While nearly every rate for every service is going up, there are plenty of ways to help you mitigate the impact on your shipping costs. In fact, in one study, almost half of the participants had opportunities to actually reduce shipping costs by simply re-evaluating their carrier and service selection process.

shipping_costs

This is an excerpt, a teaser, if you will, from a full article found here.

You may find opportunities to reduce the impact of the changes in shipping costs in the following areas:

Carriers

Now is definitely the time of year to re-evaluate—and potentially re-negotiate—your carrier relationships.

Customers care more about getting their packages on time and intact—metrics on which all three carriers perform relatively evenly – then which carrier is used. If cost is the only differentiator, other issues being equal, the winner is usually…

Delivery Timeframes

While some of your packages may take three days to arrive via Priority Mail, a similar number will probably arrive overnight. The USPS mapping tool makes it easy to estimate the delivery time. Given that Priority Mail rates are typically 50-75% lower than Fedex and UPS second-day service rates, it’s worth considering the USPS option. If you decide to switch, update your website to show the 2-3 day delivery change. While you’re at it, this is the perfect time to add 4x Buyer Protection services for your online visitors. Besides price matching and identity theft protection, 4x also provides shipping insurance.

As an added bonus, USPS will deliver free…

Packaging

An often overlooked opportunity to lower shipping costs lies in optimizing packaging.

 

Priority Mail Regional Rate boxes come in four styles and sizes and allow shipment of contents up to 15 pounds (Box A). You can also choose box B (20 pounds) for a rate that varies only according to destination zone. This often has lower shipping costs than the same rate for a similar custom-boxed package.

In one study, it was found that packaging selection played a role in the cost savings for almost two-thirds of the potential 2017 shipments. In one case, switching to a flat-rate box would save the company shipping the product more than…

There are significant changes in 2017 regarding shipping costs. Optimizing shipping operations is more important than ever. Carriers have been forthcoming with information, but…


Read the complete article on Trust Guard’s Blog:
http://www.4xbuyerprotection.info/shipping-costs-increase-2017/

Which online business services do you need?

Protection from Hackers &  More Sales? Trust Guard
Customer Ratings & Reviews? Shopper Approved
Live Chat & Customer Support Software? Rhino Support
A Significant Increase in Conversions? 4x Buyer Protection
Free Privacy Policy? FreePrivacyPolicy.com


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Special thanks to Katie May, CEO of ShippingEasy for her article found here.

 

 

 

Which Shipping Provider is Cheapest & Fastest?

There are three big shipping services—FedEx, United Parcel Service (UPS), and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). They all deliver to nearly every address in the U.S., and they’ll all get your parcels to more than 200 countries and territories. But there are some key differences between them.

shipping

Price of Shipping

If the cost of shipping something to yourself or to those you love is your main concern, the USPS is often the way to go, but it pays to check around. We compared shipping costs offered by FedEx, UPS, and the USPS between 30 pairs of cities around the country for a 5-pound medium-sized package.

The USPS prices were best for next-day delivery in all cases and for third-day delivery in 88 percent of our city pairs. FedEx, however, was the least expensive courier for second-day service in every instance, but it was least expensive for third-day service in just 13 percent of deliveries.

Read the full article here:
http://www.4xbuyerprotection.info/509-2/


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Close the Deal with Live Chat

There are two basic business strategies. Namely, resolve all the concerns of your potential customers, then ask them for the sale.

If you are an online business owner, the best way to close the deal using these two strategies is through live chat.

When people have questions or concerns, they don’t want to pick up the phone anymore. What a hassle! They don’t want to email you either for fear they may never get an answer or that your company will forever spam them with things they don’t need.

close_the_deal

In today’s world, most online customers want the convenience, anonymity, and quick, effective service that only a live chat service like Rhino Support can provide. Your live chat support agents should be taught all the ins-and-outs of your business. They should be courteous and informative. And after they have resolved all of their potential customers’ concerns, they must be trained to ask for the order.

Connect live chat to your website and hire a friendly support team that knows how to close the deal and you will be successful.


Read the full article here:
http://blog.rhinosupport.com/close-the-deal/


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Millennials Want Online Businesses to Provide Live Chat

A new study shows that millennials prefer live chat over phone and email interactions.

rs_blog_11-21-2016

According to a report discussed by professionaljeweler.com, 28.9% of consumers prefer to interact with retailers through online chat (25.85%) or messaging apps (3.1%) while deciding on whether or not to make a purchase. This is driven primarily because most millennial shoppers have embraced new technology such as chatbots and messaging apps.

Together, these chat tools are now more popular than phone conversations (28.7%) and email (27%) as the preferred method of interaction. Many online consumers look for the live chat option when they visit a website.

The survey is based on more than 1,000 consumers. It highlights the important role that millennials are playing in this shift. Among consumers who are 18 to 34 years-old, more than a third (37%) of respondents chose live chat as their favorite way to contact companies. Less than a quarter of the same demographic ranked phone or email as their top choice. More and more new internet users don’t want to pick up their phone. They don’t want to spend time emailing companies back-and-forth either.

Read the full article here:
http://blog.rhinosupport.com/millennials-prefer-live-chat-phone-email/

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Care More about Your Customers!

Whether you are a solid, mature business or one that is just getting started, don’t join the following group of companies that could care less about their customers.

The biggest offenders are those who hold a monopoly in any one market. They don’t have to worry about people going somewhere else. If we don’t like how they treat us there is nowhere else to go.  Say, for example, that you only had one choice for cable installation. More than likely, you were forced to put up with missed appointment windows.

It’s confounding, but it should not be surprising, according to Chiranjeev Kohli, a Cal State Fullerton marketing professor who told The Motley Fool via email that in the end, it all comes down to money and the fact that bad customer service does not always have the negative impact you would expect.

bad-service

“Companies look at their bottom line. As margins get squeezed, customer service comes on the radar as a possible line item that can be cut. And, since it can be quite expensive, it is a tempting target,” he wrote. “Also, while the general impression may be that customer service is critical, evidence often suggests otherwise – particularly for a segment of the consumers.”

The second biggest offenders are those that know that switching from one company to its competitor is a royal pain in the butt. These customers feel stuck and hate thinking about staying and leaving. Darned if they do, darned if they don’t. It’s not a very enjoyable circumstance. It’s 2016 people! We’re better than that!

Of course, 4x Buyer Protection gives business owners the ability to provide four valuable, much-appreciated services to their potential and current customers. This one service alone can put a mediocre company at the top of the success pyramid. Benefits like shipping insurance and identity theft protection are sought after more and more by wise, competent online consumers.

Read the complete article here:
http://www.4xbuyerprotection.info/care-about-your-customers/

If you would like more information about providing four amazing services to your customers, with little out-of-pocket costs, contact 4x Buyer Protection today!

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Answer These 5 E-Commerce Questions!

20150724180216-woman-writing-a-blogHave you taken a good look at your e-commerce business lately? If you’re not getting the sales that you think you should get, take a quick glance at these five questions to see if you can improve in even one area of your online business to make more money.

Are You Using an Abandoned Cart Strategy?

Are You Paying Too Much?

Where Can You Add New Sales Options?

What’s Your Checkout Process Like?

Can You Add an Up-sell Option?

 

Maybe you’d rather spend your time focused on creating new products or connecting with customers than running through this questionnaire to improve your e-commerce processes. That’s fine. Just remember that everything in your business is connected.

Read the full article here:
http://epicecommercetools.com/2016/11/09/five-part-e-commerce-questionnaire/

Need to secure your site from hackers: Trust Guard can help!

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Consumers Are Tired of Online Security Warnings

According to a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), online security threats are  still an issue.

Security fatigue, or simply being tired of online security warnings has made some people feel indifferent towards potential risks.

security-threatThe paper found that people feel “overwhelmed” with having to be on constant alert from cyber attacks. They are also negatively affected by the proliferation of online security measures available to protect themselves. As a result, many ignore the warning signs of a possible attack. As one individual remarked: “I get tired of remembering my username and passwords.”

Mary Theofanos, co-author of the study and computer scientist at NIST, said:
“Years ago, you had one password to keep up with at work. Now people are being asked to remember 25 or 30. We haven’t really thought about cyber security expanding and what it has done to people.” However, sites like LastPass can help us keep track of our passwords.

Read the full article here:
http://blog.trust-guard.com/security-warnings/

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Your E-Commerce Business Needs these Three Policies!

If you have an e-commerce site or are thinking about starting one, there are a thousand and one things to stay on top of.

As a smart business owner, you’ve already set your e-commerce business up with a formal business entity like an LLC, which will help keep your personal assets separate from the business’ liabilities, opened a bank account, and looked more qualified to potential customers by creating a website.

returns_policyIn the hustle and bustle of getting your e-commerce store up and running, many people often forget to take another important step to protecting their business and themselves. But not having these three documents could cause legal, economic and reputational headaches to your e-commerce business.

We’re talking about essential website documents for your visitors and customers.

All too often e-commerce businesses lack good, well-thought-out sets of website policies. To start, every website needs a Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and, if there are items for purchase through the website, a Returns & Refund Policy.

Read the complete article here:
http://epicecommercetools.com/2016/11/02/every-e-commerce-business-needs-these-3-docs/

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Improve Your Online Customer Service

If you own an online business, you have to be able to take care of online customer service issues quicker than someone with a million Facebook friends can tell them that you haven’t.

Software programs like Rhino Support can put you in constant contact with your customers. They offer live chat and helpdesk software for small to medium sized businesses.

cultivate-customer-complaintsDo your best to keep track of your customers’ activities across various platforms. For example, if a customer calls you regarding a problem and your customer service team is able to quote a tweet or a post the customer made, it would have a lasting impression on them.

If it’s a public tweet or post, it could also sway their friends to utilize your products and services too. Birds of a feather do flock together. If one bird sees another bird receiving immediate positive feedback, it’s as good as a personal referral – maybe even better!

Read the full article here:
http://blog.rhinosupport.com/strategies-improve-online-customer-service/

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Customer Service Lessons for Business Owners

Some companies thrive, oddly enough, even though they provide horrible customer service. Just think how much more successful they could be with quality, caring customer support systems.

bad-service
I just hung up on a customer service / sales rep from Life Alert for my elderly parents. They have no pricing on their website. That was frustrating. But what was more aggravating was the fact that the agent on the phone wouldn’t give me the price for the system until, as he put it, I understood everything about the product and service. I had already listened to a good five minutes of him telling me how awesome his company is – how many awards they’ve won and how they rank first in every conceivable area. I had already learned stuff on my own about the company and its products online.

But he wouldn’t give me the price. That’s why I hung up. He must have had caller ID because a few minutes later he called me back and said that now he could give me the price. When did these big companies forget about the personalized customer service that made them successful in the first place? Why do companies that frustrate us  seem to far outnumber those that delight us? Here are some tips to help keep your customers happy.

~ Don’t focus so much on gaining new customers that you forget about your current customers.

~ Try to keep your employees happy by paying them what they’re worth.

~ Make it easy and painless for customers to contact you – but give them as much information as possible online so that most of them won’t have to.

~ Rather than attempting to silence your upset customers, embrace negative feedback as a chance to improve.

Read the full article here:
http://blog.rhinosupport.com/four-customer-service-lessons-for-business-owners/

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Do you need customer support software that includes live chat? Check out Rhino Support!