Business Tips, Delivery Service, Holiday Season

Be Prepared For 4th Quarter with these Ecommerce Tips!

The fourth quarter represents the holiday season. It includes some of the biggest holidays of the year – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Buyers are looking to host the best parties, give the best gifts, eat the best food and will dig deep into their wallets to do so. Many retailers report that they do as much as 50% of their annual sales in the last 3 months of the year.

The fourth quarter is a crazy time of year for retailers, holiday shoppers, and travelers. It affects all aspects of business operations from managing inventory stock levels, to shipping lead times and customer experience.

Be Prepared

Why are people talking about Q4 now? In order to do 50% of your annual sales in the last quarter of the year a seller, large or small, needs to have inventory in stock, have a plan for getting items to buyers in a timely manner, along with providing quality products among others. Time is money, and the sooner you start to prepare for Q4 the better your sales will be.

1. Know your Ecommerce calendar

“In the US, the Christmas season usually tips off after Thanksgiving, but as retailers grow more aggressive in taking on e-commerce, they are introducing holiday promotions and advertising for the holiday season as early as September—a phenomenon the industry pegs the Christmas creep.” – Bisnow reports.

Q4 Ecommerce sales holidays calendar:

  • Halloween – Oct 31 (4th largest online sales holiday)
  • Thanks Giving – Nov 23 (average online spending of $400 per user)
  • Black Friday – Nov 24
  • Cyber Monday – Nov 27
  • Green Monday – Dec 11
  • Free Shipping Day – Dec 16 (largest online sales day in Dec)

You probably should be preparing for those dates weeks ago! It’s not only about discounts and promotions. It’s also about making the most of the season and avoiding any spectacular crashes or customer care failures.

2. Give Your Website a Holiday Makeover

Even small changes can make a difference to your customers. A temporary seasonal makeover will add holiday cheer and encourage your customers to shop more. Try adding some snowflakes, holly, or other festive decorations. While you’re at it, add a banner announcing holidays deals or specials.

3. Optimize for Mobile Customers

People now spend more time on the internet on a mobile device than on a desktop computer (51 percent versus 42 percent), so if you’re not optimizing for mobile users, you’re just driving potential customers to your competitors. In fact, not having a mobile-optimized site is like closing your store for one full day every week. How are you going to capitalize on those limited offerings if you can’t reach the on-the-move crowd?

4. Run Limited Time Offers

Holiday selling is a great time for flash sales. Limited time offers create urgency and encourage customers to buy. Try using this tactic on slow-moving items as well as some from your best-seller list. By following these holiday selling tips you’ll likely increase your items sold, and you may be able to keep those slow-moving products from gathering dust.

5. Offer Special Promos to Loyal Customers

The holiday season is the perfect time to reward your loyal customers with deals that you’re not offering everyone. The gift of discount codes or free shipping is a great reward, and an enticement to shop more. Your social media channels are a good place to find your loyal customers. If they follow you on social media, you can reasonably assume they’re a fan of your brand. Post an exclusive promo code to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to let your most loyal customers know you appreciate their support.

6. Highlight Deals on Social Media

Speaking of social media, make sure that your followers know what you are offering this holiday season by highlighting your new products across your channels. It’s a way to advertise your gift guides, limited-time offers, and shipping discounts as well!

7. Ecommerce Marketing Automation

Traffic peak is coming. Surely not every user will complete their shopping experience. Automate abandoned cart recovery. Sign those users up for a newsletter or an automated product recommendation. Dig that traffic gold to maximize your returns on Ecommerce investments. Or loose out on over 90% of traffic which does not convert into sales.

United Delivery Service makes deliveries happen faster for businesses and consumers. We’ve developed a Midwest network positioned to enhance the speed and flexibility of last-mile delivery. We help consumers get products more quickly while lowering the cost of distribution for the businesses they buy from. Contact us today 630-930-5201. http://www.uniteddeliveryservice.com/index.html 

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Business Tips

Communicate Better with Your Coworkers at the Office.

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You’d think we’d all be master communicators. All we do all day long is communicate. Talking, chatting, texting, emailing. Yet despite how often we do it, there’s always room for improvement.

Effectively communicating with coworkers is something you cannot afford to overlook. There are many things which can make or break the success of a company, and communication is certainly one of them. Despite the important role clear communication plays in the workplace, there are many employees that have not been trained in effectively communicating with coworkers.

7 Ways to Communicate Better with Your Coworkers:

1. Don’t bury the lede

Whatever your main point is, start there. If you need something, ask for it clearly. Be direct. Be concise.

2. Be a better listener

Effective communication, by definition, is a two-way street. Start out by making sure you’re hearing the message others are trying to deliver to you.

Don’t try to multi-task while someone’s trying to get information into your brain. Stop thinking about how you’re going to respond. Just listen, or slow down and really read the entire email, don’t skim it.

You can only respond effectively if you understand clearly what they’re trying to say. If they’re not being clear, ask them.

3. Understand your personal communication style

We all have our own communication preferences regarding the words and media we use. We’re also communicating nonverbal information through our tone and body language. Are you an eye-roller? Do you insist on including emojis in every thread? Do you speak in acronyms or corporate jargon? Do you ramble on about your pet peeves or memories of past times before getting to the point?

Take a good look at your own communication style preferences, strengths, and weaknesses. Don’t just listen to others. Listen to yourself. We all have pet phrases we get into the habit of using. Do those phrases help or hurt our message? Do they help people listen to us more attentively or tune us out?

Does your language build bridges? Encourage conversations? Inspire ideas? Or do people shut down? Ignore you? Talk over / past / around you? These are all clues as to whether or not your coworkers value you and what you have to say.

When you see that your message isn’t getting across, don’t automatically assume the recipient is the communication obstacle. It might be you. If it keeps happening, figure out how you can connect better with this person or in the specific setting. And that’s the key: create a connection, find a common thread you can both relate to authentically.

4. Respect people’s preferred communication methods/tools

We have so many communication options now. Almost too many. Everyone has their preferred medium. Respect that. If someone is notorious for not digging through long email threads, don’t expect them to find the question you asked of them if it’s buried inside your latest tome.

Do you have a coworker who never answers their phone? Stop calling. She’s probably communicating to you through some other tool. Use it.

5. Pick your moments

This one is so important. Sometimes it’s not how you’re saying it – the problem is when it’s being said.

If you’re concerned someone isn’t pulling their weight or making some mistake, raise it directly with them, not in public at the team meeting. Don’t assume the urgent issue you need to resolve right now is someone else’s priority. They have their own urgent issues, so don’t charge at them or send all-CAPS messages demanding a response right now.

Other bad moments? How about the all-hours emails and calls? An “always open” work environment wears people down.

Last, have some empathy for someone who’s stressed out. We all go there. Make some allowances when someone is obviously having a bad day. Even for those who are master communicators – stress can make idiots of us all. So learn when to give someone a break. Give it a rest. Your urgency doesn’t make it their urgency. Let the stressful time pass, and then make your request. You may discover it will happen all that much faster, and with less drama.

6. Build relationships, but stay professional

Of course there’s room to talk about non-work stuff with coworkers. We want to. We want to get along with and find common ground with the people we work with Everyone wants to feel connected to their coworkers to some degree. Getting personal at the right times helps us see coworkers as individuals, as real people with feelings.

But there’s personal and there’s personal. Don’t cross professional lines. A team chat channel isn’t Sunday brunch. No one wants to hear about your love life. TMI. It’s easy to cross this line with our business digital tools, since they feel and act like our social digital spaces. We need to remember they’re not appropriate for personal communication.

7. Stay constructive

When you do have to deliver a difficult message, stay constructive. The goal in communicating this message is to get a better result. Embarrassing someone or getting aggressive with them isn’t going to lead to a better result. No one shows up wanting to do a bad job.

8. Address mistakes

Whenever there’s a miscommunication that’s in the way of progress, address it quickly. Letting it fester doesn’t make future communications any easier.

Always be the first to admit whenever you’ve made a mistake. Apologize sincerely. Fix the mistake as best you can. By the same token, if someone else makes a mistake, don’t rub it in. Be gracious. Learn to forgive. Because holding on to anger only hurts you — not them.

As you work to improve your own communication skills, keep one guiding principle in mind: treat others with respect and consideration (aka “don’t be a jerk”). If you can master that, people will definitely be more open to what you’re saying.

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Business Tips, Delivery Service

Real Time Visibility with VPOD

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Real Time Package Visibility through the use of our own proprietary technology such as geocodes, GPS, mapping API’s and other technologies, UDS can offer total visibility into the delivery process.  The importance of proof of delivery in the shipping business cannot be understated.  As an owner or operator of a small business, the benefits of proof of delivery are invaluable.  UDS offers innovative technology,  seamless integration proprietary software with real time tracking barcode scanning VPOD / VPOA GPS / GEO Coded Load Balance & Optimization.  Real-Time Tracking (imported, received, out for delivery, delivered) exception tracking (i.e.: damaged, short, delayed) electronic signatures, VPOD, VPOA (visual proof of attempt) GPS reading.

United Delivery Service provides expertise that can deliver competitive advantages for your company through our proprietary software technology.

Visual Proof Of Delivery (VPOD) & Visual Proof Of Attempt (VPOA) With online ordering growing by record numbers, UDS continues to be an innovator in technology and providing delivery assurance to its customers. Company drivers take photos of the packages when they are delivered to residences and are viewable by your customer service team. Visual Proof Of Delivery (VPOD) or Visual Proof Of Attempt (VPOA) technology is a unique advantage for both the shipper and recipient.     Call Customer Service: 630-930-5201

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Business Tips, Delivery Service

Get Motivated & More Productive!

Ways to increase your motivation in your career if you’re struggling lately!

Employee motivation is at an all-time low right now because they aren’t doing work that takes advantage of their strengths and passions. Employees feel stuck doing their job because of a bad economy or just bad luck. They simply don’t know how to get motivated and remain motivated at the office. This is a big challenge because if you can’t motivate yourself, you will end up slacking off and not delivering on your project commitments, which could end up getting you laid off in the long run.  Here are six ways to get motivated in your own work so you can become as productive as possible and achieve a higher level of success at your company:

1. Concentrate on one goal at a time. Most people try to multi-task but find it hard to get anything done. If you write down one goal to accomplish each day, it’s much easier to be focused and more motivated. When you have multiple goals, it can be very hard to be motivated because you are overloaded and you don’t feel like you can do them all. When that happens, you feel like you’re a failure or lazy, both of which are probably not true. You just don’t have enough energy to do everything. Every time you finish a goal, check it off and move to a new one. Eventually, all of your goals will be checked off and you would be able to give your complete attention to each so the quality would be better.

2. Choose the right goals. You will be very motivated if you select goals that you’re excited about. It will be easy to put the time and energy into a goal that you’re really interested in, over one you’re just doing because you have to. Basically, you are more motivated if you are working towards something that you genuinely want to do or achieve. If you are forced to do goals that aren’t of particular interest, which happens a lot in the workplace, then find things that interest you within them. Sometimes you have to do work that you don’t like in order to get work that you do like.

3. Schedule breaks in your day. If you are constantly working you will get burned out and then your productivity will be zapped. Make sure you schedule regular breaks for yourself so that you can loosen up and recover the energy that you had lost. Tell yourself that you’re going to take ten minutes off after you complete a certain amount of work. For your breaks, you could take lunch, go get a coffee, run a short errand, just walk around or just talk to others at the office.

4. Get a support group. It’s important that you have other people who want you to be motivated just as much as you want yourself to be, and you can help them too. Get the support of your manager and co-workers so that they are holding you accountable and offer yourself as a member of their support group too. If a member of your support group sees that you’re fooling around at work or you’re slouching, they should go over to you and check in to help you get your motivation back.

5. Change your environment. If you don’t feel motivated it could be that there are too many distractions in your current environment. If you’re sitting in a cubicle every day, try to work in a conference room or even at home. Talk to your manager about the different options and see if that new environment helps you get more work done faster. If anything else, it will feel good to work from a different area and you won’t be as bored.

6. Have something to look forward to. When you know something good is coming up in your life, it’s easier to get motivated. That something could be a vacation you are planning, a night out with friends, a major conference or wedding or just a bigger project that you know is coming up. If you don’t have anything on the horizon, then start planning because that will make you push yourself harder.

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Business Tips, Delivery Service

5 Reasons Why Your eCommerce Business Should Ship with UDS!

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Your business is growing and your shipping needs are changing. There is allot to consider when choosing a shipping company that is right for your business.  Let United Delivery Service give you 5 reasons they are worth considering.

Meeting Diverse Needs

We strive to partner with progressive companies and to provide a high level delivery solution that will meet or exceed your customers’ highest expectations. UDS has tailored its solutions to specific industry requirements, ranging from pharmaceutical to floral and Residential to B2B. Our operation, as well as our software, can scale to handle the needs of small and large businesses alike.

Knowledgable & Responsive Staff

From Customer Service Representatives to Warehouse Personnel to Drivers, UDS understands that our staff is not only a reflection of our company, but also of yours. Through training, monitoring and audits, we continually strive to ensure that our staff is providing the best service possible. We have processes in place to ensure that staff is notified of any changes to regulations or customer SOP. We maintain a standard of excellence in our people, technology and service.

Flexible Solutions

At UDS, we chose to build our own technology, allowing us to quickly adapt to the growing technological needs of the industry. This allows for flexibility and responsiveness during integrations.More importantly, we can continually offer our customers the most advanced technology available, such as GPS and imaging technology and other integral tools to help pinpoint your deliveries. These technologies bring you total visibility into the delivery process.

Our services have been designed to offer flexibility as well. A single service may not suit the needs of every customer. Our Same Day, Next Day and Customized Routed services offer flexible options. Our services may be customized or combined to offer a complete shipping solution for your company.

VPOD

Real Time Package Visibility Through the use of our own proprietary technology such as geocodes, GPS, mapping API’s and other technologies, UDS can offer total visibility into the delivery process. Innovative Technology Seamless Integration Proprietary Software Real Time Tracking Barcode Scanning VPOD / VPOA GPS / GEO Coded Load Balance & Optimization.Real-Time Tracking (imported, received, out for delivery, delivered) exception tracking (i.e. damaged, short, delayed) electronic signatures, VPOD, VPOA (visual proof of attempt) GPS reading.

Delivery Solutions

UDS has developed successful delivery solutions for various key industries over the past forty years. Together we can find a solutions that will work right for your company.

We offer options ranging from overnight delivery to customized routing solutions: Real-time package tracking and reporting, 24/7/365 customer support personnel, electronic signature capture, GPS, VPOD, VPOA, same day, next day, scheduled /static route solutions & transportation service solutions throughout the midwest.

United Delivery Service makes deliveries happen faster for businesses and consumers. We’ve developed a Midwest network positioned to enhance the speed and flexibility of last-mile delivery. We help consumers get products more quickly while lowering the cost of distribution for the businesses they buy from. Contact Us at http://www.uniteddeliveryservice.com/

 

 

 

 

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Business Tips, Delivery Service

How to Survive Office Politics!

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One of the greatest challenges people in the workplace face is avoiding negativity. Nothing can turn an enthusiastic mood around more quickly or throw a wet blanket on the creative fires on the job than a solid dose of downer energy from someone you work with. In fact, it should be viewed as the number one work hazard to avoid at all costs.

Office politics will never go away. It’s a fact of company life. However, destructive office politics can demoralize an organization, hamper productivity, and increase turnover. Here are some tips, applicable for both staff and management, on dealing with office politics.

#1: Live at peace with others

The easiest way to avoid problems with politics is to get along with people. I’m not saying you need to hug everyone and sing songs, and I’m not saying you have to be a pushover for everyone. You can be pleasant and professional, while at the same time being assertive when necessary. If you have a concern, focus only on the issue, not on the person. If you have to refuse a request, explain why and try to come up with alternative solutions.

Living at peace with others also means being careful about choosing sides during office power struggles. Aligning yourself with one faction or the other will prevent you from working effectively with people from the “other” side, thereby hampering your productivity and thus your performance. It’s even worse if “your” faction loses out. Instead, try to focus on your tasks, dealing with people in either faction on the basis of the tasks alone, and avoid talk on the political issue that separates the groups.

#2: Don’t talk out of school

Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead.

— Benjamin Franklin

Does your organization have issues? Have people told you things in confidence? Then keep those matters to yourself. Talking to outsiders about issues within your organization makes all of you look bad to that outsider. Furthermore, your boss or your boss’s boss will not appreciate that behavior. People will find out that you spoke about what they told you, and they’ll lose confidence in you and respect for you.

#3: Be helpful

We all have responsibilities and objectives, and those things should receive priority. Nonetheless, if it doesn’t take too much time, being helpful to others can reap benefits for you. Does someone need a ride in the direction you live? Did your co-worker leave headlights on in the parking lot? Is someone having trouble building an Excel macro? If you can help that person, especially if you can do so without taking too much of your time, you benefit yourself as well as the other person. By doing these things, you’re building political capital and loyalty. In doing so, you reduce the chances that you will be the victim of political intrigue.

#4: Stay away from gossip

I never repeat gossip, so listen carefully.

— Old joke

Nothing destroys the dynamics of an office more than gossip. Stay away from it, because nothing good comes from it. Just be sure you avoid the “holier than thou” attitude of lecturing your co-workers on the evils of gossip. You’ll make them lose face, and they’ll resent you. Instead, try subtly changing the subject. For example, suppose the group is talking about Jane’s problems with her child, and of course Jane is absent from the group. Do some free association and try to come up with some topic that’s related to Jane or her child, but won’t involve gossip. Then, make a comment about that topic.

For instance, suppose you know that Jane’s child is involved in a sports league. Mention this fact, thereby linking the child and the league. Then, shift the conversation so that you’re now talking about the league rather than Jane’s child. You could ask when schedules will be published, or if they need parent volunteers. If you do it right, no one will even notice that you’ve moved them away from the gossip.

#5: Stay out of those talk-down-the-boss sessions

Suppose your co-workers start complaining about the boss. If you join in, it makes you look disloyal to the boss. If you don’t, it looks awkward in the group. What can you do? As with the situation of gossip, try changing the subject by linking the boss to another topic, then talking about that topic instead. Or you could simply respond to your co-workers with a smile and a tongue-in-cheek, “Come on, aren’t we exaggerating? [name of boss] really isn’t THAT bad.” Be careful, though, because it could be taken as an admission by you that the boss is bad.

#6: Be a straight arrow

The best way to keep out of trouble politically is to be seen as someone who doesn’t play office politics — in other words, a straight arrow. Do what you say you’re going to do, alert people to problems, and admit your mistakes. Others will respect you, even if they don’t always agree with you. More important, you have a lower chance of being a victim of politics.

#7: Address the “politics” issue openly when appropriate

Tell people you’re not interested in scoring political points but only in getting the job done. It might not work, but unless you bring the matter up, there’s no chance at all that they will believe you. So if a co-worker is unavailable, and you have to act on that person’s behalf, consider saying to that person, “I had to act because of your absence. I wasn’t trying to go behind your back and I wasn’t trying to show you up.”

#8: Document things

Nothing saves a job or career more than having a written record. If you believe a matter will come back to haunt you, make sure you keep a record of the matter, either via e-mail or document. Documentation is also an effective way to highlight of your own accomplishments, which can help you when your performance evaluation is conducted.

#9: Set incentives to foster teamwork

If you’re a manager or senior executive, take a close look at your incentives. Are you unwittingly setting up your staff to work against each other? Do your metrics address only individual departments, or do they also address how departments could benefit the larger organization?

If you reward employees in a department based only on how well that department does, you may inadvertently cause destructive competition among departments. Each one will be competing against every other one, and all the departments could end up in a worse position. To minimize this possibility, give employees incentives based not only on department results but on organization results as well. That way, employees from different departments have more motivation to work together and less motivation to engage in destructive politics.

#10: Set an example for your staff

People in an organization look to leadership to see how to act. Do you want your staff to refrain from negative politics? Do you want to see collaboration and teamwork instead of petty rivalries, jealousy, and back-stabbing? Act the way you want your staff to act, and they will follow you.

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Business Tips, Delivery Service

Saving Money on Shipping Costs!

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 1.11.44 PMShipping merchandise can be one of the most complicated operations for any business. Poor or no planning can result in owners overpaying, as well as losing sales if the company can’t provide consistent and cost-effective delivery to customers.

For businesses that don’t often send larger shipments of several pallets at a time or can’t afford to hire a logistics provider to manage its shipping services, developing a set of guidelines can be essential.

Have a minimum purchase value for free shipping

Offer free shipping with a minimum purchase order value. Avoid offering free shipping with a minimum number of purchased items because in that case, the customer may buy low-priced items just to qualify for free shipping. That does not quite bring you a lot of money.  According to the surveying firm Comscore, 75% of online shoppers in Canada tend to buy additional stuff, even if unnecessary, to attain the stipulated minimum purchase limit and qualify for free shipping.

Negotiate with carriers for better rates

That is common sense, isn’t it? Lower shipping rates will mean higher profitability. You might be a great negotiator, but from the carriers’ perspective, they need good incentives to offer you lower rates — incentives that make sound business sense to them. Commit to give higher shipping volumes to carriers and they might be happy to give you lower rates. And it would not be a bad idea to include inbound shipping to the assignment list of the carriers.

Use reward points from business debit and credit cards

Ecommerce retailers usually make payments for bulk product purchases with their business debit and credit cards. Over time, the ecommerce retailer earns huge reward points for the purchases made, usually in the form of Visa or MasterCard gift cards. You can easily utilize these gift cards to pay for shipping charges, provided your carrier accepts the cards. In most cases, most carriers do.

Adjust product price based on product cube value

Carriers’ shipping rates usually depend on the space your product is occupying on the shipping vehicle, other than on the product weight. So, you may be losing some money on shipping large but lightweight items. Items such as a large box of pillows may be lightweight but occupy a lot of space on the shipping vehicle. So, you should smartly price especially the potentially large but lightweight items so that you do not lose money on shipping.

Know where you’re shipping

If you primarily ship to one specific region, a regional carrier like United Delivery Services, may be your best bet. Regional carriers often provide lower rates than national shipping carrieres because they cover a small geographic area. United Delivery Service began in the Chicago Metro area more than 40 years ago. They quickly recognized that many of thier  clients needed service outside the area for their Residential and B2B solutions. They added On Demand, Route Distribution, and customized routing services to expand their reach across the Midwest. As a Midwest Regional Carrier, UDS provides customers with cost savings, flexibility and personalized service that national carriers can’t match.

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