August 10, 2017, 7:55 am

How to Conduct an Ecommerce Sales Forecast

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business

If you’re hosting an outdoor event, you keep your eyes glued to the weather forecast leading up to the big day. You hope for sunny skies, of course, but you also need to plan for inclement weather. Looking ahead allows you to prepare and adjust so no outcome will be a total surprise.

The same principle applies to running an online store. Creating an ecommerce sales forecast helps maintain the right inventory volume and keep the books balanced. Unfortunately, no TV meteorologist can deliver these predictions. You must make your own.

Here’s how to conduct an ecommerce sales forecast.

Examine Past Data

The best way to predict the future is to learn from the past. Although you may be less-than-eager to delve into numbers from your past (especially those first few months), it’s a useful starting point for charting future growth. Look at how your ecommerce company’s sales have grown month over month. What if that pattern continues? Where will you be in six months? A year?

Besides hard sales figures, Orderhive suggests you also look at:

  • Average number of items in cart
  • Average number of visitors to your website
  • Average cost of each product
  • Total gross sales

Plugging these numbers month-over-month into a spreadsheet can help you see emerging trends before they happen and respond accordingly. Pro tip: If your store uses a cloud-based ecommerce platform like Shopify, it may have a built-in tool to help you aggregate and analyze this data without having to create your own separate report (and update it monthly).

Season Matters

Every industry has a natural ebb and flow. It’s important to determine where your store fits into that. The last thing you want to do is hit busy season and run out of product just as the crowds are clamoring for your merchandise! Telling customers items are on backorder and will take an extra two to three weeks to ship is a surefire way to encourage cart abandonment.

Part of any accurate sales forecast will include what people are searching for, as well as when and how this relates to their actual buying habits. Determining keyword-based search frequencies by month can help you prepare your inventory. People often shop in advance, so make note of what items they’re searching in your store and be sure to order enough to satisfy the seasonal demand.

You’ll also want to pay attention to anomalies. Maybe next winter is supposed to be the snowiest of the century. In that case, you’ll want to promote your line of winter wear earlier and more aggressively than usual because there’s snow (and sales) in the forecast. It’s all about balancing your inventory with your customers’ needs based on what their search inquiries reveal they want and what your past numbers tell you.

When in Doubt…Flash Sale

Let’s say your sales forecast is slightly optimistic and you’re left with surplus stock. While it’s not ideal, it’s still better than running out of merchandise halfway through your busiest week of the year. Hosting a flash sale is a good way to square up your inventory. Over half (56 percent) of businesses have higher click-to-open rates for flash-sale campaigns than regular ones.

Hosting a short, exclusive sale is a good way to buck routine and bolster your sales figures. Of course, you can only get away with this a few times a year before it becomes the new normal. A better strategy is to use flash sales sparingly and depend on accurate ecommerce sales forecasting that takes all the aforementioned factors into account.

The best way to figure out how to conduct an ecommerce sales forecast is to actually do it. Relying on past data, customer search queries and seasonal trends is the best place to start.

 

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July 24, 2017, 10:37 am

The Most Effective Ways to Manage Your Credit Cards

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Pay off your Debts

Credit card management is just as important as managing your credit score. In fact, the two go hand-in-hand. Fortunately, there are effective ways to manage your credit card so that you don’t end up in a pickle. Among others, financial experts advise that you always keep all your credit cards safe and secure. If you have multiple credit cards, don’t keep them all on your person at all times – keep some of them locked away in your closet, or in a safe. Additionally, it is imperative to keep your personal identification number (PIN) secure and separate from your credit cards. While most people don’t use PIN numbers with credit cards, they are commonly used with debit cards.

Expert advice when it comes to storing PIN numbers is as follows: keep your PIN separate from your credit card and your wallet at all times. Remember that the bank will always pay you back for fraudulent transactions that are conducted without a PIN, but if somebody has access to that PIN, you will not be paid back. It is advisable to change your personal identification number to something that is memorable to you. This can be done at ATM machines. Identity thieves are more likely to guess birth dates, anniversary dates, and other easy to remember numbers, so use something that is difficult for other people to figure out.

Remember, like many things in life, maintaining good credit is far more important than acquiring it. Many people are unaware that the interest repayments on credit card bills are based on the full amount that was used, and not on the outstanding balance. If you ran up $2,000 in bills and paid back $1,700 by the end of the month, your interest repayments will likely be on the full amount. To verify your interest repayment, it’s important to contact your credit card provider. Everyone is given a credit limit on the cards they hold. It is imperative to stay within that limit, and not to exceed it. If you do, you will be charged an additional fee. Careful credit card management entails knowing your limits.

Pay back in full to avoid late fees and interest -related credit card payments

On the topic of credit card repayments, it’s important to make regular and timely payments. The last thing you want as a credit card borrower is a less preferable interest rate on your outstanding balance. This can happen if you are a ‘repeat offender’ with multiple late payments. Clients who routinely missed their payment deadlines will face the consequences in terms of their credit rating, and their ability to apply for lines of credit.

Clients who repay the bare minimum every month run the risk of racking up substantial interest-related repayments on the cards. This is a no-no. Avoid making minimum repayments since this costs you more overall. For example, a credit card debt of $1,000 at 16.9% APR will incur interest-related payments of $1,530 over 22 years and 11 months if you’re simply making the minimum payment. It is far more beneficial to make full payments before the end of the month to reap the rewards of cashback, bonus miles, and other perks available with the credit card company. It behooves clients to pay back the credit card in full at the end of the month.

The Big No-No with Credit Cards

There are several things that should never be done with credit cards, or done as rarely as possible. These include using a credit card for gambling purposes, purchasing foreign currency with your credit card, using checks issued by your credit card company, and withdrawing cash from an ATM. These are some of the ways that lenders maximize their profits with unsuspecting clients. It is possible to safeguard your credit card by taking out insurance, but the costs thereof may be prohibitive.

 

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July 20, 2017, 8:47 am

Dr. Stan Park: “Have a Budget, Stick With It”.  How To Build a Financially Successful Dentist Practice

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business

Building an independent dentistry practice can be both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.

On the one hand, the freedom of having your own business and operating your practice exactly as you’ve always envisioned is incredibly exciting.  But, any time someone starts a new business, the stress of getting it off the ground is daunting. There are so many factors to consider: marketing, client loyalty, and most important of all, finances. The relative freedom of going it on your own is the same freedom that can lead to a massive financial downfall — if you don’t make intelligent business decisions.

Dr. Stan Park of Dr. Stan Park Family Dentistry in Ontario, Canada says it doesn’t have to be as scary as it seems. In fact, there are several habits that Dr. Stan Park and several other dentists would agree can help lead to a successful independent dentistry career for anyone in the field.

 

“The most basic, essential tip I can offer is to have a budget and stick with it,” Dr. Stan Park explains. By tracking spending, balancing expenses and revenue, and being careful to craft a budget each month that you work to follow as much as possible, you’re off on the right foot.

 

Another important habit that many financially successful people in general follow is to not be complacent, and to always look for opportunities. Dr. Douglas Carlsen in dentaltown.com adds to this point, saying: “Don’t just hang out in the corporate clinic break room and wait for opportunity to fall in your lap. Look for opportunity.”

 

As a dentist, you may be able to get by on just your skill and word of mouth from your clients, but why not put yourself out there a little more? Look for purchase deals for equipment. Make connections with older, experienced dentists who may need to recommend their clients to someone if and when they retire.

 

Speaking of making connections, networking is key. In May of 2014, Time published a piece on what the world’s most successful people have in common, and one of the things it listed was building networks. Networking with fellow dentists can be especially helpful in everything from gaining advice to educational opportunities to client referrals.

 

And when it comes to connecting with people, building loyalty and fostering satisfaction in your clients is extremely important as well. Offering a service that is above-and-beyond for your patients not only keeps them coming back, but it will encourage them to suggest your practice to friends or family members as well.

 

“The happiness of our clients is so important,” Dr. Park adds. “No one wants to go to the dentist, but everyone should.  And if you can make the visit as stress-free as possible, your patients will continue to come to you, and recommend you to everyone they know.”

 

And if you work on that loyalty, there’s a chance that your client base will grow. Assume that your production and patient list will both grow, and plan accordingly. You don’t want to fall short and have to scramble to keep up, especially because that could result in lost business.

 

The truth is, every dentist operates differently. But, many successful dentists have the same habits listed above, which can help anyone looking for financial success in their practice and profession.

 

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July 17, 2017, 8:21 am

5 Things You Can Do to Cut Your Monthly Expenses

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance

Cutting your monthly expenses is never an easy task but if you’re on a tight budget already, it’s something that needs to be strongly considered. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing as a career or how many children you have, by following the below tips, you’ll be able to save hundreds every year on expenses.

1.      Only Buy Food from a Farmers’ Market

A farmers’ market is usually open throughout the week regardless of where you live. Consider going there a couple of times a week at least just so you can take advantage of the great deals on vegetables. Getting deals on food will save you a lot of money and it also means you’re not going to have to spend a fortune on takeaways every month because you don’t have any food in the cupboard!

2.      Cut Your Cell Phone & Internet Bills

Call your cell phone and internet provider to see if you can come to some arrangement when it comes to using fewer resources. The fewer resources you use generally means a much cheaper bill. Many people have cell phones but rarely use all the resources they have, so be sure you check with your provider to see if you can save money on your bills.

3.      Cycle to Work or University

Cycling to work or university can save you hundreds every month in fuel and insurance costs. You’ll also find saving money on public transport will also save you plenty. It’s not viable for everyone, but even if you need to cycle for a couple of miles every day, surely that’s worth saving thousands every year on expensive vehicle costs. You could also sell your vehicle if you own one and found that cycling was viable for you.

4.      Reduce Consumable Habits

This step is easier said than done, but it’s one worth considering if you’re really struggling to make ends meet. If you have a regular smoking or drinking habit, try to cut down by half or even try to quit if you have the willpower to do so. People spend thousands every year on smoking and drinking and that’s thousands you could save every year, giving you much more breathing space when it comes to monthly bills.

5.      Cook Your Owns Meals

If you’re a student studying at Maryville University for an online masters in health administration or Online MHA degree, it’s very easy to come home after a long hard day and order a takeaway. This is a very expensive option and students often spend thousands every year on takeaways alone. Consider cooking your own meals every day, or if that isn’t an option, set aside a few hours every week where you can cook numerous meals to be frozen.

The above are just a few tips to help you save money whether you’re in full-time employment or you’re a full-time student. The above tips will give you much more breathing space every month so you can still enjoy life even on a tighter budget.

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July 6, 2017, 9:53 am

Patch The Holes In Your Budget With A Small Dollar Loan

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance

A budget works well up until a point, but even the best financial plan has its limits. Unexpected purchases, bills, and repairs test these boundaries. Depending on how much savings you have set aside, they can be enough to bust your budget wide-open. In a perfect world, you’d have the same net worth as Chris Pratt after Guardians of the Galaxy 2, or at the very least, you could put life on hold until you can build up enough savings to cover your modest responsibilities. Unfortunately, you live in a reality where neither is true. Nevertheless, you have to make your payments on time if you expect to avoid late penalties and added interest.

While you can speak with your mechanic or call your utility provider to talk about a possible deferred payment plan, eventually you’ll have to pay off these debts — with or without savings. When your budget is still reeling from these unexpected repairs, talk to a small dollar lender for help. The country’s top direct lenders can provide essential financial assistance during your darkest times.

But why choose a direct lender over conventional lenders like the bank? There’s a time and place for every financial solution, so there are circumstances when you should contact a bank over any other lender. It’s perfectly normal to speak with a financial advisor when you hope to refinance debt or get a mortgage. The help a direct lender can offer is better suited for when you only need a little help to cover your newfound responsibilities and when you need that help incredibly quickly.

Traditional lenders have long and involved processes that limit who they approve, and these methods to review your application can take more time than you have available. Direct lenders such as MoneyKey understand that time is of the essence when you’re facing multiple bills with approaching due dates. That’s why financiers like MoneyKey have streamlined their practices and processes in order to deliver the fastest acting loans as possible.

Though they have internal ways to review applications, they don’t rely on in-person interviews or a lengthy analysis of your entire financial history. With just a simple online application form, which can be found at Moneykey.com, and a quick phone call to verify your info, a short term lender can review your status and deem you worthy of their assistance. Once approved, you can receive up to $1,000 in your bank account in as little as one business day.

When your budget fails and you have no way of paying for unexpected bills, repairs, or medical emergencies on your own, a payday loan is a great way to cover these expenses. From their size to their speedy application process, these products were designed specifically for these kinds of small, non-recurring purchases.

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