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Incorporating enough physical activity into our increasingly sedentary lifestyles is difficult. However, people are more aware nowadays that regular exercise has significant health benefits. That awareness created room for the fitness industry to grow - and these exciting fitness industry statistics will tell us just how much. Read on! Fitness Stats (Editor’s Choice): The COVID-19 pandemic reduced the fitness industry’s market size by 16.24%. The digital fitness market is set to reach $26.55 billion in 2026. 17% of US gyms were permanently closed due to COVID-19. 44% of the fitness industry workforce was left without a job in 2020. In 2019, Americans visited gyms and fitness clubs 6.7 billion times. The average monthly fitness club membership in the US costs $52. Millennials make up 35% of the fitness industry’s customer base. Fitness industry job prospects are predicted to grow 39% in the following ten years. Global Fitness Industry Statistics Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the global fitness and health club market grew to $96.7 billion in 2019. (Statista) Prior to the pandemic, the fitness industry had been experiencing steady growth since 2015. Its most significant leap happened between 2017 and 2018, when the industry grew from $87.2 billion to $94 billion. As expected, some of the top fitness clubs, like LA Fitness, ClubCorp, and Life Time, are in the US. LA Fitness had $2.15 billion in revenue in 2019, quickly taking the top spot as the global industry leader. In 2020, the fitness industry market size dropped to $81 billion, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Mordor Intelligence) The fitness industry - brick-and-mortar clubs and gyms in particular - has been severely impacted by the pandemic and state-imposed restrictions, especially in the US. The global industry experienced a significant drop (16.2%) in market size. The projected fitness industry CAGR between 2021 and 2026 is 7.21%. (Mordor Intelligence) As countries lift strict restrictions, the fitness world is getting back on its feet. The main driving factors for this industry will most likely be the growth of disposable income now that the job market is recovering, increased health awareness, and the possibilities for safe exercising on location. The global digital fitness market size is expected to reach $26.5 billion in 2026. (360 Research Reports) In 2020, the market for fitness wearables that record your health and assist in training regimens was estimated at almost $9.6 billion. With a predicted CAGR of 18.5%, it’s expected to triple by 2026. Fitness Industry Market in the US: COVID-19 Aftermath The US fitness industry dropped from an all-time-high revenue of $35 billion in 2019 to only $15 billion in 2020.  (IHRSA) It’s estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic inflicted around 20 billion dollars’ worth of losses to the US fitness industry’s revenue in 2020. This comes as no surprise, as in some states (e.g., Washington, Oregon, and California), restrictive measures and closures lasted for a year and created a harsh environment to maintain a business. In other states, restrictions were less severe, as they allowed establishments to operate at 50% capacity, move their operations outdoors, or hold online training sessions. Small businesses with excellent insurance fared better, but the industry was still severely hit. Almost 17% of US gyms and fitness clubs were permanently closed because of the pandemic. (IHRSA) According to information from some of the largest payment processors cooperating with the fitness industry, boutique fitness industry statistics paint a grim picture: 19% of boutique studios had to close their businesses permanently in 2020. Another 14% of traditional gyms had to shut down for good. Seven major sport and fitness companies filed for bankruptcy in 2020. (Business Insider) Companies like Cyc Fitness, Yoga Works, Flywheel Sports, Town Sports International, 24 Hour Fitness, Modell’s Sporting Goods, and Gold’s Gym are some of the major business franchises severely weakened by the pandemic. In 2019, 24 Hour Fitness was an industry leader, earning more than 1.4 billion in revenue. Unfortunately, in 2020 it had to file Chapter 11 and close around 144 locations. Likewise, Town Sports International had to shut down over 100 sites. 44% of the fitness industry workforce lost their jobs in 2020. (IHRSA) These fitness industry statistics are unfortunate, and the industry employee count dropped from 3.2 million to 1.8 million. This affected small-business owners as well, and with extended restrictions, some of these job prospects may never recover. The infection rate in US gyms was 0.002%, out of 49.4 million check-ins from 2,877 locations.  (IHRSA) According to a study conducted by the University of Florida, thanks to gym patrons abiding by safety guidelines, the number of detected infections was not statistically significant. Fitness industry statistics for 2021 also show that 69% of gym-goers were confident in the safety protocols within their gym. Fitness and Health Industry Trends During the pandemic, gym closures caused an increase of 130% in sales of fitness equipment. (NPD) Some equipment sales experienced impressive triple-digit growth. Businesses had to fulfill increased orders for items such as yoga mats (146%), stationary bikes (170%), free weights (181%), and weight benches (259%). The global fitness equipment market is predicted to grow to $14.7 billion in 2028. (Fortune Business Insights)  Fitness industry trends and statistics show that the market for exercise equipment is currently valued at $10.7 billion, and forecasts show that it will grow at a CAGR of 4.6% in the next seven years. The fitness apps market is expected to grow by $1.68 by 2024. (Business Wire) Forecasts for the fitness apps market are bullish, and the estimated CAGR between 2020 and 2024 is 12%. This software niche’s most crucial driving force will be the increased use of wearables that track your physical performance while exercising. In 2019, there were around 6.7 billion visits to US health clubs. (IHRSA) Fitness industry trends and statistics show positive trends for the industry’s future, as Americans are willing to dedicate time to their health and exercise. More than 27.3 million people visited a gym more than 100 times during the year, while 17.8 million went more than 150 times. On average, Americans pay $52 for a gym membership. (IHRSA) Around 25.9 million Americans, which roughly is two out of five gym members, pay less than $25 per month for their membership. However, a significant number of people - 8.2 million, in fact - are willing to pay more than $100 for a gym membership each month. Thanks to that, health and fitness industry statistics show that the average monthly membership is quite high. A home gym costs between $1,400 and $5,000 to equip. (ACMS’s Health & Fitness Journal, IHRSA) It’s not hard to see how the COVID-19 pandemic influenced how people exercise. Working remotely made it easier for people to join online live or pre-recorded training sessions and exercise at home. Therefore, many were interested in amping up their at-home exercising, either through affordable bodyweight programs, or by decking out entire rooms with workout gear. 68% of Americans plan to continue using online fitness services. (IHRSA) Online fitness industry statistics show that the pandemic forced people to adjust to the new norm, and most Americans tried out fitness apps and video-guided exercises. Just under a third of them also participated in a fitness challenge to keep their exercise regular. 94% of Americans plan to return to their gyms. (IHRSA) Americans are keen to increase their physical activity again, and 88% are confident in safety precautions taken in their workout establishments. People with preexisting conditions are at an elevated risk of COVID-19, but 60% of them also said they want to exercise more, albeit in safer conditions. Fitness Demographics Between 2010 and 2019, women’s gym attendance has risen by 32.2% and men’s by 23.2%. (IHRSA) Americans are increasingly getting conscious about their health and physical exercise. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 remains an outlier year for fitness clubs and gyms. Luckily, most men (51%) and women (65%) have a goal of increasing their physical activity, so gyms can also expect some of them to return. Men pay $54 on average for their fitness and health club memberships, while women spend $50. (IHRSA) Men are generally more likely to pay a premium price for club memberships. Statistics on the fitness industry show that more than 65% of people that pay more than $200 per month are men. Women are more conscious about their spending as less than 50% pay more than $100 per month. Millennials make up the largest share of fitness and health club members in the US, at 35%. (IHRSA) Gen X and Baby Boomers are the next age groups that are frequent attendants of fitness and health clubs at 22% and 21%, respectively. Gen Z and the Silent Generation make up 16% and 6% of all gymgoers. However, fitness industry growth statistics show that the last two are among the most growing age groups attending health clubs. The 6 to 17 age group had the highest increase in memberships from 2010 to 2019 - 69.81%. (IHRSA) Health clubs have been attracting more younger adults and children. These generations are followed by 55 to 64-year olds at 42.48% and people older than 65 at 34.16%. Hispanic people contributed the most to gym and fitness club membership growth, with a 94.5% increase in signups. (IHRSA) The numbers of Black and Caucasian gym members have also increased by 24.7% and 25.6%, respectively. Fitness equipment industry statistics show that treadmills are the most popular exercise machine across all ethnic groups, followed closely by free weights. The largest demographic with health club memberships in the US are Caucasians at 66.3%. (IHRSA) Hispanic people follow them, with 12.78%, then Black people (12.3%). People of Asian/Pacific Islander ethnicity contribute 7.19%. Fitness Industry Analysis - Job Prospects In 2020, the median wage of a fitness instructor and trainer was $40,510 per year. (US Bureau of Labor Statistics) As reflected by gym industry statistics, this is a job where employers commonly accept people with practical experience rather than formal education. Most people in the industry start on a payroll of a small business. As you continue to work, you can specialize and get appropriate certification for the type of training you are holding. The most common fitness instructor certifications are for strength training, yoga, and kickboxing. The job market for fitness trainers in the US is expected to grow by 39% between 2020 and 2030. (US Bureau of Labor Statistics) Fitness industry growth is projected to create around 69,100 job openings for trainers and instructors yearly on average for the next ten years. A significant portion of those job positions is expected to result from part of the current workforce retiring and moving to other industries. Before the pandemic, in 2019, the fitness industry served more than 184.5 million members. (Statista) The industry almost doubled in the decade preceding 2020, as it grew from 119.5 million members in 2009. The number of fitness and health clubs in the US dropped to just over 32,000. (Statista) Before 2020, there were more than 41,000 fitness establishments in the US. Unfortunately, a significant number had to close down. On the plus side, as the country recuperates from the pandemic, the fitness industry growth rate shows an increasing demand from the public that can’t wait to return to their regular exercise regiments. Fitness Industry in Europe The European fitness and health club industry is a $36.5 billion market. (Statista) The European fitness industry includes everything from sports to gyms and even fitness apps. The sector had 63 million customers across the EU in 2019. The e-health segment of the industry is also on the rise, netting more than $537.8 million in the UK and around $509 million in Germany. Germany and the United Kingdom have the highest fitness revenue in Europe, with $6.3 billion each. (Statista) Fitness industry market research shows that Germany and the UK have significantly larger fitness markets than the other European countries. France has a $2.9 billion market while Italy and Spain sit at around $2.7 billion each. 28% of EU residents exercise more than five hours per week. (Eurostat) Unfortunately, 28% of EU residents don’t exercise at all. Another 17% exercise between three and five hours per week and 27% up to three hours. Over 90% of Romania, Denmark, and the Netherlands’ population participate in physical activity outside of work. On the downside, fitness industry stats show that Portugal and Croatia are on the opposite side of the spectrum, with only 45% and 36% of people taking the time to exercise, respectively.

By Dusan Vasic November 12,2021

You probably already know what dropshipping is, but just in case you are not familiar with this type of business, here’s a short explanation: Dropshipping is an online business model that enables you, as a seller, to sell products without the obligation to ship them or stock the products on your own. Basically, your role is to list a wholesaler’s product on Amazon, eBay, or your own dropship website and find the right audience for it. When it comes to reverse dropshipping, it’s an even newer business model and as such, unfamiliar to many online sellers. So if you’re wondering “What is reverse dropshipping?” that’s the next topic we’ll cover in our SmallBizGenius guide. Reverse Dropshipping Definition Reverse dropshipping is a business model in which online sellers procure high-quality products for customers whose countries usually house mass-production sites, like China, Indonesia, etc. Products sold through reverse dropshipping are made in the US, UK, or other countries which usually outsource their mass production to Asian countries. If you are wondering why an industry giant like China is a hotspot for reverse dropshipping sellers, there’s a logical explanation. Many Chinese consumers are seeking fine products, but finding them inside their own country is difficult. The result of China’s high-production level is lower quality for most domestically made products. Therefore, Chinese consumers, especially the rich ones, must find other ways to buy products that would satisfy their expensive taste. If we want a more precise reverse dropshipping definition, we would say that a reverse dropship means buying high-quality products produced in the West, and selling them to wealthy, primarily Asian customers through your eCommerce website. Reverse dropshipping is a business model similar to regular dropshipping, with one significant difference. Instead of obtaining lots of poor-quality stuff that comes at a lower cost, reverse dropshipping companies procure top-notch, artisanal products. Hence, when it works, reverse dropshipping comes with much higher margins. How Reverse Dropshipping Works We introduced the basics of reverse dropshipping, meaning that the next thing we will explain is how it works. Generally, if you know how regular dropshipping works, you won’t have any problem understanding the concept of reverse dropshipping. The only thing you need to have in mind is that reverse dropshipping involves expensive and high-quality products produced in Western countries that are sold to rich Asian customers. As an owner of a dropshipping company, you will collaborate with domestic dropshipping suppliers. They will be responsible for manufacturing and storing products, packing them, and distributing orders to your customers. On your website, you will create a gallery with the products, set the price for them, and manage the inventory. You will be responsible for advertising your offer and finding customers. For example, you can choose a product available on eBay, Etsy, or some other eCommerce platform and sell it on your site. You’ll need to set a price that will cover both the dropshipping supplier’s price and marketing costs, and bring you profit. For example, if a product you choose to sell costs $30 when bought wholesale, you can display it in your store for $75. The wealthy customer will order a product from your site and pay your price. Then, you forward the order to your manufacturer and pay the wholesale price, keeping the rest as profit. Your manufacturer will be in charge of distribution. You can decide if you’ll leave the shipping costs with the customers, or pay them yourself. Dropshipping Pros and Cons If you’re asking yourself: “Is dropshipping worth it?” the answer is yes. In 2020, China purchased $99.9 billion-worth of goods and services from the US. There are lots of reasons why you should choose reverse dropshipping over regular dropshipping. One of the most important reasons is that reverse dropshipping comes with higher margins. A regular dropshipping business works with low-quality products which are cheap for you to buy, but also cheap when sold. Reverse dropshipping sellers work with high-quality products and rich customers willing to pay more than someone ordering pants in bulk from Wish. Another good reason to choose reverse dropshipping over traditional dropshipping is a less competitive market. If you decide to open a dropshipping service, you will have only a few competitors, as this niche section of eCommerce has yet to fully develop. However, you need to be more prepared than when entering a regular dropshipping business, meaning that you’ll need to know everything about the trading laws and regulations of the countries you’ll ship from and to. For example, many countries have strict policies on which products can be sold. In some countries, people can buy food and beverages only from domestic suppliers. There are also country-specific rules when it comes to selling medication. If you consider starting a business with food, drugs, or alcoholic drinks, reverse dropshipping is not the kind of business model that will be good for you. Bottom Line In our opinion, reverse dropshipping is a good option for business owners ready to find the right buyer for high-end products and find dropshipping sources that are allowed to operate in Asian countries. Especially now, while the market is still very far from saturated, getting into reverse dropshipping may just be the best move an aspiring eCommerce businessperson can make.

By Danica Jovic November 12,2021

Not too long ago it would have been difficult to imagine sales reps who didn’t have face-to-face meetings with potential customers. But the world has changed. Everything about the way we travel, work, and spend looks different today.    The latest sales statistics highlight some of the market turmoil caused by the pandemic while showing the acceleration of digital transformation as well as promising growth trends and soaring sales figures in individual industries. The following stats will walk you through specific sectors and point out some of the more surprising and interesting sales facts. Salest Statistics Breaktown - Editor’s Choice: AI adoption by sales teams rose by 76% since 2018. An average of 18 calls is needed to connect with buyers. 60% of contacted buyers reject the offer four times before saying yes. 57% of people prefer buying from sales representatives who don’t hassle them. Handgun sales in October 2020 rose by 65% when compared to the same period in 2019.  Video game sales amounted to $4.93 billion in July 2021, marking a 5% year-over-year increase. Toilet paper sales and fun facts about spending in the US show that demand for this product rose by 845% in 2020. 60% percent of sales reps increased their number of virtual meetings since 2015. (Salesforce) Even before the pandemic, virtual sales were on the rise, with many sales representatives reporting that they touch base with prospective customers and existing clients via video chat rather than traveling to meetings and lunches. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 62% also said they spend more time on their computers, tablets, and smartphones than they did a few years ago. These sales trends tell us that virtual selling is here to stay.        AI adoption rose 76% since 2018, with 37% of sales teams now using it. (Salesforce) As is the case in many industries, the acceleration of the digital transformation process is evident in the sales sector. Artificial intelligence or AI is one of the technologies that’s being rapidly adopted, with 37% of sales teams implementing these advanced tools globally in 2020. That marks a 76% increase since 2018. According to recent sales statistics, 77% of sales leaders and 84% of sales ops professionals claim their digital transformation has become more rapid since 2019. The AI tools also help power CRM software, which is crucial for managing customer relationships.  The use of smart sales tools has gone up by 300% since 2017. (Membrain) The substantial increase in both the types and the use of sales technology tools is being fuelled by online purchasing. Sales stats from 2017 reveal that most organizations at the time used only two main tools: CRM software and online meeting tools. Two years later, leads list/database, social selling, account targeting, and skills training and recruiting were added to the list. With six tools in regular use, the sales sector started to see more opportunities for leveraging technology to better cater to customers.  91% of consumers would like to see interactive content in marketing emails. (Hubspot) A Litmus report dubbed 2021 State of Email reveals most respondents feel that only interactive content in marketing emails can get their attention. However, only 17% of marketers actually use such content when advertising their products or services. Depending on your target audience and relevant sales information and analytics, you can add interactivity into your emails by including an embedded video, animated GIFs, a form, faux video, or carousel. Think about creative SMS content, too, or employ mass text software to help you create one with catchy phrases.  An average of 18 calls is needed to connect with buyers. (Gartner) Reaching potential buyers isn’t always easy. Consumers are generally suspicious when it comes to calls from sales reps and tend to avoid them by hanging up or not answering the phone at all. Likewise, only 23.9% of sales emails are opened, and others usually end up in a bin. The sales numbers indicate that more investment is needed into technologies that help locate potential buyers and improve the quality and quantity of communication. 60% of all contacted buyers reject the offer four times before saying yes.  (Invesp) Follow-up calls can make all the difference. But almost half of the salespeople (48%) never make a single follow-up attempt. Statistics that expose this passive trend among sales reps also indicate that consumers tend to change their minds if called at least four times. An astounding 60 percent of contacted prospects agree to buy a product or service during the fifth call, according to sales follow-up statistics compiled by the US consulting company, Invesp.  57% of people prefer buying from sales representatives that do not hassle them. (Invesp) Even though follow-ups are essential for convincing customers to purchase your product, more than half of the respondents said they prefer buying from sales representatives who aren’t too pushy. Salespeople have a reputation for hassling potential consumers, and these figures show that they would improve their chances of making a sale if they change their approach.  70% of businesses agree that retaining customers is cheaper than acquiring new ones.  (Invesp) Prospecting statistics reveal that even though most newly established businesses have to focus on acquiring new customers, the long-run focus should be on retaining them. Namely, it costs five times as much to gain a new buyer than to keep an existing one. Unfortunately, despite the convincing figures in favor of focusing on retention, only 40% of companies and 30% of agencies cultivate the same approach to acquisition and retention.  The American auto industry was showing signs of recovery in the summer of 2021, with nearly 1.2 million cars sold in July. (Goodcarbadcar) Following a sharp decline that saw sales plummet from 17 million in 2019 to just a little over 14.5 million in 2020, the car industry started showing signs of recovery by mid 2021. But according to United States car sales statistics, the positive trend failed to extend into the spring, with only 589,743 automobiles sold in October. Those are the lowest monthly sales figures in years.  California accounts for the highest number of car sales in the US. (Statista) Research from 2019 shows that the state of California registered more than 14.8 million automobiles that year alone. The state is also the biggest market for electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, and for used car sales. Statistics by state reveal that Texas had the second-highest number of automobile registrations, with just over 8.3 million cars registered. Texas is followed by Florida (7.8 million) and New York (4.4 million). Handgun sales in the US in 2020 rose by 65% compared to 2019. (Statista) The US gun industry is having a good pandemic, with Americans buying handguns in record numbers. Research shows that in October 2020, around one million handguns were sold, marking a 65% increase compared to the same period in 2019. Gun sales statistics also reveal a spike in handgun sales in June 2020, when 1.511.710 items were sold. The American trade book market recorded a 9.7% increase in revenue in July 2021. (Association of American Publishers) During the pandemic-induced global lockdowns, many people turned to books. Perhaps unsurprisingly, book sales generated $750.7 million in revenue in July 2021. Reading once again became a favorite pastime in many American households, who contributed to the 9.7% growth in this sector, compared to July of 2020.  According to book sales statistics, eBook revenues in July 2021 went down 16% compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile, Paperbacks went up by 30%, generating $274.3 million in revenue. Video game sales amounted to $4.93 billion in July 2021, marking a 5% year-over-year increase. (Statista) Video games had a huge 2020 with more people than ever buying and playing games during the pandemic. Sales soared to $177.8 billion - an increase of 23.1% from 2019. The future looks equally promising, with some forecasts suggesting that the global gaming market will be worth $268.8 billion by 2025. Video game sales statistics for the US market in 2021 show that the industry is maintaining its upward trajectory. 2020 has seen a significant decline in draft beer sales, while canned beer sales went up. (NBWA) The forced closures of bars and restaurants during the pandemic had a significant impact on alcohol sales. Draft beer’s share of total volume declined from 10% in 2019 to around 6% in 2020. Beer sales statistics also show that demand for canned beer rose from 60% in 2019 to 67% in 2020. At the same time, sales of beer in glass bottles remained relatively unchanged, accounting for 29% of the market share in 2019 and 28% in 2020. Toilet paper sales in the US spiked by 845% in 2020. (Business Insider) Toilet paper hoarding in 2020 resulted in a spike in sales of 845% in March 2020, compared to 2019, with a total of $1.45 billion sold in a single month. In March 2020, 73% of all grocery stores ran out of toilet paper. By May, that figure dropped to 48%. Toilet paper sales statistics in 2020 exposed a somewhat disturbing and equally commercial side of consumer behavior in times of crisis.  Girl Scout cookies sales amount to around $800 million during each cookie season. (Girl Scouts) Selling Girl Scout cookies has been a tradition in the US since 1912 and has become a lucrative business for many. Girl scouts sell about 200 million boxes of cookies each season and earn nearly $800 million in revenue. According to mouth-watering girl scout cookie sales statistics, the most popular variety is Thin Mints, followed by Samoas, Caramel deLites, and Tagalongs/Peanut Butter Patties.  Sales: the Bottom Line In the choppy waters and hazy horizons of the pandemic-hit world, steering your business in the right direction isn’t easy. There are many challenges facing sales teams and managers, especially when it comes to locking down customers and promoting products and services. On the other hand, some industries are doing better than ever. Business sales statistics show that demand for canned beer, video games, and guns has never been higher. But that doesn’t change the fact that the future is uncertain for everyone, and the new business world is yet to shape out.

By Danica Djokic November 10,2021

If you have an online shop, you know that one of the most important things for clients is reliable shipping. Various helpful website-building tools can help you create an eye-catching site, but you also need to adopt some eCommerce shipping best practices to ensure a great shopping experience for your customers. Their shopping journey starts on your website, but it ends up once their order arrives. If you don’t provide your customers with the shopping experience that they expect, you might end up with lots of cart abandonments and a lower number of orders. Eventually, you might even lose your regular clients.  Establishing a good shipping strategy is crucial for your online business if you want to increase customer satisfaction and convert more leads into buyers. But putting a successful online shipping strategy in place is not always an easy thing to do. Many business owners think that free shipping is all you need, but it’s not simple. It’s an integral part of a consumer-friendly eCommerce shipping strategy, but far from being the only thing you should worry about. Successful online stores employ more sophisticated business strategies. Good delivery practices include the engagement of the different teams inside the company, collaboration with reliable carriers, friendly customer support, and so on.  Establishing reliable shipping strategies can be complicated, especially if you are new in the business. Our article will help you understand this topic better, introducing basic shipping strategies for the successful delivery of your products. We’ll explain how you can benefit from different shipping methods, choose carriers, reduce shipping costs, and perform order tracking. Additionally, we’ll share some tricks and tips that can help you streamline your shipping process and boost customer satisfaction rates.  Shipping Methods and Rates The first you need to know regarding eCommerce delivery strategy are the shipping methods and rates. Although free eCommerce shipping is praised as a solution for boosting clients’ satisfaction, there are also other methods that you can use to increase satisfaction rates. Let’s start with free shipping and then discuss the other shipping options.  Free shipping According to the latest statistics, 90% of customers say that free shipping is the main reason they choose to shop online. Furthermore, over 60% of prospective buyers abandon shipping carts if there are shipping costs. Therefore, free shipping is a must if you want to stay competitive. We all know that free shipping is not really free, meaning that someone has to pay for it. Either your customers will pay more for the products, or you will have lower profit margins after covering the shipping costs yourself.  The best eCommerce shipping method is offering free shipping to your customers but only when they meet specific requirements. You can set up an order limit for free shipping. For example, Amazon enables free shipping for orders over $25. This way, you may be able to cover shipping losses by getting customers to buy slightly more than they otherwise would have. Be transparent Let’s say that you just started your online business, and you are not in a position to offer free shipping. It doesn’t need to impact your customer satisfaction rates if you do things right. Firstly, you need to be honest with your customers. If your shipping is not free, you need to be clear about that. eCommerce shipping costs best practices are to set up shipping prices transparently, so your customers won’t have an unpleasant surprise when they complete their order. Some people won't mind paying shipping costs if they are clearly informed about them at the beginning of their purchase. However, you can expect many clients to abandon the shopping cart if they can’t see the fees from the start.  We recommend adding the cost of shipment for each product to your shopping cart. Almost all eCommerce platforms (such as Shopify or Wix) have this option available. After your customers add the ZIP code, the shipping fees will instantly show up in the cart. There will be no surprises, so your customer will be far more likely to go through with their order. Make the delivery date visible  The best eCommerce shipping solutions show clients the expected delivery date for their products.  Just as you should be transparent with the delivery costs, you should also tell your customers when they can expect their order to arrive. The delivery time can differ depending on the chosen shipping method, order date, and more. You should be transparent and show this information during the checkout procedure because 80% of customers will abandon their shopping cart if they don’t know when their order will arrive.  Offer flat-rate shipping Another strategy that you can adopt is flat-rate shipping. This is an option for an unchanging fee, often used for products that are similar in size or weight. You should still show the shipping costs, as per our suggestion above. However, it’s not a great choice for businesses that sell vastly different products in terms of shape, size, weight, and price. Team Collaboration If you want to keep your customers satisfied, the eCommerce best practices for 2021 show that you need to cover all segments of the customers’ purchasing journey. This means collaboration between different teams and departments, including marketing, designers, web developers, customer service, and the shipping fulfillment team.  The marketing team and developers will work closely together on communicating shipping and product promotions to the customers. Both team knowledge and tools can contribute to streamlining this process.  While the marketing team researches which product you should promote, the web developers will help you implement the promotions on the pages that customers visit the most, and software can quickly tell you when and why customers gave up on their orders. With both domestic and international shipping, for eCommerce best practices to really work, you’ll need a good team for order fulfillment. You can work with a third-party company or have an in-house team that uses order fulfillment software. Regardless of the option you choose, ensure that your team will do the work responsibly. It has to be prepared to pack, label, and ship items on time. This team is also responsible for the possible returns. Lastly, every business requires good customer service, and the same goes for eCommerce stores. The customer service will communicate with your clients directly through phone, email, or live chat, so it’s extremely important to have reliable and knowledgeable people on this team.  Carrier Options Speaking of eCommerce shipping strategies, one of the most important ones is choosing the right carrier. Three large companies provide eCommerce delivery services: FedEx, UPS, and USPS.  The type of product you are selling can help you in decision-making because different carriers are good for different product types and particular types of shipping options. Some are better for international shipments, while others might excel at shipping clunky and oversized products.  You also need to decide whether you’ll have one or more carriers. Choosing one is simpler, but it doesn’t provide you the freedom and flexibility that having more than one would.  eCommerce shipping solutions with multiple carriers are usually in a better position when negotiating shipping rates and costs. Having multiple carriers is also a good idea because if one of the companies closes down or doesn’t work for some other reason, you’ll always have others to ship the products.  Additionally, if you offer different types of shipping products, it’s better to have several carriers at your disposal. Some of them may provide more efficient eCommerce international shipping solutions, while others will offer great delivery services across the US. Delivery Updates Every customer prefers to know in which phase of delivery their package is, so you’ll need to provide your customers with a reliable tracking system. This way, you will build trust between the company and its clients. The success of this functionality depends on which inventory management system you use, but it’s generally not too complicated to set up. All good delivery solutions for eCommerce will have an order tracking service. It’s especially important for companies that do business overseas. International orders have longer delivery periods, so your clients might become nervous if they cannot check the status of their order. Over 80% of customers claim that they value online shops that provide information regarding fulfillment and delivery stage for their packages.  Taking Responsibility Although lost and damaged packages are not your fault, they are still your responsibility because your clients will not be satisfied with the service they paid you for. The order and shipping best practices for eCommerce recommend that sellers resolve lost or damaged packages. After all, a seller is the one who chose a carrier that did not manage to deliver the shipment successfully. The first thing you should do is react as soon as possible once a shipping problem is reported. To be efficient, you can immediately check the shipment status online and see where the order is. Also, it’s smart to check if a customer’s address is written correctly. Problems like these are easy to solve, and your customers will be satisfied that you’re taking the initiative and helping resolve the issue in a timely manner.  Good shipping strategies for eCommerce include quick and honest communication between a retailer and carrier. Once the customer reports a problem with a delivery, you should contact the carrier and see whether the item is delivered or not. Your carrier should tell you all that you need to know about the delivery status. We recommend being persistent with a carrier to find out what happened with an order. If the order is definitely lost or damaged, then you should send a new package to your customers. Do that as soon as possible to keep your customers satisfied.  Tips and Tricks  Assembling a good shipping team, providing reasonable eCommerce shipping costs, and having good customer support are all part of a good shipment strategy. In addition to these, you can adopt many other methods that will keep your customers satisfied and help you manage your budget more efficiently. Here are some more things you can do:  Pack your products properly Before shipping a product to your customer, you need to package it properly to keep it safe from transport damages. There are several shipping options at your disposal, depending on your product type and area of delivery. There are different types of envelopes and boxes, made from materials that protect your product during transportation. You could also consider a reverse dropshipping service if selling high-quality products to customers outside the US. eCommerce shipping options for packages depend on the size and weight of your product. You should keep your packages light and small because the size or weight of the box will also determine the price. If you have several products in different sizes and shapes, consider having separate packages for each of them.  Use local delivery  We already explained the benefits of having multiple carriers. Additionally, you can add a local delivery company to your carrier list. It’s a proven delivery method, and many small businesses use it to ship items to their local clients.  Set the area for your local delivery by adding zip or postal codes. This way, your customers will be able to select it during the checkout. If you want to provide the best shipping for eCommerce, keep the local delivery free for at least some of your products.  Get insurance  In addition to tracking orders, many carriers offer shipping insurance. This is a good practice to secure your products during delivery.  In most cases, insurance is not too expensive. eCommerce shipping companies like UPS and USPS Priority Mail already include coverage for products up to $100. Also, when you pick shipping for eCommerce, check if product insurance is already included in the eCommerce shipping rates. We recommend using insurance for expensive packages that may get lost or damaged. Bottom Line Shipping is an essential part of any online shop that sells physical items. As a retailer, you will face challenges when it comes to implementing eCommerce shipping strategies. Eventually, you will find what’s best for your online store. Before that happens, just take some time to check what works for your customers.  Implementing eCommerce shipping solutions that fit your business will help you keep your customers, achieve low cart abandonment rates, and increase profits.

By Danica Jovic November 12,2021

Recent from Small Business Stats & Facts

Incorporating enough physical activity into our increasingly sedentary lifestyles is difficult. However, people are more aware nowadays that regular exercise has significant health benefits. That awareness created room for the fitness industry to grow - and these exciting fitness industry statistics will tell us just how much. Read on! Fitness Stats (Editor’s Choice): The COVID-19 pandemic reduced the fitness industry’s market size by 16.24%. The digital fitness market is set to reach $26.55 billion in 2026. 17% of US gyms were permanently closed due to COVID-19. 44% of the fitness industry workforce was left without a job in 2020. In 2019, Americans visited gyms and fitness clubs 6.7 billion times. The average monthly fitness club membership in the US costs $52. Millennials make up 35% of the fitness industry’s customer base. Fitness industry job prospects are predicted to grow 39% in the following ten years. Global Fitness Industry Statistics Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the global fitness and health club market grew to $96.7 billion in 2019. (Statista) Prior to the pandemic, the fitness industry had been experiencing steady growth since 2015. Its most significant leap happened between 2017 and 2018, when the industry grew from $87.2 billion to $94 billion. As expected, some of the top fitness clubs, like LA Fitness, ClubCorp, and Life Time, are in the US. LA Fitness had $2.15 billion in revenue in 2019, quickly taking the top spot as the global industry leader. In 2020, the fitness industry market size dropped to $81 billion, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Mordor Intelligence) The fitness industry - brick-and-mortar clubs and gyms in particular - has been severely impacted by the pandemic and state-imposed restrictions, especially in the US. The global industry experienced a significant drop (16.2%) in market size. The projected fitness industry CAGR between 2021 and 2026 is 7.21%. (Mordor Intelligence) As countries lift strict restrictions, the fitness world is getting back on its feet. The main driving factors for this industry will most likely be the growth of disposable income now that the job market is recovering, increased health awareness, and the possibilities for safe exercising on location. The global digital fitness market size is expected to reach $26.5 billion in 2026. (360 Research Reports) In 2020, the market for fitness wearables that record your health and assist in training regimens was estimated at almost $9.6 billion. With a predicted CAGR of 18.5%, it’s expected to triple by 2026. Fitness Industry Market in the US: COVID-19 Aftermath The US fitness industry dropped from an all-time-high revenue of $35 billion in 2019 to only $15 billion in 2020.  (IHRSA) It’s estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic inflicted around 20 billion dollars’ worth of losses to the US fitness industry’s revenue in 2020. This comes as no surprise, as in some states (e.g., Washington, Oregon, and California), restrictive measures and closures lasted for a year and created a harsh environment to maintain a business. In other states, restrictions were less severe, as they allowed establishments to operate at 50% capacity, move their operations outdoors, or hold online training sessions. Small businesses with excellent insurance fared better, but the industry was still severely hit. Almost 17% of US gyms and fitness clubs were permanently closed because of the pandemic. (IHRSA) According to information from some of the largest payment processors cooperating with the fitness industry, boutique fitness industry statistics paint a grim picture: 19% of boutique studios had to close their businesses permanently in 2020. Another 14% of traditional gyms had to shut down for good. Seven major sport and fitness companies filed for bankruptcy in 2020. (Business Insider) Companies like Cyc Fitness, Yoga Works, Flywheel Sports, Town Sports International, 24 Hour Fitness, Modell’s Sporting Goods, and Gold’s Gym are some of the major business franchises severely weakened by the pandemic. In 2019, 24 Hour Fitness was an industry leader, earning more than 1.4 billion in revenue. Unfortunately, in 2020 it had to file Chapter 11 and close around 144 locations. Likewise, Town Sports International had to shut down over 100 sites. 44% of the fitness industry workforce lost their jobs in 2020. (IHRSA) These fitness industry statistics are unfortunate, and the industry employee count dropped from 3.2 million to 1.8 million. This affected small-business owners as well, and with extended restrictions, some of these job prospects may never recover. The infection rate in US gyms was 0.002%, out of 49.4 million check-ins from 2,877 locations.  (IHRSA) According to a study conducted by the University of Florida, thanks to gym patrons abiding by safety guidelines, the number of detected infections was not statistically significant. Fitness industry statistics for 2021 also show that 69% of gym-goers were confident in the safety protocols within their gym. Fitness and Health Industry Trends During the pandemic, gym closures caused an increase of 130% in sales of fitness equipment. (NPD) Some equipment sales experienced impressive triple-digit growth. Businesses had to fulfill increased orders for items such as yoga mats (146%), stationary bikes (170%), free weights (181%), and weight benches (259%). The global fitness equipment market is predicted to grow to $14.7 billion in 2028. (Fortune Business Insights)  Fitness industry trends and statistics show that the market for exercise equipment is currently valued at $10.7 billion, and forecasts show that it will grow at a CAGR of 4.6% in the next seven years. The fitness apps market is expected to grow by $1.68 by 2024. (Business Wire) Forecasts for the fitness apps market are bullish, and the estimated CAGR between 2020 and 2024 is 12%. This software niche’s most crucial driving force will be the increased use of wearables that track your physical performance while exercising. In 2019, there were around 6.7 billion visits to US health clubs. (IHRSA) Fitness industry trends and statistics show positive trends for the industry’s future, as Americans are willing to dedicate time to their health and exercise. More than 27.3 million people visited a gym more than 100 times during the year, while 17.8 million went more than 150 times. On average, Americans pay $52 for a gym membership. (IHRSA) Around 25.9 million Americans, which roughly is two out of five gym members, pay less than $25 per month for their membership. However, a significant number of people - 8.2 million, in fact - are willing to pay more than $100 for a gym membership each month. Thanks to that, health and fitness industry statistics show that the average monthly membership is quite high. A home gym costs between $1,400 and $5,000 to equip. (ACMS’s Health & Fitness Journal, IHRSA) It’s not hard to see how the COVID-19 pandemic influenced how people exercise. Working remotely made it easier for people to join online live or pre-recorded training sessions and exercise at home. Therefore, many were interested in amping up their at-home exercising, either through affordable bodyweight programs, or by decking out entire rooms with workout gear. 68% of Americans plan to continue using online fitness services. (IHRSA) Online fitness industry statistics show that the pandemic forced people to adjust to the new norm, and most Americans tried out fitness apps and video-guided exercises. Just under a third of them also participated in a fitness challenge to keep their exercise regular. 94% of Americans plan to return to their gyms. (IHRSA) Americans are keen to increase their physical activity again, and 88% are confident in safety precautions taken in their workout establishments. People with preexisting conditions are at an elevated risk of COVID-19, but 60% of them also said they want to exercise more, albeit in safer conditions. Fitness Demographics Between 2010 and 2019, women’s gym attendance has risen by 32.2% and men’s by 23.2%. (IHRSA) Americans are increasingly getting conscious about their health and physical exercise. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 remains an outlier year for fitness clubs and gyms. Luckily, most men (51%) and women (65%) have a goal of increasing their physical activity, so gyms can also expect some of them to return. Men pay $54 on average for their fitness and health club memberships, while women spend $50. (IHRSA) Men are generally more likely to pay a premium price for club memberships. Statistics on the fitness industry show that more than 65% of people that pay more than $200 per month are men. Women are more conscious about their spending as less than 50% pay more than $100 per month. Millennials make up the largest share of fitness and health club members in the US, at 35%. (IHRSA) Gen X and Baby Boomers are the next age groups that are frequent attendants of fitness and health clubs at 22% and 21%, respectively. Gen Z and the Silent Generation make up 16% and 6% of all gymgoers. However, fitness industry growth statistics show that the last two are among the most growing age groups attending health clubs. The 6 to 17 age group had the highest increase in memberships from 2010 to 2019 - 69.81%. (IHRSA) Health clubs have been attracting more younger adults and children. These generations are followed by 55 to 64-year olds at 42.48% and people older than 65 at 34.16%. Hispanic people contributed the most to gym and fitness club membership growth, with a 94.5% increase in signups. (IHRSA) The numbers of Black and Caucasian gym members have also increased by 24.7% and 25.6%, respectively. Fitness equipment industry statistics show that treadmills are the most popular exercise machine across all ethnic groups, followed closely by free weights. The largest demographic with health club memberships in the US are Caucasians at 66.3%. (IHRSA) Hispanic people follow them, with 12.78%, then Black people (12.3%). People of Asian/Pacific Islander ethnicity contribute 7.19%. Fitness Industry Analysis - Job Prospects In 2020, the median wage of a fitness instructor and trainer was $40,510 per year. (US Bureau of Labor Statistics) As reflected by gym industry statistics, this is a job where employers commonly accept people with practical experience rather than formal education. Most people in the industry start on a payroll of a small business. As you continue to work, you can specialize and get appropriate certification for the type of training you are holding. The most common fitness instructor certifications are for strength training, yoga, and kickboxing. The job market for fitness trainers in the US is expected to grow by 39% between 2020 and 2030. (US Bureau of Labor Statistics) Fitness industry growth is projected to create around 69,100 job openings for trainers and instructors yearly on average for the next ten years. A significant portion of those job positions is expected to result from part of the current workforce retiring and moving to other industries. Before the pandemic, in 2019, the fitness industry served more than 184.5 million members. (Statista) The industry almost doubled in the decade preceding 2020, as it grew from 119.5 million members in 2009. The number of fitness and health clubs in the US dropped to just over 32,000. (Statista) Before 2020, there were more than 41,000 fitness establishments in the US. Unfortunately, a significant number had to close down. On the plus side, as the country recuperates from the pandemic, the fitness industry growth rate shows an increasing demand from the public that can’t wait to return to their regular exercise regiments. Fitness Industry in Europe The European fitness and health club industry is a $36.5 billion market. (Statista) The European fitness industry includes everything from sports to gyms and even fitness apps. The sector had 63 million customers across the EU in 2019. The e-health segment of the industry is also on the rise, netting more than $537.8 million in the UK and around $509 million in Germany. Germany and the United Kingdom have the highest fitness revenue in Europe, with $6.3 billion each. (Statista) Fitness industry market research shows that Germany and the UK have significantly larger fitness markets than the other European countries. France has a $2.9 billion market while Italy and Spain sit at around $2.7 billion each. 28% of EU residents exercise more than five hours per week. (Eurostat) Unfortunately, 28% of EU residents don’t exercise at all. Another 17% exercise between three and five hours per week and 27% up to three hours. Over 90% of Romania, Denmark, and the Netherlands’ population participate in physical activity outside of work. On the downside, fitness industry stats show that Portugal and Croatia are on the opposite side of the spectrum, with only 45% and 36% of people taking the time to exercise, respectively.

By Dusan Vasic November 12,2021

Not too long ago it would have been difficult to imagine sales reps who didn’t have face-to-face meetings with potential customers. But the world has changed. Everything about the way we travel, work, and spend looks different today.    The latest sales statistics highlight some of the market turmoil caused by the pandemic while showing the acceleration of digital transformation as well as promising growth trends and soaring sales figures in individual industries. The following stats will walk you through specific sectors and point out some of the more surprising and interesting sales facts. Salest Statistics Breaktown - Editor’s Choice: AI adoption by sales teams rose by 76% since 2018. An average of 18 calls is needed to connect with buyers. 60% of contacted buyers reject the offer four times before saying yes. 57% of people prefer buying from sales representatives who don’t hassle them. Handgun sales in October 2020 rose by 65% when compared to the same period in 2019.  Video game sales amounted to $4.93 billion in July 2021, marking a 5% year-over-year increase. Toilet paper sales and fun facts about spending in the US show that demand for this product rose by 845% in 2020. 60% percent of sales reps increased their number of virtual meetings since 2015. (Salesforce) Even before the pandemic, virtual sales were on the rise, with many sales representatives reporting that they touch base with prospective customers and existing clients via video chat rather than traveling to meetings and lunches. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 62% also said they spend more time on their computers, tablets, and smartphones than they did a few years ago. These sales trends tell us that virtual selling is here to stay.        AI adoption rose 76% since 2018, with 37% of sales teams now using it. (Salesforce) As is the case in many industries, the acceleration of the digital transformation process is evident in the sales sector. Artificial intelligence or AI is one of the technologies that’s being rapidly adopted, with 37% of sales teams implementing these advanced tools globally in 2020. That marks a 76% increase since 2018. According to recent sales statistics, 77% of sales leaders and 84% of sales ops professionals claim their digital transformation has become more rapid since 2019. The AI tools also help power CRM software, which is crucial for managing customer relationships.  The use of smart sales tools has gone up by 300% since 2017. (Membrain) The substantial increase in both the types and the use of sales technology tools is being fuelled by online purchasing. Sales stats from 2017 reveal that most organizations at the time used only two main tools: CRM software and online meeting tools. Two years later, leads list/database, social selling, account targeting, and skills training and recruiting were added to the list. With six tools in regular use, the sales sector started to see more opportunities for leveraging technology to better cater to customers.  91% of consumers would like to see interactive content in marketing emails. (Hubspot) A Litmus report dubbed 2021 State of Email reveals most respondents feel that only interactive content in marketing emails can get their attention. However, only 17% of marketers actually use such content when advertising their products or services. Depending on your target audience and relevant sales information and analytics, you can add interactivity into your emails by including an embedded video, animated GIFs, a form, faux video, or carousel. Think about creative SMS content, too, or employ mass text software to help you create one with catchy phrases.  An average of 18 calls is needed to connect with buyers. (Gartner) Reaching potential buyers isn’t always easy. Consumers are generally suspicious when it comes to calls from sales reps and tend to avoid them by hanging up or not answering the phone at all. Likewise, only 23.9% of sales emails are opened, and others usually end up in a bin. The sales numbers indicate that more investment is needed into technologies that help locate potential buyers and improve the quality and quantity of communication. 60% of all contacted buyers reject the offer four times before saying yes.  (Invesp) Follow-up calls can make all the difference. But almost half of the salespeople (48%) never make a single follow-up attempt. Statistics that expose this passive trend among sales reps also indicate that consumers tend to change their minds if called at least four times. An astounding 60 percent of contacted prospects agree to buy a product or service during the fifth call, according to sales follow-up statistics compiled by the US consulting company, Invesp.  57% of people prefer buying from sales representatives that do not hassle them. (Invesp) Even though follow-ups are essential for convincing customers to purchase your product, more than half of the respondents said they prefer buying from sales representatives who aren’t too pushy. Salespeople have a reputation for hassling potential consumers, and these figures show that they would improve their chances of making a sale if they change their approach.  70% of businesses agree that retaining customers is cheaper than acquiring new ones.  (Invesp) Prospecting statistics reveal that even though most newly established businesses have to focus on acquiring new customers, the long-run focus should be on retaining them. Namely, it costs five times as much to gain a new buyer than to keep an existing one. Unfortunately, despite the convincing figures in favor of focusing on retention, only 40% of companies and 30% of agencies cultivate the same approach to acquisition and retention.  The American auto industry was showing signs of recovery in the summer of 2021, with nearly 1.2 million cars sold in July. (Goodcarbadcar) Following a sharp decline that saw sales plummet from 17 million in 2019 to just a little over 14.5 million in 2020, the car industry started showing signs of recovery by mid 2021. But according to United States car sales statistics, the positive trend failed to extend into the spring, with only 589,743 automobiles sold in October. Those are the lowest monthly sales figures in years.  California accounts for the highest number of car sales in the US. (Statista) Research from 2019 shows that the state of California registered more than 14.8 million automobiles that year alone. The state is also the biggest market for electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, and for used car sales. Statistics by state reveal that Texas had the second-highest number of automobile registrations, with just over 8.3 million cars registered. Texas is followed by Florida (7.8 million) and New York (4.4 million). Handgun sales in the US in 2020 rose by 65% compared to 2019. (Statista) The US gun industry is having a good pandemic, with Americans buying handguns in record numbers. Research shows that in October 2020, around one million handguns were sold, marking a 65% increase compared to the same period in 2019. Gun sales statistics also reveal a spike in handgun sales in June 2020, when 1.511.710 items were sold. The American trade book market recorded a 9.7% increase in revenue in July 2021. (Association of American Publishers) During the pandemic-induced global lockdowns, many people turned to books. Perhaps unsurprisingly, book sales generated $750.7 million in revenue in July 2021. Reading once again became a favorite pastime in many American households, who contributed to the 9.7% growth in this sector, compared to July of 2020.  According to book sales statistics, eBook revenues in July 2021 went down 16% compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile, Paperbacks went up by 30%, generating $274.3 million in revenue. Video game sales amounted to $4.93 billion in July 2021, marking a 5% year-over-year increase. (Statista) Video games had a huge 2020 with more people than ever buying and playing games during the pandemic. Sales soared to $177.8 billion - an increase of 23.1% from 2019. The future looks equally promising, with some forecasts suggesting that the global gaming market will be worth $268.8 billion by 2025. Video game sales statistics for the US market in 2021 show that the industry is maintaining its upward trajectory. 2020 has seen a significant decline in draft beer sales, while canned beer sales went up. (NBWA) The forced closures of bars and restaurants during the pandemic had a significant impact on alcohol sales. Draft beer’s share of total volume declined from 10% in 2019 to around 6% in 2020. Beer sales statistics also show that demand for canned beer rose from 60% in 2019 to 67% in 2020. At the same time, sales of beer in glass bottles remained relatively unchanged, accounting for 29% of the market share in 2019 and 28% in 2020. Toilet paper sales in the US spiked by 845% in 2020. (Business Insider) Toilet paper hoarding in 2020 resulted in a spike in sales of 845% in March 2020, compared to 2019, with a total of $1.45 billion sold in a single month. In March 2020, 73% of all grocery stores ran out of toilet paper. By May, that figure dropped to 48%. Toilet paper sales statistics in 2020 exposed a somewhat disturbing and equally commercial side of consumer behavior in times of crisis.  Girl Scout cookies sales amount to around $800 million during each cookie season. (Girl Scouts) Selling Girl Scout cookies has been a tradition in the US since 1912 and has become a lucrative business for many. Girl scouts sell about 200 million boxes of cookies each season and earn nearly $800 million in revenue. According to mouth-watering girl scout cookie sales statistics, the most popular variety is Thin Mints, followed by Samoas, Caramel deLites, and Tagalongs/Peanut Butter Patties.  Sales: the Bottom Line In the choppy waters and hazy horizons of the pandemic-hit world, steering your business in the right direction isn’t easy. There are many challenges facing sales teams and managers, especially when it comes to locking down customers and promoting products and services. On the other hand, some industries are doing better than ever. Business sales statistics show that demand for canned beer, video games, and guns has never been higher. But that doesn’t change the fact that the future is uncertain for everyone, and the new business world is yet to shape out.

By Danica Djokic November 10,2021

Victimless crimes without bloody traces, fingerprints, or mysteries worthy of Hercule Poirots’ insights and findings don’t shake the public too much. People don’t usually expect white-collar office workers with their noses buried into piles of papers to keep dark secrets. Despite that, white-collar crime statistics show the seriousness of this problem, which can have devastating consequences on businesses and enterprises.  Money laundering, embezzlement, financial statement frauds, check or payment tampering are among the most common crimes committed by white-collar workers. We compiled data regarding those felonies to help you learn more about white-collar corporate crimes.  White-Collar Crime Stats: Editor’s Choice Only 28% of white-collar employees involved in corporate crimes are women. A typical white-collar felon is a married male in his forties.   White-collar crimes cost the United States over $300 billion per year. Only 6.1% of corporate criminals come from an unhealthy family background. Only 9% of frauds happen in nonprofit organizations. Corruption accounts for 43% of white-collar crimes and causes a median loss of $200,000 per case.  The maximum prison sentence for insider trading in the US is 20 years. White-Collar Crime Demographics: Who Commits the Crimes? Only 28% of white-collar employees involved in corporate crimes are women. (2020 Global Study on Occupational Fraud and Abuse) If there has ever been a need to draw a forensic sketch of a typical corporate criminal for identification purposes, it very likely wouldn’t be a woman. Detailed research into the demographics of white-collar criminals showed that women are very rare corporate crime offenders, accounting for only 27% of committed frauds. The fact that a vast majority are men is understandable given the disproportion of females in higher management positions at corporations. Corporate crime statistics reveal that a typical white-collar felon is a married male in his forties. (Bajoka) (University of Cincinnati School of Criminal Justice) The typical white-collar criminal doesn’t look any different than the co-workers you sip your morning coffee with. He is likely in his mid-forties, though some start earlier. He doesn’t have a criminal record and hasn’t committed any criminal acts until his late 30s. Most of them boast at least a Bachelor’s degree and belong to the professions not so often associated with illegal activities: lawyers, financial advisors, accountants, and clergy members. Some companies use employee tracking software to get a better insight into their workforce, but these felons are usually in positions of power, where they don’t get tracked or at least know how to circumvent it.  Statistics of white-collar crime in the US show 35.3% of felons have more than $10,000 in assets. (University of Cincinnati School of Criminal Justice) As we can see from the statistics gathered in the research commissioned by The University of Cincinnati School of Criminal Justice, over a third of white-collar criminals are well-established in the society, with more than $10,000 in assets. 63.5% have residential stability, and out of that number, 50.3% are homeowners. They are usually highly ranked in their companies, often at managerial positions, and 65.8% of them have steady employment.  White-collar crime racial statistics reveal 73.9% of offenders are white. (University of Cincinnati School of Criminal Justice) Social and other prejudices often take over the minds of people when they think of criminal activities. Corporate crime is a different beast, though.  Nearly three-quarters of white-collar offenders are white people coming from middle-class or better backgrounds. Notably, income tax frauds are overwhelmingly white-male driven crimes, with 91.4% of perpetrators being male and 89.1% white. Only 6.1% of corporate criminals come from an unhealthy family background. (University of Cincinnati School of Criminal Justice) When we speak or think about thefts, kidnapping, rape, or murders, we often envision the perpetrators coming from tough financial conditions and unhealthy family backgrounds. Statistics on white-collar crime indicate some often overlooked facts regarding the families the felons come from. Namely, only 6.1% of them were raised in families where they were abused, neglected, or abandoned as children. Only 6% grew up with at least one family member involved in criminal activities, and 15% had parents who struggled to provide the necessities of life. Common Types of White-Collar Crimes Asset misappropriation schemes account for 86% of frauds and cause a median loss of $100,000 per case. (2020 Global Study on Occupational Fraud and Abuse) Now that we know who commits white-collar crimes and the statistics behind them, we can determine the most common types of these crimes. According to the data gathered in the Report to the Nations global study on occupational fraud and abuse, the most frequent fraud scheme is asset misappropriation. This felony accounts for 86% of all white-collar crimes, but, luckily, it’s the least costly type with a median loss of $100,000 per case. Asset misappropriation happens when an employee misuses or steals the company’s resources and thus defrauds their employers.  Financial statement frauds are the most costly type of white-collar crime, with a median loss of $954,000. (2020 Global Study on Occupational Fraud and Abuse) Luckily, white-collar crime statistics indicate that financial statement fraud schemes are the least common type of corporate fraud, accounting for only 10% of the cases. So what are financial statement frauds? They involve schemes in which the offender intentionally omits or misstatements the material in the company’s financial statements. Corruption accounts for 43% of cases and causes a median loss of $200,000 per case. (2020 Global Study on Occupational Fraud and Abuse) Corruption takes up an expectedly high proportion of occupational frauds. Offenses such as bribery, extortion, conflicts of interest, bid-rigging, and other illegal activities cause losses of around $200,000 per case. One of the more alarming facts about white-collar crime is that corruption cases often cost companies more than just money. Often their reputation goes on the line, and many have to reach out to costly reputation management services to mitigate the damage. 64% of organizational offenses in the United States happen in closely-held or private corporations. (United States Sentencing Committee) Speaking of the structure of the organizations where frauds are committed, 64% of them are private or closely-held corporations. US white-collar crime statistics show that limited liability companies account for 22.7% of cases, and 9.3% of cases happen in publicly traded corporations. If we dig deeper into the infrastructure of American businesses committing corporate offenses, we can conclude that most are small in size. Namely, 66.1% had fewer than 50 employees, and only 9.7% had more than 1,000.  Only 9% of frauds happen in nonprofit organizations. (2020 Global Study on Occupational Fraud and Abuse) Although nonprofit organizations reported very low white-collar crime rates, the $75,000 in damages per case can be a serious blow to smaller organizations. According to the 2020 Report to the Nations study, private organizations accounted for 44% of corporate frauds, public ones for 26%, government agencies for 16%, and other company types for 6%. General White-Collar Crime Statistics FBI white-collar crime statistics show that these criminal offenses cost the US over $300 billion per year. (Cornell Law School 2020 Global Study on Occupational Fraud and Abuse) According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), corporate crime offenses are estimated to cost the US more than $300 billion every year. Aside from fines, other penalties for white-collar crimes include paying the cost of prosecution, home detention, forfeitures, community confinement, supervised release, and even imprisonment.  Only 56% of organizations conducted an investigation of their worst corporate criminal incident. (PwC's Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2020) When we look at white-collar crime report statistics, we can see that the main reason for the persistent recurrence of corporate crime might be the lack of people willing to report it. Figures show that only 56% of businesses conducted an investigation of their worst incidents related to white-collar crime. Simultaneously, barely one-third of organizations reported the incident to the board. 89% of the interviewees reported negative emotions after an incident or fraud happened at the company. Taking all the necessary steps to address and better understand the issue results in fewer fraud cases in the future. Ignoring white-collar crime sentencing statistics for a moment, nearly 60% of companies who conducted detailed investigations into the fraud cases ended up being better off for it.  80% of white-collar crime perpetrators received some punishment in 2020, but only 59% of the cases were referred to law enforcement agents. (2020 Global Study on Occupational Fraud and Abuse) Organizations can refer to the corporate criminal incident internally, through civil litigation, or by reaching out to law enforcement. The statistics on the response to frauds indicate that nearly half of the victim organizations (46%) never refer these frauds to law enforcement, believing that internal discipline is sufficient. Another big reason for refraining from reaching out to the criminal justice system is the fear of bad publicity (32%). There were 755 cases of money laundering in the United States in 2020. (United States Sentencing Committee) White-collar crime statistics by the state indicate that the Southern District of Florida had the highest number of money laundering cases during the fiscal year of 2020 (42). This was followed by the Southern Districts of New York and Texas, with 33 convictions each. One of the ways to prevent money laundering and tax evasion is to engage professional tax software solutions to help companies stay up-to-date and compliant with state and federal tax laws. White-collar crime prison statistics reveal that the maximum prison sentence for insider trading in the United States is 20 years. (US Securities and Exchange Commission) Even though not many people and organizations are willing to go to law enforcement in resolving corporate fraud cases, there are exceptions. When reaching out to the criminal justice system to solve the problem, victim organizations can expect the maximum prison sentence for insider trading to be 20 years. At the same time, the maximum amount of money charged from corporate criminals is $5 million for individuals and $25 million for organizations. Obviously, insider trading is just one of the many corporate frauds that can ruin a company’s finances and reputation, but the steep punishments should serve to encourage more people to speak up and get the felons convicted.

By Danica Djokic October 07,2021

Diversity and inclusion are some of the most important policies that can not only improve the working environment and enhance employee engagement but significantly contribute to all other aspects of any business. The benefits are numerous, and we will discuss them as we unveil some of the most interesting diversity in the workplace statistics. Being a diverse company means hiring people of different ethnicities, gender, age, religion, etc. Companies that have successfully implemented D&I initiatives are often seen as more desirable for employees due to their broader perspective and the positive attitude they cherish. We have done our research, and these are some of the reasons everyone should embrace diversity. Editor’s Choice of Diversity in the Workplace Statistics In 2019, millennials accounted for 35% of the US labor force. Only 8% of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies are female. Diverse companies are 70% more likely to acquire new markets. 46% of Hispanic and 39% of black women earn less than $15 an hour. During the COVID-19 pandemic, fathers who worked remotely were promoted three times more than women in the same position. General Workplace Diversity Data and Stats In 2020, only 17.9% of persons with disabilities were employed in the US. (US Bureau of Labor Statistics) Based on the report published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020, the unemployment rate for persons with disabilities grew compared to the previous year. In 2019, the percentage of employed persons with disabilities in the US was 19.3. However, those numbers dropped to 17.9 the following year.  Regarding people without disabilities, the report stated 66.3% of them were employed during 2019, but the numbers decreased to 61.8% in 2020. These rates show that there is still much work to be done to overcome the lack of diversity in the workplace, and statistics will need to include more people with disabilities in the workforce going forward. By 2024, it’s expected that 24.8% of the US workforce will be employees older than 55. (Deloitte) It’s not a secret that the US workforce is aging each year. Research on shifting workforce demographics, conducted by Deloitte, suggests that by 2024 employees aged 55+ will make up 24.8% of the workforce. This might not mean much to you, but it is a severe increase if we go back to 1994 when this percentage was significantly lower, or to be precise, 11.9%. The research also projects that the US workforce diversity statistics are about to change and, by 2024, less than two-thirds of the labor force will be defined as “white non-Hispanic.” Back in 1994, over 75% of the labor force fell into that category. In 2019, millennials accounted for 35% of the US labor force. (Pew Research Center) Millennials are all those born between 1981 and 1996, and back in 2019, they accounted for over a third of the US labor force. In 2016, the millennial generation surpassed Generation Xers and became the largest population in the US labor force.  According to research from 2019, Millennials are expected to comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025.  Gender Diversity in the Workplace Statistics Only 8% of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies are female. (Statista) The gap between male and female leadership roles has always been a thing, and there are multiple statistics to confirm that. However, it looks like things are changing for the better. As Statista confirmed earlier this year, there’s been a new record when it comes to female CEOs. As of June 14, 2021, there were 41 female CEOs employed at Fortune 500 companies. According to the statistics, this wasn’t the only record that got broken. For the first time ever, two black women are running America's 500 highest-grossing companies, giving us hope that gender diversity on executive boards might become a reality in the not-so-distant future. In terms of the median salary in the US, women earn around 18% less than men. (PayScale) The gap between the leadership roles isn’t the only hurdle that women are facing in business nowadays. PayScale, a company that helps employers and employees understand the appropriate pay for every position, reviewed these issues in its Gender Pay Gap Report for 2021. According to this report, women earn only $0.82 for every dollar a man makes. Although it might sound discouraging, this is a slight improvement compared to 2020, when they earned one cent less, as per employment diversity statistics. Also, bear in mind these are uncontrolled pay gap statistics - when doing the same job with the same qualifications, the numbers are less dire: women earn 98 cents for every dollar a man does. During the COVID-19 pandemic, fathers who worked remotely were promoted three times more than women in the same position. (CNBC) The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of the business as we know it. Many had to adapt to the new reality and switch to their home offices instead. According to a CNBC report, 34% of men with children working from home received some kind of promotion during this period.  On the other hand, women’s jobs have been hit much harder by the pandemic. According to an analysis conducted by the National Women’s Law Center, of the 1.1 million workers ages 20 and over, who left the labor force between August and September of 2020, 865,000 were women. Racial and Cultural Diversity in the Workplace Statistics 46% of Hispanic and 39% of black women earn less than $15 an hour. (The Washington Post) In 2019, around 39 million people earned less than $15 per hour. These 39 million employees made about 28% of the workforce at the time, and the majority of the low-wage category consisted of Hispanic and black women. In fact, they were more than 2x as likely as white men to fall into this wage category.  Based on the Washington Post’s research on diversity in the workplace, statistics haven’t really changed since 2019. Roughly 46% of Hispanic women and 39% of Black women still make less than $15 an hour. On the other hand, only 18% of White and Asian men hover around this wage bracket. More than 90% of all Google employees are white or Asian men. (Statista) According to Statista, the distribution of Google employees in the US from 2014 to 2021 does not look very racially or gender-diverse. The data for 2021 shows that white men account for 50.4% of employees, with Asian men following with 42.3%. On the flip side, only 4.4% of the employees are black men and women. If you look at the timeline of these statistics on diversity in the workplace, you will see the Asian population is experiencing steady growth, while the white population dropped from 64.5% in 2014 to 50.4% in 2021.  In 2019, black people held only 3.2% of senior leadership roles in large organizations in the US. (Coqual) “Being Black in Corporate America” is the name of Coqual’s intersectional exploration aimed to show if and how things have changed for the black people in the US during the past few years. The research on the representation of black adults in the US has shown that only 3.2% of black people held senior leadership roles in major companies, with just 0.8% of them being Fortune 500 CEOs. Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace Statistics Diverse companies produce 19% more revenue than those with non-diverse leadership. (Forbes) A study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), published in 2018, has found that diverse leadership increases the bottom line for companies. According to the study, increasing the diversity of leadership teams can lead to improved financial performance and better innovation. The study included 1,700 companies of all sizes across eight different countries. These findings are important as they show that diversity isn’t just an inclusion metric but an integral part of any successful business. In 2019, gender-diverse companies were 25% more likely to outperform their competitors. (McKinsey) Various diversity in the workplace stats show just how important diversity is and how it can help boost the overall performance of businesses of all sizes. Based on the findings from McKinsey’s research in 2019, companies with gender diversity have 25% higher chances to achieve higher profits than those with less gender diversity on the executive boards. Ethnic diversity in leadership teams is another vital factor. According to the report, companies implementing ethnic and cultural diversity on the executive level have a 36% likelihood of outperforming the competition.  Diverse companies are 70% more likely to acquire new markets. (Harvard Business Review) (Josh Bersin) Establishing a diverse workplace is vital for all modern organizations, and there are many diversity in the workplace statistics that prove this. Diverse companies also have 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee. They are also far better at capturing new markets when compared to the companies that do not practice diversity hiring.  80% of US job candidates look for inclusion when choosing an employer. (Deloitte) Salary and working hours aren't the only deciding factor when it comes to choosing a new employer. Back in 2017, Deloitte published a research paper that surveyed more than 1,300 full-time employees from a range of organizations all across the US. The paper showed just how important diversity and inclusion initiatives are by showing that four-fifths of all employees look for an inclusive workplace. 39% of respondents confirmed they would quit their current job if they found a more inclusive working environment, while 23% indicated they already left a job for that very reason.

By Nikolina Cveticanin October 04,2021

Recent from Knowledge Base

You probably already know what dropshipping is, but just in case you are not familiar with this type of business, here’s a short explanation: Dropshipping is an online business model that enables you, as a seller, to sell products without the obligation to ship them or stock the products on your own. Basically, your role is to list a wholesaler’s product on Amazon, eBay, or your own dropship website and find the right audience for it. When it comes to reverse dropshipping, it’s an even newer business model and as such, unfamiliar to many online sellers. So if you’re wondering “What is reverse dropshipping?” that’s the next topic we’ll cover in our SmallBizGenius guide. Reverse Dropshipping Definition Reverse dropshipping is a business model in which online sellers procure high-quality products for customers whose countries usually house mass-production sites, like China, Indonesia, etc. Products sold through reverse dropshipping are made in the US, UK, or other countries which usually outsource their mass production to Asian countries. If you are wondering why an industry giant like China is a hotspot for reverse dropshipping sellers, there’s a logical explanation. Many Chinese consumers are seeking fine products, but finding them inside their own country is difficult. The result of China’s high-production level is lower quality for most domestically made products. Therefore, Chinese consumers, especially the rich ones, must find other ways to buy products that would satisfy their expensive taste. If we want a more precise reverse dropshipping definition, we would say that a reverse dropship means buying high-quality products produced in the West, and selling them to wealthy, primarily Asian customers through your eCommerce website. Reverse dropshipping is a business model similar to regular dropshipping, with one significant difference. Instead of obtaining lots of poor-quality stuff that comes at a lower cost, reverse dropshipping companies procure top-notch, artisanal products. Hence, when it works, reverse dropshipping comes with much higher margins. How Reverse Dropshipping Works We introduced the basics of reverse dropshipping, meaning that the next thing we will explain is how it works. Generally, if you know how regular dropshipping works, you won’t have any problem understanding the concept of reverse dropshipping. The only thing you need to have in mind is that reverse dropshipping involves expensive and high-quality products produced in Western countries that are sold to rich Asian customers. As an owner of a dropshipping company, you will collaborate with domestic dropshipping suppliers. They will be responsible for manufacturing and storing products, packing them, and distributing orders to your customers. On your website, you will create a gallery with the products, set the price for them, and manage the inventory. You will be responsible for advertising your offer and finding customers. For example, you can choose a product available on eBay, Etsy, or some other eCommerce platform and sell it on your site. You’ll need to set a price that will cover both the dropshipping supplier’s price and marketing costs, and bring you profit. For example, if a product you choose to sell costs $30 when bought wholesale, you can display it in your store for $75. The wealthy customer will order a product from your site and pay your price. Then, you forward the order to your manufacturer and pay the wholesale price, keeping the rest as profit. Your manufacturer will be in charge of distribution. You can decide if you’ll leave the shipping costs with the customers, or pay them yourself. Dropshipping Pros and Cons If you’re asking yourself: “Is dropshipping worth it?” the answer is yes. In 2020, China purchased $99.9 billion-worth of goods and services from the US. There are lots of reasons why you should choose reverse dropshipping over regular dropshipping. One of the most important reasons is that reverse dropshipping comes with higher margins. A regular dropshipping business works with low-quality products which are cheap for you to buy, but also cheap when sold. Reverse dropshipping sellers work with high-quality products and rich customers willing to pay more than someone ordering pants in bulk from Wish. Another good reason to choose reverse dropshipping over traditional dropshipping is a less competitive market. If you decide to open a dropshipping service, you will have only a few competitors, as this niche section of eCommerce has yet to fully develop. However, you need to be more prepared than when entering a regular dropshipping business, meaning that you’ll need to know everything about the trading laws and regulations of the countries you’ll ship from and to. For example, many countries have strict policies on which products can be sold. In some countries, people can buy food and beverages only from domestic suppliers. There are also country-specific rules when it comes to selling medication. If you consider starting a business with food, drugs, or alcoholic drinks, reverse dropshipping is not the kind of business model that will be good for you. Bottom Line In our opinion, reverse dropshipping is a good option for business owners ready to find the right buyer for high-end products and find dropshipping sources that are allowed to operate in Asian countries. Especially now, while the market is still very far from saturated, getting into reverse dropshipping may just be the best move an aspiring eCommerce businessperson can make.

By Danica Jovic November 12,2021

If you have an online shop, you know that one of the most important things for clients is reliable shipping. Various helpful website-building tools can help you create an eye-catching site, but you also need to adopt some eCommerce shipping best practices to ensure a great shopping experience for your customers. Their shopping journey starts on your website, but it ends up once their order arrives. If you don’t provide your customers with the shopping experience that they expect, you might end up with lots of cart abandonments and a lower number of orders. Eventually, you might even lose your regular clients.  Establishing a good shipping strategy is crucial for your online business if you want to increase customer satisfaction and convert more leads into buyers. But putting a successful online shipping strategy in place is not always an easy thing to do. Many business owners think that free shipping is all you need, but it’s not simple. It’s an integral part of a consumer-friendly eCommerce shipping strategy, but far from being the only thing you should worry about. Successful online stores employ more sophisticated business strategies. Good delivery practices include the engagement of the different teams inside the company, collaboration with reliable carriers, friendly customer support, and so on.  Establishing reliable shipping strategies can be complicated, especially if you are new in the business. Our article will help you understand this topic better, introducing basic shipping strategies for the successful delivery of your products. We’ll explain how you can benefit from different shipping methods, choose carriers, reduce shipping costs, and perform order tracking. Additionally, we’ll share some tricks and tips that can help you streamline your shipping process and boost customer satisfaction rates.  Shipping Methods and Rates The first you need to know regarding eCommerce delivery strategy are the shipping methods and rates. Although free eCommerce shipping is praised as a solution for boosting clients’ satisfaction, there are also other methods that you can use to increase satisfaction rates. Let’s start with free shipping and then discuss the other shipping options.  Free shipping According to the latest statistics, 90% of customers say that free shipping is the main reason they choose to shop online. Furthermore, over 60% of prospective buyers abandon shipping carts if there are shipping costs. Therefore, free shipping is a must if you want to stay competitive. We all know that free shipping is not really free, meaning that someone has to pay for it. Either your customers will pay more for the products, or you will have lower profit margins after covering the shipping costs yourself.  The best eCommerce shipping method is offering free shipping to your customers but only when they meet specific requirements. You can set up an order limit for free shipping. For example, Amazon enables free shipping for orders over $25. This way, you may be able to cover shipping losses by getting customers to buy slightly more than they otherwise would have. Be transparent Let’s say that you just started your online business, and you are not in a position to offer free shipping. It doesn’t need to impact your customer satisfaction rates if you do things right. Firstly, you need to be honest with your customers. If your shipping is not free, you need to be clear about that. eCommerce shipping costs best practices are to set up shipping prices transparently, so your customers won’t have an unpleasant surprise when they complete their order. Some people won't mind paying shipping costs if they are clearly informed about them at the beginning of their purchase. However, you can expect many clients to abandon the shopping cart if they can’t see the fees from the start.  We recommend adding the cost of shipment for each product to your shopping cart. Almost all eCommerce platforms (such as Shopify or Wix) have this option available. After your customers add the ZIP code, the shipping fees will instantly show up in the cart. There will be no surprises, so your customer will be far more likely to go through with their order. Make the delivery date visible  The best eCommerce shipping solutions show clients the expected delivery date for their products.  Just as you should be transparent with the delivery costs, you should also tell your customers when they can expect their order to arrive. The delivery time can differ depending on the chosen shipping method, order date, and more. You should be transparent and show this information during the checkout procedure because 80% of customers will abandon their shopping cart if they don’t know when their order will arrive.  Offer flat-rate shipping Another strategy that you can adopt is flat-rate shipping. This is an option for an unchanging fee, often used for products that are similar in size or weight. You should still show the shipping costs, as per our suggestion above. However, it’s not a great choice for businesses that sell vastly different products in terms of shape, size, weight, and price. Team Collaboration If you want to keep your customers satisfied, the eCommerce best practices for 2021 show that you need to cover all segments of the customers’ purchasing journey. This means collaboration between different teams and departments, including marketing, designers, web developers, customer service, and the shipping fulfillment team.  The marketing team and developers will work closely together on communicating shipping and product promotions to the customers. Both team knowledge and tools can contribute to streamlining this process.  While the marketing team researches which product you should promote, the web developers will help you implement the promotions on the pages that customers visit the most, and software can quickly tell you when and why customers gave up on their orders. With both domestic and international shipping, for eCommerce best practices to really work, you’ll need a good team for order fulfillment. You can work with a third-party company or have an in-house team that uses order fulfillment software. Regardless of the option you choose, ensure that your team will do the work responsibly. It has to be prepared to pack, label, and ship items on time. This team is also responsible for the possible returns. Lastly, every business requires good customer service, and the same goes for eCommerce stores. The customer service will communicate with your clients directly through phone, email, or live chat, so it’s extremely important to have reliable and knowledgeable people on this team.  Carrier Options Speaking of eCommerce shipping strategies, one of the most important ones is choosing the right carrier. Three large companies provide eCommerce delivery services: FedEx, UPS, and USPS.  The type of product you are selling can help you in decision-making because different carriers are good for different product types and particular types of shipping options. Some are better for international shipments, while others might excel at shipping clunky and oversized products.  You also need to decide whether you’ll have one or more carriers. Choosing one is simpler, but it doesn’t provide you the freedom and flexibility that having more than one would.  eCommerce shipping solutions with multiple carriers are usually in a better position when negotiating shipping rates and costs. Having multiple carriers is also a good idea because if one of the companies closes down or doesn’t work for some other reason, you’ll always have others to ship the products.  Additionally, if you offer different types of shipping products, it’s better to have several carriers at your disposal. Some of them may provide more efficient eCommerce international shipping solutions, while others will offer great delivery services across the US. Delivery Updates Every customer prefers to know in which phase of delivery their package is, so you’ll need to provide your customers with a reliable tracking system. This way, you will build trust between the company and its clients. The success of this functionality depends on which inventory management system you use, but it’s generally not too complicated to set up. All good delivery solutions for eCommerce will have an order tracking service. It’s especially important for companies that do business overseas. International orders have longer delivery periods, so your clients might become nervous if they cannot check the status of their order. Over 80% of customers claim that they value online shops that provide information regarding fulfillment and delivery stage for their packages.  Taking Responsibility Although lost and damaged packages are not your fault, they are still your responsibility because your clients will not be satisfied with the service they paid you for. The order and shipping best practices for eCommerce recommend that sellers resolve lost or damaged packages. After all, a seller is the one who chose a carrier that did not manage to deliver the shipment successfully. The first thing you should do is react as soon as possible once a shipping problem is reported. To be efficient, you can immediately check the shipment status online and see where the order is. Also, it’s smart to check if a customer’s address is written correctly. Problems like these are easy to solve, and your customers will be satisfied that you’re taking the initiative and helping resolve the issue in a timely manner.  Good shipping strategies for eCommerce include quick and honest communication between a retailer and carrier. Once the customer reports a problem with a delivery, you should contact the carrier and see whether the item is delivered or not. Your carrier should tell you all that you need to know about the delivery status. We recommend being persistent with a carrier to find out what happened with an order. If the order is definitely lost or damaged, then you should send a new package to your customers. Do that as soon as possible to keep your customers satisfied.  Tips and Tricks  Assembling a good shipping team, providing reasonable eCommerce shipping costs, and having good customer support are all part of a good shipment strategy. In addition to these, you can adopt many other methods that will keep your customers satisfied and help you manage your budget more efficiently. Here are some more things you can do:  Pack your products properly Before shipping a product to your customer, you need to package it properly to keep it safe from transport damages. There are several shipping options at your disposal, depending on your product type and area of delivery. There are different types of envelopes and boxes, made from materials that protect your product during transportation. You could also consider a reverse dropshipping service if selling high-quality products to customers outside the US. eCommerce shipping options for packages depend on the size and weight of your product. You should keep your packages light and small because the size or weight of the box will also determine the price. If you have several products in different sizes and shapes, consider having separate packages for each of them.  Use local delivery  We already explained the benefits of having multiple carriers. Additionally, you can add a local delivery company to your carrier list. It’s a proven delivery method, and many small businesses use it to ship items to their local clients.  Set the area for your local delivery by adding zip or postal codes. This way, your customers will be able to select it during the checkout. If you want to provide the best shipping for eCommerce, keep the local delivery free for at least some of your products.  Get insurance  In addition to tracking orders, many carriers offer shipping insurance. This is a good practice to secure your products during delivery.  In most cases, insurance is not too expensive. eCommerce shipping companies like UPS and USPS Priority Mail already include coverage for products up to $100. Also, when you pick shipping for eCommerce, check if product insurance is already included in the eCommerce shipping rates. We recommend using insurance for expensive packages that may get lost or damaged. Bottom Line Shipping is an essential part of any online shop that sells physical items. As a retailer, you will face challenges when it comes to implementing eCommerce shipping strategies. Eventually, you will find what’s best for your online store. Before that happens, just take some time to check what works for your customers.  Implementing eCommerce shipping solutions that fit your business will help you keep your customers, achieve low cart abandonment rates, and increase profits.

By Danica Jovic November 12,2021

Many will say that shopping from the comfort of your home is the best way to shop. Luckily, many merchants jumped on board and seized this opportunity - which is why we can now shop without having to get out of our pajamas. Catalogs moved to the internet, and eCommerce (short for electronic commerce) allows you to have everything delivered to your doorstep with just a couple of clicks. ECommerce is one of the biggest industries these days, weighing trillions of dollars. If you are interested in selling your product or service online, you might be wondering, “How does eCommerce work?” Let’s dive in and explain this skyrocketing market in detail. What Is eCommerce? The simple definition of eCommerce is that it is a business model that allows people to buy and sell products and services on the internet. Nowadays, you can buy almost anything through your computer, tablet, or mobile device. It's this convenience that's making it one of the fastest-growing markets. Almost every retail business now has an eCommerce shop as an addition to their brick-and-mortar ones. Online-only retail business numbers are growing each day, too, and many shops have closed their physical doors in favor of an online storefront. After all, sellers want to be where their customers are. So, if you want to become a part of an eCommerce world, let’s discuss what makes an eCommerce store. We'll cover its types, how eCommerce businesses work, and how to start an eCommerce store yourself. What Are the Aspects of the eCommerce Industry? An eCommerce system doesn’t differ much from a regular physical store. It all starts with a product you want to sell. From there, you would need a place to sell the product. In eCommerce, your website is your store - the site takes on the role of the shelves and display, and your customers use it to browse and purchase your goods. The internet is a crowded place, so it will be hard for your shoppers to just stumble upon your store. You have to attract them, so catchy and carefully planned eCommerce marketing will be crucial to your success. Once customers start shopping on your site, they’ll have to be able to order and pay you for the products. You’ll also need to put some security measures in place, as you’ll be dealing with a lot of sensitive information. Figuring out how to get the product to your customers’ doorstep is the next link in the chain. You’ll typically need to sort out a fulfillment method and shipping, unless you are selling digital goods. ECommerce sites also have to handle returns and, if applicable, warranty claims. To do this, you need to find a way to provide support to your customers. In a regular brick-and-mortar business, you have shop assistants to accommodate your buyer’s requests. You can rely on email, phone calls, online forms, or live chat. Depending on your business model, you might want to add additional features for a better user experience and more satisfied customers. How eCommerce Works Typically, your customers will land on your site with some help from the search engine where they looked for a product you sell. They could have also clicked on a paid ad, social media image, or received a recommendation from a friend. Your eCommerce site then presents them with your listed products, with images, descriptions, and prices. The customer browses, selects the product they like, and places them in their virtual shopping cart. If they decide to make a purchase, they will head on to the check-out page. There, the shopper completes the check-out process. They add their payment information and finalize the transaction. The order is then processed by a payment gateway, for example, your bank or PayPal. This step provides secure payment processing. In the meantime, your website provides the customer with information about their order. It could be estimated shipping times, postal tracking numbers, or other information they need to track their purchase. As mentioned, the next step for ​​eCommerce services is order fulfillment - or the actual process of getting the goods delivered. Depending on who stores and ships the product, it could be an in-house team or outsourced to an order-fulfillment company. Of course, the last step is the product arriving to your customer’s address. You want to ensure that the customer is satisfied with the product and service provided, so you might forward them a survey inquiring about their impressions once the order is delivered.  Types of eCommerce Your business model when setting up an eCommerce company will typically fall under one of the four main categories: B2C (Business to Consumer) The first type of eCommerce we’re going to cover here is the B2C model. It’s the one people are most familiar with: A business sells directly to consumers; Amazon is a great example. B2B (Business to Business) The business-to-business model is one where a company sells to another company. Outside the internet, we associate this business model with wholesalers. However, it’s also used by companies that sell ready-to-use software to other businesses, for example. C2C (Consumer to Consumer) The C2C model was popularized by digital commerce platforms that allow regular Jos to sell products or services to other regular Jos. Some good examples of the C2C model are eBay and Etsy. C2B (Consumer to Business) This model is used when a business extracts extra value from its consumer base, like when influencers get paid to promote a product, or customers agree to share their data for market research purposes in exchange for discounted goods. To make understanding eCommerce easier, let’s discuss the different shapes these models can take: Of course, the most common kind of eCommerce is retail - businesses selling directly to their customers. But, there are also wholesale eCommerce sites that sell products in bulk, as well as stores selling digital products to companies and consumers alike. On a whole different level, dropshipping businesses work together with wholesalers, so they don’t have to handle inventory and shipping. Subscription-based eCommerce websites recurrently sell the same product on an agreed schedule. Of course, people can also offer their services on eCommerce sites. Overall, eCommerce can take many forms. As long as someone is selling or buying something via the internet - it is eCommerce. eCommerce vs. Traditional Stores There are many benefits to starting an eCommerce business over opening a brick-and-mortar shop. For example, your reach will be much broader. Expanding your business globally is also much easier to do online, as you won’t be limited to the customers in the vicinity of your physical store. What’s more, one of the many benefits of eCommerce is that your overhead costs are typically much lower. Not only do you get to avoid rent, but your transaction costs will also likely be cheaper. Also, with this type of business, you can rely on different inventory management software for help, and outsource your customer support, instead of having to hire employees. If you decide to join the eCommerce system, it's good to know that the right software can automate many aspects of your day-to-day business operations. For example, with the dropshipping model, entrepreneurs don’t even have to handle inventory or shipping. All the dropshippers need to do is forward the order to their supplier. With eCommerce, there is also no limit or rule on what you can sell. Just like you could order an entire house to be shipped to you by mail via a catalog back in the day, the same goes for eCommerce. Golf clubs, children’s Halloween costumes, plants, or candy - if you can think of it, there’s someone on the internet who’ll want to buy it. Speaking of customers, starting an eCommerce business means earning regulars quickly, thanks to the wide selection of software that can help you establish a connection with your customers. There are also tools to provide excellent support to your buyers and have them rely on you for your product or services for as long as you are in business. However, there are also cons to this type of selling. It takes a bit of a tech-savvy customer to shop online, which narrows the customer base slightly. Also, people might feel reserved about shopping online because they can’t touch or see the product before purchasing. Lastly, there is also the lack of personal shopping experience that some people appreciate. Lastly, the biggest issue is security: eCommerce stores are often targets for hackers, and your customers’ personal and payment data can be in danger unless you introduce strong safety measures. How to Start an eCommerce Business Starting this type of business is no mean feat. You’ve got many things to check off your to-do list before the launch: The first step is, of course, figuring out what you would like to sell. Are you going to offer physical or digital goods, or your services? How will you obtain the products - are you manufacturing them yourself or relying on a wholesaler for your inventory? Once you have these basic questions answered, it is time to research the competition and their prices, and crunch the numbers. This will also allow you to see how saturated a particular niche is and find out what you can do better to rise above other eCommerce companies. It will also give you a great insight into the prices you can expect to charge and pay for running your store. You should use this information and the information on how much it will cost you to fill your inventory to gauge your margins. If the idea is viable, and there is a market, then it is time to start working on your store.  How to Build Your eCommerce Store Typically the first step is to define your eCommerce store’s name. You should have a domain name pinned down before you get down to building the site. Your domain name should match your store's name, and should be descriptive of what you’re selling, so take your time with it. You also want it to be memorable and, most importantly, unique. Building your store is the next step. You can approach this by using an eCommerce website builder or relying on an eCommerce platform to help you get set up. Your store should be easy to navigate, have detailed descriptions of the products, excellent visuals, and a simple payment process. Making your eCommerce web design as memorable as possible and adding as many payment options as possible is a good idea. You should also consider adding features that will help you maintain and promote your store as effortlessly as possible. For example, tools for promo codes or options to start eCommerce sales without changing the price for each product manually. Once your store is complete, it’s time to find your customers. Start by working on your SEO first, then start advertising. There are many marketing approaches you could take, from social media and email marketing, to paid ads. Which one will work best depends entirely on what kind of product or service you’re selling and who your target customer is. Understanding who your perfect customer is will help you narrow down your eCommerce marketing to-do list, and significantly increase your revenue. Even after the launch, your job is not done. You need to keep an eye out on your store’s KPI, conversion rates, and overall performance at all times, and look for room for improvement. You might need to find cart-abandonment solutions, or improve your support system. You’ll also have to manage inventory, negotiate with wholesalers and suppliers, and provide support to your customers. And if you want to have many new customers at all times, marketing never stops, either.

By Vladana Donevski November 04,2021

eCommerce is an excellent field to get into these days as it is one of those markets that keeps growing steadily. Predictions say that global eCommerce sales will hit $4.2 trillion in 2021, which is a considerable cake to cut your little piece of profit from. However, just like starting any other business, it is not the most straightforward task for newcomers. What would you sell, and how would you market it? Is there a profit to be made in your particular niche?  One of the most important questions you will ask yourself is what eCommerce business model you should adopt. Will you open your eCommerce store and handle inventory, warehousing, and shipping? Or, should you consider weighing in on the dropshipping vs. drop surfing debate and use one of these models? Let’s start with a quick refresher course on what dropshipping is and take it from there.  What is Dropshipping? Dropshipping is an order fulfillment method in eCommerce. It comes with a significant advantage over your traditional eCommerce store in that you can outsource a considerable part of your inventory and shipping to someone else. With no up-front inventory expenses, starting a dropshipping business is easy and cheap - all you need is a solid understanding of how to use an eCommerce builder. You “only” need to create an excellent selection of products, market them well, and then provide top-notch customer service. Here is how it all works: A dropshipper creates an eCommerce website, selects their products and wholesale suppliers for those products, and then lists them on their site. Once a customer places the order on a dropshipping site, the dropshipper forwards it to the wholesaler. The supplier takes it from there and ships the product to the customer. All you have to do is source the best products, offer a reasonable price, and make sure your customers are happy with the support they are receiving.  How About Drop Surfing?  Drop surfing is essentially a type of dropshipping that focuses on maximizing profits. This business model is also often referred to as “surfing the wave,” an expression that earned the process its name. Let’s see how drop surfing works in practice.  This eCommerce model operates in the same manner as standard dropshipping, with a single exception. Here, the dropshipper focuses on maximizing their profits on top of their regular dropshipping duties. Many old-school sellers agree that drop surfing is just a smart way to do traditional dropshipping and that the new term is simply a marketing trick.  You can achieve what is considered to be drop surfing in two ways. The first means that you choose a different supplier for each order, basing your choice on where you will get the best deals. It complicates the process slightly, as selecting suppliers is not as simple as it may seem. It works best if you have the time to make sure the new supplier matches the quality of the product and provides equal or better shipping costs and timeframes.  The second definition of drop surfing you will see online is the one that explains drop surfing as switching products on offer to make as many sales as possible. It means doing in-depth research and finding items that are currently trendy or are expected to be fashionable in the future. It is exceptionally time-consuming, and you will be facing a lot of hit-and-miss moments in the lifespan of your online store. Still, if you select the right products, you will undoubtedly make much more sales and earn significantly more money. Now, let’s get back to our debate: drop surfing vs. dropshipping. Let’s cover the pros and cons of each so that you’ll have the information you need when starting your new online business. Pros of Dropshipping We’ve already covered the basic pro of dropshipping: no inventory. With any type of dropshipping model, you don’t have to store any inventory, keep stock of items, or handle the shipping yourself.  With that in mind, traditional dropshipping has some advantages compared to drop surfing. Since you are working long-term with the same supplier, and hopefully, the same customers, you get the unique opportunity to build long-term relationships. Furthermore, you get to build your brand, which is something that will undoubtedly pay off in the long run. Investing in earning a returning customer is much more profitable than constantly chasing new ones.  Also, the most significant benefit to the traditional dropshipping model is the possibility of doing it part-time. Once you achieve a deal with a good and reliable supplier, complete your website, and list your products, your ongoing work is almost done. Since it is predictable, you can also automate many remaining tasks, for example, by using order fulfillment software. It is not something you can do as quickly with the drop surfing model. All you have to do is provide exceptional support, handle an occasional return or two, and work on updates to improve the customer experience.  Cons of Dropshipping As mentioned before, the major downside of dropshipping model is that a major portion of your business is out of your control - the product itself. You cannot control its quality, how it will be shipped, and many other significant aspects of the dropshipping business itself. You should test each provider, but you’ll have to compromise on some aspects. Still, once you manage to score a good supplier, you’re set. Compared to the drop surfing method, the most significant con of dropshipping is the slim profit margin. After all, since it is effortless and cheap to get started, you’ll be facing a lot of competition. They will be offering the same products for next to nothing in an attempt to attract customers. While you can provide your customers with the best shopping experience, nothing stops them from comparing your prices to those on other sites.  You should expect to lose a significant portion of your budget-savvy customers to these sites.  Pros of Drop Surfing The primary positive side to drop surfing is the opportunity to change your profit margins per product by outsourcing the order to a different supplier to get the best price for each product. You are also not tied up to a particular set of products. Instead, you can and should change them as often as possible to get more sales and increase your profits.  It makes for a much more hands-on experience and gives you a faster turnover pace, making it better than dropshipping for some people. “Riding the wave” will undoubtedly skyrocket your sales, especially if you have a knack for marketing. If you have enough customers and market knowledge, you can even become the one setting the trends.  Cons of Drop Surfing First off, drop surfing is a time-consuming effort, and you can’t really do it part-time. It requires constant research and always being on the hunt for cheaper and better products. Also, some aspects of this type of business are a bit difficult to automate. Also, the field of research constantly changes. If you want to maximize your profits, you’ll have to dedicate enough time to your drop surfing eCommerce business. This means dedicating enough time to compare suppliers’ prices for each product manually, as that’s the only way to ensure you’ll have the highest profit margins. Keep in mind -  suppliers tend to change their prices often, so you’ll have to do this repeatedly to achieve optimal results. As your business scales, this will require a much more substantial time investment.  It is also a considerable gamble as you’re not creating long-term relationships with either suppliers or customers. Since your offer constantly changes, you might have to start multiple drop surfing eCommerce websites to accommodate the new trends outside your niche.  Furthermore, once you start changing your selection to accommodate the newest trends, you’ll have to spend a considerable amount of time managing those changes and getting the best deals from your suppliers. It won’t leave you with much time to focus on your marketing efforts, so attracting new customers might prove to be a challenge. Which Method is Better? Since drop surfing is essentially a sub-class of dropshipping, it’s impossible to separate the two business models from each other. When setting up your dropshipping store and adding new products, you are effectively drop surfing. On the other hand, every drop surfing business follows the same order fulfillment model as dropshipping. Both require an eCommerce platform or website to operate. So, there is not exactly a lot of difference between the two to make one intrinsically better than the other. The main difference lies in how much time you have available for your business. You can do drop shipping part-time, but full-on drop surfing requires your complete dedication, especially as your business grows. With standard dropshipping, you can make a decent selection within a chosen niche. You can expect to eventually cultivate a loyal customer base that looks to you for the product(s) they need. You also have plenty of time for focusing on marketing efforts and further improving your customer experience by implementing credit card or crypto payments, for example.  Of course, you can always employ drop surfing software or hire someone to help you out with these parts of your business so that you can focus on finding the best deals or improving your customer support. It all comes down to profit margins - if your business grows enough, you can either expand your dropshipping model with people hired to do drop surfing for you or, alternatively, do that part yourself and leave customer support to someone else.  Which Business Model Should You Choose? When deciding which of these two business models is better for you, think about the following questions: How much time do I have to invest in this? How much do I want to earn?   In this situation, one answer heavily influences the other. If you have enough time and are comfortable doing a lot of research and constantly hunting for a better deal, then one of the two drop surfing models is the perfect choice for you. The ultimate model would undoubtedly be a combination of dropshipping and drop surfing. A careful selection of products and suppliers is a must. However, if you could get a better deal with another reputable provider, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take it. The same goes for finding new products and niches. You should always watch for trending products that could work with your website and the current selection you have on it.  On the other hand, if you are getting into dropshipping as a part-time gig, then a more traditional dropshipping model will work better. After all, once everything is set up and done, you don’t have to spend too much time on stuff like finding new products to rotate on the site. If you have an excellent selection of products that bring decent revenue, you should have more than enough time to focus on scaling.    Whichever method you choose, keep in mind - a happy customer is a returning customer, and you need as many of those as possible to earn a living. Compromising your product quality, not answering inquires from worried customers, or providing poor-quality products for the sake of increasing your margins is never a good idea.

By Vladana Donevski October 29,2021