8 Tips on Building an E-commerce Website

Building an eCommerce site from the ground up is not an easy process no matter where you fall on the spectrum of technical skills. In this blog, I’m going to walk you through 8 tips that I learned along the way of building several ebsites from small to enterprise. Are you ready? Let’s go.

Build Partnerships with Vendors

As you set up your eCommerce business, you will need to establish partnerships with vendors to help you along the way. This is a crucial link to your success. When you partner with the right tech vendor, they become an asset to you in the future as you grow alongside each other. For instance, you can offer a case study, and they can utilize your market to help you create your brand.

Choosing the Right Tech

They say the best diet is not the most popular one, but rather it’s the one that you can stick to. The same is true for technology. Just because certain hardware, software, or online platforms are popular may not mean it’s the best fit for you. Do your research and compare tech against the points that matter most to you. If possible, see if there is a free trial period to test something out before committing.

What’s Included

Make sure that whichever platform you choose for your eCommerce site has plugins and integrations for all the tools you need. This means everything from tracking your inventory to setting up a seamless checkout process for clients online. Having everything connected, tested, and working is critical before you launch your site.

Product Content Strategy

You’ve got your software picked out, your site up and running, and a workflow established. Awesome, now you need to make some sales and run your business. How? By having a solid product content strategy in place. This is how you will establish your brand and market your new business. Establish a presence on social media and if you need help, hire someone to manage it for you. They can create a brand and posts and help you get the word out. This will build your following, email list, and overall conversions aka sales.

Roadmap of Releases

Next, you’ll want to create a roadmap of releases. You can create this for the whole year at once and break it down quarterly. This way you know when you’ll have sales and what you need to prepare for in terms of ordering inventory and getting the word out. You can prepare to release new features and alternate ways to deliver and differentiate your business from the competition

Tech Integrators

Hire people who not only know what they’re doing in terms of tech but ones who are as invested in your project as you are. If you hire someone who’s only in it for the money, chances are you won’t be able to rely on them when you have an issue or really need help. Be sure to fully vet all potential prospects you hire in terms of outsourcing help.

Negotiate

Negotiate everything. Don’t be a pushover when it comes to establishing partnerships, cost, price, and more. If you’re going to be successful in eCommerce, knowing how to negotiate is an important piece of the puzzle. If you’re new to it, do some research online and practice with a friend or yourself in a mirror before in-person negotiations take place.

Conclusion

There you have it. The above is what I learned and employ in my journey of building and running an eCommerce business. In a world that is progressively moving online, I hope this helped you to establish your corner of the market.

The Importance of Private Label in Retail

A private label brand offers a merchandiser the opportunity to sell a product without the worry of manufacturing.

Private labeling occurs in a wide variety of industries from cosmetics, clothing and accessories to household cleaners, furniture, and foods. When creating a private label product, it puts you, the merchandiser, in control of your branding, marketing, and customer experience.

When you create a unique, reputable brand you create endless opportunity. Branding, marketing and establishing a loyal customer base is just the tip of the iceberg.  

The Power of Branding

A private label product offers a merchandiser the opportunity to create and cultivate a strong brand. A recognizable and reputable brand will be what sets your company and product apart from your competition.

With a private label, merchandisers can obtain higher profit margins all while offering cheaper alternatives to brand names. In most cases, a private label product provides the consumer a very similar item to that of a brand name. Whether the similarities be in ingredients or quality, private labels stand up against their branded competitors. Herein lies the importance of branding and showcasing similarities and benefits with your private label.

In a world where anything can be purchased online, a distinguishable brand that resonates with your target audience and provides value to your customers is a distinct competitive advantage.

Your company/product name, logo, vision, tagline, and overall aesthetic are all crucial pieces to creating an unforgettable brand. This brand image provides consumers with their first impression of your offerings. It provides a glimpse of who you are and what you offer. And your outward-facing brand persona may be what entices a customer to make their first purchase.

Marketing = Growth

By creating a private label, you are establishing your brand in the marketplace.

Once your branding has been created for your private label, you can begin executing strategically crafted marketing efforts. Even a simple marketing plan will enhance your image through cohesive output targeting your ideal audience. Utilizing digital marketing mediums with engaging marketing collateral is proven to be one of the most effective ways to generate leads with first-time purchasers.

It takes a minimum of seven times for a consumer to remember a message/product/service. I would even dare to suggest that with the micro-consumption of content and shortened attention spans, it might even be more. What does this mean to you? Having a private label brand that you can promote to your target market offers you the opportunity to be memorable and incite action—and action = sales.

Establishing a Loyal Customer Base and Beyond

The hardest sale to make is the first one. However, it takes more than a good product to create repeat purchases and a loyal customer base. Establishing this loyal customer base is simple but not easy. It requires a reason to come back, and more so, a reason to choose you over your competition. You can begin this process by implementing a customer relationship management strategy.

Creating customer lists and serving personalized content has shown to be a sound method to retaining customers. By capturing your new and existing customers information, you are able to analyze that data and provide valuable content straight to their emails. This content could be a coupon, trial options, FAQs, customer testimonials, new product information, and so much more.

There are numerous CRM and email management platforms that offer streamlined services for simple implementation and maintenance. Properly utilizing these types of platforms will not only build your reputation and customer base but take your brand to the next level.

Start That Private Label Today

Branding, marketing and customer engagement tactics work together to enhance your image and reputation. The resources involved in successfully implementing each of those strategies will be worth every penny and second. Those pieces coupled with perceived value and satisfactory customer service set you up for a successful business venture.

Minimizing eCommerce Returns

The eCommerce boom of 2020 also means a surge in returns. UPS Forecasts is expecting to see a 23% increase over last year. Returns are inevitable. However, by analyzing your industry and product, reducing the amount of returns is possible.

Returns are heavily based on industry and type of product. It is less likely for food or household items to be returned. On the other hand, it is more likely that apparel, accessories, and similar-type items will be returned. Herein lies the issue for merchandisers operating in those industries.

Let’s take a look at a couple of ways to prevent returns or reduce the number of returns your company is receiving.

Detailed and Accurate Product Descriptions

The product description for your item is an extremely important component to the listing. A detailed listing offers the potential customer all of the features and specifics needed to make the buying decision.

If you are a clothing merchandiser, one of the most common reasons for returns is the fit of the item. Although you cannot solve all of these issues with a description, it can help. In addition, elements like a fitting and size tool are essential. Clearly and specifically describing your product and offering tools to help with sizing will reduce the returns for things like fit, color, material, and quality.

To take your product listing up a notch, add an FAQ section with a few commonly asked questions. This can assist customers in making their decision and alleviate the need to make returns.

Customer Reviews

Honest reviews of your product by real customers are crucial in an e-commerce world. They might even be your best defense against returns. It is no secret that potential customers are much more likely to trust the word of a purchaser than the company itself.

You can offer a reward to entice past customers to leave a product review. This reward could be a small discount or entry into a raffle. You will be much more likely to receive a review with an incentive. This small incentive’s cost will be well worth it for a large quantity of quality reviews. Encourage those customers to leave reviews with photos or even videos.


Customer Service

An opportunity to answer customer questions, complaints, or issues is a preventative measure through proactive customer service. Simple options can be put in place such as email or phone. More advanced options like text messaging or live chat are robust service offerings that provide extreme ease of use for customers and real-time help, reducing the possibility of needing to return. 

A strong customer service offering provides customers with the confidence in your company—the confidence that you will right a wrong and/or work with the customer to come to a solution. Building this trust creates repeat customers, and less of a need to return items.

What Next?

Merchandisers need to understand the many reasons that consumers make returns, and specifically, why their customers make returns. Receiving and analyzing this data should be your first step. Once you have the main sources you can then begin working towards minimizing returns.

If you are just starting out, make sure to implement the aforementioned tactics. Returns harm profit margins, and therefore overall company profits. 

There are many returns that you cannot prevent. Learn from your data to implement fixes to what you can prevent.

Americans are buying a lot of TVs

By a wide margin, the television is the most popular and most used device for mass media consumption both in the United States and in the world. It is estimated that over 95.2% of households own a television, and more and more TVs are bought every day.

Surprisingly, even throughout the difficulties that many people around the country and around the world are facing, TVs are being purchased in 2020 at rates often higher than they were in years past, which is surprising considering how many people are financially struggling through the pandemic.

There have been major technological advances in the television industry, and the future looks bright for the many new advancements that are coming. Though COVID-19 has created some new supply chain disruptions, the industry continues to thrive with bustling competition and huge consumer interest.

Leading the Charge

Smart TVs are new, but they are the dominating television being sold today throughout the United States. As of now, Samsung and its operating system, Tizen, dominate the smart TV market in the United States; Samsung televisions make up 32% of smart TV sales in the country.

The next company with a large portion of the market share has less than half of that which Samsung has, which proves just how far ahead Samsung is when it comes to its domination of the market share.

The company currently coming in second in terms of market share is Chinese company TCL, which controls 14% of the market in sales revenue. TCL is known for its inexpensive televisions with the Roku operating system, but the company has also recently introduced a line of TVs that use the Android TV OS.

It will be interesting to watch competing operating systems as more and more become mainstream; consumers tend to stick with the same operating system that they have used in the past, so it will be interesting to see whether TCL customers who have bought systems with Roku in the past will purchase televisions with the Android operating system or if they will continue using Roku.

The Rise of the Smart TV

The smart TV is a far newer invention than some people might think; it seems like almost every mainstream television is a smart TV, but it hasn’t been that way for quite long. The smart TV was first invented in 2007, but it was extremely limited at that time.

There were not as many streaming companies back then, and even the internet had only been mainstreamed for less than a decade. The first smart TV had access to the internet but didn’t have all of the applications and technologies that now exist, given the fact that many of these service didn’t exist yet.

Quickly, companies transitioned to creating smart TVs, and come 2015 all major television companies produced only smart TVs. There are some companies that create budget models that don’t use smart technology, but these TVs are difficult to find in 2020.

For those who haven’t purchased a smart TV, some companies like Roku and Amazon have come out with devices that can be plugged in to normal TVs through an HDMI cord that then run their operating systems. This is a way that consumers can essentially transform normal televisions into smart TVs and enjoy the technology and streaming abilities.

New Technological Advancements

The technology that brought around the smart TV happened quickly, and new technological advances are happening extremely quickly as well. For example, the flat screen television is far flatter than the box TVs that many of us had as children, but it isn’t thin and light by any means. Now, companies are coming out with TVs that are extremely flat; there are some that are far more expensive but are essentially as flat as smartphones.

It also seems like just yesterday television companies were touting the improved screen resolution, as many producers made the switch from 1080p TVs to 4k TVs. If you’ve ever walked into a TV store, a Bestbuy, or a Costco, you’ve likely seen 4k TVs, and you can absolutely see just how different these TVs look. Now, companies like TCL are coming out with 8k TVs, which is a huge improvement in screen quality even compared to 4k.

Impacts by COVID-19

Though the COVID-19 pandemic had disrupted supply chains around the world, most of these disruptions have cleared out and the industry continues to thrive. The coronavirus certainly didn’t stop televisions from being purchased. In fact, some companies reported being even more successful throughout the pandemic.

Many Americans who received the $1200 stimulus check used it to purchase a new television. It also makes sense that televisions are being used more and more since people are stuck in their homes during the quarantine. The sale of televisions over 65 inches, for example, went up by 77% in the April-June quarter compared to last year, which is a massive increase.

Another reason these sales may have increased is that savings planned for vacations were now spent another way as vacations have been off the table due to the virus. Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis for the NPD Group, says that TVs have been a refuge for those at home during the pandemic.

It’s no surprise that as people spend more and more time in their homes, they are beginning to rethink the way that they spend their discretionary income. Though some projections show a potential decrease in overall revenue for the year, all will have to see how the year ends up since the holidays could end up being a huge time for the sale of televisions.

Final Thoughts

Even with the struggles of COVID-19, the television industry continues to thrive. Samsung has dominance over the market, but companies like TCL that produce televisions at extremely low costs pose a serious threat to their market share.

New technologies are coming rapidly, and it’s up to these companies to keep up if they are going to continue having success. There’s no doubt about it: the television industry is here to stay and grow.

Adapting to a Post-Pandemic World of Commerce

The world of commerce is constantly changing, and this year may have sparked one of the biggest changes in commerce the world has ever seen. The economy took a massive hit around the world during the first and second quarters of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Millions of people lost their jobs, which resulted in a huge decline of discretionary spending, and millions of shoppers who would have been flooding the streets of malls around the world opted to stay home.

Many businesses, who traditionally did business in person, scrambled to find ways to keep their doors open. When physical locations had to be closed down for safety, consumers were left with online shopping as their only way to buy what they needed.

Throughout the last few months, e-commerce has exploded and has shown no signs of slowing down. Online companies have experienced huge successes during the pandemic, but there are challenges that each company continues to face today, and important steps the companies should take to ensure that their business continues to thrive.

New Demand for E-Commerce

Even now, six months into the coronavirus pandemic, less and less people are shopping in person, and the demand for e-commerce continues to increase. Stores have taken proper precautions and experts argue that it is now safe to shop in stores as long as protocols are followed, so why does e-commerce continue to grow?

We believe that as more and more people discover just how easy and convenient it is to shop online, the industry will continue to steadily grow even as the pandemic ends. E-commerce has made significant improvements over the years, and many shoppers were not aware of just how easy it is to online shop.

Once a person transitions over to online shopping, many hardly ever return to crowded malls or tiny stores to make their purchases.

Distribution Challenges

The growth of the e-commerce industry has not been without its challenges. For one, many online companies are now being faced with the need to expand their distribution.

Growth is almost always positive, but when companies aren’t prepared for the amount of growth they’ll face, they end up selling out of products and leaving customers to shop elsewhere. In Q2, from April to June, for example, consumers spent $200.72 billion dollars with online US retailers.

That number is 44% higher than it was during Q2 of last year; this is evidence that online retailers must anticipate unprecedented sales and quickly expand their distribution centers. This might mean that companies need to adjust their capital budgets and make new sales forecasts to keep up with the growth they could have as the year progresses.

Delivery Challenges

When purchasing a new product, especially technology-related products that are being used to work from home, many people need their products extremely quickly. Companies are now spending a lot of time and money to develop ways to effectively deliver products without huge wait times.

Amazon, for example, has spent billions of dollars developing its own network of delivery drivers so it doesn’t have to go through 3rd parties like FedEx, UPS, or USPS.

While this won’t be the possible option for smaller companies, each e-commerce company must consider whether it’s in their best interest to work with Amazon or if they should continue to use their own website for sales and then ship and deliver through a shipping company.

Supply Chain Challenges

The coronavirus did a huge number on international supply chains, and online retailers are forced to examine different ways to fulfill the demand of the market. The tech industry has had particularly high demand due to the shift of many workers from office to home.

On the flip side, the tech industry has faced particularly difficult shortages and other problems with their supply chain. To understand these shortages, you must understand just how much the demand grew for certain tech products – compared to last year, Q2 saw needs for notebook computers increase by 45%, tablets increase by 37%, monitors increase by 87%, printers increase by 54%, and keyboards and mice increase by 62%.

These huge, unanticipated increases in demand were challenged by the fact that mega-factories in China, like Foxconn, were forced to shut down for a period of time. Due to the huge amount of shutdowns in China, some retailers are searching for new places to manufacture their goods, and it would be smart to consider finding various countries that could manufacture goods in the case the one country faces future shutdowns.

Going Forward

As the world continues to evolve through the pandemic, e-commerce businesses should anticipate more and more growth to their sector. Consumers are finding out just how easy and convenient shopping from home is, and it will only continue to get better.

Companies need to make sure they have solid supply chains and reliable manufacturers; they should look for multiple manufacturers to import products from in case shutdowns continue in different parts of the world.

There is no doubt about it: e-commerce is the way technology shopping will continue into the future.

How Baby Boomers Use Technology in 2020

Baby boomers are known for finding ways to make their lives easier, and when it comes to technology, they’re no different. They don’t see technology as a way to waste time, which is a popular way that technology is used among younger generations; instead, they find ways technology can save them time and make life better. Though there’s something nice about using technology to pass the time, it isn’t usually their first choice.

Boomers use a variety of smart devices, like smartphones and voice-activated technology, to do this like navigation, shopping, and reading the news. Though some members of the generation took time to adapt, many of them have more resources available than other generations, so they are embracing, purchasing, and using tech at quicker rates than others.

Growth of the Senior Tech Industry

Senior tech is one of the fastest growing sectors of the technology industry and is increasing extremely rapidly. There are a variety of reasons why this is the case. People are living longer and longer lives, so there’s more seniors consuming technology now than ever; according to the Demographics Research Group, there will be 54 million seniors by the end of 2023.

Baby boomers are also one of the most wealthy generations of all time; they have more spending power than any generation before them, and those who have not retired are earning high incomes since they are in higher ranking positions in their career than other generations.

Also, technology designed for baby boomers is growing as technology becomes more and more advanced and user-friendly. Tech makes senior lives easier, but it can also make their lives safer. One piece of tech that makes senior lives better in both ways is the smartphone, which is being adopted quickly by the baby boomer generation. 

Smartphones and GPS

The majority of baby boomers use smartphones for tons of different reasons. For one, smartphones are much more convenient than flip phones in the fact that the size of the text can be enlarged instantly, making it much easier for people to browse the internet or send text messages, especially for those who have trouble seeing small screens.

Smartphones also have protections built in that make the user safer; for example, to call for emergency help on an iPhone, all you need to do is tap the lock button five times. Having instant access to emergency help in your pocket at all times is a huge reason why seniors buy technology, and its why smartphones make sense for baby boomers.

On top of that, one other way that smartphones make life easier for seniors is through GPS, one of the first major tech inventions that made transportation so much simpler. Though many baby boomers still use GPS though actual GPS devices, many are quickly transitioning to the convenience of smartphone navigation.

Wearable Tech for Baby Boomers

Technology also helps seniors stay healthy and track their health so they can stay on top of any abnormalities. Wearable technology is one of the smartest ways that seniors can constantly monitor different aspects of their health without getting daily doctor checkups.

The newest in Apple Watch technology is a great example of how wearables support senior health. First off, the Apple Watch and almost all other smart watches track your steps and your exercise time. The Watch also delivers notifications when an unusual heartbeat rate is detected, which can help baby boomers detect heart attacks early and get any medical attention necessary.

On top of that, it can detect when someone has had a hard fall and is immobile and will automatically call emergency services to help. This can be the difference between life and death for seniors in dangerous situations.

Tons of different smart watches have even more features to help baby boomers monitor health, including blood oxygen tracking and hand-washing reminders. It’s no surprise that wearable tech is growing extremely rapidly for the baby boomer generation.

Voice-Activated Tech

One of the great things about smartphones and their GPS systems is that it can all be done through voice-activation. Voice-activated tech takes away all of the difficulties with using technology; baby boomers that aren’t experienced with new tech can always find ways to make things work when they’re voice-activated. Smartphones use voice activation to show news, get directions, send messages, and open apps.

Other popular voice-activation devices include Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Though these devices are popular, some baby boomers are shying away from them due to a fear that they could invade their privacy.

Advancements in Hearing Aid Technology

Hearing aids have become more and more necessary as the baby boomer generation ages; luckily, advances in hearing aid tech continue to get better. Bluetooth technologies allow users to hook their smartphones up directly to their hearing aids, letting them talk on the phone with their friends and family even if they are hard of hearing.

Another cool feature that some new hearing aids have is AI, which can learn a user’s preferences and raise or lower volume depending on the environment that the user enters.

Online News and Shopping The majority of baby boomers use their technology for simple things like online news and shopping. Since their generation was known for reading paper newspapers and magazines, many have enjoyed the transition to having all of their favorite media available at the touch of their fingertips.

The majority of baby boomers use phones and computers to do their shopping for technology; this is because they like to have the chance to read through reviews and compare prices before making purchases. There are also baby boomers who have turned to voice-activated tech to make orders; it’s an easy way to order common household products and have them sent directly to their homes.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the focus of technology usage for the baby boomer generation is finding the most convenient, simple ways to do the tasks they enjoy. The sector is growing extremely rapidly, and there will be more and more seniors ready to purchase the advancing technology every day. Technology continues to make life easier for all those who are willing to learn and adapt to new experiences.

3 Tips to Avoid Distractions at Work

Since the pandemic began, millions of people have transitioned from a life filled with commuting and office work to a life completely at home. While working from home comes with tons of benefits, there are also difficulties and challenges that come from working from home.

One of the biggest challenges that many of us are left to deal with while working from home is staying focused. Everyone is constantly bombarded with a plethora of distractions at home; from children to smartphones to pets to smart TVs, it’s extremely difficult to keep your attention on your work.

Luckily, there are ways you can indulge in the distractions at appropriate times while making sure you get all of your work done.

Have a Schedule

One of the most important things you need to do if you’re going to refrain from distracting yourself at work is having a schedule. Scheduling your time helps you stay on track; if you don’t have a schedule, you’re likely to spend far more time than you need to on some projects while neglecting to spend time on others.

Having a schedule also lets you build time into your day to indulge in distractions; you can plan to take an hour for lunch if you can fit it into your schedule with else you need to get done for that day.

Use Phone Time Wisely

An essential aspect of building a schedule is having time to use your phone while making sure that it isn’t distracting you during time set aside for work. If you find that your phone is a constant distraction, one thing you need to do is simply turn it off during times when you’re scheduled to be working.

Phones are literally designed to be addictive, so it makes sense that you might naturally check your phone every few minutes but using it too often during the day will make it hard to complete all of your tasks. Build in time for you to use social media during your day; that way, you can get rid of the urge to look at your phone and you can focus on your work.

Know Yourself

All else aside, you need to know yourself and your situation to know exactly what’s distracting to you. Some people working from home are going to be most distracted by their spouse or their kids; these people will need to work with their family to find a way to work without distractions.

Other people might struggle to stay focused if they don’t get a good night’s rest or if they don’t eat a healthy breakfast; you know yourself better than anyone else so you need to make sure you’re in the proper mindset to stay focused.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re working from home or in the office, staying focused is one of the biggest challenges everyone faces. Make sure to schedule out your time so you can use all the time in your day wisely. Don’t use your phone during scheduled working times; turn it off if you need to. Above all, know yourself. Eliminate your personal distractions and you’ll be more productive than ever! 

Impact of COVID-19 on the Consumer Electronics Industry

When COVID-19 rampantly plagued the United States, brick and mortar retail sales plummeted as most in-store shopping experiences shut down. Despite the lack of foot traffic, many eCommerce and retail brands saw a huge increase in online sales come through.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 2020’s second quarter saw all-time record growth in online retail and eCommerce. One industry that saw a particular increase in growth was the consumer electronics industry as more and more people started working from home and needed electronics in their home offices.

In quarter one of 2019, consumers spent over $138 billion online; just one year later, consumers spent over $200 billion during the rise of COVID-19. Spending was up by almost $62 billion year-over-year.

The online retail momentum seen at the beginning of the year is expected to continue; According to a Future of Tech report by NPD, Q4 2020 is expected to see 18% more sales in the consumer electronics industry than Q4 of 2019. This increase trumps the year-over-year change between Q4 2018 and Q4 2019, where sales only increased by four percent.

Purchases for Consumer Electronics & Entertainment Increase

With an increase in at-home work, eCommerce sales in the consumer electronics industry increased significantly. The online entertainment industry also saw rises as people tried to find ways to fill their free time. Some of the most notable categories with increased growth include monitors, which saw an 84% increase, notebook computers, which saw a 45% increase, printers, which saw a 59% increase, tablets, which saw a 37% increase, and mice and keyboards, which saw a 62% increase.

According to the Future of Tech Report, by NPD, Q4 of 2020 will see 18% additional growth in comparison to Q4 2019, which only received a 4% year-over-year growth from 2018.

Q2 2020 Online Sales Skyrocket

2020’s second quarter ranked as the highest year-over-year growth of any previously recorded second quarter in U.S history. Note that data retrieval of year-over-year numbers began in Q4 of 1999. Q4 of the year 2000 reached a 73.7% rate, which is the only period of growth surpassing the retail success in Q2 2020. Q2 of 2020 tripled the online retail performance of Q2 2019.

Ecommerce penetration in Q2 2020 reached 20.8%, which was up 6.1 percentage points for Q2 of 2019, which hit 14.7%. We have never seen a quarter or year that has increased in eCommerce penetration by more than 2 year-over-year percentage points. After President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency at the end of March, quarter one only saw two and a half weeks of increased retail spending; whereas Q2 2020 had a full three months to track increased eCommerce spending.

The stellar online eCommerce performance in Q2 2020 completely cancelled out the $41.23 billion decline seen in offline and brick-and-mortar spending. Online retail performance in Q2 maintained the same amount of sales, if not more; the only difference is that people were spending through online platforms rather than in person. Despite retail sales tanking in April, the overall retail industry performed better than expected. Overall sales in the retail industry, including online and offline, gained 2.2% year-over-year with a total of $964.47 billion in sales. Last year’s Q2 performance through all platforms hit $943.94 billion total.

Mid-Year Spending Reaches Unprecedented Heights

Though brick-and-mortar stores started opening up again in May, the beginning of Q2, eCommerce sales continued to dominate in the retail industry. When consumers chose to shop in store, many opted for curbside pickup and online pick up options over traditional in-store shopping. Much of shopping has shifted to online as well as alternative methods of purchasing products, rather than going into a store and shopping in person.

Despite in-person retail opening up more and more, trends show that online retail purchases will continue to increase. Some even suggest that around 30% of total retail revenue will come from current buying habits, including online shopping and curbside pickup ordering. An eCommerce provider, CommerceHub, suggests that online ordering will see a 109.9% increase year-over-year in the second quarter.

CommerceHub network retailers have seen online orders over the last six months in volume close to what is seen around the holiday season. Analysts suggest that numbers will continue to increase come the end of Q4 2020, potentially surpassing typical holiday online ordering numbers.

Increases in Shipping

According to a technology vendor, Convey, Q2 shipping in 2020 was up by 44.2% year-over-year. April hit the peak of shipments with a total 19 million packages sent; April saw a 59.6% year-over-year increase from April 2019 in shipping metrics. With such an increase in shipping, April 2020 surpassed 2019 peak holiday months, including November and December, in both growth and volume. Though May and June saw a slight decline from the peak in April, both months also performed on par with peak holiday seasons. Each month saw at least a 30% increase in year-over-year shipping.

Booming Online Sales in 2020

Throughout the first half of 2020, consumers spent $346.26 billion in eCommerce and online retail; This number is up by $80.42 billion, or 30.1%, from the first half of 2019. During the first half of 2020, online sales in the retail industry reached an 18.6% penetration. Overall retail sales via any channel reached $1.87 trillion from January–June 2020; during the first half of 2019, retail sales had only reached $1.8 trillion.

Though COVID-19 threw a wrench in this year’s plans in a variety of ways, the consumer electronics industry did not take as bad of a hit as one might think. In-person sales at brick and mortar stores certainly declined for a period; however, online retail and eCommerce sales have skyrocketed with projections to continue growing. 2020 might be one of the most unexpectedly successful years in the consumer electronics industry’s history.

4 Tips to Establish a Unique Approach to E-Commerce

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, it quickly became clear to retailers around the world that they had to change their strategy if they were going to continue having success. Those who were unwilling to adapt were going to go out of business, since no one was leaving their homes to shop at brick and mortar locations.

Smart retailers are quickly turning to the internet to create another outlet to sell their products, but with hundreds of thousands of new websites popping up every year, you might wonder how your business can compete with everyone and actually get sales; don’t worry, despite the competition, it’s absolutely possible.

Differentiate Yourself

If you’re going to stand a chance in such a competitive industry, you have to find a way to differentiate your website from the rest. You need to spark an emotional reaction from your consumers that will evolve into brand loyalty.

One important aspect of differentiation is personalization. You need to personalize the content that each consumer sees on your website according to what they are looking for. Use solution-based machine learning technology to drive personalized promotions and unique content to every consumer that visits your website.

Making a unique brand for yourself will bring your company sales.

Find Exclusive Products

One of the biggest reasons that customers buy products from specific e-commerce websites is because they’re looking for a specific product. Some companies opt to sell their products on all different platforms, but the issue with this is that big companies like Amazon and Wal-mart will take a cut of the profit and make it more difficult for you to make money.

Instead of selling your products all over the place, you may try selling your products exclusively on your website. This will drive traffic directly to your website from those who want your specific product.

Learn to Drive Traffic

You’ll never get a sale on your website if no one ever sees the content and products you have available. Learning to drive traffic to your website is the most important way you can get sales; there’s nothing that’s more essential to selling products.

Take a look at every aspect of your marketing strategy; don’t just focus on one way to advertise. Establish social media accounts on every platform for your company. Use SEO keywords to rank in Google searches and establish a blog to build your search engine presence. Find influencers to market your products for you.

There are tons of different ways to market your products; use them all and see what works for you.

Create a Customer Experience

Amazon is a huge powerhouse in online retailing, but one of the thing you can capitalize on is the fact that Amazon is almost completely a self-serve consumer experience.

You must create a consumer experience with online assistance that will help guide your customers to high-margin products.

Final Thoughts

Despite the huge amounts of websites popping up every day, there’s no reason why you can’t transform your brick and mortar store into an e-commerce site and find consumers to purchase your products. Find the way to create a unique customer experience and you’ll find success.

What I bring to survive CES

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one week away and it is time to get ready. With 180,000 people attending I have my personal checklist to survive. Am I missing anything? What are your personal tricks to optimize CES?

Bring Comfortable and versatile Shoes – I am usually on my feet all day in addition to walking 25,000 steps.  This is a must!

Don’t Get Sick. Every year it seems like everyone gets the dreaded CES bug.  I make sure to come prepared with Sanitizer, Emergen-C, Wipes, and Kleenex.

Energy Boosters– I usually only eat breakfast and dinner at CES. I usually bring some Cliff bars to keep me fueled throughout the day. I would bring an energy shot to power on after midnight.

Portable Power – I usually use my phone constantly at CES trying to find meeting locations, or revising meeting times and locations. My phone will run out of juice by lunchtime. One tip I have is to charge your phone if you are in a meeting location with outlets.

Mints – Talking all week, and running around from meeting-to-meeting will definitely lead to some stale breath. I always keep some mints or gum with me.