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10 Ways to Adapt Your Marketing Plan During the Pandemic

Your target market’s needs are continually shifting, so it is important to stay up to date with trends and modify your business strategies accordingly. One way to reach your customers during this unstable time is by adapting your marketing plan to meet their needs. We spoke with small business owners and marketing experts to determine the 10 best ways to adjust your marketing strategy during the pandemic. 

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is an overall strategy for how you will communicate with your target audience and influence them to buy your products or services. Although marketing plans can vary from basic to comprehensive, they should include pertinent information about your brand and how you want to be perceived by your customers. 

“A well-rounded, strategic plan will address where the company currently is in the market along with a road map for where it would like to be and in what timeframe,” Heather Schuck, founder of TheSchuck.Agency, told business.com. “While the specifics can vary by industry, most commonly you’ll want to address the seven P’s – product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning and people.”   

When promoting your products and services, it is important to adhere to your marketing plan to stay in line with your brand identity. However, a marketing plan is a living document that should be modified to best fit the current needs of your customers. For example, the coronavirus crisis, recession and civil unrest have caused drastic changes in consumer behavior, and your business should adapt your marketing strategy to match consumers’ current demands. 

The economy and marketplace are in a state of constant change, forcing your consumers into a wide variety of purchasing phases. How you pivot your marketing efforts to match those needs can make or break your business. Instead of continuing with “business as usual” – which your customers may perceive as insensitive – or overcorrecting and flooding your consumers with exhausting information, there are several great marketing strategies you can employ. 

We spoke with small business owners and marketing experts to help you determine the top 10 ways to modify your marketing strategy and reach your audience during the current economic upheaval. 

1. Emphasize the true relevance of your product or service.

As consumer needs change, the relevance of your product or service may change as well. It is important to emphasize how your brand is still essential to your consumers and how it can be beneficial to their lives. This may mean shifting focus from one product to another or emphasizing unique ways that your current offering can fulfill your audience’s needs. 

“As far as messaging goes, between the pandemic and the possible recession, leaders and brands have an opportunity to further connect with anxious consumers and focus on the true relevance of their products or services,” said Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls

2. Meet current consumer needs.

“Focus more on meeting consumer needs and helping them deal with the realities of the pandemic rather than blatantly promoting what you have to offer,” said Linda Pophal, marketing consultant and owner of Strategic Communications. “I’ve seen a number of SaaS and app providers offer free subscriptions for some limited time period, [and] some news outlets have taken down their firewalls to offer access to virus-related reporting, etc.” 

Offering helpful tools and thoughtful promotions can build brand awareness and loyalty. Think of ways you can help your customers make a purchase, whether that is by promoting online services, offering curbside pickup, or providing live chat and support. 

3. Increase your digital marketing efforts.

Your consumers are online, so it is important that you are too. Focus on digital marketing efforts like paid ads, search engine optimization (SEO) and email marketing. Keep your website up to date, and focus on establishing yourself as a thought leader through blogs, videos, social media and other digital content. If you have the marketing budget for it, consider hiring a marketing professional or social media influencers to increase your online visibility. 

4. Modify your email marketing campaign.

Companies should focus on adapting their email marketing campaigns to address the unique challenges customers are facing. Instead of sending out the standard email content you’ve always offered, change the tone, content and frequency to match your consumers’ expectations. Stay on brand, but be cognizant of how your emails are adding value to your audience.  

“For example, just because a day care closed doesn’t mean a parent still doesn’t need help caring for their children,” said Schuck. “Don’t waste that email sharing your updated hours for the third time; provide value such as tips on fun ways to practice the alphabet while preparing dinner. Those types of value-add communications will pull your customers in towards you, not repel them.” 

5. Focus on social media marketing.

Chances are a large portion of your audience is on social media, so use that to your advantage and take part in the conversation. Focus your marketing efforts on the social media channels that drive a lot of your customer engagement (such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram). Create relevant posts that add value, education and entertainment, instead of strictly trying to make a sale.   

“Be engaging, comment on audience posts, and adjust upcoming posts based on the current sentiment and feedback,” said Schuck. “When our world is in a state of upheaval, creating content to be automatically posted 30 days in advance might not be the best option. It can make you appear tone-deaf and heartless, no matter how innocent the posting goof was.” 

6. Communicate critical information.

Keep an open line of communication with your audience, and the transparency and honesty will be well received. Each state and industry has its own set of regulations and guidelines, so keep your customers informed on how you are being impacted. It can be especially helpful to update your hours of operation on your website and Google business listings. 

“Even if you have to be shut down, don’t stop communicating with your audience,” said Pophal. “They need to know you are still out there, and they want to know when, if and how you will reopen. With small businesses particularly, your customers are likely worried about you personally, so make sure you’re sharing messages and updates frequently.” 

7. Incorporate your audience.

Schuck said this is an opportunity for you to show true leadership by reevaluating your goals, adjusting timelines and welcoming your audience to be part of the conversation. Invite your target market to help guide the direction of your business, as they will likely have valuable insights about what they need and how you can help. 

“For a company to create raving fans, there must be some level of buy-in from the audience,” Schuck said. “When you demonstrate to your customers that they are being heard, it builds trust and strengthens customer loyalty.” 

8. Show compassion and empathy.

It is crucial to show your customers compassion, especially during this tumultuous time. As your customers deal with financial, emotional and mental stressors, offer empathetic content that shows you truly care. 

“Words are part of the healing process, and we can see which leaders and brands are doing the best job every day with messages that touch not only the mind, but also the heart and soul,” said Arnof-Fenn. “There has never been a more important time to provide accurate, empathetic communication with transparency, truthfulness and timeliness.” 

9. Give back to the community.

Help out your community in any way you can, whether that involves donating, volunteering or collaborating with other businesses. If possible, pivot your business strategy to better serve the community. Giving back will help you increase your community support, goodwill and brand awareness. By encouraging your staff to take part in the conversation, you can facilitate corporate social responsibility movements that your whole team believes in, building a positive company culture.  

10. Audit your sales funnel.

Just because your marketing strategy was working three months ago doesn’t mean it’s going to work right now. As the market changes, it is important to thoroughly audit your sales funnel and analyze the data. Conducting a competitive analysis can help you see what others in your space are doing, letting you evaluate what is working and what isn’t. 

“I think we all get a bit emotionally overwhelmed, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of complacency,” said Schuck. “However, there’s opportunity in hardship. Taking that extra step to reevaluate your funnels might mean the difference between gaining an extra 25% market share or losing it.” 

What to avoid in your marketing plan

There are several things to avoid when you are reworking your marketing plan. For example, you don’t want to continue sending out the same old marketing campaigns as though nothing has happened, but you also don’t want to inundate your audience with exhaustive marketing and political material. Consumers are fatigued and can see through PR stunts and bandwagon emails. 

It is important to acknowledge the current state of affairs, but don’t talk about these things any more than you need to. Instead of flooding your audience with generic information, provide them with educational or entertaining marketing messages that add value and enhance their customer experience. 

You also want to avoid being too pushy for sales or over-promoting your products or services. Ensure that every communication you have with your customers has a purpose and value, whether it be on your website, through email or on social media. As the social and economic situation changes, adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Tasks to Do Before Starting Your Home Business

Step 1: Decide Which Products or Services Your Small Business Will Offer

Before you can start a home business, you have to know what products or services you want to offer. To decide what business will be best for you, consider these questions:​

  • What do you have to offer?
  • What makes you an expert? 
  • Do you have all of the education and skills you’ll need to compete successfully in the marketplace or will you need to get training?
  • Does the product or service you’re thinking about meet a need?
  • Is this a seasonal product or service, or can you market it all year long? 
  • Is it a fad or something that will last over time?
  • How sensitive is marketing this product or service to general economic conditions? When the economy is weak, how do you think your business will be affected?
  • Do you have a passion for or enjoy this business idea? While money is, good, it’s not enough to propel you to success. You need to be enthusiastic about your offer as well.

The saying, “Do what you love, love what you do” should not be taken lightly. Your business is going to be your livelihood, so it should be something you believe in and/or enjoy. One advantage of that is that you can turn a hobby into a business. If you choose an idea you’re not excited about, it will be difficult to get motivated at times.

Step 2: Know Your Market and Your Competition

While having a great product or service is required, without buyers, you still don’t have a business. Knowing your market, what it wants and needs, and what inspires it to buy, are crucial to your success. This means discovering your target market and determining your unique selling proposition, the thing about your product or service that sets you apart from others that are similar. Here are a few things to consider:

Who Is Going to Buy Your Product or Service?

  • What characteristics or traits does your “typical” customer or client have? “Everyone,” is the wrong answer. What type of person needs what you have to offer?Middle-income moms? Baby boomer men?
  • Will you market to businesses, to consumers, or to both?

What Is Special About What You Offer?

  • Is the need for your product or service not currently being met or are there other businesses offering it? If there are others, how many others?
  • What is about your product or service that is different from the competition? Are you faster, cheaper, more service oriented, etc.?
  • How does your product or service meet the need of your target market? What benefits do they get by using it. 
  • What is your value proposition? What is your competitive advantage?

Step 3: Make Sure You Can Do the Tasks That Need to Be Done

multitasking in business
There’s a lot to be done in starting and running a home business. Credit: ImagesBazaar | Getty Images

There is a lot that goes into starting a home business. Along with the tasks, is the ability to deal with hassles and frustration, fatigue, and slow results. If you can’t do the tasks, or stay the course when things get hard, then a home business may not be for you. To make sure you have the stamina to succeed, answer this question honestly: Can you handle the day-to-day general tasks that starting a small business requires, like:

  • supplying product/service
  • distribution of product
  • invoicing/billing
  • setting appointments
  • ordering supplies
  • bookkeeping
  • marketing
  • filing
  • answering the phone
  • checking and replying to e-mail
  • manage energy levels
  • deal with disappointment
  • manage overwhelm

Some of these tasks you can delegate to a virtual assistant, but many home business owners are solopreneurs, starting on a shoestring budget and having to wear all business hats. If you plan to start on your own, make sure you have the stamina to carry you through until you can hire help. It helps to learn how to prioritize and manage time. 

Step 4: Make a List of What Needs to Be Done to Start

Home Office

It’s much easier to complete any task or project if you have all your supplies and a place to work. Here are some things you need to consider putting in place before you launch your business:

  • Home office: In order to work without distraction, a separate space with a door is recommended. Also, if you plan to take the home office deduction, this space will need to be used regularly and exclusively to run your business.
  • Converting space: If your home office will be in a room, garage or attic that requires building or altering the space, how and when will that be done.
  • Space for inventory, supplies, records and/or equipment. Consider if climate control is needed. 
  • Power needs such as extra outlets, power strips and more. 
  • Second phone line: While many today use a cell phone, a second business phone line creates a separation from personal and business, and allows you to have other business-only connectivity such as fax and Internet.

As you determine what you’ll need, keep track of your estimated costs because you’ll need them later in this exercise.

Related Articles on Your Home Office

  • Home Office Ideas – How to Set Up Your Home Office

Step 5: Learn the Risks and Benefits of the Legal Forms of Business Organization

Form an LLC
Form an LLC. RunPhoto | Getty Images

Before you start a small or home business is time to understand the various legal forms of business organization. Will you operate your business as a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company (LLC), an S corporation, a partnership, or a full-blown C corporation?

The easiest and cheapest option is the sole proprietorship, but to best protect your business, while still being affordable is the limited liability company. You’ll want to research issues surrounding all forms of the business structure now because your decision will affect your startup costs, as well as your tax situation and your personal liability for the actions and debts of the business. Take advantage of the IRS’s website for free tax information on the various legal forms of business organization.

Finally, your decision on which legal form of business organization you will use will largely determine what steps you need to take in order to set up your business when you’re ready to do so.

Step 6: Find Out the Legal Requirements to Run Your Home Business

Legal Contracts

While it’s tempting to set up shop and start selling right away, most areas have rules about running a home business. Failure to comply with these rules can result in fines and being forced to close up shop. Here are some legal issues to consider:

  • Check your zoning laws before starting a small business. If you won’t have a sign, work with toxic materials, or see clients in your home, you can usually get a waiver. Also check your homeowners association’s covenants and restrictions, as well as your lease agreement if you rent, for any restrictions on home business. 
  • Contact your city or county regarding a business license. Most areas have a business license requirement. Usually, it’s affordable.
  • Contact your state’s occupational regulatory agency to see if your business is regulated and requires additional permits or licenses. For example, most businesses involving grooming (people or pets), financial help, child care and food are regulated by the state and you may need to get a permit. 
  • Get a sales tax license from your state’s taxation or comptroller’s office if you sell tangible goods. This allows you o collect and pay sales tax.
  • Get a business bank account. The IRS doesn’t like to see your personal and business funds mixed together. 
  • Consider getting an employer identification number. While not required in a sole proprietorship, it is necessary if you employ people. It’s free and the advantage is that you can use it, instead of your social security number on business-related paperwork. 
  • Protect your intellectual property. ​If you’ve invented or created something, you can protect it with a patent, trademark or copyright.

Step 7: Review Your Home Business Insurance Needs

insurance
Protect your business. Credit: John Rensten | Getty Images

When you go into business, you’ll potentially be exposing yourself, your home, and your family to a variety of risks. You need to think about how you’ll manage those risks and find out if you need small business insurance to help handle them before it’s too late.

Consider these insurance needs:

  • Health insurance: There are many options for health care for self-employed persons. The key is to find the option that works best for you and your family.
  • Additional home coverage for business: Your regular homeowners insurance may not cover costs related to a home business. Check your policy and/or contact your insurer for information on making sure you can recover losses from a business if your home burns down, is flooded or robbed.
  • Liability insurance: If someone falls in your office or is otherwise “hurt” by your business, are you covered? Also, learn if you should get errors and omissions coverage.
  • Auto insurance: If you use your car in business, you may need additional coverage. 

Remember, your homeowners’ and auto insurance policies weren’t designed to cover your home business. Small business insurance can be a major expense, but less expensive than a lawsuit or recovering from a loss of due to a fire or other catastrophic event. 

Record any small business insurance cost estimates for this step — you’ll need them to determine your startup and operating costs.

Step 8: Determine Your Startup Costs and Funding Sources

money

While you can start a home business on a budget, it’s not likely you’ll build a profitable one without incurring some expense. Calculate your startup costs — the amount of money you need to open up shop. It’s okay if you don’t know specific costs, but you want to get as close as possible, perhaps even over-estimate expenses. Here are common start-up expenses:

  • Professional services such as a lawyer or an accountant.
  • Office furniture or equipment.
  • Supplies and materials required for your product or service.
  • Inventory.
  • Business licenses and other fees (i.e. franchise fees, permits, etc).
  • Construction costs if you need to build or alter a room to create a home office.
  • Website fees; domain name, hosting, website design (if you hire a professional designer).
  • Business cards and other printed marketing materials.
  • Other items specific to your business idea.

Once you have your list, look for ways you might be able to cut costs and fund your business without going in debt. For example, can you make do with the computer and printer you currently have? Can you barter for website design?

You need to also consider:

  • How much will you need to pay your bills until the money starts coming in from your home business?
  • Will you be keeping your full-time job or is there another breadwinner in the family that can help you until you develop an income stream?

As you move closer to starting your business, keep a tally of expenses you didn’t anticipate and add them to your list.

Finally, since it takes money to make money, look for funding sources for your business that ideally won’t put you in debt. 

  • Where will the initial investment come from? Savings? Selling assets? 
  • Will you need a silent partner to help provide working capital, especially until you reach your break even point and being making a profit?
  • Are you willing to use your home equity to finance your business?
  • Is it possible you qualify for a loan? Check your city and state’s websites on business resources as many localities have programs to help small business. You can also check into SBA loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration?

Step 9: Calculate Ongoing Income and Expenes

cash flow accounting
Develop a system to track income and expenses. Credit: Glow Images, Inc | Getty Images

Not only do you need money to start, but you’ll need money to stay open. The goal is to earn enough to cover your operating expenses and make a profit. Here are some additional money issues to consider: 

  • What will your continuing outlays be for items like equipment, services, salaries and/or inventory?
  • How many products must you sell or hours of service do you need to provide to reach the break even point (your income is equal to your expenses)?
  • What is your goal profit and how do you earn it?
  • Have you run the numbers to determine the ideal pricing for your product/service?
  • Look at ways you can continue to run your business on a budget, allowing you earn more in profits.

Step 10: Gauge Your Family’s Support for Your Home Business

family.png
Get your family on board with your home business goal. KidStock | Getty Images

Your family’s support will be more important than you think, so don’t leave this step undone. 

Running a home business isn’t done in a vacuum. Members of your family may need to make sacrifices or lifestyle changes in order to accommodate your business. As a result, they need to know what you’re up to and how it might affect them. If you have a spouse or significant other or children living with you, your home business will be a big part of their lives too.

Communication is key to helping them understand what you’re doing. Explain to them your intention and goals. Allow them to be a part of the process if they’re interested. Ask for their support as opposed to expecting or demanding it. If they have concerns, try to understand where they’re coming from. Respond to their questions, issues, or objections, discussing them openly and calmly. There is a lot you can do to get your family members on board with your home business goal if they’re resistant.

Couples who plan to operate a business together need to have a good idea in advance if they can work together. It’s a good idea to discuss who will be responsible for specific tasks. If you can’t agree on this now, there’s a very strong likelihood you won’t agree on it later. 

Don’t let your business damage your family relationships. A strained family situation is bound to show in your business activities, so strive to work with your family to develop a routine and systems to make your home business and home life successful.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Important Things for Knowing Your Customers

Knowing and understanding customer needs is at the center of every successful business, whether it sells directly to individuals or other businesses. Once you have this knowledge, you can use it to persuade potential and existing customers that buying from you is in their best interests.

This guide tells you what you need to know about your customers, how to use this information to sell to them more effectively, and how to win business from your competitors.

Why do your customers need you?

Every business needs a reason for its customers to buy from them and not their competitors. This is called a Unique Sales Proposition (USP). Your USP can be identified by completing the phrase “Customers will buy from me because my business is the only…”

Your USP can change as your business or your market changes, and you can have different USPs for different types of customers.

For example:

  • a stationery store could offer a free same-day delivery service for its business customers within a local area – an effective USP for businesses that need fast delivery
  • the same stationery store could offer a 5 per cent discount to businesses that spend more than $1,000 a month – this would be a USP for cost-conscious customers
  • the stationery store could also make sure it offers the most comprehensive stock of artists’ materials in the area – a USP for local professional or amateur artists

All of these USPs can be effective because they are driven by what the customer looks for when making a buying decision.

It’s a good idea to review your USPs regularly. Can you tailor your products or services to better match your customers’ needs? Consider asking your customers why they buy from you. This will tell you what they think your USP is – this may differ from what you think your USP is.

It’s also useful to check constantly what your competition is doing. Remember – if your competitors are doing the same, your USP isn’t unique anymore.

What do you know about your customers?

The more you know about your customers, the more effective your sales and marketing efforts will be. It’s well worth making the effort to find out:

  • who they are
  • what they buy
  • why they buy it

If you’re selling to other businesses, you’ll need to know which individuals are responsible for the decision to buy your product or service. For information on targeting decision-makers, see our guide on how to target the right people in an organization.

You can learn a great deal about your customers by talking to them. Asking them why they’re buying or not buying, what they may want to buy in the future, and asking what other needs they have can give a valuable picture of what’s important to them.

Strong sales are driven by emphasizing the benefits that your product or service brings to your customers. If you know the challenges that face them, it’s much easier to offer them solutions.

It’s also well worth keeping an eye on future developments in your customers’ markets and lives. Knowing the trends that are going to influence your customers helps you to anticipate what they are going to need – and offer it to them as soon as they need it.

You can conduct your market research and many existing reports can help you build a picture of where your customers’ markets – and your business – may be going.

The customer’s current supplier

Chances are your potential customer is already buying something similar to your product or service from someone else. Before you can sell to a potential customer, you need to know:

  • who the customer’s current supplier is
  • if the customer is happy with their current supplier
  • if buying from you would offer the customer any benefits – and, if so, what those benefits would be

The easiest way to identify a potential customer’s current supplier is often simply to ask them. Generally, people are very happy to offer this information, as well as an indication of whether they’re happy with their present arrangements.

If you can find out what benefits they’re looking for, you stand a better chance of being able to sell to them. The benefits may be related to price or levels of service, for example. Are there any benefits your business can offer that is better than those the potential customer already receives? If there are, these should form the basis of any sales approach you make.

Ten things you need to know about your customers

  1. Who they are
    If you sell directly to individuals, find out your customers’ gender, age, marital status and occupation. If you sell to other businesses, find out what size and kind of business they are. For example, are they a small private company or a big multinational?
  2. What they do
    If you sell directly to individuals, it’s worth knowing their occupations and interests. If you sell to other businesses, it helps to have an understanding of what their business is trying to achieve.
  3. Why they buy
    If you know why customers buy a product or service, it’s easier to match their needs to the benefits your business can offer.
  4. When they buy
    If you approach a customer just at the time they want to buy, you will massively increase your chances of success.
  5. How they buy
    For example, some people prefer to buy from a website, while others prefer a face-to-face meeting.
  6. How much money they have
    You’ll be more successful if you can match what you’re offering to what you know your customer can afford.
  7. What makes them feel good about buying
    If you know what makes them tick, you can serve them in the way they prefer.
  8. What they expect of you
    For example, if your customers expect reliable delivery and you don’t disappoint them, you stand to gain repeat business.
  9. What they think about you
    If your customers enjoy dealing with you, they’re likely to buy more. And you can only tackle problems that customers have if you know what they are.
  10. What they think about your competitors
    If you know how your customers view your competition, you stand a much better chance of staying ahead of your rivals.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Hit the Shelves: 6 Steps to Getting Your Products Into Retail Stores

Moving from e-commerce to retail is a big step for any business to take. The payoff could be huge—big wholesale orders, new customers, and getting your products into destinations they’ve never been before.

Getting your product into stores sounds exciting because it is. But it’s also a move that requires a strategy to pull off just right.

We recruited an expert entrepreneur to give you the details on how to get your product into stores and the benefits of taking the leap from a website to store shelves.

Meet Mike D

Michael De Los Santos is better known as Mike D, since that’s the name you’ll see on his line of barbeque sauces and rubs.

Mike discovered BBQ on a trip to North Carolina as a kid and went on to start a BBQ sauce blog while working at a food truck. As he reviewed sauces, he just couldn’t seem to find the perfect one. So he decided to make it himself.

Mike D's BBQ sauces and rubs
Mike D’s ​BBQ

Now, Mike D’s BBQ can be found all over the eastern United States. Mike started online, grew into his own store in Durham, North Carolina, and now his sauce can be bought at dozens of retailers—one as far away as northern Wisconsin.

Mike has won multiple awards for his sauces and rubs and was even featured on Discovery Channel’s I Quit series, where he shared how he turned his business dream into reality.

Mike says getting into stores is an important step for entrepreneurs because it gives new customers a way to discover your product beyond word of mouth or finding it online.

“It’s been an important part of growth because if you’re limited to how many people can find your product and order, you’re limiting yourself,” he says.

“But the fact that they can walk into a local store and grab some, that introduces us to a whole new market of people.”

How to get your product into stores in 6 steps

Mike knows a thing or two about how to get your product into stores, and he’s here to share his best advice for other entrepreneurs. 

1. Understand when you’re ready for retail stores

Getting your product into stores isn’t something to rush into. In fact, Mike waited until he knew his business could support retailers. But how do you make that call?

The most important thing to consider is whether you have enough product to support both your own eCommerce sales as well as wholesale to retailers. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where you can’t ship your own sales because of fulfilling wholesale requests, or not being able to supply retailers because you’ve sold too much online.

“You need to make sure that going into stores works for you at that moment,” says Mike, adding that scaling too quickly can just lead to “disaster.”

Take a hard look at your manufacturing process and assess if it makes financial and logistical sense. Can you scale up to meet anticipated wholesale demand? Are there supply chain issues that would make production difficult? Are you already having difficulty filling online sales?

Mike knew he was ready because his production was in a stable state and he knew he could handle filling orders online, in his own store, and at events, and still have room to produce for wholesale.

Pricing is also important. If your profit margin is already slim, setting an even lower wholesale price might not be sustainable unless you can lower costs or increase prices overall.

Sit down and do the math before making the leap into retail.

Free Guide: Shipping and Fulfillment 101

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2. Know what makes your product unique

Before you pitch your products anywhere, you need a strong message about what makes them different from anything else a potential store is selling.

If you have a product that you’re selling, you’ve got to differentiate yourself from everyone else in the market.

For Mike, his selling point was his sauce. In North Carolina, BBQ sauce is typically either tomato- or vinegar-based. For his line, he combined those two bases to make a whole new product. He also took inspiration from both his African American and Latino heritage for the flavors and spice. Altogether, that makes for products that stand out in a crowded market.

Mike D's BBQ sauces and rubs
Mike D’s BBQ

“I had to have a unique selling point that was different from other products in my niche,” Mike says. “If you have a product that you’re selling, you’ve got to differentiate yourself from everyone else in the market.”

That uniqueness is exactly what you’re selling, he says. Potential distributors want whatever you’re offering to be something new—something they don’t already have on offer. It will also make your pitch more memorable.

Think about:

  • How your product compares to your top competitors
  • If you use specialized materials or ingredients
  • If you fulfill speciality niches, like vegan, organic, or free of allergens
  • If you can offer a lower price point than your competitors
  • If your products appeal to a specific demographic

You should be well-versed in what makes your products different and able to recite and sell those differences at a moment’s notice. 

3. Perfect your pitch

Mike’s first pitch to get his products into stores actually didn’t go so well. But he learned from his mistakes, and so can you.

On the first attempt, Mike walked into a local store and asked who was in charge of acquiring new products. When that person wasn’t available, he simply left some information and product on a table. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t hear back.

“We never got the face-to-face conversation we needed to get that going, but I learned from that,” Mike said.

Having an in-person conversation is key to getting into stores, especially local distributors. You should come prepared with a pamphlet or other materials that explain your product, what makes it unique, and your price points. And, of course, some samples to leave for the manager.

The next time, Mike was able to give a pitch in person and leave samples and information. He then stopped in again the next day to check-in. That store ended up ordering two cases of each of his products.

“That personal approach worked, but that first stop was a disaster,” Mike says.

Do some research beforehand to figure out exactly who at the store you’ll be pitching to when they’ll be available for a pitch, and if there are particular times of the month or year when they consider adding new products.

In that pitch, you should also talk about your current sales and if you have other hype surrounding your products, like a strong social media following. Add in what sort of people buy your products—it might be a demographic the store is trying to attract.

Lastly, you need to show the store that you’ll be able to deliver wholesale orders in full and on time.

“To prepare for those meetings, it’s really about making sure you have those things checked off,” Mike says.

After a pitch, Mike says you should stay in contact. He checks in the next day, then waits a week, then waits a week again. 

“After that third follow-up, if they say they’re still not interested, I tell them thanks for considering the product,” he says.

4. Join online wholesale marketplaces

As an entrepreneur, going in person to make a personal connection is always your best bet for smaller stores and chains, but as you grow, there are other ways to reach potential retailers.

There are a number of online wholesale marketplaces where you can list your products for potential distributors to find.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Get Guidance: 6 Business Plan Software to Help Write Your Future

Writing a business plan is an important but often difficult task for any entrepreneur starting a business. That’s why there are tools to help. If drafting your business plan from scratch sounds too daunting a task to tackle on your own, business plan software can guide you through the process.

Enloop

Business plan software for entrepreneurs who struggle with writing

Enloop business plan software.png
  • Pricing: 7-day free trial; detailed plan is $19.95/month; performance plan is $39.95/month; annual discounts available
  • Money-back guarantee: no, but there are no contracts, you can cancel any time, and there’s a free trial period
  • Capterra: 4 out of 5
  • G2: n/a
  • Integrations: n/a

Enloop has many of the same features as other business plan software. It automatically syncs financial data and creates financial ratios. And when you write your plan, it assesses it and gives you a performance score, so you can improve it if needed. You can also add users for easy collaboration and sharing. Enloop is especially good if writing isn’t your strong suit, as you can plug in your metrics and let the software do the “writing” for you.

PlanGuru

Best business plan software for planning, forecasting, and scenario analysis

PlanGuru business plan software.png
  • Pricing: 14-day free trial available; app and desktop require separate subscriptions at $99/month each, plus $29/month per additional user; discounts available for annual billing
  • Money-back guarantee: 30-day money back guarantee
  • Capterra: 4.2 out of 5
  • G2: 3.5 out of 5
  • Integrations: Xero, QuickBooks, Microsoft Excel

PlanGuru is a straightforward business plan software with most, if not all, of the features you’d expect. Budgeting, forecasting, financial reports and analytics, and strategic planning features are included, and PlanGuru excels in scenario analysis. While PlanGuru allows for additional users, each user also comes with an incremental monthly fee.

GoSmallBiz

Best budget-friendly, contract-free business plan software for new businesses

GoSmallBiz business plan software.png
  • Pricing: plans start at $15/month; Go service plan for $199/year; Guide service plan for $49/month; Grow service plan for $39/month; additional one-time services and recurring subscriptions available
  • Money-back guarantee: n/a: GoSmallBiz doesn’t require any contracts
  • Capterra: n/a
  • G2: n/a
  • Integrations: Mailchimp

GoSmallBiz has industry-specific templates to kickstart writing your business plan—especially helpful if your business idea is for a specific vertical market. GoSmallBiz gives step-by-step guidance, prompts, and tutorials as you build your plan. It also creates financial statements and projections for multiple years, including income statementscash flow statements, and balance sheets.

PlanBuildr

Business plan software with the option to get help from professionals

PlanBuildr business plan software.png
  • Pricing: free trial available; annual subscriptions available; PlanBuildr uses a custom pricing model; rates aren’t readily available on its website, but one landing page prices the business plan software at $3,500
  • Money-back guarantee: n/a
  • Capterra: n/a
  • G2: n/a
  • Integrations: integrations across accounting, CRM, and marketing

PlanBuildr is another user-friendly business plan software for people who aren’t comfortable with writing. It uses a fill-in-the-blank prompted process to help you build your plan quickly—though a drawback here is your plan may be less comprehensive. There are robust financial features, including charts and graphs and the ability to pull various financial statements. PlanBuildr has 10 business plan designs to choose from, and you can also hire PlanBuildr for additional business plan writing services.

LivePlan

Affordable business plan software with samples and templates

LivePlan business plan software.png
  • Pricing: standard plan is $15/month; premium is $30/month; annual discounts available
  • Money-back guarantee: 60 days
  • Capterra rating: 4.5 out of 5
  • G2 rating: 4 out of 5
  • Integrations: QuickBooks, Xero, open API

Owned by Palo Alto Software, LivePlan has more than 500 sample pages and plans to start with. Get step-by-step guidance on how to write your plan and use templates for different types of business plans, making it easy to tailor your plan to your needs. Note that some users have reported issues using the financials section and difficulty creating graphs and other visual elements. LivePlan is one of the most affordable business plan software on this list.

Bizplan

Business plan software for startups seeking investment

Bizplan business plan software.jpg
  • Pricing: $29/month; $349 lifetime access; annual discounts available
  • Money-back guarantee: refunds available within 3 days
  • Capterra: 4.4 out of 5
  • G2: n/a
  • Integrations: Xero, QuickBooks

Bizplan is a business plan software that caters to small businesses and startups seeking external investment. The platform makes sharing your business plan with potential investors easy. It also has tools to aid in fundraising, including the option to share your business plan on the online fundraising tool Fundable. Other standard features include guided prompts and financial tools to help set salaries, forecast revenue, and track expenses.

How to choose a business plan software

While most business plan software can accomplish the same end goal, each has its own pros and cons depending on your needs. The best business plan software for you may be different than the best option for your fellow business owners. When shopping for business plan software, consider the following:

  • Budget. Perhaps most obvious, the business plan software you choose needs to fit within your budget. More advanced features typically mean a higher price tag, so take that into consideration as well. Budget is important but it’s not the only factor in this decision.
  • Users. If you anticipate needing to collaborate on your business plan with a fellow founder, an accountant, or a legal counsel, you’ll want a software that allows multiple users to collaborate. Some software also allow you to add users as viewers, which can be helpful for distributing the plan to shareholders, lenders, or potential investors, for example.
  • Financial reporting. If financial forecasting and reporting are important to you, look for a business plan software that excels in this area. Look for features beyond basic data reporting—you’ll want to find tools that can help with forecasting and data visualization through charts and graphs.
  • Interface. Every tool you use in your business needs to have an interface that’s easy enough to navigate. Software with an unfriendly or difficult-to-navigate interface may make the process of creating a business plan more frustrating than it needs to be.
  • Templates. One of the greatest advantages to using business plan software is access to templates and examples. Some software have templates for all sorts of business plans. If you anticipate needing different plans for different contexts, pay extra attention to this.
  • Integrations. If you have a tightly connected tech stack, it would behoove you to find a business plan software that can integrate seamlessly.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Tasks to Do Before Starting Your Home Business

Step 1: Decide Which Products or Services Your Small Business Will Offer

Before you can start a home business, you have to know what products or services you want to offer. To decide what business will be best for you, consider these questions:​

  • What do you have to offer?
  • What makes you an expert? 
  • Do you have all of the education and skills you’ll need to compete successfully in the marketplace or will you need to get training?
  • Does the product or service you’re thinking about meet a need?
  • Is this a seasonal product or service, or can you market it all year long? 
  • Is it a fad or something that will last over time?
  • How sensitive is marketing this product or service to general economic conditions? When the economy is weak, how do you think your business will be affected?
  • Do you have a passion for or enjoy this business idea? While money is, good, it’s not enough to propel you to success. You need to be enthusiastic about your offer as well.

The saying, “Do what you love, love what you do” should not be taken lightly. Your business is going to be your livelihood, so it should be something you believe in and/or enjoy. One advantage of that is that you can turn a hobby into a business. If you choose an idea you’re not excited about, it will be difficult to get motivated at times.

Step 2: Know Your Market and Your Competition

While having a great product or service is required, without buyers, you still don’t have a business. Knowing your market, what it wants and needs, and what inspires it to buy, are crucial to your success. This means discovering your target market and determining your unique selling proposition, the thing about your product or service that sets you apart from others that are similar. Here are a few things to consider:

Who Is Going to Buy Your Product or Service?

  • What characteristics or traits does your “typical” customer or client have? “Everyone,” is the wrong answer. What type of person needs what you have to offer?Middle-income moms? Baby boomer men?
  • Will you market to businesses, to consumers, or to both?

What Is Special About What You Offer?

  • Is the need for your product or service not currently being met or are there other businesses offering it? If there are others, how many others?
  • What is about your product or service that is different from the competition? Are you faster, cheaper, more service oriented, etc.?
  • How does your product or service meet the need of your target market? What benefits do they get by using it. 
  • What is your value proposition? What is your competitive advantage?

Step 3: Make Sure You Can Do the Tasks That Need to Be Done

multitasking in business
There’s a lot to be done in starting and running a home business. Credit: ImagesBazaar | Getty Images

There is a lot that goes into starting a home business. Along with the tasks, is the ability to deal with hassles and frustration, fatigue, and slow results. If you can’t do the tasks, or stay the course when things get hard, then a home business may not be for you. To make sure you have the stamina to succeed, answer this question honestly: Can you handle the day-to-day general tasks that starting a small business requires, like:

  • supplying product/service
  • distribution of product
  • invoicing/billing
  • setting appointments
  • ordering supplies
  • bookkeeping
  • marketing
  • filing
  • answering the phone
  • checking and replying to e-mail
  • manage energy levels
  • deal with disappointment
  • manage overwhelm

Some of these tasks you can delegate to a virtual assistant, but many home business owners are solopreneurs, starting on a shoestring budget and having to wear all business hats. If you plan to start on your own, make sure you have the stamina to carry you through until you can hire help. It helps to learn how to prioritize and manage time. 

Step 4: Make a List of What Needs to Be Done to Start

Home Office

It’s much easier to complete any task or project if you have all your supplies and a place to work. Here are some things you need to consider putting in place before you launch your business:

  • Home office: In order to work without distraction, a separate space with a door is recommended. Also, if you plan to take the home office deduction, this space will need to be used regularly and exclusively to run your business.
  • Converting space: If your home office will be in a room, garage or attic that requires building or altering the space, how and when will that be done.
  • Space for inventory, supplies, records and/or equipment. Consider if climate control is needed. 
  • Power needs such as extra outlets, power strips and more. 
  • Second phone line: While many today use a cell phone, a second business phone line creates a separation from personal and business, and allows you to have other business-only connectivity such as fax and Internet.

As you determine what you’ll need, keep track of your estimated costs because you’ll need them later in this exercise.

Related Articles on Your Home Office

  • Home Office Ideas – How to Set Up Your Home Office

Step 5: Learn the Risks and Benefits of the Legal Forms of Business Organization

Form an LLC
Form an LLC. RunPhoto | Getty Images

Before you start a small or home business is time to understand the various legal forms of business organization. Will you operate your business as a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company (LLC), an S corporation, a partnership, or a full-blown C corporation?

The easiest and cheapest option is the sole proprietorship, but to best protect your business, while still being affordable is the limited liability company. You’ll want to research issues surrounding all forms of the business structure now because your decision will affect your startup costs, as well as your tax situation and your personal liability for the actions and debts of the business. Take advantage of the IRS’s website for free tax information on the various legal forms of business organization.

Finally, your decision on which legal form of business organization you will use will largely determine what steps you need to take in order to set up your business when you’re ready to do so.

Step 6: Find Out the Legal Requirements to Run Your Home Business

Legal Contracts

While it’s tempting to set up shop and start selling right away, most areas have rules about running a home business. Failure to comply with these rules can result in fines and being forced to close up shop. Here are some legal issues to consider:

  • Check your zoning laws before starting a small business. If you won’t have a sign, work with toxic materials, or see clients in your home, you can usually get a waiver. Also check your homeowners association’s covenants and restrictions, as well as your lease agreement if you rent, for any restrictions on home business. 
  • Contact your city or county regarding a business license. Most areas have a business license requirement. Usually, it’s affordable.
  • Contact your state’s occupational regulatory agency to see if your business is regulated and requires additional permits or licenses. For example, most businesses involving grooming (people or pets), financial help, child care and food are regulated by the state and you may need to get a permit. 
  • Get a sales tax license from your state’s taxation or comptroller’s office if you sell tangible goods. This allows you o collect and pay sales tax.
  • Get a business bank account. The IRS doesn’t like to see your personal and business funds mixed together. 
  • Consider getting an employer identification number. While not required in a sole proprietorship, it is necessary if you employ people. It’s free and the advantage is that you can use it, instead of your social security number on business-related paperwork. 
  • Protect your intellectual property. ​If you’ve invented or created something, you can protect it with a patent, trademark or copyright.

Step 7: Review Your Home Business Insurance Needs

insurance
Protect your business. Credit: John Rensten | Getty Images

When you go into business, you’ll potentially be exposing yourself, your home, and your family to a variety of risks. You need to think about how you’ll manage those risks and find out if you need small business insurance to help handle them before it’s too late.

Consider these insurance needs:

  • Health insurance: There are many options for health care for self-employed persons. The key is to find the option that works best for you and your family.
  • Additional home coverage for business: Your regular homeowners insurance may not cover costs related to a home business. Check your policy and/or contact your insurer for information on making sure you can recover losses from a business if your home burns down, is flooded or robbed.
  • Liability insurance: If someone falls in your office or is otherwise “hurt” by your business, are you covered? Also, learn if you should get errors and omissions coverage.
  • Auto insurance: If you use your car in business, you may need additional coverage. 

Remember, your homeowners’ and auto insurance policies weren’t designed to cover your home business. Small business insurance can be a major expense, but less expensive than a lawsuit or recovering from a loss of due to a fire or other catastrophic event. 

Record any small business insurance cost estimates for this step — you’ll need them to determine your startup and operating costs.

Step 8: Determine Your Startup Costs and Funding Sources

money

While you can start a home business on a budget, it’s not likely you’ll build a profitable one without incurring some expense. Calculate your startup costs — the amount of money you need to open up shop. It’s okay if you don’t know specific costs, but you want to get as close as possible, perhaps even over-estimate expenses. Here are common start-up expenses:

  • Professional services such as a lawyer or an accountant.
  • Office furniture or equipment.
  • Supplies and materials required for your product or service.
  • Inventory.
  • Business licenses and other fees (i.e. franchise fees, permits, etc).
  • Construction costs if you need to build or alter a room to create a home office.
  • Website fees; domain name, hosting, website design (if you hire a professional designer).
  • Business cards and other printed marketing materials.
  • Other items specific to your business idea.

Once you have your list, look for ways you might be able to cut costs and fund your business without going in debt. For example, can you make do with the computer and printer you currently have? Can you barter for website design?

You need to also consider:

  • How much will you need to pay your bills until the money starts coming in from your home business?
  • Will you be keeping your full-time job or is there another breadwinner in the family that can help you until you develop an income stream?

As you move closer to starting your business, keep a tally of expenses you didn’t anticipate and add them to your list.

Finally, since it takes money to make money, look for funding sources for your business that ideally won’t put you in debt. 

  • Where will the initial investment come from? Savings? Selling assets? 
  • Will you need a silent partner to help provide working capital, especially until you reach your break even point and being making a profit?
  • Are you willing to use your home equity to finance your business?
  • Is it possible you qualify for a loan? Check your city and state’s websites on business resources as many localities have programs to help small business. You can also check into SBA loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration?

Step 9: Calculate Ongoing Income and Expenes

cash flow accounting
Develop a system to track income and expenses. Credit: Glow Images, Inc | Getty Images

Not only do you need money to start, but you’ll need money to stay open. The goal is to earn enough to cover your operating expenses and make a profit. Here are some additional money issues to consider: 

  • What will your continuing outlays be for items like equipment, services, salaries and/or inventory?
  • How many products must you sell or hours of service do you need to provide to reach the break even point (your income is equal to your expenses)?
  • What is your goal profit and how do you earn it?
  • Have you run the numbers to determine the ideal pricing for your product/service?
  • Look at ways you can continue to run your business on a budget, allowing you earn more in profits.

Step 10: Gauge Your Family’s Support for Your Home Business

family.png
Get your family on board with your home business goal. KidStock | Getty Images

Your family’s support will be more important than you think, so don’t leave this step undone. 

Running a home business isn’t done in a vacuum. Members of your family may need to make sacrifices or lifestyle changes in order to accommodate your business. As a result, they need to know what you’re up to and how it might affect them. If you have a spouse or significant other or children living with you, your home business will be a big part of their lives too.

Communication is key to helping them understand what you’re doing. Explain to them your intention and goals. Allow them to be a part of the process if they’re interested. Ask for their support as opposed to expecting or demanding it. If they have concerns, try to understand where they’re coming from. Respond to their questions, issues, or objections, discussing them openly and calmly. There is a lot you can do to get your family members on board with your home business goal if they’re resistant.

Couples who plan to operate a business together need to have a good idea in advance if they can work together. It’s a good idea to discuss who will be responsible for specific tasks. If you can’t agree on this now, there’s a very strong likelihood you won’t agree on it later. 

Don’t let your business damage your family relationships. A strained family situation is bound to show in your business activities, so strive to work with your family to develop a routine and systems to make your home business and home life successful.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Your home-based e-commerce business: What you need to know

Today, starting a business from home is easier than ever and could be your smartest move if you’re looking to save on start-up capital. Technology makes a virtual business as seamless as a business operating from a commercial location, and customers have no idea (nor do they care) where you hang your hat – even if it’s on the spare bedroom door.Growing your ecommerce business from home makes sense because you don’t actually have to keep inventory on premises and most of your business is conducted via your computer.

Here’s what you need to know to keep your home-based ecommerce business growing:

High shipping costs can lead to cart abandonment

Studies have shown one of the top reasons for shopping cart abandonment is when consumers don’t find out about high shipping costs until the checkout process. That’s especially important considering big ecommerce giants often offer free shipping and can deliver goods to customers within a few days. If you’re just starting out, consider setting up a storefront on AmazonEtsy, or eBay where you can use their resources to help you achieve faster delivery and lower shipping costs. If your customer base is your local market, play up the fact you can get them their products right away.

Digital security is a top priority

Speaking of the checkout process, the assurance of digital security will be huge in 2015. With big companies getting their data hacked left and right, how can you assure your customers your ecommerce site is any more secure? Talk to your bank and technology providers to make sure they are following the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and that you have the proper security safeguards in place to protect your customers’ payment information. The size of your business will determine the specific compliance requirements that must be met. Small businesses are prime targets for data thieves looking to steal payment information. Encourage customers to change passwords frequently.

Mobile websites are a must

This year’s Cyber Monday sales reached $2 billion, making it the biggest online shopping day in history. This shows how important it is to have a mobile-friendly website. Because consumers turn to their mobile devices for product research before they buy, make sure your site is informative and simple to navigate with large, clickable buttons and forms that are easy to fill out.

As with any small business, it’s important to make sure you protect your home-based ecommerce business by purchasing business insurance. Homeowner’s policies may not cover business mishaps, and you definitely want to be covered so you don’t lose your business and your home.

Compare quotes from trusted carriers with Insureon

Complete Insureon’s easy online application today to compare insurance quotes from top-rated U.S. carriers. Once you find the right policy for your small business, you can begin coverage in less than 24 hours.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Future-proof Tips for E-commerce Small Business

Ecommerce is an always-changing business, as long as the digital world and devices are changing and becoming more and more practical, an online store must keep up with that, to be relevant as well as closer to its potential customers.

In this article, we’ll explain the most up-to-date timeless eCommerce tips for you to keep your online store relevant, and boost your performance.

Let’s start Ecommerce Tips:

Make a good first impression

On the first hand, it takes about 50 milliseconds for users to decide if they like your site or not, and on the other hand, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. For this, you want to be as creative as possible, because a first impression can last for years, and it helps you with gaining lifetime customers. 

You need to invest in the best design possible, a reliable eCommerce platform like Shopify or BigCommerce, the right site structure so you deliver a nice and visually comfortable experience for users, as well as you make a sell.

Be Customer-Centric

The biggest shortcoming of eCommerce business is the inability to let their customers touch, feel and try the product before making a decision. While there is currently no solution for solving this issue, you can cover this deficiency in other areas of your business. 

Some of the best things that attract users and keep them attached to your site are offering the appropriate pricing, giving free shipping, and making the purchase process as short as possible, in addition to making the checkout process easy with simplified shopping carts. 

These extra services and offers keep your customer engaged with your site and motivate them to make a purchase.

Offering eco-friendly shipping is also a good practice, it can shift your brand image. People like to support companies that are doing good and your customers will appreciate that you give them a chance to be eco-friendly.

Be mobile-friendly

A recent study by mobileinsurance.com has revealed that the average person spends almost 100 mins a day on their mobile device. Do you think you were there during that time? Or let me ask you, is your site mobile friendly so people can browser it during that 100 min per day?

Bill Siwicki of Internet Retailer references Goldman Sachs, saying, “Tablets will play an increasingly important role as worldwide consumer spending via mobile jumps from $204 billion in 2014 to $626 billion in 2018…”

That means if you aren’t building eCommerce businesses with mobile in mind, you may be irrelevant in three to five years. Be next to your potential customers, if they’re on mobile, that’s where you should be too.

Align yourself with social media

Neglecting social media or being socially absent, is one of the worst decisions ever for your online business. Social media plays the role of the heart of your business, as it gives you an endless uninterrupted glance into the lives of your customers.

You shouldn’t only involve a community manager, it is preferred that you also be present there, social media can be a core of decision-making for your business.

Try OrangeTwig for automating your social media marketing. It is an incredibly powerful marketing app that automatically fits your products into compelling, professionally designed layouts and promotes these on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr.

It keeps track of each channel’s best practices and schedules the frequency and timings of posts accordingly. And if you’re interested in growing your Instagram followers and engagement, then it’s a must-have app.

OrangeTwig’s InstaSuccess ToolKit will help you get the right hashtags for your posts, make your posts clickable and comment on posts – while being fully compliant with Instagram’s policies.

Talking about Instagram and its evolution to support eCommerce business, there was an announcement that the Instagram company is creating a 50 person team in New York just to focus on eCommerce features for the app. If there was ever a time to double down on social, it’s now and it’s Instagram.

Here are a few quick eCommerce tips for you:

1. Post regular content, 3 images a day, daily stories, and weekly live content

2. Comment and like on competitors highly engaged followers

3. Follow and unfollow competitors highly engaged followers

4. Leverage influencer marketing to hack growth from other paid account promotions, shoutcart.com is a great tool for this!

There is even plenty of other methods to grow your Shopify business hijacking social media. You can check some cool creative ideas at Whole Design Studios.

Use more photos

According to research made by 3M, the corporation behind Post-it Notes, visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text.

Since 65% of people are visual learners according to the Social Science Research Network, one of the best ways to drive the message to your customers is through visual content. One way to do this is to use more pictures on your site.

It’s no surprise then that HubSpot’s social media scientist Dan Zarrella found tweets with images are 94% more likely to be retweeted than tweets without. In brief, provide users with photos that stick to their memory. “A picture is worth a thousand words” –Arthur Brisbane.

Stay on top of SEO

As the eCommerce economy experiences rapid growth, more and more businesses will be entering this increasingly crowded space. A list of 1,000 tips on SEO wouldn’t be enough to even focus on the things you should do to increase your position in search engines.

In 2013 there were 2.2 trillion Google searches, but 90% of the users clicked only the first 3 results, so if your product is ranked last on your page you rely only on the rest 10% to find your site.

You should think about optimizing your titles, URL, and descriptions, providing useful and fresh content, improving your website’s loading time, implementing Google authorship, and registering your website with Google and Bing webmaster tools.

Building a website without SEO is like building a road without direction.

Use Live Chat

Using live chat is a method that helps your potential customers make a decision faster. Nowadays eCommerce is strong and growing, but nothing beats the human interaction in an offline store. You need to make your users feel like they’re interacting with humans, not a machine, live chat humanizes your site.

The live chat strategy makes your user feel like he’s in a real store, having all his questions answered by a shop assistant. You should place your live chat button in the most visible spot. You want it to be easy to notice and visible at all times, whether the user is scrolling or reading a product review.

Here are some live chat statistics, this might be more convincing:

21% of online shoppers are tempted to buy from a site that offers live chat. 46% think this is the perfect communication medium, and 62% of buyers that have used live chat are more likely to buy again from the same website. In conclusion, talk to them, don’t let them feel like they’re interacting with a robot.

Create Call To Action & Sign-up Buttons

Avoid lengthy sign-up forms that can take a few pages or so before visitors can successfully register to your site. As an e-commerce site, you don’t need to know their address, phone number, and what kind of work they do.

A simple email address and a password are just all you need. You should never underestimate the power of call-to-action buttons as this helps in building higher conversion rates and improving site usability.

Make these call-to-action buttons stand out. Think about the button size, color, font, and positioning. It has to be very clear so it would stand out from your website background.

Use the right tools

Plugging the right tools into your online store is one of the critical tips that would boost your online efficiency. For you to get the best of your customers, have clear and positive data and numbers (Conversion, Analytics, Revenue, Retention, Retargeting, etc.)

For this, I advise you to check Shopify App Bundles: http://www.shopifyappbundle.com in which you will find the perfect tools for your online store. Once you use the right tools, making the best out of the market, it is in your palm.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

8 Ways You Can Start a Business with R1000

Becoming your boss is not an impossible dream – it depends on the right attitude to turn a little money into more money.

Entrepreneur Valerie Pole grabbed the public’s imagination when she started 1 000 Beautiful Bracelets from a R1 000 she received from 702/CapeTalk presenter Bruce Whitfield in an entrepreneurship competition on The Money Show. She then wrote a book about it, to help others who’d like to do the same.

Start small! If you aim to own a large car wash business, for example, you can start with little more than a bucket and a rag. If you work hard and accumulate money, you can reinvest it in growing the business. You shouldn’t wait for access to finance to get started.

Are you keen to be your boss? Do you want to go out there and help grow the economy? Here are some small business ideas you can start with limited funds:

Mobile lunch service
Are you a whizz in a kitchen? Close to an office or business park? Then with a cooler-box and some lunch ingredients, you could be the next great restaurateur. Many people do not have the time to make lunches, so if you can supply them with one on their doorstep, you could be filling a much-needed gap.

Consultancy
What are you skilled in? Are you a social media guru? Have you been practicing law for a while? By using the talents and skills you have developed so far, you could start a consultancy giving clients advice on how to do something you are an expert on.

Freelance writer, editor, or proofreader
With the growth in the market to create books in all the official South African languages, the demand for freelance writers, editors, and proofreaders has increased. There are many online websites where you can apply for writing and editing opportunities. If you are a wizard with words, there’s work for you.

Personal assistant
Many people nowadays do not have time to do simple everyday tasks. They are also willing to pay good money for someone else to do these things for them. These tasks can range from picking up dry cleaning to making suppers.

Grow and sell produce
Organic food has become the rage recently as people are becoming more conscious of the food they put into their bodies. You can start a vegetable patch on a meter by meter piece of ground. The product can be sold to your neighbors and friends. They will love to support you and know that they can put good and healthy food into their bodies.

Tutor
Do you know how to play a musical instrument, have a knack for languages, are you an IT guru? You could teach people these skills that you are proficient in. Believe it or not, but there are still people who cannot use a computer – now there’s an opportunity.

Mobile laundry service
With the busyness of corporate life, many people do not have the time to sort out their laundry. Do you have access to a washing machine and iron? You could make money by collecting the washing and bringing it back neatly washed and ironed.

Sewing and alterations
If you are handy with a sewing machine and know how to make basic alterations to clothing, you could be well on your way to making some cash. Many people have a favorite pair of trousers or a skirt that needs to be hemmed or have a button reattached.

By using social media and word of mouth, you can let your friends and family know about the new business venture you are embarking on. So, go out there and work towards making your dream a reality.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

How to Keep Your Seasonal Business Profitable All Year

How Seasonal Businesses Can Stay Profitable Year-Round

If you have ever wondered how to use seasonal marketing to increase sales, you’re in the right place.

In this post, we’ll offer tips on marketing seasonal products along with ideas on how to keep a seasonal business in customers’ minds year-round. But first, let’s talk about how consumer needs change with the seasons.

When Memorial Day hits, people excitedly expect their favorite ice cream shop to be open. As the leaves start to change, candle lovers purchase their favorite fall scents like warm apple pie and sweet cinnamon pumpkin. Once snowflakes start to cover the ground, beer connoisseurs look forward to their favorite Christmas Ale.

These seasonal sensibilities affect what your customers are looking for and how they will spend their money. Keep reading to learn more about seasonal demand and how to keep your seasonal business profitable all year. 

How Seasonal Products Boost Sales

All kinds of businesses use different tactics to promote brand awareness and sell their seasonal products. Let’s look at some of these and identify ways to use seasonal products and seasonal demand to help increase sales.

Develop a Dedicated Following

When an item becomes popular and is only available during a specific season, it often develops a dedicated following.

The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is an example of a product with an enthusiastic, devoted following. Those customers who crave the product will be watching and waiting for it to hit the shelves. They’ll also probably be posting their first one on social media, which means free marketing that helps build brand awareness.

Build anticipation for your product and encourage customers to share their purchases on social media to start developing a dedicated following!

Appeal to FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)

Sometimes products that are considered seasonal are actually available all year. However, no one really thinks to buy them at times other than their dedicated season.

For example, pumpkin spice and pumpkin puree are always available at your local grocery store, but most people only purchase them during the fall season. Because they are marketed at a specific, consistent time each year, customers assume that is the only time they can get it.

That leads to increased sales during the respective season because customers are afraid of missing out on their opportunity.

Appeal to your customers’ FOMO and it can help yield some serious profits!

Build Excitement in the Off-Season

People want what they can’t have.

By marketing a product that is not yet available, you will build excitement for that product and raise awareness for your business.

For example, try marketing the new edition snowboard during the summer months as “coming soon” to encourage your summer customers to come back in the winter.

Encourage your customers to come back to your business for the latest seasonal products!

Utilize Laser-Focused Advertising

Part of the reason customers make purchase decisions during a particular season is due to targeted advertising.

For example, television commercials around the holidays typically feature cheerful shoppers enjoying fantastic savings, or families at home baking cookies together. The advertising entices us to want to be part of the joy of finding the perfect gift or baking scrumptious holiday cookies with our loved ones.

These advertisements aren’t limited to television, either. Social media is an effective and inexpensive tool for marketing seasonal products.

Use thoughtful, targeted advertising through social media or other channels!

Create Strong Brand Associations

When you think of Easter, what kinds of products come to mind? Most likely you think of chocolate bunnies, colorful eggs, jellybeans, and marshmallow Peeps®.

Maybe no one in your household even likes Peeps, but you still buy a box of them in the spring. They may just sit on the shelf until summer, but you still bought them as a memento of the Easter season.

Brands associate themselves with certain holidays or seasons on purpose, and you can do the same by offering seasonal products. 

Inject Value and Nostalgia

This goes along with targeted advertising and brand associations. Companies “inject value” into seasonal products by appealing to feelings associated with those seasons.

For example, one of Glade’s taglines is “Inspired by the best feelings”. This tagline has been used historically to market holiday-scented candles because it makes the customer envision warm and cozy evenings with family. The way products like this appeal to a customer’s nostalgia and emotions are called “injecting value”.

You can also appeal to customer nostalgia by offering “vintage” products or something that reminds a customer of their past. Fashion, for example, often cycles through styles that we have seen before. Today many styles from the 90s, such as denim skirts, flannel shirts, and denim button-downs are popular again.  

Inject value into your products by appealing to your customers’ nostalgia and emotions.

How to Keep Your Seasonal Business Profitable All Year

If you run a seasonal business, such as a golf course or ice cream shop, it can be difficult to figure out how to make enough revenue in the summer to still support you in the off-season.

However, there are ways for you to remain profitable, even in the chilly months. It may sound impossible, but all it takes is some careful planning and strategy development.

Here are three steps you can take to help keep your business profitable all year long.

1. Analyze and methodically manage your off-season expenses.

Every business owner needs to understand cash flow and how to manage expenses, but it is especially important for the seasonal business owner.

Analyze your off-season expenses and once you have a good grasp of the costs, look for ways to minimize them. For example, consider reducing staff in the off-season.

When hiring for the summer, inform prospective employees that the position is purely seasonal so there’s no hostility when it comes time to close for the season.

If your business stays open all year but experiences a lull in the winter, consider reducing your hours to save on hourly wage and energy costs. You can also communicate with your vendors and suppliers to try to work out a limited contract in those months where you don’t need as much inventory on hand.

2. Use the downtime to strategize for the busy season.

Capitalize on the few months you have with decreased traffic by planning for the next busy season.

You can use results and reports from the previous season to analyze what changes you may need to make, what worked, and what didn’t. With this information, create a strategy and train employees so they’re ready to hit the ground running when business picks up again.

You can also use this time to set goals and profit targets for next season.

3. Keep an eye out for new business opportunities.

You’ll be thinking about your bottom line, especially during the slow season. Keep a careful eye out even during your busy season for new business opportunities.

There may be ways to grow revenue even when your doors are closed. Take stock of your inventory and see if anything can be sold in bulk to another business or organization.

Your goal should be to try to get inventory as close to zero as possible as you prepare to end the season.

When it comes to a seasonal business, the key to success is careful planning. You can accomplish more than you think by planning for those slower months and investing the time to analyze past challenges and successes.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M