Retail Sales – 5 Popular Online Retailers Who Are Getting It Right

When you think online retailers, the first name that comes to mind is probably Amazon.com. There are many out there, but here are the cream of the crop in online retail sales: Amazon, Zappos, ebags and L.L. Bean.

Five Star Seller Shopping Cart Trusted Best Online RetailerAmazon is the biggest online retailer, hands down. They offer anything you could think of from books to music, technology, clothing, furniture, hobbies and everything in between. If they don’t sell it directly, they have a partner program for private sellers to sell their items. Think ebay, but with Amazon’s reputation to back it up. Amazon pays attention to customer service. Their Prime program gives customers fun extras from free shipping to free content. While it still can be difficult to find a phone number to call them, their online response is swift and they work hard to keep customers happy.

Zappos, which is owned by Amazon, is an online retailer specializing in shoes, clothing, accessories and beauty items. Zappos definitely hits a homerun in customer service. Their product line is full of quality products, but they go above and beyond in customer service. Their website is easy to use and they pay attention to detail.

L.L. Bean has been around for decades, and they were really the first small brick and mortar retailer to go national completely due to online shopping. They sell outdoor gear, clothing, shoes, and home décor items and their quality sets them apart. American and very well made, L.L. Bean stands behind their products. They’ve been known to take returns years after the items were sold and will also repair products for a small cost or replace them for free.

Overstock.com is another online retailer with a huge product line, though their home items like linens are the most popular. Prices are competitive, but they are known for their super low, yet fast shipping. They are known for great customer service as well.

Ebags.com is an online retailer of bags, from purses to backpacks to luggage. They sell designers as well as their own private label. Their website is easy to use and searching for brands or types of bags is quick and thorough.

When looking to be a great online presence in retail, remember that just like in a brick and mortar store, customer service is key. Follow the example of these retailers and you can’t help but succeed.

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Has Amazon Killed the Retail Store?

Amazon is the biggest online retail store. They sell everything you could think of that is legal to sell, and what they don’t sell, they provide a venue for private sellers. So has this killed the brick and mortar retail store?

Has Amazon Killed the Retail Store?Yes and no. Many brick and mortar retailers have been seriously hurt or put under by Amazon. Let’s face it, for some the ability to shop from their home and not schlep out into a store is a great thing. But beyond that, Amazon provides a lot of other services that a brick and mortar retailer hasn’t, and/or can’t. Comparison shopping is available in any store, but Amazon provides reviews from people who have bought and used the item. This can be invaluable in deciding which one to buy. Being as big as they are they also have the ability to leverage that for lower purchasing cost, so that means lower costs for the consumer. That is a big problem that most small retail stores can’t overcome. Some argue that it’s made up for in shipping costs, but sometimes the difference is big enough that shipping isn’t an issue.

The best bet for brick and mortar retailers is to realize that there are some ways they can’t compete with Amazon, but there are others where Amazon can’t compete with them. When was the last time anyone got personal, face to face assistance from Amazon? Or even talked with someone on the phone with them to deal with a customer service issue? That is the best place where the store can outdo the online retailer. Don’t underestimate it. Excellent customer service can inspire a loyalty that will override price considerations.

Amazon does have some areas where they have killed it over brick and mortar stores, but since there is still a lot of healthy retailers out there, they haven’t put them all out of business yet!

Online Retailers – Is Your Data Safe?

Are online retailers keeping your data safe? December 2013 Target, January 2014 Neiman Marcus, January 2014 Michaels and February 2014 Hilton, Sheraton, Westin, and Marriott all had large, widespread data breaches to their computer systems. Each one of these affected millions of people, causing financial difficulties and widespread identity theft. So now people are wondering with each click of a mouse or swipe of a credit card “is my data safe with this retailer?” What about you as a consumer? Are you keeping your data safe by using only safe online retailers?

Online Retailers - Is Your Data Safe?Our data. Those numbers and particulars that define us. Put them in the wrong hands and our lives become hell. Retailers, online or brick and mortar are constantly trying to keep that data, the numbers we entrust to them, safe. Some are now rushing to use a system called chip-enabled smart card technology in their credit cards which replaces the magnetic stripes and is harder to hack. Most, however, acknowledge that they need to spend more money and pay more attention to their security measures.

As the consumer, you have a responsibility too. First, keep your browsers updated. Many security features that protect you are found in your browser. Second, use malware protection on your smartphone and computer. Your virus protection may not be enough, so do some research to be sure. Third, only buy from reputable retailers. Look for the Better Business Bureau Online and Truste give seals of approval to sites that meet their security and privacy standards. Use comparison websites like Bizrate to be sure that the online retailer you are considering is an authorized seller. Fourth, look for the “padlock” symbol in the address bar. That means its Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)-encrypted.

Be smart. A reputable online seller doesn’t need your social security number to complete a sale. Give out as little information as you can. Never email your credit card information. Given the NSA scandal, you never know who is reading your email! Use a payment site like Paypal or Bill Me Later to pay online. They allow you to buy online without providing your credit card information directly to the retailer. Don’t shop online over an open WIFI network.

Retailers are taking steps, and you should too. We all shop online, let’s just be smarter about it.