buying. The UK and United States are some of the largest markets for homewares and will be expected to increase by 4% from 2022-2031.  

 

Jewellery fulfilment eCommerce trends 

More and more people are discovering the benefits of online jewellery shopping. Online jewellery sales are growing faster than those at traditional retail stores, and the majority of shoppers prefer to shop from home rather than go directly to a jewellery store. While the majority of shoppers prefer to research their products online before buying anything, once they get to a physical store, many will buy quickly without even looking at other options on their phones. 

According to google trends data globally, second-hand and minimalist jewellery are on an upward trend. There is also a growing attraction for consumers to recycle their unworn pieces and recycle for vintage and antique jewellery. Movies like House of Gucci have led to an uptick in vintage jewellery, with more affordable second-hand prices. One popular company called Second Life helps clients restore old pieces in the jewellery collection and have it redesigned. Watch this trend more as we go into 2023.  

 

Pet fulfilment trends 

When it comes to pet fulfilment and ordering pet products, we pet owners will spare no expense! During the pandemic, 21% of pet owners spent more money on pets than in previous years.  

Because there are so many pet owners today globally, this market will remain strong online. Pet food continues to be popular, with new organic products being introduced to the market to improve immunity and healthy digestion. One of the bestselling UK companies for organic products and improving gut health for animals is Buddy and Lola. Their products help support healthy digestion, firm up stools, support healthy skin and allergies, and helps long term-health. As with other wellness industries and increased focus on health 

Some of the other most popular pet products in 2022 include the pet plunger (to clean paws before coming back in the house), pet raincoats, pet travel bags, and pet grooming products. Now that we are travelling more again, outside, and active, pet products reflect this trend. The ease of shopping online combined with eCommerce shopping trends has exploded the pet industry. This is always a stable market to be a seller in. If you can niche down with innovative new products, the better.   

 

Subscription box fulfilment trends 

From beauty and wellness to fashion and home products, subscription boxes are a popular trend in the eCommerce world. Customers enjoy receiving monthly “trinkets” from brands they are passionate about. To find out what the most popular subscription box items of 2022 are, we looked at all their sales over the past year. 

The most popular subscription products sold online in 2022 are: 1) Beauty Boxes 2) Food Boxes 3) Fitness Boxes 4) Health and Wellness Boxes 5) Kids Boxes 6) Outdoor/Garden Boxes 7) Pet Supplies 8) Home Decor 9) Stationery 10) Food & Snacks 

The subscription box industry is expected to grow to £99 billion by the end of 2022. Demand for subscription services have increased in various industries, and consumers are clearly loving it. Recurring goods with instant gratification arriving in the convenience of your home will continue to be popular throughout 2022 and beyond.  

 

subscription box fulfilment, subscription box 3pl, subscription box logistics, ecommerce warehouse

Ecommerce market 2022 conclusion

With trillions in annual retail sales, e-commerce is one of the world’s largest markets and fastest-growing industries. The industry has experienced rapid growth over the last decade, resulting in a competitive landscape allowing retailers to offer millions of products across various categories. Whatever eCommerce retail industry you choose to sell in, make sure to focus on the selling trends and advances in technology to scale your brand. Contact us today if you are interested in our order fulfilment services to automate product delivery to your customers.  

How hyperlocalisation is transforming eCommerce

Selazar was recently featured in Raconteur, and CEO Jack Williams contributed his thoughts on the Future of eCommerce and hyperlocalisation.

In the article, he discusses how local fulfilment paired with employing digital technology help to optimise warehouse operations, along with the availability of asset-based financing all drive eCommerce forwards.

 

Local fulfilment, employing digital technology to optimise warehouse operations and the availability of asset-based financing all drive ecommerce forwards, says Jack Williams, CEO of Selazar

The growth in eCommerce since the Covid-19 pandemic has proven just how much consumers value convenience. Same and next-day delivery is now an expectation of an online order rather than a premium that customers are willing to pay for. Today’s demand for consumers and companies to be as sustainable as possible is a significant catalyst for change within the global supply chain, especially
for that important ‘last mile’.

 

Hyperlocalisation

Hyperlocalisation is the strategic spread of stock across a localised network of hubs, bringing businesses closer to their customers with fulfilment centres, delivery locations and collection points tailored to their regional markets. This drives businesses to leverage warehousing to their advantage, enabling them to reach as many customers as they can in the shortest possible time. Spreading stock across a wide network is becoming the desired goal, and this doesn’t – as many companies believe – mean they must hold a high amount of stock in each location to be able to fulfil same-day delivery expectations.

In fact, through intelligent technology, a whole range of efficiencies can be gained to make the process more cost-effective with a lower environmental impact. This is to be welcomed at a time when economic headwinds look set to impact bottom lines. As inflation rises, fuel costs increase, and business spending cutbacks are universal, getting much more from much less becomes a commercial imperative. Two strands here connect for the greatest success: hyperlocalisation and warehouse virtualisation. They go hand in hand. Hyperlocal operations facilitate same-day delivery next-day delivery expectations and support efficient local returns. What’s more, the shift towards localised stock distribution has far less of an impact on the wider environment.

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For example, there is no need to use big diesel-laden lorries when orders can be sent by bike carriers or electric vehicles. Retailers know their customers want hyperlocalisation. Who wouldn’t like to receive their order fast, whether that’s first thing the following day or within hours of making a transaction online? In the US, micro-hubs have become a necessity due to the country’s vast geography.

 

hyperlocalisation, ecommerce warehousing, ecommerce fulfilment,

 

In the UK, they can be employed strategically to enhance customer experience. Hyperlocalisation is a boost for UK exports. For most companies today, competing solely on price is no longer an option. Instead, retailers of all shapes and sizes are turning to customer experience as their key differentiator – and fast delivery times are a significant factor in ensuring that it is a positive one. At Selazar, we plan to offer same-day delivery in 15 cities across the UK from our warehouses later this year through a network of micro-hubs. Not only does this benefit our clients’ last mile, but it also helps them meet environmental and sustainability CSR targets. We aim to achieve this in the US, South America and Europe too.

 

Growth-oriented businesses need the ability to expand their customer base into overseas markets to increase their turnover and boost profitability – this is especially the case for smaller and more regional brands.

 

If you are a cosmetics company in the UK wanting to sell to Latin America, it shouldn’t take three weeks to ship your product there to a customer’s home. It also shouldn’t take the same time – or longer – for that customer to return it. According to Shopify, 32% of consumers have abandoned a purchase due to estimated shipping times being too long (37% in North America). That is why hyperlocalisation is a huge opportunity. You ship a product selection in bulk, and then delivery is taken care of locally on the ground.

Not only does this open new markets, but it reduces customs paperwork, delivery and returns times, all while mitigating environmental impacts. No longer is the experience clunky for the consumer or the company they are buying from, which in turn builds brand loyalty and promotes word-of-mouth recommendations. However, the key to successful hyperlocalisation is warehouse virtualisation. This is what makes hyperlocalisation economically viable and provides consistently outstanding service across the globe.

Through warehouse virtualisation, businesses have complete control over their logistical operations globally via cloud-based technology. This ensures consistent fulfilment operations, from guiding storage and packing practice to managing couriers and delivery speeds.

Brands that opt to partner with Selazar have the benefit of clearly understanding how much stock they need to keep at hand and what SKUs are most likely to be ordered. As we make advancements in tech-led fulfilment, it is clear to see that the legacy way of owning and operating dozens of globally filled warehouses comes with high fixed costs, overheads, employee wages, and the initial capital outlay. Replicating stock across them all also means tying up a lot of money; this can be a big challenge for a brand, whatever their size, blocking them from their true growth potential.

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Asset-based financing to free up cash

By working with a trusted partner such as Selazar, companies can take advantage of intelligent stock propagation that is all set up and ready to go via a prebuilt warehouse network. This uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to understand where stock is required, what stock that is and how much must be held in each location. Forecasting promotes efficient distribution. Our systems can tell what is needed where and how to load balance your operations. It does this by analysing historical data and making educated predictions, mitigating many risks. The more data you have, the better the outcomes. Over time this will measure, track and predict seasonal trends and promotional activity. It helps to manage peaks and troughs in demand and supply; real-time oversight allows different stock locations to be turned off and on as order levels dictate. Alongside hyperlocalisation and warehouse virtualisation, there is another solution to a common problem. Many businesses lack the liquidity to make these options work for them.

At Selazar, we offer asset-based financing, with money released against the value of the stock held. We also have 90-day credit terms to ease cash flow worries. Towards localised global fulfilment Since Covid-19, eCommerce expectations have changed. Consumers want things faster; brands want a simple solution to meet that expectation.

 

ecommerce fulfilment statistics, 3pl services,

 

Hyperlocalisation and warehouse virtualisation work together neatly to achieve this, successfully meeting demand, driving revenues and cutting carbon. It reduces management and operational efforts too. Downtime, friction and products being out of stock are dealt with, as is having to find the right talent internally to run warehouses or implement effective logistics technologies and software.

Cost savings come through scalability. As a future-thinking 3PL, we customise everything we do to each of our client’s requirements on a global level and provide a single user interface for 24/7 visibility and control. Shopify’s research suggests early adopters of artificial intelligence-enabled supply chain management can improve logistics costs by 15%, inventory levels by 35% and service levels by 65% – compared with slower-moving competitors. However, a move away from the traditional way of doing things throws up many fears. Some companies, especially bigger ones, have invested significantly in costly warehousing infrastructure or are tied to long leases.

But as eCommerce continues to grow fast, fulfilment will head further in this direction. The choice now for C-suites is how quickly they accept joining this journey. For more information, please schedule a free discovery call.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2022 Tips for Ecommerce Sellers

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the biggest selling days of the year for eCommerce as well as most high street shops. Golden quarter profits are maximised for businesses at this time of the year with meticulous planning and execution – allowing sellers in all industries to thrive in big ways. Black Friday and Cyber Monday were adapted in the UK from our friends across the pond just under a decade ago. Since then, retailers in the UK have profited greatly and plan much of their year around these two important selling days.

In 2021 alone, the UK accounted for over 10 percent of all global Black Friday searches online. To maximise ROI, here are some logistics and selling tips to consider for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

 

Table of contents

1) Start Planning Black Friday & Cyber Monday Early

2) Offer product bundling & upsells

3) Outsource order fulfilment to reduce mistakes & profit loss

4) Increase delivery speed

5) Inventory management

6) Are you prepared for Black Friday & Cyber Monday selling?

 

Plan Black Friday and Cyber Monday selling early

The first fulfilment tip for the busy season is to get clear and organised in your planning. There is a great quote by Benjamin Franklin that says, “failing to plan is planning to fail. “It’s true with many areas of life – and that includes selling online.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the two selling days of the year that should not be overlooked or planned last minute. This is because shoppers love getting a great deal – so they’re more likely to splurge during this time. You are competing for attention and therefore you should be developing a sound sales and logistics strategy to expand your efforts. You should be strategizing several months in advance to obtain the best results – and consider even starting Black Friday and Cyber Monday selling weeks before the date to get ahead of the pack.

 

When is Black Friday 2022?

Black Friday 2022 will happen on November 25th this year. This means Cyber Monday will be on November 28th. It’s best to get the word out early ahead of these dates. Customers are known to start their research well in advance of Black Friday – even up to 12 weeks before. Using a sound PPC and SEO strategy along with promotions that have been signed off can create some buzz around your brand early on – helping to maximise your ROI.

 

What to plan for Black Friday Cyber Monday selling

You should plan discounts, decide the best items to sell, understand how much stock you’re going to need available, and what upsells and bundles you’ll offer. It’s also important to offer free shipping. Today 66% of online consumers expect free shipping on every purchase they make online.

On top of this, the largest online retailers (including ASOS and Amazon) offer next-day delivery, so you should offer the same to your customers. Shopping from home convenience is available to everyone nowadays – however, those companies with the quickest delivery times will always win over customers.

 

“63% of customers say delivery speed is an important consideration when shopping online. 77% are willing to pay for expedited shipping.”

 

If you are currently unable to offer next-day delivery, then how? Learn how to offer same-day dispatch and next-day delivery to encourage more sales. Is it time to automate your order fulfilment with a 3pl? Tackle these issues early on prior to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

 

Offer product bundling & upsells

Product bundling means multi-item orders. This sales strategy increases your average order value (AOV). Fans of your products often want many items – so bundling items together and slightly decreasing the individual prices of each item to one unique price provides more value. Therefore, if your average order value is £5 on one hot-selling item, you create the opportunity to increase the AOV to £10 or £15. This is especially helpful for brands with multiple offerings – such as cosmetics, wellness products, dog treats, etc. Bundling your products and services in one package enables customers to receive a better deal overall.

When you work with a 3pl like Selazar, bundling is easy on the online dashboard. So, it is best to plan ahead which items sell best and which will make the best bundles. You can make multiple bundles if you have an abundance of products. Research shows that well-designed bundle offerings can increase total revenues by 30 percent and encourages new customers to try out your products.

 

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Credit: upcircle.com

 

Also, combining slow-moving stock is still a good option within your bundles. Pairing high-in-demand items that bring a lot of value with “a little something extra” can offload your excess slow-moving stock in a big way – so they should be considered in this process.

 

Upsells

Upsells vary slightly in relation to bundling. They are more of a recommendation for related products that do not include a discounted package overall. When your customer is purchasing an item, they should be referred to something that will naturally fit together. For example: Toothbrush and toothpaste, paper and pencils, socks and shoes, coffee and coffee mugs, face cream and hand cream, sports equipment and accessories, etc.

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Upsells and cross-selling increase average order value while fulfilling the customer’s needs. What are your potential bundles and upsells? Decide them now.  As you can see on the picture to the right (credit: Beeketing.com) an offer is made right before checkout. The customer is already interested in what is offered because they are ready to checkout. Adding related products may be interested in adding those “extra items.” Maybe they didn’t think of it. Maybe it’s just a great deal. However, there is an urgency already to buy and receive items. That’s why this makes it an opportune time to add extra related items.

 

Outsource order fulfilment to reduce mistakes & profit loss

Logistics and order fulfilment is one of the most complex technology problems facing eCommerce businesses. When you outsource supply chain order fulfilment operations, you relieve your team from dealing with routine error-prone tasks. Third-party logistics are experts in what they do – including managing inventory, picking and packing, and sending packages quickly with next-day delivery.

Many eCommerce businesses waste valuable time combing through multiple systems to find the most efficient way to send shipments from origin to destination. Each carrier has different processes, making managing orders and tracking shipment progress more challenging. Leaving it to the experts with multiple courier partners can be automated with an experienced 3pl. Whether a medium or large-level enterprise, wearing multiple hats can be a recipe for disaster if not managed properly.

 

Delivery speed

As mentioned in our previous article, dispatch speed is your competitive advantage; shipping time matters. Shipping faster has a direct correlation to customer acquisition and retention. One study found 87% of online shoppers identified shipping speed as a key factor in their decision to shop with an eCommerce brand again. This customer touchpoint reduces abandoned carts online and directly affects revenue.

Any eCommerce expert will tell you that there are numerous factors when determining the reasoning for abandoned carts by customers online. Some of those reasons being extra shipping costs too high, the checkout process is too long, or companies requiring too much information. There are various reasons; however, shipping speed is one of the biggest reasons.

 

42% of online shoppers abandon shopping carts due to delivery dates

 

Customer satisfaction has varying factors, from great products to good return policies, but minimising the window of time they get to their products (instant gratification), the better off your sales will be. Use a 3pl with next-day delivery to boost sales and keep customers coming back to you.

 

Poor inventory management affects Black Friday selling

Not managing your inventory correctly can be catastrophic for your business. Inventory management is a fine art and must be given careful consideration for scalability, profit, and retention.

First off, if you’re not using any inventory management software, you’re going to have difficulties – especially if you’re selling through multiple channels (Shopify, eBay, WooCommerce). When processing multiple orders, you must know how much stock you have at all times. You have to know when to restock and make sure you don’t sell items that aren’t available, which will cause delivery delays – and alienate your customers!

Many businesses still use antiquated systems of managing their sales manually. In the digital commerce age, better systems and better data solutions manage inventory smart and efficiently. They also give critical data that helps to inform your selling strategies. Understanding the trends and opportunities of your most in-demand items will benefit your profitability and margins.

You need to be able to trust that your business is being looked after by the right people and the right systems so you can focus on growing your brand.

 

Get your inventory early to prevent delays

As with any business that wholesales its products, it’s crucial to order inventory early, specifically for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Supply chain operations continue to be an issue in 2022 and therefore heeds priority right now.

First, you must calculate precisely how much stock you think you can sell for Black Friday and Cyber Monday – considering monthly and annual average sales. This means making educated predictions on how much stock you can unload. Too much stock ordered means excess stock – but too little means losing out on potential sales. Having more stock available, however, is still a better option because it can still be sold moving forward. Therefore, take some time to be meticulous in your sales forecasting for this special time of the year.

 

 

3pl ISP consideration

Lastly, if you decide to finally automate your eCommerce fulfilment and work with a third-party logistics provider – it is pertinent you get your stock in early. During this time of the year, 3pls are the busiest ever, with excess stock being received every single day. The start of the process for stock management is what’s known as ISP (Inbound stock process).

During ISP your stock has to be removed from packages and logged within the system. Every box of items is scanned and organised before it is given a pallet location. Though ISP is typically completed within a day – there can be small delays with an abundance of brands sending stock last minute for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Responsible businesses send their stock in weeks or even a month ahead of time to prevent delays for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

 

Are you prepared for Black Friday and Cyber Monday selling?

I hope these tips have helped to give you some insight into your selling and logistics strategy. Start planning early so that your business has the best chance of success. The adage “work smarter and not harder” holds true. If inventory management takes up too much of your time and it is directly affecting your ability to scale your business, then it may be time to outsource your order fulfilment. If you’d like to know more about Selazar and our operations, then set up a free no-obligation discovery call today. Happy selling.

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Shopify vs Amazon: Deciding Your Platform for Online Sellers

Today I want to tackle some important topics around eCommerce platforms for online businesses. As an eCommerce seller, it’s important to understand the stark differences in aligning yourself with various companies – from a general brand point of view and a cost-benefit analysis point of view. In choosing the right partner for your online business, I strongly believe it comes down to your business goals. In the article, I will discuss more of what I mean by that. Both Shopify and Amazon are good in their own ways, and both sides have strong advocates. You should ask yourself many questions before deciding which platform to work with.

Questions such as what are my overall costs? Am I getting enough ROI? What’s the customer service like? Do I feel valued and respected? Is this an equal relationship? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Today is the battle of the brands. So, let’s discuss Amazon vs Shopify.

 

Table of contents

1) What is Shopify?

2) What is Amazon FBA?

3) Shopify vs Amazon pros and cons

4) 3PL Costs

5) E-commerce seller Competition

6) Customer acquisition and transparency

7) Shopify vs Amazon: Which one should I use?

 

What is Shopify?

Shopify is the leading eCommerce platform for small and medium businesses. It is a cloud-based, multi-channel solution that includes tools for merchants to design, set up, and manage their stores. It allows you to make money without having to worry about things like hosting, SSL certificates and other technical matters. It is an excellent platform for new and experienced entrepreneurs. Shopify lets you focus on what you do best: selling your products!

Shopify is a complete, ready-to-use eCommerce for small businesses, selling anything from t-shirts to technology and anything at all in between. It’s simple and intuitive, allowing you to easily manage every aspect of your business, from inventory to customers.

Shopify does not offer third-party logistics (3pl) themselves; however, their app integrations allow you to connect online with a 3pl provider – like Selazar. This way, you can automate your eCommerce fulfilment while using Shopify as your online storefront.

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What is Amazon FBA?

Amazon FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) is a fulfilment service offered by Amazon, where sellers store their products at Amazon’s fulfilment centres and ship them to customers when purchased. Besides offering the online marketplace to sell products, they also provide the same functions of a 3pl – meaning they store, pick, pack and deliver. They also handle customer service and returns if necessary.

This large integration of warehousing and online services allows sellers to store their items in one or more of Amazon’s fulfilment centres. When an order is made online, all orders are shipped and delivered through Amazon – which can be very enticing. Amazon FBA product offerings are made up of over 50% of third-party sellers.

So, as you can see, Shopify is more about building a great website from scratch to sell your products – while offering third-party fulfilment services. Amazon is basically a one-stop shop marketplace that allows you to reach many people quickly – but no website.

 

Shopify vs Amazon pros and cons

For more clarity, below are the differences between Shopify and Amazon. Whether you’re a newbie or an established brand, you can easily see the advantages and disadvantages for your own business.

Shopify

Pros

• Simple professional templates for building your online store

• 90-day free trial

• Free Shopify payments

• Affordable

• Access to numerous eCommerce tools and apps like eCommerce fulfilment

• You have complete control over your store and operations

Cons

• You must drive online traffic to your store yourself

• The more apps you need, the monthly cost may increase

• Need a self-promoting marketing budget

 

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Amazon

Pros

• Access to a worldwide audience immediately

• Can get set up relatively quickly

• Warehouse storage and product shipping automation

Cons

• Highly saturated marketplace

• Lots of selling fees and storage costs

• Price wars with competition

• Your seller score could affect your sales

• Lots of regulations and red tape

 

To summarise, business goals matter here. Your approach will vary if you’re looking to make a quick buck and offload some stock. If you’re building a long-term brand and want customers you can reach out to, resell to, and develop a relationship with, then that approach should be different.

To be fair here, you can see the many benefits of both companies. Amazon brings a lot of value to the marketplace. However, there are a few more technicalities that eCommerce sellers should be aware of.

 

3PL Costs

Some of the strongest critics of Amazon FBA include complaints about fees. Obviously, in exchange for services, Amazon needs their own profit. After all, as an independent seller, you’re utilising their platform and fulfilment centres. However, how much is too much? This is where the numbers start to matter – and you need to pay attention.

Profit sharing

Something that is not common with 3PLs is product profit sharing. Typical 3PLs charge you for storage fees, pick and pack services, and courier charges. Amazon, on top of those fees, also takes a small percentage of every sale you make for your products. Fees for your products can range from 15% to 40% before other charges.

Seller Subscription fees

To be an amazon seller, you have two options. You can sell as an individual or a professional. One charges a £.99 fee every time you make a sale (individual) – or pay a monthly subscription fee of £39.99.

Long-term FBA storage fees

Like any warehouse, you will have monthly storage fees. Many of them are comparable in price. What differs with Amazon is “long-term” storage fees as well. This acts like a penalty. If any of your products have sat in their fulfilment centre for 365 days or longer, you will be charged £6.90 per cubic foot of storage used or £.15 per unit, whichever is greater.

So, if you’re trying to grow your business and have multiple product offerings, you run the risk of a lot of charges.

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Ecommerce seller Competition

One of eCommerce sellers’ greatest advantages is using Amazon to sell their products. After all, Amazon is the largest online marketplace for products. However, it’s important to be aware of some of the most common frustrations and downfalls for many FBA sellers.

Price wars Amazon (Getting priced out!)

Price wars are very common on Amazon. Many eCommerce sellers assume that by putting products on Amazon, they will get a multitude of sales. It should be automated and easy with so many potential customers, right? Some of the more seasoned sellers know it’s not. This is because the competition is rife on Amazon.

Many brands carry the same products with the same quality because they’re from the same manufacturer, whether at home or abroad. Avid sellers are used to this on Amazon. They have perfected the systems, the manufacturing, the relationships, and the price points. They have done it for so long and have made so much profit that they can drop their prices and essentially eliminate you from the competition. It can be a large uphill climb for someone who is just trying to get started. It’s the classic story of the big box brand crushing the little box brand.

 

Copycat branding by Amazon with third-party retail brands

Copycat branding is common everywhere in the world. What it means is that a business or entity will deliberately mimic a brand to compete with it directly. Established grocery stores do this all the time. They will create their own food products and make the branding similar to third-party products they sell on the shelves! Some wonder how it’s even legal – so do I. Unfortunately, this is the same situation many Amazon sellers are finding themselves in.

Amazon looks at trends and will create its own products at significantly lower prices and expand its private-label brands. Many believe Amazon runs a systematic campaign of creating knockoff goods – though Amazon has vehemently denied this. Amazon runs their own private label company so that you could be competing with them.

 

Customer acquisition and transparency

Building a brand requires raving fans. Customers are attracted to products, but they’re also attracted to values. What does the brand stand for? Eco-friendly? Natural ingredients only? Social philanthropy, etc. When they buy your products and sign up to receive emails from you, you have the opportunity to remarket.

However, with selling through Amazon, you are never allowed to retarget customers. They don’t allow access to their customer database. So, though you may still be able to sell well with Amazon, you’re not nurturing that relationship. If you’re a brand trying to scale and develop a community, I wouldn’t recommend them.

Remember that 65% of business comes from existing customers, so you want repeat business if you have multiple product offerings. Repeat customers are a valuable asset.

 

Shopify vs Amazon: Which one should I use?

For the reasons above, I would recommend using Shopify and their 3PL services integration. Costs matter, but so does branding and having complete control over your internal operations. However, to be democratic, many sellers also choose to sell on multiple platforms. If you’re still on the fence, you could consider selling on both eCommerce platforms. Utilising several channels, your brand could do some testing and analytical due diligence – then decide what’s best overall after you get some first-hand experience. Hopefully, this article has given you some key insights on Shopify vs Amazon. Should you be interested in integrating your Shopify store with our 3pl services, contact us today for a free no, obligation discovery call.

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