Guidance for Businesses
Guidance for Businesses
In July, a leading omnichannel commerce technology company (Radial) announced the results of their 2020 consumer insights study. Over 1,000 consumers across the US were surveyed todetermine their holiday shopping plans. Radial uncovered that despite the impact of COVID-19, shoppers do not plan to significantly change their holiday spend compared to 2019. However, the data did reveal a stronger preference for online shopping, with 66% of shoppers anticipating they will increase their online purchases during the 2020 holiday season.
While consumers are shopping more online, the survey found their habits aren’t changing significantly in terms of how much they plan to spend on holiday gifts and when they plan to buy. This means the 2020 holiday season will most likely be as busy as ever.
However, instead of the recurring and seasonal demand cycles retailers are used to, in the wake of COVID-19, brands must contend with consistent high demand for e-commerce year-round. Radial reported that this year, peak season for online sales essentially started in March and remained strong since. Retailers must leverage unique strategies like using stores as fulfillment centers and creative order management techniques paired with advanced technology in order to keep deliveries flowing by embracing curbside pickup and other emerging consumer expectations to satisfy the upcoming holiday purchasing season.
Given the continued high demands and online orders retailers will experience, scaling up for peak season will be more difficult than in years past.
The survey also uncovered:
63% of shoppers say they are slightly or very much more likely to purchase from a retailer they knew was following COVID-19 safety precautions in-store.
Consumer expectations have eased up in terms of what’s an “acceptable” delivery time. While a Radial survey in 2018 found that in the U.S., over a third of consumers (34.6%) expected to receive packages in two days or less, this 2020 survey found only 14% expect their holiday gifts within two days. What is considered a reasonable timeframe for holiday gift deliveries has shifted, with 50% of respondents saying 5 days for delivery is reasonable, and 28% stating one week was acceptable. This leeway in delivery expectations will allow retailers to focus
on implementing practices that prioritize COVID-19 safety precautions and help them
manage the influx of orders.
It’s so difficult to forecast and plan for the future during these trying times. However, if this survey is a good indicator, it looks like our businesses will have a relatively positive fourth quarter.
So much data is being collected, and a lot of it is self reported, allowing for a wide variety of demographics to select. Before you purchase your next prospecting list, take the time to
research the criteria of your best customer. Then use that criteria to select your list.
In addition to the tried and true staples such as age, income, and occupation; additional
demographics available today include:
Data from a source known as an ailment file is also available. Due to the nature of the data collected, there are a few restrictions that include pre-approval of art. However the data is reliable and net excellent returns. Data available from ailment files include:
Business list compilers are expanding their available demographics to include:
Even saturation or walk sequence data is benefiting. Compilers stack the saturation file with consumer data and aggregate at the carrier route level enabling mailers to take advantage of the carrier route walk sequence postal rates.
Don’t limit your data when launching your next direct mail campaign. Expand your criteria
selects and watch your return expand too. With the data selects available today, we could probably find a list of skateboardinggrandmas!
In early May, Facebook introduced the new Facebook.com. Announced last year during F8,
Facebook’s annual conference about the future of Technology, it is now the global web
experience for Facebook users.
For some time now, Facebook focused on the mobile experience, but found that the desktop site had fallen behind. Users need the desktop version to be kept up as well.
The new Facebook is meant to help you find what you’re looking for faster with new
streamlined navigation. It’s easier to find videos, games and Groups, and the home page and page transitions load faster. It’s similar to the mobile experience.
Lower brightness, alongside contrast and vibrancy, are part of the new dark mode. It
minimizes screen glare for use in low light, wherever you are.
The new site makes creating Events, Pages, Groups and ads on Facebook easier too. You can preview a new Group in real time, and see what it looks like on mobile before you create it.
As with all upgrades, there are some glitches and it may take you a few minutes to find features that have been moved around. Overall though, the new Facebook.com is faster and streamlined, something that was needed for a long time!
Your company website is a reflection of your business. It is the billboard for potential clients,
an invaluable resource tool for your existing clients, and a central focal point dedicated solely to
promoting your business. Why then, do so many companies neglect their website?
Numerous companies will dedicate an extensive amount of time building or rebuilding their site. Once it’s published, they forget it until four or five years pass when it’s time to make a new one.
At a minimum, every business owner should monitor their website activity monthly. And it only takes a few minutes.
Using the free version of Google Analytics, you can (very quickly) see so many important things. Items such as how many people are visiting your site, how many are first time visitors, the length of time visitors stay on your site, what pages they visit, and how they found your site.
It also helps to identify areas that are weak or maybe even irrelevant. Every business has tried to sell a new product or expand service offerings with something that just didn’t sell. It’s part of growing your business. Lack of activity and visits to certain parts of your website may be telling you that its time to delete the page, or simply update it.
Successful Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be a tricky balance. For example, Google likes for your homepage to be relatively static. You gain better traction when your homepage doesn’t receive a lot of alterations or changes too often.
On the same token, Google gives you “points” for keeping information on your homepage refreshed and current, which seems to be a conundrum, but it isn’t.
Adding a blog to your homepage is a great way to keep content current and fresh without changing the basics of its layout. Blogging also gives you a library of posts to use for your social sites which also enhances your SEO. A blog is an excellent medium to show your business expertise too. Enhance your blogs using keywords to help potential clients find you faster via the web.
Finding subjects to blog about isn’t as difficult as you may think. Go through the pages of your website, and use Google statistics as your guide, and you will find a wide variety of topics to blog about that clients are hungry for.
If your business is consumer based, you may benefit by adding a picture carousel to your home page. This allows you to feature selling points such as sales events, special offers, or highlight products.
The images that are loaded onto the carousel can enhance your SEO too. Be sure that you name every photo that you upload to your website. Instead of uploading “Image 9652q7”, save the image using your company name and specifically what the image is about. For example, save the image of a 15% off coupon as ‘Arrow Stores 15 percent off coupon’. This naming convention allows for search engines to verify content and will enhance your optimization.
If you haven’t reviewed your website or its statistics lately, now is a perfect time to check it out and see what is working or what isn’t. If you need assistance, we can help. We offer a website review for only $500. Call us for more information at 713-275-9045.
Running a business during a global pandemic…where do you begin?
As we navigate through a strange and unfamiliar world, we hope that you and “yours” are safe and healthy; and hope that your business is successfully moving forward through this unprecedented time.
For us, the past four months have been filled with stressful learning curves. We have changed our daily operations to include
social distancing, sanitizing stations throughout the buildings, and wearing face masks. Honestly, I never would have thought that we would need to create a
protocol for possible exposure to COVID-19, or purchase thermometers in bulk. But, they are a part of our everyday life, at least for now.
BEB has remained open during the pandemic. We have been fortunate to retain 100% of our staff, and business has been (surprisingly) busy.
Our employees have been amazing. We have always been a tight-knit group that come together when times are crazy. Their willingness to “jump in” whenever or wherever needed are core reasons that we are extremely flexible for our clients. Our cohesiveness and camaraderie have increased over the last few months, and I am grateful for their bravery and commitment to our organization and clients.
The current economic climate makes it difficult to project and prepare for the future, especially since we don’t even know what the next week will look like. Even so, we are continuing with our planned system upgrades that started in the spring, and we have contracted with an outside firm to review and solidify our processes and procedures to ensure maximum efficiency and superior quality output.
Some mail delivery has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. First-class mail is taking up to 10 days both locally and regionally. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we recently had a client that received a flat-sized marketing mail piece within 24-hours after submission into the local mail stream.
Direct mail is gaining momentum during the pandemic as the number of people working and staying at home has substantially increased, and will remain that way for the foreseeable
future. It’s a perfect way to reach out and touch people safely. Mail is tangible, interactive, and sends a powerful message.
In turn, the digital world is booming. If you aren’t utilizing your website and social sites to communicate with your client base, you’re missing an enormous opportunity. As self-serving as it sounds, more than ever before, your business should be focused on marketing and retaining connections to your customers.
We hope that you enjoy this edition of The Bureau. It is the first since the pandemic started. Enclosed are items that review the latest marketing trends and we included a reference page for COVID-19 that lists numbers, websites, and general information that may be helpful with your day-to-day operations.
It is during tough times, such as these, that we reflect on how grateful we are to you, our clients, partners, and staff. Without you, we would not be here. We hope that you and your family and loved ones stay healthy and safe and hope your business continues to thrive as we weather through the storm. As always, thank you for your business and partnership.
Be on the lookout! Our award winning newsletter, The Bureau, is on its way to you soon!
Inside this issue:
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We are so excited to announce that The Printing United Alliance of the Gulf Coast has bestowed upon us two print awards:
An Award of Merit for our Digital Cookbook
We are (so) excited to be recognized by the Printing United Alliance. They are the largest graphic arts trade association, representing an industry with approximately one million employees and serving the interests of thousands of member companies through advocacy, education, research, technical information, and cost-saving resources.
BEB is your small business partner. We have created a variety of COVID-19 signs for small businesses to post throughout their facility/facilities. You can order the signs individually starting at $5.50/each, or discounted package pricing, and you can place your order ONLINE! Posters are available in English or Spanish.
All posters are printed on 130# Card Stock. They are intended for indoor use. Click here to check out our incredible pricing and to order yours today:
Business Extension Bureau did not close during the COVID-19 stay home order as we are deemed an essential business within the CISA (Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency). We remain open today and are conducting our operations using recommendations given by the CDC, global, national, and local government agencies and The World Health Organization.
The safety of our staff, customers, and partners is paramount and we have implemented stringent safety procedures that include:
We are operating with a core-group of people and understandably our turn times may not be as fast as usual. Your patience is appreciated as we work through this crisis. We appreciate your business and partnership and we will keep you abreast of any changes in our operating schedule as it unfolds.
The Postal Service has so far experienced only minor operational impacts in the United States as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A temporary suspension of the guarantee on Priority Mail Express International destined for China and Hong Kong, remains in effect since Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, due to widespread airline cancellations and restrictions into this area. In addition, customers may see delays in mail and packages destined to China as well as from China, as well as to and from European countries subject to restricted passenger airline travel. The Postal Service is undertaking all reasonable measures to minimize the impact to our customers.
Please exercise caution and common sense during this trying and extremely unusual time. As always, we appreciate your business and partnership.
Stay safe & healthy-
BEB-Business Extension Bureau