New Articles

E-commerce and Data Breaching: The Next Cyberthreat

data breach

E-commerce and Data Breaching: The Next Cyberthreat

E-commerce today makes up a significant portion of total retail activity. In the United States alone, more than $586 billion was spent in 2019 online, representing a 14% increase over the year before. With COVID-19 currently wreaking havoc on the world, there is increased dependency on the internet. Globally, e-commerce business is expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021.

While e-commerce certainly fills gaps in the market, companies are susceptible to cyberattacks that may be made against them in order. These attacks sometimes result in large scale data breaches, which may include stealing information from customers or their identities. Here is what you need to know about this latest cyberthreat and how you can protect yourself.

Cybersecurity in E-commerce: Threats and Facts

Cybercriminals launch millions of attacks on e-commerce websites each year. These attacks target e-commerce sites in order to get customer personal and financial information in order to steal identities or make unauthorized transactions with their payment information. Some of the most common attacks perpetrated on e-commerce sites include:

Phishing attacks – Phishing attacks are usually committed by sending a corrupted email to a worker or customer, asking them to provide confidential information.

Credit card fraud – Credit card fraud occurs when a criminal uses another person’s credit information without their authorization, such as making purchases for their own benefit or taking out cash advances.

Botnets – Bots are automated programs that perform specific tasks online. Botnets can be used to behave like real customers and cause damage to a company by committing credit card fraud, account takeover, or price scraping, which is an attack committed by competitors to monitor pricing.

Malware – Malware is software that may be installed on a business or personal computer and infect it with a virus that may collect personal information, take control of the network, or gain access to data on the computer system.

E-skimming – E-skimming involves the theft of personal data and credit card information from payment card process pages on e-commerce sites.

Notable E-commerce Data Breaches

Some of the most high-profile data breaches of e-commerce sites include:

Shopify Data Breach

Two disgruntled employees led to the compromise of data from more than 10 retailers on the Shopify platform.

Barnes & Noble

The notable bookstore company Barnes & Noble sent an email to customers in October 2020 to warn them about a data breach that exposed their personal information to hackers.

eBay Data Breach

E-commerce site eBay had to ask 145 million users to change their passwords after hackers stole the passwords and other personal data from customers during a data breach.

Target Data Breach

A cyberattack on retailer Target resulted in the loss of credit card and personal information from 110 million of its customers in 2013. The CEO resigned the next year.

How to Protect Yourself During Online Shopping

Some tips to help you protect yourself during online shopping include:

-Only do business with reputable companies that have TLS protocol

-Make sure that there is a separate server for payment information

-Enable two-factor authentication for all online accounts

-Do not store your credit card information online

-Disable the autocomplete feature on you browser

How Companies Can Prevent Data Breaches

Companies also have a responsibility to safeguard customers’ data, which they can do by:

-Restricting access to personal information

-Destroying confidential data before disposing of it

-Keeping security software up to date

-Securing all computers

-Training employees on cyberthreats

Responding to Data Breaches

If your business has recently learned of an internal data breach, there are steps that you can take to minimize the fallout, including:

-Investigate the incident and ensure that any security vulnerabilities have been fixed so that no more attacks occur

-Report the crime to law enforcement

-Review your response plan

-Notify your customers and follow the reporting laws for your state

-Work with forensic experts to improve your cybersecurity

-Contact your cybersecurity insurance company

Conclusion

E-commerce sites may be on the tipping point of explosion in the near future. However, it is important that when you take advantage of this opportunity that you also take steps to protect your customers’ information. Following the tips above may help you prevent a data breach and keep your company’s reputation in check.

_______________________________________________________________

David Lukić is an information privacy, security and compliance consultant at IDstrong.com. The passion to make cyber security accessible and interesting has led David to share all the knowledge he has.

e-commerce

7 Steps to Create Good E-Commerce

In the midst of the recent release of the Best Online Shops 2021, Newsweek, DK Hardware CFO Art Goldman shares his thoughts on what it takes to build a solid and sustainable online sales strategy.

We call e-commerce a type of business that sells through an electronic store, either through an app or a website. When creating an electronic business, it is advisable that you follow these 7 steps to create good e-commerce.

Before starting, I have to warn you that -although it seems a simple and intuitive task- to be successful you must control many aspects and technical elements, as well as considering whether it is worth looking for an agency or business to help you or to do everything yourself. A good start is essential for the project to survive and continue in the following months and years. DK Hardware for instance was one of the first online retail stores in the United States and Canada back in 2008 and has continuously evolved to adapt to consumer needs and expectations.

The truth is that in order to be successful you must delegate many tasks to third parties; rarely can a person execute all the tasks alone. Hence, apart from these digital marketing tips, you should also take into account other legal advice and the different formulas that you can implement to associate yourself with the different professional elements that you require.

1) Analyze both internal and external elements that can harm your project

Logically, before starting any project, a good business plan must be made so that it has the success that we can expect from it. For this reason, the first step is to analyze both the internal and external elements that can harm your business. We already have a key piece that is choosing a good platform to manage the e-commerce or online retail perspective. In fact, if we do this analysis well, we can not only prevent some of those negative elements before they appear but also carry out future strategies so that if they arise, the team knows how to act against them before they escalate.

A) What is an internal analysis?

By internal analysis, we understand the observation of how the company is going to function and its financial resources. Here comes into play the work that legal consultants carry out in tax, labor, and financial law to advise entrepreneurs on how to optimize all these elements legally. However, you can also do it yourself, taking care of these aspects:

-Economic and financial situation of the company.
-Human resources and labor expenses.
-How to obtain financing.
-Structuring the distribution network to streamline expenses.
-How to formalize contracts with the different agents or subjects involved (employed, self-employed, subcontractors).

B) Analysis of external agents

This all about observing and analyzing the competition. It is especially important to have good tools that allow us to evaluate our main competitors in different aspects such as social networks and organic positioning in search engines.

On the other hand, from a legal point of view it is about analyzing the current legislation, being essential to observe the following normative aspects, which may vary in each state, country, and continent:

-Contractual law.
-Consumer protection laws.
-Data Protection law.
-Statute of the workers, the commercial and civil code to establish contractual labor relations.

2) Create a SWOT

From this list of steps to create good e-commerce, the next one I recommend is once we have analyzed our internal and external landscape, do a SWOT to synthesize the competitive advantages that we have; as well as the disadvantages, opportunities, and weaknesses.

Once we have the SWOT completed, it will be easier to identify our competitive advantage.

3) Identify the competitive advantage

The third step in creating e-commerce is to identify our competitive advantage. This must be maintained, expanded if possible, while always monitoring that the competition does not remove this differentiating element in the future. Hence, many entrepreneurs maintain that creativity must not only be maintained during the first stage of the business; but during throughout the endeavor.

Furthermore, if we identify the competitive advantage, it will be much easier to set prices.

4) Define the target audience

Once we have identified our competitive advantage, we must define our target audience. It is a difficult task on many occasions since it is not only about imagining it, but to try to find out who really buys those products and who is willing to buy them.

It is good to accompany it with interviews, prospecting techniques, surveys and focus groups.

5) Select a good e-commerce platform

Creating an electronic store is a difficult task which not only has to result in a functional platform with flawless user experience, but also be optimized for search engines and have all the appropriate psychological elements so that people who browse the website finally buy and acquire those products.

Therefore, there are many aspects and factors to take into account, like:

A) Choose a good domain.
B) Select the quantity of products that will be sold.
C) Hire a good hosting.
D) Select a technological platform.
E) Create an attractive and user-friendly design.
F) Use logistics and stock control software.

6) Communication strategy

Once the skeleton of the website has been configured and a coherent structure has been planned, you must create and design a solid online aligned communication message, led by professionals in the field. You can think of social media and public relations to convey your message initially and, if the budget allows, escalate that into aligned marketing campaigns with a traceable ROI. Google Ads and social media might surprise you with its efficiency and usual low costs for tailored advertisement.

7) Set product prices

Now that we have everything designed and that you have probably already executed each of the elements to create a good e-commerce environment, we will have to establish the prices for our products. It is good not only to have the advice of marketers on these prices; but also, from the tax consultant or financial advisor to help your company run properly and not have losses that endanger its validity.

To set prices on your online store, it is essential that you take into account the analysis of the situation that you did at the beginning of the project, both external and internal elements. Setting prices may sound quite easy, but in practice, a profoundly serious study is required to help you optimize each of the elements that make up the production and distribution chain of the company.

With this analysis we must enhance our strengths and create opportunities in our weaknesses, only when you know the profitable price of each product, you can later make discounts, promotions, offers, and bonuses on designated dates (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Black Friday, etc.).

_________________________________________________________________

Featured in America’s Best Online Shops 2021 – Newsweek, DK Hardware is one of the largest online home improvement retailers for a variety of hardware manufacturers all over the United States and Canada.

e-commerce

Riding the Wave of Demand: All it took was a Global Pandemic to Sort Out the E-Commerce Winners from the Losers

Undeniably, businesses all around the world today find themselves grappling with the profound changes we are experiencing as the world comes to terms with the impact of this pandemic.

All across the world, businesses—from the local deli to major conglomerates—are transforming their offline and online operations as they seek to protect their customer relations. With consumers confined to their homes, we are experiencing an enormous e-commerce surge, which is set to have an unforeseen impact on consumer behavior.

It is a phenomena experienced by existing e-commerce platforms like Ding.com and newcomers focused on in-store sales alike: Overnight, we’ve all been forced to pivot, regardless of our platform, size or clout. As lockdowns continue in many parts of the world, and people continue to practice caution in regions where they have been lifted, online sales have increased exponentially, especially in the food and grocery space.

While many e-commerce retailers adapted their existing digital strategies to maintain presence and reach, others lacked the infrastructure, confidence, and social media savvy to stay as close as possible to their customers during the pandemic.

Making the Connection

Has COVID-19 merely accelerated rapidly changing consumer trends toward e-commerce? Perhaps, although such is the force of human nature, there will always be room for offline exchanges. Critically, as we seek to enter recovery, how do we keep customers engaged long after the fear from the pandemic subsides?

Our own experience is instructive of the challenges many businesses are facing. At Ding.com, the first thing we did after the outbreak was declared, was to remove all fees for our customers globally for an initial period—a significant investment, both financially and operationally. It meant that we could help people stay connected to their loved ones during those early, fearful days.

Making those connections took a monumental effort, as we needed to action this decision across every one of our operators, countries, teams, languages, and technologies. It also served another vital purpose. The lockdowns compelled Ding.com to transition to working fully remotely–we closed all our offices at the same time–so we learned how to communicate and work together well remotely, making quick decisions together despite being physically apart.

The Art of Pivoting Under Pressure

The lockdowns implemented by various governments led to an instantaneous spike in demand for our products as specific countries went into lockdown we saw a direct correlation in terms of demand for mobile top-up–first Italy, then Spain, then France, then the UK, and across the Middle East. We had to make big investment decisions on going into markets that might not have been traditional markets for us–pivoting under pressure is quite an art.

The move into online retail can seem daunting, especially if it is forced by unforeseen factors such as this major public health emergency rather than as part of a carefully planned long-term strategy. Trust is key to earn and retain consumer loyalty, so too is visibility. Many retailers fear they lack the technical knowhow. But we know that the heart of any retail experience is knowing your customer and knowing what they want.

It pays to invest the time and energy now into making the transition to digital a long-term success. In my view there are three key principles to live by when you are considering adapting your business to an online model:

 1. Be Easy to Find

Be everywhere where your customer is–make it really easy for them to find you.

2. Be Easy to Buy

Speed and ease are key to building trust and winning business. Guide your customers on every part of the journey. From browsing to payments, be where they need you.

3. Be the Reason They Stay

Make it the most wonderful experience for them once they’re here. Listen to their needs, continue to evolve to serve those needs, reward their loyalty and commitment to you.

The principles can seem overwhelming, especially if you are an SME or a start-up or a business whose main model is offline. So it’s best to start small and scale-up.

When you’re getting your business set up online, the opportunity to sell to a global audience is an enthralling one. But slow down. A McKinsey A report on rapidly setting up an e-commerce function suggests success is possible in a relatively short timescale, pragmatism is wise in the beginning. This might mean limiting delivery to a certain region or offering a more limited range of products at the outset. This gives companies the chance to identify and address pain points and bottlenecks before scaling up to full capacity.

It’s vital, as you move online, to make the most of what analytics can tell you about your customer. Online shoppers give retailers a wealth of information about themselves when they make a purchase. Google or Facebook demographic information will tell you where they live, their ages, and gender, while the website and e-commerce tool itself will tell you how often a customer shops on your website, what category of products is most important to them, and how much they spend. In the marketing world, this is known as a customer persona.

This information is crucial, as it can be used to retarget them with similar products in the future. It will also allow merchandising managers to understand which products appeal most to your target demographic, and which are of little interest and should be discontinued. You can also boost sales by combining social media platforms with email marketing. It pays off handsomely: according to Oberlo, every $1 invested in email marketing results in $42 of sales.

Go Big, or Go Home

In many respects, we have no choice but to adapt, if recent actions by major players such as Amazon and Facebook to increase their market share are anything to go by. On May 19, Facebook announced that it will launch a full shopfront on both its Facebook and Instagram platforms.

With more than 3 billion monthly active users between them, the opportunity for consumers to make direct sales within those apps will be a gamechanger for the social network. It also represents an unmissable opportunity for new streams of revenue for retailers, whether they’re a mom-and-pop store or a major enterprise when their consumers can shop in real-time.

If you take your time and get it right, the rewards of online are unending and will help you achieve the best of both worlds. Despite, or perhaps because of this unprecedented business interruption, there has never been a better time to ride the wave of demand for online.

________________________________________________________________

Denise Dunne is chief growth officer at Ding.com, the No. 1 international mobile top-up platform. Having joined the Dublin, Ireland-based company in November 2019, she is now responsible for Ding.com’s consumer business. She arrived at the 14-year-old concern with 15 years of experience from a number of international companies, including MindSauce, Neom and Paddy Power. Developing and executing robust customer growth strategies and delivering transformational revenue growth is what Denise has spent her career doing.

holiday season

How to Prepare Your Online Store for the Holiday Season During COVID-19

We’re already getting super hyped for the holiday season. From delicate snowfalls to generous gift-giving to spending time with family and loved ones, it really is the most wonderful time of the year.

But if you work in retail, the holiday season can mean something VERY different. Many boutique owners find themselves busier than ever during the holidays. Most years, the holiday season means long lines at malls, loads of crowds, and tons of in-person sales. But this year’s going to be totally different.

Online stores have steadily grown in popularity over the years – but COVID-19 made the shift to e-commerce accelerate at its fastest ever rate. This holiday season will be totally dominated & led by e-commerce stores. Many believe the 2020 holiday season will be the single biggest e-commerce event in HISTORY.

If you own an online boutique, that’s great news for you! It means you’ll have the chance to capture all kinds of new and existing customers looking to buy gifts for their loved ones (and take advantage of the great deals for themselves, too). But it also means you’ve got to brace yourself. Things are about to get WAY busier.

Whether you’ve already made it through many a holiday season as a boutique owner before or this will be your first one, read on to learn how to prepare your online store for the holiday season during COVID-19.

Make it easy for your customers to buy online

Make sure you’re totally prepared to accept online orders – and that your website makes the online buying experience as soon as possible. Go through your online store as though you were a customer and make sure the entire buying process is crystal clear. Take a moment to work out any kinks you find so you can provide a seamless buyer journey. If this is your first time selling online, make sure payment solutions are totally ready by running a few test purchases.

Once you’ve done that, update your website for the holiday season. Update your inventory so in-stock items are clearly marked. Promote seasonal offers and holiday deals throughout your website. Clearly display your boutique’s shipping and return policies, especially if you’ve modified them for the holidays. The easier it is for your customers to make a purchase (and take advantage of awesome holiday deals), the more likely they’ll be to do so!

Plan & stock your inventory in advance

And by “in advance,” we mean ASAP! It’s always a good idea to start stocking up on holiday inventory early, but this year it’s more important than ever. Many shipments have been delayed due to the pandemic, so the sooner you can order your inventory, the better.

Make sure you choose to work with a reliable supplier. While the increase in high demand affects retailers like you, it also affects manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers in a big way. Order early and choose a supplier with great customer service. Supplied is a great option for online boutique owners looking for a wide variety of wholesale boutique items, flexible payment terms, and free shipping (yes, even during the holidays!)

Schedule out promotions

Many customers pretty much expect great holiday promotions from the brands and boutiques they love. Start planning out what sorts of promotions you’ll run and when you’ll run them. Stagger promos and marketing efforts carefully so you have a flow of ongoing sales instead of a few huge peaks. It’ll make it easier for you to fulfill orders and provide great service.

With COVID-19, it’ll be difficult to predict exactly how long shipping times will take. To make it easier for you to ship items out well in time for the holidays, incentivize early buying with sales. Experts predict that Amazon’s October Prime Week will cause many buyers to purchase holiday gifts earlier than ever before. Consider offering a sale during it in an effort to pick up some of that traffic.

You’ll also want to make sure you take advantage of Black Friday. Many of the largest retailers have already announced that their stores will be closed for Thanksgiving weekend, meaning there will be far fewer in-person Black Friday doorbuster deals. Try and capture some of that excitement online by offering a great deal for Thanksgiving weekend.
Expect delays

During the 2020 holiday season, getting packages to arrive on your customers’ doorsteps on time will be tricky. Encourage people to buy early. Be transparent about shipping delays you’re aware of and do your best to manage your customers’ expectations. As tempting as it may be, don’t promise a delivery date you can’t guarantee.

Once the guaranteed holiday shipping deadline passes, offer virtual gift cards that can be instantly delivered and used towards any item in your shop. This provides a way for last-minute shoppers to still support your shop.

Prepare for fulfillment & delivery

A lot of online boutique owners are out there running a one-woman show – but during the holiday season, you might want some help. If you usually do shipping and fulfillment operations all by yourself, consider enlisting a friend or an employee to help with the busy season.

If you have a brick-and-mortar location or a lot of local customers, offer in-person pickup to allow customers to save on shipping costs – and to allow you to package and mail fewer orders!

To sum up – to prepare your online store for the holiday season during COVID-19, you’d best get started now. Start ordering wholesale boutique items now so you have plenty of time to prepare for any delays, update your inventory, schedule out promotions, and allow your customers to order their gifts as early as possible.

Supplied members enjoy up to 75% off of wholesale prices on over 100,000 wholesale boutique items. And with free shipping, flexible payment terms, and no minimum orders, it’s perfect for stocking up quickly in preparation for the holiday season. Become a member (it’s free!) and place your first order today.

____________________________________________________________________

Joseph Heller is a small business expert and CEO of SuppliedShop.com. Supplied makes it easier for small boutique owners around the world to access high-quality, affordable wholesale boutique items, whether to stock their physical store or IG shop.

retail

E-Commerce’s Newfound Role in Stabilizing and Expanding the U.S. Retail Sector

Kenny Tsang, Managing Director of PingPong Payments, comments on the impact of the pandemic on the retail sector, and how global online marketplaces are providing a lifeline to businesses with thousands of new sellers.

In recent months, online marketplaces have taken a huge step forward to become the primary option for consumers with the pandemic forcing traditional retailers to digitally adapt to consumers. As these lockdown restrictions begin to ease, many businesses and retailers are increasingly finding value in utilizing digital marketplaces to support further disruption.

Worryingly, the existing retail space still lost a shocking 1.3 million jobs from February to June with data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in August[1] showing little signs of recovery for the retail industry. With retail being the primary outlet of the U.S. economy supporting one in four U.S. jobs [2] businesses utilizing the e-commerce sphere are experiencing significant growth by recording an 18 percent increase in online sales[3] this year.

Retail businesses that have been sustainable during the economic slowdown over the last few months are showing increased utilization of online marketplaces as alternatives to traditional retail services. Many who have explored, or been forced to adapt to digital avenues, are seeing the potential for temporary digital measures to become permanent as the U.S. continues to demonstrate a seismic shift in shopping habits. Online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Rakuten are leading the way, with Amazon more than doubling its valuation so far in 2020 – gaining a staggering $570 billion in market capitalization. eBay has just reported a record eight million new active shoppers, resulting in year on year revenue shooting up 18 percent.

While these numbers may be considered unsustainable in the long term, the 565,000 new merchant signups Amazon has already reached this year suggests the significant growth of online marketplaces will continue to exceed expectations. Many forecasters are estimating the business growth of e-commerce will to continue to reach unprecedented levels in the U.S. – with 1.1 million new sellers expected to join Amazon by the end of 2020.

Accessibility has long been a question for merchants hesitant to embrace the digital market and step out of their comfort zones into new mediums. Online marketplaces that are experiencing the most growth such as Amazon and eBay are increasingly finding ways to engage buyers and sellers to leap into the digital sphere. Thousands of sellers are experiencing natural growth, and the demand for consumer confidence while shopping on digital platforms has never been higher. E-commerce platforms cannot emulate the shop floor, however, we are seeing community-based marketplaces driving international consumer merchants to offer a quality service that delivers high customer satisfaction on primarily review-based models.

Sellers should capitalize on the opportunity to adapt and strategize against the current situation while focusing on understanding how their customer buying patterns were changing, to adjust quickly to demand, PingPong Payments identified the most popular selling categories in the e-commerce space during the pandemic to be groceries, toys and games, educational material and home and garden, while swimwear, travel-related products and consumer electronics such as cameras were no longer in demand.

With more consumer-centric additions, comes more growth, and the need for personnel to respond to the demand has heightened. For many e-commerce sellers, this is unprecedented ground, and it highlights the need for e-commerce sellers to have the right systems in place to facilitate these changes. Traditionally, a bulk of merchants’ operating internationally would spend their time minimalizing cross-border payments in unknown markets that would often lead to unforeseen expenses, long shipping times, and unreliable products. E-commerce sellers partnering with the right cross-border payment companies that specialize in convenient, quick money transfers can take this hassle away while lowering costs with these systems in place.

As consumers return to retail spaces – sellers should continue to utilize the flexibility that e-marketplaces have provided for businesses over the last few months with organic innovation increasing through competition for buy share. From the supply chain to customer-centric models – digital marketplaces are providing a platform to rival in-person sales with a significant expansion focused on retaining customers.

Admittedly, there will be consumers who continue to use traditional methods of shopping, and that will remain an open market for retailers as lockdown restrictions ease. Merchants with better familiarisation of the e-commerce industry should be able to continue to put the right systems and partners in place to maintain a continuous flow of sales worldwide. With added expansion in the industry, economic recovery in the U.S. can help propel pre-existing successful retail foundations into the future.

________________________________________________________________

[1] https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

[2] https://nrf.com/retails-impact

[3] https://www.emarketer.com/content/us-ecommerce-will-rise-18-2020-amid-pandemic

shopping

Impulsive Shopping and Post-Pandemic Consumer Behavior

Picture this. You are in the supermarket in your neighborhood queuing to pay and see some delicious and totally irresistible chocolates that you did not even think about buying but that now are something that has become essential. That is what in marketing is called “impulsive buying” and, for example in the case of supermarkets, it is their main source of benefits.

Let’s take it up a notch. Have you thought about how you can translate an Instagram or Facebook like into a sale? That’s called Influencer Marketing, and I’ll show you how to unleash this online technique by starting a conversation and ultimately driving sales and establishing impulsive shopping, whether this was your initial objective or not. Remember, one like, share or comment, might equal one sale.

The Internet and mobile devices, as instant tools, favor impulsive purchases. Different promotions present on your website can trigger unplanned purchases by Internet users. Imagine being able to have those displays that are in the boxes of the supermarkets integrated into the design and shopping experience of your online store… How much extra income could they bring you? The experience may surprise you.

Flash sales (Time-limited): Flash sales are time-limited sales that are very often used in e-commerce to encourage impulsive buying. Generated by an attractive offer but limited in time, the user has to make a quick decision if he does not want to miss this opportunity. It works very well, especially in specific seasons where people are willing to spend more money (Christmas, back to school, Halloween).

Free shipping: The hook is to set a minimum purchase price so that the shipping costs are free and, if the customer does not yet have that amount, offer low-cost products in the checkout process that achieve the minimum required quantity. If we use products that far exceed the minimum amount, it will not work, but if they are inexpensive and related to the purchase that has been made, success is practically guaranteed.

Stock level: Showing available stocks can, to some extent, favor impulsive buying. If the number of products in stock is low, the interested visitor will tend to buy their product for fear of not finding it again at the price proposed in your online store.

Give away discount coupons or free products (gift): On condition of making a purchase, of course. This type of tactic has been shown to also boost sales since the customer must buy in order to receive their gift.

Expiration date:  Discounts on these types of items range between 20 percent and 50 percent of their initial price. For example, if they are products that expire the next day, the price is usually cut in half, but if we talk about products that have weeks to expire, the discount stays between 20 percent and 30 percent. Stores free themselves of products that would end up in the garbage and without any benefit if not bought, while customers get a good deal for a product that they would either buy or just purchase to take advantage of that specific occasion.

After the pandemic

From toilet paper in the early pandemic to bleach and flour, during this crisis consumers have modified its consumption and its way of making the purchase. But what will the consumer be like after pandemic? It is evident that many consumers have had to test the online channel as a result of this crisis, and they have realized how comfortable and safe it is for them.

The confinement has made the segment of the population that least bought online, those over 55-60 years old, now the group that needs it the most, especially those over 70, who are the most vulnerable to the disease and those who, therefore, should be more confined and without the help of their families. Although the consumer preferred to buy some specific products in person; if consumers verify that the product they receive at home meets their expectations, it is very likely that after the crisis it will continue to do so.

On the same line of shifting consumer behavior, for instance, some of the most popular products today are related to protecting employees and separating consumers with employees, like speak-thru devices, trays and shelves, and sliding service windows.

Where do impulsive purchases predominate: in physical stores or on the internet?

Physical stores are the main claim to get a customer to buy without having thought about it before. This fact is partly logical because most impulsive products are food, clothing, drinks, and personal care products. If discounts and promotions are added to that, the mix is ​​perfect. Supermarkets, shopping malls, and convenience stores are the central places for this type of sales.

Furthermore, some stores go the extra mile by using techniques that play with your senses, by releasing exquisite coffee and fresh cookie smell to get you in, even if they’re not in the food business.

Online advertising is the least appreciated to generate buying impulses, but that does not mean that their tactics are useless: Brands that use digital platforms as the first approach and establish the first connection have the potential to reap the benefits when the time comes to make the final purchase in the store, according to a study by Geoblink. 69 percent of those surveyed stated having bought between one and five products spontaneously in the last week, while 26 percent admitted having made between six and ten purchases of this type.

The millennial generation is the one that buys the most on impulse: a small group of 7 percent have bought up to 11 items without foresight in the last week. The previous facts serve as a great opening remark of the aforementioned Influencer Marketing technique. If you got until this part of the story, it means that there’s impulsive buyer material within you.

Influencer Marketing is nothing more than getting the right people to talk about you, firstly triggering your target audience to talk about you, secondly prompting that audience talking to each other about you, and finally you and the audience listening to each other. When this two-way conversation is in place, it is very probable that some of your social media likes, whether on Instagram or Facebook, are in fact translating into sales in your physical or online store.

There are a couple of exceptions to this rule on digital impulsive buying: the first, that those who already have a subscription to a platform like Amazon, which avoids having to go through several stages before buying, are better able to combat the impulsive factor. The second: when the object to buy is an electronic item. 55 percent of the participants chose the Internet as the preferred medium for the impulsive purchase of these items.

_______________________________________________________________

Featured in the Best Online Shops 2020 – Newsweek, DK Hardware is one of the largest online home improvement retailers for a variety of hardware manufacturers all over the United States and Canada.

boohoo

The Boohoo’s Trade Ascendency – What Can we Learn?

The Coronavirus crisis has taken it’s fair share of victims in the world of retail, tolling the death knell for a whole slew of companies including Debenhams, Long Tall Sally, Cath Kidson, Warehouse and Oasis. And yet, recent news tells us all is not lost – Boohoo has stepped in and bought the online businesses of both Warehouse and Oasis for a bargain £5.25m. It’s no surprise that e-commerce based retailers have been less hard-hit than their high-street counterparts, but even so, the majority of e-tailers have reported losses during the crisis. Not so Boohoo. Despite a slight downturn when the crisis hit, sales shot back up in May and they closed the first quarter with a 45% sales increase on the previous year. So what is it that makes Boohoo so special?

Their secret it seems is in their provisioning – the “Test and Repeat” model. Rather than making major forward orders and holding large amounts of stock in their warehouse, they instead purchase small product runs, test them on the site, and then restock quickly the products that work well, discarding those that don’t. This has been vital during the COVID-19 crisis as it allowed Boohoo to switch their product range from party and club styles to loungewear and athleisure within a matter of days, adapting to their audience’s requirements without missing a beat. As the retail sector faces an uncertain future it’s worth considering whether this business model may be the solution for retailers everywhere, whatever their size.

The difficulty is sourcing products quickly enough to make it work. There’s no point in having a successful test-run of a certain product if, when the first batch sells out, your restock order from suppliers in China or India can take up to 2 months to arrive – by this point the bird will have well and truly flown. Boohoo combats this by stocking mainly UK based suppliers, and with imports affected by travel restrictions and breaks in the supply chain, sourcing products locally is, without doubt, the obvious solution (particularly with Brexit on the horizon). Some retailers may balk at the higher prices, but with lower risks and less deadstock, the benefits do seem to outweigh the increased costs.

The Coronavirus crisis has forced an entire industry to stop and think, literally. How can we change the way we work to face the challenges that have taken us all by surprise? Short-order provisioning may be a way for businesses to adapt to this new situation and respond to the rapid changes in consumer demand that are sure to continue over the coming months, however, this is likely to be a step outside of the comfort zone for many retailers who are used to ordering for season months in advance.

The good news is that there are simple options to help with the switch to the “Test and Repeat” model. TradeGala offers ready-to-ship stock from over 50 independent fashion brands covering womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, accessories, gifts and shoes. It’s simple to register and you can go from initial order to receipt of goods in just a few days. Whether or not the recent changes signal the future of the fashion retail industry, as with any business, adaptation is survival. Is your retail business ready for the “new normal”?

retail

The Impact of COVID-19 on Online Retail

Online supply store DK Hardware examines how the pandemic is changing the habits and overall consumer behavior of online shoppers.

After more than a month of confinement, we all dream of the day when everything returns to how it was before, and we can resume our not so old habits. However, it is more realistic to think that COVID-19 has come to stay and that, after this first devastating wave, the entire population will have to remain extremely responsible and we will suffer the consequences of this pandemic for longer than we would like. We do not stop living one of those moments in history in which the foundations of our society are shaken and we experience profound changes that will prevent us from returning to the point where we were a few weeks ago.

This first month of confinement is forcing us to adopt new habits and customs that we will maintain once the state of alarm is lifted, customs that will leave consequences in multiple aspects of our lives. In this post we are going to focus on everything related to new buying habits, otherwise, it would be too long.

Change of Habits

One of the first pieces of news that hit us all hard was knowing that we could only step on the street to buy basic necessities. When we found out, we all ran to loot the supermarkets as if we had seen the four horsemen of the apocalypse arrive. Once the first moment of panic was over (fear is very powerful and completely irrational), we gradually adapted to the new situation and discovered that these small forays into the streets in search of food, medicine, within others, it was anything but pleasant: lines surrounding the supermarkets with people more than 1.5 meters dressed from top to bottom with gloves and masks, security measures to access the premises, lonely buyers fleeing from anyone who invades their personal space … measures completely justified and that we must respect, but that makes it almost traumatic to go shopping.

But this change does not stop here: during the last month, we did not know very well if the rest of online retailers dedicated to the sale of products that are not essential items would continue to operate normally. This uncertainty took its toll on this ecommerce, but once the doubt was cleared and, seeing that the orders were made and arrived relatively normally, we found the second great change in habits: buying everything that we need or want in online stores. Yes, even supplies for your home.

Has your bathroom shower window broken, and you cannot go to your usual store? You can buy it online. Have you been thinking about changing your kitchen’s plumbing system now that you’re spending more time at home? Well, you can buy it online. Companies like DK Hardware, one of the largest online home improvement retailers for a variety of hardware manufacturers all over the United States and Canada, have your back.

Think Global, Act Local

Online retail is there to satisfy your needs and now it has more prominence than ever. This situation is causing many SMEs and local businesses that saw that the online channel was only a complement or did not even consider working on that channel, have woken up from one day to the next and now consider it their priority (and if not I don’t know what they are waiting for). While many companies, both large and small, keep their productivity levels in check thanks to the option of telecommuting, many businesses are going digital so as not to be left behind and remain part of the game.

And After This, What?

The post-coronavirus world will be an even more digitized world in which the battle to get users to choose us will be even fiercer: let’s not forget that a large part of the population does not have the purchasing power it had before the pandemic and that the longer the confinement lengthens, the longer and more severe will be the economic crisis that the country is facing. In these circumstances, these factors will be key:

Price: The price war will continue to be something that online retail has to live with. The excessive stock in the warehouses together with a society that is going to look at the price with a magnifying glass, will force the stores to have competitive and attractive products.

Loyalty: With so many new players on the board, it will be more difficult to get your buyers to be loyal and make recurring purchases in the same store. Therefore, establishing a good loyalty strategy is going to be mandatory.

Omnichannel: It is more important than ever to attract and retain users, so we cannot forget the power of working multiple channels at the same time, building a powerful brand image and with the aim of being more in contact with our users: social networks, email marketing, SEO, SEM are some of the examples of channels that must be perfectly coordinated and that will work as one.

_______________________________________________________________

Featured in the Best Online Shops 2020 – Newsweek, DK Hardware is one of the largest online home improvement retailers for a variety of hardware manufacturers all over the United States and Canada.

online

PREVENTING TRADE IN ONLINE FAKES

Online Buyer Beware

U.S. consumers spent over $600 billion dollars with U.S. merchants online in 2019. For consumers, online shopping is enticing for its convenience. With credit card in hand, shoppers can easily compare prices, make a purchase, and have the products shipped directly to their homes. The ability to sell online has transformed the ways in which manufacturers, shippers and retailers conduct business.

The evolution from brick and mortar to online stores has also made it more convenient for illegitimate businesses and criminals to pass off counterfeit products, which has attracted the attention of the U.S. government. Since November 2019, a flurry of government activity has focused on protecting consumers in the e-commerce environment.

Trade in fake goods 3.3 percent of world trade

Political Hue and Cry

The Senate Finance Committee examined online counterfeit goods last November when it issued a bipartisan report highlighting two key fact findings: U.S. businesses have difficulties preventing the sale of counterfeit goods online, and e-commerce platforms have no affirmative obligation to police counterfeit goods listings or to proactively remove suspected counterfeit items.

In January, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a report titled Combating Trafficking in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods, in which DHS found that e-commerce has contributed to a shift in the sale of counterfeit goods in the United States. As consumers increasingly purchase goods online, counterfeiters are increasingly producing a wider variety of goods that may be sold on websites alongside authentic products. The report adds that American consumers shopping on e-commerce platforms and online third-party marketplaces now face a significant risk of purchasing counterfeit or pirated goods.

A week after the release of the DHS report, the White House issued an Executive Order “Ensuring Safe and Lawful E-Commerce for U.S. Consumers, Businesses, Government Supply Chains, and Intellectual Property Rights Holders”. The Order implicates express carriers and the international postal system as contributing to the problem of imports of contraband and counterfeit goods.

American brands 24 percent of fake products seized

House Bill 6058, the SHOP SAFE Act of 2020, was introduced in early March in the House of Representatives. The bill proposes to impose contributory trademark infringement liability on e-commerce platforms unless they take steps specified in the legislation. The legislation received immediate support from several prominent industry associations.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association’s CEO stated that “more needs to be done to prevent counterfeit products from unknowingly entering the homes of American families.” In support of the bill, the CEO of the Personal Care Products Council stated that “counterfeit personal care products damage businesses, disregard regulatory protection and more importantly threaten consumers’ health and safety,” adding the Council encourages “Congress to establish a system that makes online marketplaces and others responsible for ensuring that products on their platforms comply with U.S. laws and regulations”.

Two days later, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) stated that the convenience of e-commerce “has come at a devastating price: a proliferation of dangerous counterfeit goods that endanger consumers and property, and an army of counterfeit merchants from overseas that undermine American small businesses with unscrupulous tactics.”

Counterfeit medicines

Hiding on Plain Sites

In general, the owners of intellectual property (copyrights, trademarks, patents) have had a lot to say about the online platforms and marketplaces that host e-commerce. As summarized in the Senate Finance Committee’s report, e-commerce platforms place the burden of policing and enforcing intellectual property (IP) on the IP owners, suggesting they do not have a duty to police counterfeit listings or proactively remove suspected counterfeit goods from platforms.

The proposed SHOP SAFE Act of 2020 would place a greater burden on platforms. By taking steps outlined in the legislation, platforms would be able to avoid liability for IP violations.

During the week the SHOP SAFE Act was introduced and a hearing held to address the issue of e-commerce threats to consumers and the economy, a technology company, PreClear, announced it is using “technology that pushes out the border and prevents infringing goods and potentially harmful goods from being exported to the U.S.” PreClear’s founder is quoted as saying that the technology is in use 24/7 and rejects thousands of non-compliant items daily.

There is no doubt that the sheer volume of infringing and other non-compliant merchandise available to consumers on the internet begs for a solution. The question is whether protection and enforcement begin after the items are in the stream of commerce in the United States or before the items ship to the United States. One of the missing variables in the trade policy equation remains how to prevent infringing items from leaving the country of origin in the first instance.

__________________________________________________________________

Tim Trainer was an attorney-advisor at the U.S. Customs Service and U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. He is a past president of the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition. Tim is now the principal at Global Intellectual Property Strategy Center, P.C., and Galaxy Systems, Inc.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.