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3 Trends retailers can capitalize on

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link so make sure that logistics support is your point of strength. Make this a time of festive cheer for your customers and your business. 

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By Kawal Preet
President of Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa (AMEA), FedEx Express

Today, if you’re not buying online, you’re probably the exception rather than the norm, especially with the holiday gift-buying season upon us. Consumer demand is such that e-commerce growth rates in the Asia Pacific region have already met projections for 2025. For sellers, setting up a storefront on platforms like Alibaba – home to a combined 1 billion active users globally – is now a given.

This year, retailers are ramping up efforts to cut through an increasingly crowded online marketplace. As logistics underpins e-commerce sales, we’ve witnessed some critical shifts that may help retailers stay ahead this holiday season.

1. E-commerce 3.0: Winning through immersive experiences 

E-commerce 1.0 was all about building a website and product catalogue for people to purchase. E-commerce 2.0 centered on building omni-channel retail and understanding more about customer buying patterns through data analytics. Now we’re living in an era of e-commerce 3.0, which applies approaches like live streaming and augmented or virtual reality to create immersive customer experiences that bring better brand and product understanding and better service to those browsing online. In fact, close to 50% of consumers say they would pay extra for a product if brands could offer more immersive shopping experiences.

China has long been the global trendsetter in the e-commerce field and it’s fair to say what happens here defines the way forward. With more than 638 million Chinese engaging with livestreams and shopping online, livestream platforms are now a critical engine driving e-commerce growth. Ahead of this year’s Singles Day sale, one of China’s top live streamers sold a staggering US$1.7 billion worth of goods within the first 12 hours, attracting more than 250 million views.

As more small businesses build their e-commerce presence, China’s live commerce successes are now being replicated elsewhere in the region. The intent to shop on social media platforms is going up, as high as 88% in countries like Thailand.

2. Dig deeper: Consider subscription models 

Shopping online may have lowered the barrier to making a transaction but engaging with your customers so they keep coming back for more can be tricky. Consumers are inundated with a sea of product information every day. A simple search of “camera” on Google yields over 1 million results, and let’s not forget the programmatic advertising that consumer are explored to once the search occurs In short, consumers are easily distracted.

Subscription models can help increase returning customers. When it comes to e-commerce, small businesses in Asia are also capitalizing on this trend. Just look at the popularity of monthly wine hampers in Australia, beauty boxes in Korea, and premium fruit baskets in Japan.

All of this is being fuelled by consumers’ increasing disposable income and pent-up desire to live life to the fullest during the pandemic. Prolonged lockdowns have meant that receiving little moments of joy through the post regularly helps to break through the monotony of not being able to travel. If retailers can capitalize on this and find a way to have their customers sign-up for a subscription, it can become a stable stream of revenue.

3. Supply chains: Agility and resiliency will be key 

In the old days, e-shoppers’ focus sat squarely on price. But in today’s on-demand economy, where instant gratification means the world to consumers, personalized delivery services such as when and where the product should arrive and whether it can be redirected to a locker if they’re unavailable to pick it up are critical to driving sales. 

Companies therefore need to build more robust delivery services and resilient supply chains to meet consumer needs. It’s no exaggeration to say that your e-commerce success depends on how strong your supply chains are. Just look at how many times ‘supply chain’ has been mentioned in earnings calls among S&P 500 companies this month – a whopping 3,000 times.

This need is particularly pronounced with COVID-19 restrictions still in place in many countries. For example, a well-known South African footwear brand relied on FedEx during the lockdowns, as they were facing difficulties driving sales via their local retail outlets. By leveraging FedEx transportation solutions and technology expertise, the brand was successfully able to expand to new international markets beyond Africa, and double their global distribution network.

What does that mean for retailers like you? Collaborating with a reliable logistics company that can flex its network to reach your customers in whatever circumstances is critical. You earn an extra bonus point if your consumers save on delivery costs. And that’s exactly where we’ve been investing in – fast and convenient international delivery services at attractive prices. 

This holiday season is set to be another epic one for small businesses and e-commerce merchants. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link so make sure that logistics support is your point of strength. Make this a time of festive cheer for your customers and your business. 

Strategies

How to get more ROI from your influencer marketing investments

Many marketers turn to online influencers to promote their brands and products on social media, propelling the growth of influencer marketing. However, little is known about the decision criteria that firms can use to enhance the effectiveness of their influencer marketing efforts. 

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Photo by Erik Lucatero from Unsplash.com

Researchers from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Lingnan University, Colorado State University, and University of Washington published a new paper in the Journal of Marketing that investigates how firms can enhance the effectiveness of influencer marketing efforts by managing factors related to the sender of a message (influencer), the receiver of the message (influencer’s followers), and the message itself (influencer’s posts).

The study, forthcoming in the the Journal of Marketing, is titled “Influencer Marketing Effectiveness” and is authored by Fine F. Leung, Flora F. Gu, Yiwei Li, Jonathan Z. Zhang, and Robert W. Palmatier.

Many marketers turn to online influencers to promote their brands and products on social media, propelling the growth of influencer marketing. However, little is known about the decision criteria that firms can use to enhance the effectiveness of their influencer marketing efforts. 

Influencer marketing initiatives require firms to select and incentivize online influencers to engage their followers on social media in an attempt to promote the firms’ offerings. As influencer marketing becomes increasingly competitive, firms’ ability to allocate their budgets optimally by selecting individual influencers and managing individual posts in ways that maximize engagement elasticity can establish their competitive advantages. This research team gathered influencer cost and engagement data and undertook a systematic assessment of influencer marketing effectiveness across varied conditions.

The conceptual framework reflects communication models and their component characteristics related to the sender of a message (the influencer), the receiver of the message (the influencer’s followers), and the message itself (the influencer’s marketing post). Specifically, we investigated whether: (1) selecting influencers who post more or fewer posts (influencer activity), provide original content (originality), or have more or fewer followers (follower size); (2) targeting follower networks with different levels of follower–brand fit; and (3) posting content with distinct degrees of post positivity and sponsor salience, or content that relates to new product launches, alter influencer marketing effectiveness.

Leung says that “We discover that increasing the influencer marketing budget can increase consumer engagement. In other words, all else equal, a 1% increase in influencer marketing spend increases engagement by .457%.” The estimation of engagement elasticity also sheds light on how firms actually allocate their budgets across influencers relative to how they should do so. “As our analysis indicates, on average, firms in our data set are allocating their budgets sub-optimally and have substantive upward potential with regards to generating engagement,” adds Gu.

Zhang adds, “We found that selecting influencers who transmit more original posts, relative to posts created by others, and those who have amassed a larger number of followers leads to greater effectiveness.” Sponsored posts that feature the sponsor brand more saliently by providing more clickable mentions and links also boost effectiveness. However, posts that announce new product launches diminish effectiveness.

Several tensions arise when firms select influencers and manage content: influencer activity, follower–brand fit, and post positivity all exert inverted U-shaped moderating effects on influencer marketing effectiveness, suggesting that firms that adopt a balanced approach along these dimensions can achieve greater effectiveness.

Palmatier concludes with “Our study offers a comprehensive assessment of how factors related to the sender, receiver, and message lead to varied influencer marketing effectiveness. These practical implications can help marketers strategically select influencers, target followers, and manage content to achieve stellar influencer marketing effectiveness.”

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Strategies

6 Helpful tips to power up your home-based business

While all good things don’t happen overnight, small business owners can carefully craft their own strategies to make sure of their path to success.

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Building a business from the ground up, during a pandemic era, no less is definitely challenging. But sustaining it is a more complicated feat. While all good things don’t happen overnight, small business owners can carefully craft their own strategies to make sure of their path to success.

Here are some helpful tips to grow your business and reach more customers.

1. Power up your business with the right internet connection.

Building your business from home requires a consistent and reliable internet connection. A study conducted by the Philippines’ leading fiber internet service provider, Converge ICT Solutions Inc., showed that 26.7% of subscribers from its consumer segment are online sellers.

Nearly seven out of 10 of these online sellers do not have business permits, while the remaining 31.3% have business permits and consider themselves as micro-businesses. However, both segments of online sellers only subscribe to residential plans.

Choosing the right internet for your home business is important. There is definitely no problem with subscribing to residential internet plans, but as you grow your business, you might notice that this would not be enough. This is why Converge offers various plans, both for consumers and businesses, to empower customers to choose the right plan for them.

2. Always improve and focus on your product.

Ensuring that your customers trust and enjoy your products should always be a top priority. By constantly improving your product, you are making sure that your customers get the best value of their money. In the long run, this will translate into brand loyalty and conversion of more customers. 

3. Listen to your customers.

When you make improvements to your product, be it for new features or for existing ones, be sure that it is aligned with the interests of your customers. Equip yourself with the latest trends, customer feedback, reviews and other suggestions from your community of clients. Always remember that your products are for them, and not for the business alone.

4. Know your competitors.

While maintaining a quality product is always crucial, there are always other factors that might encourage your customers to switch to other brands. Thus, it won’t hurt to monitor your competitors and study the features, price points, promos and other selling points that they offer. Knowing your competitors will put you in an advantage to position your product in the market.

5. Form the right team.

You can’t do all of this alone. Getting the right people in your team will make everything easier, and even happier, for business owners. Having a more collaborative culture within your team will help with the growth of your business. Just make sure that aside from skills, your team members are also equipped with dedication and passion to grow your business.

6. Invest in your social media presence.

In this digital age, a more complicated business battle resides in social media. This is where you should take your brand, and allow for an efficient brand-building process. You can also maximize social media to create narratives and conversations about your business, which can also help you develop a good relationship with your customers.

To fully take advantage of your social media power, you will circle back to the advice of having a good and reliable internet connection. Converge can help you achieve all this through the power of a pure, end-to-end fiber internet experience.

To learn more about Converge plans and offerings, visit https://www.convergeict.com.

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Strategies

Why financial literacy matters in achieving your goals

A 2015 World Bank survey showed that Filipinos struggle with financial literacy, but don’t fret! There are many ways to be financially literate, which can help you turn the woes to wins, achieve goals, and live a happier life. Here’s how you can do it.

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Managing finances properly eases worries and provides a sense of security for the future. Whether it is making money decisions daily with your food and transportation or long-term plans like buying a house, traveling, and starting a business, being financially literate helps you become smarter with money to turn goals into reality.

A 2015 World Bank survey showed that Filipinos struggle with financial literacy, but don’t fret! There are many ways to be financially literate, which can help you turn the woes to wins, achieve goals, and live a happier life. Here’s how you can do it.

Budgeting
Woe: There are a lot of daily necessities and monthly dues so there’s no room to save or spend on personal wants.
These can be overwhelming to manage and there is a tendency to pour all resources there.

Win: Budgeting is one way to manage finances. It allows you to look into your expenses, reallocate funds to ensure needs are met and make room for wants. This way, you can spend on both important things and little luxuries and rewards for yourself every now and then.

Budgeting is easier with UnionBank Online as it allows settling and scheduling payments, sending prepaid load for your phone and e-wallets in real-time. You can also save up weekly, monthly, or quarterly using the Goals feature for the rewards or luxuries that you want. Being financially literate means avoiding spending money you do not have, and maximizing money that you do have to achieve your short-term and long-term goals.

Tracking and Organizing
Woe: It’s easy to get lost in all your transactions and not everyone has the time to keep track of them. It can also be a hassle to do, especially if there are too many accounts to look at, which would take time and effort.

Win: Conquer this challenge and take control of your finances to win in life. Tracking and organizing your accounts and transactions allow you to have better visibility of your finances, stay within your budget and prevent financial mishaps, to reach your goals faster.  

With UnionBank Online’s Spend Tracker, your credit card expenses are automatically categorized on a monthly basis, helping you see if there is still room to spend.  For your savings accounts, the app has a unified view so you can quickly and easily browse balances.  Tap into each account to access your transaction history. It even allows you to lock your physical card to avoid unauthorized use or prevent you from overspending.

Investing in the future
Woe: Investments and insurance can be intimidating because of the price tags that come with them. Because they can be pricey, they become additional expenses that don’t fit into the budget.

Win: Understanding the value of investing in the future is also part of being financially literate. You are not only preparing for what is up ahead, but also for how it can impact others. Whether it is investment for potential long-term wealth or insurance to keep yourself and your loved ones protected, the goal is always to live a better and more comfortable life.

At an affordable price, you can invest through Unit Investment Trust Fund (UITF) on UnionBank Online and let professionals help grow your money. For protection in case of emergencies, UnionBank Online partnered with Inlife to offer a variety of Life and Accident insurance plans that you can choose from to ease any unforeseen financial burdens.

Financial literacy matters because it helps you get past your financial woes and score wins in life, as it allows you to make better money decisions everyday. Budgeting, tracking and organizing finances, and investing in the future are just some of the habits that will surely make an impact on your future. As you become more financially literate and responsible, you are one step closer to achieving your goals.

Now’s the chance to make smarter choices to achieve your short-term and long-term goals. Lessen your woes and win in life with the right app. Download UnionBank Online now, and open an account or visit UnionBank Online for more information and to see all features helpful in managing finances.

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