Last year (2017) retail merchants learned some valuable lessons about their industry and important trends in eCommerce. New demands on merchant’s automation systems just to keep in the race is taxing and if retailers hope to have a competitive edge today they must have and continually enhance their multiple digital storefronts and operate with flawless efficiency. There’s more on this in eCom Success academy in their latest publication here: https://ecomsuccessacademy.net/
Maintaining a consistent supply of essential items as well as a precise delivery system will be fundamental to building rapport with an increasingly fastidious online consumer pool says Andre Sweeton from GFKAmerica. What good will be all that terrific marketing prowess and awesome whop design if when it comes down to making a transaction you can’t deliver with impeccable service? For example: if your store offers 5 different shades of brown hair colour, then it needs to keep every color in stock or there’s a risk customers won’t come back. Remember that there are fifty other competitors just waiting to pick up your slack, thus you will help your position considerably by getting things right the first time and never looking back.
There is some good news for the challenged and bedraggled merchant however. Boom times are ahead. According to the experts (eCom Success Academy and GFKAmerica), online sales across the USA are expected to reach $500 Billion by 2020, this increase will be fuelled by such precision marketing options as mentioned earlier and the economy as well. If that last holiday sale was an indication of anything it was that clever execution and improved automation is about to pay off in a big way.
Here are five trends that will make for some impressive gains on the ecommerce scene next year.
Automation Frees Up CX Strategy
There has been a significant improvement in the efficiency of processing and reducing negative feedback through automation and the capacity to reduce human error. Meeting the high standards of a more and more fastidious consumer audience will call for improved technologies and the capacity to wield them effectively.
Chatbots voice search and more will need to be introduced seamlessly into existing online storefronts and marketing campaigns. Automations will keep things running smoothly and greatly improve customer experience and they find more reliable transactions and fewer hitches in the process.
Integration Delivers Omnichannel Consistency
The survey was also keen on the point that technologies can’t just be featured, they must be effectively applied as well. For example, one channel is something that many retailers have, but very few actually feel that they are properly executing and reaping full advantage. The mere presence on multiple channels and platforms is not enough, each aspect must have all the applicable integrations that allow for flawless function. Retailers will fund the importance of this flawless integration of your message themes and products across multiple channels essential to their e commerce efforts this year. The Omnichannel will be explored fully and effectively for greater success this year.
Technology Makes Immediacy Real
Another important trend in 2018 will be innovation when creating a unique and innovative customer experience. This could be with new technologies that help to bring better harmony to their back and front stores. Many savvy ecommerce professionals like Adrian Morrison from eCom success academy will choose to use a technology that allows for greater immediacy and supports real-time commerce — this is another point where the omnichannel “state of mind” provides important direction. Adrian Morrison has just published an overview of new features to be used with Shopify and Dropshipping in 2018 which are really likely to change the eCommerce industry. You can find the full insights and a detailed review of all the features of eCom Success Academy here: http://www.gfkamerica.com/ecom-success-academy-review
Social Storefronts Step Up
We are seeing an increasing amount of storefronts being set up across the social landscape. Instagrammers have shown that as many 33.33% of an audience will purchase an item or service after seeing it mentioned in video apps or images. There are even more exciting possibilities to be found on Facebook and in 2018 we will see a need for retailers to come up with some solid Social Marketing plans to collect from this valuable market.
Need for Speed in the Warehouse
Technology has many solutions to refining your warehouse processing so that you are never out of stock and always have just enough of those really popular items without overstock on less exciting options. This will take some insightful predictions and cutting-edge analytics will provide important solutions to next and same-day deliveries as well as the challenges placed by fluctuating demands and the need for precision inventory counts.
Tips For Starting Your Own T-shirt Printing Business While At University
When student Ben Francis started selling screen printed clothing from his garage 6 years ago, he would never have thought his startup would grow into one of the biggest brands in fitness. Today, Gymshark is supported by millions of social media followers and boasts customers from over 130 different countries.
Success stories like Gymshark’s demonstrate that setting up your own business at University is definitely possible and may lead to massive success. Being at University is a great time to set up your own business- University students have more free time, fewer commitments and there are a wealth of resources and organisations designed solely to support young entrepreneurs.
Selling t-shirts online has become a popular business model and offering a customisable aspect by printing personalised designs is a great USP. For University students, starting a t-shirt printing business is an inexpensive way to start a business while studying.
Here are 5 tips for starting a t-shirt printing business while at University:
Don’t worry if you’re not currently taking a business or marketing course, as there may be optional entrepreneurship classes you can take at University to train you for the world of business and give you startup advice.
There are many resources on the web to learn how to run a t-shirt printing business and more pointedly how to create customised prints, including this insightful blog post on how to embroider logos on workwear.
For setting up a t-shirt printing business it is important to do research into the industry and competitors as well as into the potential market. When it comes to the t-shirt printing industry, there are a wide range of potential customers so be sure to think about who exactly you want to be selling to.
Create a business plan
Creating a business plan is an important part of setting up a new business as it is a good way to explore the feasibility of your new business and is essential if you will be seeking out external financing.
As part of planning for the business make sure to:
- Establish the mission of your company
- Know where you will obtain your raw materials from
- Analyse the competition and know how will you make your brand stand out from other t-shirt companies
- Think about how you will market the business
- Identify your target market
- Do some financial projections, for example a sales forecast
Secure start-up funding
There are many ways to raise startup funding including business incubators and accelerators, angel investors and venture capital firms, and investment from friends or relatives.
Consider researching into small business grants as there are thousands of grant schemes in action across the UK and many will be eligible for University entrepreneurs.
The main sources of grants are from the UK government, the European Union and your local authority but they are also offered by Universities, charities and corporates. It is worth researching into all of these before making a decision.
Another great source of funding is the Prince’s Trust which is the country’s leading youth charity programme, who offer financial help and business support for entrepreneurs aged 18 to 30 in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Another financing option is The Start Up Loans Company which is a government-backed scheme helping individuals start or grow a business in the UK. The Start Up Loans Company allows you to borrow up to £25,000 to start a business for a low fixed interest rate of 6% per annum.
Create a support network
Search out support channels such as your University’s business resources and alumni network. You could also reach out to other entrepreneurs and local businesses to gain advice on entrepreneurship and useful contacts. Research into any meetup groups and network/ startup events in your area to widen your network.
Use free resources
To save you money be sure to make use of any free resources, including those provided by your University. Your University may have databases, contacts, workshops, and more that you can use while still studying.
Another great asset is the people around you- fellow students, lecturers, tutors etc. Reaching out to others for advice or opinions can be of great use when setting up a business and you may even find a business partner.
There are also a few charitable organisations which you can use such as the The National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs (NACUE). The NACUE is an organisation for students in enterprise and has a UK network of over 260 students and enterprises. They support and connect student entrepreneurs through student-led enterprise societies, practical programmes and events.
Trends In New Business Ownership In America
New business ownership is a great indicator of how the country is doing, right? Surely the more entrepreneurship going on the better?
Well it’s not just that simple, we need to look at what types of start-ups are happening, how successful they are and what they do once established.
It’s been reported that 90% of start-ups fail and this is due to a whole host of reasons, many businesses haven’t been researched properly, don’t have a market for their product, funding issues or any other thing can kill off a new start-up.
What Types Of Start-Ups Are Happening now?
What are the types of businesses that are starting up in America today and how does this differ from the past? It’s no surprise that online is where business trends are going with companies utilising freelance remote workforces more and more, communication and online marketing etc and even manufacturing and industrial businesses are concentrating more and more on automation and technology based solutions.
The small scale start-up, the spare room or garage success looks like becoming more of a distant memory as even new start-ups are having to come in funded and prepared to compete with the big boys.
High Quality Start-Ups That Are Fuelling The Economy
The number of start-ups are down overall but high growth start-ups are on the increase and a good indication of what the quality of these start-ups are is that the amount of new trademarks are growing each year and this shows that these firms are taking protection of their intellectual property, and therefore growth, more seriously and that is good news for the overall economy and for employment.
Tiny business that only employ the owner or family which account for 75% of start ups are not the answer to growing the economy these days.
What Kind Of Companies Manage To Grow?
From the nations’ point of view growth is really what we want from as many as our start-ups as possible as this fuels jobs, wealth and happiness for citizens. This guide to sustainable growth shows how to not only gain the growth needed but to sustain this to be able to flourish and be the kinds of companies America needs.
Companies that will last need to have a solid direction, this may sound obvious, but it’s shocking how many companies don’t have an adequate business plan or if they do don’t refer back to it to see if they are on track and adjust if not.
The business needs to have a strong brand identity so that customers know it and what it stands for. Most importantly this strategy needs to be long-term and so sustainable growth should be realistic and achievable.
So in many ways business start-ups are changing in that they are focused more and more on technology, automation and the internet. But in many other ways nothing has changed, businesses still overwhelmingly fail and those that succeed are what drives the economy forward.
So long as we have the 10% of success stories driving the economy forward then progress will be ensured long term.
Love Pets? Top Startup Ideas for You
The domestic animal (pet) industry is buoyant with pet care said to be one of the most recession proof sectors around. Maybe this is why there are many successful franchises operating, from short stay and daycare centres, to training and exercise gyms and speciality stores.
In business, we’re told to do something we love and if we do and do it well, we’ll be successful. Well, here’s your chance. If you love pets, consider a business in one of these areas:
1. Pet training services
The great thing about domestic animals and birds is they have a brain so we can train them, and not just for our entertainment. In fact training an animal for our pleasure is somewhat frowned on so focus on training for drug and bomb detection, or search and rescue.
Plus there’s also the specialist field of recovery particularly after a major event.
Cadaver dogs do an amazing service using their nose of which their sense of smell is way better than humans.
Animals also provide support and company for the elderly, and the disabled so there’s a lot of opportunity in animal training.
A pet training camp can be a great way to turn what you love into a sustainable business.
Law enforcement agencies, for instance, need police dogs to undergo training. Normally, police departments have their own dog training academies, but those in smaller town will have to get contractors to handle the training. K9 units often undergo obedience and agility courses, so you may as well include these in your curriculum.
Another great idea. albeit more left field, is, bird training. Not just any bird but Psittaciformes, which include parrots, cockatoos, parakeets. This is definitely a specialty area. If training is just not your thing, consider short stay pet accomodation or a daycare center.
2. Daycare centers
In America, ‘pet sitting’ while you’re on vacation or out for the evening, has always been an important tradition among suburban families, however pet hotels and daycare facilities now reign. It’s not just for Hollywood celebrities, everyday homes are using these businesses to mind their previous pets rather than leave them alone while the children are at school and the adults are at work.
So are a dog daycares profitable? K9 Franchise, did their research, and found it’s a multi-million dollar industry! So with the right business model and support systems it’s a sector that growing and is highly successful, and that’s due to us.
As our lifestyles have changed over the time, so too has our desire for pets. We’re having children later in life, so the pet comes first, and of course they’ve ingratiated themselves so they are around when the children come and go. Even non animal owners have turned to pets to avoid empty nester syndrone, as it’s proven that domestic animal ownership alleviate loneliness.
Taking on a daycare franchise, may be the way to move forward in your own business. The huge investment needed to get your daycare business started, plus the cost of support services like marketing, tech, and operational procedures are shared among the all franchisees, so the franchisee model works well in this sector.
3. Boutique and specialty stores
People love to pamper their pets. Pampering them is a surrogate to pampering a child or us. So there’s no limit applied to how often toys and accessories are purchased to keep pets comforted and entertained.
This is an exciting business with lots of innovation in this sector. There are boutiques and specialty stores that sell items from costumes, aquarium decorations, hamster cage setups, baked goodies, and other nifty things that cater to every pet lover.
However we say: caveat emptor aka ‘buyer beware’. Do your homework before venturing too far into the unknown when it comes to speciality products and services. There’s a risk, there will be a lack of demand, or you’ve entered a crowded marketplace with too much supply. However with more risk there’s more upside when offering a unique proposition. Word will get out among pet lovers and there’s no distance too far to go, when it comes to pampering pets.
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