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Amazon Touts Small Biz Success on Its Platform
May 8, 2019
Third-party gross physical merchandise sales on Amazon, made primarily by SMBs, accounted for more than half the units sold in the company's stores and totaled more than $160 billion in 2018, according to Amazon's 2019 SMB Impact Report. SMBs selling on Amazon created about 1.6 million jobs worldwide, up from 900,000 in 2017. Amazon gave startups more than $500 million in AWS credits in 2018.
Small Biz Reaps Major Benefits With Oracle Autonomous Database
May 4, 2019
Drop Tank is a small company in footprint -- it started with only 22 people -- but it has an outsized mission: to provide loyalty and discount programs to thousands of gasoline retailers. It has been decades since gas stations offered incentives to purchase their products. Last time, in the 1960s, retailers routinely would offer silverware, glassware and china with fill-ups.
What Everyone's Getting Wrong About Digital Transformation
May 3, 2019
Digital transformation is all the rage right now, and tech companies are working hard to promote it. You can hardly take an action online or go to a conference without being bombarded by digital transformation messages from every angle. Some companies are even using it to sell items only distantly related to digitally transforming. However, digital transformation should not be the end goal.
How a Route Planner Can Streamline E-Commerce Operations
April 27, 2019
With jam-packed delivery schedules, driver shortages, and impatient millennials who refuse to wait three days for their goods, it's clear that running an e-commerce company is not an easy walk in the park. It seems the "Amazon effect" is only growing stronger and stronger. Retail e-commerce sales are projected to surpass $735 billion in 2023. With this growth, naturally, come several challenges.
How Customer Expectations Contribute to Fraud and Losses
April 25, 2019
Contemporary online retail enables faster, smoother and more profitable interactions between consumers and merchants. Individuals can shop and make purchases at any time, from any location, with the help of the devices resting in their pockets. Plus, with innovations like same-day shipping, IoT-connected devices, and much more, it's never been easier to be a consumer.
New Apriva Partnerships Promise Mobile Shopping Innovations
April 24, 2019
Apriva has announced partnerships with AveriGo and Vagabond to offer innovative mobile shopping and payment solutions. Apriva offers an adaptive platform for secure mobile communications and omnichannel payments. Both its new partners are in the vending and F&B service industries. AveriGo offers the Averiware business platform. Vagabond offers technologies for the convenience services industry.
Is Your Business Ready for a 2019 Recession?
April 24, 2019
For those of you who have an ear to the ground on American economic trends, you've probably heard the whispers of a recession heading our way, starting as early as this year. Everyone remembers how hard their finances were hit back in '08 -- no one better than small business owners, some of whom lost everything during that time. Even top economists cannot predict how big an impact the next recession will have.
How SMBs Can Trade Stressful One-by-One Shipping for Streamlined Operations
April 18, 2019
E-commerce continues to grow at an unprecedented pace. Total retail sales, excluding the sale of items not normally bought online -- like fuel, automobiles, and food at restaurants -- hit $3.628 trillion last year, up 3.9 percent year over year from $3.490 trillion. E-commerce accounted for a 14.3 percent share of that total, and 51.9 percent of all retail growth. That is substantial.
Wayfair v. South Dakota: How Amazon Played Both Sides
April 1, 2019
In the late 90s, Amazon began expanding its offerings beyond books, quickly embracing the Internet and leveraging technology to boost sales and exploit dated tax laws. Thanks to the proliferation of the Web and a rise in the popularity of e-commerce, Amazon rapidly scaled its business to offer a range of products and services directly to customers anywhere in the nation.
From Virtual to Value: Building Meaningful Experiences With Gamification
March 15, 2019
Amid shifting consumer habits and the digitization of everything, the retail landscape has undergone significant transformations over the past decade, and it continues to evolve as quickly as ever. These transformations bring about a slew of challenges and opportunities for retailers to improve the overall shopping experience. One technique for increasing engagement is gamification.
Warren Dons Tech-Buster Mantle
March 12, 2019
Tech giants like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple would be broken up under a proposal from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. "Today's big tech companies have too much power -- too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy," the Democratic presidential hopeful wrote in an online post. Warren has called for legislative remedies to address the problems.
Is Your Site Mobile Perfect? How to Catch Buyers Who Never Stand Still
March 9, 2019
Mobile search and buying continue to grow as the chosen means for consumers' online shopping, with the market set to reach an estimated $218 billion in 2019. By 2021, it's estimated that 72.9 percent of online purchases will be made on a mobile device. If you factor in the Millennial and Generation Z demographics, virtually all sales soon will be mobile-generated.
Pitney Bowes Launches Self-Service Tool to Drive Post-Buy Revenue
March 6, 2019
Pitney Bowes has unveiled Consumer Connect, a self-service post-purchase marketing solution for retailers and brands. "Retail marketers spend a tremendous amount of time and money attracting consumers and getting them to click the buy button only to leave them in the hands of third-party shipping partners for tracking and notifications until the package is delivered," noted Pitney Bowes EVP Lila Snyder.
LinkedIn Launches Streaming Video Service as Private Beta
February 13, 2019
LinkedIn has launched an invitation-only private beta of LinkedIn Live, a streaming video feature. The service initially will be available in the United States. After the invitation-only period, LinkedIn will post a contact form on its website for others who want to participate in the beta. The company will broadcast live content from conferences, product announcements, Q&As, and other events.
How Do You Build a Software Company?
February 5, 2019
How do you build a software company? There are certainly things you need to do and not do on the way to building a successful software company, but there are no recipes. In my career, I've seen firsthand some of the ways that company builders succeed or fail, and to paraphrase Tolstoy, happy companies are all alike; every unhappy company is unhappy in its own way.
Marketing Mindfulness: A New Age of Digital Consciousness
January 25, 2019
In this era of stress and anxiety, being able to slow down, breathe, and focus on the moment at hand are key skills for surviving and being successful. Mindfulness has become a vital commodity, and those who can coach others to live more mindfully are in particularly high demand. An industry has grown up that offers everything from streaming yoga classes to meditation apps.
Apple Pay's US Expansion Will Fuel Mobile Payment Turf Wars
January 23, 2019
Apple on Tuesday announced more large retailers will accept Apple Pay: Target, Taco Bell, Hy-Vee supermarkets in the Midwest, Speedway convenience stores, and the Jack in the Box fast food chain. With those additions, 74 of the top 100 merchants in the United States, and 65 percent of all retail locations across the country, now support Apple Pay, the company said.
The Economics of E-Commerce Chargeback Fraud
January 2, 2019
E-commerce fraud is an ongoing problem for online merchants and credit card companies. It has been growing at twice the rate of e-commerce sales. Identity theft traditionally has been one of the most common sources of e-commerce fraud, but online merchants increasingly have been suffering more from chargeback fraud, which requires them to absorb the costs of disputed credit card transactions.
Wix Launches 20-Product CRM Suite for SMBs
December 13, 2018
Wix has launched Ascend, a CRM suite consisting of 20 products, including tools for site promotion, cross-channel customer interaction management, intuitive search engine optimization, content creation for social media channels, lead capture, and the ability to respond to queries automatically. Its chat-centric interface allows real-time interactions with customers.
When Is the Time to Hire a Cyber Specialist?
November 14, 2018
Cybersecurity has been becoming a larger and larger concern for organizations. Nowadays, most organizations -- regardless of size, industry, location, or profit vs. nonprofit status -- find themselves directly or indirectly impacted by cybersecurity. Even though the topic itself is increasing in importance, many smaller organizations don't have specialized security expertise on staff.
Let's Create a TV Show to Fix Silicon Valley
November 12, 2018
Startups have been creating employee hell in Silicon Valley. That was on my mind as I read the book Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us. I think this book should be required reading for anybody who thinks working for a startup in Silicon Valley would be fun. Unless you are into humiliation and abuse you probably should avoid these startups like the plague.
6 Ways Retailers Can Hold Their Own in the Microbrand Revolution
November 8, 2018
The holiday shopping season is kicking off! It is only a matter of time before carols and bright lights greet us in malls and shopping centers. One popular item on many of this year's wish lists is the Velvet Lip Kit. To fulfill this particular wish, givers can skip the crowds and the checkout lines. They can skip the retail stores all together, at least for this one item, by ordering it through Kylie Jenner's direct-to-consumer online channel.
How E-Commerce SMBs Can Step Up Sales Engagement
November 1, 2018
"Sales engagement" is not a new concept, but the premise around its application has matured over the last few years. So, what is it? If you want the TL;DR version, it's the process of engaging with new sales opportunities quickly and persistently, with a cadence designed to connect, using multiple channels such as telephone, email, SMS and social media.
How Vulnerable Is Your E-Business to Employee-Assisted Fraud?
October 30, 2018
We made it. The holiday shopping season is here once again! This is a great opportunity for you as an e-commerce retailer. If you're like many other merchants out there, the run-up to Christmas is one of the most profitable, and busiest, times of the year. You may need some extra help to handle the surge in traffic and maximize your return. That means hiring seasonal employees.
The 4-Step Method for Developing Strong Product Content
October 25, 2018
Many brick-and-mortar shops have been expanding their business to the online realm. It's no wonder why, considering global retail e-commerce sales are expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021. However, brands making the move first need to consider the differences between brick-and-mortar and e-commerce, and implement SMEA: set up, manage, enrich and audit.
7 Priceless E-Commerce Tips for Small Businesses
October 24, 2018
From big companies to small-town mom-and-pop shops to "mompreneurs" working from home, e-commerce is the key to keeping revenue streams flowing and businesses afloat. In fact, e-commerce is really the only way for you to ensure your business' longevity these days, especially if you are a small retailer. Why? Because your customers don't always live in your neighborhood.
6 Tactics to Bring Out the Superpowers in Retail SMBs
October 23, 2018
There could be as much as a 22 percent increase in holiday sales this season. The 2018 U.S. retail e-commerce season will reach $123.4 billion, up from $106.14 billion in 2017, according to Statista's estimates. If you are a small business retailer, these numbers no doubt will bring a twinkle to your eye. However, to get your share, you will need to step up your game.
Turning a Corner in CRM
October 19, 2018
For the last 20 years, CRM has occupied a preeminent niche in enterprise software. It has been the hip, up-and-coming solution in the front office, brimming with innovation and new approaches to some difficult problems. CRM applied basic database technology to a business' chaotic collection of customer data, streamlining business practices and boosting productivity in sales and service.
Black Friday/Cyber Monday Is Coming - and It's Only the Beginning
October 19, 2018
Are you a retailer trying to get ready for the 2018 holiday season? Well, I'm afraid I can't help you. Just kidding. Sort of. I could just sit here and share yet another checklist to remind you of all the standard e-commerce table stakes you need to master. However, what I really want to do is help you get ready for Cyber Monday 2019 -- and beyond.
4 Ways SMBs Can Compete With Amazon on Cyber Monday
October 12, 2018
E-commerce companies compete with Amazon for shoppers year-round, but especially around the holidays when Q4 earnings are made. More than 75 percent of U.S. consumers shop on Amazon despite endless e-commerce options. Amazon commands more than 49.1 percent of all online sales and has more than 300 million active consumer accounts, making it a competitor that can't be ignored.
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Rakuten Super Logistics
Is "too much screen time" really a problem?
Yes -- smartphone addiction is ruining relationships.
Yes -- but primarily due to parents' failure to regulate kids' use.
Possibly -- long-term effects on health are not yet known.
Not really -- lack of self-discipline and good judgement are the problems.
No -- angst over "screen time" is just the latest overreaction to technology.
No -- what matters is the quality of content, not the time spent viewing it.