Thursday, November 13, 2014

Don't be a Grinch. Here's your 4-step plan to a smooth December.

Isn’t December a joyous time of year? Family, friends and a little bit of time off is just around the corner. For retailers the holiday season isn’t about relaxing though, it’s the busiest time of year and can be ruthless for those who aren’t prepared. Here’s 4 simple things you can do now to make sure that December is a success.

Order your satchels

As we get closer and closer to the silly season carriers are going to get inundated with requests for satchels as merchants run low. Get prepared for your pre-Christmas volumes early and have enough satchels to see you through until the new year. Temando customers can do this by filling out our satchel order form. We really recommend getting on top of this in November as during December carriers will have longer wait times and less satchels to give.

Know your cut-off dates

Millions and millions of parcels travel through carrier networks every December and each one operates at slightly different speeds and frequencies. We’ve rung around and received cut-off dates from every carrier, however we recommend using caution with these and being proactive with your customers about getting in early. Check out our cut-off calendar and keep these dates in mind when you’re sending out communications to your customers.

Stay on top of your orders

If you’re expecting more orders than usual in December then it’s important that you don’t let things get out of hand. As always you should be planning to send orders on a daily basis and not allow a backlog to develop. If you use one or two carriers regularly, we highly recommend setting up a permanent pickup to ensure the driver will collect from you every day. Drop our support team a line if you have any questions about permanent pick up or read more here.

Know what to do when things go wrong

Mike Tyson once said “Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the mouth”.

At some stage in December things might go wrong, and it just might feel like a punch in the mouth. The secret is knowing who to turn to. Our support team will be working through December up until 8pm (AEST) on December 24th and will continue to be available on all non-public holidays thereafter. For a better guide of what details they’ll need when you call, please see our Holidays Essentials post.

To contact our support team you can fill out our supportform, email our team, call them on 1300 66 88 58 or use our live chat function available in the ‘chat now’ tab on the right of this page.

Here’s to a busy and successful December! Remember to start preparing now if you haven’t already and if you need anything fulfilment-related our team is more than happy to help.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Carrier Cutoffs for the Holidays

Click to enlarge

We posted our Holiday Essentials Guide recently with some tips to help you plan around the busy December period. As we get closer to the busy period, it’s important to make sure you’re giving your customers the right information about shipping deadlines. As a reminder, see our cut off calendar above or our full list of carrier provided cut-off dates below:

TNT Road:                     18th December
Fastway Couriers:        19th December
TNT Priority:                  20th December
Couriers Please:            23rd December
Capital Transport:         23rd December
Hunter Express:             23rd December
Direct Couriers:             23rd December

Allied Express:              TBA

Please note that these dates do not guarantee delivery before December 25th.
It has to be stressed that these dates have been given to us as a guide for when courier operations will be running. The week before Christmas Day is extremely busy for the delivery industry and just because a courier will pick up an order before Christmas does not guarantee that it will arrive in time. We recommend that any orders that are cross country (East coast to west coast or vice versa) need to be collected no later than the 19th of December. For orders that have a same coast or local destination, we would recommend collection on the 22nd of December at the latest.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Note About the G20 Summit

Brisbane is hosting the G20 Summit this week which may result in some delays with deliveries. Starting Tuesday, there will be some road closures around the Brisbane CBD and that will increase leading up to Friday, the official public holiday.

Potential impacts will be a delay in deliveries and collections around the CBD area, which could extend transit times to other states.

Our customer service team will continue to operate as usual on the public holiday.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Using Technology To Keep Brand Promises

How do you make your customer ‘little-kid-tasting-ice-cream-for-the-first-time’ happy?
Our CEO Carl recently spoke at the 2014 Australian Digital Summit about the future of retail. In particular, he spoke about the power of brands, the importance of getting the basics right and closing the loop by bringing the two together to give customer’s an exceptional experience. 

The Brand

Brands are an integral, intangible part of a business. As a consumer, brands make us feel things about a product - be it aspirational, emotional, nostalgic or otherwise. Brands are what bring people through the doors and the reason why people will be willing to part with their hard-earned money for your product. Every brand is different and there’s no roadmap to creating a successful brand but it is undoubtedly a crucial part of the business. It’s what brings your products and services to life and influences your customers to make a purchase.

The Basics

Just as important as having a brand is the ability to deliver on everything that the brand promises. This means a high level of service, accountability and particularly in online retail; reliable delivery. For retailers, this involves being prepared to change the way that they have been looking at delivery. Recent research by Telstra indicates that a staggering amount of customers are willing to pay extra for more tailored delivery solutions but very few retailers are willing or able to offer them.

For such a seemingly basic part of the purchase process, retailers have made very little progress towards changing this themselves. This isn't an indictment on retailers, shipping is a very tricky industry. In the same way that you would approach a creative agency to help shape and build a brand, it’s important that retailers reach out to experienced shipping solutions partners to help them create shipping experiences that match the needs of their customers.

Closing the Loop

You can’t have one without the other. You might have the coolest brand on earth but if your service is lousy then that will be your lasting impression on the customer. Likewise, you could offer the best service in the world but if there is no brand to excite and capture the imagination of the customer then you won’t make sales. Getting both the brand and the basics right and pulling the two together is how you create lasting impressions with your customers.

For a detailed discussion about these ideas, here’s Carl’s keynote speech from the 2014 Australian Digital Summit and the future retail panel featuring Carl alongside Dean Flynn from IE Agency, Karsten Wildberger from Telstra and Ian McCall from Nuon:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Our WooCommerce Shipping Extension for Wordpress is here.

We’ve been teasing for a while and now… and are very proud to announce that our shipping extension for WooCommerce is now available.

Our easy to install extension brings the power and convenience of Temando’s shipping software to WooCommerce and Wordpress. The extension automatically gives you access to multiple Australian carriers from inside the Wordpress admin panel. This means you don’t need to go anywhere else to upload and book your online orders. You can easily process them right from Wordpress - Just click and ship!

Our shipping extension has seriously simplified the shipping process for Wordpress and WooCommerce users. But what’s even more exciting is you now have control over the customers shipping experience. You can choose to display free shipping, flat rate or charge the customer a real-time shipping quote at the checkout.  The power is in your hands to decide what your customer values and what influences their conversion.

We truly believe you’re going to love shipping with the extension and we think your customers are going to benefit from it as well.  It’s well documented that the number one reason for abandoning a sale online is ‘cart shock’ often associated with shipping costs. Not only can you solve this age old online problem but with the Temando shipping extension you can also be transparent about shipping policy by adding a shipping tab to every product page.

The extension comes pre-loaded with multiple Australian carriers at great rates and if you have an Australia Post eParcel account you can also use eParcel rates on our Professional Plan.

Discover more about the Temando WooCommerce shipping extension.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Temando's Enterprise Solutions

On our blog we talk a lot about our small to large business offerings. These can include shipping directly from the Temando Dashboard or using our Magento or WooCommerce extensions. We don’t, however, speak a lot about our enterprise solutions.

Enterprise businesses face the same challenges as any other when it comes to selling online. The biggest influencer of shopping cart conversions is still shipping, however the scale is much greater. A fraction of a percentage change in conversions can mean millions of dollars in revenue. With such high stakes, it’s imperative that enterprise businesses seek out best of breed technology partners to assist in their continued success.

Regardless of your businesses’ shipping needs, Temando’s enterprise solutions can accommodate them. Our platform:

  • Manages shipping across multiple carriers in real-time
  •  Highly responsive system with low dependency on external data sources
  • Enables rate shopping with a hybrid rates system
  • Creates curated and personalised shipping experiences for end customers.
  • Can manage shipping from multiple locations.
  • Can be tailored to suit the unique needs of large enterprise businesses.
While we could keep listing the ways Temando can support your business, our CEO Carl Hartmann is probably best placed to describe the benefits we present to enterprise. Carl recently spoke about our enterprise solutions as a part of the IBM Smarter Commerce webcast and you can watch the presentation below:

The video should automatically start at Carl's presentation. If not, skip to 24.43

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

4 Ways to Keep Customers Coming Back with Shipping

Retaining customers who have previously shopped with you is crucial to success in eCommerce. Its well-known existing customers are both more likely to shop with you and will generally buy more from you. Here are some telling stats on retention:

  • In both Europe and the US, returning customers generate 3 times more revenue than new shoppers (Adobe).
  • Attracting new customers is five times more expensive than retaining existing ones (Marketing Metrics)
  • The average value of a lost customer is $243 (KISSMetrics)
We think these stats demonstrate the point, and there are a lot of different ways to keep your customers engaged. Personalised email marketing strategies, a compelling social media presence and sought-after products all help to keep customers coming back. Even more basic than these strategies is to just offer your customers a good experience the first time round and gain their trust. Simple isn’t it?

Here’s 4 ways to make a good first impression and keep them coming back for more:

1) Set realistic expectations and meet (or beat) them.

This one makes a lot of sense but if you don’t have your shipping processes right it can be very tricky to pull off. If a customer makes an order online and accepts standard shipping, set their expectation to be 4-5 days. Then if it arrives in 3 they’ll be thrilled. Simple. On the other hand, though, if it takes too long for you to process an order once you’ve received it and it arrives in 6 days, then the customer will be disappointed and a whole lot less likely to shop with you again.

2) Give Options

We go on about offering diverse options a lot, but can you blame us? A one size fits all approach to delivery is rarely the best approach. Letting your customers choose when and how they receive the product puts the onus on them when a package can’t be delivered and needs to be collected from the post office or have its delivery re-scheduled. Furthermore, if you can offer click n collect options it gives you an opportunity to create a truly special experience for your customer as you can check sizes and offer cross-sale opportunities in-store.

3) Surprise and Delight

If you can not only meet your customers’ experiences but also exceed them that’s when you’ll gain their loyalty. Whether you choose to throw a goody into your boxes is going to come down to your brand and if it makes sense for you. Lollies, hand-written notes and specially wrapped products add a personal touch to orders and can create a lasting impact with your customer. This connection helps keep your brand front of mind when they next need to make a purchase.

4) Trigger repurchase

Finally, use delivery as a marketing tool. You know that they’re interested in your products so include a brochure of this season’s product or invite them to join your free shipping loyalty program. Any additional marketing materials that help you to connect with the customer at the unboxing stage help to maintain a relationship with the customer and keep them coming back for more.

Shipping isn’t always the first thing to come to mind when you think of winning and losing customers. It isn’t fun, glamorous or aspirational but in the world of online retail, it’s the biggest moment of truth that you have with your customer and it’s so important to get right. Get your shipping right and it not only helps you compete, it gives you an advantage.