SmartBlog, November 14, 2011
How B2B companies can create long-term sales engagement with social media
This post is by TJ McCue of TechBizTalk.
One of the challenges of business-to-business sales is that it has such a long funnel — compared with consumer goods one might buy on a whim. You’re looking at several connections, possibly with multiple people before you get to “yes.” How do you keep that connection alive long enough to make the sale?
Most B2B customers and prospects don’t want a call from you. They might want a relationship, but they probably want it on their terms, not yours. At the core of any deep B2B relationship is one essential skill or trait: The ability to listen and empathize (with a customer’s experience, in this case). The top brands are able to use that skill to establish authentic communication — authentic in that it creates trust and a willingness to keep the relationship alive.
I asked a few of the top minds in the B2B marketing field for their best advice on how to create and maintain lead relationships — and how to convert those leads into customers over time. Here’s what they had to say.
Nate Gilmore, vice president at Shipwire
If you are trying to get a brand new customer from the Web and get them to immediately buy a product/service, then [pay per click] is a conversion engine because the buyer search string often clearly articulates a buy signal that you can respond to with an offer through PPC. There is usually a high drop off between click through to offer and the higher barrier of getting the credit card; but that is where conversion optimization and cost per acquisition tools/ecosystem has had 10+ years of practice helping sellers.
When it comes to products with a longer sales cycle, driving repeat conversions and softer benefits like each fan now being a viral channel into that fan’s friends, then acquiring fans merits consideration. Perhaps you have a product in development or a marketing campaign that is more evangelical/idea-based, the softer/easier/less friction conversion to a fan page will be easier and have a much lower cost of acquisition. Because you acquired a fan, not a buyer. I consider fans or followers to be more like a newsletter signup. It’s the intermediate step to acquire a “name” that then needs to be marketed to for conversions.
Read the full article Here.
Internet.com, May 22nd 2008
Is your e-tail business growing and managing your own warehouse and fulfillment is draining your resources? Do you want to buy inventory from overseas, but you can’t confidently navigate the import process yourself? Maybe you simply want discounted shipping rates and don’t want to pick-and-pack product? Shipwire… can help you by cutting costs with its storage and delivery service that integrates with your inventory and payment processing. Read more. | PDF Version.
Below are some interview questions if you would like a place to get started in preparing your interview of a Shipwire representative. By no means do we limit responses to just these questions. We simply provide these to help you identify where you would like to focus the time you spend with us, which we really appreciate.
General Shipwire focused Questions
- What is Shipwire?
- Shipwire is an Interesting idea, where did it come from?
- What type of merchants is Shipwire a good fit for?
- How does Shipwire integrate into a merchant’s existing shopping cart?
- What carts does it integrate with?
- What are the charges and set up fees for a merchant to use Shipwire?
- Where are the Shipwire warehouses?
- Why do you have so many warehouses? Most order fulfillment companies have 1.
- Give us an example of how Shipwire can reduce shipping fees for a merchant.
- How can a merchant track shipments to its customers using Shipwire?
- How does a Shipwire powered merchant handle returns?
- Does a merchant have to send you all their inventory, or just what they want you to fulfill?
- How do merchants get inventory to Shipwire?
- If a merchant wants to go into Canada or the UK, how can Shipwire help?
- Does Shipwire help with B2B/wholesale/retail compliance in addition to B2C?
General Industry Questions (not just about Shipwire)
- What is “order fulfillment”?
- What are some pit-falls to watch out for when outsourcing order fulfillment?
- Why would an Internet retailer/merchant use an order fulfillment company?
- Why should merchants choose Shipwire for their fulfillment needs?
- What is the difference between B2C and B2B order fulfillment?
- How important is location for order fulfillment?
- What should a merchant ask when investigating an order fulfillment provider?
- How can order fulfillment outsourcing save a merchant shipping costs?
- How does an order fulfillment company work with a retailer?
- What is pick and pack versus Lick ‘n Stick®?
- Where do people go to get order fulfillment pricing? Internationally?
- What shipping options do merchants use in Canada? UK?
- How is international order fulfillment different from consolidating shipments?
- When a merchant ships internationally what do they need to watch out for?
- Do merchants need to do tax different or register their business when they move inventory internationally?
- What is retail compliance and how does EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) factor in?
Industry Trend Questions
- Why are U.S. merchants experiencing a surge in International shipping requests/orders?
- What impact has the dollar had on international shipping?
- PayPal made cross-border monetary transfer easy, why is shipping not as easy?
- How can merchants enter the U.S., Canadian or European market, if they are not from that country?
- What are some pitfalls for sellers/retailers that ship goods internationally to Canada, UK or Europe?
- With fuel prices increasing, what do you recommend to merchants to keep shipping costs low?
- Why do you recommend storing inventory in multiple warehouses?
- the parcel carriers (UPS, FedEx, DHL, USPS) seem to be raising rates annually, is there anything a merchant can do about that?
- Is it possible for a small merchant to have the supply chain efficiency of a Walmart® or Costco®?
- What does a Fortune 500 company do for warehousing and shipping?
- Why would a business want East and West Coast warehouses?
- For Importers, how do you recommend they set up their inventory supply chain?
- Drop ship is a common term now, what is it?
- What are some of the pros and cons of drop ship?
- Do drop ship distributors ship International?
- What happens to retailers if a drop shipper runs out of product?
- Is the margin small for drop shippers?
- How does a merchant move from Drop Ship to being a “true” retailer? How hard is it?
- How can Shipwire help a struggling drop shipper?
- What outsourced business automation tools should a merchant look into?
- For merchants that are reluctant to outsource, what would you tell them?
- What benefits can a merchant that outsources order fulfillment expect?
- Should merchants be careful outsourcing order fulfillment to a warehouse that is also a retailer?
- Do you have some type of guide for merchants to get ready for the holidays?
- Do you have some type of timeline for merchants to work around for importing goods for the holidays?
- Do you help merchants import?
- How big of a role does foreign sourcing play for merchants today?
- Do you have any tips for merchants that want to source inventory internationally?
Entrepreneur Magazine, April, 2008
With a virtual warehouse service, all you have to lose are rent and delivery costs. Doggypads.com founder Mark Stern was thrilled about outgrowing his 3,000-square-foot leased warehouse–until he discovered that moving to a larger one would eat up his 4-year-old company’s margin advantage over competitors. But instead of opting for an old-world warehouse fulfillment service, the million-dollar pet supply company linked up with a Web 2.0 service provider called Shipwire, simulatenously avoiding a capital expenditure and reducing shipping costs overall. “As it stands now, Doggypads saved 66 percent a month on rent by [using] Shipwire over our own warehouse,” says Stern, 34, whose company is based in Los Angeles. “Those savings continue to increase as our volume grows–not to mention the costs we’ve offset or eliminated by using a third-party fulfillment company.” Those costs include insurance premiums and expenses related to employee management. Read more. | PDF Version.
AuctionBytes, March 24, 2008
Ecommerce solutions provider Zoovy announced a strategic integration with fulfillment service Shipwire. The new integration allows Zoovy’s merchants to store merchandise and fulfill orders from multiple warehouses throughout the US and Canada. Shipwire is connected to the Zoovy checkout and order solution, sending orders directly to the Shipwire Store-Sell-Ship platform. When customers order from Zoovy stores, Shipwire picks, packs and ships the products. Senior Director of Marketing and Business Development for Shipwire Nate Gilmore said, “Shipwire and Zoovy both enable merchants to focus on growing their business by eliminating the day-to-day hassles of running an Internet retail business. Working together we expect to help merchants streamline their Internet and fulfillment operations to more easily enter, and be successful in, domestic and international markets.” Read more. | PDF Version.
CIO-Weblog, March 24, 2008
“Shipwire has four warehouses available in North America (and are experimenting with another in Great Britain). Of course, the part that I find most interesting is the integration, and Shipwire is ahead of the game there; they have an impressive list of software which their system works with out of the box, and they publish their API for other developers to work with as well.” Read more. | PDF Version.
Geekpreneur, March 20, 2008
“When you”re a one-man band, you have to do everything — even the sorts of jobs that had a boss asked you to do them, would have had you storming for the exit. While hiring help can be one useful solution, many small business owners are faced with a Catch 22: paying employees lets you focus on the most valuable parts of your business and boosts growth; but it also requires capital”¦ which you won’t have until you”ve achieved that growth. When it comes to one of the most difficult (and frustrating) aspects of running a small business — the logistics of delivery and warehousing — there is a way out of this vicious circle. The whole system is very simple. You just have to ship your goods to Shipwire’s warehouses, send them your orders — together with the delivery fees — and they handle everything for you.” Read more. | PDF Version.