While making digital the main channel of customer engagement, banks are also looking to move beyond business as usual, says Amit Anand, a Vice President in Cognizant Consulting’s Banking and Financial Services.
COVID-19 made online channels indispensable for bank customers, including those who preferred in-person banking. This accelerated their digital strategies and created an opportunity to go beyond the basics and become partners in their customers’ pursuit of financial wellness.
As banks bet big on digital, they are looking at technologies such as AI, advanced analytics, and automation to provide personalization, prediction and speed in creating powerful customer experiences. Banks are also increasingly relying on machines to automate repetitive tasks and make complex decisions, creating demand for human skillsets that complement intelligent machines.
Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work (CFoW), working with Oxford Economics, recently surveyed 4,000 C-level executives globally, including 287 senior banking and financial services executives to understand how banks are adapting to fast and dramatic changes.
The earliest forms of digital banking trace back to the advent of ATMs and cards launched in the 1960s. As the internet emerged in the 1980s with early broadband, digital networks began to connect retailers with suppliers and consumers to develop needs for early online catalogues and inventory software systems.
By the 1990s the Internet became widely available and online banking started becoming the norm. The improvement of broadband and ecommerce systems in the early 2000s led to what resembled the modern digital banking world today. The proliferation of smartphones through the next decade opened the door for transactions on the go beyond ATM machines. Over 60% of consumers now use their smartphones as the preferred method for digital banking.
The challenge for banks is now to facilitate demands that connect vendors with money through channels determined by the consumer. This dynamic shapes the basis of customer satisfaction, which can be nurtured with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. Therefore, CRM must be integrated into a digital banking system, since it provides means for banks to directly communicate with their customers.
There is a demand for end-to-end consistency and for services, optimized on convenience and user experience. The market provides cross platform front ends, enabling purchase decisions based on available technology such as mobile devices, with a desktop or Smart TV at home. In order for banks to meet consumer demands, they need to keep focusing on improving digital technology that provides agility, scalability and efficiency.
Seven Ways to Capitalize on Digital
Institute front-to-back digitization. Banks can effectively compete with fintech competitors by becoming digital institutions.
Explore new customer segments and business paradigms. Digital makes it easier than ever for banks to explore small business segments, even as they pursue existing markets.
Emphasize platform centricity and smart aggregation. Open banking standards can help banks to provide personalized products to customers in collaboration with third-party providers and fintechs.
Invest in personalizing the customer relationship. Banks should use personalized experiences to make customers’ lives as frictionless as possible.
Focus on re-building trust and resiliency. Banks need to eliminate any biases in decisions made by machines.
Enshrine inclusivity into your digital strategy. Banks should use digital to reach customers who are left out by being physically and cognitively challenged.
Balance machine-driven and human-centric work. Create sturdy human-machine collaboration by reevaluating jobs for a shared environment.
Amit Anand is Vice President and North American Practice Leader for Cognizant Consulting’s Banking and Financial Services. Amit has 20 years of experience with firms such as Accenture, Infosys and Cognizant. He has successfully led and managed large business transformation, digital and IT transformation, and associated organizational change management for several financial services clients. Amit is a recognized thought leader with more than 15 publications on topics such as Open Banking, Digital 2.0 and new-age operating models. He can be reached at Amit.Anand@cognizant.com
Manish Bahl leads the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. A respected speaker and thinker, Manish has guided many Fortune 500 companies into the future of their business with his thought-provoking research and advisory skills. Within Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work, he helps ensure that the unit’s original research and analysis jibes with emerging business-technology trends and dynamics in APAC, and collaborates with a wide range of leading thinkers to understand and predict how the future of work will take shape. He most recently served as Vice President, Country Manager with Forrester Research in India. He can be reached at Manish.Bahl@cognizant.com
Shares of Chinese tech giants trading in the United States struggled to pare losses Friday amid intensifying concerns over China’s efforts to impose sweeping new regulations on its publicly traded companies over the next several years, yielding market value losses of more than $150 billion for the 10 largest U.S.-listed Chinese stocks this week alone.
As of 2:45 p.m. EDT, shares of e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba, the largest Chinese company listed in the U.S., were among the hardest hit, down more than 15% on the New York Stock Exchange over the past week to $157, deflating its market capitalization to $424 billion.
Fellow online retailers JD.com and Pinduoduo, posted similarly staggering losses, wiping out about $20 billion and $10 billion in market value this week, respectively, despite ticking up about 2% Friday.
“China remains a huge source of global concern,” market analyst Adam Crisafulli of Vital Knowledge Media wrote in a Friday email, pointing to the nation’s strengthening regulatory campaign against corporations and actions that last month included demanding online education companies end their for-profit business models.
This week, shares of Chinese stocks have crashed steadily since Tuesday, when President Xi Jinping vowed to redistribute wealth in the nation by regulating “excessively high incomes”—spurring a sell-off that crushed shares of European luxury companies that do big business in China, like LVMH and Gucci-parent Kering.
U.S.-listed shares of online-gaming company NetEase, electric carmaker NIO and Internet firm Baidu plunged 11%, 10% and 10%, respectively, this week.
All told, the 10 largest Chinese companies trading in the United States have lost about $153 billion in market value since last week—more than 15% of their combined market value of roughly $940 billion.
In a matter of weeks, China has introduced harsh regulations targeting wide swaths of its economy and showing investors how risky investing in its market can be, Tom Essaye, author of the Sevens Report, wrote in a recent note. “Yes, there’s a huge market and lots of growth potential, but obviously there are regulatory risks that seem to be growing larger with every passing month,” said Essaye.
Last week, officials released a sweeping five-year blueprint for the crackdown, covering virtually every sector in its market. Then on Wednesday, China’s market regulators published a long list of draft rules targeting tech companies, barring them from using data to influence consumer choices and “traffic hijacking activities,” among other things.
“This is all a stark reminder that the current regulatory crackdown from Beijing is not going to let up,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a Thursday note, forecasting U.S. tech stocks, which are outperforming the broader market Friday, should benefit from the tech-focused crackdown in China over the next year. “The fear with more regulation in China around the corner is a major worry that is hard for investors to digest, and it will ultimately cause more of a rotation from the China tech sector to U.S. tech.”
The Nasdaq Golden Dragon China index, which tracks Chinese businesses trading in the United States, is down 9% this week and has crashed 51% from a February all-time high.
In an uncertain climate where risk is rife, the call for a more holistic approach to risk management has never been greater.
Despite new risks having emerged amid the volatile global environment, existing risks such as cybercrime and climate change haven’t gone away. Compounding this are new regulations on the horizon, such as those recommended in the Brydon Review in the U.K., where it’s likely we’ll see increased scrutiny over risk management, compliance and internal controls in the coming months.
The rapid pace of change in the past year has undoubtedly created significant short-term challenges for organizations worldwide, but only now are the long-term consequences beginning to manifest themselves.
Arguably, Covid-19 has highlighted deficiencies in risk management that otherwise might never have been brought to light. What’s clear is that those who have taken a more dynamic and frequent approach to their risk practices have been better able to future-proof their business and tackle the ongoing turbulence initiated by the pandemic.
Here are some ways organizations can enhance their performance in four of today’s key risk areas, while maintaining rigorous compliance and agility:
As innovation rises, so too do risks. Yet conversely, the risk of not innovating can be just as high. This places a considerable onus on risk managers to help their organizations strike the right balance between risk and reward.
Due to the nature of innovation, propositions are often in a constant state of development, rendering point-in-time engagement from risk executives impractical. For risk management to be effective, it must be embedded throughout the development process, with continuous interaction between risk and innovation teams. Furthermore, risk controls should be an integral part of product design, especially in the face of regulations such as GDPR, which maintains “privacy by design” as one of its leading principles.
Innovation risks undoubtedly alter the risk profile of an organization and potentially fuel other technology-related risks such as cybercrime and fraud—creating another strong case for implementing new risk controls and a wider discipline of digital conduct.
One prime example of innovation risk managed well is offered by e-commerce giant JD.com, whose radical advances in mitigation technology and robotics have increased the retailer’s stock price by 97% in the past year.
At the same time that organizations are expanding their digital footprints, cyber threats are growing exponentially in their sophistication. Although this has largely made traditional risk management frameworks unworkable, a data-driven approach can help businesses to better quantify cyber risk and sense check their cyber-response capabilities.
Data can be derived from multiple sources including audit findings, threat intelligence tools, asset life cycles and defect management to help build a real-time picture of risk, while providing key insights to the security team and senior leaders for more informed decision-making.
That said, a cyber-risk framework is only as good as an organization’s first line of defense: its valued employees. An all-hands-on-deck style is the surest way to instill a culture of cybersecurity accountability at all levels of the business, supported through training courses and robust policies to raise awareness of today’s ever-evolving cyber risks.
By identifying and addressing vulnerabilities before they become an issue, risk professionals can reduce the likelihood of their organization being a sitting target and thus protect their end clients as they continue their digitalization journey.
Rising expectations from stakeholders in recent years have indicated that high environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance can lead to improved profitability and business opportunities.
Microsoft is one such case in point, becoming the first company in its sector to target a “carbon negative” status by 2030. Since creating a $1 billion fund to reduce emissions and carbon usage, Microsoft received the highest ESG rating (AAA) from MSCI ESG Research in 2019.
A failure to incorporate ESG—covering a wide set of issues—into enterprise risk management practices could see businesses lagging behind their peers, particularly if they do not make the connection between ESG and materiality.
While laws and regulations mandating disclosure are a key driver for putting forth a robust ESG strategy, businesses should adopt an approach that transcends simply meeting compliance requirements. A critical starting point is to develop a purposeful culture around ESG that is exemplified at the top and instilled throughout the organization.
Board oversight is also crucial to the effective integration of ESG risk management and subsequent long-term sustainability. Senior leaders should work closely with risk teams to monitor ESG performance against the company’s goals, making activities such as megatrend analysis, media monitoring and regular ESG materiality assessments a core part of the wider ERM framework.
With the regulatory landscape changing rapidly, businesses that rely on antiquated, reactive ways of managing compliance risks could open themselves up to a host of negative repercussions, from both a financial and reputational standpoint.
However, an integrated compliance framework facilitated by technology can not only enable companies to be more risk-intelligent, but can also help keep compliance standards in check, ensuring that policies are adhered to at all levels of the organization.
Coupled with a best-practice strategy for managing regulatory compliance risk, today’s advances in automation and regtech can provide a 360-degree view of compliance while delivering meaningful insights and highlighting gaps in processes or deviation from policy.
Moreover, as authorities place increased focus on the quality and completeness of regulatory data, businesses will need to show that they have systematic controls and tools in place to provide accurate regulatory and compliance reporting. By putting transparency at the heart of regulatory risk management through digital means, organizations can have the confidence that their regulatory obligations are being met, mitigating the chance of them falling afoul of noncompliance.
With a focus on high-level risks as well as the more granular impact of risk across the board, businesses will not only benefit from a competitive advantage in future, but also greater resilience and compliance in times of extreme disruption. Are you ready for a risk management revolution?
Discover Ideagen’s market-leading Pentana Compliance solution and how it can help to protect your financial services organization from regulatory risk.
Gordon McKeown, Head of ARC Product, Ideagen
This article originally appeared on Business Reporter. Image credits: Header image: iStock 1181145608. Headshot: Courtesy of Ideagen.
Shares of Amazon fell as much as 8% Friday after the e-commerce juggernaut disclosed a massive fine from European regulators for allegedly breaking regional privacy laws and posted second-quarter earnings results that failed to meet Wall Street expectations, putting the longtime market leader on track for its worst day in more than a year.
As of 11:15 a.m. EDT, Amazon stock has plunged 7% Friday to about $3,349.50, pushing the firm’s market capitalization down below $1.7 trillion and wiping out nearly $130 billion from a closing level above $1.8 trillion Thursday.
Ushering in the massive losses, Amazon posted second-quarter revenue after Thursday’s market close of $113.1 billion—up 27% year over year, but falling short of average analyst expectations totaling $115 billion.
Despite soaring more than 48%, net income of more than $7.7 billion also fell slightly short of estimates, which called for about $7.8 billion.
The stark decline also comes after Amazon disclosed a $885 million (746 million euros) fine, levied on July 16, by the Luxembourg National Commission for Data Protection, which claims Amazon’s processing of personal data did not comply with European regulations.
In the filing, Amazon, which in a statement asserts no data breach has occurred, said it believes the watchdog’s decision is “without merit” and that it intends to appeal the ruling and defend itself “vigorously” in the matter.
Amazon’s Friday plunge puts it on track for its worst one-day decline since the height of pandemic uncertainty tanked the broader market in March 2020.
“Consumers’ online shopping levels are returning to more normal levels as they shift some spending to other entertainment sources and offline shopping,” Morningstar analyst Dan Romanoff said in a Friday note. “Meanwhile, the company continues to add capacity [and costs] at a breakneck pace in order to meet customer demand and one day delivery,” Romanoff added, pointing out Amazon has already nearly doubled its footprint during the last 18 months.
Shares of Amazon are now down more than 10% from a record closing high of $3,719 earlier this month.
Amazon far underperformed the broader market Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which doesn’t include Amazon, ticked down just 0.2%, while the S&P 500, which counts the retail giant as its third-largest component, fell 0.4%.
“Maintaining the security of our customers’ information and their trust are top priorities. There has been no data breach, and no customer data has been exposed to any third party. These facts are undisputed,” Amazon said in a statement Friday. “The decision relating to how we show customers relevant advertising relies on subjective and untested interpretations of European privacy law, and the proposed fine is entirely out of proportion with even that interpretation.”
I’m a reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I double-majored in business journalism and economics while working for UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School as a marketing and communications assistant. Before Forbes, I spent a summer reporting on the L.A. private sector for Los Angeles Business Journal and wrote about publicly traded North Carolina companies for NC Business News Wire. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow me on Twitter @Jon_Ponciano
With technology stocks garnering renewed scrutiny, it’s helpful to take a look back at one company that has weathered some of the most severe market downturns and serious doubts from Wall Street: Amazon. Betting on the online bookstore wasn’t always a sure thing. Amazon’s journey from tiny garage start-up to one of the most valuable companies in the world has paid off for investors, but shareholders needed a strong stomach.“Earth’s Biggest Bookstore”
In the early 1990s, Jeff Bezos walked away from a Wall Street career with an outlandish idea to sell books on the World Wide Web. In 1994, he launched Amazon.com. “I found this fact on a website that the web was growing at 2,300 percent per year,” Bezos told CNBC in a 2001 interview about his early foray into book selling. “The idea that sort of entranced me was this idea of building a bookstore online.”
The site experienced growth quickly, going public three years later with $16 million in revenue and 180,000 customers spanning more than 100 countries (according to its SEC filing). But even as the site began growing, many investors had their doubts about Amazon, instead favoring brick-and-mortar book-selling giant Barnes & Noble.
At an early meeting between Barnes & Noble Chairman Leonard Riggio and Bezos, Riggio reportedly told Bezos he would “crush” Amazon. Barnes & Noble dwarfed the young start-up. The traditional bookseller had hundreds of stores and more than $2 billion in revenue. It was also tapping into major Silicon Valley talent to built its own sleek new website.
On top of that, it was suing Amazon over the start-up’s claim to be “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore.” But for those who took a chance and bought Amazon stock at the initial public offering, their investment has returned a compound annual growth rate of 38 percent since the IPO – outperforming the S&P 500 which had a total return of 10 percent annually over the same period.
Tech stocks have been under renewed pressure in recent weeks as the markets have experienced volatility. From September to November, Amazon stock lost a quarter of its value as the wider tech sector took major hits. Some analysts say it’s a good time to buy in. Others say Amazon’s growth rate has hit a ceiling as the company enters maturity.
2020 accelerated the pace of e-commerce by leaps and bounds. Trends like personalization and customer experience are shaping the way companies, and customers connect. According to Statista, retail e-commerce sales increased by over a billion $ from 2019 to 2020 and are expected to grow almost another billion by 2021. Sales will continue to grow, reaching over $6.5 billion by 2023.
Ecommerce is a huge and extremely competitive industry. Therefore, you need to continually monitor the trends to be ahead of the competition. At CodeFuel, we collected the top e-commerce trends you need to know in 2021.
What Do You Need in 2021 To Ride the E-commerce Wave
1. AR Will Become a Standard for Online Shopping
What once was a “nice to have” feature is now common in more online stores. AR is changing the online shopping experience because it reduces the uncertainty of not being able to try on the product. For instance, companies like IKEA allow customers to overlay their products in any room in the customer’s house.
By giving customers a feel, they can now see how they would look with that shirt or how the coffee table would look in their living room. AR usage in e-commerce sites has grown by 2020 and is expected to continue growing by 2021.
2.Personalization and Customer Experience
Personalizing as much as possible the customer experience is the key to win the new e-commerce game in 2021. People value and remember good customer experiences.
Implementing on-site personalization can increase revenue and reduce bounce rates. Strategies such as serving the customer in the preferred channel, using AI-powered tools to present personalized ads can increase engagement and conversions.
However, companies should be careful with personalization efforts so as not to impact customer’s data privacy.
“Customer concerns about the security and privacy of their online data can impede personalized marketing at scale. Best-practice companies are building protections into their digital properties.”McKinsey.
3.Conversational Technology Continues to Grow
Research company Gartner project that the adoption of conversational AI will grow more than 100% by 2025. Consumers are increasingly using voice technology (Alexa, Google Home) for search and shop. Features like Alexa Voice Shopping let you order and complete purchases with voice commands.
Let’s say you run out of eggs, or napkins, or want to order takeout, you can tell your voice assistant. The device keeps your payment details and even remembers past purchases.
AI-powered chatbots are another trend that is here to stay. Now the chatbot can talk to you in a natural, humanized way and take your previous search history with the company to adjust recommendations and answers.
4.AI-Powered Solutions Help Learn About Shoppers
The more you know about your customers, the better you can serve them. Understanding customer behavior lets you provide personalized recommendations and suggestions. Just like a helpful store assistant.
AI helps businesses learn about their customers’ preferences and purchasing behaviors, giving them personalized customer experiences. An example is Diageo’s Bulleit brand of bourbon whiskey. The company used social listening technology to discover a niche in bartenders struggling with wasted skills when the bars are closed.
AI-powered analytic tools can help your company forecast customer demand and prepare for peak times. AI also improves the shopping experience for customers by matching previous customer information and giving real-time recommendations.
5.More Video Content
While we talk about video, consumers are spending more time every day watching online videos. A global forecast estimates that the average person will watch 100 minutes of online video by 2021.
According to PWC, mobile video advertising is expected to grow more than non-mobile video advertising in the next four years.
Implementing headless e-commerce can improve your company’s ability to adapt to changes. Headless architecture allows website owners to make adjustments in the front-end without having to carry the same changes to the back-end. Companies like Herschel, Gibson, Michael Kors, and Best Buy made the switch to headless architecture.
Benefits of headless architecture:
Quick actualization of the front end – when you introduce new content, you can instantly see the changes.
Better user experience – headless commerce is compatible across devices and viewing formats. This provides a better alternative to traditional responsive design.
7.Online Sales Will Continue Growing and With it the Competition
The growth of online commerce seems unstoppable. Statistics show that the e-commerce market grew the equivalent of 10 years in 3 months.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, online shopping has become the new normal for most consumers. With stores shutting because of lockdowns, consumers are resorting to online shopping for purchases.
The reason? Online shopping provides a safe, comfortable and
convenient way to shop from home or on the phone.
Experts predict this change is here to stay, even in a post-pandemic market. That is because online shopping gives consumers a quick and contactless way to purchase.
“We saw that consumers immediately shifted their online buying habits with roughly 75% of our consumers at eBay buying more items online,” explains Scott Kelliher, Head of Brand Ads and Partnerships at eBay. “Almost 85% of them plan to keep this new higher level of e-commerce spends for the foreseeable future.”
8.Mobile Shopping Will Grow Strong
It’s a fact that most consumers spend a lot of time daily on their phones. Then, using the phone to make purchases just seems natural. Buying from your phone provides the ultimate convenience when doing it right. An intuitive interface and easy checkout are critical.
Platforms like Facebook (and Instagram) take advantage of these opportunities offering features such as Facebook and IG Shops and in-ad purchases for SMEs to grow their businesses. No surprise, then, that the m-commerce volume will continue to grow over the next few years.
9. Increasing Costs of Acquisition Makes Retention More Important Than Ever
Although the number of online shoppers is increasing, acquiring a customer will be more expensive in 2021. At the end of 2020, we saw digital marketers investing heavily in paid search, and an increase in search shopping ads.
Costs of online advertising will only grow as online shopping expands to social media shopping. Therefore, companies will need to come up with creative advertising strategies to reach more shoppers while keeping costs under control.
One result of this trend can be a focus on retention strategies and conversion optimization. As competition grows, it is more important than ever to catch and retain customers’ attention via shopping ads that answer your customers’ queries while they are looking.
10. Social Media Purchases Will Grow
2020 brought new e-commerce features for social media channels. Facebook and Instagram added Shops, and in-ad purchases, intending to boost online shopping in their channels. As small businesses were one of the most impacted by lockdowns, Facebook launched a platform for business, adding tools and features to help SME to reach customers through social media.
Customers are carrying on more activities in social media than scrolling down cute videos. According to Statista: ”As of April 2020, 37 percent of U.S. internet users between the ages of 18 to 34 years reported they had purchased something via social media before but did not do so regularly”.
Social media platforms and e-commerce companies are tapping into this window of opportunity. TikTok, for instance, after its exponential growth last year, announced it is testing a feature that will enable users to add shoppable links in their videos. Instagram did something similar in 2020 by adding shoppable IGTV videos.
How Do You Know If a Trend is Right for Your Business?
All the trends mentioned before may seem overwhelming. How do you know which one can be right for your company? Here some pointers to get you started:
Pay attention to industry influencers and news: check what is trendy with influencers in your industry, so you can relate to them, and keep current on industry news to be up to date with trends.
Use digital tools and analytics to understand your customer’s behavior: many of the current trends depend on how well you can understand your customers and answer to their needs. Use data analytics tools to understand what they are shopping for, where, and when.
Check out your competitors: this may be useful to adapt your strategy. Is your competitor doing something that works? Maybe you can use this strategy for your audience? It is worth a try to check them out.
Ask your customers: nothing really tops knowing from first hand what your customers think. Use post-purchase surveys, quick polls, and reviews.
Now that you know the top trends that will shape the e-commerce industry this year, it is time to apply some following recommendations for your company:
Optimize your digital strategy to convert and retain customers.
Use digital tools to refine your reach.
Prioritize giving a great user experience with personalized content.
CodeFuel solutions enable publishers to increase their ROI through search monetization solutions that optimize search traffic, engage users, and boost revenue.
How CodeFuel Can Help
CodeFuel solutions enable publishers to increase their ROI through search monetization solutions that optimize search traffic, engage users, and boost revenue. Our engagement and monetization solutions help publishers by bringing together engagement and monetization, we leverage the searcher’s intent to increase conversions.
How do we do it?
Deliver relevant ads to targeted audiences on apps, websites, extensions, and more.
Leverage searcher intent, through presenting the right ad at the right moment
Engage users through enriching publisher’s assets with shopping offers and news, across devices, increasing exposure.
When you bring ads that are relevant to the searcher, it helps strengthen the connection of the user to the publisher, which becomes a trusted source. As a result, CodeFuel solutions bring value and optimize conversions both for publishers and advertisers by giving a great user experience to the consumer.
At CodeFuel, we are continually seeking innovative ways to generate revenue for our publishers and media buyers. Start engaging users and monetizing content with CodeFuel contact us today!
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Compared with other ecommercebusiness models, dropshipping is probably the one with the least number of risks. Its low startup cost requirement makes it viable even for beginner entrepreneurs. Plus, having suppliers take care of warehousing and product fulfillment removes a significant amount of work and expenses that would otherwise be coming from your end as a store owner.
But despite its many advantages, dropshipping also has its share of risks. These include risks from ecommerce platforms, suppliers, fraudulent customers and even poor management.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go through the losses that I and many other dropshippers have been through. Proactiveness is always key to avoiding full-blown, expensive losses.
Here are some actionable tips you can follow as early as now:
1. Use multiple sales channels
Platforms like Amazon, Facebook and Instagram are no doubt great places to set up an online store. But just like how you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket, neither should you rely on a single sales channel — especially one that you don’t own.
Companies like Amazon and Facebook can change their policies, algorithms and advertising fees at any time. And what will you do if the changes suddenly put sellers like you at a disadvantage?
I always recommend setting up your own website, because that gives you more control and removes the need to be dependent on unpredictable platforms. Once your store is up, you can then explore selling on other places while maintaining your website as your main channel.
Bonus: there are many integration tools out there that can sync your site with social media channels and marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.
2. Set criteria for vetting products and suppliers
Product and supplier issues are common among dropshippers. However, these are also avoidable if you have the proper vetting process and criteria in place.
You’ll never run out of potential products and suppliers, so the real challenge is to filter out those that could put your business at risk and find that who will help you win.
To guide you, here are some of my recommended criteria for choosing dropship products:
There’s an existing need or demand for the product.
The product is lightweight but durable enough to be shipped to various places.
It isn’t widely available in physical stores.
It isn’t sold by big brands that are hard to compete with.
It has interesting features that you could highlight in ads.
Meanwhile, here are some things you should look for in dropship suppliers:
They must be a manufacturer or wholesaler.
They have lots of positive reviews and a considerably high seller rating.
They have various shipping options, ideally including ePacket.
They’re willing to send you sample orders.
They don’t impose a minimum order requirement.
They have plausible policies for returns and refunds.
They communicate well.
3. Develop supplier contracts and store policies
A contract might not be a necessity if you’re just starting out with dropshipping, but it will become a must once your store gains traction. After all, you wouldn’t want to scale your business without first making sure that you and your suppliers are on the same page. This is especially important for niche stores establishing a name for very specific products.
A contract will protect you and your supplier. Here are some points that a supplier contract should cover:
It should specify the agreed wholesale price of goods, if possible.
It should set rules for returns, refunds, chargebacks and handling fraud.
It should set systems and/or sanctions for handling breach of contract.
Additionally, your supplier contracts should be your basis for creating your store’s policies, especially the return and refund policy. A good store policy helps boost customers’ trust, but you and your supplier should be able to back it up whenever the need arises.
4. Have primary and backup suppliers
Imagine receiving tons of orders only to realize later that your supplier doesn’t have enough inventory. Not only will you disappoint many customers, but these people might never buy from you again.
You can avoid running out of inventory by having backup suppliers, especially for your best-selling goods. Some ecommerce platforms actually let you assign multiple suppliers for a single product, so take advantage of that and always have backups in place.
Of course, you should make sure that your backup suppliers offer the same product quality as your primary suppliers. Vet them the same way you would a primary supplier.
5. Create a system for fraud detection and order screening
Fraudulent orders are one of the biggest risks that ecommerce businesses face. Some of these orders come in the form of an unusually big one-time purchase or a series of small purchases using the same credit card. However, they’ll later prove to be a scam that will leave you with chargeback notices, delivered orders that you most probably won’t get back and chargeback fees that will be a hassle to dispute.
Fraudulent orders are generally detectable with the right systems in place, so it’s best if you invest in these systems early on to prevent big losses. For one, you should use a platform that complies with PCI DSS, or the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.
Secondly, you should set up verification methods for card-not-present (CNP) transactions. So instead of immediately approving CNP orders, you could ask customers to first verify the address registered to their issuing bank. You could also use AVS or Address Verification Services, which should do the verification process for you.
Some ecommerce platforms could also help with analyzing orders and diagnosing details that could signal a red flag. Shopify’s fraud analysis is a good example. It automatically analyzes orders and shows you those that you might want to check manually. And if you find a transaction suspicious even after manual verification, then you might choose to cancel the order instead of risking getting scammed.
You don’t have to lose big to win big. You already know the common risks in running a dropshipping business, so it’s only wise to address them early on and protect yourself against hard-to-predict changes, low-quality products, scammy suppliers, insufficient inventory, fraudulent transactions and all other dangers you may face.
Use the above-mentioned tips as your guide, and remember that your dropship store is just like any other business: It requires proper management, including risk management.
Are you looking to add legitimacy and relevance to your business? The first step is to get a website, as most people now go online first when looking for products and services. Before you can launch a website, you must register a domain name, selecting a domain extension that suits your business.
To those who have no idea about what domain extensions are, these happen to be that part of the website domain name that appears on the other side of the dot — like .com, .in, .net, and so on.
There are now hundreds of these to choose from.
Domain extensions are also referred to as TLDs or Top-Level Domains. Let’s take a closer look at how domain extensions can help your business thrive.
The importance of domain extensions
Your web address is very important because it acts as a digital calling card. It is usually the very first thing that people see on Google when they search for a service or product.
How your web name ends makes people take instant calls about what type of website you have.
For instance, a technology firm could use .net as a domain extension, as it is associated with ISPs and other tech providers.
A business located in India might choose the .in domain extension for its web address, as this is known as India’s TLD.
The most well-known of domain extensions — .com — has become the go-to choice for any internet-based business. But as ecommerce grew tremendously over the years, many of the shortest and most valuable .com domain names have already been registered. Hence, it became necessary to have many more domain extensions made available (see complete list).
Why opt for new TLDs rather than .com
There has been a veritable explosion in the number of new domain extensions. For example:
Opting for a new domain extension can change the way your business or organization is perceived by its target audience. There are several other advantages to using one of the new domain extensions for your web address. Let’s take a look at what these may be in some greater detail.
1. A more memorable website domain name
A name that is easy to remember is half the battle won when it comes to getting found on the internet.
It’s time to look beyond .com.
A domain extension name that resonates with your target audience and makes them come to you is something one should be looking at. It will have a tremendous impact on the effectiveness of your digital efforts.
2. Improved branding
Not only is the right kind of domain extension easy to remember and relate to, but it also helps enhance branding across the services one offers. Besides, easy to use names are less likely to be misspelled during the search process.
3. Better defined organization
A suitably chosen domain extension will instantly identify the line of work carried out by a business or an organization. An Indian non-profit would, for instance, be well advised to use a .org.in domain extension to identify its area of expertise and its location. It would help the organization make its presence felt in its specific niche, which can only augur well for its outreach efforts.
4. Establish a business identity
A domain extension should be able to establish a business’s identity like nothing else. An architect’s firm, for example, would do well to use the .archi domain name that would have synergy with its business.
5. Help diversify
If your line of work has expanded and your current domain extension does not seem to adequately represent the changed status of your business, a change in domain extension could help correct that impression. If you are a
n exercise instructor who has also started giving yoga lessons, you might want to adopt the .guru extension to reflect the change.
6. Create a strong solo brand
A lot of people who are strong solopreneur brands by themselves can further accentuate their brands by choosing an appropriate domain extension. This will help one obtain much better results in organic searches of one’s personal brand name. Changing your existing brand name to your legal name lets you leverage your personal clout to help enhance your brand image.
Give the new domain extensions a look
The importance of a domain extension cannot be underestimated, in that it defines the very identity of a business, organization or individual in the online space. These days one can choose from a very large number of domain extensions, whose names are far more reflective of what they represent than plain old .com.
Truly, a domain extension is much more than a mere web address of a business or organization. It is no less than a powerful marketing and branding tool that can help improve a business or organization’s prospects.
With hundreds of domain extensions to choose from, one can quite easily choose something that will represent the best face of a business or organization to its core target audience.
Indeed, those from large corporations and trading organizations to businesses, professionals and nonprofits would benefit immensely from a change of their domain extension.
Vipin Labroo is a content creator, author and PR consultant (not in any particular order). A member of the Nonfiction Authors Association, he has years of corporate experience working with an eclectic range of clients. In his line of work he writes press releases, articles, blogs, white papers, research reports, website content, eBooks and so on across segments like technology, business & marketing, internet marketing, healthcare, fashion, real estate, travel and so on. Vipin has earned a solid reputation for the sterling quality of his work across the English-speaking world. Connect with him on Twitter.
With news of a Covid-19 vaccine bringing hope worldwide for an eventual end to the pandemic that’s left a trail of destruction across 2020, many workers are eager to continue working remotely. With a recent McKinsey & Company study suggesting that one-third of Europe’s major economies could continue their remote work, it may be time for marketers to consider their omnichannel marketing approach.
While some bosses may be reluctant to allow their employees to work from home (WFH) when it becomes safe to return to office commutes, research indicates that many employers are seeing improvements in the productivity of staff while they WFH.
Major European economies have seen significant rises in remote work as Covid became increasingly prevalent. The UK, Germany, France and Spain were among the global leaders when it came to WFH, with potentially as much as 46 percent of workers going remote.
According to Harvard Business Review, the vast majority of countries that display the ideal infrastructure to facilitate WFH come from northern and western Europe, indicating that there’s plenty of potential for workers to continue operating remotely across the continent.
Shifts away from high streets and brick and mortar stores to spend more time at home means that businesses will be looking to appeal more to audiences through the various digital platforms that they use. Omnichannel marketing, of course, aims to make the shopping experiences from online to mobile to over the phone to in-person as seamless as possible.
In an era that’s driven by digital engagement, we may soon see a boom in omnichannel marketing. But how will marketers look to use omnichannel to reach their consumers?
Marketing during the rise of remote work.
Remote work across Europe looks set to continue as the world transitions into the “new normal” period of recovery following the virus. Due to the development of remote technology and communications, this trend may never reverse.
According to the European Employer Covid-19 survey Report, nearly 70 percent of European employers plan to continue remote work for employees unless their jobs require them to be in the workplace. While 80 percent of respondents are requiring or considering to recruit more employees to WFH.
Respondents say that they’re considering these shifts to achieve more productivity (41 percent), address the difficulty and price of introducing new safety measures (38 percent) and to allow for the closure of offices (25 percent). This may mean that the future of office spaces may change from a place to get work done to a place to meet for performance reviews and client discussions.
The implications of closing offices and fewer opportunities for workers to leave the house will have huge ramifications for other industries, and marketers will need to adapt quickly to the rise of remote work by creating better engagement opportunities for users within the places they’re most likely to consume their media.
Let’s take a deeper look into how omnichannel marketing methods can help businesses to reach more potential customers at home:
Understanding the changing journeys of customers.
The first thing marketers will need to understand to adapt their post-pandemic campaigns is how customer journeys are shifting.
Where traditional journeys revolved heavily around physical store visits and platform-based eCommerce, Deloitte notes that this pattern is moving towards a ‘life on the cloud’ diversity of co-existing models, with fully integrated eCommerce, social media, live-streaming, influencers, vertically-integrated platforms, official brand websites and private traffic.
Significantly, the reach of marketers looks set to change to focus heavily on social media, digital entertainment and eCommerce platform campaigns.
While pop-up stores had been a popular way of engaging audiences over the past decade, the pandemic appears to have forced marketers to adapt to more digital platforms to continue to find customers.
Understand where your audience is
It’s vital to gain an insightful view of your customers to gain a full picture of what they like and don’t like — as well as their purchasing habits, preferences, and how they behave across all channels. This data can help you to create a more enhanced customer experience.
By collecting and analyzing relevant customer data, a brand can establish the personality of their target audience which helps them to use the right tools and technology at the right time in the buying cycle. It’s also important for businesses to test out their buying experience offered through the eyes of their customers. This can help to make the experience seamless, more user-friendly and free of any barriers.
Different businesses have customers who behave differently online. While customer behaviour tools like BrandWatch and Heap can provide strong insights into who your audience really is, a strong level of customer research can still be conducted manually.
By learning more about the social networks your customers use and the type of entertainment platforms they use, it’s much easier to build campaigns to not only suit their tastes but also to appear where they’re most likely to see them.
Reapproach your content.
Like with all campaigns, your content will be the foundation of your omnichannel efforts. You can begin by surveying your existing content to collect assets that align with the needs and interests of your target audience at different phases of the buyer’s journey. Here, it’s important to remember that the best content always attracts, informs and engages your audience while still promoting your brand.
Be sure to adjust the format and presentation of your content to fit the context of each channel that you’re working in. Each piece of content needs to stay relevant to the channel it appears in while maintaining a consistent experience across channels. This will help to smooth out the experience for users across channels and devices.
Despite the need for adapting your content across channels to suit their respective audiences, it’s still worth repurposing content from its core message and meaning across all the channels you operate in. This process isn’t too time-consuming, and condensing ebooks into whitepapers or taking infographics from webinars can help to generate significant traffic for existing work.
The necessity of digital analysis.
Because of the significance of shifting your marketing operations towards omnichannel campaigns, it’s vital that you track your progress using analytics to help you recover quickly if setbacks occur.
Platforms like Google Analytics and Finteza are effective ways of keeping track of how traffic arrives and interacts with your pages. If some channels are creating lower volumes of visits, it’s important to reconsider your approach, or the type of content you’re creating, or even checking whether you really do have as large of an audience to connect with via this form of marketing.
Covid may have caused widespread disruption to a range of industries across the world, but in remote work creating more digital audiences for businesses to connect with, there may be an opportunity for marketers to create more effective and adaptable campaigns that can spread further across channels and reach larger volumes of people.
With more research, multifaceted content, and time taken to analyse progress, businesses could yet turn their shortcomings from the pandemic into a significant opportunity for the future.
By: Dmytro Spilka Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP CEO and Founder of Solvid and Pridicto
Eduard Perez-Mañanet Lozoya posted on LinkedInhttp://www.linkedin.com – October 19, 2020An omnichannel strategy means providing your customers with a fully integrated shopping experience from the physical store to the virtual store, including mobile applications and the full range of possibilities offered by the offline and online world. #marketingconsultancy #digitalmarketing #optimizationstrategies #omnichannelmarketing Like Comment Share To view or add a comment, sign in To view or add a comment, sign in Editor’s Picks 2,174 followers 1,617 Posts 0 Articles View Profile FollowN/A
The Covid-19 pandemic has dealt Black-owned businesses a tough hand. Stifled by stay-at-home orders, on-again off-again store closures and stricter limits occupancy limits, many businesses are struggling to outlast the seemingly unending virus outbreak.
Although they’ve rebounded slightly in recent months, Black-owned stores have experienced the greatest decline this year, plummeting from 1.1 million businesses in February to 640,000 in April—a 41% drop.
But spurred by a national movement to support Black businesses, which kicked off this summer, a new number of corporations are taking small steps to put the Black in Black Friday.
Black Friday online sales pulled in a record $7.4 billion in 2019— the second largest online shopping day ever and a 19.6% increase over the previous year—while the holiday season overall generated more than $72 billion in online sales, according to Adobe Analytics. Online sales for this Black Friday are projected to generate $10.3 billion.
The surge in digital spending over the holiday season and the heightened visibility that’s been awarded to small businesses through corporate sponsorships could have a considerable impact on Black businesses in particular, sustaining them through the a few more months of the pandemic.
Facebook, for one, launched its #BuyBlackFriday initiative and a corresponding toolkit and gift guide in October as part of a broader three-month campaign to buttress small businesses during the holiday season.
The gift guide features products from Black-owned businesses and was curated alongside the U.S. Black Chambers and several corporate partners.
“Black-owned businesses have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, closing at twice the rate of other small businesses,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg wrote in a blog post announcing the initiative. She added, “But we know that millions of people want to help.”
The campaign runs through Black Friday on November 27, a symbolic starting gun for the holiday shopping season.
More recently, Google partnered with Grammy-winning musician Wyclef Jean and the U.S. Black Chambers to promote its #BlackOwnedFriday campaign, an effort to make November 27 “Black-owned Friday” and galvanize shoppers to buy Black beyond the Thanksgiving weekend.
The tech giant has also showcased Black-owed businesses on its social platforms since mid-October and now allows users to find nearby stores that identify as Black-owned through its search engine.
“I’ve seen firsthand the strain and struggle that Black-owned businesses face,” Jean said in a statement. “For many of them, this holiday season will be critical to their survival.”
TikTok, the latest viral social media platform, threw its weight behind Black-owned businesses months after facing censorship allegations from Black creatives in June. Earlier this month, the video sharing platform, which has about 200 million monthly active users in the U.S., launched Support Black Businesses, a digital hub to amplify Black entrepreneurs.
TikTok also announced #ShopBlack, an in-app campaign that allows users to create videos spotlighting their favorite Black-owned businesses or to share their experience as a Black entrepreneur.
As small businesses reel from the pandemic’s economic disruption, many big retailers have had breakaway growth. Amazon’s profits and sales exceeded analysts’ expectations, reporting a 37% sales growth and tripling its third-quarter profits as more shoppers turn to the e-commerce giant during the pandemic.
But celebrities and influencers alike have started to leverage Amazon’s omnipresence to highlight Black sellers on the platform. Nearly 70% of the products on Oprah Winfrey’s highly anticipated annual list of her favorite things are created by Black-owned or Black-led businesses this year and all are available for purchase on Amazon.
The billionaire media mogul has partnered with Amazon on the list since 2015 and her yearly picks have provided brands with considerable gains in sales since the list’s 1996 advent.
Black Americans have developed a growing presence among small businesses owners and could stand to gain considerable sales from dedicated shopping holidays like Small Business Saturday, which raked in an estimated $19.6 billion in 2019. And while physical distancing measures will significantly curb foot traffic this year, more than 112 million Americans visited a small business on that day last year, a record high.
As shoppers increasingly reject winding lines that snake around the store, a trend that’s long been in the making but was exacerbated by the pandemic, they’re also looking to support independent local businesses—a potential boon for niche Black businesses with an online presence this holiday season. Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip.
I’m a reporter covering the various aspects of diversity and inclusion in business and society at large. Previously, I was a reporter at CNBC, where I focused on leadership and strategic management. I’ve also dabbled in video journalism, working as a breaking news digital producer for New York Daily News, followed by a yearlong stint as a producer at Rolling Stone. My work has been featured on New York Daily News, Yahoo Finance and Time Out. I’m a proud alumna of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, receiving honors for my investigative thesis on the alarming number of physicians dying by suicide. Tweet me @ruthumohnews or send tips to email@example.com.