Mentorship

If you’re looking for resources to build a better business.
You’re in good company.

Green Altitude, Yellow Attitude: Take Your Business Higher with GoGreen Plus
Green Logistic
0
Min Read
Green Altitude, Yellow Attitude: Take Your Business Higher with GoGreen Plus

We're proud to be the first logistics company to offer Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) with GoGreen Plus, a service that helps small businesses to lower the carbon emissions associated with their shipments. So whether you're already using recyclable packaging or participating in carbon offsetting, you now have another opportunity to take steps towards a more sustainable future. 

Ready to Ship Yellow to GoGreen? Reach out to learn more about GoGreen Plus. 

What is and Why SAF?

Unlike conventional kerosene-based aviation fuel, Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is derived from more environmentally friendly sources such as waste cooking oil, and forest and agricultural residue. Once processed, it is blended with traditional aviation fuel and supplied to airports and aircraft. A remarkable innovation in aviation is that an airplane flying on SAF emits up to 80% less CO2 over time than flying on traditional fossil fuels.

We've established a goal to achieve a minimum 30% SAF fuel blend by 2030 as part of our sustainability roadmap. This is a high bar for sustainability in logistics, and we are the only logistics company currently utilizing SAF, leading the charge toward greener operations.

GoGreen Plus: Simplifying Sustainability for Canadian SMEs

We've heard from many small businesses that the quest to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can be fraught with challenges. You're already juggling running your business and having to wade through complex environmental regulations, a lack of governmental support, overhead costs, and information overload. 

But you know sustainability isn't just the right thing to do—it's also a business advantage.

50% of digital buyers state that environmental concerns impact their purchasing decisions1 and 77% of buyers are willing to pay more for a product that is sustainable2

GoGreen Plus addresses these challenges and opportunities for you head-on by making it easy for you to commit to change:

Simplified Process:
DHL's GoGreen Plus service streamlines emissions reduction by removing the barriers that typically prevent small businesses from taking action. 

Certifiable Benefits:
When you ship with GoGreen Plus, you receive a certificate detailing the emission reduction value. You can use this certificate for your reporting, brand marketing, and more.

From Offsetting to Embracing Insetting:
Offsetting and CO2 compensation, like planting trees, don’t cut CO2 emissions. In contrast, insetting, such as through GoGreen Plus, involves investing in reducing CO2 within your supply chain.

Contribution to a Green Future:
By choosing GoGreen Plus, small businesses directly contribute to a more sustainable future, aligning with the growing consumer demand for eco-friendly business practices.

The Horizon Ahead: Embracing Sustainability with GoGreen Plus

The message is clear: sustainability is within reach, and it doesn't have to be complicated. Our GoGreen Plus initiative is more than just a service; it's a movement towards a more sustainable logistics industry. By leveraging SAF, we're reducing our carbon footprint and empowering small businesses to do the same.

Ready to Ship Yellow to GoGreen? Reach out to learn more about GoGreen Plus and start making a positive impact with your next shipment. 

1 (source: globalWebIndex)

2 (source: IBM)

From the Coffee Bench to the Global Stage: Nile Coffee Club
Going Global
0
Min Read
From the Coffee Bench to the Global Stage: Nile Coffee Club

We spoke with Nile Coffee Club founders Jahmal, Sandrine, and Taher to learn more about their plans for using the $20K prize—$10K dedicated to international shipping and support and $10K to work with a business coach. 

Here's a glimpse into their journey and their vision for growing global.

Pouring Potential, the Caffeinated Expansion

Nile Coffee Club envisions using the winnings to further prove their concept in Toronto before expanding to other parts of Canada and, notably, the world. "The stipend will help offset some of the shipping costs that often hold us back from doing other things," they explained. "For many Canadian small businesses, shipping is very tight and difficult. This support will help big time." Most of their business happens online, and they see this program as an opportunity to expand. "We met as friends – on a coffee bench. So, coffee and community are our first loves. We're looking to expand our lifestyle offering to reach new audiences and surprise and delight our current ones."

Brewing Beyond Local Borders

Nile's founders emphasized the necessity for Canadian small businesses to look beyond local markets. "For Nile, especially as a Black business, it's about creating a brand that appeals to folks like us and connecting with like-minded, creative individuals globally." There's a lot to love in Toronto, and Nile's founders want to share that. "It's a big wide world with many people, and we all see this brand as an opportunity to talk to those people and connect with them."

Tips for Small Businesses Looking to Go Global

The founders of Nile Coffee Club shared some valuable insights for other small businesses aiming to expand internationally:

  • Brand Partnerships: Testing new markets through partnerships can provide a nice welcome. For example, Nile Coffee Club did a pop-up inside KOTN in New York, which helped validate their entry into a new market: "We didn't have a brand presence in New York, but we could see through our collaboration that there was an audience there for us."
  • Community Feedback: Nile Coffee Club is a big advocate of bringing their community into building their brand. Some brands use fun surveys to engage with their audience collaboratively to help determine interest. "Asking questions like, 'Where do you want to see us next?' can reveal new opportunities through your community."
  • Phased Approach: Nile Coffee Club has been operating for four years now, growing their presence with other like-minded and unexpected partners and has an eye on opening up a physical location in the near future. "We want to do everything all at once, but we recognize our ambition needs to be tempered in a very thoughtful way, which is why we're very intentional about how we scale."

Feeling inspired to take your business global? We're here to support your ambitions for growth and keep you connected to the world.

Blooming Internationally: Wild Folk's Botanical Cocktails Take the World Stage
Going Global
0
Min Read
Blooming Internationally: Wild Folk's Botanical Cocktails Take the World Stage

Pouring Into New Markets with a $20K Prize

With the $20K winnings provided by DHL, Wild Folk is looking to expand its global reach by enhancing its logistics. "We're aiming to streamline our distribution and marketing efforts in new regions where we don't have a physical presence," says founder Dalia Kohen. “Figuring out how to position our product in unfamiliar markets is crucial. This fund will support everything from business logistics to ensuring our products reach new customers smoothly and efficiently."

Navigating the Global Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Scene

As a small business, Wild Folk has faced significant hurdles in their journey toward international expansion. "Financing and funding are major challenges," Kohen explains. "Ensuring a smooth flow of funds while managing stock before it reaches customers is tough. The payment waiting period can be up to 60 days, which adds another layer of complexity."The $10K of business coaching services will help Wild Folk navigate these issues, ensuring they have the resources to manage growth effectively. Dalia is looking to coordinate various logistical aspects, such as border licensing, to ensure shipments make it to their destination. "I have an export plan in place thanks to a trade accelerator program, but piecing it all together is another challenge — the guidance of a business coach helping me out with regional marketing strategies will be invaluable."

Botanical Wisdom for Fellow SMEs with
Global Ambitions

For Wild Folk, thinking beyond local markets is essential for growth. "Calgary has been a very supportive community — and community support is vital," says Dalia. "However, there's potential for more growth and more significant impact in larger, international markets, providing an exciting opportunity for us."

As a Grow Your Global campaign winner, Dalia encourages other Canadian small businesses to remain open to support and new opportunities. "It's easy to get bogged down in daily operations," Dalia advises. "Seek out connections and socialize with others who can uplift you. There will always be ups and downs, but staying connected and thinking big can make all the difference."

Ready to grow global?  We're here to fuel your growth and connect you with opportunities around the world.

How To Sell To China On Singles' Day 2023
Business Growth
0
Min Read
How To Sell To China On Singles' Day 2023

WHAT IS SINGLES' DAY?

Move over Valentine’s Day, the singles want some fun, too! China’s Singles’ Day on 11 November (11/11 – all the singles!) was originally conceived by a group of college bachelors who wanted a dedicated holiday to celebrate their singledom. Then in 2009, spotting an opportunity, China’s leading e-commerce marketplace Alibaba began marketing Singles’ Day as a special sales event. Since then, it's become an annual shopping bonanza where it’s not unusual for sales to reach ten times that of an average shopping day in China.

So, how can your e-commerce business take a slice of this very lucrative pie?

Perhaps you’re already selling to Chinese buyers through an online marketplace such as Amazon or Alibaba, or maybe you ship internationally to customers there via your own e-commerce website. Either way now is the time to prepare. Here’s how…

SINGLES’ DAY 2023: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

It’s the world’s biggest shopping day

Singles’ Day sales are bigger than Amazon’s Prime Day and Black Friday combined!(1) In 2021, online sales on JD.com and Alibaba – the country’s leading e-commerce sites – reached US$139 billion(2), setting a new record.

It’s not just restricted to China

The shopping bonanza is gaining momentum across the world. One analysis tracked 290,000 brands from over 90 countries and regions participating in Tmall’s Singles’ Day sales in 2022(3). Of those, 70,000 were doing so for the first time. Will your business join them this year?

Tmall Global is your gateway to the Chinese market

As the largest e-commerce platform in China, you’ve probably heard of Alibaba4, a B2B business connecting wholesale exporters in China with countries around the world. The bit you should know about is Tmall Global5, Alibaba’s dedicated B2C platform specifically set up for foreign businesses. It allows cross-border sellers to build virtual storefronts and ship products to Chinese customers without the need for a physical entity in the country or a Chinese business license. You can also accept payments in your local currency.

There’s room for everyone

Singles’ Day isn’t just for the big retailers. In the first 28 hours of 2022’s sales, the transaction volumes of 50k small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and 70k SME merchants increased 100%(6).

Chinese shoppers like to buy from overseas brands

According to a survey of Tmall Global shoppers7, the leading reasons they buy from cross-border brands are:

Important information to consider when you’re planning your Singles’ Day marketing campaign!

Livestreaming is BIG business

Though relatively new in the West, livestreaming has been hugely popular in China for years. Customers enjoy being able to learn about a product in-depth, whilst for businesses, this engagement leads to greater conversions.

The challenge for overseas brands is to find a video hosting platform with the relevant clearance in China. Instead, they could focus on ensuring their product listings feature plenty of high-res photos, video tutorials and how-to guides, whilst being quick to respond to customer queries on social media.

Sustainability is entering the conversation

Despite Singles’ Day being associated with excessive consumption, in 2021, Alibaba turned its focus towards sustainability by partnering with 14 brands to promote greener production.

Consumers are embracing more considered choices, too: over 33 million of them purchased eco-friendly products on Tmall and Taobao during the 2022 Singles’ Day sales8. Meanwhile, keyword searches for green topics including “energy-saving” and “low carbon” surged on JD.com9.

Singles’ Day Strategies to Focus on This Year

  • Do your research

To appeal to Chinese consumers, you need to know their buying behaviors and preferences. Luckily, we’ve done the research for you: dive into our dedicated China country guide for all the local insights you’ll need.

  • Optimize your e-commerce website for mobile

Mobile commerce dominates Singles’ Day, so ensure your customers have an easy, fast and intuitive experience – otherwise they’ll abandon their carts.

  • Translate your content

Ensure your website copy and marketing messaging is converted into the local language for foreign browsers.

  • Offer payment in Yuan

Provide payment options and gateways where transactions can be done in the Chinese currency.

  • Use the number 11 as a hook

Offering a 11% discount on sale items, for example, will show your brand is joining in the fun!

  • Offer fast shipping

Chinese consumers may be deterred from buying from overseas brands as they think their orders will be delayed. By partnering with DHL, you can offer customers Express international delivery. Just be sure to highlight it on your homepage to incentivize shoppers.

  • Monitor your inventory closely

If something sells out, you need to be ready to quickly pivot to promote another item instead.

The fun doesn’t stop after Singles’ Day! Peak Season is upon us, with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas still to come too. For advice to help you prepare, check out our dedicated holiday shipping tips.

References

1 – Forbes , November 2022

2 – CNBC, November 2021

3 - Queue.it, September 2023

4 - Alibaba

5 - Tmall Global

6 - Queue.it, September 2023

7 - Digital Commerce, June 2022

8 & 9 - Queue.it, September 2023

Go Global

Get Started
Today With Our Small Business Concierge

Speak to a Specialist
All Categories
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
How To Create A Return Policy
Business Growth
0
Min Read
How To Create A Return Policy

What is a small business return policy?

A small business return policy is a set of rules laying out for what reasons and within what timeframe a retailer will accept returns. Customers may want to return a product to your business for many reasons, including if it is damaged, if it doesn’t fit them, or simply because they’ve changed their mind.

Why your small business needs a return policy

As much of a pain as they are to deal with, there’s no escaping returns. Around 30% of all products ordered online are returned to the sender2 (for some sectors, like apparel, the rate is even higher!) Whatever your business is selling, you’re likely going to have to deal with a fair few returns, so it’s important to make the issue a key part of your business plan.

The advantages of a robust return policy

  • Increase sales – around two thirds of visitors to your website will check your policy before buying anything3. A generous return policy may just be the reason a new customer chooses you over a close competitor.
  • Build trust with customers – a return policy on your website creates a sense of professionalism.
  • Less admin and stress – a clear and thorough return policy will reduce the number of customers contacting you with questions, saving your business time. And in business, time equals money!
  • Legal compliance – depending on which country you’re selling from, it may be a legal requirement to have a return policy. For example, in the UK, trading regulations forbid sellers from saying they don’t accept returns.

The dangers of a poor return policy

If a customer has to read through a complex return policy on your website – or worse, have to take the time to contact your business with a question that isn’t answered already – they will become frustrated and may abandon your site altogether. Remember, a competitor’s website is always just a couple of clicks away!

84% of consumers will not shop again with a retailer after a bad returns experience4. Can you afford to lose that many return customers?

How to create a return policy

So, what should you consider when creating your business’s return policy?

Time

Some retailers offer a standard 14-day timeframe for customers to return their items, whilst others are more generous – IKEA, for example, allows a whopping 365-day window!

A consumer survey by ReBound found that 63% of shoppers expect a return policy to be at least 30 days5, giving them an adequate amount of time to try on/experience the product. Really, though, it’s an individual decision for each retailer, depending on their products’ Lifecyle and their inventory levels. Some need to get stock returned and back on the shelves as soon as possible. Just always weigh this up against the value of having happy customers.

Cost

Research from Statista found that free returns are a leading motivator for online shoppers to buy directly from brands6. Yet, recently a host of well-known brands have had to begin charging customers for returns due to the sheer number they receive.

Returns can be extremely expensive for businesses to process, and for some SMEs, it’s simply not doable. You will need to carefully consider whether the cost of offering free returns is exceeded by the extra sales you generate. You could trial a free service for a short time to find the answer.

Competitors’ return policies

It’s time to do a little research. How long do your competitors allow their customers to return items? Do they charge for returns? If so, how much? If you can match, or even better, beat, their offering, you will attract these customers through your digital doors.

Return form

You may wish to take the opportunity to learn a little more about why your customers are returning their items. When they initiate a return, you could ask them to say why they are returning the item [not as described on website/doesn’t suit me/found it cheaper elsewhere etc.] Over time, this data will allow you to address these pain points and ultimately reduce your returns rate.

Small Business Return Policy Template

There’s a lot to consider, so we’ve laid out an example return policy below, which you can edit and tailor to your business’s needs.

Return policy

Returns must be sent back to us within [X] days of the purchase date. Products must be unused, in their original packaging and with tags attached.

How to generate a return

To return an item, process a [free*] return label here. We will send you your shipping label via email. Print it off and stick it to the front of the package. Take the package to [a post office/DHL Service Point etc.] and retain a proof of purchase receipt for your records. [$XX will be taken off your refund to pay for the shipping.]

*With DHL, you can offer a free, pre-paid shipping label to customers. You, as the receiver, will then be charged for the shipment.

Refunds

Once we have received your item, we will initiate a return. Please allow at least [X] days from our receipt of the return for the refund to be processed. Money will be sent to your original method of payment. We will email you once your return has been processed.

Damaged goods

In the event a product arrived to you damaged, please contact our customer service team at [email address]. A full refund will be issued, including the cost of shipping.

Restrictions

We cannot accept returns of [e.g. food/make-up/earrings] due to safety/hygiene reasons.

Return Policy FAQs

What is a reasonable return policy?

Consumers would love to always be offered a free return service with a generous window of time in which to make the return. But – this is not always feasible for retailers. You may wish to trial different return models to find a middle ground that keeps your customers happy and your bottom line healthy! Be sure to gather customer feedback about the service to help you improve it where you can.

Where should I put a return policy on my website?

As returns are such an incentive to buyers, be sure to put your return policy in several places throughout your website, including the footer and the FAQ page. If you are offering the golden free returns, it’s worth displaying a FREE RETURNS banner on each product listings page, too. It will reassure indecisive buyers and push them to buy.

What should I avoid in a return policy?

Ditch the legal jargon. Keep your policy clear – but be thorough. This will save customers contacting you with extra questions, too.

Should I pay the shipping cost for my return policy?

This is an individual choice depending on your business and how many returns you receive. Whatever you decide, be sure to be clear about costs throughout the buyer’s journey – hidden fees are a sure way to break trust with your customers.

Are you allowed to have a no refund policy?

The legalities around consumer returns vary by country. Do some research around your market’s laws to ensure you comply. A quick search on Google will find you the answer.

For further advice and one-to-one guidance on ensuring a smooth return process for your customers, open a DHL Business Account.

References

1, 2, 3 – Invespcro, accessed January 2023

4 – Internet Retailing, May 2021

5 – ReBound, accessed January 2023

Mobile Commerce - Small Screen, Big Sales
Digital Marketing
0
Min Read
Mobile Commerce - Small Screen, Big Sales

What is mobile commerce?

Mobile commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services using wireless handheld devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

It’s estimated that 86% of people in the world currently own a smartphone2, whilst the amount of time they spend online is increasing all the time too. So, it’s not surprising that m-commerce is growing rapidly, with more and more people choosing the convenience and ease of shopping on mobile versus desktop.

M-commerce vs e-commerce

M-commerce is a form of e-commerce. Whereas e-commerce is simply the buying and selling of goods and services over the internet, m-commerce is a more specific part of that.

What is the difference between m-commerce and e-commerce?

The most obvious difference between the two is mobility. M-commerce uses only handheld mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets – so customers can buy whilst “on the go”, so long as there is a wireless internet connection available.  

E-commerce covers all commercial transactions that take place digitally, so it adds computers into the mix. Buying from a laptop or desktop computer counts as e-commerce but not m-commerce.

There are less obvious differences between m-commerce and e-commerce too. Customers using a desktop computer can only be tracked using their IP address, while those using their mobile device can be tracked using Wi-Fi and GPS-based technologies, which are more precise. That means brands can target mobile users more precisely with location-related advertising, such as sending coupons or discounts for nearby stores.

Security is another difference. Most fixed device e-commerce is carried out using credit cards, which carry an element of risk. M-commerce is more secure, thanks to biometric authentication, mobile wallets, and QR codes.

Finally, mobile apps are more convenient, making the buying experience easier and quicker.

Types and examples of m-commerce

There are three basic types of m-commerce: mobile shopping, mobile banking and mobile payments.

  • Mobile shopping allows customers to buy goods or services using a web app. This can either be via a retail app, for example from a fashion brand, or a virtual marketplace app such as Amazon. Taxi booking, ticketing, and digital content purchase apps (such as Netflix) are other examples of m-commerce of this type. Mobile shopping can also take place on social media platforms, such as TikTok or Instagram.
  • Mobile banking is online banking designed for mobile technology. Banking transactions such as paying bills are usually carried out through a secure app provided by the bank.
  • Mobile payments are an alternative to traditional payments. They include digital wallets such as Apple Pay, mobile payment apps such as PayPal, or using QR codes to pay for items using a mobile device.

M-commerce trends

Who is leading the m-commerce boom? As you might expect, the answer is Gen Z and Millennials, who have grown up with mobile technology. According to a global consumer survey by payment service Klarna3, 48% of Millennials shop at least once a week using their mobile phone – with Gen Z not far behind.

Although Millennials are, at the moment, considerably more likely than older shoppers to buy using their smartphones, over time it will no doubt become the norm for all.

References

  1. Statista, published May 2022
  2. BankMyCell, March 2023
  3. Klarna, 2021
  4. Drip, May 2022
  5. Business of Apps, March 2021
  6. Oberlo, September 2022
Emotional Profit: 
The Essential Ingredient To Sustained Motivation, Meaning, And Impact In Business
Business Growth
0
Min Read
Emotional Profit: The Essential Ingredient To Sustained Motivation, Meaning, And Impact In Business

My name is Emily O’Brien. I’m the founder of Comeback Snacks — a popcorn company I started while inside a Canadian federal prison.

My entrepreneurial journey began because I made mistakes, and I believed that I could do more — in my life, and for the world — than what my prison sentence did for me. My business began in a prison kitchen with popcorn kernels, creativity, and a relentless drive to create a new lease on life for myself and others.

Today, our popcorn is in 700+ stores across Canada and helping others make their comeback by leading efforts to reduce the stigma against incarcerated persons. We’re helping shape policy at various levels of government to help give people a second chance at life and the opportunity to grasp it.

Since starting Comeback Snacks, I have what feels like limitless energy: I’ll drive to multiple cities in a day, engage customers, and clients, speak publicly about my experience, and keep my foot on the gas pedal.

Why? Because as Comeback Snacks grew and developed, so did its impact: financially, socially, and personally. An unanticipated byproduct of this business was how much the constructive, empowering component of entrepreneurship materialized. I didn’t know that was going to happen until I felt it. I realized it was the core essence of my business, my mission, and my journey. This is why I do what I do, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

This awareness —  or the heart of my business journey — is what I call emotional profit. For me, it’s the sense of satisfaction and meaning that my business contributes to the world and helps my employees and others grow and succeed. Emotional profit is achieved when, as we build our business, its positive impact on the world then shapes and builds us in return.

What does emotional profit look like? It takes many shapes.

An email from a stranger saying how my story helped them make positive changes in their own life. A social media post ‘share’ or comment. A text message or a simple phone call describing my own path has helped others to find and navigate their own.

You never know how your own life story will be discovered, when, or by whom. It’s the positive interactions with unexpected audiences that remind you of your efforts in making a difference — that’s where you’ll find emotional profit. It’s not financial gain, per se. But studies have shown that once we have enough money for food and shelter, human beings crave more than money. We crave meaning.

For Comeback Snacks to function, I need to make more money than I spend. That’s the bottom line for business owners. When I started, my goal was to make money and break down stigmas and help others. I share these accomplishments with the amazing people I’ve hired that respect my organization, work hard, and share its purpose and vision.

My real ‘profit’ doesn’t come from the bank, but from how I’ve reconciled my difficult past with my positive visions for the future. In doing so, now I can help others in need of a ‘comeback’ and have a second chance at life — like me.

Sure, you need financial profit to keep your business afloat, but you need an emotional connection, too — an emotional profit — to sustain yourself along the way. The financial profit from my business comes from a product that I love; the emotional profit comes from the fact that the business behind this product changes the world in ways that I always wanted to.

The truest sign of entrepreneurial success is not simply making money, but making meaning — and this can be far more impactful and sustaining for yourself, and for your business. It takes growth, reflection, and time. If you embrace these qualities, emotional profit is what your business can achieve for you if you are willing to grow as a human being and find meaning outside of yourself that your business helps to sustain.

I hope you discover your own pathway to emotional profit, whatever you find your own wellspring to be.

Four ways to find emotional profit:

  1. We can never escape our past. Stop running from mistakes, own them, and use the lessons derived from them — even if they’re painful — to build a better future for yourself and others around you.
  2. We never know where or when our best ideas will emerge, so adopt an attitude of openness to embrace the new and unexpected in life. The idea of a lifetime might emerge when and where you least expect it.
  3. Hindsight is always 20/20. Forgive yourself and others for mistakes in the past. The energy you previously spent on your memories can be re-directed and harnessed toward your future, and your business!
  4. Strive to help others connected to your life and business, and believe in the power of giving people in need a second chance.

___________________________________________

About the Author

Emily O’Brien is the founder of Comeback Snacks — a popcorn company that changes the status quo. A formerly incarcerated individual, Emily made it her mission to create a platform to fight for fair chances of those that have been impacted by the justice system. The recognition of her efforts led her to being awarded with the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Community Service Award from the House of Commons and the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2022, as well as the Woman of Distinction Award in 2020 from the YWCA.

Black Ice: looking at hockey’s history — and future
0
Min Read
Black Ice: looking at hockey’s history — and future

Hockey is for everyone

As we deliver packages to and from Canada — from communities across the country to countries around the world — we get to know what makes those communities tick. In Canada, that’s hockey. And what’s not to love about the country’s favourite sport? It embodies the power of teamwork at at an express pace. Two of the same things that drive DHL to be the best delivery company in the world. But you can’t be the best without embracing inclusion.  At DHL, we place the utmost value on diversity and inclusion at all levels, and believe that every team is better when everyone is welcome on it. That’s why we’re so excited support Black Ice, an inspiring documentary that explores diversity and inclusion in hockey — from the barriers that needed to be broken to the challenges that still exist today.

Led by UNINTERRUPTED Canada, and directed by acclaimed Canadian filmmaker Hubert Davis (Giants of Africa, and the Oscar®-nominated, Hardwood), Black Ice makes its streaming premiere on Crave this Feb 3rd for Black History Month.

Delivering our part

Celebrating the contributions and examining the challenges of black hockey players — from the untold stories of The Coloured Hockey League through to today’s NHL® — Black Ice puts the much-deserved spotlight on these amazing athletes and their collective aspirations to change the culture of the sport they love.

To lend an assist and help promote the film, DHL partnered with UNINTERRUPTED Canada on their recurring series Heart of Surprise, where we teamed up with Wayne Simmonds of the Toronto Maple Leafs to help deliver new hockey gear to young BIPOC hockey players.

With UNINTERRUPTED Canada, Wayne Simmonds, and many others, we are proud to stand with those who are committed to inclusion, breaking down barriers, and empowering a whole new generation to know they’re welcome, not just in the rink or on the ice, but everywhere their dreams take them. For everything they’ve done to support the BIPOC community, black athletes, and to make the game of hockey better and more inclusive, we want to thank and congratulate Hubert Davis, UNINTERRUPTED Canada, Wayne Simmonds, and the entire team behind the documentary and the Heart of Surprise series on the inspiration accomplishment that is Black Ice.

Stream Black Ice, the ground- (and ice-) breaking documentary on Crave, this Feb 3rd.

Go-To-Market Strategy For Growth
Business Growth
0
Min Read
Go-To-Market Strategy For Growth

For businesses wanting to expand internationally, a go-to-market plan will help them identify countries where there is the greatest demand for their products, and create marketing campaigns tailored to local customers. In this article, we will explore the main components of a go-to-market strategy, with guidance on creating one.

When do you need a Go-To-Market (GTM) Strategy?

There are three main scenarios when a business may need a go-to-market strategy:

  1. Launching a new product in an existing market – For example, an established wellness brand adding a candle range to its product portfolio.
  2. Launching an existing product in a new market – For example, a furniture business looking to sell to China for the first time.
  3. Testing a new product’s market for growth – For example, a tech startup soft launching an app to limited users to measure demand and response.

In such instances, a go-to-market strategy will minimize their risks via in-depth planning and research into the market they’re entering.

Go-To-Market Strategy vs Marketing Strategy

A go-to-market strategy focuses on how a business will introduce a specific product to the market and reach its target customers. It’s focused on immediate revenue and customer success.

A marketing strategy is a longer-term, ongoing plan for the wider business and covers messaging, content creation, and campaigns – essentially the touchpoints that make the brand memorable in a competitive market. It should be flexible to help the business adapt to demand and find the optimal market-product fit.

Go-To-Market Strategy Benefits

  1. Establish potential problems: A go-to-market strategy ensures due diligence is paid to all the components of a product launch, identifying potential problems early on.
  2. Know how to position your product in the existing market: Thoroughly researching target customers helps create powerful, effective, and tailored marketing messaging, defining your product’s value proposition in a competitive market.
  3. Increase revenue: Emphasizing extensive research and planning before launching a product minimizes risks, ensuring the product reaches the most relevant audience for maximum sales. Understanding the target customer allows adjustments to enhance the product's chances of success.

Components of a Go-To-Market (GTM) Plan

Each business’s go-to-market plan will vary, but general components include:

  1. Market research and analysis
  2. Product promotion
  3. Sales and distribution
  4. Logistics and supply chain management

How to Create a Go-To-Market Strategy

Step 1: Market research and analysis

Thoroughly analyze the existing market, conduct competitor analysis, and define your buyer persona.

Step 2: Craft your Promotion Strategy

  • Construct a value matrix mapping out buyer personas’ pain points.
  • Identify where your target audience spends most of their time and allocate resources accordingly.
  • Continuously track and optimize marketing content performance.

Step 3: Establish your sales and distribution channels

Define where consumers can buy your product and streamline the buyer’s journey for increased sales.

Step 4: Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Prioritize timely product delivery and consider aspects like inventory management, warehousing, and packaging.

Product-led

Here, the product itself is the salesperson, empowered with all the information a buyer may need. A product-led GTM strategy involves analyzing customers’ behavior and interaction with the product to ultimately drive customer acquisition, retention, and growth. This strategy is well-suited for businesses aiming to scale fast at a low customer acquisition cost.

If your business is launching a new product or entering a new market, you’ll need support from the experts. With a DHL Express Business Account, you’ll join thousands of other businesses benefiting from the logistics leader’s international and e-commerce expertise.

Innovations To Boost Your Start-Up Strategy
Business Growth
0
Min Read
Innovations To Boost Your Start-Up Strategy

Artificial Intelligence

With ChatGPT and its competitors the hot topic of conversation in recent months, it’s only natural we start by exploring the transformational potential of the latest developments in AI. In 2021, a study by McKinsey found AI had helped businesses improve their logistics costs by 15%, inventory levels by 35%, and service levels by 65%. And with the technology evolving so quickly, those numbers will likely have increased already. The ways in which AI can help SMEs optimize their logistics operations are vast – from demand forecasting to final-mile delivery. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

Analytics

Big data will play a crucial role in helping businesses optimize their logistics. One example includes dynamic pricing. Here, smart software driven by AI and machine learning enables businesses to create pricing policies based on competitors and sales data. It can then automatically adjust their products’ pricing depending on market demands. AI allows this to happen in minutes, rather than every quarter, helping businesses increase their revenue. Analytics can also help businesses identify weak spots within their supply chains – such as underperforming employees or machinery.

Automated Warehousing

A report by supply chain organization MHI forecast that by 2026, the adoption of AI-powered warehouse solutions by businesses will increase by 60% over 2020. Examples include indoor mobile robots to more accurately pick and pack products; computer vision technology to identify damaged goods; and inventory management software which can predict future demand to reduce the risks of under- or overstocking. All of which means increased productivity, speed, and quality control.

Customer Service

The potential for AI to transform customer service features is particularly exciting. Let’s take chatbots, for example. Thanks to AI, chatbots on your e-commerce website can now understand your customers better, and respond more accurately – even to complex queries. They can offer personalized recommendations to customers based on their previous browsing history, and will tap into machine learning algorithms to continuously improve their accuracy in understanding customer intent. These chatbots can support your customers across the world, in different time zones, 24/7. Furthermore, data collected from these customer interactions can help you improve the customer experience, increase engagement rates, and better understand their likes and dislikes.

Supply Chain Visibility

For start-up businesses (in fact, any business), managing supply chain processes can be time-consuming. But with AI, they have better end-to-end visibility across tasks. The technology can sync up all data touchpoints along the supply chain to inform them instantly when there is an issue – such as a delayed shipment from a supplier, or low stock levels. Knowing this information, in real time, allows them to take steps quickly to reduce the impact to customers.

Green Logistics

Sustainability is an increasingly important issue to consumers, so more and more businesses are looking at how and where they can reduce their carbon emissions. Some of the green logistics solutions set to grow this year are:

Reverse Logistics Management:
Around 30% of all online orders are returned – that’s a lot of extra logistics emissions. Yet, by implementing a reverse logistics system which promotes the recycling, repurposing, and repairing of products, businesses can divert substantial amounts of waste from ending up in landfill. Furthermore, there’s money to be saved! It’s estimated that returns cost businesses a staggering 66% of the product’s original price, but repairing and refurbishing products means they can then go on to be resold.

Micro-Fulfillment Centers:
Some larger e-commerce businesses are now investing in micro-fulfillment centers to reduce their delivery emissions. This strategy involves enlisting a network of smaller fulfillment centers located closer to customers. A report by Accenture estimated that micro-fulfillment centers will reduce last-mile carbon emissions by 17-26% by 2025.

Alternative Fuel:
Whilst electric vehicles will be on the radar of most eco-conscious businesses already, innovations in fossil fuel alternatives should be too. Earlier this year, DHL Express launched GoGreen Plus, which helps businesses reduce the carbon emissions associated with their shipments through the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel – a biofuel that is produced from renewable sources such as vegetable oils and animal fats. The initiative is helping enterprises of all sizes improve their sustainability credentials.

Last-Mile Delivery

From drones to electric planes, this is an area of logistics that is constantly innovating in order to meet the number one priority of most e-commerce businesses: getting products to customers quickly and on time. Some of the last-mile delivery trends to watch out for this year include:

Predictive Analytics:
On average, last-mile delivery accounts for 53% of the total cost of shipping for e-commerce businesses, making it a key focus for any start-up with a tight budget. But businesses can leverage predictive analytics to reduce costs. One example is route planning software. Driven by AI, this technology can map out the best routes for deliveries based on real-time traffic analysis and even weather conditions. It takes all the hassle out of planning multiple deliveries – the software will automatically calculate the optimal order of the deliveries to maximize time. According to a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the use of route planning software can reduce transportation costs by up to 20% – making it a necessity for your start-up in 2024.

Autonomous Delivery Vehicles:
Self-driving cars – though largely still in the testing stage – have the potential to completely transform the delivery stage of e-commerce. Customers have come to expect On-Demand Delivery as standard. Add in autonomous vehicles, unrestricted by human labor hours, and 24/7 delivery could soon be a reality.

Watch this space…

How Live Chat Can Boost Your Business
Digital Marketing
0
Min Read
How Live Chat Can Boost Your Business

You’re on the internet trying to buy car insurance. You’ve been struggling with the company’s site for a while – you simply can’t find what you’re looking for. It’s frustrating, but just as you’re about to leave, a little box appears in the corner of the screen. “Hi, my name is Jack …”

Live Chat is a function within your website that visitors can activate and be immediately connected – via a chat window – to a live representative from your company. They can begin a conversation, there and then, in real time.

Not surprisingly, the benefits of this are numerous. First and foremost, Live Chat gives your digital business a human voice. Think of it as an online ambassador for your company, ready at the click of a button: a super-available customer service feature.

It’s worth noting that most Live Chat conversations are conducted principally by robots. If they are asked something they can’t answer, they will defer to a human, so your business will have to provide adequate human backup at all times. We'll be looking into the issue of staff training and helping your employees embody your brand in a later article, so sign up for our newsletter and you'll be the first to know.

Live chat in action

Humans and robots, working together

“The majority of web chat solutions start with an automated greeting,” says Paul Ives, Senior Strategy Consultant at customer services technology company Now Interact, “but the next interaction will typically be from a human.”

The technology behind Chatbots is developing rapidly and becoming ever more skilful at convincingly simulating human interaction. Thanks to sophisticated Natural Language Processing systems, and by looking for keyword triggers and pulling related replies from a database, based in part on a company’s Frequently Asked Questions page.

But does it actually work?

“From a service perspective, chat is a great tool,” continues Now Interact’s Paul Ives, “it reduces cost-to-serve; can help solve low level customer service issues; negates the need to wait in the dreaded telephone IVR queue (interactive voice response), and you the customer get what you want much quicker.”

“Chatbots really shine when it comes to low level service issues – they can attempt to answer the most simple issues, then detect if a resolution hasn’t been achieved and bring in a Live Chat agent.”

Indeed, Forrester research found that 44% of online consumers say having questions answered by a ‘real’ person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer. If the customer is looking for extra help and information about a product or service, they are going to have questions. Live Chat allows you to intervene at a crucial time and positively influence the purchasing decision.

The 'human' touch

Live Chats rise to the challenge of communicating with a diversity that feels human, using Artificial Intelligence to adapt, so they can resolve specific queries that will answer the customer's question, or defer seamlessly to a human. Research from 'Defining the Human Age: A Reflection on Customer Service in 2030' by professor James Woodhuysen, has found that nearly two-thirds of users (63%) are happy to be served by a chatbot, as long as the chatbot can escalate to a human when needed. The human touch is vital: three-quarters (76%) want human contact to remain part of their customer service experience.

Live Chat can also flag when customers you have previously interacted with return to your website, so you can continue conversations. After all, software will remember a returning customer better than the most skilled shop assistant.

Through Live Chat conversations, the software will recognize customers’ recurring pain points. They can feed back these problems to your business, which in turn allows you to make changes and improve. For startups in particular, fumbling their way through new territory and learning exactly what their customers want, such information is invaluable.

Get to know your customers

By adding a registration step to your Live Chat function, you can acquire some basic characteristics about your customer, e.g. age, gender, location. The chat representative can see this information and tailor their conversation accordingly. It’s no wonder an Emarketer survey found that 63% of customers are more likely to return to a website that offers Live Chat.

This customer demographic data can be saved to help you build up a wider profile of your visitors, their buying habits and behaviors – invaluable data that will help your business succeed. By knowing your audience and what they want, you can create products and services that answer their needs.

It’s a surprisingly cost-effective technology. For example, LiveChat, one of the industry’s leading hosts, charges from US$16 a month per seat (seat being a logged in agent) for Live Chat software, which allows automated greetings, pre-written responses and chat customization. Naturally, adding extra features and seats increases the price, but a basic model is still an affordable investment for businesses with even a modest budget. Further cost efficiencies are driven by multi-tasking – Live Chat agents can deal with several conversations at once, which isn't possible when you’re interacting by phone.

Conversation is key

Make chat count

Once you’ve integrated Live Chat into your e-commerce website, you’re no doubt going to want to measure the success of it, in terms of sales generated. Many Live Chat platforms offer analytics tools that give you a breakdown of the results, such as the number of greetings that led to conversations and the number of conversations that led to sales. This information will show you which sales techniques were the most effective, so you can alter your strategy accordingly.

But for anyone looking to increase conversion rates, here’s a salutary reminder from Paul Ives at Now Interact that Live Chat is all about service: “We’ve found Live Chat doesn’t compare as well to telephone when it comes to conversion. At the end of the day, people still like to talk. But Live Chat is a great services channel.”

5 Things To Do When You Hit a Hurdle in Business
Business Growth
0
Min Read
5 Things To Do When You Hit a Hurdle in Business

Hurdles are inevitable. They are a part of life and a part of business. Some are small and some can knock the wind out of your sails. Knowing there will be different types of hurdles in your entrepreneurial journey is a good mindset to adopt. As you grow your business, some hurdles will become easy to overcome, and you’ll look back and think, ‘wow! remember when that happened?!’ But also as you grow, some hurdles will seem difficult to get through, but they’re not impossible.

Just remember these 5 Things To Do When You Hit a Hurdle in Business:

Remember Your Why

This is what keeps you going, what started it all and what lights the fire. When x, y, z isn’t going according to plan, you’re putting out new fires every day, and it all just seems a bit chaotic? Remember why you started. This will pull back the blinders, give you some clarity and refocus your thoughts. Bring it back to basics, back to why you do what you do, back to why this piqued your interest. Reflect on your why to refuel through the hurdles.

Find And Connect With Community

Entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be a lonely road anymore. Reach out, find people in your niche but those outside of it too. Connect with like-minded people with passions and drive that aligns with your own. These are your people you can vent to, seek guidance from if they’ve been in a similar scenario, and feel rejuvenated in your hustle when faced with an obstacle.

Get Feedback

Have people in your corner that you can turn to. The ones you trust to have your best interests at heart but also give it to you straight. These are your personal board of directors. You build them as you grow, so make note of who you value the opinion of and gravitate towards in high times and low times. If you have 2-4 people that you can talk through a challenge or hurdle in your business, you can gain new perspectives, get honest feedback and plan your next move with support.

Schedule Creative Time & Brain Dumps

Sometimes you’re a creative first, and the business and problem-solving comes second. It’s easy to feel pulled toward your strengths while other priorities fall to the wayside. To be proactive in creating less hurdles or tackling them while they feel manageable, be disciplined in your time management. Carve out time for you to be creative and brain dump ideas when you want to, not when you need to.

Walk Away

It’s so easy to get caught up in the go-go-go and the, “okay, what’s next?” Your business is your baby. Sometimes it’s hard to take a moment and reconfigure your thoughts. Sometimes you need to walk away — not permanently or a huge duration of time — but just for a breather. Assess if you need to unplug and shift your mind to something else instead of trying to wrack your brain trying to problem solve. Switch up the content you’re consuming to find new inspiration. If instagram is your go-to, try pinterest or podcasts to trigger new ideas.

As humans we’re conditioned to want to fix the problem or jump over the hurdle we face right away. And some of the tips mentioned above might seem counterintuitive to do — but try one or two that seem reasonable to what you are facing at the moment. Remember: the day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit. These hurdles might take some time to get through, and perhaps a combination of small steps incorporating these tips just might be the perfect solution.

___________________________________________

About The Authors

Sarah and Teri created the community of Females Who Side Hustle (FWSH) to connect with like-minded, motivated females through open conversations and shared experiences in order to change the narrative of entrepreneurship being a lonely road. Their mission is to bring more women to the table, ditch the competition, and lift each other up. A year after FWSH started and the incredible reception they received, they launched Save Her Seat Podcast where listeners can join the honest conversations Sarah, Teri and sometimes a special guest have amongst each other — real and insightful shop talk about the success and struggles of entrepreneurship.

Check them out at Females Who Side Hustle or on Instagram at @femaleswhosidehustle