News from Digital Main Street

Check Out March Events at Rogers Small Business Centres

Vickie Reichardt | March 16, 2017

Have you heard? Small-business owners across Canada are discovering Rogers Small Business Centres, located inside Rogers retail stores from coast to coast, where entrepreneurs can book an appointment – free of charge – with a Small Business Specialist to get one-on-one expert advice on Rogers products and services.

And there’s more: Rogers Small Business Centres also regularly host free events where small-business owners can gain valuable insights and network with their peers. If you haven’t yet checked one out, now is the time to register!

This March, Rogers Small Business Centres will be hosting an exciting series of workshops aimed at tackling a universal challenge for time-strapped small-business owners: how to boost productivity when you’re already overwhelmed and overworked running your company.

Among the speakers slated to appear are:

  • Productivity expert Ann Max, a motivational speaker and the President of consulting firm Productive to the Max
  • Vancouver-based social entrepreneur and Business Growth Strategist Hilary Kilgour
  • Valeri Hall Little, founder of Intandem, who specializes in helping small business owners streamline their operations and battle burnout
  • “Master Productivity Ninja” Jill Mallet of Think Productive, a firm that provides time-management solutions to small businesses
  • Futurpreneur Canada’s entrepreneur-in-residence, Chad Fryling

Whether it’s whittling down the number of emails in your inbox to a more manageable number, figuring out how to make the most of your apps and tech, or just getting some tips on how to improve the way you work, you can learn from local experts at Rogers Small Business Centres this March – and leave with a plan that will help you stay productive and competitive.

To find out more about dates and speakers for events at Rogers Small Business Centres in your area, or to register, visit Seating at events varies depending on the location, so be sure to register early to secure your spot

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Tips and tricks for efficient packing and shipping

Canada Post | March 16, 2017

Don't pay to ship excess space and weight

One of the most important aspects of efficient packaging is choosing boxes that fit your items easily and safely without leaving unnecessary excess space or adding excess bulk. Size and weight determine how much you'll pay to send your item, and nothing runs up costs more quickly than paying for superfluous space.

READ ALSO: How to set up a home office that helps improve productivity

Tip: Test a few different sizes and styles of shipping products and focus on finding ones that work for as wide a range of products as possible - you won't want to have to keep dozens of different box sizes on hand.

Standardize your systems

Decision-making leads to delays in fulfillment and delivery, so take thinking out of the equation for packers by coming up with clear guidelines.

Tip: Create a checklist that breaks down each step of the process so every employee knows the necessary steps, from picking the right-sized box to knowing how items should be placed in order to protect against damage, and how to properly seal containers before they're shipped.

Organize your warehouse effectively

The better you organize the area where products are warehoused and packed, the better you'll be able to handle fulfillment. Keep best-selling items close to the packing area (or pre-pack them if you prefer) and store them on easy-to-reach shelves. Don't put heavy items up high - it just makes them harder to access. If certain products are often sold together, make sure they're kept next to one another in your warehouse. Label aisles and shelves with large, clear signs so no one has to spend too much time searching for items. Finally, set up your packing area so all necessary materials, such as scissors, tape, and labels, are laid out in a logical, orderly fashion.

Tip: Set aside space to store items that have been sold but not packed, and clear another spot for orders that have been packed but are waiting to be shipped. The less clutter and confusion in your system, the better off things will be.

Get ready ahead of busy sales periods

Every retailer knows the weeks leading up the Christmas holidays, starting with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, will see serious increases in sales. Chances are, however, that there are other stretches of the year when you'll be busier than usual. Expedite order fulfillment during periods of peak demand by preparing packaging materials in advance.

Tip: Prior to peak periods, bring in extra staff to pre-build shipping boxes, fill them with packing peanuts or bubble wrap, and attach basic labels. If there are certain products you expect to sell a lot of, pack a whole bunch of orders in advance. The more work you do ahead of time, the easier it will be to ensure your deliveries arrive in time for key holidays.

Quality packing materials are worth the cost

Resist the temptation to cut corners when it comes to buying boxes and packing materials, such as foam caps, polystyrene peanuts, and bubble wrap. The extra money you spend on higher quality products will add up over time, but those costs will be offset by avoiding losses from damaged and broken items,

Tip: The added protection you get from using top choice materials lets you to ship items in smaller boxes, reducing shipping costs.

Communicate shipping policies to your customers

Customer relations are an essential part of good business; so don't forget about the questions and concerns of buyers when it comes to shipping and delivery issues.

Tip: Build a FAQ page for your website with answers to common questions about order fulfillment, returns, and delivery times. Update it to reflect any changes at busy times of year and include contact details for customers who can't find the information they need.

Verify addresses for new customers

From time to time, buyers will input an incorrect or out-of-date address into an order form. Send a shipment there, and it will end up back at your business or lost.

Tip: Before shipping to any new customer, verify their destination address is correct. A few seconds now could save you headaches and hassles later on.

You can also use our AddressComplete™ tool to verify your customer's address instantly and easily.

Avoid price surprises by using a shipping calculator

Before you set shipping prices for your products, make sure you have a sense of what it's actually going to cost to get them to your customers' mailboxes. The best way to do that is by using a shipping calculator. Enter the dimensions and weight of your package, and the destination, and you'll get an estimate of the final price.

Whether you're starting a new business, or looking to update current protocols, your packing and shipping procedures can probably use a once over. Make these processes as efficient as possible and you're sure to end up saving time and money in the long run.

Sign up for Canada Post Solutions for Small Business™ to save on shipping and direct mail – it's free.

READ MORE: Small business survival tips for staff vacations

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E-commerce returns: from costly complication to competitive advantage

Canada Post | March 16, 2017

Returns are a reality and yet they represent the greatest disconnect between consumer expectations and merchant strategies. In fact, fewer than half of Canada Post's top 200 e-commerce retailers offer the returns experience demanded by Canadian consumers.

Read our latest free whitepaper and discover how providing shoppers an ideal returns experience can drive sales and keep those shoppers coming back for more. Find answers to questions like:

  • What impact do returns have on customer acquisition, conversion, and loyalty?
  • What are 3 key factors that shape the ideal returns experience?
  • How can your returns strategy both meet growing shopper expectations and not break the bank?
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