E-commerce is a growing market, with more and more Americans making purchases online. This holiday season’s digital sales are predicted to be the largest ever, and increasingly, mobile is opening up a new platform for e-commerce that is set to expand the amount of online shopping Americans participate in by orders of magnitude as the tech is fine tuned. As digital becomes a more pressing concern for businesses both large and small as they try to stay relevant and competitive, making the most out of digital sales funnels through analysis and fine tuning should be something that all business owners take time to pursue. Beware of cart-abandonment. In an article on the subject from the Washington Post, cart abandonment was cited as costing online merchants an estimated four trillion in lost sales in 2014. One suggestion for combating shopping cart abandonment from the article was retargeting, or tracking customers who navigate away from a full cart in order to increase the odds that they will double

  Slumping Black Friday sales need not have worried small business owners, as numbers positive numbers have been reported by the National Retail Federation and American Express, the sponsor of the growing day of recognition for small businesses and the vibrancy they bring to their communities. In an Inc. article on the growth of Small Business Saturday, NFIB numbers were found to clock in consumer spending on Saturday at around $162 on average, an 11% decline from last year, but in keeping with broader economic trends that predicted shrinking retail numbers, potentially as online commerce grows in significance and volume. Small Business Saturday got a boost from social media. Awareness of the day has been helped along by social media campaigning both on the part of Amex and the small businesses that participated in the day. Amex provides resources to small business owners looking to get involved, and Inc. reported that over 126,000 tweets related to Small Business Saturday were sent out on the day of

Like the lethargy that comes with big meals, or the cringe you get from unwrapping yet another pair of socks, holiday returns are an unpleasant part of the holidays that are largely overshadowed by all the good that come along with them. for business owners, dealing with returns is something that is usually only as bad as you allow it to be. If you are unprepared to handle them, or have not explicitly stated a return policy that your customers can adhere to, the ensuing customer service issues that can occur have the potential to pile up to the point of costing you customer loyalty and vital time that you need to manage your business during your busy season. Ensure that your return policy is clearly accessible to your customers. Your return policy is something that your customers should not have to search for, it should be as clear as possible to avoid confusion and the potential for backlash against your business that can occur when

Small business owners will often look outside of the customers that they already have when brainstorming how to create more sales. Expanding customer base is undoubtedly an essential part of growing a business, as well as its brand recognition and market share. However, for businesses that are trying to increase their sales numbers who aren’t already making an effort to provide more to their current clients, using their sales data for segmenting the market they are already serving and then increasing their targeting is a strong way to increase their revenues created by their core clients. The segments that buy the most of your products should be the first you target. When you break up the categories your buyers fall into, by age, gender, location etc. you will start to arrive at a clearer picture of who are the best customers of your business. Once that customer group is identified, targeting them with special offers and keeping lines of communication strong will help ensure that they

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is an essential part of running any business, no matter what industry. How business owners approach their relationship management will of course vary greatly from industry to industry, and even on the basis of one business to the next. That being said, after growth, especially rapid growth that leaves your business in a dramatically different position than it was even a few months ago, taking the steps needed to create some standard, safe procedures for recording data and satisfying customer requests is in your best interest and can help you maintain and continue on an upward trajectory. After a tipping point in sales volume, handling the information manually can be tough. CRM tools can help your business to manage the data you record related to consumer interactions, giving you a clearer and more easy to reference picture of what it is that your business is doing. This is an important part of managing customer service requests, since the faster and more reliably

When your business hinges on the ability of sales people to perform, it is in your best interest to create a script that you can share with your team as a guideline to positive interactions that lead to conversions. Distributing leads to those who can use them is one thing, but your endgame should be enabling all of your sales reps to become star players on your team. The stronger your script is, the faster your reps will be able to jump in to making more sales upon being hired, and even your best salespeople will fall back on a strong script from time to time. This is especially true if your team encounters a standard set of objections or questions with a high degree of frequency. When they already know the best answer to give a concerned customer, it can help them regain control of the situation with poise and politeness. When creating a pitch, identify the concerns of your client. A pitch is not

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