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Whiplash: The best of 2021

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Another year, another round-up of the most popular content on the blog! We’ve pulled from our archives a selection of the best-performing posts to celebrate another fantastic year at Whiplash. 

We hope you have a happy new year and look forward to seeing you in 2022. 

1. Dropshipping vs. Wholesale: Which method should you be choosing?

With the numerous different ways that merchants can fulfill online orders, it’s not surprising that there’s confusion over which method is best. 

When comes to dropshipping vs. wholesale, it’s a combination of order volume, inventory management capabilities, and brand equity that will determine which method is right for you. 

While dropshipping offers low start-up costs by avoiding the need to invest in storage space, you’re also sacrificing the ability to build brand awareness – a crucial tool in a competitive market.

Every strategy comes with a sizeable list of pros and cons that your business will need to consider to find the optimum approach. Check the full comparison in our post:

2. How to measure ecommerce success: 10 ecommerce metrics to track

What exactly is ‘success’ in ecommerce? It’s not as simple as how many units you’ve sold or the number of likes your posts receive on social media. Success is a mixture of metrics that all brands should be using to build a picture of where their business is at.

illustration of two people talking next to a data chart.

3. Centralized vs. decentralized warehousing: Which is best for your business?

Your warehousing strategy is essential for successful fulfillment, so you want to make sure that you’re not accidentally leaving money on the ground by using the wrong model for your business.

Optimized warehousing means orders reaching customers more quickly at cost-effective shipping rates, enhancing customer satisfaction and lowering operational costs. Meanwhile, poor warehousing means less flexibility, which can cause your growth to stagnate.

The debate over centralized vs. decentralized warehousing has reached new heights, thanks to the pandemic and the resulting boom in online shopping.  With brands now having to reach customers anywhere at any time, you need to make sure that your fulfillment strategy has the necessary scalability and responsiveness to meet consumer expectations.

4. The pros and cons of D2C fulfillment

Direct-to-consumer fulfillment is all the rage right now as brands look to increase their profit margins and avoid the worst of supply chain challenges. But is it actually a good fit for your business?

55% of consumers now say that they prefer to buy from brands directly, rather than through intermediary sellers. It’s a lucrative market, but you need to make sure that your brand has the necessary scalability to handle order volumes that could spike with a moment’s notice. If issues arise during shipping or fulfillment, it’s up to your brand to put it right – or your reputation could be on the line.

Our opinion? D2C fulfillment can be rich in rewards for merchants. But only if you’re willing to take the leap into managing the shopping journey from end-to-end. 

5. How to calculate your ecommerce return rate: 2020 statistics and best practices

No retailer is a fan of returns, but it’s essential to understand how to measure your return rate correctly. Otherwise, you could be missing out on valuable opportunities to optimize your return management strategy.

illustration of a person holding up a graph

The percentage of sales that end up being returned to your store is not the full story; there’s a world of difference between your customer asking for a refund versus exchanging one product for another. The former signals the end of the customer relationship, while the latter indicates that your customer wants to continue supporting your brand. 

In sum, your brand should be doing anything it can to take exchanges the more attractive option. But first, you need to know how to measure it. This post tells you how:

6. Cryptocurrency in ecommerce: What you need to know in 2021

2021 marks the year that cryptocurrency finally went mainstream, with retailers including Starbucks and Home Depot now accepting it as a payment method. 

There are two key things that consumers look for when shopping online; the security of their payment information, and having maximum flexibility in how they choose to pay. Cryptocurrencies tick both of these boxes, giving brands a valuable edge in a highly competitive market. 

Amid the seismic changes bought about by the coronavirus pandemic, many consumers are viewing cryptocurrency as a practical solution to the issues they see in traditional commerce – which means major opportunities for early adopters.

7. Beauty and the blockchain: How blockchain technology is changing the beauty industry

Blockchain has far more applications than just digital currency. Beauty industry has been at the forefront of levaging these innovations to create not only better customer experiences, but better products.

Millennials and Gen Zers are natives in the world of digital shopping, and this has made the cosmetics industry a massive disruptor in the world of ecommerce. From AR experiences to curated subscriptions, beauty brands have been quick to search for new ways to enhance the shopping experience and strengthen customer relationships.

In this post, we dive into five ways that blockchain technology is revolutionizing beauty offerings:

  • Supply chain traceability
  • Product authenticity
  • Loyalty rewards programs
  • NFT collectibles
  • Personalized products

8. How to product sample effectively in ecommerce

Customers love experimenting with new products – especially when they get to do it for free. Adding a free sample or two into your online orders is a great way to surprise and delight your customers during the post-purchase experience. 

But running effective product sampling campaigns is both an art and a science, so it’s important to know exactly what your goals are before you get started.

Whether you’re looking to stimulate activity in the review section of your ecommerce store or highlight a brand-new product, product sampling is a brilliant way to give something back to your customers while also giving yourself a strong platform for marketing.

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Find out the golden rules for product sampling in ecommerce (and the mistakes to avoid):

9. How to reduce packaging waste in ecommerce

The pandemic has led more consumers to shop online than ever before, resulting in higher levels of packaging waste. But as consumers grow more conscious about sustainability and their carbon footprints, the environmental impact of ecommerce is becoming a bigger talking point.

The problem is that most ecommerce packaging simply isn’t designed with sustainability in mind. It has a singular purpose in getting items safely to the customer. This is known as a ‘linear economy’, where items move through a one-way process of production, use, and disposal – the opposite of sustainability.

We look some of the ways that ecommerce brands can tackle the problem of packaging waste at their own online store:

10. How to embrace the rise of O2O retail

Today’s consumers don’t want silos between selling channels; they want to be able to shop in a way that suits them and their needs. By blending together online and offline shopping capabilities, O2O (Online-to-Offline) strategies aim to maximize convenience and flexibility for consumers, resulting in increased sales and brand loyalty.

O2O retail enables retailers to find the best of both worlds, bringing together the convenience of ecommerce with the immersiveness of physical retail. Strategies like BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick-up In-store) and in-store returns give consumers greater flexibility and choice over how they shop, creating more streamlined, satisfying shopping experiences. 

O2O marks a big shift in how we conceptualize retail; Make sure that your business to be on the right side of this shift!

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