Ecommerce Trends to Watch

July 20th, 2018 Comments off

Ecommerce is experiencing a new wave of innovation. While buying products online is now commonplace, the technology supporting e-commerce is evolving to eliminate any remaining friction in the purchase process. This article will examine some of the most exciting developments in e-commerce and how they are changing the retail experience.

  1. Mobile-First Shopping Takes Hold

The first era of e-commerce took place using desktop computers. The next will take place in the palm of your hand. At the end of 2017 two-thirds of e-commerce transactions were completed on a mobile device. Retailers are responding by partnering with social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to drive sales. Consumers can now enjoy the entire retail experience on a smartphone and innovations such as fingerprint authentication remove even more friction from the purchase process.

  1. The Growing Prevalence of Voice Search

Another innovation that is removing friction from retail is the growth of voice search. Voice search using Alexa, Google Home, or other smart devices allows consumers to make a purchase verbally, sometimes without even seeing the product. Purchases through Amazon or Google can be authenticated using a credit card and shipping address on file. Voice search adds greater convenience for consumers and new challenges for retailers. As one business school professor noted, voice search using Amazon’s Alexa favors the company’s own brands at the expense of competitors. Brands depend on visual marketing to communicate with consumers and as voice search takes off will need to completely rethink their marketing efforts.

  1. Customers Expect Faster Shipping Times

It used to be that goods were shipped in a week and the customer was entirely satisfied. Amazon changed the game when it gave Prime members free expedited shipping. Now ecommerce sellers are racing to offer faster and faster delivery. Ecommerce sellers can simply go to Stamps.com to print shipping labels with the fastest delivery times USPS has available. Online shoppers have become accustomed to quick shipping and easy returns and retailers that refuse to play will lose sales competitors.

In a few years’ time, shoppers will expect to be able to order a product out loud and have it delivered quickly, safely and securely. The next wave of e-commerce eliminates many of the common frictions and pain points in making a purchase. Companies that do not embrace this trend will be left b

Categories: Marketing for Ecommerce, Shipping Tags:

Impact of Bad Addresses on USPS Parcel Delivery

July 13th, 2018 Comments off

In May 2018, there were 23 million packages shipped by the USPS that had issues with address quality on the shipping label. Sometimes this inaccurate info is very minor, such as a missing apartment number and the package can still be delivered on time.  Other times the incorrect address info can be a major problem, causing a long delay in delivery or even require the package to be sent back to the sender.

23,600,524 USPS Packages had missing address info in May 2018

Most online retailers understand the importance of fast delivery. The “Amazon Effect” has created a whole generation of buyers that expect fast (and free) delivery within 2 days of ordering their product.   If there are delays, the customer can become unhappy quickly, which can snowball into negative reviews and the customer never buying from your store again.  Plus, an unhappy customer brings additional labor costs for Customer Support and extra shipping costs for those packages that are sent back.  Removing any obstacles for fast package delivery is a huge benefit for any online seller.

Stamps.com Automatically Verifies All U.S. Addresses

The good news is that Stamps.com can catch these incorrect addresses before your shipping labels are ever printed.  Stamps.com matches all label addresses against the USPS Address Matching System, an up-to-date database that verifies all deliverable mailing addresses in the U.S. This process is completed automatically – whether you are manually inputting an address on the “Packages” tab or automatically importing retail orders using one of our ecommerce integrations.  The system also adjusts addresses to the preferred USPS addressing standards. For example, if you write “Suite 100” in an address, the Stamps.com address cleansing process will abbreviate “Suite” to “STE”, the preferred USPS format. During address cleansing, Stamps.com will also add the proper ZIP + 4 Code to your address.

Avoid delays in package delivery.  Get addresses validated automatically by printing all of your USPS shipping labels with Stamps.com.

 

Source: Mailers Technical Advisory Committee June 2018

Categories: USPS News Tags:

Important Stamps.com Operating System Security Requirements

July 4th, 2018 Comments off

 

Important information about connecting to Stamps.com!

The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council, a coalition of credit card payment processors such AmEx, Visa and Mastercard, has updated their protocols for transmitting secure credit card transactions. As of June 30, companies will no longer be able to transmit credit card data using the older Transport Layer Security protocol TLS 1.0. In order to remain PCI compliant, only TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2 will be allowed starting July 1, 2018.

Older Operating Systems Can No Longer Login to Stamps.com
Due to this TLS requirement, older operating systems and browsers will not be able to connect to Stamps.com after June 30, 2018. The following operating systems and browsers DO NOT have native support for TLS 1.1/1.2:
• Microsoft Windows Vista
• Microsoft Windows XP
• Microsoft Windows 2003
• MacOS 10.8 and below
• Internet Explorer versions 10 and below
• Mozilla Firefox versions 26 and below
• Google Chrome versions 29 and below
• Apple Safari versions 6 and below

In order to login to Stamps.com, please update to a supported operating system and internet browser on or before June 30, 2018.

Windows 7 User Verification:  Some Windows 7 users may not have modern versions of TLS enabled by default. Stamps.com Software utlilizes specific Internet Explorer settings to make a connection to our server.  If you are using Windows 7, you will need to check/update your TLS settings within Internet Explorer. To check or update your TLS settings, open the Internet Explorer browser, then click on the “Settings” gear icon and select “Internet Properties”. In the new window, select the Advanced tab, and make sure the boxes next to “Use TLS 1.1” and “Use TLS 1.2” are checked.Learn more info on how to check your TLS settings for Windows 7.

View of TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2 settings inside the “Internet Properties” section of Internet Explorer (IE)


Stamps.com Online Customers
: All of your account information will be available after updating your operating system and browser. Stamps.com Online updates itself automatically, and is accessible from any modern internet browser.

Stamps.com Software Customers: When you update your operating system and reinstall Stamps.com PC Software, most of your information will move to your account except for your address book. Before you update to a new Operating System, you MUST export your existing address book, keep the file handy, and then import it after you update.

What do I do if I cannot update Operating Systems?
If you are unable to update to a supported operating system, the latest version of the Stamps.com Software includes enhancements that may help you avoid a service interruption. To download the latest version, go to www.stamps.com/download.

 

Categories: Software Updates Tags:

Australia Changes GST Laws for Imports Under A$1,000

June 29th, 2018 Comments off

International e-commerce sellers that ship products to Australia should be aware of a new tax starting July 1, 2018. The Australia Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a 10% fee that the Australian government adds to all goods and services being imported into Australia. The GST is meant to help protect Australian businesses from cheaper overseas manufacturers, with the hope the tax will level out the retail product pricing.

Australia’s Goods and Services Tax – What is Changing?
Prior to July 1, 2018, consumers in Australia could purchase products from international sellers and have them imported duty and tax-free as long as the product value was less than A$1,000. (GST was already being applied to goods and services over A$1,000.) This created a perfect buying market for U.S. online retailers since most e-commerce orders were low-value items such as sporting equipment, clothing, jewelry, cosmetics and electronics.

Starting on July 1, 2018, Australia will now apply the 10% GST to all imports, including products valued under A$1,000.

International E-Commerce Sellers – Registering for GST
Retailers with OVER A$75,000 annually in revenue
In order to comply with the recent changes made to the GST, international e-commerce merchants who have over A$75,000 annually in sales (sales directly to Australia) will be required to register with the Australian Taxation Office. Once registered, online retailers will need to charge and collect the GST tax when selling goods to Australian buyers. Note: This GST tax collection by the online retailer will be indicated on the customs documents.

Retailers with UNDER A$75,000 annually in revenue
If your sales are under A$75,000 you are not required to register with the Australian Taxation Office. When you sell a product to an Australian buyer, the GST tax will be applied at the border when the product is imported.

Be Ready for the New GST Law Changes!
If you are an international e-commerce merchant selling to Australia with sales over A$75,000, you MUST comply with the new regulations.

There are severe penalties for not complying with the GST law, including:

  • Imposing an additional 75% administrative penalty (legally payable)
  • Intercepting funds from Australian buyers that are destined to seller account(s)
  • Registering the debt in a court in the U.S.
  • Requesting the Internal Revenue Service to recover the debt on behalf of Australia

Register your company as a GST business with the Australian Taxation Authority.

Stamps.com has you covered when it comes to shipping your goods overseas!  The shipping platform fully supports the new GST requirements. If you’re shipping items to Australia for your business, you will not need to add additional information to the labels on your packages to be in compliance with the new law.

Big Ways to Improve Your Google Shopping Campaigns

May 21st, 2018 Comments off

Have you ever noticed those little picture ads near the top of a Google search page? Those are Google Shopping ads. They’re unique in what they can do – and great for increasing online sales. So, let’s run down a few ways to make the absolute most of a Google Shopping campaign.

Optimizing Your Google Shopping Data Feed

To begin your Google Shopping campaign, you’ll need to upload a data feed in CSV or XML format. Your data feed document should have all the info that appears on your ads: Price, Taxes, Title, Description, Product URL and Image URL. Depending on what kind of product you have, there may be optional fields you can add. For example, you can add color and size for apparel items.

Which additional details need to be added? Make sure your feed is optimized with all the relevant details. Imagine if someone asked if you wanted to buy a “Sweater”? The first thing you’d ask is… what kind? Then if you liked the description of the sweater, you’d want to know if they have it in your size.

The important thing to remember here is that unless the product info is part of your data feed, it won’t make it to your ad. Give your prospects everything they need to buy.

The Right Titles and Descriptions for Your Shopping Ads

Now, let’s look at a few ways to juice up your ad. Make sure to include relevant keywords in the title and description, which will help your product get matched to a query. It’s not enough to just list the model number, which will only attract people looking for that exact model. You’ll be losing out on a lot of potential customers.

Let’s play a little good product title/bad product title to get it right:

  • Bad product title – “Black Shoes”
  • Good product title – “Black High Heel Pumps – Size 8 – Women’s Shoes”

See how much more targeted the second option is? A good title has specific keywords like “high heels” and “pumps” to perfectly match anyone looking for a pair of shoes like that.

Next, be sure your description also has keywords, plus the selling points that would make someone want to buy. The description is where you can put your best selling points. Think of it this way… the title is the “what,” and the description is the “why.” Once someone clicks through, give them your best sales pitch to convince them to buy.

Successful Bidding Strategies for Google Shopping Ads

Google Shopping works the same way as an auction. When a user types in a search like “floral throw pillows,” Google checks all of the prices bidders (retailers) are willing to pay. The highest bidders will win the opportunity to be shown to the consumer looking for “floral throw pillows.” That’s how the system works, now we’re going to give you some tips to make the system work for you.

Don’t Set the Same Bid Across Your Campaign

One of the biggest mistakes is to blanket the same bid across an entire campaign. Determine the bid by looking at the value and profit margin of each product.

Start with Best-Sellers

You’ll have enough variables to deal with when beginning a Google Shopping campaign. Start with your best products, where you have a strong competitive advantage. Some products with low profit margins may never make sense to include in your feed.

Use Custom Labels to Create Bid Groups

Custom labels can be applied to your data feed to create price groupings. Try putting higher converting products together, and giving them all higher bids. Put lower bids on the group of products that don’t convert as well.

Optimizing your campaign is a continual process, but following these tips will give you a big head start.

Categories: Small Business Marketing Tags:

Call us toll-free at 1-888-434-0055, Monday - Friday, 6 AM - 6 PM Pacific Time.