Invoicing Tips to Keep Cash Flowing

Unfortunately, for many small businesses getting paid in a timely manner can be a painful and expensive process.

Complicated processes can translate into invoicing that becomes a stumbling block rather than a gateway to receiving money. Once the invoice has finally made it to the buyer chasing down payments can become a stressful and tedious process, eating up valuable time that could be used to grow your business and serve your customers.

When you sell online and/or through social media channels you need to be able to quickly process credit and debit card transactions. It’s critically important to select the right payment processor for your business. You need the processor that can create a seamless bridge between you, the business owner, and your customer at the lowest costs and in the shortest timelines.

If you’ve been struggling with online payments or if you’re looking for ways to improve on your existing processes the following 6 tips are designed to help you get paid with less friction, in shorter timelines, and for lower fees.

1. Send Invoices Quickly and Get Paid Faster
Most small business owners operate under extremely thin profit margins. To maintain a healthy system and grow their business, owners need to utilize a system where customers can quickly pay their invoices which can then cover expenses, maintaining a steady cash flow. To get paid quickly businesses must send invoices out immediately after the sale, including easily accessible and convenient payment methods, and have a process for following up in a timely manner for any invoices that have become past due.

ZenSales Powered by Ship.com’s Invoicing feature makes it easy for users to promptly email invoices to buyers with just a few clicks. Your customer can then purchase and pay for their order, by entering their preferred credit or debit card information. The payment is processed and deposited in your bank account the next business day.

2. Automatically Import Order and Billing Information

Some small business owners burn away countless hours every month entering online sales data to generate invoices and purchase shipping labels. Manually inputting information can lead to transcription errors that result in billing discrepancies and missed shipments. 

A system that can automatically import your orders to create invoices and labels can shave hours off every week, helping you gain speed and improve efficiency. When your sales orders are imported automatically it can free up your time for more productive tasks and accelerated business growth. 

With ZenSales Powered by Ship.com’s invoicing feature, creating an invoice for an existing customer is as simple as typing the customer’s name. To send an invoice to a new customer, all you need is their email address. Additional customer information (including name and shipping address) can be completed by your customer when they pay their invoice, shaving time off your day and reducing the chance for errors.

3. Shop for the Best Deal on Service and Payment Processing Fees

Not all invoicing and payment processing software and services are created alike. There are a variety of services that offer additional features with associated fees. Depending on the service you may incur fees for setup, monthly usage, transaction fees, and even account cancellation fees. Sometimes the fees are all bundled under one cost, so you must look carefully and evaluate your needs to make sure your money goes where it can benefit your business the most.

To avoid paying unnecessary fees it’s important that you select the best fit for your requirements. ZenSales Powered by Ship.com’s invoicing feature is available on all three subscription plans. Low processing fees include a small percentage of the total transaction amount plus $0.30 cents per invoice. Users on the Executive plan will pay 2.89% per invoice, Growth users will pay 2.9% per invoice, and those on Starter will only pay 2.95% per invoice. 

4. Go Digital

The old school processes of generating paper invoices and waiting for paper payments in the form of a check or cash can slow necessary the flow of cash into your business.

Today’s buyers enjoy the convenience of using credit or debit cards, and digital wallets to digitally transfer funds. Customers also tend to spend more on the average purchase when they use an electronic payment method.

The Invoicing feature on ZenSales Powered by Ship.com can help you quickly and easily create and send paperless invoices in seconds. it also allows you to apply automatically generated tax and discount information. When your customer clicks on the invoice payment button in their email they will arrive on a payment platform that accepts their preferred credit or debit card information. Once the invoice is paid the system automatically applies the payments received. 

5. Follow Up and Stay on Top of Unpaid Invoices

Tracking and following up on unpaid invoices can practically become a full-time job, in fact for some businesses it is. The good news is most unpaid digital invoices can be successfully collected through the right combination of email follow-ups. The key is to find a system that makes it easy for you to include a due date and then track the status of every invoice and follow up quickly with reminders and requests for payment.

Ship.com conveniently places all of your new invoices on your Orders Dashboard and marks them as “Waiting for Payment”. Once the order has been paid then the order status will update to “Ready to Ship”. It only takes a few seconds to resend an invoice reminder for outstanding or past due payments.

The Invoicing feature on ZenSales Powered by Ship.com also makes it easy for you to monitor your unpaid invoices. When an invoice falls past due you can use the system to resend the invoice and include helpful reminder messages to facilitate prompt payments. 

6. Monitor Everything Through a Comprehensive Dashboard  

When sales increase it often becomes more difficult for small business owners to stay on top of every outbound invoice and connect them to inbound payments. The best way to stay on top of all the outgoing and incoming is to see everything on one comprehensive dashboard. It’s also helpful to be able to sort the information to create insightful reports, such as monthly and yearly statements that detail income summaries and accounts receivable and payable.

With ZenSales Powered by Ship.com you can quickly view the status of every invoice when you visit your Reports page. The report provides ongoing details of your Pending Payouts, Pending Invoices, and also includes a history of your most recent Payouts to give you a comprehensive view of your income. 

Get started today on a free trial of the ZenSales Executive plan and simplify your complicated billing processes while taking advantage of the lowest available invoice transaction fees.

Get started with ZenSales Now

Jump-Start your Career with a Customer Success (Account Manager) Position at an Innovative Startup

ZenSales Powered by Ship.com is looking for a remote-based customer success manager to help our customers use the Ship.com platform to grow their businesses. This role focuses on business consulting and product education through regular customer engagement on our easy-to-use website, app, and tools that make small business growth simple for independent retailers.   

Do you enjoy cultivating and growing customer relationships? Do you empathize with users and quickly grasp the issues they’re facing? Do you enjoy solving open-ended problems? Do you love learning about a changing technical product, even when it’s a little out of your depth? Are you a self-motivated, resourceful, competitive, over-achiever who does whatever it takes to get the job done and beat your quota? Are you excited to be part of a fast-moving environment, with minimal red tape slowing you down?

 

If you are looking for an exciting position with an innovative company focused on making small business growth simple then you are encouraged to apply by emailing jobs@ship.com. 

Our customer team is the front line for our customer happiness – by engaging our customers on our industry-leading shipping platform, tools, and an app that deliver real benefits, are easy to use, and wow our customers.

For that reason, we search for only the best people, who are willing to take that responsibility seriously. In return, we believe in providing a positive experience for our team members, with a dedicated, passionate team focused on our core values.

  • Simplicity – our processes and products are efficient and easy to use and understand; 
  • Supportive – when we work together, we win together; 
  • Exceeding Expectations – we go above and beyond to serve customers and help each other;
  • Growth – we strive to grow our customers’ business through a growth mindset in all we do.

What the job entails

For this job, you’ll be 

  • Working from home (with limited travel once that’s feasible) to engage with customers regularly to help them grow their businesses.
  • Coaching customers to grow their business by partnering with them on goal development and providing data-based, tailored and structured recommendations to achieve those goals
  • Owning the growth of your customers, exceeding your monthly quota regularly
  • Contributing actively to Ship’s internal knowledge base of best practices
  • Serving as the single point of contact with key customers to build trusting and lasting relationships with the customer and their stakeholders, navigating organizations to identify key decision-makers
  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of direct selling and e-commerce trends

What you need to be successful at this job

  • Enjoy working closely with customers to ensure complete satisfaction
  • Experience or training in managing small to mid-sized projects; you’ll be working with 20+ merchants and their big picture strategy
  • Experience in direct selling and eCommerce (understanding of acquisition, conversion, retention); our merchants will look to you as an expert source of advice
  • Enjoy providing a high-touch user experience, talking about business and technical concepts, have great analytical skills
  • Excellent analytical and data manipulation skills (Excel, Google); enjoy leveraging data to make decisions and get to the root cause of customer needs.
  • Ability to travel up to 10% of the time (when it’s feasible)
  • Willingness to be available to your top customers outside of normal business hours when needed

You must be willing and able to work well independently, in an agile environment, as part of a remote team that meets daily and communicates regularly across company channels. 

Responsibilities and Duties

  • Be meticulous about maintaining expert-level product knowledge and keeping our customers informed of feature changes and updates, as well as potential errors or outages
  • Host webinars, trainings, and ongoing success tutorials as needed
  • Run reviews with all clients: identify areas for improvement, including opportunities for product adoption and implementing new Ship.com features, and make clear recommendations building high customer satisfaction
  • Identify churn risk and take proactive steps to eliminate
  • Monitor current processes and systems to ensure they meet the customer’s workflow needs
  • Serve as the voice of the customer to communicate and collaborate with Product and QA to drive product improvements that better serve our customer base

Qualifications & Skills

  • Bachelor’s Degree 
  • 3-5 years experience managing large and/or complex accounts preferably in a SaaS environment; relationship management is your strength
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Experience providing customer value and driving retention; you should be merchant-focused in all that you do

Ship.com helps online sellers become successful and achieve their dreams by providing simple tools that help them save time, money, and sell more.  Ship.com does this by helping sellers manage the post-sale experience from end to end. This starts with shipping the product, managing delivery, easy returns, email marketing, loyalty programs, and facilitating new referral business.  To learn more visit www.zensales.net and www.ship.com.

A Message from the Founder and CEO of Ship.com

I am so excited for ZenSales to join the Ship.com team. Our vision is to help make small business dreams come true. How you may ask? Well, I think if you know some of my story, which starts with the story of my parents, then I feel that you will better know Ship.com, and I hope that you share my excitement about our future together.

Before I share this story, I want to welcome the ZenSales users to Ship.com, where we focus on making life easier by reimagining and remaking shipping, tracking, and delivery into something that is easy, fun, and social.

Thanks for listening to my story, followed by what you can expect from Ship.com now and in the future.

Joe, Ship.com Founder & CEO

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My mother was a small business owner. She started out owning a hair salon but she also had many “side hustles” throughout the years. She owned a wig shop, an exercise company, and taught hairdressing. She owned many other different kinds of businesses. They all had one thing in common, they all made money.

In 1989 she quit hairdressing and started a small shipping store called Qwik, Pack & Ship. Today this would be like a UPS Store, but she made up her own brand. This was before the advent of eCommerce.

I went to work for her one summer during college and I was constantly pushing her to improve and grow the business. One summer, she fired me because she said I had too many ideas and it would be better if I just kept quiet and packed some boxes. I left and started a summer landscaping business instead!

She kept the business small, to a level she was comfortable running. I later understood that she was a small business owner because she wanted to control her time more than anything. And in order to grow the business larger, say to multiple locations, it would require more of her time and reduce her freedom. The business provided what she wanted from it, which was time, personal satisfaction, money, and most of all personal freedom. As a successful small business owner, she didn’t need anyone else to support her, not even my father. Delivering personal freedom is the ultimate power of small business and why it embodies the ideals of America.

My father was also in logistics. He ran the shipping department for Cutco Cutlery where he worked for 42 years. He used to get up at 4:45 am to start work at 5:30 am and stayed until 5 pm or later, especially during the busy season in the summer. He didn’t have control over his time and that meant no freedom. He had to be there and stay there all day, 5 or 6 days a week. He was the exact opposite of my mother in this regard. He wanted stability and security. He wanted a steady paycheck that he could rely on. It ultimately worked out for my father, but over the years during bad times he had to take a pay cut and they occasionally went on strike (without pay). Ironically, during the strike times, my father went to work for his friend, a small business owner, who hired him as a favor so he would have some income. My father retired in 1997 at 60 ½ years old. He could do this because he had a 401K and hit one of the greatest stock market runs in history (aka luck). He loved his job, was a great father, and had a personally satisfying career, but he never had freedom all his working life. He was always dependent on someone else for his livelihood.

Cutco sold their knives using a direct sales model. My first job after college was to work for Cutco as the Manager of Finance and Administration in Seoul, Korea. I didn’t get to sell but I did complete sales training. I was, however, intimately involved with the direct sellers, the majority of who were Korean women and who were all essentially small business owners. I saw first hand how the direct sales model gave people valuable sales experience while helping them earn extra money for college or their family. Some made it a career and did very well financially. The main thing I noticed was direct salespeople were entrepreneurs running their own business. This gave them a ton of freedom and control over their time and how much money they could earn. They were confident enough in themselves to bet on themselves and build the lives they wanted on their terms, even when everyone else was probably telling them that it was too risky or too difficult. You have to have respect for that! I saw that being in direct sales was not for everyone; and while more failed than succeeded I saw an entrepreneurial drive that was energizing and exciting.

In 1998 I left Cutco Korea and moved to Silicon Valley to become a technology entrepreneur. It was fun and exhilarating. It was the dotcom boom, Internet 1.0, which was a great time to be in Silicon Valley. I started a few companies, some that worked and some that didn’t. One company I started, Webgistix, provided software and order fulfillment services to smallish eCommerce business. Small, in this case, would be companies shipping from 250 to 10,000 orders a month, where eCommerce was the owner/managements’ primary business (not a side hustle). We built a two day delivery network so small business’ could compete with Amazon. Webgistix was very successful and was acquired by Rakuten in 2013.

During this time at Webgistix we often tried to help start-up entrepreneurs with logistics software and services for their business. It almost never worked out. Eventually, to my dismay, we stopped taking start-ups and micro-business as customers; it was just not profitable in our business model. At the time we were receiving 5,000+ inquiries a year for our eCommerce software and fulfillment services and only 500 of these fit our model. This meant there was a big market to help start-up and micro-businesses. I wanted to find a solution to help the other 4,500 a year because these were the small business people I loved. These were energetic and excited entrepreneurs like my mother and the Cutco sellers; these were people looking for personal freedom, a way to achieve their dreams and put extra money in their pockets. These are the people we should be helping. This was the market for me. Enter Ship.com.

Ship.com is dedicated to helping small business people make their dreams come true. Our current niche in that dream is the part after the sale is made and is focused on helping sellers:

  1. Ship easily
  2. Sell easily
  3. Manage buyer relationships

As Kyle Henzel commented in his blog, ZenSales is thrilled to start their next chapter as part of Ship.com. Together we will build products that make small business growth simple. Following is some of what you already get and a future look at what you can expect.

  • The first thing we do is that we make it really easy for sellers like you to ship your packages to your buyers. We import the sales data from your platform and convert these into easily shippable orders.
  • Then we allow sellers and buyers to track packages all the way to delivery via an app buyer downloads onto their phones.
  • The app also allows buyers to track all their packages from every retailer, making it useful to buyers beyond just doing business with one seller
  • Buyers can let sellers know they received their packages through the app.
  • Sellers and buyers can communicate through the app (coming soon)
  • This app allows buyers to return packages back to sellers (coming soon)
  • The app allows buyers to share what they bought with friends and family and recommend products they like
  • The app allows sellers to advertise to targeted buyers (coming soon)
  • Sellers have a desktop tool to manage buyer loyalty programs
  • Sellers have a desktop tool to manage buyer email communications
  • Sellers have a tool to take orders during live selling on Facebook (coming soon)

Technology has advanced a lot in the past decade and this has made it much easier for people to become small business owners. Platforms of all kinds exist to help would-be entrepreneurs start and run a business.

You can sell goods on Amazon, eBay, Esty, and many others. Run your online store with Shopify, WooCommerce, or BigCommerce, and many others. Provide services through Upwork, Fiver, Freelancer, and many others. You can work and connect from home with Slack, Zoom, Trello, and many others.

This makes it easier to start a business but harder to compete as anyone with an idea can now open a business. And, it’s even harder for micro-entrepreneurs to compete with large businesses. Therefore it is critically important for small sellers to have the best tools possible to make and keep them successful.

Ship.com helps sellers become successful and achieve their dreams by providing simple tools that help sellers save time, money, and sell more.

Ship.com does this by helping sellers manage the post-sale experience from end to end. This starts with shipping the product, managing delivery, easy returns, email marketing, loyalty programs, and facilitating new referral business.

Ship.com provides tools to help small businesses compete with large and small sellers to make their dreams come true. By working together we want small business owners to be successful and help them get the extra money and freedom they want while fighting against the naysayers. We’ve got your back.

__________________________________

See for Yourself What All the Buzz is About

  • Sign up for a ZenSales plan and get easy to use shipping and marketing tools.
  • Download the Ship.com app to get easy to use tracking for your personal holiday shipments
  • Refer your customers to download Ship.com to make tracking your shipment to them fun!
  • Check out the Ship.com FAQ

An Exciting Announcement…

Today we’re sharing the exciting news that Ship.com has signed an agreement to acquire ZenSales. We’ve had an incredible journey as an independent company and are thrilled to start our next chapter working with the Ship.com team on building products that make small business growth simple.

We couldn’t have achieved this milestone without you – our amazing users. This moment is truly a testament to your support, loyalty, and feedback!

Why Ship.com?

We started ZenSales with the belief that customers should always be the top priority, tools should be easy-to-use, and business growth should be simple and Ship.com shares that philosophy. Ship.com aims to transform the way people track and ship their packages by socializing peer-to-peer shipments just as Venmo streamlined and socialized peer-to-peer payments. Our best-in-class shipping platform for small businesses is a natural value-add for their users, and vice-versa. In fact, we’ve already been working together to increase your customer loyalty and decrease your customer support, by making the way your customers track their orders simple and fun.

Our goal has always been to make small business growth simple, and the Ship.com focus on reimagining the delivery process for businesses and consumers alike will help us scale our reach and have a bigger impact than we could ever have imagined. Together, we can remake shipping into a social and mobile experience while helping you manage your order fulfillment and post-sale customer experience all the way through delivery.

What does this mean for you?

Aside from seeing the Ship name, there won’t be any changes to your day-to-day experiences with our products. ZenSales will continue to operate as normal within Ship.com. Our first and foremost priority has always been and will remain taking care of our customers. If anything, our customers can expect an accelerated rate of innovation to the ZenSales products they know and love already, supported by the vision (ZenSales and Ship.com FAQs) and resources of Ship.com.

We’re excited to bring ZenSales to direct sellers and small online businesses. Joining forces with Ship.com will help us get there faster. This is an acceleration of the same mission we’ve had since day one – to simplify business growth.

Thank you for your support over the years. We wouldn’t be where we are today without you and we look forward to building for you for many years to come. We’re just getting started!

Kyle Henzel, ZenSales President 

Learn more about Ship.com in this message from the Ship.com Founder and CEO

__________________________________

See for Yourself What All the Buzz is About

  • Sign up for a ZenSales plan and get easy to use shipping and marketing tools.
  • Download the Ship.com app to get easy to use tracking for your own holiday shipments
  • Refer your customers to download Ship.com to make tracking your shipment to them fun!
  • Check out the Ship.com FAQ

 

How to Get the Most Out of Your Free Trial on the Executive Plan

ZenSales was founded to solve the shipping needs of direct sellers. What began as a simple tool for shipping orders quickly grew into a robust platform that covers a wide variety of useful business functions. The ZenSales Executive package is was designed for busy top-sellers, it gives users access to ZenSales’ complete suite of comprehensive business tools. With complete access to ZenSales’ email marketing and rewards tools, users are guaranteed to spend less time shipping and marketing their business while getting more accomplished. For less than $30 a month ZenSales Executive tier provides the tools and functionality network marketers need to maximize their business growth. For a limited time, you can access the ZenSales Executive package for free when you take advantage of the new 30-day trial offer.

What could be better than FREE? If you’re on the fence about which shipping software to use, this free trial is your perfect opportunity to try out the ZenSales platform. ZenSales free Executive trial offer is virtually risk-free as there is no obligation to buy and you can cancel at any time.

There is one downside: the 30-day free trial period can pass by pretty quickly. So, it helps to have a game plan before you begin. The team at ZenSales put our thinking caps on to put together our best tips to help you get the most out of your Executive trial. This article will guide you through 5 simple steps that you can follow to get the most optimal experience and help you determine if ZenSales is right for your business.

1. Set Up Your Account and Brand Quickly

Once you activate your account the clock will start ticking, so to get the most out of your trial you should get started right away. The ZenSales platform features a comprehensive onboarding modal that is designed to guide you through the account set up and brand integration processes quickly and easily. Follow the easy step-by-step instructions and you should be up and running in no time. We also recommend that you take a few moments to watch the Shipping and Email Marketing video tutorials. You should also visit the Help Center where you’ll find a comprehensive library of FAQs and Tutorials. Take a moment to browse the convenient information, this is a great way to get the most out of the platform’s tools. If you run into any issues at any step along the way, the ZenSales team is standing by and ready to help. You can reach a customer support representative by clicking on the chat icon in the lower corner of your desktop screen or by emailing support@zensales.net. With your Executive trial, you can take advantage of our knowledgeable 1-on-1 customer support, which includes email and live chat during ZenSales’s extended service hours.

2. Ship Your Packages

The Executive package comes with an unlimited number of shipments each month. These shipments will take advantage of ZenSales lowest discounted shipping rates. You will also get shipping tools that include access to the standard reports, automatic order importing, address verification, and time-saving batch printing. With the Executive package, most users will find that their monthly shipping savings exceed the low program cost. We’re confident that you will find shipping on the Executive package is faster and easier than ever before. Once your account is connected to your brand your invoices will automatically import, along with all of the shipping and order details. Now you can compare shipping rates and purchase a label in just 3 clicks! Say goodbye to manually entering your customer and order information, now ZenSales does it all for you.

3. Schedule a Carrier Pickup

ZenSales most convenient feature is available to Executive users, now you can schedule a free USPS carrier pick-up right from your door in just 2-clicks. Without leaving the ZenSales platform you can set up a next-day post-office pick up. This will free up your daily schedule and eliminate those time-wasting trips to the post office.

4. Set Up Your Email Marketing Messages

The Executive package includes access to the full-featured version of our newest email marketing tools. The plan allows you to save unlimited email templates that you can customize to your brand and writing style, you can even insert your own image files. After you’ve customized your emails you can set up automated follow-up messaging to stay top-of-mind with your customers while generating cross-sells and up-sells. The ZenSales Executive package makes it easy to increase your sales and customer satisfaction with “set it and forget it” marketing tools that keep working behind-the-scenes for you, 24/7.

5. Create a Rewards Program

Customer rewards programs are a great way to increase customer loyalty by rewarding your customers’ repeat purchases. The Executive package also includes exclusive access to ZenSales’s easy rewards program. Now, with just a few clicks you can assign points for purchases and automatically track your customers’ progress. When the designated points have been earned and the reward level is obtained, your customers will receive an automated email notifying them of their reward. You will also receive a notification email instructing you to deliver the reward gift. It’s a “set it and forget it” program that continues to work for your business behind the scenes.

6. Refer New Users and Earn Monthly Income!

Have you heard about ZenSales Referral Program? ZenSales’s customers love to refer their friends and colleagues to Zensales for its ease of use. When you refer a colleague and they sign up for any ZenSales paid account you can earn up to $72! Now ZenSales users can build a monthly income stream by referring new users to the ZenSales shipping platform. ZenSales will pay $3/month for every active paid subscriber you refer to the platform. That’s not all — when your direct referral refers a new paying user, you each can receive $3/month for up to 24 months!

Best of all, it’s really easy to refer new users, just send your ZenSales Referral URL and we’ll take care of the rest! You can find your Referral URL, by logging into your account and navigating to the Ambassador tab at https://www.zensales.net/ambassadors. You can check the status of your referrals and corresponding payments on your Ambassador page from your user portal. We make it as easy as possible for you to promote and share your ZenSales’s referral link. Remember to include it on your website and in your email messages, and share it on your social media channels too. We’ve even created a cool gallery of social media tools exclusively for ZenSales users.

The new features in ZenSales Executive package make it one of the most competitive and cost-effective plans available today. After your trial is over we’re sure that you will agree. Thanks, and happy shipping!

 

 

 

 

 

Free Shopify App Gives Direct Sellers a Single Shipping Tool

Orders from Cross Channel Platforms Now Managed through Single Interface

ZenSales announced today the immediate availability of its integration with Shopify to simplify order shipping for direct sellers and home business owners. The free app has been through the Shopify approval process and provides a simple easy way to ship orders from multiple channels and communicate with customers. ZenSales now works with Shopify

“ZenSales users sell their products on a variety of cross-channel platforms, including in-person and virtual events, social media, and on numerous websites built on versatile selling platforms, like Shopify,” said Kyle Henzel, President of ZenSales. 

“Shipping and order management can quickly become a time-consuming and tedious part of everyday business operations. ZenSales is pleased to announce the availability of a shipping platform that provides a simple and straightforward solution to direct sellers’ most difficult tasks.” 

Users can download the free ZenSales app from the Shopify App Store and connect their Shopify store in minutes. Shopify orders are seamlessly imported into the ZenSales dashboard to provide users with access to their favorite ZenSales features, like rewards, email marketing, and shipping.

With the Shopify and ZenSales integration, Shopify merchants can automatically import their Shopify orders into the ZenSales platform, purchase shipping labels, create personalized marketing campaigns that engage shoppers, and capitalize on the up-sell and cross-sell opportunities that occur throughout their Shopify buyers’ customer journeys.

The ZenSales integration also helps Shopify Store owners to:

  • Save time and money on shipping
  • Purchase a label in 3-clicks
  • Arrange for a carrier pickup right from their door
  • Provide Shopify customers with automated, customized package tracking information
  • Stay in touch with Shopify customers with timely and relevant email messages
  • Launch easy rewards programs for Shopify customers
  • Create custom branding for packing slips, invoices, and emails
  • Access ZenSales fast and responsive customer support

 

ZenSales now works with Shopify

Today’s announcement follows recent releases of the ZenSales rewards program and comprehensive email marketing tools.  ZenSales is committed to listening to customer feedback and rapidly adopting new problem-solving features. What began as a simple tool for shipping orders has quickly blossomed into a versatile platform that meets the diverse needs of home business owners by making many critical business functions simple and easy.

Shopify is a cloud-based SaaS (software as a service) shopping cart solution, that helps online merchants build e-Commerce sites, with a wide variety of versatile templates. For a monthly fee, merchants can access an admin panel to enter store data, add products, and process orders.

RESOURCES:

Download Your Free ZenSales Shopify App

Connect the App to Your ZenSales Account

Download ZenSales Recourses to help with Shopify

ZenSales now works with Shopify

How to Market Your Direct Sales Business During the COVID-19 Crisis

Launch safe and ethical promotions that generate sales and build your brand.

By now, you’ve heard about the COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping the globe. The disease has garnered a lot of media attention and has caused panic buying and market crashes. While no one knows for sure how long this will play out in the coming months, the high recovery rates and mild symptoms for the majority of those infected are promising signs that we will get through this crisis.

Government leaders and medical experts from around the world are asking citizens to stay at home and practice social distancing to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the disease. As a result, nearly everyone has experienced some type of fallout due to COVID-19. Depending on where you live, families in your area may have been ordered to shelter at home and many non-essential businesses have been ordered to temporarily shutter their doors. This means that some workers have already been laid off and others have been asked to work from home often at reduced hours.

If you have a direct sales business, you may find that you have more time to spend on your business. If you or a member of your household has experienced a layoff or other negative financial consequences as a result of the closures, you may also have an even greater need for the funds your business can generate. But you may also be at a bit of a loss as to how you should proceed with your marketing strategies. Indeed, these are tough times for everyone but there are still opportunities available for many businesses. 

Depending on your business and the products you sell there are some special considerations that you should take into account before you proceed. Let’s take a look at what you need to know and do to become a smart and effective marketer during this difficult time.

Here’s what you should do:

Help Your Customers Stay At Home

With social distancing in effect, one of the best things you can do is provide your customers with a product or service that can be delivered to their homes. This is a great area to focus your efforts. Beef up your online offerings on your website, and promote them heavily through email and social media. Understand that many of your customers may have reduced or cut their discretionary spending, so look for ways to offer your products for less if at all possible. This is a great time to move clearance merchandise.

This is also the perfect time to utilize ZenSales’ carrier pick up feature, which is available on both the Growth and Executive subscriptions. With just 2-clicks, you can arrange to have your postal service worker pick up your outgoing packages right from your doorstep.

Encourage your customers to stay at home when you share these posts on your social media channels.

Market Your Business During COVID-19
ZenSales is here to help you market your business the right way! Download these pre-made social media posts and change out the images to fit your products: https://bit.ly/3dJduLx

Host Live Updates And Virtual Parties Via Social Media Or Videoconferencing

Unfortunately, events like in-home parties or in-person sales calls are currently off-limits in most communities and should be avoided to help flatten the curve. But thanks to the power of the internet and social media you can still host these events online, and everyone can attend from the safety of their own home. Put together a fun fashion show or demo your products during a live update. Make it entertaining and use this opportunity to grow your business in new and exciting ways. Look into free tools like Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts for simple video conferencing. You can also use FaceTime or Messenger for video calls, be sure to check with your clients first to determine which platform they prefer to use.

Become A Helpful Resource To Create Future Sales

Since many people may have more free time on their hands but limited financial resources, this is a great time to share knowledge with your customers. For instance, if you work with brands like LulaRoe, Senegence, Maverick the Collection, Chalk Couture, Color Street, or Paisley Reye you can put together a learning session on the latest make-up, manicure, home design, or fashion trends. If you work with Ring Bomb Party you can create a learning session on precious gems and the materials used in your jewelry. Java Mama reps can demonstrate fun coffee recipes and Pure Romance reps can show your customers how a little romance can help reduce stress during times like these. The possibilities are endless when you look for ways to educate your customers about the products you sell. Your goal is to simply create an individual, personalized value for your customers and use that to build a more solid relationship for future sales.

Now, let’s take a brief moment to talk about what you absolutely should not do.

Don’t Make Any False Claims 

One of the key considerations you should take into account is the FCC rules regarding truthfulness in advertising. According to the FCC “… claims in advertisements must be truthful, cannot be deceptive or unfair, and must be evidence-based.” If you are marketing foods, over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, and other health-related products, you should be extremely cautious about making any claims related to COVID-19 and its prevention and/or cure. The FCC requires all health-related advertising claims to have scientifically verified, solid proof. Since COVID-19 is a new and unknown virus, there are no scientifically-proven health claims that you can validly make concerning any type of product.

Although to most of us this seems like a no-brainer, a few well-known names have already made this mistake and are facing serious consequences as a result. When televangelist Jim Bakker began promoting his product, Silver Solution, as a coronavirus “remedy” in mid-February, he was consequently contacted by both the FCC and the FTC and given the order to “immediately cease making all such claims”. Rather than promoting questionable claims about your products, you could instead offer tips on how to avoid being infected by the virus by referencing the expert information from resources such as the CDC and WHO. This includes regular hand washing, avoiding touching the face with unwashed hands, and social distancing.

Don’t Prey On Fears  

Marketers know that fear is one of the greatest motivators for human action, however, now is not the time to fan the flames for your own personal gain. While there is nothing wrong with plainly stating any bad consequences your product may help consumers avoid, as evidenced by recent surges in hoarding and panic buying, now is simply not the time to use any fear-mongering related to COVID-19 in your marketing. Before you begin a promotion, ask yourself if it provides value to your customers and also matches the values of your business.  

In conclusion, with a little creativity and a little ingenuity, you can develop a marketing strategy that will help your business survive and thrive through the trials of this pandemic. Focus on being a helpful resource for your customers, and don’t be afraid to ask for the sale. If you don’t ask the answer is always no. Show clearly how your brand solves a problem or satisfies a need people have, especially those that are related to coping with the crisis. You may find that simply by working a little bit harder and a little bit smarter both you and your business will come out of this stronger than ever.

The ZenSales team is a remote team that works from home under normal circumstances. This means that the ZenSales platform will continue to run without interruption and we will be ready to provide support when you need it. We hope that you and your family stay safe during this difficult time.

Save and print this handy cheat sheet and get started on your marketing plan today!

Develop a marketing strategy that will help your business survive and thrive through the trials of COVID-19



How to Market Your Direct Sales Business During the COVID-19

How to Market Your Direct Sales Business During the COVID-19

Meet the New ZenSales Ambassador Program

Generate Lasting, Passive Income by Referring New Members to ZenSales

Passive income is defined as “income that requires little to no effort to earn and maintain”. Well, no doubt easier said than done! But if you’ve ever dreamed about earning money without a lot of heavy lifting, the new ZenSales Ambassador Program just might be your dream come true!

ZenSales users are invited to join the exciting new Ambassador Program to generate a lasting stream of passive income. The new program was inspired by ZenSales’s core values, which include a dedication to helping users grow their businesses. The ZenSales Ambassador Program is built on a generous payout structure designed to help ZenSales users build a meaningful recurring income with just a small investment of time.

ZenSales has grown quickly by listening to customer feedback and rapidly adopting new problem-solving features. The platform has also thrived on word-of-mouth referrals, many of which were generated through similar referral programs. These included a general referral program that offered shipping credits to both the user and their referral and an ambassador program that offered a one-time compensation for each referral. Although the existing programs were successful, we knew we could do better. So the team at ZenSales launched a comprehensive survey designed to identify the program elements that most benefitted users.

The goal was to create a program that resonated with ZenSales’s commitment to making small business growth simple for our users. The end result is a new ZenSales Ambassador Program that is based in-part on valuable feedback from the customer survey, combined with a multi-level payout structure that is common within the industry.

With the new ZenSales Ambassador Program, users will be able to build passive income streams by recruiting new users to the ZenSales shipping platform. ZenSales will pay you $3/month for every new shipping customer you refer to the platform with an active, paid subscription. That’s not all — when a user that you recruit refers a new paying user, you each receive $3/month for up to 24 months!

According to top consumer finance guru, Dave Ramsey, a few of the benefits of passive income include:

  • Increases your wealth-building plan
  • Creates an opportunity to retire early
  • Provides an additional source of income when you’re no longer able to work or if you outlive your retirement fund

Whether you use your passive income to pad your retirement or spend it all on a lavish vacation, it’s easy to see how you can benefit from making more money when there’s very little effort or investment required.

How it Works 

The ZenSales Ambassador Program is an exciting way for users to earn a monthly recurring revenue simply by referring new paid subscribers to ZenSales’s shipping platform! The program structure rewards you for recruiting top-level sales reps with large downlines that they in turn refer. The ZenSales Ambassador program will pay users for both First and Second Level recruits, giving you the opportunity to multiply your monthly income exponentially.

 

ZenSales New Ambassador Program

ZenSales users can visit their new ZenSales Ambassador dashboard to review and accept the ZenSales Ambassador Program Terms and Conditions. Users will become an active Ambassador upon agreeing to the program’s terms and conditions. Once your Ambassador Program is activated, we recommend that you share your referral link via social media channels, web pages, and email. With the right First Level recruits your income will add up quickly!

When a new user creates an account for a paid subscription with your link they become your First Level Recruit and you’ll be eligible for a payout. But that’s not all! When one of your First Level Recruits shares their link, any individual who creates an account for a paid subscription will become your Second Level Recruit and you’ll also be eligible for a payout!

Who Can Become an Ambassador? 

The ZenSales Ambassador Program is open to all ZenSales users with an active subscription.

Who Counts as a Recruit?

Any user who opens a paid monthly subscription after clicking on your Recruiting Link will be considered a viable recruit. At the present time, the Growth and Executive plan subscriptions will count towards your monthly total. However, the Starter subscription is not eligible. If you have a contact who wants to sign up for a Starter account go ahead and give them your referral link! If they upgrade their subscription they’ll become an active recruit and you’ll receive a payout for up to 24 months!

How Do I Get Started? 

ZenSales users should visit the new Ambassador dashboard to accept the program’s terms and conditions, then review the Ambassador Getting Started Guide for helpful hints to begin recruiting. If you’re not a ZenSales subscriber yet, open and set up your account to get started.

In the meantime, if you have any questions please reach out to the customer support team by clicking on the chat button in the lower corner of your screen.

The Best Referral Program for Your Direct Sales Business

Referrals are the lifeblood of every multi-level company. Depending on how the company you represent is structured, you may need to generate more than one type of referral. Usually, when we think about referrals we’re thinking about a customer’s word-of-mouth or electronic recommendation for your goods or services, like a testimonial, an email, a social media post or a quote published online. However, there is additional referral in the world of direct sales which includes people who are referred to join your team and sell for you. Both are valuable and necessary for a healthy, thriving network marketing business.

You need referrals. Luckily, there are literally thousands of creative methodologies that you can employ to keep referrals heading your way. But, not every one of those methods is guaranteed to work for your business. With limited resources, how do you find the referral programs that are worthy of your time and energy? First, look at your customer journey.

What is a Customer Journey?

A customer journey is a metaphorical journey made by a hypothetical customer as they connect with your business, detailing the interactions and proposed emotions they experience along the way. Studying your customer journey will help you gain a better understanding of how your customers travel through the sales process. This information can be used to improve the results of your touch-points or future interactions. Customer journey mapping can reveal a wealth of opportunities for improving your customer experience and, to the point of this article, also help you identify the best methods for getting more referrals.

 

Find the Opportunities

There are a few really cool online tools that can help you map out your customer journey, like Milkymap. But you don’t really need a complicated tool to plot out your customer journey, a simple paper and pen — make that a pencil with an eraser 😉 — will get the job done. Customer journeys should be developed from the customer’s point-of-view, again it’s most helpful to use your “ideal” customer. If you have several customer segments you should complete a customer journey map for each one. If none of your current customers are ideal, you can even create a customer journey for the clients you want to have in the future, as opposed to the ones you’re getting now.

Organize your customer journey maps by the marketing and sales funnel stages your customers typically pass through. For instance, every business is unique, but most customers go through the following stages:

  1. Discovery
  2. Exploration
  3. Comparison
  4. Evaluation
  5. Purchase
  6. Retention
  7. Referrals

You can also build a customer profile to better define the target audiences for your referral messages. You can use this free customer profile template to help identify the most important characteristics of your ideal buyer persona. This information can help you understand your customers’ needs and how you can help them solve them, which can lead to more referrals. Completing a customer profile can help you identify new opportunities to connect with your target audience. See the example below and then build your own.

Customer Profile Template Example

Customer Profile example

Create a Plan to Maximize Your Opportunities

Let’s circle back on the sales and marketing funnel and make note of the final step: Referrals. Referrals don’t happen until the very end?! Yes, and there’s a good reason why. Imagine if you walked into a business and before you could make a purchase they asked you for a referral. Your response might be “For what?”, and your customers will feel the same way. It’s difficult to recommend a business before they have completed your service or provided a product. We usually wait until the end of the transaction to form our opinion.

For this reason, businesses must strive to leave a positive impression during each phase of the customer journey. If you fail to delight your customers you will most likely not receive a referral. If you wait until the end of your customer journey to think about referrals, you’ve most likely waited too long.

Automate as Much as Possible

After you have plotted your customer journey look for ways to improve your customer experience to ensure that your service is worthy of recommending. Next, look for opportunities to ask for referrals, but try to automate the process as much as possible. When you create automated referral requests you will receive more referrals because you will consistently ask every customer.

How and where you ask for referrals matters as well. After a purchase has been made you should plan multiple automated calls-to-action to generate the most referrals. Ultimately, the best time to ask is when your customers are ready to give a glowing review of you, your products and your customer service.

Top Automated Referral Opportunities

1. Order thank you page
2. Shipping confirmation email
3. Delivery confirmation email
4. Order-tracking pages
5. Follow-up emails

 

Don't forget to say thank you!

One of the best ways to keep the referrals rolling in is to make sure that your customers have a positive experience. You can thank your referrals while also promoting your current products and services to encourage future sales. A free item or a discount offer is a great way to reward and encourage referrals. Create offers like a “15% Discount for Every Referral” and/or “A Free Gift for Every Referral” and include them in your automated messaging. 

Customize Your Plan for Your Customer Segments

Regardless of the best practices, there really aren’t any hard and fast rules when it comes to asking for referrals. Different customer segments may require a completely different approach to referrals. For instance, new customers will follow the profile described above. They will want to wait until the end of the transaction before making a referral. However, your returning customers may be ready and willing to make a referral at any stage during the customer journey. The most important thing to remember when you’re planning a referral program is to create a program that matches your brand and flows seamlessly within your customer experience.


Don't for get to pin this to your Pinterest Board

How to make a referal program to grow your business infographic

5 Keys to a Successful Rewards Program for Direct Sellers

You can offer free and discounted products to create rewards that drive more sales and improve customer satisfaction.

5_keys_to_rewards_program happy red head woman wearing a yellow shirt standing in a ktichen with her hans in the air like she is happy yelling, hurray

Ultimately, your longterm business success will depend on your ability to create loyal customers. Loyal customers stick with your business and become repeat purchasers. Returning customers usually spend more on average, which results in a higher profit margin. New customers cost you both marketing time and dollars and generally spend less on their purchase. When you compare the two, it’s easy to see how your business will grow faster if you develop a process for consistently creating loyal customers.

What does it take to make a loyal customer? It’s been said before: a happy customer is a loyal customer. Unfortunately, there is no cookie-cutter happy customer formula that can be applied to every business. The key is to focus on creating an overwhelmingly positive customer experience, that starts with the first interaction and continues throughout the course of your seller-buyer relationship. It really comes down to delivering your own unique mix of a great product, stellar service and ongoing follow up that individually and collectively exceeds customer expectations.

Customer rewards programs have proven to be extremely effective at increasing customer loyalty because they are designed to increase repeat purchases for existing customers. You’ve probably participated on the receiving end of a customer rewards program, they often appear in local businesses as simple “Buy X Products, Get 1 Free” punch cards. While simple rewards programs like these are very effective for smaller bricks and mortar stores, busy network marketers will benefit most from an automated digital rewards program.

Tips for a Successful Loyalty Program

 

1. Identify Your Goals

Like most marketing initiatives, you should launch your rewards program by setting goals to identify what you want to achieve and to measure your success. The most obvious goal for a rewards program is to increase repeat purchases, you can also structure your program to improve customer satisfaction, move certain inventory, generate referrals or meet a wide variety of sales and marketing goals. You are only limited by your creativity.

Once you’ve identified the areas you would like to improve, turn your goals into S.M.A.R.T. goals by making them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. For instance, one of your rewards program goals could be to increase accessory sales by 3% in the 4th Quarter.

 

 

2. Define Your Program

Remember those rewards punch cards we spoke of earlier? Well, they work because they are incredibly simple to deploy, manage and participate in. Keep this in mind as you structure a rewards program for your direct sales customers. A complicated rewards program that’s difficult to understand or participate in will only discourage and frustrate your customers. Instead, for the best chance at success, you should look to launch a program that is simple to understand and requires the least amount of effort to participate in and earn rewards. Oh, and it should also be fun!

 

 

3. Choose a Desirable Incentive

Your rewards incentive or gift should be something that your customers look forward to receiving. Think of your incentive as the carrot that guides your customers towards taking actions that help you meet your goals. Some reps create a discount offer and some offer corresponding or popular merchandise. It’s important to note that some of the most successful reward incentives offer unique items that customers cannot get anywhere else.

 

 

 4. Create Ongoing Promotions to Encourage and Increase Participation

The most important key to success for your program is to spread the word as frequently as possible. Send regular email updates to customers participating in the program to update them on their progress and motivate them to continue earning points towards their rewards.

Include a sentence that promotes the program after your signature line in your emails and put it on your invoices and other business communications as well. Encourage your customers to share positive feedback about their rewards on social media for more exposure.

 

 

 5. Monitor Your Program for Success

Pay close attention to any data that provides insight into your customers’ participation in the program. Is your program attracting your best customers and are they using it on a consistent basis to achieve your rewards? Use your program data and customer feedback to fine-tune your program to increase participation and exceed your goals.

The ZenSales shipping platform includes a simple rewards program that allows you to assign points for purchases and automatically tracks your customers’ progress. When the designated points have been acquired and the reward level is achieved, your customer receives an automatic notification and you also get a notification to deliver the rewards gift. It’s a “set it and forget it” program that continues to work for you behind the scenes.

With the ZenSales platform, you can quickly and easily create a successful loyalty program that helps you meet your business goals. Create a preliminary program and use it as an opportunity to listen to your customers and build stronger relationships. When your customers see how much you care their loyalty will increase — along with your sales.