4 Benefits of Customer Satisfaction Surveys

How much do you know about your buyers and what they think about your products and your website? If you could know more, would that be valuable for your brand? Ecommerce experiences lend themselves seamlessly to collecting information from your visitors that can be used to improve your website, products, marketing and sales.

Here are some of the benefits of customer satisfaction surveys:

1. Product Improvements and Expansion

Many ecommerce sites rely heavily on reviews to collect insights into what consumers think about their products. The benefit of customer satisfaction surveys is that they are guided vs. open-ended, so you can elicit more exacting details from your customers.

With a survey you can pinpoint specific areas you want to learn about and formulate those into questions to expand your product line or improve current products. For example, what if you are considering offering new colors or flavors of certain products? You can include questions about the popularity of those new options in your survey. Or, what if you would like to expand an existing product line to include offerings for other demographics (e.g., children)? You can survey customers on whether they would also be interested in purchasing the product for their children.

Surveys give you the ability to leverage website visitors and customers for free or low-cost (you can offer incentives for people to participate) product research and development.

2. Website Upgrades

Your website features and offerings can also benefit from customer satisfaction surveys. Imagine you want to design and launch a new product-oriented blog. You have some options:

1. You can invest in creating the new blog, hire writers, deploy it on the website and then track results to see what your website visitors think.

2. You can survey your website visitors about your blog idea, confirm they are interested and dig deeper into the kinds of topics they would be interested in reading about before you invest any time, money or other resources into creating the blog.

While not necessarily a perfect science, surveys are a great opportunity to collect feedback on website ideas you have before you act.

3. Conversion Rate Optimization

Since surveys are completely customizable, why not use them to get to the heart of the matter and learn about your audience’s behaviors directly? What inspires them to buy and what would get them to buy more--or sooner? The top benefit of customer satisfaction surveys is learning what motivates your buyers to choose your brand and products and to use the data to increase conversions.

Following are some ideas of questions than can help in this vein (these should we multiple choice questions with answer options, including “other” with open comment space):

What makes you most interested to buy XYZ product?
When do you think you are likely to buy XYZ product?
Would any of the following (offers, incentives, etc.) make you buy XYZ product today?
What are your top concerns when comparing options before purchasing XYZ product?

4. Demographic Data

Many brands invest a significant amount of resources into market research in order to help determine the best ways to advertise and market their products. Customer satisfaction surveys can benefit your brand by allowing you to collect key demographic data, which can help you construct a blueprint of your target audience. You can better tailor the messaging on your website and in your marketing with those demographic details. The only flaw in relying on this data is it doesn’t help with expansion into new markets. However, if you are confident in the targeting of your current buyers and you just want to increase overall marketshare among them, then a survey is a great way to pinpoint exactly who your customers are.

Customer satisfaction surveys can benefit your ecommerce company in a range of ways and are relatively easy to deploy via email marketing or with software on your website. Given their ease of dissemination, you can create numerous surveys over time and offer them to different visitors and buyers (based on behavior or randomly) to increase ROI from your website.

3 Uses for AI in Ecommerce

Do you see or hear the term “AI” and instantly want to bury your head in the sand? If you run an ecommerce business, artificial intelligence (AI) is not something you should be ignoring. And there are plenty of simple ways to incorporate AI in ecommerce.

Let’s start with savings, because they are quite significant. According to TotalRetail, AI could save retailers as much as $340 billion annually by 2022, with 80 percent of those savings coming from AI-enabled efficiencies in supply chains and returns processes.

And retailers are paying attention. A Capgemini Research study found the global annual amount spent on AI by retailers is expected to surpass $7.3 billion by 2022.

But which AI technologies would your ecommerce business benefit the most from? Here are three you shouldn’t ignore:

1. Personalization

What is the most important element when it comes to increasing online sales? Personalization. When it comes to benefits, however, those "similar products" AI-driven suggestions barely scratch the surface.

AI personalization software learns about ecommerce shoppers based on their search and purchase history, buyer demographic and previous transactions. This enables effective product recommendations like "You may also like."

Upselling is a serious business. When Amazon launched the "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" upsell in 2006, their sales increased by 35%.

In a brick-and-mortar store, every customer sees the same products. As on an online retailer, you have the advantage of showing shoppers specific products relevant to them, which has been proven to increase sales. Make sure your ecommerce business has the AI tools to properly personalize your customer experience.

2. Predictive Marketing

Imagine if you could use your customers’ current and historical data to predict future purchases. That’s precisely what predictive marketing does. AI makes it possible by identifying correlations between your customers’ past purchasing behaviors.

For example, running your customer data through a predictive model can help guide your marketing strategy by anticipating their behavior and:

  • Pinpointing unhappy customers you’re on the verge of losing
  • Identifying happy customers who may be ready to buy

Predictive marketing can save you money by allowing you to focus on quality leads versus those with no clear intention to buy. AI, or machine learning, makes this possible.

3. Customer Service

While AI can’t completely replace people when it comes to resolving complex problems, it can still play a key role in customer service. Take chatbots, for instance.

Chatbots come in two types: simple and AI-focused. While simple chatbots can spot keywords in customers’ questions and respond with pre-determined answers, AI-focused chatbots can perform more sophisticated actions. They do that by using natural language processing and machine learning to mimic human conversation that sounds just like real people.

Ways chatbots can be helpful for ecommerce businesses include:

  • Added support during busy times of the year, such as holidays
  • To engage customers with a welcome message on your website
  • To answer easy questions and free up customer service staff for escalated issues

In fact, according to a 2016 McKinsey report, 29 percent of what customer service representatives do could potentially be automated. Chatbots can help your business increase sales while saving time and money.

Personalization, predictive marketing and customer service are just three areas with applications for AI in ecommerce. Ecommerce businesses can use AI for everything from mining social media data to optimizing logistics. It all depends on your organizational needs.

If you’re not using AI for your ecommerce business yet, now is as good a time as any to familiarize yourself with the technology. Identify the problems you’d like to tackle and consider what value AI could bring to the table. Start small and assess your new AI’s value before broadening its capabilities.

There is plenty of potential for AI in ecommerce. Take advantage of the technology and consider some of these simple ways you can incorporate AI in your ecommerce business.

5 Packaging Tips for Influencer Gifting

Launching a new product, or just want to get an existing one the street cred it deserves? Influencer gifting is an effective way to get your products noticed.

When gifting influencers, you’re essentially giving them a free product they can sample and, if all goes well, tell their followers about. And it works. In fact, consumers are more likely to make a purchase if they feel confident about an influencer's recommendation, with about three-quarters of them trusting opinions they find on social media from friends, families and influencers.

If you want to get the most bang for your buck for influencer marketing, YouTubers should be at the top of your list. Unboxing videos, which are especially popular, are a perfect match for brands and influencers.

Unboxing the Backstory

Unboxing videos began to pop up on to the YouTube scene about 10 years ago and were particularly popular with the tech and gamer crowd. The unboxing concept was--and still is, pretty simple: someone buys a product and tapes themselves opening the package with an accompanying play-by-play. This includes commentary about the packaging, instructions, first impressions, and sampling. While unboxing videos were once driven by products such as phones, tablets and gaming consoles, you’ll now find just as many for beauty products, toys and subscription boxes with new items in every delivery.

For brands, being the subject of an unboxing video can yield great benefits. For one, it means someone is talking about your brand and products--and people are watching. And secondly, unboxing reviews play an important role in consumers’ pre-purchase online research.

The goal with your influencer gift is not just to provide influencers with a great product, but a package they will “o-o-h” and “a-h-h” over. Presentation matters, especially in a visual format like video. Here are some tips to transform your influencer gift into an unforgettable unboxing experience:

Tips to Create a Memorable Unboxing Experience

1. Be on-trend. Reusable, recycled, transparent, minimalist… whatever you choose, whether it’s a box or a poly mailer, make sure your packaging is what’s happening now. Being creative will go a long way in capturing your receiver’s attention.

2. Don’t be wasteful. No influencer has ever opened a huge corrugated cardboard box, pulled out a lipstick encased in bubble wrap and tissue paper and thought: brilliant! You’ll likely be chastised for your irresponsible packaging. Reducing packaging also means you’ll be saving money on materials and shipping while being good to the environment.

3. Personalize it. Do some research on your target influencers. Watch their videos and include something in their box that lets them know you’ve been paying attention. A bandana for their dog that often makes a cameo appearance in their videos, maybe? And if your product is makeup or fashion apparel, make sure to send the right shade or size.

4. Be strategic. Don’t just randomly toss items into a box. Consider how the package will be opened and place items purposefully in the order you want them revealed. Think of the end video and script your box exactly how you want it to play out. Use partitions, dividers and die cut inserts to create a crafty presentation.

5. Brand it. Remember why you’re sending influencer product gifts in the first place. Make sure your logo is front and center on your packaging. Try to use materials like Excelsior or air pillows in your brand’s colors and use branded stickers to hold tissue paper together. Your packaging should be consistent with all your marketing efforts and be 100 percent on-brand.

Not only can customizing and optimizing your packaging improve the perception of your brand, it can also save you money on shipping costs. So go ahead and gift an influencer—and follow our tips to make sure it’s a worthy experience they’ll want to share with their followers.

10 Tips for Choosing an Ecommerce Name

It’s been a long time coming, but you’ve finally decided to launch an online store. Congrats! If you have your brand and domain names figured out at this stage of the game, consider yourself fortunate. For most start-up shops, this task can bring up unexpected challenges. There are, however, things you can do when a choosing an ecommerce name to nip those challenges in the bud.

Before you settle on a brand name, for example, always consider the domain name. There’s nothing more discouraging than finding the perfect brand name, only to find out the domain name is taken. And they must go hand-in-hand; your URL is how customers will find your store online. If your brand name doesn’t come up in searches, you will lose valuable customers, traffic and sales.

Your ecommerce name is also set in stone, so to speak. Remember in June 2011 when the online retailer Overstock.com attempted to rebrand itself as O.co? By November, the company had already started restoring the original Overstock name to its website and social media channels following customer confusion. Your ecommerce name is not something that can easily be changed. Make sure the one you pick works on all fronts.

Here are some tips to consider when choosing an ecommerce name:

Be unique. Don’t emulate a competitor. Naming your toy business We "R" Toys, for example, only highlights a lack of creativity. Plus, your customers will see through your tactics and think of your business as playing second fiddle to a bigger brand.

Get creative. Zappos doesn’t exactly scream shoes, but they’ve made it stick. Not only is it quirky, but it’s easy for customers to remember. Same goes for the brand Etsy, which sees 15.6 million monthly unique visitors. Choosing a creative brand name also increases the likelihood the domain name will be available.

Keep it short. Finding a single-word domain is like hitting the jackpot. Not only is a short domain name easy to remember, it’s also easier for customers to type into a browser. Try to keep yours under three words.

Check domain availability. There are a few ways you can check a domain’s availability. You can type the URL into search or you can search for the domain on a site like Whois Lookup. If the domain you really want is taken, you do have the option to buy it. But before you contemplate buying a pre-purchased domain:

  • Check what it’s currently being used for. Does it have an active homepage? If so, you may be out of luck. If not, you can offer to buy it by contacting the owner directly.
  • Consider what you’re willing to pay for it. Depending on the domain name, you could be shelling out anywhere from $200 to $200,000.

Choose the right extension. There are so many extensions, such as .com, .org, .net, .co, and .us. For ecommerce, we recommend choosing .com for your top-level domain (TLD), as well as the countries you will be targeting (grab .ca if your target audience is based in Canada, for example).

Check for trademarks. Think you found the perfect name? Make sure it’s not already trademarked. You’ll want to be able to trademark your own name to stave off copyright problems in the future.

Search social media. Make sure your new brand name isn’t already taken on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If the handles are available, don’t wait to snatch them up. You can always delete the profiles if your name doesn’t pan out.

Keep it simple, stupid. Leave out odd letter substitutions (think “sk8ter”), which will make your domain hard to remember. This includes hyphens. Most importantly, make sure your domain is easy to spell and pronounce. Pronunciation matters with more and more people using voice search.

The bottom line? You want your brand name to match your domain name whenever possible. This will make it easier for customers to find your ecommerce business by typing your name into a search engine, browser address bar or by speaking.

The experience can be a bit frustrating, especially when it seems every idea you have is already taken. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your brand name. Use an online brand name generator like Name Mesh to get more ideas.

Above all, be patient. Your brand name is one of the most important steps when launching a new ecommerce business. Getting it right will be worth it in the long run.

The Benefits of Kitting Services for Ecommerce Businesses

If you outsource your distribution, warehousing or fulfillment services to a third-party logistics (3PL) company, chances are you are familiar with kitting services. Fulfillment Works, for example, provides an array of pick and pack and kitting services. Kitting services can effectively lower your shipping costs, speed up fulfillment and boost sales for your ecommerce business.

What Exactly Is Kitting?

In fulfillment, kitting is the bundling of individual items into ready-to-ship packages.

Let's say you’re an ecommerce merchant that specializes in men's grooming products, and your best-seller is your beard wash. You’ve noticed, however, that customers who purchase the beard wash also tend to buy conditioning oil and a comb. You decide to bundle your three items together as one shippable item with a unique SKU. That’s kitting!

While the components of a kit are often produced by different suppliers and require assembly, a 3PL provider can assemble them into prepackaged kits and fulfill them to a distribution list for you.

Why Should I Consider Kitting Services?

Kitting offers plenty of benefits, including:

Lower costs: Outsourcing your kitting means you won’t need to invest in warehouses, equipment, technology and staff. But whether you outsource or kit in-house, there are major cost advantages for sellers.

Kitting saves you money on shipping. Shipping three items individually, for example, is more expensive than bundling and shipping them in one package. And unlike random packages assembled from various SKUs, kits have a predetermined weight. Skipping weighing can save both time and money.

Faster assembly: Adding kitting services to your supply chain strategy means faster assembly of your products and faster order fulfillment for your customers.

Kitting services can include both on-demand and pre-assembled kits. Pre-assembled kits are assembled when the inventory arrives and are then warehoused, awaiting pick and pack order processing. On-demand kits, meanwhile, are created on demand during the pick and pack process.

Increased Sales: Kits are attractive to buyers, especially if you bundle products and accessories that complement each other. Plus, packaging and selling items together exposes your customers to products they may not have considered or known about.

Kits also make great gifts. If you don’t offer them year-round, consider offering holiday gift packs. Include value-added services such as gift wrapping and individual kitting options as added incentives.

To Kit or Not to Kit

Kitting is an easy way to lower costs, speed up order fulfilment and increase sales. Talk with your 3PL to find out how kitting can increase sales and warehouse efficiencies. You’ll also want to know:

  • Can pre-assembled kits be broken up into individual components with new SKUs if they don’t sell well?
  • If your kits outsell your individual products, can your 3PL create new kits with your in-stock components?
  • Does your 3PL perform spot-checks during the kitting process to assure the accuracy and quality of kits?

Fulfillment Works’ kitting services team can make whatever kind of unboxing experience you want to create happen.

Our kitting services include simple kits, where a few items are placed in a package, or complex kits that include several components to be placed in custom die-cut boxes with trays, custom inserts, wafer seals, custom wrapping--and just about anything else. Contact us to find out how we can create customized solutions for your ecommerce business.