If you’re thinking about launching a new marketing campaign, the first thing you need to do is check whether it’ll benefit your company or not. To measure how much revenue a certain campaign will generate, marketers check its ROI. ROI is an acronym for return on investment. It’s a common concept in the business world. To give a straightforward answer to the question from the title of this article - “What is ROI in marketing?” - we can say it’s a strategy that helps determine how much money you spend on a marketing project vs. the amount of revenue you gain from it. As this is one of the vital calculations in marketing, we’ll focus on its purpose and explain how you can analyze the marketing ROI for your company. The Importance of ROI in Marketing Marketing professionals and business owners, in general, rely on data-driven evaluations to help them decide how to assign their marketing budgets. And that is where ROI steps in, as it allows marketers to develop a more successful strategy by using their resources more effectively. Now let’s see what the key functions and the true purpose of ROI in marketing are. Prioritizing Projects By calculating the ROI of multiple marketing campaigns, you’ll be able to see which one of them brings you the most value, and that can help you correctly prioritize campaigns to boost your company’s revenue growth. ROI will also shed light on which projects aren’t bringing enough revenue and possibly hurt your business. Once you measure the ROI of each campaign, you’ll be able to decide whether to reevaluate your marketing strategy or end some of those projects. Selecting Future Projects Once you learn how to prioritize your current projects, it’ll be easier to find a pattern to successfully target your audience in the future. Measuring ROI in marketing will help you learn from experience and develop new strategies when choosing your future projects. Understanding Your Audience One of the greatest advantages of knowing your ROI in marketing is that it allows you to better understand your audience and its behavior. It doesn’t just give you an insight into the numbers coming from various projects; it also shows which strategies have the best impact on your audience. Once you know that, it gets much easier to decide which type of advertising to go with to draw in new clients. To fully answer the question “Why is marketing ROI important?” we shouldn’t overlook client satisfaction. If you work in a marketing agency and your clients are other businesses, one of the most important things to keep in mind when creating a new marketing strategy is how you’ll present it to your existing and potential clients. Apart from reliable CRM, which has already become a common practice among real estate companies, brokerages, and many other businesses, incorporating the predicted ROI of your campaign into the presentation is also something that can boost your clients’ trust. Understanding Competition Knowing how to define your ROI in marketing and measure it correctly can take you a long way. However, many experienced marketers go one step further and compare their marketing ROI with that of their competitors. This helps them determine how their marketing campaigns relate to others in the industry in terms of efficiency. Studying the business strategies of your competitors who have a higher ROI percentage can give you an idea how to improve your own business. Better Budget Allocation The ultimate goal of understanding ROI in marketing is better budget allocation. Marketing budgets are always lower than you’d like them to be, so learning how to use the funds you do have at your disposal wisely is essential. To achieve better results, you need to know which projects require less investment but bring more revenue. How To Calculate ROI in Marketing The easiest way to determine your marketing ROI is to compare your revenue to your marketing expenses. One of the simplest equations for calculating ROI is: (Revenue − Investment) / Investment If, for example, you invest $10,000 in a particular project, and generate $20,000 from it, your ROI formula will look like this: ($20,000 − $10,000) / $10,000 ＝ 1 To calculate your marketing ROI percentage, you should multiply this final number by 100. In this case, your marketing ROI would be 100%. There are a few things to keep in mind when calculating your marketing ROI. Here, we’ll go over each in more detail. Set a Time Frame One of the crucial things when determining your marketing ROI is to set an appropriate time frame for data gathering. If you wish to see if your latest marketing campaign was a success, you need to allow enough time for it to reach your clients before looking for a return on your investments. Also, be consistent and use data from the same business cycle. Measure the Marketing Cost and Sales Growth Now that you know the meaning of ROI in marketing and its importance, your next step should be to collect all the relevant financial data about your marketing project. If you need to calculate an ROI and have a large amount of data to process, seek help from the bookkeepers and accountants. Consider keeping a marketing record where you could enter all your ROI calculations to gain insight into which factors influence your marketing ROI the most. What Is a Good Marketing ROI? Marketing ROIs are usually expressed in ratios. What is a good ROI ratio in marketing? You should aim for a 5:1 ratio at least. Anything below a 2:1 ratio is considered unprofitable; anything below 1:1 is negative ROI, while an ROI ratio above 5:1 is deemed to be strong for most businesses. When calculating your ROI, you should factor in all the marketing costs your campaign will incur, including: Pay-per-click spend Media spend Content production costs Outside marketing and advertising agency fees Make sure you don’t overlook anything because understating your costs will result in an incorrectly calculated and unrealistic ROI. Marketing ROI Examples and Strategies Now that you’re familiar with some basic reference values, let’s go through a couple of practical examples. Pay-per-Click Campaigns PPC is an advertising model in which you pay a certain provider to promote your ad based on the number of user clicks on your ad, whether or not it leads to a sale. The ROI formula can help you track your ad performance and manage your PPC campaigns. For example, according to some PPC stats, Google search ads have an average ROI of 200% - for each dollar invested, marketers gain $2. Video Marketing For what else is ROI in marketing used for? For assessing the profitability of video marketing campaigns. Although video marketing can be pretty expensive and time-consuming, video marketing statistics indicate that 88% of marketers are satisfied with their social media video marketing ROI. Email Marketing Even though many think sending emails is outdated, it’s still one of the key marketing tools. Recent statistics show that email marketing is the most effective way to promote your business. This type of marketing brings $40 back for every $1 spent, so it comes as no surprise that many marketers see it as their number-one tool for revenue generation. Paid Social Media Promotions We already know the importance and numerous benefits of ROI in marketing. Now let’s see what it can tell you about the effectiveness of your social media promotions. Suppose your company targets an audience that regularly uses social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. In that case, you might think about boosting your posts to get promoted on the newsfeeds of your targeted audience. Tracking the ROI of your campaign can help you see if this strategy works for you and determine the types of posts that lead to the revenue increase. If you look at social media marketing stats, you’ll notice that 94% of marketers use Facebook in their marketing campaigns. This isn’t surprising as Facebook is the biggest social media platform, with about 2.89 billion monthly active users. The Bottom Line Understanding ROI in marketing is a vital part of any marketing campaign. And even though calculating it might get complicated, it comes with great benefits. It enables you to gain a better insight into your marketing strategies, how they need to be tweaked, and determine your future marketing goals. Your marketing decisions and marketing budget should be based on fresh, verified, and detailed data - only then will you be able to calculate your ROI properly, adjust your business strategy, and ultimately, improve revenue growth.
If you’re into sales or run a small-business company, you already know how difficult it might be to keep track of everything. Most small-business companies are using some form of CRM to help them keep on top of things and increase sales, but there are also some tactics that you can start implementing on your own. Cross-selling and upselling are the key strategies that can help grow your revenue by boosting the average order value. We will start this article by explaining what each of these terms actually means before discussing how cross-selling vs. upselling works. Cross-selling definition and purpose Cross-selling is the strategy of offering customers additional items related to their initial purchase. By implementing this strategy, companies encourage customers to spend more money by purchasing additional items that complement their original purchase. In most cases, cross-selling includes products that users would buy anyway. As people sometimes tend to forget those items, it is beneficial for both sides to point them in the right direction. They will get all they need, and you will get your sales boosted. What is upselling? Upselling encourages customers to spend more money by purchasing a more expensive or upgraded version of their initial purchase. To apply the upsell, a salesperson needs to suggest an upgrade or persuade a customer to purchase add-ons. Upselling increases the average order value and helps customers get even more satisfied with their purchase. The difference between cross-selling and upselling Now that we know what both of these terms stand for let's summarize their differences. Here is one of the upselling vs. cross-selling examples we have all experienced. When you’re at your local fast food buying a cheeseburger, the salesperson will always offer to add some fries with that. That is a clear example of a cross-sell, and it’s a win-win situation cause who would say no to fries? If they offer to supersize your meal instead, and you agree, you have just become a “victim” of an upsell. How to successfully cross-sell and upsell There are a few things you should know if you wish to master the art of cross-selling and upselling. Learn all about your product. The most important thing to do before you start implementing cross-selling and upselling strategies is to get familiar with the product you’re offering. Make sure to look into all of your products and all of their features well to know how those products fit together. By combining two wrong products, you can turn the customer off instead of convincing them to purchase more. Get to know your audience. Try to collect as much information about your customers as you can. Real estate companies use CRM to easily keep track of amenities a property might have to ensure they’re presenting the customer with the best option possible. Collecting demographic and psychographic information about your customers and paying close attention to their feedback will make place for the new cross-selling and upselling opportunities. In the long run, these tactics can help you enhance customer satisfaction, which is crucial for running any successful business. Keep things simple. Offering too many products might be overwhelming for the customers, and it can create unnecessary confusion. You should always strive to build a long-term relationship with the customers and target a few items that would provide a clear benefit for them. Offer loyalty perks. Based on your business model, you should try to establish a loyalty scheme for regular customers. Customers who buy more should enjoy some loyalty offerings and get rewarded for their commitment to your store. Do follow-ups. Although there is a clear distinction between upselling vs. cross-selling, you can find the opportunity to implement both of these selling techniques after the customer has already made their purchase. You can achieve this by doing a follow-up after each successful sale to ensure they are happy with the purchase, and if they are, you can easily suggest appropriate upsell or cross-sell products. Cross-selling and upselling in eCommerce eCommerce is probably the best environment for cross-selling and upselling. According to eCommerce stats, online retail shops generated 14.34 billion visits in March 2020. These numbers show how the shopping trends have changed over the years. Learning how to make the best out of the new trends is vital, as there are multiple benefits of cross-selling and upselling to consider. eCommerce gives you a great opportunity for cross-selling and upselling because you have access to customer data and their shopping history, which can help you come up with the targeted offers. It’s also great as you can insert different cross-sell and upsell products throughout the shopping process or in the post-purchase confirmation email.
To run a successful business and transform leads into customers, you’ll really need to be taking advantage of your sales pipeline. So what is a sales pipeline? In short, this is a visual snapshot of every stage in the sales process that tells you at a glance whether you’re going to reach your goals. If used properly, it can have a positive impact on your growth. Our guide dives into more details, outlining the different stages, benefits, and ways to create and manage a pipeline. A Rundown The sales process involves many different stages, including identifying potential customers, contacting them, pitching the product or service, negotiating, and, of course, closing. The ultimate goal is to gain and retain loyal customers. Having a visual representation of this journey can help you make revenue forecasts, get insight into buyers’ trends, and keep track of sales prospects. So what does a pipeline mean in sales? Simply put, this is a breakdown of the whole sales process into smaller and trackable pieces. Pipeline analysis enables you to track the evolution of sales opportunities into shopping orders as they move through several stages. The entire process is backed by recording and storing relevant data and activities. The pipeline helps you gain better insight into your deals and shows you the possible trajectory of your business. If you’re running a small business, using reliable CRM software that can generate a fully customizable pipeline can boost your profits. The Shapes of Success: Pipeline and Funnel Many people make the mistake of confusing a sales pipeline with a funnel. But these are two entirely different things. While the sales pipeline is a representation of the actual sales process or closing the deal, the sales funnel is all about leads and the process they undergo to become regular customers. In other words, the sales pipeline is brand-focused and outlines steps that your marketing and sales team need to go through in order to gain and retain customers. On the other hand, a funnel is customer-focused and offers a representation of the buyers’ journey, starting from brand awareness to buying a product and staying with the company. This clear distinction also expands on our original question: what is a sales pipeline? In short, the pipeline showcases the seller’s actions throughout the sales process, whereas the funnel tells you about the percentage of leads that advanced through each stage of the pipeline. Benefits of Sales Pipeline Having deciphered the sales pipeline, it’s time to look at some of the perks of using this strategic tool. Insight into deals: For starters, using a pipeline to track your sales process gives you insight into your teams’ progress and helps you identify areas for improvement. A sales pipeline, by definition, keeps track of your business’s financial metrics, so you’ll know which deals you’re most likely to close and which processes are ineffective and need to be removed. Sales pipeline analysis quickly exposes the weaknesses with certain deals and helps you plot a course of action to boost sales. Measure team performance: Selling a product or a service requires teamwork, and if one link in the chain performs poorly, the whole process will suffer. Optimizing the sales pipeline allows you to monitor sales representatives and if they’re hitting their targets. Thanks to sales pipeline reporting, you’ll be able to identify the weak links and improve the number of leads transitioning into sales. Predict profits: Crunching the data tells you where each sales representative stands in the sales process and how close they are to inking the deal. By seeing the number and percentage of deals that are likely to be closed and their value, you can easily make accurate forecasts regarding revenue. Help increase sales and profit: Building a sales pipeline won’t only assist you with monitoring and organizing your sales team. It’s also a useful tool for making projections by identifying the number of deals that your business needs to close in order to meet the targets and increase profits. Moreover, it helps you zero in on the steps that speed up the deal-making process and thus increase profits. Step by Step: Pipeline Stages Just like every industry and every individual business, sales pipelines are unique. Instead of simply copying one of the many templates, try to invest some time and effort into building pipelines with well-defined sales pipeline stages and adjusting them to fit your company’s needs. Consider employing CRM software to generate a pipeline, as statistics show that using it increases customer retention and satisfaction rates by 47%. When setting up your own pipeline management system, think about sales targets, prospects, and the number of steps in the process. Make sure to have somewhere between five to eight stages that hinge on identifying prospects, evaluating their needs, convincing them to buy your product, closing the deal, and retaining them as customers through regular follow-ups. Remember to tailor the different stages to the relevant industry. For instance, real estate’s customer relationship management strategy must include a house-viewing stage. In another sales pipeline example, a car salesman should probably include a test drive stage. Lead generation. Prospecting new leads interested in your product is the very start of every sales process. Raising brand awareness and reaching out to potential customers can come in different shapes. Some companies might use downloadable content, phone, emails, and ads on social networks. Others might go on the hunt for cold leads, and some might even hire lead generation companies to do the leg work. Whatever your chosen method, make sure to consolidate all new leads and follow them throughout the process. Lead qualification: To define a sales pipeline strategy, the next step should focus on identifying the potential buyers by researching their shopping preferences. Skipping this vital step can lead to sales reps losing a lot of time on cold leads. Sorting them from hot ones might be a game-changer and lead to successful closures.From the moment they enter the sales pipeline, contacts need to be researched. Conducting a phone survey or another questionnaire can help you determine whether the lead has the budget to afford the product if they need it and whether they’re ready to purchase it. If you’re wondering, what is a healthy sales pipeline, the answer is simple: it’s the one with hot leads. If the answer to the aforementioned questions is “no”, the lead should go down the drain; otherwise, it might clog your pipeline. Initiate contact: Those who make it through the sieve should immediately be contacted by sales reps. Leads that reach these stages of the sales process are interested in closing a deal with your company. That’s why you can safely ask them if they are eager to buy your product and present all the perks of purchasing it. Make sure to engage with the lead by sending a series of emails that educate them about the product. Schedule meeting or demo: What is a sales pipeline without an actual pitch? This is the part where you make your proposal. It can be done in person, via phone, e-mail, or even social media. Make sure to track and record conversations because searching through old emails can be time-consuming. Also, be well-prepared for meetings and demos because these brief moments can transform prospects into clients. Negotiation: If the lead expresses interest in buying your product or service, it’s time to start more strategic discussions. This usually involves the unveiling of the price and the terms and conditions of the contract. If you’re wondering how to get to this stage and what is the best process for a sales pipeline, always remember to align sales and marketing. This is a great strategy for getting to the negotiations stage. Closing the deal: From the very moment a lead enters the sales pipeline, the only desirable outcome is closing the deal. Once negotiations are completed, you can sign the contract, and you officially have a new customer. If you never make it to this stage, you were either trying to sell to the wrong person, or the sales rep failed to create/build value. So what do you do if a deal is lost in the sales pipeline? In these situations, it’s important to keep the conversation going and reconnect with lost prospects. Of course, the customers you gained shouldn’t be neglected either. Provide them with a good service during the onboarding process, inform them about upgrades and fresh promotions, ask them for referrals, and make sure they’re satisfied with the product. Sales Pipeline Management Understanding the pulse of the industry and adequately managing your sales pipeline is crucial for running a company in today’s digital world. Having access to a wealth of information and analyzing it enables you to use the numbers for strategic goals and boosting sales. That’s why we’ve answered the ultimate question: what is a sales pipeline, and how do you use it? Now it’s time to focus more closely on each stage of the process. With careful sales pipeline management, you’ll be able to track and then evaluate all stages, identify bottlenecks, better understand the weaknesses and strengths of your deals, and thus predict and prepare for potential plunges or sudden growth. The pipeline management process is made possible by six key characteristics: metrics, maintenance, optimization, sales team management, sales forecasting, and tool integration. So, what is a good sales pipeline size? The truth is size doesn’t matter. You can add as many stages as you think are needed, but what matters the most is good pipeline management. So let’s dive deeper and explain the details. Sales pipeline metrics: Analyzing the sales process wouldn’t be possible without a wide variety of metrics to show you where your business stands. Pay close attention to the number of deals in your sales pipeline, their average size, the average percentage of closed deals (deal close rate), and the average lifetime of a deal before it’s closed (sales velocity). A common question entrepreneurs ask is: what is a good conversion rate for my sales pipeline? In the beginning, the percentage of opportunities that turn into leads should be around 50% to 60%. However, as time goes by and you get a better insight into the flaws and merits of your sales process, a pipeline report should show a conversion rate of around 80% to 90%. Make sure to track the data on a weekly basis so that you can predict future sales trends. Unhealthy measurements monitoring: Pipeline health spot-checks can show you bottlenecks, such as dead leads or too many unresolved deals that cause stagnation. Improving these metrics is crucial for boosting your revenue. So, what is a quota in the sales pipeline competition? This is an essential question for every entrepreneur. Keeping an eye on target sales your reps have for a certain period can help you understand them better. According to MarketingProfs research, 67% of sales representatives do not meet their individual quotas. That’s why regularly checking up on your sales pipeline report and keeping it organized is crucial. These are the steps for unclogging your pipeline: - Pinpoint sluggish leads - Decide what to do with them - Get in touch and reevaluate their interest Update your sales pipeline stages: When trying to figure out how to build a sales pipeline, the first thing to consider is your individual business preferences. But over time, some of the steps that you thought were initially important may become inconsequential. Some cycles might become too lengthy and time-consuming, while some can be too cumbersome. Consider removing them because pipelines that are too long risk having prospects fall through the cracks or change their mind. The sales cycle length is an important factor, so keep it short and effective but do not cut out the critical stages to achieve that. While building a sales pipeline, keep in mind that including a follow-up stage is a must and that a precise prospecting stage means more closed deals. After all, what is a pipeline management strategy without adding extra stages? Keep an eye on new trends in the market and adapt to them accordingly by implementing additional steps in the sales process. Coach your sales team: By assisting the sales representatives and coaching them on pipeline management, you’ll empower them to get more control over their targets. Working with your team will help them better understand the amount of time that leads need to spend at each stage and use it to their own advantage. Another thing to pay attention to is teaching the sales reps how to clean pipelines effectively. Being a good pipelines manager also means knowing the answer to the question: what is a pipeline report? Instruct your sales reps to monitor sales pipeline metrics and generate reports on the gathered data to get the most from the numbers. Bottom Line: Being a Good Plumber Knowing how to be a good plumber to your sales pipeline, how to unclog the bottlenecks, and regularly clean and maintain it is a skill worth mastering. A healthy sales pipeline is the beating heart of a business. It can show you and your team members where your company stands, how many deals are closed, how many prospects turned into customers, where the process is stagnating, and which elements need to be removed. If you can answer the question: what is a pipeline in business, you’re probably all too familiar with the difference between closed deals and cold leads. The visual snapshot shows the trajectory of your prospects on their buying journey and can provide you with helpful insight into the metrics and boost your sales.
As technology evolves, our ways of working and running a business change rapidly in an everlasting push for more efficiency and productivity. When you apply that principle to customer relations - a key factor for most businesses - you get Customer Relationship Management tools. As your business grows, adding customer data manually to sheets, or worse, notepads, will inevitably become futile. That’s where CRM tools come in to save the day. Let’s Get Started: A CRM tutorial Not all CRM systems are the same, so having a clear picture of the different types of CRM can help you choose the best way of managing vital customer, prospect, and lead data. Congrats on deciding to use one in the first place! A good CRM can make a difference in your relationships with customers, boost your CLV (Customer Lifetime Value), and promote business growth. According to CRM statistics, companies that use such systems successfully have improved their sales by 29% on average. Employing such an ecosystem for customer data, along with a set of far-reaching solutions, brings a whole new dimension to company life. CRM approaches rely heavily on sales forecasting, lead management, and dashboard-based analytics. The best CRM tools for your small business can help you organize and grow your customer base. Their most important asset is that the software can turn data into valuable insights you can then translate into transformative actions for your business. Different CRM Software One of the uses of a CRM is benchmarking your business against the best companies out there. Still, you don’t want to use the first option you come across, as there are many types of CRM software, and their benefits vary greatly. All customer relationship management programs fall into one of the five main buckets: Operational, analytical, collaborative, campaign management, and strategic CRMs. Let’s dive into the details of each: Operational Customer Relationship Management If you’re running a business and both you and your staff are overwhelmed with the administration, data entry, syncing, and updates, we feel you. Workflow automatization would be a game-changer for your company: Having all the information in one place would help avoid miscommunication, and facilitate marketing, sales, and service processes. This, in turn, would take much of the manual burden off your employees’ shoulders. The hero you need is an operational CRM. To ensure that everything goes smoothly, such CRM systems leverage the following tools: Marketing automation Sales automation Service automation The automatization of manual tasks frees up valuable time for much more complex tasks your employees need to tackle. For example, coordinating email campaigns, reaching out to potential customers, and distributing content can all be easily streamlined using CRM software. Different sales processes that help bring consumers on board, as well as communication with customers via live chats, email, and other customer service tools can also be delegated (partially or in full) to the right software. Businesses that can benefit from these types of CRM products include those with more linear sales processes and those in need of help with sorting out and storing customer data. Real estate companies, in particular, can benefit from specialized operational CRM software to boost their productivity and profits. Analytical CRM If streamlining sales isn’t your top priority, but you’d rather focus on using customer data to understand your audience better - say, their shopping habits - then analytical CRM software might be just the thing. Gathering information about your customers can get you insight into their preferences, trends, and behavioral patterns. The crucial components are: Data warehousing Data mining OLAP tools Using analytical CRM tools enables businesses to store customer data in a single, easily reachable place and, more importantly, track and analyze it for patterns and trends. OLP stands for Online Analytical Processes and can help you realize when, how, and where your customers reach out to your company and its platform. This information can be further applied in marketing strategies that target specific customer categories. When choosing your fighter in an operational CRM vs. analytical CRM duel, keep in mind that the first focuses on facilitating relationship-building and maintaining tasks, whereas the latter attunes to the data you have on your customers to help you develop business strategies. Both types of CRM could benefit your company, but if you want to focus on pinpointing your audience’s needs, an analytical CRM is what you need. Collaborative Customer Relationship Management The third major CRM type deals with the gathered information in a different manner. Namely, this breed of CRM emphasizes collaboration and customer support services. It allows the various teams in your organization to share data and improve cooperation between departments such as marketing, sales, and support. This type of software use the following tools: Interaction management Channel management Using collaborative CRM products will help your business better cater to its customers through different channels: live chat, e-mail, phone calls, or social networks. Determining the best communication channels isn’t the only thing this CRM type can help with: Tracking interactions between the company and its customers using logs gives all relevant departments insight into the minutiae of support processes. Keeping in mind that 33% of Americans think about changing their provider for something after only one poor customer service experience, employing this type of CRM can be crucial for companies that are still in the process of establishing a loyal base. Campaign Management CRM One of the five important types of CRM, useful for strategies of all kinds and yet often overlooked, is a campaign management CRM. It mixes the functionalities of operational and analytical systems in the service of sales or marketing campaigns. Running campaigns wouldn’t be possible without gathering, organizing, and analyzing data to distribute the content to the right people, and these CRMs make that process much more streamlined. Strategic CRM By constantly learning about its customers and adjusting to meet their needs, businesses can boost their profits and establish themselves in a given market. To that end, the main goal of strategic CRM software is to use data for forming and implementing business strategies to foster long-term customer relationships. Instead of predicting customer needs, this type of CRM lets the customer inform the business strategy. Bottom Line Different types of CRM systems help businesses speed up operations, handle extensive data, share it among departments, and create and execute business strategies. They all serve the same purpose - helping your business grow and minimizing manual labor - but have different approaches to achieving that. In the ever-lasting competition between companies to win clients, choosing the right CRM software can be a game-changer.
The Singapore-based Nium Pte became a rare fintech unicorn in the city-state after raising more than $200 million in a funding round led by California-based Riverwood Capital LLC. The payments startup serving businesses announced that its value exceeded $1 billion after a Series D round. In addition to Riverwood Capital LLC, other backers included Temasek Holdings Pte, Visa Inc., Rocket Capital, Vertex Ventures, and Beacon Venture Capital. Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte also joined the round. Prajit Nanu, Nium’s CEO and founder, said the company plans to use the funds to expand operations in the United States and Latin America before pursuing an initial public offering in the US in approximately 18 to 24 months. Nanu also added that Nium may even pursue a secondary listing in Singapore at a later date. Earlier this year, the startup bought London-based Ixaris and Wirecard Forex India Pvt. According to Nanu, it will remain on the lookout for additional acquisition opportunities in the UK, Indian, and Australian markets. Nium reaching unicorn status marks a true milestone in Singapore, an affluent island city with a population of about 5.7 million. Aiming to position itself as a fintech hub, Singapore is home to more than 1,000 fintech startups that mainly focus on providing payment, personal finance, investment, and business lending services. Founded in 2014, Nium now has a network of over 200 clients, including Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. and Thailand’s Kasikornbank Pcl, among more than 200 clients. Similar to Stripe Inc., which became the most valuable US startup in March 2021, Nium offers software solutions that make it easier to accept online payments. It also allows its clients to send money and issue physical and virtual credit cards. Nium processes $8 billion in payments annually and issued over 30 million virtual cards so far.
As organized crime continues to be a massive problem in the retail sector, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), a US trade organization, called on online marketplaces to make a greater effort to prevent thieves from using them as their virtual storefront. Lisa LaBruno, RILA’s senior executive vice president of retail operations and innovation, said that online marketplaces are the primary selling point for shoplifted items and that Amazon, eBay, and Facebook aren’t doing enough to end this trend. “We can’t arrest and prosecute ourselves out of this problem. The retailers are carrying their weight. They’re doing their level best to address this problem. Law enforcement is doing its best to address this problem. The other key stakeholder in this is the online marketplaces,” LaBruno added. According to her, shoplifters “hide behind their computer screen name with essential anonymity,” which results in a “very low-risk, high-reward crime for them.” In response, a Facebook spokesperson said: “We don't allow people to sell stolen goods, we require sellers to adhere to local laws, and we make certain to respond to requests from law enforcement about stolen goods on our platform.” Similarly, an Amazon spokesperson insisted that “Amazon is always innovating to improve and protect our customer experience. We have selling policies that all sellers agree to before selling on Amazon, and we take action against those that violate them and threaten our customer experience. Policy violations can result in cancellation of listings, removal of selling privileges, withholding of funds, and legal action, depending on its severity.” In a pandemic-stricken world, more consumers are shopping online and new digital marketplaces are popping up every day. Many credit card issuers are offering special incentives to card members who choose to shop online instead of swiping their plastic in brick-and-mortar stores. This in itself is a challenge for the physical retailer market, and the worrying rise in stolen good trafficking has only served to exacerbate the issue.
About 30 container ships have been anchored outside the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles every day, waiting in line just to deliver their goods. This backlog is a consequence of a global supply-chain mess brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic that will ultimately lead to consumers seeing delivery delays for weeks. While retail giants like Amazon.com Inc and Walmart Inc. rush to rebuild their inventories to meet US consumers’ increasing demand, it’s the small importers and order fulfillment companies who have to bear the brunt of the messed-up supply chains and fight over limited cargo space on container ships coming in from Asia. According to information provided by cargo owners and brokers, small business owners who don’t want to deal with delayed shipments must pay up to three times the standard freight charges. In addition to rising freight costs and shipping delays, American businesses now also have to deal with a shortage of available labor and increased product costs. All of the factors above weigh particularly heavily on small companies, which rarely have the resources to absorb price changes or the leverage to negotiate lower rates or pass along the higher costs to their customers. According to recent data, the average shipment price for a container traveling from China to California is now $6,043. This is up 43% since the start of 2021 and 344% compared to the rates from the beginning of 2020. The price for sending a box from Asia to Europe is $13,073, up 130% from the start of this year. Still, small importers from the United States say they are also facing the challenge of finding available ships and are paying much more to get goods on them once they do. According to shipping executives, increased freight costs came from several different disruptions across supply chains that triggered delays at different points of distribution networks, as manufacturers and retailers rushed to meet the market’s demand. Freight prices started going up at the end of the summer of 2020 as homebound consumers began ordering an outstanding amount of goods like furniture, electronics, and exercise equipment. Things only got worse after the Suez Canal blockade in Marchand the congestion at China’s Yantian port and the ports at Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Forto has raised $240 million in an investment round led by Softbank and its Vision Fund, the freight-tech logistics startup announced on Monday, June 21. The five-year-old Berlin company organizing trade shipments between Europe and China plans on expanding its geographical footprint to secure market leadership. “With this investment, we are able to further accelerate our growth path and roadmap,” Michael Wax, CEO and co-founder of Forto, said in a press release. The investment round was led by Softbank’s Vision Fund 2, along with Citi Ventures, G Squared, Northzone, Inven Capital, Unbound, and Cherry Ventures. Forto’s valuation now stands at $1.2 billion. “Logistics is the backbone of global commerce, and data analytics, machine learning, and process automation will reshape the global delivery of goods and services,” Karol Niewiadomski, senior investor for SoftBank Investment Advisers, stated. "Forto's centralized platform leverages these technologies to boost operational efficiency, lower handling costs, and increase transparency for their customers. We're pleased to partner with Michael and his team as they continue to scale the business internationally." With this financial boost, Forto can develop highly transparent and sustainable digitized logistics. Its current client base counts some 2,500 companies, mainly mid-sized businesses; the company helps ship up to 10,000 containers per year by air, sea, and rail. Forto’s biggest clients include Home 24, German supermarket chain Edeka, Glencore, and ThyssenKrupp. Despite the market getting ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, the German startup tripled its profits last year and plans on expanding beyond Europe and China. Forto is not the only freight tech company Softbank has placed its bets on. The Japanese multinational conglomerate led the $1.7 billion investment round backing China’s Full Truck Alliance in November 2020, and the overall startup funding numbers around the world continue to break all records.