The Importance of Research For E-CommerceWhen the option to sell hair extensions became available, there were so many things that were unknown to the new entrepreneurs entering the market. Information on e-commerce is essential. Nevertheless, everyone progressed the best way they knew how and penetrated the mainstream market with bundles galore! Now that sew-in extensions have become a staple in the online beauty market, it's natural that those trying to grow their business move past the plateau. It is essential to expand your business past the borders of your home country, cater to your customer’s personality, and protect yourself from those trying to steal your hard-earned coin. Keep reading to find out the trends of the e-commerce hair industry and how it can ensure you can sell more hair than ever before!
An International MarketCan you believe that the World Wide Web has not enabled us to take advantage of selling our products online internationally? Yes, while we're able to connect via social media to friends in Paris, parts of Africa, and even South America; unfortunately, the entrepreneurial class of the US has not been able to tap into online retailing in major markets overseas. Surprisingly, this includes the beauty retailer market as well. You would think with hair being such an international business and the majority of hair coming out of the east it would be so easy to get wholesale hair extensions to ports in Africa and other underserved markets.
The ProblemOne reason it’s hard to tap into an international market is the restraints put on markets to serve as barriers of entry to foreign countries. This helps to prioritize the selling of domestic goods first. The second reason is the security of the products. Unfortunately, it is very challenging to make sure that the merchandise you're selling to your customers overseas actually reaches them. In the event of a stolen package, the customer does not feel like they should be on the hook for the money, but that would leave you without pay and your product. As a result, a lot of retailers have just decided to not participate in selling goods overseas.
The SolutionIt’s 2019, and it's time to change the way we look at international selling so that you can get your share of the global dollar. Private Label Extensions does not cater to an overseas market at this time. But, that does not mean that we do not work with people who live outside of our standard shipping territories of the US and Canada. A lot of our wholesale hair extension customers who do not live in the regions we serve will circumvent our international limitations by using this three-step system below:
Step #1Direct us to ship to a coastal state.
Step #2Hire an independent mail carrier to pick up their order from a post office box.
Step #3Ship it to there home country or the country that are doing business out of. While we're only liable for the hair until it reaches the PO box, services like this are more attractive to entrepreneurs wanting to succeed in the international market. You can get insurance through some independent post carriers and a lot of the time they can work as a fantastic work around and trusted partner for your business. This is especially true in places like Africa where there is a huge market and so many different countries, but it's such a challenge to get merchandise there. Another way to serve an international market is to open up your business team to partner with an international traveler that you know and trust. This of someone who takes frequent trips to a country overseas that is interested in your market. Taking advantage is a way to expand your business into a market that is virtually untapped by other small hair businesses in the west is the way to go.
The Power of the Smaller Brand (Multi-channel Commerce)The amazing thing about big sites like Amazon is that they reach out to the small business to sell their products as a third-party business. Why would you want to sell on another retailer’s platform? Well, small businesses made over $11 billion in the first quarter of last year on Amazon alone. Using the established platform as a way to sell products and another site to put their inventory on only expands your product’s visibility. Not to mention, partnering with a smaller brand is potentially a way for more prominent retailers to stay afloat. Walmart pushes their third-party opportunity with small businesses because it's also a stream of income for them. Some of you might be saying that you have already tried to reach out to Amazon to sell your extension line via the retail giant. However, because sew-in hair extensions are so new to mainstream industries that can sell to masses of people, a lot of the times these companies are asking a lot of questions that they need answers to before they can let you set up shop! They realize that hair is extremely risky because it is coming in from all different parts of the world. U.S. Customs tends to hold up a lot of shipment, and that could lead to a lot of complaints. All of this does not mean that you cannot sell some other things from your assortment via these other commerce channels. Edge control and mink lashes are not subject to the same hold up as hair, and they're also not susceptible to the same fraud. Pro Tip: Keep in mind, influencers are also creating their own influencer our shops on places like amazon.com. Get them to team up with you and use Amazon as a platform! You could bring in more sales than you would on your own as a hair retailer.
Personalization & A Direct Sales ApproachDo we take personalization for granted? As customers, probably. We know that marketers have access to so much data and information about us and our shopping habits. We pretty much expect for the merchant to understand how to cater to us to get us to buy their products. If the merchant doesn't do that successfully, then we move on to the next company that knows who we are and how we like to communicate. As a customer, you know this, but now as a business owner, you need to be able to execute the same thought process. You can successfully do that through behavior analytics.
Behavioral DataBehavioral analytics is what you should use as a retailer to find out who your customer is. It shows how your customers shop online via websites or mobile apps. This is beyond your site analytics of clicks, page views, and bounce rate. It shows you how customers interact with and engage with the product. The best behavioral data that you can track is an event. An event is something like a customer signing up for an account on your site or watching a video on your site that you created and posted! Once you know how people are responding to your platform, you can then tailor the content to them, even more, to give them the personalization they are looking for. Do all the events matter? No, but the events that lead to your customer purchasing hair extensions, yes those matter. For example say you have a video on your website detailing how to make a wig. An excellent event to track would be how many people click on the video, then after watching the video. How many people click on the bundles that were used in the video, presumably to create a wig! After looking at those numbers, you would then be able to decide if you needed to include more to tutorials your page. You could prove that tutorials lead to sales and revenue. If the behavioral analytics are low and your page visitors aren't responding, you don't need to waste your time creating that type of content. You can then redirect how you are selling!
BotsWe are living in the land of the robots! Artificial intelligence and chatbots are a massive thing for e-commerce businesses, especially small businesses. A chat box is typically used to help out with small customer service tasks like answering frequently asked questions. They can also aid in dealing with the forms that a customer may need to fill out online, and basic customer service needs. When you think about an e-commerce business a lot of people, don't think about a massive big-box retailer because they have such a physical presence. Instead, you think about someone who is either expanding their brick-and-mortar store with an e-commerce presence or someone who solely has an e-commerce business. They are typically running a small business with less than ten employees and customer interaction, though essential and crucial is not the only thing that they have to focus on. Chatbots are being created to help reduce tasks that can be time-consuming but don't need to take up the time of the owner of a business. For example, if you're starting out your e-commerce curly hair extension business, you can use a chat box to help answer customer questions like: ‘What is your shipping policy for a bulk amount of bundles?” or you can use it to answer questions that a customer may have in your live chat service. The chatbot enables you to save money because by using artificial intelligence the chatbot can do a lot more than a special expert would in less time. They're so appealing because they cater to the easiness that entrepreneurs seek when it comes to completing difficult tasks at-scale and a lower price.
Fraud ProtectionThe hair industry is riddled with fraud, and in 2018 the cons are expanding. I don't know why everyone loves to target the hair extension industry, maybe because hair is so easy to flip. Nevertheless, you need to ensure that the customers purchasing your hair are legally buying the product. This is the only way you won't be losing out on profit and or product. Your customer can use a stolen credit card to pay for bundles of hair and you could lose both! Private Label Extensions has a system in which they check the customer's ID and credit card. This happens before shipping out orders over $300! This information is verified to protect both the customer and the company. You would not want to get a picture of one person’s ID and a picture of someone else's credit card and go ahead and ship that because then you would be facing fraud liability. Private Label Extensions also refuses to ship to addresses that do not match. Purchasing hair and wanting it sent to a different location could be a sign of fraud.
Other Forms of FraudFraud can also be in the form of trading in products. For example, someone can order two bundles of body wave extensions from your hair company. They will wait to receive the package and then claim that you have missed shipped their order. If you have no systems in place to verify what went inside the box, you may have to pay for return shipping. They can claim it's an error. Then they could send you back hair extensions from another hair store, of lower-quality, and expect a refund. In this instance, they would be trying to bait you into giving them both great hair and their money back! You would be giving them hair for free! To circumvent all this, you can take pictures of the orders. Ensure that you are following through with invoices. This covers your business with a type of quality control. Private Label Extensions starts to key in on the orders at or above $300. However, do not think that fraud cannot happen. Reports show that credit card information can be bought and sold illegally for as cheap as $15 per credit card. This means that your data is easier to get now more than ever! Cons can purchase batches of credit card information. Once on, the card is flagged they can quickly move onto another. Criminals are aware of the limits that banks set. Due to this, they are making smaller purchases. They are trying to get away with scamming lesser amounts of money.
The Importance of Trend WatchingResearching the best ways to conduct your business in the future is the only way your business will grow. If you do not keep up with the trends of your industry, you will fall victim. Don't be swept up by newer business entering into the arena! Always consider new ways to grow your business and capture more consumers, expand your platform, and streamline your administrative tasks. This is so you can focus on affording and executing the next innovations that come into your industry. Have you looked ahead to what researchers are saying will impact the 2019 e-commerce market? Leave a comment below and let us know what you’ve found out!
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