Retail

46 articles

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

Focus on the Experience

How retailers can win over butterfly consumers.

For decades, the retail model worked: Open a store and consumers will come. Put a brand name or a logo on the item, and consumers will pay more. But then two seemingly unconnected events shook up the long-trusted model. First came the iPhone, a novel telephone with a touchscreen. This hit the market as the […]

Returns: The Latest Battleground in Retail

Retail giants invest in solving the problem of returns.

The latest holiday shopping season posted strong results for retailers. According to MasterCard, sales between Nov. 1 and Christmas increased nearly 5 percent – the largest year-over-year gain since 2011. What’s more, e-commerce growth jumped 18 percent compared to the year before, with Cyber Weekend alone racking up a record-breaking $6.6 billion in sales, according […]

5 Ways to Make Global E-Commerce Easier for Everyone

Small businesses face many hurdles to going global, but e-commerce brings us closer to an inclusive global economy.

‘Tis the season to shop online. Rather than braving the high street, why not open your browser? E-commerce sales worldwide hit an estimated $25.3 trillion in 2015 and have grown since. The internet makes buyers and sellers more visible and accessible to each other locally and globally. The international bit is really interesting. The opportunity […]

Our Top 5 Retail Articles of 2017

A year-end look at the best retail content from Longitudes.

The companies that best adapt to the consumer-led revolution will win the future – period. That principle applies to retailers, logistics providers and any business looking to provide solutions to customers at the click of a button. As the retail landscape undergoes rapid transformation – and the line between physical and digital stores continues to blur – it’s […]

Our Top 5 Podcasts of 2017

A year-end look at the best podcasts from Longitudes.

We fully embraced the podcasting craze in 2017, launching Longitudes Radio in October. The mission? To bring more conversations about where the world is heading straight to you. In our inaugural season, we explored how UPS is building the Network of the Future, talked about the qualities of an effective public speaker and predicted what blockchain […]

Reimagining Business: How to Cater to the Customer of the Future

Customers want to be empowered. To do that, companies must move from producers to enablers.

Meet Dawn. She’s never been to the doctor’s office, but she visits her doctor every week. She’s constantly shopping, but she’s never waited in line. Her apartment recognizes her face. She doesn’t go into the office, she logs onto a platform. She doesn’t have a resume, she has ratings. She doesn’t have a boss, she […]

4 Factors Driving the ‘Age of the Consumer’

The origins of e-commerce lie in the distant past. Its future, however, is ripe for disruption.

Malcom McLean, a trucker from North Carolina, isn’t a household name – but you have certainly benefited from his innovation. Today’s global economy would not be possible without the intermodal shipping container, or the box, pioneered by McLean. This box helped standardize ocean shipping, shrunk the world of commerce and enabled global trade by reducing […]

Retail Revival: Can Stores Make a Comeback?

Physical retailers have distinct advantages that can spur business growth – as long as they evolve with their customers.

Though several major retailers have filed for bankruptcy protection this year and others have closed thousands of stores, all seemingly at the hands of online commerce, reports of the death of retail are greatly exaggerated. In fact, research shows that the industry is booming and that stores still matter. Recent data from the U.S. Census […]

How Cognitive Computing Is Reshaping Retail

The old retail playbook is no longer an option. Luckily, digital consumers are leaving clues for us to follow.

Cognitive computing is forever changing how we shop. How? Consider your social media activity. What did you post on Facebook this week? Twitter? Snapchat? You are sharing your one-of-a-kind digital footprint with the world through images, videos and chats that detail likes, dislikes, emotions and opinions. Retailers know they can “distinguish themselves by providing value […]

Learning to Walk

Here are five lessons forward-looking companies can learn from my infant daughter.

As my 1-year-old daughter begins her journey toward mobility, she teaches me something new every day – and not just on the need to block the stairs and pad the fireplace. In the new global e-economy, companies and professionals are scrambling to respond to the infancy of this new order of commerce. From company boardrooms […]

4 Things Distributors Can Learn From Retailers

Industrial distributors would be wise to take a page out of retail history.

Several years ago, retailers stood at a crossroads: With e-commerce and shifting demographics disrupting the once-storied retail business model, they could either adapt or risk becoming obsolete. Now distributors find themselves in the same position: They face the most profound business model shift in decades. Generations of businesses have relied on industrial distributors to ensure […]

Digging Deeper With Omnichannel Analytics

What if retailers could do even more with all the data they collect?

Where do you do your shopping? If you’re like me, you’re all over the place. I’ll see a shoe I like in a magazine or on a fashion blog (Jessica Simpson’s are my personal fav) and start researching reviews, prices and availability online. Then, because comfort is key, I’ll find a store where I can […]