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INDEPENDENT RETAILER magazine is now the official news outlet for Wholesale Central visitors. Each monthly issue is packed with new product ideas, supplier profiles, retailing news, and business strategies to help you succeed.

See new articles daily online at IndependentRetailer.com.



Topic: Business Strategies


Apr 01, 2013
In a retail environment where customer loyalty is increasingly rare and customer expectations are higher than ever, merchants should be constantly searching for ways to improve the way they do business. For a retailer or wholesaler who sells online, the struggle to provide excellent value and an ideal customer experience without a physical presence can be difficult. The key to a successful ecommerce channel ultimately hinges on one important area-the warehouse.

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Apr 01, 2013
The idea of selling products without having to first buy them and then hold the inventory in a warehouse is attractive to some business owners because it can be a cost-effective way to start selling online. Business logic tells us that the easier it is to start a small business, the more competitors will be in the industry. Drop shipping is no exception, and competition will only grow with the rapid expansion in ecommerce overall.

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Apr 01, 2013
Google Product Listing Ads are a type of advertising that follows the pay-per-click (PPC) model. This kind of promotion, however, presents a greater opportunity than a typical text-only ad, which was long the cornerstone of PPC advertising. With Product Listing Ads, businesses can include rich product details, including merchant name, product images, product name, price and message

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Apr 01, 2013
Driven by the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, ecommerce sales in the U.S. are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of ten percent in the next five years, according to a new report, "U.S. Online Retail Forecast, 2012 To 2017," from Forrester Research. Forrester predicts U.S. online retail sales will reach $262 billion in 2013

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Mar 01, 2013
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a top priority for many e-tailers this year, as customer expectations regarding the online experience are at an all time high. In order to contend in the ecommerce arena, some e-tailers are turning to service providers to gain an edge on the competition. Below is an overview of four providers and the products and services they offer to support online sellers.

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Mar 01, 2013
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important, and elusive, elements of an ecommerce website. It is important because of the impact organic search traffic can have on ROI, and it is elusive because search engines are always changing the rules. Still, there are a few core SEO principles that Google and other search engines recommend which should play an integral part in your online strategy.

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Mar 01, 2013
When it comes to the recipe for Internet sales success, brand and product exposure are key ingredients, and organic search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) are just two ways of gaining publicity. A third, often overlooked, option for product awareness is the use of shopping comparison sites, such as Google Shopping, which is fed through the Google Merchant Center.

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Feb 01, 2013
Ten years ago, it was rare for online wholesalers and retailers to have video on their websites, and those that did incorporate it into their online marketing plans were considered innovative. Now, if you ask a room full of business owners if they have video on their websites, at least half will say yes, as it is quickly becoming the norm rather than the exception. Today, it is how, not if, you use video that makes you stand out from the competition.

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Feb 01, 2013
As a small business owner, one of your most important assets is time. Many independent retailers are under the assumption that using mobile phone and tablet apps will increase productivity, and allow them to use their time more effectively. Using app center features, however, is a time killer that can leave you frustrated and with less time to do the things that enable you to run your business smoothly.

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Feb 01, 2013
Shoppers are quickly moving to mobile commerce, or mcommerce, with more than 50 percent of U.S. consumers saying they plan to use smartphones or tablets to make purchases over the Internet, according to research giant Nielsen. In addition, research firm Canalys notes that, in 2011, for the first time ever, shipments of smartphones (487.7 million) exceeded shipments of personal computers (414.6 million).

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Jan 01, 2013
Mobile payment apps are fast becoming a popular mode for web wholesalers and online retailers to generate more sales at offline venues, such as tradeshows and conventions. Various mobile payment platforms enable merchants to accept PayPal, cash, credit cards, invoice or checks, wherever they are, on the phone they already carry.

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Jan 01, 2013
Shoppable videos, those enhanced with attached or embedded links for direct-from-video purchase opportunities, is fast becoming popular with online sellers. This medium, the strength of which lies in telling stories, gets consumers excited by engaging multiple senses simultaneously, and turns this excitement into action by giving consumers the means to make a purchase on the spot. Video viewers simply point, click and buy, and then return to view their video.

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Jan 01, 2013
Many online retailers just completed a "hair on fire" end to the 2012 holiday shopping season. Now that you can rest and take a four-hour vacation, it is time to start planning for 2013, and ensure that you have built your store on an ecommerce system worthy of your business. To see if your ecommerce platform passes the test, ask yourself the following questions:

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Jan 01, 2013
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, using text ads and banners to engage social media fans on Facebook, has been losing its luster in recent years. Advertising to these fans may be great for building brand awareness, but it is not doing much for the immediate bottom line. The low returns businesses see from PPC methods may be because people that typically use social media sites, like Facebook, do not necessarily want to be sold to directly.

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Jan 01, 2013
yStats.com and MarketLine, two data collection firms, have released their preliminary predictions, based on figures gathered from studies conducted from 2010 to the present, for ecommerce earnings through 2015. The world business-to-consumer ecommerce industry generated between $400 and $600 billion in 2010, according to the report. Based on the growth involved in reaching those numbers, the market is expected to generate between $700 and $950 billion in 2015.

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Jan 01, 2013
Nine out of ten online merchants may be vulnerable to credit card fraud, according to a survey by SignatureLink, an online security firm, and payment industry communicator CardNotPresent.com. The survey found that only ten percent of websites surveyed require shoppers to accept the terms and conditions of payment to the site via e-signature, vocal consent or a physical signature. Agreement to site terms and conditions along with data breaches are areas of focus for ecommerce businesses that process payments online.

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Jan 01, 2013
Mobile commerce shopping increased more than 400 percent on Cyber Monday 2012, reports Unbound Commerce, a mobile experience architecture firm. The firm conducted a study which showed that the vast majority of visits made to ecommerce sites were from first time customers who had not previously opened an online account with the stores where they shopped. Unbound Commerce's customers reported a 410 percent spike in revenue on Cyber Monday, as shoppers turned to tablets and phones for streamlined shopping trips.

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Jan 01, 2013
Retail ecommerce spending for the first 32 days of the November-December 2012 holiday shopping season reached $21.4 billion, marking a 14 percent increase versus the corresponding period last year, according to Internet analytics company comScore.

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Dec 01, 2012
Online merchants who are serious about success must have a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. In order for any ecommerce strategy to have SEO legs, there are important points to consider when picking your shopping cart platform. Optimizing your ecommerce site will help improve your search rankings on Google, Yahoo and Bing. Below are some features that your ecommerce software must provide for you to effectively sell your products online.

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Dec 01, 2012
With 2012 winding down it is time to finalize plans for next year, and online sellers must not overlook the vital role that shipping plays in driving sales online. At some point during the buying cycle all shoppers ask, "How much does shipping cost?" and "How fast is the item shipped?" The answers to these questions play an important role in buying decisions, especially when all other comparison factors are consistent.

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