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The Pandemic's Effect on Gift Giving: Is Your E-Commerce Business Ready?
October 23, 2020
For all the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has affected our online shopping behavior in 2020, add to the list: holiday gift giving. As e-commerce retailers, we should prepare for a surge in online gift purchases and also an increase in gifts delivered directly to the recipient. Here are ten ideas that e-tailers can use to rethink the gift-giving experience this holiday season.
Rural America Is the Next E-Commerce Frontier
October 21, 2020
E-commerce is not yet every rural community's Holy Grail for shopping. Many local rural retailers are strangers to e-commerce, and the home delivery routine for rural customers is often very different from the opportunities enjoyed by suburban and city consumers. If stores in rural America want to keep customers happy and healthy, transitioning to e-commerce is key.
The Strive to Survive a COVID-19 Holiday Shopping Season
October 19, 2020
The upcoming holiday season is looking much different than anyone would have suspected this time last year. Forget about the customary long lines to buy gifts for loved ones and friends this year -- if you can even find a store that is open. All of these changes make it critical for marketers to adapt in an effort to recover lost sales and attract new customers.
The 2020 Holiday Shopping Season Will Set Long-Term Precedents
October 6, 2020
The restrictions forcing people to work and shop from the confines of their homes accelerated an already advancing e-commerce market that was years in development. As a result, the pandemic has created a case study for e-commerce and retail of the 21st century. Moving forward, this holiday shopping season will likely witness one of the next major shifts toward a different future in retail.
Controversial Plan Urges DoD to Recruit Tech Pros to WFH
October 2, 2020
The United States Defense Innovation Board has recommended that the Pentagon hire civilians to work from home who can handle classified information as a way of attracting people with technology expertise. The individuals sought "will have technical degrees and/or highly specialized skills in digital technologies and innovation needed across the U.S. Department of Defense," which is undergoing digital transformation.
The Risks and Consequences of Lax Patch Management
September 29, 2020
Earlier this month, a woman with a life-threatening condition passed away after hackers crashed the IT systems of a major hospital in the city of Dusseldorf. Incidents like this raise the question of why corporations do not patch vulnerabilities as soon as software manufacturers issue a fix.
New Service Relays Customer Texts to In-Store Phone Lines
September 29, 2020
Curbside pickup has become a necessary option to offer customers since the onslaught of COVID-19. In fact, some shoppers will not consider doing business with a retailer or restaurant that does not offer curbside service. The TextMeAnywhere solution helps make the associated logistics to service curbside easier to execute for small businesses.
Cybersecurity Conundrum: Who's Responsible for Securing IoT Networks?
September 24, 2020
Surely spurred by the work-from-home necessities of 2020, people have connected a multitude of non-business devices to their corporate networks, making it progressively difficult to implement cybersecurity because every device is a potential weak point. So, who will ultimately be responsible for cybersecurity of an IoT network?
Hucksters Rake In $500K With Android, iOS Adware Scam Apps
September 23, 2020
Seven scamware apps found in Google Play and Apple's App Store corralled more than half a million dollars for their developers, according to Avast. The company discovered the malicious apps after a 12-year-old girl flagged a suspicious app promoted on a TikTok profile through its "Be Safe Online" project.
The Ease and Risk of Buy Now Pay Later Plans
September 22, 2020
Buy now pay later, or "BNPL" services are growing in popularity during the pandemic as they enable consumers to pay for purchases over a short time with no interest and a small starting payment. However, money experts urge caution. Similar to credit cards, BNPL services can negatively impact credit scores and land people in debt or collections if not used properly.
7 Steps to Restoring Trust in Business Telephone Calls
September 18, 2020
Robocalls, spam and call spoofing have all but destroyed Americans' trust in telephone calls -- to the point that many individuals have essentially stopped answering the phone. Here are seven steps that organizations can take to combat erroneous call blocking and increase answer rates. These measures will help businesses optimize contact operations, increase call performance, and protect and promote their brands by restoring trust in calls.
How to Protect Mobile Apps Against Sneaker Bots
September 16, 2020
Automated purchasing bots, also known as "sneaker bots," "click bots," "Instacart bots" and other names, are ruining the online shopping and gig economy experience for both consumers and workers. These bots can cause considerable damage to a mobile business' reputation and bottom line. There are a number of measures that e-tailers should take a to protect their mobile apps from sneaker bots.
A Unique Moment in Time for E-Commerce
September 14, 2020
E-commerce is experiencing rapid growth with no sign of slowing down. Retailers and brands are finding that the new normal in retail and e-tail marketing is much like trying to hit a moving target. They have to take a refined aim and build in some lead time. This marketing strategy requires businesses to adjust their digital infrastructure and tactics. Otherwise, they will miss the target as consumers prepare for their holiday marketing and ad campaigns.
How to Tailor an Optimal Q4 Retail Strategy
September 10, 2020
This year, with all of the uncertainty surrounding the global pandemic, many consumer markets are faced with the fear of steep declines of in-person shopping, thus leading to a potential downtick in sales. This may seem daunting, but it should also serve as ample inspiration to develop a Q4 retail strategy well in advance. Here are a few of the top strategies to adopt as we look ahead to this year's holiday shopping season.
The Perils of IT Security Hubris
September 10, 2020
Corporate cybersecurity has been increasingly compromised since organizations began implementing work-from-home policies in March as the pandemic continued its spread. In addition to the risks created by increased stress on personnel and depleted staff, IT leaders might be overconfident about the cybersecurity protocols and procedures they have in place.
Tech's Role in the Future of Restaurants
September 9, 2020
While changes in the restaurant industry have been in response to what is hoped to be a temporary crisis, it's likely that dining establishments will never again operate exactly as they did before coronavirus. Along with altering their physical designs to accommodate the demands of the pandemic, eateries must also turn to new models for order taking, making deliveries, and payment processing.
Google's New Phone App Feature ID's Legit Business Calls
September 9, 2020
Google has taken a step toward controlling spam voice calls on Android devices with a new addition to its phone app. The "Verified Calls" feature will display a caller's name, logo, reason for calling and a verification symbol indicating a business has been verified by Google. The service will initially roll out in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Spain and India, with more countries to follow.
Consumers Buying In to Digital Wallets
September 4, 2020
The recent rise in digital wallet adoption shows a marked contrast with slow growth in digital wallet use in the U.S. prior to the pandemic. As more consumers become comfortable using digital wallets -- and possibly begin to prefer them -- it's not a stretch to conclude that many will embrace these shopping habits permanently, causing acceptance rates to continue to grow.
Holiday Shopping Forecast: Less Spending, More Empathy
August 24, 2020
The 2020 holiday shopping forecast and consumer spending patterns well into next year will be marked by a pullback in spending, an increase in consumer expectations for brand behavior, and a focus on supporting small businesses. Marketers are advised to focus on brand values and trustworthiness to combat the continuing challenges retailers face in courting consumers across all generations.
Summer Stats Show a Frenzy of Sales and a Flurry of Fraud
August 21, 2020
Despite the struggles the pandemic imposes on the economy, consumer activity gives both retailers and e-tailers hope for continued growth as the recovery persists. Though fraud continues to escalate as criminals take advantage of card-not-present payment methods, including buy online pick-up in store (BOPIS), or click-and-collect.
Retailers to Consumers: Let's Get 'Phygital'
August 20, 2020
The pandemic has exposed one fundamental, seemingly contradictory reality: people like to shop online, but they also crave in-person experiences. This era has also made clear that there's an answer to this conundrum: to provide shopping experiences that combine both physical and digital elements. Also known as "phygital" experiences, these strive to give customers the best of both the online and in-person worlds.
Amazon Eyeing Mall Anchor Stores as Fulfillment Centers
August 19, 2020
Amazon is huddling with the largest mall owner in the United States to turn anchor stores into fulfillment centers, and possibly retail outlets. The deal with Simons Property Group would give Amazon access to space formerly occupied by Sears and J.C. Penney, both of which have filed for bankruptcy.
In-Store Commerce Kicked to the Curb
August 13, 2020
Curbside service is one of the more popular strategies that businesses and consumers now use to navigate the 'new normal'. Ideally, it's a contactless, convenient experience for all involved. For curbside pickup to be successful, however, it needs to be as quick and easy as possible for consumers -- and a large part of that ease of use requires adequate business planning and management.
California's Early Warning Quake Alerts to Be Standard on Android Phones
August 12, 2020
Earthquake alerts are being incorporated into Android, Google's mobile operating system. The feature will be included in a refresh of Google Mobile Services, so a full operating system upgrade won't be necessary. That means the new addition will be available to most Android users -- except those in China, which doesn't use GMS.
Automated CX Strategies to Revitalize Customer Relations
August 11, 2020
If the ongoing struggles amid the pandemic have taught retailers anything, it is the need to automate their customer service experience. Customer experience automation is making the difference between hanging on until closing down and ensuring more returning customers.
Google's E-Commerce Push to Fill the 'Messy Middle'
July 31, 2020
Google's domination of the online ad market appears to have stalled since Amazon last year became the third-largest digital ad platform in the U.S. behind the Google-Facebook duopoly. This may have driven Google to accelerate its push into e-commerce, focusing on what it calls the "messy middle" -- the space in the customer journey between what triggers the purchase and the actual purchase itself.
Digital Sales Boom Puts Spotlight on Fraud Control Systems
July 30, 2020
The move by retailers to online and mobile selling to survive the pandemic has resulted in a significant increase in digital fraud activity. The "2020 True Cost of Fraud Study: E-commerce/Retail Edition" by LexisNexis Risk Solutions found this to be partly because some fraud control systems are outdated, and partly because of increased transaction volume.
Amazon Gives Alexa App a Makeover
July 29, 2020
Amazon's Alexa mobile app has a new look. The company on Monday introduced an updated version of the app that aims to give users a more personalized experience and moves all third-party "skill" suggestions off the main screen. The app is being rolled out this month for iOS, Android and Fire devices, and should reach all users by the end of August.
New E-Commerce Partnership Gives U.S. Merchants Access to LATAM
July 16, 2020
ShipStation on Wednesday announced a partnership with Mercado Libre, which is known as the "Amazon of Latin America" and has operations in 18 countries throughout the region. Mercado Libre is the fourth largest marketplace in the world in terms of visits per month, and the largest in Latin America. Its top markets are Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico.
Samsung Reveals 6G Vision
July 15, 2020
Although many people haven't wrapped their minds around 5G mobile technology yet, Samsung has already started talking about 6G. In a report released Tuesday, the company reveals its 6G vision of the future, including technical and societal megatrends, new services, requirements, candidate technologies, and an expected timeline of standardization.
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How will the pandemic influence your holiday shopping habits this year?
I will shop online exclusively, for my own safety and to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.
I will do some shopping online, and some in-person because I want to support merchants in my area.
I will shop online definitely, and I will consider local retailers -- but only if they provide curbside service.
I will only shop in-person because the risks associated with e-commerce outweigh my chance of catching COVID-19.
I will not do any holiday shopping this year due to circumstances related to the pandemic.
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