Industries

137 articles

E-Commerce, Exports to Turbocharge the Vehicle Accessory Industry

Ahead of the 2018 SEMA Show, let’s look at the greatest opportunities for aspiring automotive leaders.

The Specialty Equipment Market Association likes to say its members don’t sell products that customers need. SEMA members sell products that customers crave, products designed to customize or enhance the performance, handling and appearance of their vehicles, both new and old. Exhaust, suspension and body kits. Spoilers. Custom wheels. Horsepower-enhancing engine modifications. Restoration parts for […]

Driving Transformation

It's essential that original equipment manufacturers establish firm digital foundations to define themselves as next-generation automakers.

When it comes to buying a car today, connected technologies are the new deal breakers. According to the recent Car Tech Impact Study from AutoTrader, 89 percent of buyers are willing to wait for must-have technology features, and nearly half would switch brands to get the features they want. It’s no surprise then that a recent IBM […]

Send it Back!

Here's how smart retailers box up their reverse logistics strategies.

Buy something online, and there’s more than a one-in-four chance you’ll send it back. Consumers who use e-commerce return their purchases 25 to 30 percent of the time, says a study by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). For brick-and-mortar stores, the return rate is just 9 percent. […]

3 Ways Small Business Can Play (and Win) Big

Why the little things make all the difference for upstart companies.

If we do business today the way we did yesterday, then we won’t be in business tomorrow. That axiom always reminds me to keep an open mind to new ideas, trends and strategies. It’s part of the reason why, in 2014, after enjoying a successful career in banking, I left it all behind to buy […]

Bridging the Skills Gap

Apprenticeships could help solve employment challenges around the world.

Editor’s note: Today is Manufacturing Day in the United States, and dozens of manufacturing companies around the country are opening their doors to teach students more about the evolving industry. There’s no doubt manufacturing has a bright future, and that bright future needs an equally bright workforce. In this article, UPS’s Frank Sportolari explains a tried-and-true […]

Lighting the Way to Industry 4.0

Companies embracing new technologies and business models need beacons to show the path.

With all the talk of rapid advancements in digital technology, it’s important to remember that while this issue of Longitudes may have been delivered digitally, it’s consumed from a physical device. Our lives are built around physical items that start with the sourcing of physical materials manufactured, assembled, stored and shipped to a home or […]

Navigating the New Industrial Landscape

Here are five tips to survive the most unforgiving terrain in business today: after the sale.

In today’s increasingly competitive industrial distribution industry, thinking beyond the point of sale is essential for cementing customer loyalty and as a means for differentiation. Simply selling products is no longer enough – industrial buyers now expect a higher level of service with that product – and they are willing to shop around for superior […]

E-Commerce Made Easy

A conversation on Ware2Go and other solutions to the most vexing small business problems.

Click here to listen to a conversation between small business expert, Steve Strauss, and Leo Schafer, CEO of PR Diamond Products. There’s good news for small businesses: The playing field is leveling. The e-commerce boom – no doubt, the biggest game changer in recent years – has opened a world of opportunity for businesses of all sizes. […]

3 Reasons You Need to Embrace Digital Manufacturing

Why logistics companies can lead the charge into the fourth modality of transportation and additive manufacturing.

The manufacturing and logistics model is a well-oiled machine. Traditionally, manufacturers make and store products while logistics companies deliver them using one of the three modalities of transportation: air, water and ground. However, leading logistics providers like UPS and cutting-edge tech companies like Fast Radius are tapping into a fourth modality, using the internet and […]

Think You Know Your Customer?

Think again – tapping into the psychology of the consumer.

Getting to the heart of consumer behavior may be key to success, but it’s a daunting task. Turning to psychology can help. From a psychological perspective, human emotions and motivations are some of the biggest drivers of consumer behavior. Studies suggest that the factors influencing purchasing behavior are 80 percent emotion and 20 percent logic. […]

Why Listening Is the Most Important Tool for Customer Satisfaction

Building a business on sunflower seed butter cookies.

Sharon Early’s company – Early’s Edibles – launched in stores in 2014 after three years of research and hundreds of recipe tests. In her previous life, Sharon spent 25 years in the fashion industry – during which time she used baking to ease stress from her job duties and long commute. Back then, her go-to recipe was an […]

A World of Opportunity for the Automotive Aftermarket

The world is open for business, and now is the time to cross borders and find new opportunities for success. So, what are you waiting for?

In this increasingly connected world, doing business across borders isn’t as complex as it once was. Purchasing something from another continent is almost as easy as walking to the neighborhood market – though deliveries may take longer. That’s changing business. The recently released Global Pulse of the Online Shopper found most consumers in Canada, Brazil […]

Understanding Sustainability and E-Commerce Packaging

Quantifying the true cost of damage and impact can lead to truly sustainable outcomes.

A few years ago, on my way to the office, I was listening to a radio story about the quarterly earnings of a major U.S. retailer. In the story, losses from damaged goods were lumped in the same financial earnings/loss bucket as retail shrinkage and theft. This type of financial reporting is not surprising, as […]

How the Final Mile Will Define Your Brand

Delivery wherever and whenever is virtually upon us. Don't let your business get left behind.

For years, consumers were loyal. They picked a brand, a store and a variety and stuck with it. Times have changed. Loyalty no longer exists in the way that it did for our parents. As consumers, we are less tolerant and less patient. The world around us has become immediate, and consumers will jump for […]

A Path Forward for Artisans

E-commerce offers artisans an opportunity to capture international markets. But how can they become an even bigger part of global trade?

What comes to mind when you think of handmade goods? Perhaps you remember a trinket you bought during a trip to the beach, a piece of furniture made of indigenous materials or traditional art from a luxury store. These days, artisanal is its own category. The artisan economy has boosted trades like woodworking and weaving, […]

A.I. Comes of Age

How artificial intelligence will revolutionize customer engagement.

Siri, what’s the weather like in New York this week? Alexa, play playlist, jazz classics, in the living room. Just a few years ago, you would have wondered what on earth I was talking about with these two statements. However, now you’re likely very familiar with this type of conversation. Artificial intelligence (AI) has in […]

Tips for Manufacturers in Mexico to Boost Industrial Purchases

Here are four ways for Mexican suppliers to keep their current customers while attracting new ones.

Mexico might not be the first country that comes to mind when one thinks about industrial buyers and global trade, but smart manufacturers realize e-commerce is creating plenty of opportunity in one of the world’s largest exporting countries. Roughly 95 percent of Mexican buyers have purchased products directly from manufacturers – up from 74 percent […]

5 Ways Brick-and-Mortar Stores Can Thrive Today

The future of the physical store isn’t about purchases. It’s about events, experiences and brand associations.

Rarely a week goes by without news of a household high street name shutting up shop or closing stores. The rise of online shopping, or e-commerce, is widely blamed for the demise of traditional retail. Yet people are spending more money than ever – just not on the high street. In many ways, the offering […]

Brazil’s E-Commerce Market Is Booming

With some notable policy fixes, Latin America’s largest economy will drive business growth across the region. Here’s how your company can ride Brazil’s e-commerce wave.

From the outside, Brazil’s fast-growing e-commerce market looks like a huge opportunity for retailers. Simply put, Brazilians have embraced online shopping with their well-known zest and inimitability. Even as the country’s economy – the largest in Latin America and the second-largest in the hemisphere after the United States – has struggled to recover from its […]

Boosting E-Commerce in Asia

The growth of ASEAN is directly tied to the growth of trade in the region.

The growth of e-commerce has brought both opportunities and challenges to Southeast Asia. Though a powerful enabler for ASEAN’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who today can instantaneously reach new markets, e-commerce has also created new challenges. Left unaddressed, these threaten the long-term viability of cross-border e-commerce. Overcoming barriers in Asia  According to the Organization of […]

Turning a Passion for Wine into an Omni-Channel Business

Studying and tasting Italian wine was once just a hobby for Luigi Cattaneo, an information technology veteran of 25 years. But when Cattaneo realized that he could transform his passion for fine wine into a successful omni-channel business, he and his friends created the wine bar and e-commerce site Bibentes.

A few years ago, Luigi Cattaneo was frustrated with his career in IT. He had handled projects involving B2B and B2C, direct and indirect sales, brand and product management, and more. Over the years, he had worked with a diverse range of people at several companies. But, says Cattaneo, “The products were starting to feel […]

Brands Haven’t Kept Up with the Ways Customers Use Products

There’s a daily tug of war between long-term brand building and short-term sales goals – brands must be relevant, useful and entertaining.

Here’s a truth: Many in the marketing industry today don’t really understand brands. Today, when there’s more of everything – more channels, more choice, more speed, more confusion – it’s fair to ask: What is a brand? To answer this question, we have to think about what has changed during the last decade. The emergence of the […]

Running with the Big Dogs of E-Commerce

(Even if you're just a pup).

In a global digital economy, size doesn’t matter. The world’s electronic commerce system has transformed retailers into e-tailers, attracting and retaining consumers around the corner and around the globe. So, brands of various sizes and scope can now compete on the new global playing field, valued at $2.3 trillion and projected to almost double by […]

5 Trends Transforming the Industrial Space

Distributors need to learn and adapt to customer needs through technology, talent and innovation.

The industrial market’s rapid transformation, which I wrote about last year,  continues unabated. The sector is drawing increased attention as the old-fashioned supply chain reinvents itself for the new business landscape. Here’s what we’re talking about right now: Millennials: You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating. Millions of Boomers will retire this year, leaving […]

Inside UPS’s Electric Vehicle Strategy

It's time to rethink the return on investment for cleaner technologies.

Passenger electric cars get all the press, especially when someone launches one into space. But something important is going on in the world of commercial vehicles as well. Last year Tesla announced it would produce an electric long-haul big rig. PepsiCo, Walmart and UPS promptly committed to buying a few hundred. More recently, UPS made an important […]

The Next Frontier: Selling Auto Parts Online

Smart dealerships see e-commerce as a friend – not a foe.

All dealerships – regardless of specialty or volume – would be wise to pay attention to this statistic: Twelve percent of online shoppers reported that they purchased automotive parts accessories in the last three months, according to the latest UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Study. While that is a small percentage, it is growing […]

Printing Heads: 3D Printing Launches a New Era in Aircraft Design

New technology helps engineers speed up development and remove design constraints.

Just a decade ago, the idea of 3D printing metal parts directly from a computer file seemed like science fiction to many people. But the technology is quickly growing up. There are few better examples of its promise than the GE Catalyst, a new advanced turboprop engine GE Aviation started testing in December. More than one-third of […]

Whittling Away Cash Flow Woes

Capital shortfalls are a leading cause of business failure – and even profitable, rapidly growing companies are not immune.

Sourcing from overseas suppliers allows U.S. manufacturers to lower their production costs and grow their gross margins. But working capital challenges can overshadow those offshoring benefits for small and mid-sized industrial buyers. That’s something my company, Teknatool USA Inc., recently discovered when we experienced a prolonged period of rapid sales growth. We sell lathes, drill […]

Europeans Embrace Online Cross-Border Shopping

Trust, transparency and convenience are the stepping stones to e-commerce success.

The internet has reduced the world to a global village in the past few decades. Shopping has now become a global experience, enabling retailers to market and sell their products to customers anytime, anywhere.  At the same time, shoppers have equipped themselves with smartphones, 4G and various payment options like Apple Pay, PayPal and others. […]

The Way We Make Things Is About to Change

These 3 trends are driving the adoption of new printing presses.

Tooling – the process of designing and engineering the tools necessary to manufacture parts – was the essential technology behind the early industrial revolution. It allowed manufactured goods to go from humans to machines and powered the production of complex mechanical inventions like the steam engine. With new economies of scale driven by machines, raw materials […]