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'this is Un-American': Furious Trump supporter calls for boycott of...

Topix - Thu, 2017-07-20 01:50

'THIS IS UN-AMERICAN': Furious Trump supporter calls for boycott of fast-food chain after workers allegedly threw ketchup at him A furious customer is claiming that an employee at a cult favorite fast-food chain threw ketchup at him and harassed him for wearing a Trump t-shirt. On Tuesday, Daniel Kaspar posted on Twitter that he had been harassed and heckled while trying to order food at a Cook Out in Durham, North Carolina.

Categories: Today's Food News

The real cost of omnichannel

Store Front Talk Back - Wed, 2017-07-19 22:40
FierceRetail spoke with Bhupender Singh, CEO of Intelenet Global Services, to address the financial implications of endorsing an omnichannel experience.

Trending this week: Chipotle stock falls; Sysco CEO to step down

Nation's Restaurant News - Wed, 2017-07-19 21:29
See what's trending on NRN this week

McDonald's adds kale to burgers, people aren't having it

Topix - Wed, 2017-07-19 21:21

If you're watching your diet - or just a millennial hipster - chances are you've been eating a lot of kale lately because it's pretty much everywhere. And if you're generally just trying to eat healthier, you're probably not flocking to fast food restaurants, which makes McDonald's latest launch a little confusing.

Categories: Today's Food News

Chipotle using music to push its ingredients

Nation's Restaurant News - Wed, 2017-07-19 19:05
Chain working with music producer RZA to highlight its food amid sales worries

Analyst: Meal kits will help Amazon truly infiltrate traditional grocery market

Nation's Restaurant News - Wed, 2017-07-19 18:08
Amazon version of prepped meals already a “major threat” to Blue Apron

5 Ways to Provide Exceptional Customer Service in eCommerce

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2017-07-19 17:30

Since shopping online implies there is no personal interaction with a sales person, many customers grow frustrated if they encounter issues with the website or an order. To make matters worse, lots of online businesses fail when it comes to customer service by offering slow, delayed responses — or not offering them at all. Poor customer service can drive customers away faster than anything else. In fact, 3 out of 5 customers have not completed a purchase due to poor service.

eCommerce Customer Service Ideas

Providing stellar customer service with your e-commerce business can do wonders to make your company stand out amongst the competition. This process is not always simple, but it can mean a world of difference when it comes to sales. Here are 5 ecommerce customer service ideas to consider.

1. Have an Easy-to-Understand Return Policy

One major concern many online customers have is the hassle of returning a product. Since anywhere from 15-30% of online purchases are returned, having a clear return policy for your online business is extremely important. Writing out detailed instructions, of which are listed multiple times on your site or in emails, assures customers they can purchase with confidence.

Be sure to clearly state if you provide a full refund, partial refund, or offer store credit. You may also want to consider extending your return window, or even offering a lifetime guarantee. Offering easy and free returns influences 68% of online purchases, so you want to make the entire process as simple as possible for your customers.

Purple, an online mattress company, offers an excellent example of a well-defined return system. Their site lists out details for each product, from bed sheets to mattresses, and clearly states which returns will be refunded and which will not. If customers have further questions or concerns, Purple also includes their return department’s email address and phone number so customers can contact a customer service representative directly.

2. Personalize Each Experience

Online customers crave a more personalized buying experience. In fact, over 70% of American consumers expect personalization from online businesses. Personalization can include offering customers personal shopping account logins that record past purchases, shipping addresses, and suggest related items for their next order. One easy way to offer some personalization is by using marketing automation to send out triggered emails with special offers tailored the past shopping behavior of each customer.

Personalized shopping can take many forms. Don’t be afraid to get creative with it. More importantly, use personalization to address customer concerns in shopping online vs. at a physical store near them. For example, Bluestone, an online jewelry company, found a unique way to bring their brand experience to the next level. Customers can set up an appointment online and a consultant will come directly to their homes, allowing them to try on the jewelry in the comfort of their own home.

This “try before you buy” service gives customers some peace of mind (especially before making an expensive purchase) as well as provides a personalized shopping experience by allowing the customer to choose which pieces to view. The company even offers a “design your own” feature for rings, earrings, and necklaces – providing a truly personal experience for each customer.

3. Ask for Feedback

As the great musician Stevie Wonder once said, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” Customers are not very likely to leave a review, especially a positive one, if you do not ask. Sending out a follow-up email asking customers to rate their experience or to write a short review increases the likelihood they will leave feedback. Make sure you include their comments on your site or social media; as customer reviews play a major role in purchase decisions.

Take the instance of an online purchase for an air vent cover for a HVAC. Unless the item or purchase experience was exceptionally wonderful (or terrible), it’s highly unlikely for such a product to receive a review. However, one company sent out a follow up email to its Amazon customers with links that made it easy for the purchaser to leave a quick comment and rate their experience:

4. Provide Live Chat

Having a live-chat option can increase customer satisfaction by leaps and bounds. Plus, it’s an easy way to answer questions and concerns instantly. Rather than waiting for an email response, customers can receive assistance right away, which means they are less likely to leave your website without purchasing.

Outsourcing an online chat service is a great strategy, especially for smaller online businesses who can’t afford to hire round-the-clock customer service reps. Sites like Influx will handle online chats 24/7 for your e-commerce business and provide peace of mind for you and your customers.

5. Provide Service via Social Media

Customer service via social media is expected by e-commerce customers today, and they want responses instantly. Many customers use social media because it’s easy for them to find a business and contact them directly.

There are, however, some downsides to using social media for this purpose. The big one being lack of privacy. Many companies reply to concerns with a link to their customer service page or respond with a private message.

Determine which of your social media platforms has the largest number of followers or activity, then promote your support services there. You can use social media monitoring tools to alert you when your brand is talked about online so you can respond to inquiries quickly.

Final Thoughts

Providing a remarkable customer service experience from your e-commerce business gives your company an impressive competitive advantage. Focus on making the whole buying experience easy and personal for your customers throughout your site. Clearly list return and exchange instructions, and ask customers to review their experience to help your business improve and attract new audiences. Most importantly, don’t shy away from thinking outside the box!

Ecommerce Business Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "5 Ways to Provide Exceptional Customer Service in eCommerce" was first published on Small Business Trends

Potbelly CFO Michael Coyne named interim CEO

Nation's Restaurant News - Wed, 2017-07-19 17:08
Top executives to receive retention payments after CEO Aylwin Lewis departs

MOD Pizza names Paul Twohig COO

Nation's Restaurant News - Wed, 2017-07-19 16:47
Operations VP Chris Schultz to oversee international development

Cops: Customer threatened to shoot someone over bad sandwich

Topix - Wed, 2017-07-19 16:45

Police in suburban Cleveland say a fast-food restaurant customer angry about the way his sandwich tasted and looked threatened to shoot somebody over it. The South Euclid Police Department reported receiving a call Tuesday about a man storming into the Steak 'n Shake restaurant "acting crazy," saying he had a gun and was going to shoot someone.

Categories: Today's Food News

Looking for a Great Business Idea? Start a Virtual Reality Arcade

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2017-07-19 15:30

Looking for a unique new business idea? Consider starting a virtual reality arcade.

That’s right — arcade businesses no longer need to consist only of video games from the 80’s and cheesy prizes. There are already businesses around the world that are integrating this new technology into their offerings.

Take the case of Playdium Virtual Reality arcade in Causway Bay, Hong Kong. It’s located directly above Razer’s Hong Kong store and is decked out with all of the latest VR equipment. There’s even a virtual boxing ring that offers a workout akin to an afternoon at the gym.

Basically, this new technology offers businesses an opportunity to update an old concept. Most people consider arcades to be fun places to visit. But if all you have is a standard assortment of old games, there’s nothing to set yours apart from all the rest.

So instead, you could invest in some VR equipment and offer games and experiences that work with the technology. You could even have customers choose the experiences they want, like a boxing ring, racing game or even a flight simulator.

The possibilities are only increasing when it comes to virtual reality. And businesses that take advantage of those new opportunities could find a lot of early success.

Image: Playdium

This article, "Looking for a Great Business Idea? Start a Virtual Reality Arcade" was first published on Small Business Trends

Wahlburgers CFO: 'We're not just a celebrity concept'

FastCasual.com - Wed, 2017-07-19 15:16
Wahlburgers CFO Patrick Renna talks about the brand's plans of opening 500 units worldwide.

National Hot Dog Day 2017: 6 places you can score free or cheap hot dogs

Topix - Wed, 2017-07-19 14:34

Trying to decide what to do for lunch today? Well, you might want to think about grabbing a hot dog, because today just so happens to be National Hot Dog Day. In celebration of the holiday, several major restaurants, fast food chains and gas stations are offering cheap or free hot dogs all day long.

Categories: Today's Food News

Webinar: The Halal Guys shares 3 loyalty lessons with big pay-offs

FastCasual.com - Wed, 2017-07-19 14:21
The Halal Guys Marketing Director Andrew Eck related valuable information in the hour-long session, including three principles that he said brands must keep in mind in their loyalty program creation.

Sullivan’s 25 laws of restaurant leadership

Nation's Restaurant News - Wed, 2017-07-19 13:45
These sayings can put the transition from manager to leader in perspective

BMW moves deeper into Silicon Valley with Shift investment

AutoNews - Wed, 2017-07-19 13:44
BMW's venture capital fund poured $38 million in a Silicon Valley online used-car startup focused on younger buyers, the company said Wednesday.
Categories: Latest News

More Than 1 in 4 Millennials Work a Side Hustle

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2017-07-19 13:30

Who says Millennials are more into vacations than work?

Millennial Side Hustle Statistics

New data from Bankrate shows that 28 percent of Millennials, between the ages of 18 and 26, are working on their own on the side right now. That means, in addition to their regular source of income, the youngest members of the workforce are putting in extra work for some extra pay.

These don’t seem like pursuits to purchase more of the things that Millennials want, either. If that were the case, it’d be more likely that these “side hustles” would be one-off gigs to earn a few extra bucks here and there.

But a deeper dive into the Bankrate data shows that these side hustles are more like side businesses, even if they lack the proper business structure or systems in place. Take a look at these other numbers from the study:

  • 61 percent of Millennials working a side hustle are at it once week or more;
  • 96 percent are at their side hustle at least once a month;
  • and 25 percent say their side hustle earns them $500 a month or more.

Yeah, that sounds more like a business than a hustle, right?

In fact, the average Millennial participating in the Bankrate study uses their side job or jobs to make at least $200 a month.

So, what are some of the more popular side businesses right now? Check out this list of 50 popular side gigs right now.

Investing Right

Of course, this data from Bankrate makes no claim about where these Millennials are spending their money. They could be spending it on lattes after all.

For Millennials reading this and identifying as one of the 1 in 4 who are padding their income, if an entrepreneurial spirit runs through you, don’t waste this money. Begin to save this money that does allow you to live outside your normal means to invest in a business pursuit.

Rather than calling it a side business, that seed money stashed away could be the money that allows you to eventually strike out on your own.

Guy at Laptop Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "More Than 1 in 4 Millennials Work a Side Hustle" was first published on Small Business Trends

52% of shoppers expect fast response to issues

Store Front Talk Back - Wed, 2017-07-19 13:00
Fifty-two percent of shoppers expect a fast response to issues and if they don't get it, many are willing to abandon the brand and shop elsewhere.