The Tech & Trends Shaping Automotive in 2023

The Tech & Trends Shaping Automotive in 2023

The automotive industry is amid a period of change and challenges. Supply chain issues continue to trouble manufacturers, while dealers face rising costs and a growing regulatory landscape. Meanwhile, the industry appears to be in transition toward a bigger focus on electric vehicles (EVs), digitalization, and a mix of other technological innovations, making it hard for some companies and consumers to keep up.

In this blog post, we will highlight the answer to this exact question and how this is similar to other disruptions we have seen in the past – think Nokia and Apple.

The Top Tech Disruptors

The automotive industry is at a crossroads where the vehicle itself and consumer experiences are rapidly transitioning from physical to digital. More and more, consumers are shopping online to educate themselves, compare features and prices and also make the major investment of purchasing totally online. To capitalize on these disruptions, automakers will need to shift from their conventional, disconnected, and analog manufacturing methods to a connected and digitized environment.

Strict Regulations: New regulations and testing approvals are pushing traditional automakers to acquire or collaborate with innovative autonomous start-ups. For instance, many states and localities, such as the EPA and the California Air Resources Board, have upped their emissions standards, which immediately impacts your bottom line. In addition, the kinds of vehicles that can be designed to reduce emissions will be costly both in time and money. These incentives will further push manufacturers to include more electric and hybrid cars in their fleets and set the stage for rapid competitive consolidation. In other words, strap up because there’s a massive disruption ahead, and Tesla is winning the race. Consumers need to know the total cost of long term ownership of these vehicles and how it also impacts their bottom line.

Batteries and Motors: The most prominent disruptive trend has to be the innovations in the past couple of years in battery and motor technology. Lithium batteries and electric motors are not a new concept or technology; however, they, along with electric motors, will soon become products every company will try to recreate a better version of, almost like the individual parts of smartphones or PCs. Customers are more likely to look at who makes the best batteries than who brought about the use of lithium batteries. In around a decade, Tesla could own 15% of worldwide EV battery production, which will only give a minor competitive advantage. Likewise consumers need to know the value and life of these new batteries and motors–but how do they learn?

Increased cutting-edge production: Modern technologies are reshaping how the automobile industry manufactures cars. One such breakthrough technology is 3D printing to make vehicle parts. Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is an excellent source of product innovation. Metal 3D printing is already becoming mainstream, and this is just the beginning of what is to come in the automotive industry.

Augmented reality: Auto giant Toyota has joined forces with some digital transformation companies to create an augmented reality system that requires no mobile application and enables consumers to get to know the car models without even setting foot in the brand showroom. Using VR capabilities, auto companies can allow consumers to see inside and outside their potential new model and hear authentic sound effects with 360 degrees. Even on websites like TrueCar and Edmunds, all pertinent buying information is available in a second and at the click of a button. Another AR innovation that will take consumers by storm is displaying information on windshields. This technological safety advancement will allow drivers to process important data without taking their eyes off the road.

Internet on things (IoT): Used to describe the ever-growing networks of physical objects that are online, connected, and capable of communicating and sharing information with us and with each other. The total number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices is projected to surpass 43 billion by 2023. As a result, enterprises have begun to adapt to this growing imperative for connectivity, from our homes to smart TVs, connected kitchen appliances, smart alarm systems, and more. The number of businesses deploying IoT technologies has nearly doubled in less than a decade. Still, the pace of past evolution doesn’t compare to what we’ll see in the near future, especially in the automotive industry.

EV pay-per-mile vehicles: We expect companies that develop new, innovative pay-per-mile users-based models, especially in the commercial vehicles and buses space, to attract huge investments. Even during the most challenging periods of the pandemic, EV start-ups continued to pull in sizable funding investments. By showing us carbon-free ways to transform how people and goods are transported, backed by low CAPEX and lifecycle total cost of ownership models, they have put themselves in a position of strength.

Software Integration: Another significant disruption to the auto industry is Tesla and how it’s proving its autonomy of innovations to be the best in the industry. For instance, they are responsible for creating a single integrated computer system that controls their vehicles. Creating a system designed by the combination of separate incompatible computer systems from different suppliers could revolutionize the way Tesla and other companies who want to keep up with this competitive advantage build their products. In addition, Tesla is trying to perfect its Autopilot system to make it the best in the field; however other companies, such as Waymo, are already expanding self-driving cars to public transit. So the question is, how well does your autonomy need to be? How many companies could achieve that? Not to mention that data systems are changing daily, and every innovation must adapt to them, making it hard to keep up.

Evolving Customer Behavior

Current ecological, social, and technological trends are encouraging innovative manufacturers to offer consumers something much more than a typical metal box powered by engines. Carmakers are also showing interest in making good cars on the road and an enclosed space with high-end technology. For many years, carmakers were primarily focused on enhancing manufacturing to become more efficient at scale; the future is about redefining the role of the vehicle.

Consumers are looking for environmentally-friendly vehicles: People’s quest to search for environmentally-friendly cars is increasing. Green earth is a new concept that is attracting wide attention. Moreover, recent wildfires and glacier melting incidents have triggered people to focus on climate change. Henceforth, people look for electric vehicles (EVs) to minimize carbon emissions.

Demand for luxury/premium: Take trucks here as an example. Most people used to associate trucks with off-roading and rugged work, but those are assumptions of the past. Over the years, trucks have become more than that, with consumers preferring to buy luxury and power trucks as a status symbol. In addition to power, luxury trucks have features like extra towing capabilities, spacious seating, panoramic sunroof, rear-seat touchscreen entertainment, advanced safety features, and motorized tailgate and running boards that maximize comfort and style.

Spike in millennial purchasing habits: ​​While many think millennials are not buying cars, the data available tells a different story. In the first quarter of 2018 alone, millennials accounted for all new car sales growth in the Northern American auto industry, with a 6.45% growth in the same period. This statistic has drastically increased since then, as more millennials buy cars when triggered by life-changing events such as switching jobs, getting married, or having children. Consider this statistic when marketing and focus targeted messaging on this segment.

Consumers doing online research: Buying a car is not a task most consumers look forward to, as it can be stressful and time-consuming. Still, since mobile phones have become a part of everyday life, it is easy to look for everything online, vehicles included. A report unravels that eight in ten car buyers use online sources as part of their vehicle purchase process. Moreover, of all online resources, automotive marketplaces are the most popular source used by 77% of new and used buyers. Insert Carvana, who jumped on this opportunity and changed the customer experience by giving power back to customers and letting them find their perfect car from their homes without having to haggle with salespeople. Online does not only mean a Chat bot feature but a real person and toll-free number to connect with for a better experience.

Disdain for the Retail Experience

For most people, buying a car is the second-biggest purchase they will make in life. And while it’s an exciting milestone, many also find it to be full of anxiety and time-consuming. And as more and more consumers discover that they can buy a new car (or leasing?) from the comfort of their home – with voluminous information available about vehicles they’re considering – they’re unlikely to ever return to the old way of doing business. The ability to negotiate with multiple dealers simultaneously without the pressure of the showroom and the time spent going from dealer to dealer will likely become an expectation. Dealerships that adapt will thrive, while those that don’t, will suffer.

How to adapt to DTC purchasing behavior

Unfortunately, no silver bullet can overcome the traditional automotive purchase model. However, there are still significant opportunities for automobile marketers to get up to speed with direct-to-consumer automotive in incremental ways:

  1. One significant DTC opportunity is selling aftermarket parts, which offers big margins and comes directly from the manufacturer.
  2. End-user services related to data connectivity or insurance and financing provider, may provide other possibilities.
  3. Replicating showrooms and sales interactions online.

The digital transformation of some aspects of the buying process is a starting point for building and sustaining connections directly with consumers.

The Future of Car Retail

As the world has already approached digital transformation, the automotive industry is increasingly making technological breakthroughs to stay relevant in today’s competitive landscape. From autonomous vehicles to connected cars and augmented reality dashboard displays to full integration with phones and smartwatches, the automotive industry is on the cusp of innovation, delivering users an enhanced automotive car experience.

When it comes to this experience, Tesla and Carvana stand on top. Why are customers so fanatic about these brands? Is it their sleek design, innovative delivery features, or eco-friendly nature? It is all those things and the forward-thinking, innovative individuality they provide to their customers; which often leads to incredible loyalty and growth. Let’s dive a bit deeper into this.

The hallmark of Tesla’s personalization efforts is its driver profiles. Each driver can change their settings with the single push of a button. For example, instead of manually adjusting things like the wheel and mirror location, Tesla vehicles can make those changes automatically based on who is driving. Other manufacturers may change the seat location setting based on which key is used to open the car door, but Tesla driver profiles go beyond typical car personalization to adjust things like suspension, braking, lights, radio presets, and even driving style to match each user.

Carvana also has a competitive advantage because they meet its customers where they are and provide a solution to one major consumer pain point. They replaced consumers’ time-consuming car dealership visits with a virtual experience. Using their patented 360-degree photo technology, they captured vehicle details from every angle, allowing consumers to browse for a car and explore its features and any imperfections directly from their website or app. And they don’t stop there. They provide customers with the option to either pick up their car or have it delivered to their home. A great option for ecommerce business local or long distance to have this choice based on where they are and how quickly needed.

Simply put, both of these manufacturers have a solid understanding of who their customers are. By understanding each customer, what they are looking for in a driving experience, and why they decided to shop with them, both companies can tailor the experience and change how the car drives to best meet their needs. For instance, a busy professional with a long commute will have different needs and, therefore, a different driving experience than a mom driving her kids around town. In addition, by staying in tune with data, Tesla and Carvana can regularly update their digital offerings, finetune their software and build experiences and features that resonate with each user.

Bringing it all together

As you can see, the decade ahead is going to be very interesting and exciting for the automotive industry, and for you as well. And we’ve only scratched the surface of all of the new developments occurring and forthcoming. Maybe we’ll see Google, Samsung, or Apple enter the market in the future. Maybe cars will begin gathering data on traffic conditions, air quality, and the weather.

Are you ready to capitalize on these disruptions and shift your current manufacturing and customer sales methods to increase your capital and gain a competitive advantage? Schedule a call with a member of our team today.

    Get expert help today!

    An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

    Drop Us a Line At:

    Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call:
    Phone (USA): (513) 469-3346

    4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255
    Cincinnati, OH 45241

    A B2B Marketer’s GA4 Migration Guide

    A B2B Marketer’s GA4 Migration Guide

    Announced in October 2020, GA4 is primed to officially replace UA on July 1, 2023, which means UA will stop processing site visitor activity on that day. Since this announcement, Google has given digital marketing agencies and brands almost three years to prepare their team and business to make the critical switch. Migrating sooner rather than later will help you get acquainted with new capabilities, prevent data loss, and ensure that integrations are reconfigured. 

    In today’s blog post, we decided to help make migrating to GA4 easier. If you already have experience using UA, you’re two steps ahead. And, if you don’t have experience, we are here to help guide you.

    Are you ready for the new Google Analytics 4? Let’s dive in to find out what GA4 is all about—and why you need to learn how to migrate to Google Analytics 4.

    What is New in Google Analytics 4

    GA4 is designed to give B2B marketers a richer, more accurate picture of their customers journey to purchase? across devices and channels. Some of the latest features of GA4 include the following:

    • Cross-device measurement: GA4 can link together multiple devices used by the same person to give you a complete view of their behavior.
    • Offline data: GA4 can track offline conversions, such as phone calls or in-store purchases, and attribute them to your online marketing campaigns. This is incredibly helpful for complex B2B account-based marketing (ABM) campaigns.
    • Enhanced customer journey reporting: GA4’s new funnel reports show how customers move through the various stages of your marketing funnel.

    If your team uses Universal Analytics (UA), you can migrate your tracking code to GA4. However, GA4 offers a different data model than UA, so it’s essential to understand the differences between the two platforms before migrating and to be careful during the migration process. For more on that, check out our blog, GA4 Has Landed. Then explore the Next Generation of Google Analytics.

    Migrate in Phases: Steps for Migrating to Google Analytics 4

    Are you constantly seeing prompts to migrate to the new Google Analytics? With just eleven months to go, it’s becoming even more crucial to start the migration soon. 

    While migrating to the new Google Analytics does not necessarily mean losing current data collection and reporting capabilities, you need to prepare for a different way to view, analyze, and leverage data generated by event-based measurement. 

    This is why we recommend a phased approach — migrating to GA4 in stages to ensure that the platform is appropriately set up for your needs. It’s best to set up a GA4 property as soon as possible and use it simultaneously with your current UA so you can see and learn the differences before upgrading custom reports and dashboards to the new Analytics. So let’s dive deeper into those steps at a high level. 

    Phase 1: Create a new GA4 property for standard tracking – GA4 is a fresh start in every sense of the word, so before you move to the new platform, you must create a new GA4 property. You can do this using the Upgrade Assistant or by clicking on the Create New Property button in the admin menu. 

    Remember that if you use Google Tag Manager, you can create a new GA4 Configuration tag on all pages. In contrast, if you’re coding, you’ll need to add the GA4 tag to your website’s pages. Once these are completed, you can see core data in the GA4 property.

    Phase 2: Track events and other KPI-related metrics – In line with GA4’s move to event-based tracking, you’ll be able to configure data collection based on relevant events that indicate user behaviors and interactions. For example, in the new GA4, you will see that the Event Category is now called Event Name. Moreover, you will be able to define the data parameters under Action and Label, allowing you to track all relevant data. In addition, any goals that you previously defined as destination goals will need to be added as events to ensure they are measured.

    Phase 3: Set up tracking for eCommerce and additional custom tracking – For eCommerce sites, this is one of the most crucial steps of the migration process that can be done on GA4 to ensure accurate revenue measurement. We recommend working with developers, like our InteractOne team of experts, to help your team implement your website’s appropriate eCommerce tracking codes.

    Phase 4: Post-migration audit and adjustments –  ​​Once your migration is complete, conducting a full implementation audit is crucial to identify gaps and errors and adjust as needed. This includes debugging, ensuring that all tracked data are funneled to the correct events, and reviewing your GA settings for the new GA4 property. Finally, ensure all KPIs are reflected as goals, and relevant events are marked as conversions.

    Get ahead of event-based tracking and build a full view of the customer journey across devices and platforms.

    Things to Keep in Mind

    One of the most important things to remember when using GA4 is that it’s a very new platform. As such, there are bound to be some bugs and limitations. Google is actively working to address these issues, but it’s essential to be aware of them before you make the switch.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that GA4 doesn’t yet have all of UA’s features. Some of the most notable features that are missing from GA4 include the following:

    • Custom dimensions
    • Custom metrics
    • Content groups
    • Attribution modeling

    If any of the above features are important to your tracking, you should run both UA and GA4 simultaneously until you make the final switch.

    Bringing it all together

    Old habits die hard, especially those that have made your business successful. UA has undoubtedly been one of the most effective tools in recent years. Leaving it behind and moving to a new platform can sound time-consuming, stressful, and challenging. But remember that GA4 is pretty much the same as UA, except it’s better. In Google Analytics 4, you have more efficient tracking features, improved customization options, and greater data security. So if you wonder whether all the stress is worth it, the answer is a resounding yes.

    Want to get ahead of the GA4 curve and get your migration started? Book a chat with one of our team members today. Our team of experts has extensive experience configuring and optimizing GA4, as well as a variety of other tracking systems. As a result, we can help you maximize the effectiveness of your tracking ecosystem so that you know precisely how effective your marketing dollars are.

      Get expert help today!

      An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

      Drop Us a Line At:

      Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call:
      Phone (USA): (513) 469-3346

      4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255
      Cincinnati, OH 45241

      The Focus & Future of the Automotive Aftermarket

      The Focus & Future of the Automotive Aftermarket

      We’re all used to self-service on the web, whether it’s managing our own finances or booking a flight or a holiday. Why can’t it be the same for car parts?

      According to the SEMA 2022 Future Trends report, electric vehicles, connected cars, and eCommerce, among other trends, may lead to the redistribution of 30 to 40 percent of aftermarket profits along the value chain and change the industry landscape in the next 10 to 20 years.

      With an increase in demand for aftermarket parts, many retailers are taking a hard look at their ability to meet the demand and provide the experience their customers are craving – convenience, extensive product selection, consistent availability, and fast delivery. To meet this demand, many retailers have a web store in place, but it’s commonplace that those sites were built years ago and may not have been set up to handle the increased inventory options and transaction volume that the current eCommerce environment demands. If you are not offering a seamless experience from browse to search to purchase, you risk being left behind. Now is the time for you and your team to face the facts: What are we doing to provide a better eCommerce experience?

      In this blog post, we will discuss some of the key factors that are contributing to aftermarket parts success and how you and your team can be strategic in maintaining a competitive position in a rapidly-changing environment.

      Key Factors Contributing to Aftermarket Parts Success

      Dramatic changes are in motion within the automotive aftermarket. These include changing customer expectations, accelerated adoption of new technologies, and shifts in competitive power.

      Automotive aftermarket eCommerce retailers are seeing growth on just about every front. Why? There are not enough new vehicles to meet consumer demand, according to SEMA. Not surprisingly, this means more and more people are keeping their vehicles and spending more of their money maintaining them.

      But that’s not all bad news, as this provides retailers the opportunity to increase their bottom line and take advantage of this aftermarket acceleration. Let’s explore some of the key factors contributing to this rise in reliance on aftermarket parts and services.

      • Low auto inventory levels: New-vehicle inventory at the end of July was higher than it was a year ago, when the global computer chip shortage began hurting production, but supply remains low compared with pre-pandemic times, according to Cox Automotive’s analysis of Auto Available Inventory data. In addition, domestic production of new motor vehicles in the United States was down 16.5% from 2019 according to SEMA. Vehicle sales over the same period were down 9.6%, which has led to historically low inventory.  People have reported waiting on an average of six or more months to receive their new vehicle. Low inventory levels likely mean demand for new vehicles will remain strong over the next year, as auto manufacturers work to repair supply chains and produce more vehicles.
      • The rise in technological advancements: Aftermarket parts such as catalytic converters and electronic chips are in high demand as owners invest in their older vehicles trying to make them more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly. In addition, people are always on the lookout for new features to add to their older vehicles.
      • Government regulations: Stricter car emission regulations have put pressure on manufacturers to produce more environmentally friendly and high-efficiency parts.  This demand is expected to excel at a fast pace in the future and is a trend to stay on top of.
      • More disposable income: More people are self-made millionaires, demanding more luxuries, including wanting to design or remodel their vehicles, which is increasing the demand for aftermarket products.

      Overall, aftermarket retailers should feel optimistic about the future. The strong demand for aftermarket products will continue to grow in 2022 and beyond. However, challenges loom on the horizon. Ongoing supply issues will likely constrain available supply and increase prices.

      What’s next for your business and retailers alike?

      Many retailers are taking a hard look at their ability to provide a better online buying experience for their customers and asking themselves some tough questions such as:

      1. Are we prepared to handle increased online sales? 
      2. Can our current technology help us stay on top of the supply chain issues?
      3. Is our existing store technology a problem?

      This hasn’t stopped consumers from making a purchase. Shoppers simply switched brands or went to another retailer to get what they needed. What does this mean for you? Don’t let technology get in the way of your business and profits.

      Side Note: According to the SEMA report, nearly ⅔’s of people reported they wanted to purchase something from an online auto aftermarket retailer, but it was out of stock.

      Let’s take a look at how you can get ahead of issues like this with eCommerce:

      • Extend your geographical reach: Whether you sell parts B2C, B2B, or both, eCommerce extends your geographical reach and provides your customers with 24×7 access to place orders. Fully integrating third-party codes where customers can view their complete purchase history and status of current orders from anywhere, anytime is just the beginning of building your customer base beyond your brick and mortar.
      • Improve customer experience: Elevate the buying experience by allowing customers to manage parts and pricing while having immediate access to inventory. 

      Get professional help updating your eCommerce site: InteractOne offers full-service website custom design and deployment, using Magento. Take a look at how we helped turn a static automotive aftermarket site into a responsive, custom-designed one and how we can do the same for you.

      Bringing it all Together

      With the accelerating growth of eCommerce – which creates opportunities to modify business models and adopt new ways of interacting with customers – automotive suppliers and distributors face increased pressure to transform now. How come? Retail giants are quick to fill gaps and expand their footprint into new industries like automotive. But the one thing the big retailers can’t match is the automotive experience and expertise of companies that are already established and successful in the industry – this is where you and your team can gain a strategic advantage with FitmentPro.

      FitmentPro is our solution to gaining this automotive advantage. Not only will this software tool help keep your automotive catalog up to date with the aftermarket trends, but it will also empower your customers to find the perfect part in record time and so much more. Click here to learn more and book a demo with a member of our Dev team today. You’ll be blown away when you see how this feature can help your site perform at top speed while serving the product catalog search results for your customers.

        Get expert help today!

        An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

        Drop Us a Line At:

        Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call:
        Phone (USA): (513) 469-3346

        4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255
        Cincinnati, OH 45241

        Most Costly Adobe Commerce Problems – And How to Fix Them

        Most Costly Adobe Commerce Problems – And How to Fix Them

        A lot of different factors are involved in the development of an eCommerce website and it is ultimately those same factors that will decide the fate of your business. They will also play a large role in  how users are going to interact with or find your website. 

        In this blog, we are going to share the most common issues encountered with the Adobe Commerce platform that your team might be experiencing and how to solve them. If you want to learn a little more about the powerful and exclusive money-making features of Abobe Commerce check out our blogs The 5 Most Valuable, Exclusive, Money-Making Features on Adobe Commerce and Future Proof your Webstore with Adobe Commerce 2.4.5

        Slow Performance

        Having a fast-loading, high-performance website is crucial to your eCommerce business. Why? Because the speed of your web pages play a vital role in your user experience, conversions, and Search Ranking. Unfortunately, too many eCommerce merchants place a priority on having a site with too many bells and whistles and an overly sophisticated website design, all of which slow the site rendering speed. 

        A slow-loading site can cause major conversion rate issues that dramatically affect your sales.  Some extensions (and extension providers) are notorious for breaking Adobe Commerce’s cache and not working properly with JS bundling and CSS/HTML minification.  These extensions can create very slow page loads and poor performance across the site.

        Your site speed is important for the overall user experience you are trying to create and if your site takes a long time to load (especially on mobile) causing impatient customers to leave your site, increasing l your overall bounce rate and reducing the average time spent on your site. Slow loading sites also get lower SEO scores from Google and affect your business’s conversion rates; which further exacerbates the problem. In fact, the highest eCommerce conversion rates occur on pages with load times between 0-2 seconds, with nearly 70% of consumers admitting that a page speed beyond this impacts their willingness to buy from an online retailer, according to a study by Portent

        Every extension should be reviewed by a senior developer before being installed and a full regression test and possibly a load test of the site should be performed before releasing the extension to production. For more information on factors that might be affecting your site speed, check out our blog, Perfect Page, Poor Traffic? Why Site Speed Matters. 

        Conflicts

        For the eCommerce teams that do not plan their websites correctly, it is easy to go overboard and install extensions that affect your website’s functionality. That can be easy to do with the 3,800 extensions that the official Adobe Commerce Marketplace offers. This is because sometimes it’s not possible for all 3rd party extensions to be tested against one another. They also might not be of top quality which may hinder your customer’s experience. Another conflict your team might be experiencing is incorrect database configurations. If you are using Magento 2.4 or above, it is essential that your team upgrade your database to MySQL 8; which can take your performance to the next level. According to a report, this database upgrade can improve the performance of a website twice as much as its previous versions.

        To help stay on point with your sales strategy while improving your performance and experience on your website, the solution to this issue is to ensure that full regression testing and load testing are routinely performed before releasing any extension into production. In addition, you can set indexers to ‘update on schedule’ rather than ‘update on save’ to help eliminate Adobe Commerce performance issues in case of large volumes of traffic, especially around the holidays or other particularly busy times. 

        Support

        Sometimes extension providers are slow to respond to support requests or they simply stop supporting their extension.  Although not common, we have seen this happen several times in the past.  The most significant impact can be when an extension provider decides to stop supporting their extension altogether.  This means the merchant is forced to either pay a developer to keep upgrading the extension to match overall site upgrades or replace that extension with something else.  

        One of the most popular extensions to lose support recently has been the Ultimo theme.  This extension was used by many merchants, all of whom were left with no support when the Ultimo theme developer decided to no longer support or upgrade their theme.

        The recommended solution to this issue is to only purchase extensions from the bigger and more well regarded providers like Aheadworks or Magefan who have more resources for support and are not likely to fold up shop anytime soon.

        Solutions

        Slow loading pages, especially for mobile users, are by far the most important and costly of the issues outlined above when it comes to improving conversion because these issues involves not only a lot of quality assurance testing, but the following interdependent processes:

        • Analyzing all 3rd party extensions and custom code to find which modules are causing performance issues.
        • Any necessary work to resolve those issues (replacing modules, refactoring code, etc.).
        • Full regression testing of the site to ensure the resolutions work properly.
        • Identifying any unused or bloated Javascript code causing performance issues.
        • Any unforeseen work that might be required to remove/replace or refactor Javascript code.
        • Full regression testing of the site to ensure the proper functionality is in place based on the above task. 
        • Minimize CSS/HTML and Javascript
        • Full regression testing of the site again.
        • Work with full page caching and CDNs to further optimize page loads and image sizes etc.
        • Full regression testing of the site again.

        After these steps are followed to correct and improve your site speed, your team can determine which approaches to take for further conversion improvement, such as A/B testing or hiring a third-party expert.

        Side Note: ​​If this all seems like a lot that’s because it is. If you’d like to speak with an expert click here.

        Bringing it all Together

        Before proceeding to make any changes to these third-party codes or any performance issues, it is important to make sure you understand where the bugs and issues reside and how to fix them; which can quickly turn into a larger task than originally anticipated. That’s where we come in. It’s vital to have a team of experts that understand your needs and who provide the right solutions to help you stay at the top of search results and ensure a better return on your investment. Please feel free to reach out if you’d like to talk.

          Get expert help today!

          An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

          Drop Us a Line At:

          Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call:
          Phone (USA): (513) 469-3346

          4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255
          Cincinnati, OH 45241

          Now Available – Future Proof your Webstore with Adobe Commerce 2.4.5

          Now Available – Future Proof your Webstore with Adobe Commerce 2.4.5

          Adobe’s (Magento) latest and greatest update is arriving tomorrow, August 10th – Adobe Commerce 2.4.5.

          Adobe Commerce 2.4.5, marks a new step forward in commerce capabilities, security, and performance. The advancements in this release set the foundation for the next several years of Adobe innovations to ensure your commerce business continues to be resilient. This release strategy also ensures that customers maintain the ability to adapt to changing market trends with continued flexibility to customize.

          In addition to platform quality improvements and enhanced security, Adobe Commerce 2.4.5 includes improvements to payment methods, accessibility, Adobe Commerce branding, integrated Google Modules, and Adobe Commerce IMS integration (single Adobe account login). 

          Other updates include PWA 12.5, Live Search B2B support, B2B Shared Catalog scalability and performance improvements, GraphQL Caching Performance improvements, Page Builder 1.7.2, and updates to Channel Manager and Upgrade Compatibility Tool.

          Adobe Commerce is not only growing in its offering and abilities but it is also continuing to increase in its complexity; which can feel overwhelming for eCommerce managers and teams. That’s where we come in. We’ve been a Certified Adobe partner for 14 years now, all the way back to the launch of the original  ‘Magento! version’. Book your consultation with a senior member of our development team to implement these changes and updates once the launch is live.

          Stay tuned for more information on release notes and how Adobe Commerce 2.4.5 will directly affect you and your brand.

            Get expert help today!

            An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

            Drop Us a Line At:

            Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call:
            Phone (USA): (513) 469-3346

            4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255
            Cincinnati, OH 45241

            GA4 has Landed. Explore the Next Generation of Google Analytics

            GA4 has Landed. Explore the Next Generation of Google Analytics

            According to Forbes, 50% of businesses say that big data and analytics have fundamentally changed practices and strategies in their marketing departments. And with the growth in analytics technology, end-user privacy has become one of the most demanding aspects of every business. Browsers and other platforms are making changes to core technologies such as the collection and use of tracking cookies. Meanwhile, end-users themselves are demanding more transparency and control over how their data gets used.

            At the same time, the amount of data generated from countless touch points and platforms continues to increase exponentially. Therefore, businesses these days are investing more and more in managing and understanding website analytics. To attempt to navigate all of these without a modern measurement solution, you are leaving essential insights on the table that will impact your bottom line.

            Against this backdrop comes the introduction of Google Analytics 4, your new cross-platform analytics solution, as Google will begin sunsetting Universal Analytics — the previous generation of Analytics — in 2023.

            This blog post will provide you and your team with an analysis of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) vs. Universal Analytics (UA). We will also highlight the major differences between the two to help you to determine when is the right time to make the switch before Universal Analytics properties stop processing information.

            What is Google Analytics 4?

            Google Analytics 4 is a new version of Google Analytics that helps you and your team with your data analysis. GA4 is designed with visitor privacy at its core. It will help your business meet the ever-evolving customer needs and user expectations, with more comprehensive and granular controls for data collection and usage. Perhaps most importantly, GA4 will also no longer store IP addresses. These solutions and controls are especially necessary for today’s data privacy landscape, where users are increasingly expecting more privacy protections and control over their data. Now that you have a bit of background, let’s dive a bit deeper into the differences between the GA4 and UA.

            Google Analytics 4 (GA4) vs Universal Analytics (UA)

            GA4 is the new update on the block and is primed to officially dethrone UA on July 1, 2023; which means UA will stop processing site visitor activity on that day. Preparing your team and your business for the switch is critical. Let’s compare the two before UA’s final send-off so you know what to expect and have sufficient time to prepare.

            Universal Analytics, was released in 2012 and is a version of Google Analytics that you have been using for years to gain insight into your website’s visitors. For instance, it has provided user IDs, tracking codes, and analytics configuration options. With these, you can gain more in-depth information about user behavior. For comparison’s sake, here’s a recap  of UA’s features:

            Side Note: UA was built for a generation of online measurement that was anchored in the desktop web, independent sessions, and more easily observable data from cookies. This measurement methodology is quickly becoming obsolete.

            • User IDs: enables better activity reporting. When a user visits your company’s site — no matter how many browsers or devices they use — they’re recorded as a single person. This allows your developers to track your unique site visitor counts more accurately. Additionally, you can access Cross Device reports that will give you more in-depth information about user behavior.
            • Tracking codes: these are meant to help your team collect data on-site visitors. For instance, UA introduced Google Analytics Software Development Kits (SDKs) to track activity on mobile, and Analytics.js to measure how visitors are interacting with your site. 
            • Offline data: ​​lets you track data from outside sources like call centers. As a result, users can better understand customer behavior via offline data.
            • Custom metrics and enhanced eCommerce: customization options are available so you can gain specialized data that fits the goals of your business and learn more about your campaign’s progress. 
            • Organic Search Sources: Account owners can configure how organic searches get reported. Google Analytics will separate search traffic, labeled organic search traffic, from ads.
            • Session and Campaign Timeouts: This configuration considers how people can visit sites and then leave them open on their devices in favor of doing other things. This can skew your data reports or analytics on session length. So, you can adjust UA’s settings to end sessions after set periods.
            • Eliminating Referral Sources: In contrast to organic search traffic, you can find traffic from other sources, which you can label referrals. UA can log the domain name your user was on before getting to your site. So, you can take out domains from the referral source report.
            • Ignoring Search Terms. You can see what keywords Google users use to find your website in your analytics reports. Unfortunately, you can’t see every logged query, but you can see some of them. But, you can ignore some search terms so they won’t be counted as search traffic.

            Some challenges with Universal Analytics

            Now that you have a good understanding of how Universal Analytics works, it is now important to understand some of the challenges the tool presents:

            • Data processing latency is 24-48 hours in UA and generally results in any reports you or your team run only being refreshed once a day.
            • UA does not support Cross-Device Reporting, you currently have to integrate a third-party software for this purpose which could be an extremely complex task.
            • Every user interaction can be sent to UA as an individual hit, but the number of hits is limited for each session and there is zero assurance that the excess hits will be processed. Here’s a screenshot from Google documentation showing how GA4 will improve upon this challenge which we will also discuss in more detail in the next section:

            Now that we’ve looked at Universal Analytics features and functionality and some of the challenges it presents, let’s switch gears to Google Analytics 4. Below we explore just a few of the new features that come packed in Google Analytics 4 that are designed to better support your business.

            • Predictive analysis: you will now be able to track both websites and apps. Tracking app data was not a function of UA. GA4 uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to get more insights across more touch-points along your customer’s journey. Therefore, you can gain the data needed for predicting your audience’s next move.
            • Reports and automated table customization: Much like UA, GA4 has plenty of data tables. The difference? GA4’s tables are much more customizable in terms of dimensions and metrics and reports on landing page traffic. 
            • Anomaly detection: This feature deals with machine learning and AI, as well.You can adjust the anomaly detector’s sensitivity and time periods, allowing  Google to monitor your site and notify you when it detects anomalies or anything that was supposed to happen but didn’t. In a nutshell, GA4 can tell if a particular metric has something to do with your statistics or if something needs to be fixed on your website, saving you the time it would take to discover and investigate the anomalies yourself
            • Segment creation: you can now create audience segments with GA4. The incredible thing about this feature when comparing GA4 vs UA is that you can make segments without needing to save them with the new comparisons tool.
            • Events tracking: you can track most events in GA4 such as the basic, automatically tracked, and enhanced measurement events. If you can’t find desired events, you have the option to create new ones. Another perk of GA4 vs UA is that GA4 allows you to create 300 events for a property versus 22 in UA. 
            • Configuration tracking: you will now be able to mark events as ‘Conversions’ more easily. For example, in UA, you could track 20 permanent conversions, but with GA4, you can track as many as 30 conversions. Another new perk? Your team can delete them whenever you want.
            • Privacy consent mode: GA4 will now automatically anonymize IP addresses.

            GA4 operates across platforms, does not rely exclusively on cookies, and uses an event-based data model to deliver user-centric measurement.

            Bringing it all together

            Although Universal Analytics offers a variety of privacy controls, Google Analytics 4 is designed with privacy at its core to provide a better experience for your website users. It helps businesses like yours meet evolving needs and user expectations, with more comprehensive and granular controls for data collection and usage. Most importantly, GA4 will also no longer store IP addresses. 

            By bringing in these new functions, Google Analytics is continuing to improve the platform and provide solutions for you and your customers at every step of their user journey. These solutions and controls are especially necessary for today’s international data privacy landscape, where users are increasingly expecting more privacy protections and control over their data.

            This may seem like a lot because it is. What’s your biggest concern about these updates and the health of your website?  Drop us a line with your concerns and questions. We live this stuff and would enjoy the discussion.

              Get expert help today!

              An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

              Drop Us a Line At:

              Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call:
              Phone (USA): (513) 469-3346

              4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255
              Cincinnati, OH 45241

              Meta Descriptions: Small Detail Costing You Big Traffic

              Meta Descriptions: Small Detail Costing You Big Traffic

              The list of elements on your webstore that ‘need work’ is seemingly endless. It’s easy for minor tasks to not receive priority when managing your firm’s growing eCommerce efforts. Meta descriptions are one of those small tasks that often get forgotten. Although Google has said meta tags are not a ranking factor, they are one of those small on-page SEO tasks you should incorporate into your content marketing strategy to optimize results.

              In this blog, we will ​​provide a quick guide about what meta descriptions are, why they are important. how to write them so they stand out in search engine result pages, and other tips to keep in mind when focusing on your site’s meta tags.

              So, what is a meta description?

              In short, a meta description is the short section of text that appears below a link in the Search Results page or in the preview section when you send a link. The purpose of a meta description is to describe what the page’s content is about, so people looking through a search results page know what to expect before they click. You can either write your own directly in your website’s CMS or search engines will pull content directly from your site to fill it in automatically.  Do you want to leave this sort of customer-facing assignment up to a computer program? It is important to write your own – so you control what visitors see and can ensure the description is an accurate representation of what your site is about.

              It is also important to note that meta descriptions are not a direct ranking factor. However, they can influence whether people will click on your webpage and indirectly influence your organic traffic.

              Why are meta descriptions so important for your SEO?

              Even though there is no direct correlation between meta descriptions and higher rankings on Google, meta descriptions do play a vital part in SEO. Google uses click-through rate (CTR) as a way of working out whether your link is a good result. What this means is the more people that click on your site, Google considers you to be a good result and will – based on your position – move you up the rankings. This is why optimizing your meta description is so important.

              How to write a meta description effectively

              Simply put, if you don’t put work into your meta descriptions, you may be missing out on quality website traffic, new leads, and customers. So, how can you start writing powerful meta descriptions that drive clicks? Follow the guidelines below:

              Aim for the optimal length: ​​The right length doesn’t exist because it depends on the message you want to convey to a specific audience. However, Google generally truncates your meta snippet to 120-160 characters. Therefore, it’s best to keep meta descriptions long enough that they’re sufficiently descriptive, but short and snappy at the same time. Keep in mind that the “optimal” length will vary depending on the situation, and your primary goal should be to provide value and drive clicks.

              Use action-oriented copy: If you think about it, a meta description is just like call-to-action copy, it tells the audience exactly what visitors can do if they click. You should start your meta descriptions with action words like “Learn,” “Discover,” or “Grab” and then follow up with specific details about what your potential site visitor will get if they click.

              Include keywords: If the search keyword matches a part of the text in the meta description, Google will be more inclined to use it and highlight it in the search results. This will make the link to your site even more inviting. Google sometimes even highlights synonyms. In the example below, both the Academy Awards and Oscars are highlighted. Getting your results emphasized like that makes them stand out even more.

              Write compelling copy: Think of your meta description as advertising copy – if your snippet is boring what would motivate someone to click on your link? A page’s meta description should intelligently employ the page’s target keywords, in a natural, non-spammy way that compels the user to click through to the page. Google and other search engines often bold keywords from the user’s query in the description display, which draws the eye of the searcher. Try to match your descriptions to valuable search terms as closely as possible without over-optimizing them.

              Avoid quotation marks: When double quotation marks (“…”) are used within meta description HTML markup, Google recognizes them as signals to truncate the description from that point and will automatically cut off the rest of the text from the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) snippet. To prevent this from happening, your best bet is to remove all non-alphanumeric characters from any of your meta descriptions. On the other hand, if quotation marks are important in your meta description, you can use the HTML entity rather than double quotes to prevent truncation.

              Don’t be misleading: If your meta description misleads your audience with content unrelated to what users should expect once they click they’re likely to leave quickly. That’s one sure way to get high bounce rates. Not only that, you might risk losing a viewer’s trust and/or mentally being blacklisted from them ever clicking on your site in the future. Be honest about who you are and what you do.

              Below are a few good examples of meta descriptions that incorporate all of the above tips:

              Hellofresh: They rank for the search query “recipe box subscription” and take a different strategy by using short, snappy sentences to make it enticing for a user to want to click to learn more.

              Mailchimp: When you see this search result for their pricing page, you can see the total package they put together with the compelling meta description and rich snippets. The description is concise but says everything it needs to. Then the rest of the rich snippets show more information on the same topic.

              Why are meta descriptions so important for your SEO?

              Meta descriptions on their own might seem like a small thing and many businesses might overlook their importance, but they are your chance to create the first impression of your site to visitors. By using our best-practice guide on how to write a great meta description, you will not only improve click-through rates, but also decrease bounce rates to gain even more traffic in the future. 

              Spend time to fix your metadata today and begin seeing the results of that effort tomorrow. And if you need help with this or other Search Engine Optimization challenges, let us know, below. We’re digital marketing pros and are here to help.

                Get expert help today!

                An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

                Drop Us a Line At:

                Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call:
                Phone (USA): (513) 469-3346

                4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255
                Cincinnati, OH 45241

                2022 Shipping Rate Changes: how to prep & what to expect

                2022 Shipping Rate Changes: how to prep & what to expect

                It seems like every year there are changes and updates made to shipping costs and this year is certainly no exception. Between the labor shortage, fuel costs and an unexpected backup-at-the-ports, carriers are definitely looking at an increase in costs which they will no doubt be passing along to you, the shipper. If you ship in the United States using UPS, DHL, or USPS you can count on an increase in shipping rates.  In this blog we’re going to review some of the changes made to shipping and what you can do about it in 2022.

                USPS

                Effective Date: January 9th, 2022

                -Retail rates for First Class Package Service will increase by $0.50 for packages weighing 1–4 ounces, $0.30 for packages weighing 5–12 ounces, and $0.80–$1.70 for packages over 12 oz.

                -Retail rates for Priority Mail Express will increase by 3.1% overall

                UPS

                Effective Date: December 26th, 2021

                Not waiting until the new year, UPS implemented their new charges the day after Christmas. UPS published rates will increase by an average of 5.9%.

                -UPS is making changes to the costs for value-added services and other charges.

                Effective Date: January 9th, 2022

                -The ZIP codes for which area surcharges apply will change. These include Delivery Area Surcharge, Extended Area Surcharge, and Remote Area Surcharge. Click here to see the full list of applicable ZIP codes.

                DHL Express

                Effective Jan 1, 2022 DHL Express retail rates will increase by an average of 5.9% for DHL Express Worldwide shipping service.

                Canada Post

                Effective January 10, 2022, Canada Post rates will increase by an average of 3.5% domestically and 2.8% to the US and internationally.

                How to optimize your shipping strategy

                The options available to you are largely based on your current shipping strategy; fee, flat rate or calculated shipping. Depending on which shipping option(s) your brand offers you will need to adjust your strategy accordingly.

                Free Shipping

                If you offer Free Shipping here are some options available to you:

                An Increase in product prices – If you’re still dead-set on maintaining your ‘free shipping’ options then an increase in product prices may be where you make up the loss incurred from the increased shipping costs. If you increase your products’ prices by the same percentage as these shipping increases you will maintain your magins. Although, your repeat and loyal customers may notice an increase in price, which could lead to an impact in their purchase frequency and shopping habits. This may be something worth A/B testing. 

                You could just do nothing – If you choose this route then you’ll need to absorb the increased cost of shipping yourself. Confirm your margins and your profitability before taking this route. 

                Consider a switch to ‘Free Shipping Minimums” – There is a compromise to be found between increasing your product prices and doing nothing. And that compromise is to add a free shipping minimum. This tactic has been shown to increase the average order value, which will help to offset the increased cost in shipping. This strategy will also pass along the cost of shipping directly to your customers if their order fails to reach the minimum threshold.

                Flat Rate

                If you offer Flat Rate Shipping here are some options available to you:

                You could just do nothing – Same as with Free Shipping, if you choose to do nothing then you’ll have to eat the cost yourself. Confirm this plan’s sustainability and long term functionality. 

                Adjust or introduce Order Value Ranges – There’s no rule that says your flat rates need to be the same for every order. Consider offering a higher flat rate on smaller orders and lower flat rates as orders and cart sizes increase. This will help off-set the increase in shipping costs. 

                Increase product prices – If you increase your products’ prices by the same percentage as these shipping increases you will maintain your magins. Although, your repeat and loyal customers may notice an increase in price, which could lead to an impact in their purchase frequency. 

                Increase Flat Rate Shipping – This increase may lead to similar results as an increase in product prices and it may impact your abandoned cart rates as customers will see this charge later on in the sales process. Consider altering the messaging and frequency of your Cart Abandonment emails if this is the path you choose.

                Calculated Shipping Rate

                If you offer Calculated Shipping here are some options available to you:

                You could just do nothing – If you use a calculated rates provider or app and you choose to do nothing then these new charges will be automatically updated as soon as they are implemented. 

                Decrease Product Price – Since your shipping rates are going to be automatically updated via your carrier extensions and applications a decrease in product price is an option. Once again, ensure that your margins are sustainable and pricing remains consistent and strategically in-line with the rest of your product line and your competitors.

                Adjust for 2022 and beyond

                While your current 2022 budget may need to be adjusted to account for some of these new charges, this might be a blessing in disguise. You could use this opportunity to rethink your entire shipping strategy from the ground up. If none of your calculations hit on your target margin, pricing strategy or shipping rate then it is time to go back to the drawing board. The team here at InteractOne is experienced and knowledgeable and ready to help craft a shipping strategy that works for you and your plans.

                  Get expert help today!

                  An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

                  Drop Us a Line At:

                  Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call:
                  Phone (USA): (513) 469-3346

                  4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255
                  Cincinnati, OH 45241

                  Supply Chain Strain – Solutions for your Business 🚚🚢 🎁

                  Supply Chain Strain – Solutions for your Business 🚚🚢 🎁

                  We all remember the early days of the pandemic when toilet paper was the scarce commodity, but now the world seems like it is running out of everything from computer chips to ketchup. To make matters worse, an unprecedented labor shortage has left business owners bracing for a holiday season in which demand is likely to overwhelm resources.

                  Unfortunately, it’s clear that the supply chain disruption plaguing the American economy is not a short-term crisis. While you can’t fix the broken supply chain, you’ll need to steer your business through this crisis and be able to explain delays to your customers when necessary. To do so, it’s important to understand what’s behind any and all supply chain disruptions.

                  In this blog, we will highlight some of these disruptions and help you be better prepared to keep your business thriving – sometimes without a fair warning.

                  What is supply chain management?

                  The supply chain is the journey products take from where they’re mined, grown, or otherwise made all the way to their eventual destinations in the hands of consumers.

                  Supply chains are made up of so-called “nodes” and “links.” Nodes are stops a material or product makes along the way, like at a factory, port, warehouse, or retail store. A link, on the other hand, is the time material or product spends in transit between nodes—usually on a cargo ship, train, freight aircraft, or semi-truck. If all of that seemed confusing to you then this video might help.

                  Supply chain disruption root causes:

                  Shortages for a number of goods have been a hallmark of the pandemic-induced recession and recovery; which is why it is so important, as a business, to understand what is driving these issues and if there is a way for you to fix them. As we look at the causes of supply chain disruptions, we find some intertwined factors leading to the disruptions and delays your company and customers might be experiencing:

                  • The pandemic: The pandemic is the overarching reason for supply chain disruptions. Outbreaks and lockdowns limited productivity in factories and the transportation of goods around the world. At the same time, consumer demand for certain products has increased dramatically as many people have more disposable income and spend more time at home.
                  • Just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing: The JIT manufacturing model serves to meet demand instead of creating a surplus before an item is needed. While it can lead to cost savings and reduced waste, the practice also means manufacturers don’t keep extra supplies on hand. As a result, the delay of a single component can stall an entire production line—such as when, earlier this year, Ford had lots filled with nearly complete trucks awaiting semiconductors.
                  • Lack of shipping containers: Increased demand and a limited supply have led to a shipping container shortage and a big jump in associated costs. Partially, this is because PPE supplies were shipped to parts of the world that don’t have many exports, and the containers were left there, sitting empty. The Independent Commodity Intelligence Services reports that it cost $20,000 to ship a 40-foot container from Asia to the U.S. in September 2021, up from $4,500 the previous year.
                  • Staffing shortages: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August 2021 and an additional 4.4 million quit in September. If you’re a small business owner, you’ve likely felt the strain yourself—workers are not easy to come by or retain. Notably, there’s been a multi-year shortage of truck drivers in the U.S. Though there’s a massive push underway to recruit truck drivers, people can’t learn to drive 18 wheelers overnight. The same goes for operating a crane, especially when shipping containers are stacked high and accessing the right one means playing a high-stakes game of Jenga. Major ports like the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach will soon be operating 24/7, but that won’t help unclog the traffic jam if the truck driver shortage persists.
                  • Overwhelmed docks: Increased activity and worker shortages are also leading to delays at U.S. ports. According to NPR, 52 cargo ships were waiting off the coast of Los Angeles one day in late October. Off the Port of Savannah, The New York Times reported that cargo ships were anchored up to 17 miles off the coast, waiting at times more than 9 days for their turn to dock and unload their shipping containers. While some of these ports are setting records for volume coming in,  it may still take weeks (instead of days) for containers to be picked up by a truck—which only adds to delivery delays and a shortage of available shipping containers

                  Plan ahead for a brighter future

                  In some dire or unexpected scenarios, operations may come to a halt, but even in these instances, preparation can make all the difference in how quickly a business can repair supply chain issues. Below are some tactics you can start implementing as early as today:

                  Create a supply chain emergency plan: Just as it is wise to have a go-bag at home in case of emergency, a family plan in case of fire, and a winter supplies bag in the car for icy situations, it is equally wise to maintain an up-to-date supply chain emergency plan. This can include an emergency budget for use in the face of disruptions alongside plans around how to move goods around, maintain supplies, and continue operations in the face of different types of supply chain problems. 

                  Build up inventory, when possible: If your business relies heavily on certain inventory to continue operations, consider stockpiling essential supplies so that your business could weather disruption that endures for several months. 

                  Conduct a supply chain vulnerability audit: Risk analysis is a good way to spot weak links in a supply chain and it is something businesses should engage in seriously and regularly. Armed with information, finding replacements becomes a more straightforward task in terms of priority. 

                  Identify backup suppliers: This is not always a viable option given where your products are coming from and what they are, but are there other suppliers that could provide the products needed to continue business if a go-to supplier is not able to fulfill supply needs. One important factor to consider when seeking out backup suppliers is their geographic location. For example, if your original supplier is hit with a natural disaster or similar issue, having suppliers who are further away from the event site can help guarantee continued supply.

                  Diversify supply base: As mentioned above, diversification of suppliers helps mitigate risk just as a diversified investment portfolio does. Geographic diversification is critical, but another important factor to consider is further up the supply chain. Even if three of your suppliers are in different areas, they may share a supplier amongst them which could leave all three in the wake of disruption. Diversify in as many areas as possible and begin to build relationships with these suppliers well ahead of potential disruptions. 

                  Looking at the bigger picture and not focusing solely on short-term issues, such as meeting the upcoming holiday season demand will help your business in the long run.

                  Bringing it all together

                  Although you can prepare on some level, there’s no true silver bullet solution for the supply chain woes. The only thing that fixes this is time. While you might be waiting for the supply chain disruptions to unsnarl and catch up, the name of the game will be survival. This will be especially true during the holiday season when big box stores are likely to have much more inventory than small businesses.  And it means that you will need to get creative, sourcing products and goods locally as often as possible and finding ways to repurpose existing inventory. Customers who care about shopping locally will make every effort to support mom and pop, but it will be vital for small business owners to communicate clearly with their customer base, explaining delays and offering frequent updates.

                  Need help giving your business every available opportunity to see optimal growth by getting ahead of some of these disruptions as much as you can? Contact one of our experts today.

                  The October 2021 Orange Report

                  The October 2021 Orange Report

                  October 2021 ORANGE REPORT

                  The October 2021 Orange Report features our best & most recent blogs and guides on Magento, Big Commerce, eCommerce, and Digital Marketing.

                  Conjure Sales & Build Trust – The Magic of Mobile Marketing

                  In Part 1 of our Mobile series you’ll learn the benefits and best practices of SMS mobile marketing, including how to stay compliant with examples of customer texting done well.

                  Video Case Study: Automotive Aftermarket

                  See for yourself how InteractOne migrated an Automotive Aftermarket website from Volusion to Magento 2 and improved mobile-responsiveness and functionality.

                  How to Run a Successful Mobile Marketing Campaign

                  In Part 2 of our Mobile series we’ll provide some great examples of mobile messages to send to your customers including special promotions, mobile coupons and encouragements.

                  Apple’s iOS15: One person’s privacy is another’s marketing strategy

                  Privacy concerns for users are real, and Apple is about to strike a blow in how business is done that could change the marketing landscape in a major way.