eCommerce Tips & Trends

eCommerce and Logistics Roundup: November 9, 2018

Jules Plume

by Jules Plume

On 2018 M11 9

by Jules Plume

Welcome to this week's roundup of eCommerce and logistics trends, where we share what we've been reading this week and our thoughts on it!

Etsy CEO on CNBC: Free shipping is pretty much "table stakes" in eCommerce today

In eCommerce news, Etsy CEO Josh Silverman talked about how makers are pressured to offer free shipping to remain competitive. "About half of all the items on Etsy, buyers say, have shipping prices that are too high,” he said during his interview with Jim Cramer.

Our take: While free shipping is a great marketing promotion to increase sales, for some businesses it may not be feasible to cover those costs. Check out our argument against free shipping, and as an alternative, consider showing calculated rates at checkout instead!

Looking to increase eCommerce holiday sales? 2018 is looking like a good year to do so

According to Fox Business News and Quartz, for the first time ever, US holiday shoppers are forecasted to spend over USD$1 trillion this season.

eCommerce continues to take a piece of this pie. Fox Business News mentions that eCommerce sales are expected to increase 16.6 percent to $123.73 billion, which will represent 12.3 percent of all holiday retail sales this year, a figure that has been growing steadily.

eMarketer forecasting analyst Cindy Liu mentioned in Quartz that retailers will continue battle for eCommerce market share, and that we should expect more promotions and perks like free and fast shipping, as retailers compete against Amazon.

Our take: Competition will be fierce this year, so it's best to make sure you have a good marketing strategy in place, your operations are ready to handle the influx of orders, and that you have enough customer service staff on hand to answer any questions or handle any issues that may arise.

To make things easier for sellers, we've calculated shipping deadlines that you can provide to customers to ensure their order arrives before the holidays - check it out here! You can also find additional resources on how to run your store efficiently during the holidays by checking out our partner posts.

As eCommerce sales are set to increase this year... so is eCommerce fraud

RetailDive reports that eCommerce fraud attempts increased 22% during the 2017 holiday season. Common types of holiday fraud include account takeovers, discount and coupon abuse, return abuse, and transactional fraud.

The Forbes Technology Council advises to "plan for attack traffic and pay extra attention to payment and login activities that may indicate fraud or attacks."

Our take: With every dollar of fraudulent transactions costing merchants $2.94, we understand how it important it is for sellers to take the time to protect their online business from fraud. Check out our tips on preventing eCommerce fraud, and consider using a service like BOLT for fraud protection.

An increase in holiday sales also prompts the question: What about reverse logistics?

SupplyChainDive brings up a good point - eCommerce companies are not investing enough time and money on solving the dark side of peak shopping season: the returns.

While big box retailers like Wal-Mart are enabling their brick-and-mortar locations to process in-store returns, smaller eCommerce businesses do not have the same luxury.

Our take: Handling eCommerce returns is definitely tricky, especially if you're managing international returns. We do like the advice given in this Multichannel Merchant article, which says to develop clear policies and work together with your warehouse to come up with a process that can efficiently handle return volumes.