Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Retail Ethics Matter to Consumers

Historically, the shopping cart was filled based on a simple process of determining the quality and the appropriate price. Today, it's a more complicated process as consumers become increasingly aware and concerned about how ethically products are made.

In a recent survey of 1,000 UK shoppers, Morgan Stanley Research found that, "While ethical concerns don’t dominate shopping habits—prices and quality still rank highest—they have gained prominence since 2010, particularly with the critical younger consumer demographic."

Of all items in the survey, the nine percentage point increase regarding the importance of ethics was the largest. It points to the reality that the next generation of consumers believes that there is value in protecting both the workers and the environment involved in manufacturing and production.

Several major retailers have already recognized the benefit in providing transparency to their customers. Gap recently released a list of all of the factories that provide it and it's six companies (Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime, Athleta, and Intermix) with product. Given the nature of the modern consumer's relationship with retailers, it's fair to say that having an ethically sound business model will reap rewards that far outweigh the costs.

As Paul Daulerio of the CT Post notes, "Businesses focusing on encouraging ethical practices are commonly viewed with respect by employees, stakeholders and the community. The ethical philosophy of a business can thus affect it in many ways including its reputation, productivity and profitability."

Championing your business's commitment to sustainability is a move that will cause consumers to connect your brand with a sense of respectability. This can be done with something as simple as eco-friendly packaging that demonstrates to them your priorities. Contact us today to discuss packaging options for your business that will send the right message to your customers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Why The Physical Storefront Still Matters

The reality of retail is one that includes omni-channel purchasing, virtual realities, and even artificial intelligence. As with so many other industries, in retail, tech is king. Despite that though, what the numbers show is that the traditional storefront still matters, and it matters a great deal. 

A new report shows that while we are indeed entrenched in the digital age, the foundation of retail remains the storefront. The study found that:

  • 95% of sales acquired, are done so by retailers who have a physical location.
  • Two-thirds of the shoppers who make an online purchase, either already have or will visit the brick-and-mortar store location.
  • Physical storefronts boost online sales; this is not a game of either or, but rather it's a meshing of both realities. Retailers who are succeeding recognize that both the digital realm, as well as the physical one matter to customers. 

One of the mightiest online retailers of today, Amazon, has recognized that there is strength in providing consumers with a physical location. Thus, they're planning on opening dozens of pop-up stores in malls across the US in the year to come. This news following the opening of several brick-and-mortar book stores. If even Amazon is feeling the pull of the storefront, it is a sure sign of the value they hold for consumers.

As the Sales Head of Europe at Mindtree, a technology services company, Anil Gandharve says, “Physical stores are now more than stores — they are bridges between the consumers and brands.”

Sure, technology has moved in to the world of retail in an impressive way, but retailers would do well to remember the emotional connection that people, and thus consumers, have to the physical. Given that reality, as online sales rise, it is a prudent choice to ensure that the physical experience online shoppers do have, is a positive one.

At Action Bag, we specialize in promoting your brand's image by utilizing our years of experience to create packaging options that will stay with your customer long after the product arrives. Contact us today, so that you can feel confident that your in-store and e-commerce packaging will go the extra mile on behalf of you and your business. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

What Small Retail Websites Can Learn From Big Retail Websites

Most large retailers have a website - and have figured out how to run it well. Many top retailers are in the news for spending millions of dollars trying to make their websites a good customer experience. As such, we have come up with three lessons from the big retailers about making their website a success. Small retailers can apply these same ideas to their websites to increase their own online sales.

1. Online Buyers are Often Afraid  

Many online buyers are wary that they will not receive the product that they ordered, and they are particularly afraid that thieves will steal their credit card information. Large online retailers combat this by prominently displaying the company's satisfaction guarantee.  They also highlight the company's privacy policy and display a security badge.  Small retail company websites can easily do the same.

2. Online Buyers Do Not Like to Pay for Shipping
In fact, 35% of shoppers abandon their online shopping cart because of high shipping charges.   Top retailers have learned that fewer shipping charges and particularly free shipping translate into more sales.   Small retailers cannot always absorb the costs of free shipping, but absorbing a part of the shipping costs so that shoppers do not have "shipping charges shock" at checkout can help boost sales.

3. Online Shoppers Want Payment Options  
Top retailers often offer a variety of credit cards (Discover and American Express in addition to Visa and MasterCard) as well as PayPal, Google Wallet, Bill Me Later and others. Wal-Mart even offers cash payments online. A small retailer might not accept online cash payments or as many bank credit cards, but accepting PayPal as a payment option is easy and costs about the same as accepting credit cards.  

Big retailers are constantly tweaking their websites, finding the best ways to improve customer experience and increase revenue.  Small retailers can do the same. Contact us for all of your retail packaging needs, now and as your sales continue to increase.

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