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6 Mistakes Dropshippers Make When Starting Out

May 26, 2019


AmeriCommerce estimates that retail e-commerce businesses account for as much as $220 million in revenue annually. Dropshipping has the potential to be a major edge for online sellers for several reasons, from reducing overhead to shorter shipping and fulfillment times for orders. These benefits can only be realized with proper implementation of the factors that contribute to successful dropshipping.

The sad reality is that many new e-commerce entrepreneurs are either ignoring these basic steps or completely unaware of them because they seem trivial. To increase your chances of success in an e-commerce venture, don’t make these mistakes.

Mistake #1: Betting all your chips on one supplier

Having a unified supplier is a benefit in several cases: There’s only one point of contact, and all products are shipped directly from that one location to your customers. However, the situation of a supplier running out of stock or being unable to meet demand does arise on occasion. Researching and keeping in contact with a secondary or backup vendor is a necessity.

This assumes that the primary vendor you’re engaged with doesn’t require you to only deal with them. Pay attention to the contract you sign with your supplier for any predatory clauses like this before signing it. They could be the reason your e-commerce business sinks or floats.

Mistake #2: Getting the wrong supplier for the job

The choices for suppliers are myriad in the world of dropshipping. You need to make several decisions before you choose one. Do you prefer products made locally or shipped from overseas? What are the overhead costs and the inherent benefits and drawbacks of each? There’s a long checklist you ought to go through before settling on a supplier. Shopify notes that the steps in selecting a supplier vary by industry and the type of …

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4 Biggest Misconceptions About AI

May 24, 2019


When most people hear the words “artificial intelligence,” the first thing that comes to mind is an all-knowing, sentient machine that can outsmart and overpower any human being. Artificial intelligence is something big and scary. It’s a threat that will take away our jobs and livelihoods, replace us all, and ultimately obliterate the human race.

Even if that ultimately ends up being true, I do not believe we are anywhere close to that scenario. I also believe that these powerful misconceptions around AI actually prevent us from building a positive relationship with it. 

Misconception #1: AI is actively looking to replace people.

AI, in and of itself, is technology with no volition. It does not seek to replace the workforce for a smarter and cheaper machine alternative. It is post-industrial tech capitalism at its finest doing that, not AI. It may seem like a subtle difference, but it’s huge. AI gets all the blame, but the capitalistic paradigm is a lot more accountable for the threat to our livelihoods than the technology itself. [Read related story: How AI and Machine Learning Are Changing Cybersecurity]

Misconception #2: AI is ridiculously smart or savvy.

AI could be ridiculously simple in its applications. It can be fragmented and disjointed, as opposed to a microchipped, perfected version of the human mind. AI can do simple things, like learn how to play checkers, identify patterns in large data sets, or any straightforward activity that just requires crunching more data than a human can. AI is not necessarily a competitor trying to outperform the human mind, but possibly an extension of our senses and capabilities.

Misconception #3: AI is complex and difficult to understand.

Coding for AI can get very complex, but the concept of it is simple: It’s any technology that mimics our natural …

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How to Identify Third-Party Vendors to Help You Scale

May 24, 2019


After five years, only 56% remain in business.

As they put together the pieces necessary for growth, startups quickly discover that the first step is also one of the hardest – finding the right people. Without a capable and committed team, even the best ideas struggle to get off the ground.

Founders cannot simply find and onboard talent, though. They must also find people who can help build a sustainable, empowering culture and then learn how to keep as many of those people around as possible. As if that weren’t enough, founders also have to be able to recognize when someone isn’t a good fit. Those hard decisions can make or break startups with limited time and resources.

Product decisions, too, affect the odds of survival. What problem does the product solve? How much is that solution worth, and what are people willing to pay for it? Founders can’t rush into implementing their ideas before they truly understand the needs of the audience and the likelihood that the product will fulfill those needs.

Not every organization fits into the same mold. Startups pride themselves on their disruptive and agile natures, yet many founders are afraid to step out and try something truly different – especially when board members and other influential figures advise caution. However, standing out from the crowd might be the most important factor in startup success.

Where partners come into play

With so many challenges to overcome, few startups make it to the fifth year and beyond without a little help. Third-party vendors in a variety of functions can act as valuable extensions of the company’s core team. Startup executives should not see these outside parties as a threat, nor should they try to adopt every outside partner that proves useful. By letting the experts do …

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4 Tips for Outsourcing Your Customer Service

May 24, 2019


According to research by Microsoft, 96% of respondents said that customer service is important in determining if they stay loyal to a brand. Without it, your business is surely losing out on revenue, conversions and a happy, returning customer base.

Here are four tips for outsourcing your customer service department so your business reaches its goals and stays on the path to success.

1. Evaluate your business needs.

Do you know your goals for customer service? Do you know what you want it to achieve? What are your company’s guidelines for handling and solving customer issues? If you don’t know, it’s time to lay these issues out and answer them as specifically as you can.

 

Editor’s note: Looking to outsource your customer service to call center agents or an answering service? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you with free information.

 

 

It’s important to establish your brand voice, tone guidelines and business goals for your customer service team. Without clear steps or directions to follow, it’ll be more difficult for your team to sync when tending to customers. Consistency within your brand is essential, because it’s what ties the whole operation together and makes every facet of your company cohesive.

2. Offer adequate training.

Evaluate the onboarding process after you hire your customer service team. Is it thorough and informative? Are your employees’ questions answered adequately so that there’s less room for errors, or are they left wondering how to perform certain tasks or speak to customers? Without proper training, you’ll spend more money fixing customer issues than on other parts of your conversion strategy. [Need a team of agents to handle your customer service? Check out our best picks for call center and answering services.]

In the Microsoft survey, 30% of marketers said …

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How to Create an Effective Customer Journey Map

May 24, 2019


According to Harvard Business Review, a customer journey map illustrates the steps your visitors take when they engage with your company, which could be products, services, online experiences, and so forth. The map allows you to gain a clearer insight into your audience’s motivations, needs and pain points as they move through the conversion funnel.

If you have yet to create a customer journey map for your audience, now is the perfect time to start. There are endless benefits that come with it that can help you understand your target market so you can serve them better.

Why you need a customer journey map

You might be wondering why your business needs a customer journey map in the first place. For one, it helps you find out more about your visitors so you can provide them with a seamless user experience. A journey map also helps you refine your target market so that you aren’t trying to target too broad or general an audience. The more you can narrow down your target, the better off you’ll be.

According to the Huffington Post, only 34% of businesses have implemented a customer journey map into their marketing strategy, meaning that too few marketers understand its importance in business growth and success. You can stay one step ahead of your competitors by creating a CJM that’s effective and brings about results.

Create customer personas

You should already have customer personas, or buyer personas, created for your ideal customers so you have details on how to cater to their needs. If not, now is the perfect time to flesh them out. Include as much information as you can, including their demographics, buying behaviors, income, education level, issues they need to be resolved, and more. Monitor your analytics to get this information or …

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