USA Fulfillment attends Natural Products Expo East


EE15_FaviconLogoOn September 18th 2015, Representatives from USA attended the Natural Products Expo East.  This is the East Coast’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event, More than 23,000 attendees and 1,800 exhibitors filled the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, MD.  USA Fulfillment is a member of the Natural Products Association and attends every year to stay up to date on the trends of the health and beauty industry.  As a FDA Registered Service Provider, USA Fulfillment contributed to the robust areas of education offered at this year’s show, coaching attendees on the importance of a FDA registered facility for e-retailers.  We were excited to meet with this year’s Natural Products Expo attendees and review the benefits of working with a FDA Registered Service Provider.

Your Game Plan for Holiday Crunch Time

Q4 is coming — with its potential to be your biggest moneymaking season. And it’s not too early to start planning. In fact, it’s critical. Most e-commerce retailers reach for 30% of all annual revenue in the holiday season. This year, don’t get caught in the crunch. With just 28 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, your detailed strategy and flexible contingency plans need to be in place now.

How to build a smart holiday strategy

  • Review and forecast. Identify last year’s big issues. Rehash the horror stories. Back orders, late shipments, lost customers — what pitfalls can you plan to avoid this holiday season? Analyze your order volume projections and special offers calendar. Though Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the traditional surge days, last-minute orders also make the week before Christmas a fulfillment frenzy. Our account managers begin studying order histories and product forecasts as early as Q2. We develop staffing requirements and inventory insights long before the seasonal scramble.
  • Secure skilled seasonal personnel. Temporary workers are a critical part of the holiday strategy. Prepare to double or even triple staff. Using experienced seasonal personnel helps reduce training time and ensure quality. Keep a contact list of previous hires who handled the pace with grace. At USA, we even offer a bonus to keep our best people coming back.
  • Put top managers in a new place. We recommend moving first shift managers to second and third shifts. You’ll need their problem-solving skills during these tricky hours. They can orchestrate all the moving parts needed to handle increased order volumes and unexpected bumps.
  • Relax, reflect, then react. When holiday fever subsides, it’s time to catch your breath and celebrate your achievements. But don’t put it all behind you yet. Delve into the review with your staff or fulfillment partner. Identify major successes and hurdles. Which goals were met and where can performance be improved?

Hashing out a holiday strategy to seamlessly handle order spikes and customer demands is worth it. When your customers’ holiday shopping experience is flawless, you gain loyalty and future business.

USA Fulfillment can help you prepare. We’re a fulfillment solution dedicated to your brand, at your service, 24/7. Get a consultation today.

5 Qualities You Should Expect In Your Customer Service Representatives

Perhaps more than any other aspect of your business, the quality of your customer service hinges entirely on the training, disposition and dedication of your personnel. Your service representatives are the front line of contact with your customer base. Each phone call or email serves as an opportunity for you to remind the customer why he or she purchased your product in the first place.

This is why it is critical for your service representatives to exhibit the same positive qualities that you wish to see reflected in your company as a whole.


  1. Efficiency

Avoid long hold times and other lagging contact center experiences. Don’t make your customers wait. These are individuals who have already purchased your product. They should feel valued, respected and appreciated!

Waiting on hold for long stretches of time does not cultivate this sense of customer appreciation and care. The same is true of being subjected to frequent department transfers or being forced to navigate a circular and convoluted automated system before finally accessing a human being.

These experiences alienate people who were previously comfortable with doing business with you.

By contrast, a customer service experience that is fast, efficient and personalized gives your customers the sense that you are grateful for their patronage. This sense translates into repeat business.


  1. Attentiveness

When a customer reaches out to your service department, he or she is often doing so because of frustration and/or unfulfilled expectations. And nothing magnifies this frustration like the feeling that the customer service representative on the other end doesn’t care about his or her problems.

You should expect that your customer service department be prepared to take on each customer’s inquiries or grievances with equal attentiveness and empathy. Even if a problem cannot be immediately solved, the effort and interest shown by your customer service representative goes a long way in retaining the customer’s loyalty.


  1. Responsiveness

Contact center training often involves the memorization of scripted responses. This scripting is used to familiarize your representatives with the tone and objectives that you hope to achieve with every customer call.

However, it is vital that your representatives are also trained to deviate from the script in order to address real-world problems and express personalized responses. Customer needs come in countless shapes and sizes. Your service representatives should possess the flexibility and know-how to address each customer’s needs on a unique and individual basis.


  1. Consistency

Your service representatives should set high expectations for your customers and, thereafter, should work to meet or exceed these expectations with each subsequent interaction. Obtain this level of call quality control by offering your customer service representatives comprehensive training and regular performance incentives.


  1. Perseverance

Not all customer inquiries or grievances can be easily resolved. Depending on the nature of your product or service, considerable troubleshooting may be required. This has the potential to be time-consuming for both the customer and service representative. It is incumbent upon your service representative to remain even-keeled and patient, even when the customer expresses anger or frustration.

The primary goal of any customer service encounter should be to address the customer’s needs, regardless of the complexity or tediousness required to do so. Your service representative should be determined to work with the customer until this goal is achieved.

If you would like to inquire about outsourcing your customer service demands to a dedicated fulfillment partner, contact a solutions expert today.

Why PCI?

With all the latest news about data breaches at K-mart, Home Depot, Target and other retailers, ecommerce merchants are more concerned than ever with protecting their customers.  A data breach can be damaging not only to your business but ruin your brand image.  Online retailers handle sensitive customer information like credit card information every day and it is mandatory that they become PCI Complaint.

The Payment Card Industry (PCI) is a set of requirements designed to make sure that all companies that process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment.  The organization was founded by American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, MasterCard, and Visa Inc.  The PCI Data Security Standard specifies 12 requirements for compliance, organized into six groups; these 12 high level requirements have not changed since the inception of the standard.

6 Reasons To Outsource Your Contact Center

Running a successful business is not an easy task and most businesses do not have the resources or the staff to handle the amount of contact they receive from customers.  This is why a lot of businesses decide to outsource their calls, emails and live chat to a successful contact center.  While outsourcing any piece of your business is a daunting decision, many businesses find that this solution benefits the business as well as the consumer.  When you select a contact center, you are placing your trust in your new partner. Spend some time getting to know the people with whom you’ll be working. Call customer service and ask questions. In addition to gathering critical information on a potential partner, you’ll find out exactly how friendly, polite, efficient and effective your customer service could be.  Below you will find just a few of the benefits of outsourcing your contact center:

Is your Fulfillment Center High Touch?

  • Cultivate meaningful relationships
  • Build the client’s brand
  • Commit to a more personal touch
  • Offer state of the art services
  • Make ‘high touch’ part of your reputation

High Touch has been a buzzword in the ecommerce world for years now. Companies far and wide tout their strengths and expertise, staking claim to the best their industry has to offer. Among internet retailers it’s wise to ask, “Is my fulfillment center high touch?”

Could an FDA Audit put your Business in Jeopardy?

Could an FDA audit put your mission critical supply chain in jeopardy?

FDA-seizes-DMAA-containing-supplements-from-GNC-warehouse_dnm_homepageMany companies get an alarming wake-up call when FDA scrutiny lands on an unexpected business partner — their outsourced fulfillment company. Even after testing and manufacturing are done, fulfillment could be a vulnerable point in your supply chain. When did you last review your fulfillment company’s qualifications for storing and handling dietary supplements? What you don’t know could hurt you.

Guidelines for a Customer Friendly Returns Process

return-packagesMany online retailers do not realize the importance of a customer friendly returns policy for their ecommerce website.  An effective return policy not only increases brand loyalty for your brand, it can be the deciding factor when customer place orders on your website.

The latest comscore study states that “Compared to 2012, more consumers are looking at retailers’ return policies before making a purchase, emphasizing the increasing role of returns in driving purchasing decisions.”  Today, 66% of consumers review the retailers return policy prior to making the decision to purchase.  Here are a few of the things they look for: