With bank holiday fast approaching, we’re almost there – we’ve nearly survived the summer holidays! While many are looking forward to the children going back to school, and getting back to normal, we’re all gearing up for our busiest period for sales – Quarter Four. With Halloween, Bonfire Night, Black Friday and Cyber Monday on the rundown to Christmas, not to mention Singles Day if you’re selling in China, there’s plenty of chances to maximise your profits. But like everything, perfect planning prevents poor performance – so here are a few thoughts for you to consider before it gets too busy.
- Make sure you have great listings
Now, we don’t shut up about the importance of good spelling, punctuation and grammar when it comes to eCommerce, and that’s truer than ever – first impressions are so important. So at the very least, make sure your top selling items are well written, and think about checking the listings for your worst performing items – is there a howler of a typo (‘soap blow’ rather than ‘soup bowl’, for example) that means they’re not being picked up in searches, or perhaps you’re missing an important keyword that means customers buy from a competitor instead of you? Grammarly is a great resource to check that what you have is free from mistakes, and makes suggestions to improve your work as you go.
But that’s not the only way to improve your listings – AMZ Peak is one of our popular apps to optimise your Amazon listings, helping you make sure your titles are effective, your prices competitive and helps you create compelling content, as well as helping you find duplicates to help you increase your sales by linking to the duplicate item.
- Check your reports
This is another one that perhaps goes without saying, but checking your reporting means that you have the best products, can weed out dead stock and sort out your suppliers. There’s a number of ways you can get your reporting – you can use a business analyst, you can wrestle with complicated spreadsheets or you can use an app that costs you a fraction of those charges.
Depending on how in-depth you want to go with your reporting requirements, either LinnKwik or Barry Analytics are going to be the tools for the job – they’re both easy to use, inexpensive and have helped some users to increase their profits by 35% in just six months by making better business decisions. And referring back to our first point – checking the report for your worst selling items might indicate where there are issues with your listings, or allow you to create a strategy to clear that dead stock, such as bundles or special offers on Groupon.
It’s also worth taking a look at feedback on returns, exchanges and refunds too – see if a particular supplier, line or shipping provider is raising concerns you can address now? Dealing with those issues now, before the volume of traffic goes up means you can sort them with less stress and establish a more effective outcome, whatever the solution.
- Sort your suppliers
Are your suppliers completely reliable? Are they providing you with the best products? Now is the time to review your suppliers and ensure your inventory is absolutely impeccable – you don’t want to miss out on a must-have gift because your supplier has allocated their stock to another seller. Now might be a good time to add drop-shipping to your business and vastly increase your profits – it’s incredibly easy with Avasam, and you can increase your inventory almost limitlessly.
- Streamline your warehouse
If there’s one thing that it makes sense to do right now, it’s tidying your warehouse and getting all your stock in the most logical layout. Not only that, but make sure you have the tech to get it out the door the fastest way possible – you might want to talk to us about handheld barcode scanners, or if your budget isn’t ready for that then look at getting Warehouse Plus installed on smartphones so you can get picking and packing done without needing reams of paper.
- Think about your unboxing experience
This will depend on what you’re selling, and the kind of service you want to emulate – we talked about unboxing at our Meetups earlier in the year, and we’ve mentioned it on the blog before – but there’s a reason unboxing videos are so popular on YouTube! You don’t need to copy luxury brands like Apple or Chanel, but a few sheets of tissue paper and a sticker with your company logo, or a leaflet offering 10% off their next purchase over a certain amount can make a big difference for very small cost, and help draw your customers back. Think ethically too – your customers are likely to appreciate it if you’re using recycled and recyclable materials!
It’s also a good time to review your packaging suppliers and make sure you’ve got a great deal there too – our friends at SR Mailing are a good place to start!
- Set up your customer experience apps
When you’re in the middle of making fantastic profits, you don’t want to think about next year – you want to concentrate on getting the deliveries out. But making sure your customers are leaving you reviews praising your great products and service is investing in the future of your business – so plan accordingly. Do you want to set up text alerts or emails to let your customers know when their order has been dispatched, or perhaps you want to send emails to prompt your customers to review their purchase? Delivery SMS, MailChimp for Linnworks and Review Booster are all great options for automating your customer experience and will help new customers trust your business.
- List your business on Trustpilot
Talking about trusting a business – most of us do a bit of research these days before making a purchase – we check reviews, look up the company and see why people have had a moan. Now, there’s no way to prevent the odd negative review, someone will always have a gripe somewhere (even the greatest hotel in the world has a one-star rating somewhere on TripAdvisor, after all) but if you’re doing great things with your customer service, then being listed on Trustpilot or another independent review website can help build that trust further, increasing the chances that potential customers complete their purchase from you, rather than your competitor.
Now, this has turned into a bit of an epic – but getting things right now can really impact on how happy you’ll be when you’re checking your figures after the New Year! If you’d like to discuss any of these points, the apps we’ve mentioned here or have another question – get in touch, or pop along to see us at Autumn Fair or Linn Academy – both of which are great events to help you start planning. We looking forward to seeing you there!