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Top 10 Current Trends in Ecommerce

According to latest surveys, more than 51% of Americans prefer shopping online than in a store. The figures are even higher for millennials. The online shopping market is expected to grow to over half a trillion within a few years. With ecommerce set to become even bigger, having an online presence has become a must for nearly all retailers. Here are 10 trends in ecommerce that every retailer should know about and act upon to grow their business.

  1. Real-Time Customized Shopping Experience

Delivering real-time, dynamic shopping experience to shoppers is a new trend in ecommerce. The goal is to offer an online shopping experience that is specific to each shopper. Thus, unique content is provided to each consumer based on factors relevant to them, including:

  • Preferences
  • Location
  • Demographics
  • Market trends
  • Brand interactions

The same shopper can have a different experience the next time they visit your site.

There are many advantages of providing such a custom experience to your shoppers. Irrelevant recommendations will be reduced or eliminated. Search results will match shoppers’ recent brand interactions and online activities.

  1. Shop from Within Videos

Video continues to play a bigger role in future content marketing strategies. There is a growing trend in ecommerce where shoppable videos are part of online shopping experience, allowing consumers to shop directly from within the videos.

Shoppers can watch the video and pause it whenever they want to purchase a product. There are many benefits of such a shopping experience:

  • It helps in reducing catalog browsing time
  • It also provides better visual experience when shopping

More retailers are including shoppable videos in their overall ecommerce strategy.

  1. Using Big Data for More Effective Predictions

A basic principle about ecommerce that retailers are beginning to understand is that the more information they provide about their products, the more likely people are to purchase them online. The kind of information that drives them to buy online includes:

  • Product descriptions
  • Reviews
  • Images
  • Specifications
  • Comments

It is not possible to refresh the information against each product unless you have access to vast resources. This is where a new trend has emerged in ecommerce – data aggregation. More retailers are seeking help from data aggregators in compiling product data and make the best suggestions to shoppers.

You can also link your online store to such databases to ensure that product information keeps getting updated automatically. This can help in eliminating uncertainty, provide the most relevant and useful information to your visitors, and drive more sales.

Some of the key advantages of using big-data in ecommerce are as following:

  • Deliver custom shopping experiences based on heat mapping
  • Create personalized portfolios based on historical shopping data
  • Access useful data on consumer demographics and develop accurate advertising strategy
  • Increase conversion rates by offering targeted prices and discounts

Predictive analysis is a new technology in ecommerce that relies on big data and allows retailers to understand not just their preferences and buying habits, but also determine when they are likely to make their next purchase. This knowledge is attained based on the behavior of other consumers having similar profiles.

  1. Artificial Intelligence Interactions

Online shoppers are increasingly interacting with chatbot. A chatbot is an automated chat agent that answers shoppers’ questions. Chatbots can help retailers offer a more guided, fun and interactive browsing experience to their consumers. These AI-enabled systems are expected to become widely common in the future. More new innovative technologies are expected to develop around artificial intelligence in the near future.

  1. Omnichannel

Another new trend is ecommerce is to bridge the gap between online and physical shopping. For example, Google Local Inventory Ads can show online shoppers if the products they are interested in are available in stores near them. Retailers are also developing apps and systems to link their ecommerce sites and physical stores.

This trend could see many online retailers opening physical stores and many brick-and-mortar stores opening online stores. All this will help in encouraging a deeper level of relationship with the consumer

  1. Reaching Out to More Markets

Last year only 4 in 10 American ecommerce businesses sold their products in the domestic market. Ecommerce allows you to reach the global market and more retailers are now harnessing its true potential. Multi-market ecommerce can also help retailers fight local competition while creating fresher business opportunities.

This has further been enabled through quicker delivery and response systems being developed. Plugins, translation tools and new payment processors allow you to eliminate the constraints that prevent you from reaching overseas consumers. Language, payment and shipping barriers are no longer a concern for retailers.

  1. Quicker Deliveries

Surveys show that 4 in 10 online shoppers are likely to abandon a shopping cart if they cannot get same-day delivery. Almost 50% of Americans look forward to ecommerce for their last-minute gift purchase needs. That is a huge market and is poised to keep growing. And there are only a few on-demand delivery services that can address such requirements.

Thus, there is a growing trend of on-demand delivery and it is expected to become the standard in the ecommerce industry. Same-day delivery has become such a powerful ‘tool’ for retailers that it can help them eliminate much of the difference between online and offline shopping.

In fact, this year many online shoppers will be receiving their first same-day delivery. Wider supply chain based models can help in enabling more effective on-demand deliveries.

  1. More Reliable Security with Biometrics

As ecommerce continues to grow at a rapid pace, it comes with its own set of security challenges. A wide range of security threats still prevents many people from buying products online. The use of biometric verification has been increasing to help provide a safer and more secure online shopping environment to consumers.

Biometric verification is a reliable ecommerce technology that measures the following physical characteristics to address security concerns:

  • Fingerprint
  • Face
  • Voice
  • Palm

It can help not only eliminate problems such as forgotten password, but also prevents anyone else from accessing customer account even with a stolen password.

  1. Consumer Preference for Direct Brand Contact

The modern consumer is more well-informed and brand conscious than ever before. This has led to a unique trend in the ecommerce environment where the online shopper wants to deal directly with the brand and not with intermediaries. However, this has led distributors and merchants to create more value-based services to ensure that online shoppers keep coming to them. This means the consumer is able to receive more value in the form of warranties, complementary services and additional benefits from these intermediaries.

  1. Online Loyalty Programs Become Even Bigger

Never have online loyalty programs been as big as they are in the current online shopping environment. Retailers are offering bigger discounts, rewards and much more to keep their existing customers coming back for more. This has seen even some credit card companies getting involved to improve loyalty programs.

There are many more trends which are enhancing and redefining the ecommerce environment. The omnichannel strategy has led to increased unification of commerce and ecommerce. Thus, you can see more retailers embracing the benefits of online presence in the near future. Mobile continues to grow in terms of web traffic generation and all these current trends are expected to contribute further to increase its conversion rates.

3PL Solutions for Super Happy Fun Fun

We were super excited when Super Happy Fun Fun contacted Point B Solutions to work on their Big Buck Hunter Pro project. Super Happy Fun Fun develops and deploys top quality innovative Mobile Games and Applications.

Recently they hired us to work with their wildly popular interactive video game,  Big Buck Hunter Pro. They sent us 30,000 games to be reflashed with an updated system.  Along with updating the software, we took out all of the old instruction manuals. We replaced them with new ones and attached new warning labels to the HDMI cords. Our team set up multiple TVs in our third-party warehouse where we tested the updated game before repackaging.

This project highlights just a few of the unique capabilities of our midwest 3PL fulfillment center from disassembly to reassembly. At the front end of the line, our team removed the interior boxes and took out the cables and individual pieces. Video games were transferred to our computer area where they were reflashed by Jesse from Super Happy Fun Fun. The games were then sent to our testing area to be analyzed.

After making sure that everything was working properly all items were secured into their original boxes using our Avery Denison® IndES™ Elastic Staple System. This packaging method decreases production time and reduces costs. When everything was in place we slipped them back into their original boxes and prepared Big Buck Hunter Pro for shipment.

We thrive on making sure that no matter what unique project you may have, our team is ready to take care of everything. Point B Solutions offers so much more than warehousing and order fulfillment services. We are a leading 3PL ecommerce fulfillment center offering kitting solutions and third-party logistics. Give us a call to find out how we can partner with you to make your next project a success.

EDI Solutions

EDI SOSThe online marketplace is growing exponentially as unlimited numbers of goods and services become available online. Point B Solutions is constantly adapting to these exciting changes by bringing our clients the best solutions to their cloud-based needs. We provide ecommerce fulfillment services to a broad range of clients from apparel fulfillment services, restaurant and food services, corporations, local businesses and much more. Our partnerships benefit each of them by providing cloud-based integrations that perfectly fit their needs.

We’ve partnered with SPS Commerce, a Minneapolis based company and leader in cloud-based supply chain management solutions. One of the many tools they provide is EDI, electronic data interchange. EDI gets rid of the paper chain between companies. By transmitting data and translating it into a standard data format, all of your data is recognized from your purchase order to invoice, no matter what technology your company may be using. It’s also scalable, so no matter what size of inventory you have, our EDI solutions will fit your needs. As your business grows you can feel confident that no matter who you’re working with around the world your communication and data will be transferred quickly, securely and accurately.

While increasing your workflow, EDI will also save you money. According to SPS Commerce, electronic transactions are typically less than a dollar, while paper-based orders can cost $70 or more per transaction.

“Cloud-based EDI solutions save an average of 25–75% in upfront costs, plus 50–75% in long-term expenses like software updates and hardware upgrades.”

Source: SPS Commerce

Human error is also reduced as more accurate documents are transmitted. This will free up more time for your employees to work on other areas of increasing your business. EDI also doesn’t take the weekend off or a vacation. Your products and services are being managed 24/7.

Point B Solutions provides ecommerce fulfillment services to a broad range of clients from apparel fulfillment services, restaurant and food services, corporations, local businesses and much more. Our partnership with SPS Commerce benefits each of them by providing the cloud-based integrations that perfectly fit their needs.

 

Point B Solutions, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a third party logistics (3PL) fulfillment center serving clients across the country. We offer pick, pack and ship services, Shopify integration, warehousing, kitting and assembly, and ecommerce services. Our customer service, attention to detail, and technology oriented systems and processes have enabled us to grow successful partnerships with B2B and B2C companies.

Seven Factors to Consider when Choosing a Fulfillment Company

Choosing the right fulfillment center partner can make a world of difference. The right partner can keep your business flow running smoothly, offer timely advice for growth, and offer a high level of customer service that will make everything seem easier.

On the other hand, selecting a partner who falls short in capabilities and performance can be troublesome. Excessive time on your end is spent on managing the process, customer service issues arise with frequency, sales growth is slowed, and soon, you’ll be looking for another business partner. Selecting the right partner in the first place is key.

 

 Factors When Choosing an Order Fulfillment Service

1) Short term and long term business needs

Whether you’re in the ecommerce fulfillment services market or looking to outsource fulfillment for kitting assembly and pick and pack, there’s a range of services that modern fulfillment centers offer.

Some of the services you may be considering now or in the future might include:

Ask yourself, why do I need a partner? What specifically am I going to ask them to do now and in the future? What might I ask them to do? Is this a partner I can trust? Is this a partner I can grow with?

Ask yourself these questions:

      • Does this team have the size and scope to handle my business?
      • Can they handle seasonal peaks of activity?
      • Is the company financially sound?
      • What is the company’s reputation?

     

2) Customer Service

Depending on the services you ask of your fulfillment service, you might be asking them to handle your inventory, your customer relations and your brand. This relationship partner needs to be one that you can trust.

Ask yourself these questions:

      • Will you have quick and easy access to someone you trust?
      • How good do you feel about your day-to-day manager?
      • What level of confidence do you have in senior management of the company?
      • How well do your contacts communicate?
      • From your interactions with contacts at the company, do you get a good sense that they understand customer service and the importance of it?

     

3) Experience

Newer organizations are sometimes working out the kinks of handling various clients. Do you really want an organization with limited experience working on your business?

Ask yourself these questions:

      • How long has this organization been in the fulfillment business?
      • Does this organization have experience in your industry? If you sell clothing, does your potential partner have the processes in place to warehouse hundreds of SKU’s, and can their customer service deal with a high return rate?

     

4) Technology

Technology drives the fulfillment business in this day and age. A fulfillment company that plans and implements the right technology effectively is faster, more efficient and can provide a much higher level of service than others who have not made the technology investment.

Clients will be able to take comfort and peace of mind in understanding that their business transactions are being handled with care in a timely manner. Technology enables client managers to be more productive in their jobs as they’ll enjoy an easier monitoring process.

An organization that implements effective technological solutions is able to adapt to variants like which shopping cart you’re using, and also, more likely to partner with you to customize solutions for your specific business needs.

Ask yourself these questions:

      • How quick has the fulfillment company been able to adapt and add new technologies?
      • As you tour the facility, does this look like a company that is good on the technology front?
      • How comfortable is the organization with EDI?
      • How automated are their systems?
      • How strong is their reporting?

     

5) Customer Centric Approach

Does your potential partner rely on just one approach for all clients or can they cater to your specific needs? Your business might encounter some unforeseen challenges down the line. It feels good to work with partners that can address these types of challenges head on.

Ask yourself these questions:

    • Has this organization kept up with the times or do they employ the same processes and systems for addressing your business needs as they did 10 years ago?
    • Can they problem solve?
    • How satisfied are their clients? Do they keep clients for a long time or is it a leaky bucket where clients come in, but don’t stay long?

6) Full Service

Working with a fulfillment center that can handle a series of tasks from one location can make your life as a client a lot easier. Can your fulfillment company offer warehousing, kitting and assembly, picking and packing and more? Even if you don’t need the complete array of services now, as you grow, you might want to consider this. Working with a partner that you can grow with is a big advantage.

Full service is also nice for shipping options. Based on your product lines or your customers’ tastes, having the options to ship USPS, FedEx or UPS is good to have.

Outsourcing with a fulfillment center that provides a variety of shipping options will make your customers happy. It provides them the freedom to receive their items quickly or within the standard range. Find out if your prospect ships with FedEx, US Postal Service, and/or UPS.
Ask yourself these questions:

      • What services does this fulfillment company offer? Are there any holes?
      • Could my company grow with this company?

     

7) Value

A strong fulfillment company can save you money with accurate processing, sophisticated technology and quick turnaround times. Ultimately, you’re looking for a business partner that you can trust with your products, with your customers and with your brand.

This is an important decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Do your due diligence. Meet in person on location, take a tour, and understand what your potential fulfillment partner can and cannot do. Look at past performance – are clients happy and do they continue to work with the company? How good do you feel about the folks you’d be working with? Is this an organization you can trust?

Putting the right partner in place on your business can ease your mind and free your time up to work on other pressing challenges of your business.

Look for a strategic partner in fulfillment. Can your fulfillment company provide strategies and tactics to save you money and grow your business?

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Point B Solutions, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a third party logistics (3PL) fulfillment center serving clients across the country. We offer pick, pack and ship services, Shopify integration, warehousing, kitting and assembly, and ecommerce services. Our customer service, attention to detail, and technology oriented systems and processes have enabled us to grow successful partnerships with B2B and B2C companies.

 

Point B Solutions-A Quick Tour of our 3PL Fulfillment Center

 

 

We can’t believe that it’s already been a year since we moved into our brand new Point B location. Our 3PL Fulfillment Center has been busily growing ever since. We love having our offices on the same level as our warehouse with windows overlooking the entire space. The decorating is complete with some beautiful prints from photographer Max Wanger along with some stunning pieces of the Minneapolis skyline in our conference room by local artist, Dewey James. Point B colors surround us in a functional and welcoming office space.

 

Third Party Warehouse.

When we moved into our 35,000 square foot warehouse a year ago, we never expected how quickly it would fill up as well as how many new clients we would gain. Now we have grown to 61,000 square feet of space. This facility is 30 foot clear height for oversize racking, security and barcoded inventory system, making us the perfect choice for your next fulfillment project or eCommerce partnership. Our new home has 10 loading docks and plenty of room for extra large projects of kitting, assembly and fulfillment. We’re very proud of the fact that we keep a squeaky clean facility where everything has it’s place and is accounted for. It feels like home now and we’re excited to share it with you.

 

Please stop by any time. We’d be so happy to give you a tour and talk more about how Point B can partner with you on your next project.