A short post from me after coming across this retail gazette post on an Amazon forum entitled "Quiet or Technical Issues?" (Azon login required for sellers).
If you trade online and have noticed a severe drop in sales you're not alone.
According to Retail Gazette sales decreased by 1.3% in September and this was the worst decrease since records began.
The BRC advised that Brexit is to blame with consumers gloomy about making purchasing decisions.
Seller forums on Amazon also tell a story with many sellers reporting up to 60% down on this time last year. For many there is no sign of the ramping up of sales for Christmas usually experienced at this time of year.
In fact sales growth has once again fallen into the red.
So what can you do if you are experiencing a lull in sales on Amazon, Ebay and your own websites?
Look at your costs carefully. What can you make an instant daily saving on.
I'm sure there are many things but one I'm personally bound to mention is the massive saving that my brands have made on shipping.
By using the Tracado system to eradicate using Recorded Delivery for the most part I have seen around a 95% saving on what I might otherwise be spending...
...whilst at the same time actually increasing the perception of service by our customers.
Register to learn more about tracado here.
If you've ever studied the process flowchart that Royal Mail use to deal with returns of undelivered standard mail I think you'd agree that it's actually fantastic; all volumes considered, the timing and accuracy of Royal Mail returning mail due to non-delivery (incorrect address, refusal, not collected etc.) is truly outstanding.
Whilst Tracado helps to massively reduce claims of non-delivery by separating out the mail cheats, you do still genuinely want to receive back any item that is not delivered for genuine reasons.
So be certain to follow our essential guide to returns address below which reinforces the goal of the Tracado system by helping to reduce temptation as your items travel through the Royal Mail network.
Remember: you want genuine returns to come back to you and most importantly you want to stop serial and opportunist mail cheats from opening non-delivery claims on your business.
Tracado is excellent at that. So now you do your part and make sure your returns labelling is spot on too!
Everyone's putting their prices up. taxes, energy, TV Licence fee, healthcare, insurance, food, water. See this BBC article for the latest detail.
But have you ever wondered why it's so difficult to put your own prices up?
If you're a trader on online marketplaces such as Ebay or Amazon that means you are likely to be competing heavily on price, so putting your prices up may be difficult.
Even if your own costs are going up you may be reluctant to increase your prices due to FOMO; the fear of missing out on future sales.
How the Amazon Algorithm Works to Reduce Revenue
It's simple enough.
Online marketplaces such as Amazon and Ebay need the buying public to keep coming back to their sites.
One way of achieving this of course is to offer low prices,
So let's briefly look at how coders program algorithms in a way that reduces your revenue.
Buy now boxes and top spots given to sellers offering
Lower prices and offering free shipping is high on the Amazon agenda. In fact an Amazon email to sellers dated 7th May 2019 stated: "Remember, delivery is one of the most important parts of the e-commerce experience. A report by Temando (July 2017) suggests that 86% of UK shoppers prefer free over fast delivery. Remember also that customers love low prices."
So you comply...
But, you work out your margins to find your margins erode with time and you're less and less. It only takes a couple of damaged returns or non delivery claims to harm the margins you once enjoyed.
How are you able to increase your competitiveness in such harsh conditions?
In a race to the bottom you have to look at your costs seriously and look at what costs you can reduce.
Can you get your products at better rates? Buy more perhaps? Can you look at decreasing the prices of the packaging you use to ship?
Reducing Shipping Costs: The Key to Profit Increase
If you use Royal Mail and you think shipping costs are pretty much fixed think again.
For sellers using any kind of registered delivery then switching to using Tracado creates and immediate cost reduction of up to £1 per item.
It has been said that it's like comparing apples with oranges because RM tracks and Tracado merely gives the illusion of tracking.
However use the Tracado system correctly and there's no reason why you shouldn't see a comparable reduction in non-delivery claims as we experienced during our extensive testing period (over 99%).
If you've ever looked at the Royal Mail returns process on standard mail you'd agree that it's actually brilliant; volumes considered, Royal Mail's timing and accuracy of returning mail due to non delivery (incorrect address, refusal, not collected etc.) is outstanding.
This should give you the confidence that any item sent standard mail is more likely than not to see its way back to you if it is undelivered for any reason. If this is true - which it is - then most buyer Where's My Stuff claims are false in that the item has been delivered with though one of the following scenarios has taken place: -
If item not RTS, it's a fake claim and you've been had...
Statistically if a buyer opens a non-delivery claim and the item isn't returned to the sender then it is likely to be a false or fake claim and sadly you've been had.
In Tracado tests we sent over 30,000 items with a retail value of £30 with Royal Mail Standard Class 1st and 2nd mail.
In all of the few buyer claims of non-delivery that were opened, each of the items were later returned by Royal Mail as undeliverable for some reason (incorrect address, addressee no longer at property etc.)
Start Saving £1 per Item on Your Shipping Costs
So you want to reduce buyer's claims of non-delivery and you've decided to use the Tracado System.
Now you want some help deciding between QR coded mailing labels or barcoded labels .
Is there a difference? Which are best?
So, aside from the obvious aesthetic differences to the two types of label here's a quick run through of the differences and benefits comparison.
Barcoded mailing labels
QR coded mailing labels
You're sick and tired of it... seeing the words "Case opened" or "Where's my stuff?"
We get it.
We used to have that across all of our brands, well those that involve sending a physical item to end users.
Not any more though.
Just like you, our MD, Lee Cunningham got fed up with the time cost, financial cost and heavy burden of dealing with 'low-down, fake, cheating, malicious fraudsters' that order products and then see the absence of a registered delivery method as their ticket to a free product by way of a refund.
"Theft by false non delivery claim was happening to me multiple times a week about five years ago" says Lee. "I was already operating on narrow profit margins due to competition so the prospect of adding £1.10 to each item (was a little less five years ago), was simply not an option."
"I knew there must be a key to reducing non-delivery claims without paying for expensive registered delivery...
There's a key to reducing non-delivery claims without paying for expensive registered delivery...
I got to work on a system which is now known as Tracado. It's an incredibly effective deterrent that separates out fake fraudulent malicious claims made by mail thieves from genuine claims of non-delivery.
Tracado was tested heavily over a number of years and over 30,000 mail items multiple business, brands and products against a control. It is now used as standard across all applicable products.
The system is consistently successful in reducing claims of non-delivery to near nil levels for items that don't use any form of registered delivery and it works day after day, week after week, month after month, season after season and year after year.
Tracado's separates out genuine claims of non delivery by combating potential false claims from malicious cheating buyers.
It's very simple and very effective.
It's the perfect tool for sellers on marketplaces such as Amazon, Ebay, OnBuy and other e-retail channels who want to stamp out fake / malicious claims and enjoy higher profit margins on their goods.
Let's face it, the activities of the online market places are constantly sending competition higher and higher between sellers and driving prices down; it's how they get customers coming back...
Retail is struggling. If you increase the price on your listing you'll 'lose your place'; your listing will slide below the fold and off of page one; before you know it it's no longer getting the same amount of sales.
Tracado allows you to revitalise your margins by making you competitive again. You'll be so confident of Tracado's ability to delivery (quite literally!) without paying for registered services like Signed For and Special Delivery that you'll be able to be competitive again
If you're a business sending physical items to customers and you're tired of getting cases opened on Ebay, A-z claims on Amazon, PayPal resolution centre issues and credit card chargebacks... all due to fake fraud malicious mail cheats claiming non-delivery of their item...
Or if you'd simply like to switch from using Royal Mail's pricey registered delivery services we'd strongly recommend giving Tracado a try.
Why some mailing labels are more effective than others
The task of our labels is to reduce claims of non-delivery by separating out fake / fraudulent claims.
Testing conducted over an extensive period proved that each of our labels have varying efficacy. There is an overall 'winner by far' when it comes to reducing non-delivery claims.
Businesses should carefully consider which mailing label is right for them before ordering.
Most effective: Medical
The single most effective mailing label is our medically themed label. It doesn't matter what's inside the packet. This label produces the best overall result for reducing malicious claims.
But why is that?
The science is yet to be confirmed but it would seem that our medical label's success boils down to a combination of moral values and deterrent.
It's almost as if the deterrent causes the system to have a certain efficacy and then the 'moral values' bit takes the success to an even higher level.
But again, why?
Perhaps any reasoning is down to attitudes held by the kind of people who are closet opportunists; most of the time they're honest members of society however given the opportunity they're capable of mail theft.
Such people may be likely to agree with the following: -
Whilst stealing is simply plain wrong, when survey-takers are pinned down and given the hypothetical scenario that they must steal from either someone poor or someone rich, most often they select 'rich'.
It's classic support for the perceived underdog.
So maybe the reason why the Tracado medical label works best is due to a similar rationale; "I'm not going to steal from someone who has a medical condition."
Or maybe the it's down to the following: "The contents of the package appear to be of a medical nature and are therefore unlikely to be of use or value to me."
Whatever the reason/s our medical mailing label continuously ranks #1 across all selling seasons and product sets year on year.
During the testing period two hazard warning triangle images were split-tested on our mailing labels.
One label featured an eye symbol and the other featured an exclamation mark. The label text / script remained unchanged.
Though both labels maintaining a sound efficacy for reducing the number of non-delivery claims from customers, both instances of the hazard warning label received higher scan levels than any other label.
The hazard warning symbols generate a higher curiosity and people scan through to the seller's Delivery Confirmation Page more.
Whilst a custom logo on mailing labels may add a positive experience to end users, it's wise to consider the possible outcomes of using this approach.
Decision makers at businesses should consider if the presence of their logo may reveal their product set and if such might be detrimental to the goal of reducing non-delivery claims.
Eg. A mail item presented with a logo from a business known to retail tech products may increase the 'curiosity' of mail thieves / opportunists who have contact with the item whilst on route to it's intended destination.
This could have a negative effect on the goal of non-delivery claim reduction. Businesses should carefully consider whether their brand, product set and reputation may be to the detriment of the intended goal.
Do you dread seeing the words "WHERE'S MY STUFF?"
Are you suspicious when a buyer claims they haven't received their item?
Have you ever dealt with a non-delivery claim feeling that you've been cheated by a mail thief?
Join 1000's of other online sellers and tell us your experience and thoughts as you deal with buyers from Amazon, Ebay, OnBuy and even your own website when buyers raise a case for non-delivery of their goods.
The Big Short Survey is only a few questions long yet it's the biggest survey of its kind because we're inviting all Tracado customers to complete it.
So have your say today.
Take part in The Big Short Survey