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What am I looking for?

Hello,

I need a little help with what exactly I need to find. I want to send all of the items ordered from the customer to one place where they will put them together in a package (with my logo/nice box) and will ship it out to the customer.

Will I be able to send my boxes to them or do they print them out in their facility? Is shipping by them expensive? Do you use or have a preference with this type of company?

Thank you beforehand

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September 2020 Top 10: Our Most Popular Posts

Our mission since 2005 is to publish articles, webinars, and podcasts to help ecommerce merchants. What follows are the 10 most popular articles that we published in September 2020. Articles from early in the month are more likely to make the list than later ones.

4 More Google Ads Scripts to Automate Tasks, Save Time

Google Ads scripts automate routine tasks. Last fall, I shared three such scripts that are helpful to me. In this post, I’ll address four additional Google Ads scripts that automate tasks and save time. Read more…

5 Predictions for the 2020 Holiday Shopping Season

Despite strong increases in the past several months, predicting this year’s holiday ecommerce sales made me feel a bit like Ebenezer Scrooge. I wanted to be optimistic about the Christmas sales, but three of my five predictions are negative overall. The other two, click-and-collect ecommerce and gig-economy delivery, are generally positive. Read more…

SEO: 7 Ways to Optimize Category Pages

Category pages target the keywords that consumers search for most frequently. But optimizing category pages for organic search rankings can be difficult, as default category templates on ecommerce platforms tend to hold less text than other pages. What follows are seven category-page elements that improve rankings on highly competitive keywords. Read more…

Essential Elements of an Ecommerce Product Page

The elements of an ecommerce product detail page should work together to help shoppers make sound buying decisions. Each element — prose description, a list of features, product photos, videos — should tell part of an item’s story. Read more…

21 Free Web Design Tools from Summer 2020

Free resources from the design community can add value to an ecommerce site. Here is a list of new web tools and design elements from summer 2020. There are designer and developer apps, coding resources, color tools, fonts, and more. All of these tools are free, though some also offer premium versions. Read more…

5 Content Marketing Ideas for October 2020

Content marketing can help connect with new customers or deepen relationships with existing ones. But some businesses struggle to find topics to address. The good news is that opportunities abound in October 2020, when a company could cover National Taco Day, raise cybersecurity awareness, profile customers, provide a brief history of products, or identify Halloween do-it-yourself projects. Read more…

13 New Ecommerce Books for Fall 2020

Here’s a batch of new ecommerce books for your autumn reading list. There are titles on buying and selling a business, producing and fostering creative work, monetizing your podcast, live video marketing, Amazon, and the blockchain. Read more…

Holiday Shipping Surcharges Are Coming

Selling during the upcoming holiday shopping season will not be normal. For the first time in its history, the United States Postal Service is imposing a holiday surcharge on commercial packages. The price increases will begin on October 18 and run through December 27, 2020, and range from $0.24 to $1.50 per package. Read more…

Forget Black Friday Sales This 2020 Holiday

The upcoming holiday shopping season is bound to shake the ecommerce sector. If you haven’t yet finalized your holiday sales schedule, now’s the time to get it done. But you may want to rethink your strategy for November and December. Read more…

Covid-19 Is Driving Some Brands to DTC

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the pace of digital transformation in retail, prompting some brands to focus on direct-to-consumer channels. The retail and wholesale industries have long been undergoing an evolution toward ecommerce, digital brands, and DTC sales. But Covid-19 changed retail abruptly. Read more…

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2020 ‘Time Machine’ Elevates All of Ecommerce

The ongoing global pandemic has accelerated retail and B2B trends that make it relatively more difficult for some businesses to survive while upping the competitive bar for the entire ecommerce industry.

These trends include everything from an increase in online sales and the growth of click-and-collect shopping to how software is built and integrated.

“We’ve got two products in the market,” said Peter Sheldon, senior director of commerce strategy at Adobe. “We’ve got Magento Commerce and Adobe Analytics. Between the install base of those two, we collect a huge amount of aggregated data around online behaviors, online retail spend, and so forth.

“And every month we publish what we call our ‘Adobe Digital Economy Index.’ This is our finger on the pulse of what happens with online sales, and it has been really interesting since March versus our forecasts. We were always very accurate on our forecasts. Coming into 2020, we knew exactly what was going to happen under normal circumstances. But what we’ve seen so far since March [is that] online spend in the U.S. has resulted in an extra $107 billion.”

To further make Sheldon’s point, consider recent headlines on Practical Ecommerce.

A Time Machine

Many industry insiders see the explosive ecommerce growth as something of a time machine transporting the industry to some future date in terms of technology and business practices.

“If we ask, ‘What has Covid done over the last 12 months?’ — it has put us in a time machine. Meaning, it has accelerated [ecommerce]. The forecasted growth we had for the shift of retail spend from brick-and-mortar to digital was going to happen anyway. But two-to-three years of forecasted online channel shift and increased spending online was effectively compressed into six months,” said Sheldon. “We’ve just moved forward the inevitable. This was always going to happen; it’s just happened way, way faster.”

The speed of this transition has impacted the entire ecommerce industry.

“Call it a slow hunch,” said Brian Walker, chief strategy officer at Bloomreach, who spoke in early August 2020. “I think many of us expected that digital commerce — the digital experience — was going to continue to grow in importance, and it certainly has. But since Covid began, it went from important to urgent for many companies.”

Investment

Not every business or industry segment was ready to make these sorts of changes.

At-risk companies, if you will, had financial or structural challenges before the pandemic began. These challenges made it relatively more difficult for them to pivot, expand their ecommerce operations, or take on new software projects.

As a result, longstanding retailers such as J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus, J.Crew, and Lord & Taylor have filed for bankruptcy.

Some of these retailers will emerge from bankruptcy. J.C. Penney, for example, was purchased by its landlords, mall operators Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Group. Other businesses will not survive. Lord & Taylor was in full liquidation mode at the time of writing.

Lord & Taylor is one of many businesses that will close because of Covid-driven market pressures.

Lord & Taylor is one of many businesses that will close because of Covid-driven market pressures.

The problem, in part, is investment. “Time traveling” to three years in the future meant that businesses must spend digital-transition funds in just one summer that would have otherwise taken 36 months.

A retailer that had planned to build click-and-collect capabilities over a couple of years had to execute, instead, in a few weeks.

Competitive Advantage

Those companies that were able to invest tended to gain a competitive advantage.

Walmart, which benefited from the types of products it carries and its strong infrastructure, enjoyed a 97-percent increase in ecommerce sales during the fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2020. And, on September 23, the company announced that it would hire 20,000 seasonal workers to help with holiday sales.

Similarly, Target, which has fewer total sales than Walmart, saw a 200-percent increase in ecommerce sales in the second quarter and plans to hire about 130,000 temporary workers for the holidays.

Smaller businesses that were able to invest may have seen similar results.

Elevate

When they make significant improvements in such a short period, already strong B2B brands and retailers raise the bar for everyone.

For example, a new online retailer must compete not just with enterprise ecommerce sellers, but also with newly aggressive in-store merchants that offer click-and-collect, curbside pickup, and home deliveries via Uber or DoorDash. Thus, the pandemic-driven “time machine” might elevate the entire ecommerce industry.

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VTEX raises $225M at a $1.7B valuation for e-commerce solutions aimed at retailers and brands

Retailers and consumer brands are focused more than ever in their histories on using e-commerce channels to connect with customers: the global health pandemic has disrupted much of their traditional business in places like physical stores, event venues and restaurants, and vending machines, and accelerated the hunt for newer ways to sell goods and services. Today, a startup that's been helping them build those bridges, specifically to expand into newer markets, is announcing a huge round of funding, underscoring the demand.

VTEX, which builds e-commerce solutions and strategies for retailers like Walmart and huge consumer names like AB InBev, Motorola, Stanley Black & Decker, Sony, Walmart, Whirlpool, Coca-Cola and Nestlé, has raised $225 million in new funding, valuing the company at $1.7 billion post-money.

The funding is being co-led by two investors, Tiger Global and Lone Pine Capital, with Constellation, Endeavour Catalyst and SoftBank also participating. It's a mix of investors, with two leads, that offers a “signal” of what might come next for the startup, sad Amit Shah, the company's chief strategy officer and general manager for North America.

“We've seen them invest in big rounds right before companies go public,” he said. “Now, that's not necessarily happening here right now, but it’s a signal.” The company has been profitable and plans to continue to be, Shah said (making it one example of a SoftBank investment that hasn't gone sour). Revenues this year are up 114% with $8 billion in gross merchandise volume (GMV) processed over platforms it's built.

Given that VTEX last raised money less than a year ago — a $140 million round led by SoftBank's Latin American Innovation Fund — the valuation jump for the startup is huge. Shah confirmed to us that it represents a 4x increase on its previous valuation (which would have been $425 million).

The interest back in November from SoftBank's Latin American fund stemmed from VTEX's beginnings. The company got its start building e-commerce storefronts and strategies for businesses that were hoping to break into Brazil — the B of the world's biggest emerging “BRIC” markets — and the rest of Latin America. It made its name building Walmart in the region, and has continued to help run and develop that operation even after Walmart divested the asset, and it's working with Walmart now in other regions outside the US, too, he added.

But since then, while the Latin American arm of the business has continued to thrive, the company has capitalized both on the funding it had picked up, and the current global climate for e-commerce solutions, to expand its business into more markets, specifically North America, EMEA and most recently Asia.

Revenues were growing at a rate of 50% a year before the pandemic ahead of it's more recent growth this year of 114%, Shah said. “Of course, we would prefer Covid-19 not to be here, but it has had a good effect on our business. The arc of e-commerce has grown has impacted revenues and created that additional level of investor interest.”

VTEX's success has hinged not just on catering to companies that have up to now not prioritized their online channels, but in doing so in a way that is more unified.

Consumer packaged goods have been in a multi-faceted bind because of the fragmented way in which they have grown. A drinks brand will not only manufacture on a local level (and sometimes, as in the case of, say, Coca-Cola, use different ingredient formulations), but they will often have products that are only sold in select markets, and because the audiences are different, they've devise marketing and distribution strategies on a local level, too. On top of all that, products like these have long relied on channels like retailers, restaurants, vending machines and more to get their products into the hands of consumers.

These days, of course, all of that has been disrupted: all the traditional channels they would have used to sell things are now either closed or seeing greatly reduced custom. And as for marketing: the rise of social networks has led to a globalization in messaging, where something can go viral all over the world and marketing therefore knows no regional boundaries.

So, all of this means that brands have to rethink everything around how they sell their products, and that's where a company like VTEX steps in, building strategies and solutions that can be used in multiple regions. Among typical deals, it's been working with AB InBev to develop a global commerce platform covering 50 countries (replacing multiple products from other vendors, typically competitors to VTEX include SAP, Shopify and Magento).

“CPG companies are seeking to standardize and make their businesses and lives a little easier,” Shah said. Typical work that it does includes building marketplaces for retailers, or new e-commerce interfaces so that brands can better supply online and offline retailers, or sell directly to customers — for example, with new ways of ordering products to get delivered by others. Shah said that some 200 marketplaces have now been built by VTEX for its customers.

(Shah himself, it's worth pointing out, has a pedigree in startups and in e-commerce. He founded an e-commerce analytics company called Jirafe, which was acquired by SAP, where he then became the chief revenue officer of SAP Hybris.)

“We are excited to grow quickly in new and existing markets, and offer even more brands a platform that embraces the future of commerce, which is about being collaborative, leveraging marketplaces, and delivering customer experiences that are second-to-none,” said Mariano Gomide de Faria, VTEX co-founder and co-CEO, in a statement. “This injection of funding will undoubtedly support us in achieving our mission to accelerate digital commerce transformation around the world.”

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Would Facebook/instagram stores take the place of shopify?

I'm starting my new ecommerce and I was wondering if I just created Facebook and Insta stores instead of Shopify, will this be enough?

I think selling on the same platform where people see your marketing and ads is better than taking them to a different platform.

What do you think?

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Thoughts on high ticket products

In your experience is selling high tickets products (e.g. consumer electronics) worth pursuing and what's the best measure as to advertising these and finding appropriate audiences that are willing to buy these more expensive products.

I'm aware that my conversion rate would be much smaller than those of stores selling cheaper products.

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Inksoft vs ImprintNext

Which is the best for the selling custom t-shirt with shopify?

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Would like to know if you would buy these jewelries or not?

Hi r/ecommerce,

I have started selling my jewelries on Amazon. I have got just 1 sale in a week even after running ads. So I wanted to know if you'd buy these jewelries or what am I lacking due to which there are not much sales.

Here's my store

Any help would be highly appreciated!

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People with experience selling on Shopify, Amazon, and eBay, which do you prefer and which do you make more from?

I've personally made the most from Amazon, but it's been the most unstable, since I've had all sorts of issues that have come up from gating, legal, hijackers, that leads to massive swing in sales. Wondering about everyone else and maybe if you're open to share what category or industry you're stores in?

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The joke is on consumers as Liquid Death raises $23 million more

In what began as a kind of funny, savvy marketing stunt that has since gained traction, a nearly three-year-old, Santa Monica-based startup that sells water from the Austrian Alps under the brand Liquid Death, has raised $23 million in Series B funding. Backers in the round include an unnamed family office; Convivialité Ventures, which is Pernod Ricard Group’s venture arm; the musician known as Fat Mike; and earlier backer Velvet Sea Ventures.

The company, originally incubated with the help of the L.A.-based startup studio Science, has now raised a little more than $34 million altogether.

We talked with Liquid Death founder Mike Cessario, who was formerly a West Coast agency exec, not long after he launched the company to the public, and he argued at the time that canned water could give sugary energy drinks like Rockstar, Monster and Red Bull a run for their money if it was also named like a heavy metal act.

Indeed, our favorite part of the product has long been its promise to “murder your thirst.” (It's water in an aluminum can, after all, so other differentiators are hard to come by.)

Clearly, plenty of other people are amused enough by the company's inventive marketing that its products are selling, including at Whole Foods. It put the cans on its shelves back in February, around the same time that Velvet Sea led the company's $9 million Series A round.

Liquid Death also sells at more than 1,000 7-Eleven stores in California, and it sells, as it always has, directly to customers, who can select either mountain water or sparkling water, and buy a T-shirt or hoodie from a growing merchandise store on their way out of its online store.

A 12-pack of tallboys costs $16. A “Hydrate or Die” T-shirt can be had for $26.