Business expansion cannot be stopped. But if profits are being eaten away by fees, what can business owners do? We talk with John Collins, CEO at Chargeguard, about online business trends, Amazon’s vendors, and installment payments.
- In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges for online businesses and Amazon’s vendors, and what are the best practices to avoid erroneous fees and increase revenue?
Many challenges affect vendors, including erroneous fees, operational compliance, and shipping guidelines. When it comes to preventing erroneous fees, in particular, vendors must focus on clean invoicing practices, reliable software tools, and a professional team to avoid such problems. Even when extra charges cannot be eliminated, vendors could still reduce or recover fees that may have been improperly charged. How? Get your data and dissect it, initiate rebuttals with Amazon, and be blunt. Though receiving a refund can be tricky and lengthy – as early as the following day since the deduction has been approved or as late as a few months before it will get repaid – do not forget that an Amazon refund can be the best present for your business you can reinvest in expanding. So know your rights and data. Staying up to speed can constantly become a strength and is paramount to the success of this.
- Given all the changes in the tech sector and social movements for sustainability, do you think Amazon could be replaced anytime soon?
We see no potential for Amazon being replaced anytime soon. They are an ever-evolving behemoth of a company that is more than willing to explore any opportunity they believe is worthwhile. History has shown that no-one is too big to fail, but in this case, Amazon has always shown its ability to adapt and lead powerfully. You definitely can’t put them down even though there have been lay-offs and changes happening.
- What about consumers? Has the inflation we’re witnessing affected consumer behavior?
Consumer behaviour will always have ebbs and flows. We simply see it as a fact of life and doing business. We all handle the news and various economic pressures and shifts in various ways. So yes, there absolutely will be shifts in consumer behaviour, but we also believe that a turnaround is inevitable as we have seen consistently with every shift between bull and bear markets across the globe. Discretionary funds and where that money is used is very different across households and income brackets. Staying close to your customers and being flexible where possible will potentially prove fruitful.
- Online vs. in-store shopping? Which one is here to stay?
As it stands there are too many people still supporting both. Retail therapy seems to be a real thing and so many of us shop when we are bored and don’t shy away from impulse buys. We have all done it. Obviously, there are die-hard online shoppers too. Everything from the convenience of it to being able to purchase things from a local store to something that sparks our mind from across the globe are huge perks. On top of that, there are many people that do a lot of online research on products and stores before going into a physical store to see if that is really what they want. Seeing and feeling a product like a Macbook grabs you in a very different way to just seeing pictures. It would definitely be premature to swing it either way even though retailers are getting very innovative with AI, VR, and the overall user experience and interfaces being used.
- How can brands retain customers this year?
Never discount the value of nurturing relationships. We have the most savvy buyers in history that can do research on your brand within seconds. Really think about your messaging to them and what you want their overall impression and experience of you to be. Reward loyalty and not just new customers with things like discounts and promotions, etc. It always costs more to acquire new clients than it is to keep existing clients happy. You want them to keep coming back for more, not just churning and burning clients and their lifetime value to your company. Think about every part of their journey with you and improve it. Get feedback and give them a reason to be on your marketing list consistently.
- Do you think that Buy-Now-Pay-Later and other financing options can help?
Absolutely. It’s been an interesting and challenging few years financially for so many people so give them breathing room with their finances. When you give someone the opportunity to really make their cash flow work for them, at a low-risk level, then you will see people keep spending. There has been so much talk of recession and some feel like they have just started recovering from Covid, so we should be sensitive to that and keep money circulating across our economy.
John Collins, CEO at Chargeguard