Have you ever bought something you weren’t shopping for just because it was conveniently there? Of course, who hasn’t! You went to the store for toothpaste, but came home with socks, deodorant, and grabbed a chapstick at checkout.
The digital world has changed the retail landscape, now you can buy anything almost anywhere. How can your online business capitalize? Simple. Multichannel marketing.
What is multichannel marketing? It’s a means of marketing to your customers through various direct and indirect channels such as emails, direct mailers, retailers, websites etc.
Why is multichannel important? As a real estate agent would say it is about “location, location, location.” The same principle can be applied to your sales channels, find out where your customers are buying and meet them there. Multi-channel isn’t a new concept that was invented by the internet, Nike didn’t become Nike by only selling in JCpenny stores.
In order to stay competitive, you must offer your products in multiple markets. The struggle for anyone attempting to manage these marketplaces, whether you’re using them as a platform, part of a DSV (dropship vendor) program, or simply selling directly to the vendor, is order fulfillment and inventory integrity across all channels.
This is where One World Direct can help!
- OWD has integrations with over 60 marketplaces and platforms.
- OWD can allow you to maintain one central inventory with updates on stock levels to all of your channels.
- OWD has multiple facilities and years of experience dealing with vendor compliance, DSV (drop ship vendor) and direct to consumer order fulfillment.
Naming a company or a product is a tricky proposition. In the end, no matter what name you choose, there will be advantages and there will be risks. A sound naming strategy has a plan to deal with those risks.
The name Apple has some strong advantages. It’s original and unexpected, two of the company’s brand attributes. It sounds friendly and fun, qualities the company wants to convey. It also comes before Atari in the phone book, which was a big deal when the company was launched.
The risk with the name Apple was that the company wouldn’t be taken seriously. That could have been a death sentence. Apple mitigated that risk by creating products that had cutting edge technology and turning themselves into an industry leader.
Imagine how a person feels telling a friend, “I bought an Apple.” Now imagine the way a person feels telling a friend, “I bought a Lenovo.” How do people feel when they say the name of your company or product?
Sometimes when I tell someone I’m a Creative Director they’ll say to me, “I wish I were creative.” For some reason there is a widespread notion that you have to be an artist to be creative. That just isn’t true.
At One World Direct, we pride ourselves on harnessing the power of creativity in all departments, not just Design and Marketing. When one of our Call Center representatives has a customer on the phone with an issue she hasn’t been trained on, she has to use her creativity to solve it. When our IT team is approached with a project that has no precedent, they use their creativity to discover a solution. No industry is cut and dry. There are always special cases, situations that don’t have a standard operating procedure in the manual. Creativity isn’t just knowing how to paint or play an instrument, it’s solving a problem that’s never been solved before.
Tom, our Co-Founder and CEO, started his career as a musician. As he made the transition from playing gigs to starting a company, he realized something he has told me many times: building a business is one of the most creative things you can do. At One World, we’re all in the Creative Department because we all get excited about figuring out ways to do things that haven’t been done.
Is your company trying to do things that haven’t been done? Are you looking for a partner who shares that same philosophy?
They aren’t slogans or tag lines either. A brand is the way a person feels about your company, especially when that feeling is strong enough to cause a person to act (buy your stuff, complain on social media, etc.) This has a couple implications.
1. Your brand isn’t what most people feel about your company, it’s what each individual person feels about your company. Dave Carroll was a loyal United Airlines customer until they broke his guitar and refused to pay for a new one. Their actions changed the way he felt about their brand. So he wrote a song called “United Breaks Guitars,” put a video on youtube and changed the way millions of other people felt about the United brand.
2. Your brand isn’t what people think about your brand either. When people camp out in front of the Apple store, they aren’t doing it because they think they’re going to get something cool. They’re doing it because they feel so excited that they can’t sleep, they can’t stay in their house, they can’t let anything stop them from getting that device.
When you start a rebranding project the first question isn’t what colors should we use or what should we do with the logo, it’s how do people feel about our company? How do we want them to feel? What can we do to effect that change? The answer might not have anything to do with a logo or a tagline.
The thought of shipping internationally can seem daunting, but selling your products overseas offers huge potential for expanding your business. Use the tips below to help you make an informed decision.
Think you can ship whey protein powder to the UK? Think again. Every country has restrictions on what they allow to be brought across their borders. Before you offer international shipping, figure out which countries permit your product. You can find a list of country import prohibitions here.
Taxes, Duties & Fees
Once a customer completes an ecommerce transaction everything is already paid, right? Not when their product is being shipped internationally. Upon arrival, extra fees are due before the shipment can be released. You don’t want the customer to refuse the package because they were unaware of extra costs. Get an estimated amount so you can inform them.
International Shipping Carriers
When determining a shipping carrier, the main consideration is country of destination. USPS, FedEx and UPS go to different countries and prices and policies vary considerably.
International Shipping Documents
Governments require specific documentation to monitor goods coming into their country. The most common delay in shipments arriving to the customer is inaccurate information or missing forms. The link above provides helpful hints on determining what documents you’ll need.
Update your Website
You’ve conducted your research. You know which countries you’re shipping to, the additional fees required and the documentation needed. Now it’s time to let your consumers know. By setting up an international section on your website, you can give your customers the information they need before they make a purchase and ensure a happy transaction.
International shipping opens up great horizons for a business, but it does come with a lot of work. If you need a partner, One World Direct can help. We give our clients international shipping support, carrier discounts and we even have a creative team that can update your website. If you’d like to learn more, contact contact us.
Today, my summer intern asked me about my measure of success. Was my goal to get big enough to go public or get sold, he asked? It was a timely question from him, as there as been a lot of recent merger and acquisition activity in our industry. This is typical for a new industry and is neither good or bad – exits happen! M&A activity simply underscores the need to understand the goals of critical business partners. Some clients of the acquired companies listed below will be thrilled to be part of larger organizations, while others will bemoan the upheaval that comes with a change in control.
Here’s a quick run-down of the M&A and investment activity in our industry:
- PFSWeb, a publicly traded fulfillment and call center operation, took a $15 million “strategic investment” from Japanese outsourcer Transcosmos. After a year in which they lost two big clients, PSFWeb also announced a new CEO and new board members.
- Webgistix, a VC-funded fulfillment operation from NY State, was acquired by Rakuten, another big Japanese firm who aims to challenge Amazon in the U.S.
- Newgistics, a freight company, acquired AtLast Fulfillment. Newgistics pulled an IPO a couple of years ago, citing unfavorable market conditions. Perhaps they acquired AtLast to boost an upcoming IPO?
- Last year, publicly traded software distributor Navarre acquired Speed Fulfillment Company. The interesting aspect of that acquisition is that Navarre had hoped to re-position themselves as an e-commerce fulfillment player. A year later, Navarre is abandoning their 330,000 s.f. Minneapolis distribution center and consolidating into Speed’s Texas facility. It now looks like Speed bought Navarre – more of a reverse merger. (We know a bit about Navarre as they had inquired if OWD was available for purchase two years ago. Nice people. We politely declined.)
- Then there was eBay’s acquisition of GSI Commerce, which was proceeded by GSI’s acquisition of NewRoads and several other marketing companies. eBay most recently invested in Shipwire, who has taken several rounds of outside funding.
I told my intern of watching PSFWeb go public, of hearing about Shipwire’s venture capital investors and of being a bit envious. At times, I wondered if One World Direct should also take outside money to speed our growth. Years later, I’m happy that we stayed independent. I like knowing that I can look our clients in the eye and tell them that we’ll be around tomorrow and that the buck does, indeed, stop with me. I told him that my measure of success was in living up to our name. When I can walk into OWD offices around the world, I’ll be satisfied.
Thomas E. Unterseher
Co-Founder & CEO
One World Direct
In 2010, Micky Schweitzer of One World Direct was at a photography workshop where she met Travis Gugleman and Lori Nordstrom of the charitable organization Dando Amor (The name means Giving Love in Spanish). Travis and Lori started Dando Amor to help children in Ecuador live better, fuller lives. Over the years, they’ve helped supply food, blankets, furniture, and even donkeys to orphanages there.
Recently, Travis and Lori organized a shoe drive, collecting 700+ pairs to send to Ecuador. But, they needed the means to ship them, so Micky asked Tom if One World could handle the job and Tom was happy to say yes. We provided boxes, pallets and LTL shipping from our facility in South Dakota to Idaho, where the shoes were then sent to Ecuador.
Our Mission as a company is to enable greatness in our clients, community, company and selves. It takes employees like Micky to make that happen. We want to thank Micky for the work she’s doing and for bringing this work to our attention. We’d also like to thank Travis and Lori for their work to help children in need.
To learn how you can help Dando Amor in their mission, visit their website at http://www.dandoamor.com/
I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Matthew Wyne, One World’s new Creative Director. I worked with OWD on a freelance basis over the past two years on our new brand identity, website and collateral and I was thrilled when Tom and Heather asked me to join OWD full time.
One World Direct began as One World Distribution back in 1994. Originally, fulfillment was the only thing we did. But over time, as clients expressed a need for ecommerce and call center services, we decided to build those capabilities in-house instead of referring our clients elsewhere. Having all the resources you need in one place makes your life easier. It makes your operations more efficient. And it helps keep your brand consistent at each customer touchpoint.
One World has reached a stage where branding and advertising are necessary for our continued growth. Many of you are at the same point in the growth curve of your companies. I’m here to help you clarify your brand, crystalize your marketing strategy and design messaging that delivers on your brand promise. I’m here to help you grow.
Ecommerce is changing the way we live and do business. For me, it’s a fascinating arena to explore new ways of building brands. If you’d like to talk strategy and design, please get in touch.
I’m a big sports fan and I enjoy listening to ESPN’s Colin Cowherd. The other day he was talking about the trust between a quarterback and a wide receiver, and the point he was making was that quarterbacks don’t necessarily trust the tallest, fastest, flashiest receiver on the team. They trust the receiver who practices the hardest. They trust the receiver who never takes a play off. They trust the receiver who puts in extra time in the offseason practicing with them. When the quarterback is being chased down and he only has a split second to get rid of the ball, he doesn’t look for the flashy receiver, he looks for the guy he can trust.
At One World, we don’t want to be the flashiest, we want to be the company you can trust. When things don’t go according to plan, we want you to know you can count on us to handle things the way you would handle them. Take a look at our values page. When decisions have to be made quickly and we don’t have time to consult you, we’ll make a decision based on our values so make sure they’re in line with yours.
When you get a flashy offer from another company promising low prices, do some research. Will they put you in touch with their current customers so you can ask them how well the company has met its promises? If it’s a fulfillment company, what kind of emphasis do they put on receiving? Are you going to be left high and dry if a vendor shorts you in an order and you don’t realize it until your stock unexpectedly runs out? If it’s a call center company, how well do they treat their employees? Are your customers going to have an uneven experience because the company has a high turnover rate?
It’s easy to cut costs, skimp on services and publish flashy price sheets that appear to be a great deal. It’s a lot harder to build a reliable infrastructure and a company culture that ensures high employee retention. We aren’t the biggest and we have no desire to be the cheapest, we strive to be the best. If you have any questions about our company infrastructure and how it can save you time, money and headaches, please drop us a line.