Mastering online sales reaps big rewards for small businesses.
Ask business owner Ken Baker of Dream Big Printables. Baker's decorative and inspirational art prints are sold on Amazon Handmade, where his business has grown over 200%. On Cyber Monday alone, more items were purchased in Amazon's online store from independent small and medium-sized businesses like Dream Big Printables than ever before on a single day. For Baker, sales were up more than nine times over a typical day, making Cyber Monday his best day ever.
Baker's experience is common among small and medium-sized businesses selling their goods in Amazon's online stores. Overall, it was a record-breaking holiday season for independent third-party sellers in Amazon's stores - mostly small and medium-sized businesses - with worldwide unit sales seeing double-digit year-over-year growth, surpassing a billion items sold.
For small business Brittle Brothers, "Amazon has single-handedly taken us from a company 'getting by' to a company that is actually paying all our bills and having some extra to throw in the bank," says owner John Spalding, who was inspired by his great-grandmother's peanut brittle recipe to create Brittle Brothers.
Brittle Brothers' Amazon sales are up more than 250% over last year.
"Our best day ever on Amazon was Dec. 21, 2019, when we sold 164 units in 24 hours," observes Spalding.
How can your business crush holiday sales?
You know the holidays are coming, so plan well in advance, ensuring you have adequate inventory, staff and preparation.
"Making the most of the holidays on Amazon for us was making sure we had enough inventory, so that we never ran out. On Valentine's Day 2019 we ran out of brittle and lost 10 days' worth of sales. We swore then and there that when the holiday season began in mid-October, we would not run out! And we didn't," says Spalding.
Handmade Artisan Michelle Rutta of Your Heart's Content agrees.
"Because we hand make our items, we need to work ahead of the holidays. We make our products year round just to fulfill orders during the holiday season," explains Rutta. "It requires projecting sales, cash flow, labor needs, materials needed, purchasing materials and coordinating a production schedule. We do anything possible during slower months, including tweaking listings, taking awesome photographs, planning social media posts and designing new products. That enables us to better fulfill the influx of orders during our busy months."
Master social media
Having a multi-faceted online presence increases visibility - which is more important than ever when competing with everything else out there.
"We have Instagram and Facebook pages and make posts that encourage interaction with our followers. Through the snowball effect of sales, we've also had influencers take notice of us," says Rutta. "They purchase our products, feature them in their homes, post them on their social media platforms, then provide links where they get a small commission. It's mutually beneficial because they engage their followers and beautifully style our products in their homes."
Social media also goes in two directions: It's not just about putting your face and products out there, but also watching what others are doing so you know what's hot - and what's not.
"We invest a lot of time learning the nuances of social media," explains Rutta, "as well as analyzing home decor trends."
Optimize your sales channels
For small businesses, learning how to use Amazon's tools and services makes a huge difference:
• Baker boosted revenue for Dream Big Printables to two of his all-time best sales days using Lightning Deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
• Baker also uses Fulfillment by Amazon - shipping inventory to Amazon, which then picks, packs, ships and handles customer service for his orders. This enables Baker's products to be eligible for free One Day Delivery. Amazon reported more than 100 million items sold by independent third-party sellers - mostly small and medium-sized businesses - were shipped with Prime Free One-Day Delivery over the holidays in the U.S.
• Spalding expanded The Brittle Brothers' sales into Canada via Amazon.ca and plans to launch in the Middle East.
• Dream Big Printables and Your Heart's Content boosted visibility with products featured in Amazon's first-ever Small Business Gift Guide, which drew in hundreds of thousands of U.S. shoppers.
To learn more about the millions of small and medium-sized businesses selling in Amazon's stores, visit: amazon.com/supporting-small-businesses. To explore opportunities to build your business with Amazon, visit: Amazon.com/buildyourbusiness. (BPT)
If you were to take a quiz to test your ability to identify common emojis and road signs, how do you think you'd fare?
According to the results from a recent survey by Mercury Insurance, 1,890 respondents did not do so well. The meaning of the "yawning" emoji was correctly identified by 85% of the respondents, but only 31% of quiz-takers correctly identified the meaning of the "lane reduction" road sign. Additionally, 71% knew the "in love" emoji, but the "keep right" road sign was correctly identified by only 51% of quiz-takers.
Emojis are continually being added to our texting and messaging vocabulary, and for the most part, we're able to keep up with this ever-changing landscape. Fortunately for the more than 200 million licensed U.S. drivers, road signs are highly regulated and consistent, and are designed to help keep drivers safe and easily guide them to their destinations. The bad news, however, is that far more people are able to identify emojis than road signs. And what's worse is that many times they're looking at these cute little icons while they're driving.
"Sure, emojis are a fun, modern-day form of shorthand, and may be more intuitive, but there's a time and place to use them, and behind the wheel of a car isn't one of them," said Kevin Quinn, vice president of claims and customer experience at Mercury Insurance. "A picture may be worth a thousand words in some cases, but it certainly isn't worth getting into a collision and risking someone's life. Most collisions are avoidable if drivers focus on their main task of safely operating a vehicle."
Distracted driving - anything that takes a driver's attention away from the road, including texting and talking on a phone - accounted for 3,166 fatalities in 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Texting while driving is extremely dangerous, as it takes your eyes off the road for five seconds on average - whether you're reading or sending the message.
The results of the quiz also highlight the importance of knowing what each road sign means, so you and those around you are safe. "These signs are instantly communicating to drivers what actions to take, much like emojis instantly communicate what friends or family members might be trying to convey in a text," said Quinn. "It's OK to only somewhat understand an emoji, but it's imperative to know exactly what a road sign is telling you; otherwise it could lead to disastrous results on the road where no one can afford a misunderstanding. And being an attentive driver who knows the rules of the road and safely gets where they're going might earn you a smiley face from your auto insurance company, just don't read it while you're operating a vehicle." (BPT)
The ad, short for advertisement
The common goal of an ad (or advertisement) is to sell a product or service. Or to create brand awareness to either a targeted or mass audience.
The main parts of an ad and what to consider for your next ad campaign.
1. Visual images
The image can be a photo, illustration or all typography. You can have one main image or many. The amount of visual imagery depends on the size and application of your ad. For instance, you should never use six images in a quarter page ad. Stick to one image or use typography as your main visual.
Small ad space = less content
Large ad space = more content
2. Headlines Matter (see the VW example)
A headline is the main text on your ad. This should be short, but attention-grabbing and well-written. The words will depend on what you are selling and to whom. For instance, if you are selling high-end diamond jewelry to a high-net-worth group you probably will not use the words “Discount or Free.” However, if you are selling a food item, free and discount could work.
You have seconds to grab attention; therefore, some thought and brainstorming of the headline is a good idea.
3. Body copy aka text
See number 1.
Small ad space = less content
Large ad space = more content
The amount and quality of copy are essential. Remember who your audience is and what you are selling. As well as the size of your ad. All of these points are important. If you do not have well-written copy, then consider using bullet points to talk about the most important features of your product or service. Keep your client or customer in mind when you do this. Ask yourself, what would they care about or want to know about my company?
4. Your contact information
• Phone number (yes, this gives you credibility)
• Your company’s physical address. If you are e-comm only, then your town and state should be on your ad
If you are purchasing a larger ad, then consider adding your social handles. A call to action (CTA) or a coupon (if appropriate) are other elements to consider.
A well-designed Ad can help you sell your product or service. The common goal of any ad is to sell a product or service or to create brand awareness to either a targeted or mass audience. Size and quality matter.
Can you think of a great headline or memorable ad? Let us know.
Recently we have been busy with new branding projects which includes logo designs for new products; this is exciting because these types of projects are what we look for and love to do.
Our design process is simple. For those of you looking for a revamp of your current logo or if you are a new start-up and need help, check out the steps below. We hope this will help you in finding the perfect fit for a design company.
The number of retail brick and mortar businesses is shrinking fast from big city streets, suburban malls and small-town Main Streets. The problem is everywhere you look.
Photo by Ashim D’Silva
Diversification is key.
By David Cohen
When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in January that the site’s News Feed algorithm would further emphasize posts from friends and family, publishers that hadn’t diversified across many platforms faced a reckoning.