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, 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

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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Business Tips

Keeping It Positive in the Workplace!

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It’s easy to get bogged down with the daily grind of work, but it’s important to stay positive when you’re on the clock. Even if your boss isn’t the type to pat you on the back, there are ways to keep from being bummed out every morning when your alarm goes off. It’s easy to be positive in a positive environment. It’s when things are emotionally draining and negative that you’re challenged to behave differently.

These easy tips will help you stay positive at work.

1. Keep learning.

Just because you’re not in school anymore and you have a job, you don’t have to stop learning. On-the-job education is the best way to build up your resume. Learn as much as you can from every work experience you have, from presenting during a meeting to giving a tour of your workplace to outsiders. If you don’t have a chance to learn from new things, ask your coworkers or bosses if you can accompany them when they do their duties, and learn about what they do.

2. Teach others what you know.

You want to accompany others when they do their jobs, so offer that opportunity to your coworkers. Instead of helping them out only when they ask, offer to teach them what you know so they won’t have to call you all of the time. It might feel good to be needed (talk about job security!), but when you have your own list of tasks to do, being called to help someone else can be inconvenient. You know what they say: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime.”

3. Give yourself a break.

You’re on the clock for eight hours a day, and you’re expected to work that entire time, but you can’t really do that. Trying to work nonstop means you’re wearing yourself out, and each subsequent task you do will get a little sloppier as you lose focus and motivation. Take a short break every hour or two. Step away from your desk and stretch, get some fresh air. You might spend five to fifteen minutes not working, but you’ll feel so refreshed by the time you come back to your office that you’ll be ready to get to work immediately.

4. Leave work at work.

It’s important to have time to yourself, your family, and your hobbies. If you work for eight hours, clock out, and then come home to do more work, you’re not going to be excited to go back to work the next day. Make a rule where you have to leave your work at the office. If you don’t complete a task while you’re clocked in, make it a priority for the next morning, but leave it at work. It’s hard not to even think about work while you’re at home because it’s such a large portion of your life, but give it a try. The more you put it out of your mind, the more rejuvenated you’ll feel each morning when it’s time to go back to the office.

5. Build relationships with coworkers.

Your work environment will be more comfortable and fun if you’re friendly with your coworkers. You don’t have to know every detail of their personal lives, or even the names of their children, but having a good back and forth with coworkers, bosses, and associates will make your workplace more inviting. Having a friendly community at work will also make you feel more supported in your work duties, which can help cut stress levels.

6. Participate in after-work activities.

When the clock strikes five, you’re more than ready to go home, but don’t let this attitude take over and leave you out of work events. If some of the crew are going out for dinner or drinks, tag along every once in awhile. This helps build a community in the workplace, and you’ll feel more connected to your coworkers. After all, you might still be with work people, but you won’t be at work, so you’ll still feel like you’re having time outside of the office for yourself.

7. Make your workplace nice.

Whether you have an office, a cubicle, a classroom, or a desk in the middle of a crowded room, make your workplace nice! Check with your boss to see what kind of decorations are allowed, and then bring in some posters that motivate you, or family pictures that make you smile. Even something as small as bringing in your own coffee mug instead of using a Styrofoam cup can make your desk seem more homey. Sitting in an environment that looks nice and makes you feel good will do wonders for your motivation.

8. Volunteer to spearhead a project.

Instead of waiting to be assigned a project and getting stuck with something you might not like, why not volunteer to take on a project? This way you’ll have more control over your tasks and you’ll look great to your bosses. They’ll be thrilled that you’ve willingly taken on more work, and will be more likely to consider you for the best of future projects and maybe even promotions.

9. Concentrate on one thing at a time.

You have a lot of things on your To Do list, but concentrating on one thing at a time will help you be more motivated and focused. If you stay on task until it’s finished, you won’t lose time by multitasking or changing course from one topic to another. By concentrating on one thing at a time, you also are more likely to complete more tasks fully, instead of doing bits and pieces of a bunch of different projects but not finishing any.

10. Set attainable goals.

Instead of setting your sights on the moon, set attainable work goals. It’s good to have dreams, but if you dream too big and don’t make it, you might be discouraged when it comes to accomplishing other goals. If you set attainable goals and meet them, you’ll be more inspired to set more goals you can reach.

And don’t forget to  Smile when you greet your coworkers and clients. Smile when you walk down the hall. Smile even when you don’t want to smile, and see how much it improves your days! Smiling even if you don’t feel happy will make you feel better, and seeing a smile on your face will make others feel better, too!

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Business Tips, Uncategorized

Being Self Motivated at Work

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Self-motivation is a power that drives us to keep moving ahead. It encourages continuous learning and success, whatever be the scenario. Self-motivation is a primary means of realizing our goals and progressing. It is basically related to our inventiveness in setting dynamic goals for ourselves, and our faith that we possess the required skills and competencies for achieving those challenging goals. We often feel the need for self-motivation. No one can motivate anyone to do anything. All a person can do for another is
provide them with incentives to motivate themselves. Here are ten very effective
strategies to help you get up and get moving toward actualizing your enormous,
untapped potential.

  • Communicate and talk to get motivated: Communicating with someone can boost up your energy and make you go on track. Talk with optimistic and motivated individuals. They can be your colleagues, friends, wife, or any one with whom you can share your ideas.
  • Remain optimistic: When facing hurdles; we always make efforts to find how to overcome them. Also, one should understand the good in bad.
  • Discover your interest area: If you lack interest in current task, you should not proceed and continue with it. If an individual has no interest in the task, but if it is essential to perform, he should correlate it with a bigger ultimate goal.
  • Self-acknowledgement: One should know when his motivation level is saturated and he feels like on top of the world. There will be a blueprint that once an individual acknowledge, he can proceed with his job and can grow.
  • Monitor and record your success: Maintain a success bar for the assignments you are currently working on. When you observe any progress, you will obviously want to foster it.
  • Uplift energy level: Energy is very essential for self-motivation. Do regular exercises. Have proper sleep. Have tea/coffee during breaks to refresh you.
  • Assist, support and motivate others: Discuss and share your views and ideas with your friends and peers and assist them in getting motivated. When we observe others performing good, it will keep us motivated too. Invite feedback from others on your achievements.
  • Encourage learning: Always encourage learning. Read and grasp the logic and jist of the reading. Learning makes an individual more confident in commencing new assignments.
  • Break your bigger goals into smaller goals: Set a short time deadline for each smaller goal so as to achieve bigger goal on time.

 

The real tragedy in life is not in how much we suffer, but rather in how much we
miss, so don’t miss a thing.

Charles Dubois once said, “We must be prepared, at any moment, to sacrifice who we are for who we are capable of becoming.”

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Business Tips, Uncategorized

Tips on How to Deal with Difficult People in the Workplace!

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A grumpy boss, whiny colleague or a petulant customer: all recognizable characters from the everyday drama of work. Modern workplaces can be stressful, so it’s perhaps not surprising that it doesn’t always bring out the best in people. Thankfully fistfights at work are rare. However, we’ve probably all experienced a time when the destructive behavior of a colleague or boss has left us reeling.

So if there is someone behaving badly in your workplace, here are some tips to help.

Remember that we’re all human

It’s important to remember that we all have off days and times in our life when things are trickier, and this may on occasion lead us to be less than lovely to people at work. So patience and some time may be all that is needed for the individual to get themselves through a sticky patch. Rather than a knee-jerk response to their bad behavior, instead ask them how they are as you want to make sure they are OK. This is incredibly disarming – and as they see that your aim is to be supportive and not a threat, they may well decide to see you as an ally rather than an adversary.

Be upfront with others

Some people are not very self-aware so maybe you just need to tell them constructively what the problem is or what you need from them. For instance, if a colleague is making barbed comments in your direction, then take them to one side, and ask them why. They’ll either be apologetic as they genuinely didn’t realise it was a problem, or they’ll make some excuse or even try to counter-accuse. Either way, they’ll know it will be risky for them to attempt this again without you hauling them up on it and perhaps escalating it further.

Manage your expectations

It might be a customer making unreasonable demands, your colleague expecting emails to be answered at midnight or your boss continually dumping urgent work on your desk just as you are heading for the exit. Choose a quiet moment when you can talk to them about their expectations and agree on how you can best work together, including what you can and can’t do, realistic timeframes and, if needed, a system for dealing with urgent issues. Having this conversation ahead of time enables a far more rational discussion about what’s needed, rather than one in the heat of a last-minute panic.

Be tolerant of different approaches

Every team needs a mix of different personalities and approaches – the pessimist who will point out the flaw in the plan, the ideas person who challenges the status quo, the “do-er” who is impatient with discussion and wants to get things happening. So maybe your nemesis at work is simply someone whose approach is different from yours. Your styles may clash but that doesn’t mean to say they are dysfunctional – in fact it might be just what the team needs.

Observe them closely. How does their approach compare with yours? Are they a detailed person, glass half full or empty, task orientated or relationship focused? Then adjust your style when you communicate with them. For example, if they tend to be a nitpicking pessimist, then they may be more receptive to your ideas if you focus on which might be the least worst of possible scenarios and supply lots of detail. Read up on neuro-linguistic programming to find out how to build rapport and influence the thinking of individuals with very different thinking styles.

Handle aggression assertively

If someone is being highly aggressive with you, either verbally or physically, then regardless of who they are it’s OK to walk away or say that you are going to put the phone down – and that you will return when they have calmed down. No one at work has the right to compromise your sense of personal safety and wellbeing through engendering physical or psychological fear.

Be mindful of psychological health issues

When an individual continually behaves in a way that is problematic or destructive, then the roots often lie deeper than whatever is happening at work. People are complex and it’s worth remembering that according to Mind statistics, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year. So where their behavior seems emotionally charged or oddly disproportionate to the issue at hand, it may be that there are more deep-seated psychological issues at play.

Sometimes just keeping your cool, using logic and rational argument will be sufficient to de-escalate a situation. However, someone needs to have an honest and supportive conversation with them about what is happening. This may be you or you may need to bring it to the attention of someone else in the organisation to deal with. Organisations on the whole are becoming more aware of their responsibilities to support individuals with mental health issues.

Seek alternative methods as a last resort

Where you’ve tried everything you can to improve a difficult relationship at work but the individual still seems hell-bent on making you miserable, then it’s time to look at your options. You could try to ride it out, forge some allies, avoid them where you can and become adept at “covering your back”. You could consider raising a grievance or formal complaint about their behaviour but these rarely end in dismissal so you may still find yourself working with them – and yes, they going to be very angry with you.

The sad reality is that sometimes you come across individuals at work who are psychopathic in their behaviour. Utterly ruthless, these individuals are incredibly resilient, fearless and not constrained by ethics or a moral code. Beware if they have you in their sights, because they are smart, manipulative, very plausible and have no compunction about causing damage.

By the time you’ve wised up to their true behaviour they may already have engineered to get rid of you or beaten you into submission. Will you win against them – unlikely! At least not unless you are prepared to play a similar no holds barred game. It might just be better to run and don’t look back.

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Uncategorized

Stay on Target by setting your 2015 Goals Today!

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Every small business owner, regardless of where they are in the business life cycle, needs goals to keep them moving forward, get motivated to do more, and maintain the success of their businesses.

Goal setting can follow many different processes, and each one can be successful as long as it defines the long- and short-term goals and devises a plan for getting there.

Goal setting is an important part of starting and growing a small business. In fact, goal setting can play an important role in many different parts of your business, from starting a business, to marketing, to sales, to succession planning. Goals provide direction, motivation and a clear way to measure your forward-moving progress.

Without goals, and a process for tracking your goals, you may have difficulty seeing the big picture and staying focused. Goal setting helps you build a bridge that can guide you from where you are right now to where you want to be.

The tips below will help you get started with goal setting for your business, focus on the specifics of what you hope to accomplish, and start to put your plan into action.

 

Step 1: Start with a Dreamdream-big

The first stage of goal setting is about considering everything you dream of accomplishing. It doesn’t need to be realistic at this point, so avoid limiting your thought process to what you think may actually be possible. Now is the time to consider every possibility, as if there are no boundaries.

To get started, grab a piece of paper and think about where you want to be in one year, five years and ten years. Don’t worry about how you will get there, just write down every possibility — big and small.

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Step 2: Brainstorm the Possibilities

Once you’ve written down your clearest dreams, it’s time for a brainstorming session to access some of the ideas lurking in your subconscious.

You can follow any brainstorming method that is most effective for you. If you get stuck, here are a few brainstorming processes to try:

  • Brain Dump – Let your mind take off and write down everything that you think of, whether or not it makes complete sense at this stage.
  • List Making – Focus on one significant idea at a time and create an outline of all of the possible goals that may be part of each larger idea.
  • Mind Mapping – Start with one idea, then use words and drawings to create a map of related ideas.

Step 3: Sort the Options

The next step involves taking all of the dreams and ideas you have down on paper from Steps 1 and 2 and making sense of them. It’s useful to sort your ideas into a few categories, based on measures that are important to you.

For example, you might create categories based on your priorities, ranking your ideas by how important they are in your life. You could also categorize your ideas based on:

  • Attainability
  • Time commitment required
  • Financial impact
  • Desirability

The categories you create for your ideas isn’t as important as the process of creating a way to sort them.

Once you create meaningful categories, and start to put your ideas into groups, you may be surprised at how much overlap there is. In some cases, once this step is complete, you may find that you have a few consistent themes that continue to reappear in the process. This is a sign that you are on the right track in identifying your most important goals.

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Step 4: Create a Plan

After Step 3, you should be able to identify one or two loose business goals that you want to focus on (if not, go back and start brainstorming again). SMART goal setting — which means setting goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based — is a powerful way to move your rough goals from abstract ideas into specific action steps.

The action plan you create for accomplishing your goals should define specific actions you need to take to reach your goal, while placing a focus on why the goal is important to you and what it will mean to you once you achieve it.

Step 5: Focus on Today

Striving toward a specific business goal can be overwhelming, but if you have broken the goal down into bite-sized chunks as suggested in Step 4, then you should be able to take a series of small, digestible steps each day to get closer to your goal.

While you don’t want to lose sight of the big picture, if you take an ambitious goal one step at a time, one day at a time, you will start to build momentum and confidence in yourself, and with steady and purposeful progress, you will reach your destination.

Here’s to a great 2015 with endless possibilities and opportunities!

Call United Delivery Service today and find out how we can save you money all year long! 630.930.5201 http://www.uniteddeliveryservice.com//

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