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A Good Storm
September 20, 2018
Dreamforce continues to bear down on the world like a hurricane slowly approaching from across the ocean -- in a good way, if that makes any sense. Salesforce has pumped new products into the market that will serve as the focus of at least part of the discussion. The company recently introduced improvements or whole new products for the SMB market, philanthropy and financial services.
ShipBob Gets $40M Injection to Fuel Growth
September 7, 2018
ShipBob, which offers Amazon-type fulfillment services to small and mid-sized businesses, on Thursday announced it had raised $40 million in a Series C funding round led by Menlo Ventures. ShipBob's end-to-end fulfillment solution involves a drop-ship model that lets clients deliver packages in one to two business days. Partners include Amazon, BigCommerce, Shopify and other e-commerce platforms.
6 Winning Shipping Strategies for E-Commerce SMBs
September 4, 2018
E-commerce continues to become more competitive as large companies like Amazon, Target and Walmart soak up market share and customer attention. Shipping window expectations have become shorter, and many online retailers struggle to keep up, particularly SMBs. How can SMBs compete? Not only is competing possible, there are many SMBs that have been finding exceptional success.
Google Gives Vets New Job Search, Business Promotion Tools
August 29, 2018
Google has announced several new online tools designed to help former members of the military find jobs or attract new customers to their businesses. One tool allows vets to type in the search term "jobs for veterans" followed by specific military job codes to see civilian jobs with skill requirements that match their service experience. Another tool identifies businesses as veteran owned or led.
Mobile App Financing Startup Gets $6M Helping Hand
August 23, 2018
Braavo Capital announced it has raised $6 million in Series A funding, and converted $2 million in seed capital from investors, bringing the total equity raised to date to nearly $8 million. Braavo, which claims to be the first company to offer Capital as a Service to mobile app entrepreneurs and developers, will use the funds to add personnel to further its mission.
5 Steps to a Riveting Company Story
August 22, 2018
Telling an engaging and effective story is vitally important for the success of a business. A good story draws people in, fosters loyalty, and brings your brand alive. "It's important for brands to tell their story because the story is what actually resonates with humans," said Nathan Young, storytelling communication instructor at Storytelling Consultant. "We're hardwired to remember stories."
5 Practical Tips for Crowdfunding Success
August 7, 2018
"Crowdfunding is more than just the money," remarked Justin Giddings, CEO of The Kickstarter Guy. "In some ways, it is the perfect laboratory to explore and develop the market viability of your project. If you can launch a new brand and attract thousands of people within a short time frame, it becomes a mile marker of the consumer readiness of the product."
eBay Adds New Seller Financing, Customer Payment Options
July 25, 2018
eBay and Square Capital have entered a partnership to provide eBay sellers business financing of up to $100,000. The funds can be made available in as little as one day. Square Capital will email select eBay sellers invitations to apply for a loan in Q3, the companies said. Square will determine eligibility and risk, and determine the size of the loan offered.
How E-Commerce SMBs Can Weather Political, Social Firestorms
July 17, 2018
A national debate over civility erupted after Stephanie Wilkinson, a co-owner of a Red Hen restaurant in Virginia, asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave. That wasn't the only consequence of the incident, though. Restaurant owners in various parts of America whose businesses had the words "red hen" in their name were deluged with a storm of angry reactions.
3 Smart Ways to Use Video in E-Commerce
July 16, 2018
Video is often how stories get told in the 21st century, so it's a good idea for e-commerce business owners to consider ways they can use this trend to their advantage. "Today we are constantly bombarded by content, and video is one of the best ways to cut through that noise," said Chris Lueck, CEO of FastSpring. "It pays to take the extra time and effort to incorporate video into your strategy."
TrueCommerce Integration With Shopify Promises Boatloads of Benefits
July 13, 2018
TrueCommerce has announced the integration of its unified commerce solutions with Shopify, a cloud-based, multichannel commerce platform. Shopify powered more than 600,000 merchants across 175 countries as of last August. The new offering will give Shopify merchants a unified scheme for greater integration across all commerce channels within a business' systems and supply chain network.
What Net Neutrality's Repeal Means to E-Commerce SMBs
June 27, 2018
E-commerce SMBs are likely to be hit hard by the United States Federal Communications Commission's repeal of Net neutrality earlier this month. The move will let Internet service providers block and manipulate Internet usage and discriminate against users at will, according to critics. Various public interest groups have challenged the FCC's repeal of Net neutrality in the U.S. Court of Appeals.
What the GDPR Means for Small US Etailers
June 21, 2018
Large corporations are not the only businesses governed by the European General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which became effective last month. Small and mid-sized businesses also are subject to its provisions. The regulation applies to the processing of personal data of individuals in the EU by an individual, a company or an organization engaged in professional or commercial activities.
How a Newsletter Can Boost Your Business
June 20, 2018
Newsletters are one of the primary means of communicating with both existing and potential customers. For small e-commerce business owners, however, putting together a regular newsletter may seem daunting. It might seem that creating and sending out a newsletter would involve spending more time and energy than you have, taking valuable resources away from sales and marketing.
DevOps: Plenty of Devs, Not Enough Ops
May 29, 2018
In spite of all the high-profile breaches that seem to sweep the headlines with greater frequency, companies slowly but surely have been getting a handle on internal security practices. At this point, it's hard to imagine any employee, in or out of the tech sector, who hasn't been run through antiphishing training. However, security is only as strong as its weakest link.
FBI Declaws Russian Fancy Bear Botnet
May 25, 2018
The FBI has disrupted a network of half a million routers compromised by the group of Russian hackers believed to have penetrated the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign during the 2016 elections, according to reports. The hacker group, known as "Fancy Bear," has been using a malware program called "VPN Filter" to compromise home and small office routers.
Okta Offers Devs Free Tool to Set Up Multifactor Authentication
May 24, 2018
Okta has announced the Okta API Products One App, which lets engineering teams and developers implement multifactor authentication for any single website or application. Developers can use API Products for One App free if they display "Identity by Okta" on the login page of their app. Among Okta API Products for One App's features are authentication and directory services for Web or mobile apps.
How to Come Up With a Logo That Speaks Volumes About Your Business
May 7, 2018
A key part of any business' marketing strategy is its logo. Your logo is the public face of your company, the mark that will appear on everything from apps and websites to stationery and stickers. Making sure that your logo captures the spirit and purpose of your brand is vital. "A company needs a logo to stand out from the crowd," said 99designs' Pamela Webber.
HubSpot Connects With Shopify, Workplace by Facebook
May 6, 2018
HubSpot has rolled out platform integrations with Shopify and Workplace by Facebook, which are designed to support the marketing and sales efforts of SMBs. The Shopify integration lets e-commerce marketers sync specific merchant sales data from Shopify into HubSpot for use as a marketing signal; segment users based on products, deals and order history; and follow up on abandoned shopping carts.
The Scaling Challenge
April 26, 2018
There is a meme making the rounds and I have no idea how old it is or its origins but I've heard it twice in the last week. It's easier to start a company than it is to scale one. You can't say it's a revolutionary thought, but for the last 20 years the emphasis has been decidedly on founding, so this is something of a departure. Startups don't grow to the moon on average.
UC Has a Bright Future as the Next Generation of Business Communications
April 12, 2018
Unified communications is coming on strong and growing fast. It is positioned as the next big step forward in the communications industry, both wireline and wireless. In the past, companies of every size had to have telephone gear -- like an expensive and complicated private branch exchange -- that was paid for, installed and continually updated. The rise of UC has replaced that burden.
Many Small Businesses Take DIY Path to Mobile Apps
April 4, 2018
Nearly half of all the small businesses that participated in a recent survey said they handled their mobile application development in house, in part to cut costs and speed time to deployment. Forty-six percent used in-house staff to develop critical mobile applications in an effort to drive new business. Forty-one percent used freelancers or consultants to develop mobile apps.
4 Ways SMB Etailers Can Manage Facebook Fears
April 3, 2018
Many SMBs, especially etailers, conduct a substantial amount of their business on Facebook. Eighty percent of U.S. businesses with 250 employees or less use Facebook for marketing, suggest results of a G2 Crowd survey eMarketer cited in a report released last month. Seventy-one percent of 351 U.S. businesses with 500 employees or less used social media, a Clutch survey found.
Trump Rails at Amazon Over Taxes, USPS, Local Retail
March 30, 2018
President Trump fired off a tweet critical of Amazon, implying that the administration may be mulling some type of regulatory action. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is also the owner of The Washington Post, one of the top newspapers in the U.S. and a major thorn in the president's side. Trump recently has been "obsessing" over the company and exploring different regulatory possibilities, according to reports.
How to Safeguard Your Firm's Online Reputation
March 28, 2018
When it comes to business, you're only as good as your reputation. Indeed, your reputation is your brand. It is the substance your logo represents; it is the glue in customer brand loyalty. In a word, reputation is everything. Yet it's not entirely under your control. That doesn't mean you are helpless as a victim of false accusations, ratings, or wrongful attacks on your company's character, however.
5 Steps to a Painless Checkout Process
March 21, 2018
Checking out is the heart and soul of the e-commerce experience. When it goes well, you've got happy customers who are likely to return. "Checkout is not only key to driving revenue -- it's key to user satisfaction, order size and retention," said Zephrin Lasker, head of ecommerce at Viber. "A good process can allow for optimal conversion, data collection and speed."
Salesforce Offers SMBs a Bunch of Essentials
March 16, 2018
Salesforce has launched Salesforce Essentials, a collection of intelligent apps targeting SMBs. Built on the Salesforce Lightning framework, Essentials offers a consumer-like experience optimized for any device. Relevant information is displayed on one unified console, with drag-and-drop customization. "Essentials is easy to try, set up, use and maintain," said Salesforce SVP Marie Rosecrans.
Pega Enlists AI to Coach Sales Teams
March 8, 2018
Pegasystems has launched Pega Sales Coach, an AI-powered addition to Pega Sales Automation. Pega Sales Automation targets business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies. It can benefit firms with 100 employees as well as Fortune 500 enterprises with revenues of US$500 million and up, according to Chris Benedetto, Pega's director of product marketing for sales automation.
5 Podcast Pluses for E-Commerce SMBs
February 28, 2018
Podcasting is one of the hottest media trends. Almost everyone, it seems, has a podcast these days. Should e-commerce business owners jump on this bandwagon? Can podcasting really boost the bottom line? If you do decide to make a podcast, do your best to make it exceptional. That means having good audio quality, excellent content, a unique voice, and a strong sense of audience and purpose.
AdRoll Creates New Division to Target B2B Marketers
February 28, 2018
AdRoll has announced RollWorks, a new division that will provide business-to-business marketers with highly targeted, personalized marketing at scale across multiple channels and devices. The result of a corporate restructuring, RollWorks will focus specifically on B2B marketing, while the AdRoll business unit will focus on the company's legacy products for e-commerce SMBs.
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