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Where Blockchain Tech Offers the Most Promise
March 7, 2018
"Blockchain" is on everyone's lips in the tech industry, with vendors pushing it for everything from banking and finance to retail and apparel. "We're going to continue to see tech vendors trying to push blockchain as the solution to problems that may exist," said Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research. However, it may not be "a privacy-effective or cost-effective solution."
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.
5 Effective Ways SMB Etailers Can Battle Fraud
February 26, 2018
Fraud is a major concern for 72 percent of businesses, according to Experian's Global Fraud and Identity Report. More than 5,500 consumers and 500 business executives in 11 markets around the world participated in the survey. The situation has not been improving, as six out of 10 businesses experienced the same losses to fraud as they did a year ago -- or more.
3 Cybersecurity Threats SMB Etailers Should Not Ignore
February 16, 2018
Some small e-commerce website operators may think their relative obscurity offers protection, but the fact is that SMBs are especially vulnerable to cyberattacks and malware. "Very often small businesses don't feel vulnerable to cyberthreats because they assume cybercriminals prefer to launch attacks on large companies," said Stephanie Weagle, VP of Corero.
With 4K HDR, Olympics May Be More Colorful Than Ever
February 8, 2018
The parade of Olympic athletes entering Pyeongchang could be quite colorful for a few reasons. Athletes from North and South Korea will enter together for the first time in more than a decade, and viewers at home will be able to see the ceremony and some events like never before. NBCUniversal has decided to make the XXIII Olympic Winter games available to cable and satellite partners in 4K HDR.
Will 2018 Be the Year of Reckoning for Online Tax Collection?
February 6, 2018
The United States Supreme Court recently decided to revisit Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, which basically allowed states to collect taxes on online sales only from sellers that had a physical presence within their boundaries. Brick-and-mortar retailers for years have argued that the ruling puts them at a competitive disadvantage. At least 35 states have been urging a reconsideration of Quill.
3 Reasons Your E-Commerce Biz Should Have a Blog
February 5, 2018
Blogging might seem a difficult task to many e-commerce retailers, but the effort you put into it likely will pay off. With some forethought and commitment, blogging can become part of your overall strategy for e-commerce success. If you're still on the fence, here are three reasons to consider getting started with a blog. First, it will improve your SEO.
Open Source Software Turns 20-Something
February 3, 2018
Saturday marks the 20th Anniversary of open source, sort of. Open source led to a new software development and distribution model that offered an alternative to proprietary software. No single event takes the prize for starting the technology revolution. However, Feb. 3, 1998, is one of the more significant dates. On that day, Christine Peterson, a futurist and lecturer in the field of nanotechnology, coined the "open source" term.
Winning Tactics for Marketing in the Micro-Moment
January 10, 2018
Google believes that all the important consumer buying decisions happen in a brief flash of time. Understanding and responding to customer needs in those all-important, tiny moments is key to successful marketing, the company says. Specifically, they are the exact moments when people turn to a device because they want one or more of four things: to know, do, go or buy. Google has built a new marketing model around "micro-moments."
7 Tips for Powerful Product Photos
January 9, 2018
Product photos are a vital part of e-commerce. Because they provide the central connection between customers and products, photos can make or break an e-commerce business. "You can have a great looking website and user interface, but if you don't have great product photos it is like driving a Mercedes with a flat," said Sam Werkmeister, CEO of ProductPhoto.com.
E-Commerce Trends in 2018: Voice, Subscriptions, Personalization
January 4, 2018
The mushrooming popularity of smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home will fuel e-commerce in the coming year. "You're going to have a whole new frontier of commerce space driven through voice and brand recognition," said Michael Levine, marketing vice president at Photon. "It's going to be a different type of playing field for these brands.
Tech to Watch in 2018: Cryptocurrency, AI, Wearables
January 2, 2018
Guesswork is often involved in predicting the "next big thing" -- but with CES just a week away, the future is almost now. The annual trade show, as well as other industry events following one after another -- including ITExpo, Gitex and Mobile World Congress -- means there will be no shortage of product announcements, technology unveilings, and proclamations about the tech of the future.
Big Players Scored in the E-Commerce Battles of 2017
January 2, 2018
Moves that allowed major e-commerce players to jockey for position both off and on the Internet made headlines in 2017. "The year was a triumph for market leaders," said Mike Comstock, a senior adviser at GrandCanals. "Leading companies like Amazon, Target and Walmart just got stronger, as they have the resources to either build or buy whatever they need to win."
6 Ways to Boost Your Mobile Commerce Performance
December 30, 2017
One thing the latest holiday sales season made crystal clear is that mobile commerce is on the rise. On Cyber Monday, mobile shopping totaled 47.4 percent of visits to retailers' websites, according to Adobe. However, etailers could do much more to milk the mobile shopping cow. "Traditional mobile sites aren't designed for the way people want to discover new products," said Qubit CEO Graham Cooke.
2017 in Tech: The Year of Foreshadowing Big Things to Come
December 29, 2017
2017 may be the year that developments in the tech world truly were overshadowed by other world events: deepening divisions in the United States and the looming threat of war with North Korea; numerous sexual misconduct scandals; terrorist attacks in Europe; and another royal wedding. With all of that going on, it would be easy to overlook Apple's latest iPhone or Nintendo's comeback.
5 Ways Etailers Can Fight Chargeback Fraud
December 26, 2017
This holiday selling season may have been a good one for retailers, but every silver lining has a cloud. One shadow will be cast by chargeback fraud, which can occur when shoppers make purchases with a credit card and then request chargebacks from the issuing bank instead of from the merchant. "Merchants bleed $227 for every dollar lost to e-commerce fraud," said NuData's Robert Capps.
6 Ways SMBs Can Meet Online Shoppers' High Shipping Expectations
December 22, 2017
For many online shoppers, shipping has become a pivotal issue, and one of the worst things an etailer can do is allow a shipment to be late. On-time arrival is such a high expectation that many shoppers find late delivery worse than other notoriously disagreeable things, a recent DHL survey of 1,400-plus online shoppers suggests. Also, consumers want shipping to be free.
3 Ways to Buff Up Your Website and Do More Business
December 4, 2017
Let's face it: Your website is central to your e-commerce business. Upgrading your website is one of the most important things you can do to bring in new customers and sell more products. Sometimes, though, it's difficult to know exactly how to improve your site. To help you out with that dilemma, here are three ways to refresh your website and boost your business without breaking the bank.
5 Ways Etailers Can Make Online Shoppers Feel Safe
November 8, 2017
At least 145 million Americans were impacted by a data breach at Equifax that netted thieves personal information such as names, addresses, birthdates, Social Security Numbers and driver's license numbers. That pales in comparison to the earlier Yahoo breaches, which affected more than 1 billion accounts. However, those incidents may be just the tip of a very large iceberg.
5 Innovative Ways to Inspire Customer Loyalty
November 6, 2017
Getting customers -- and keeping them -- is the name of the game in e-commerce. "The e-commerce market is crowded and noisy, and brands need to do everything they can to differentiate themselves from the pack," said Eric Hansen, CTO of SiteSpect. "Loyalty programs do just that, giving a brand the edge they need to stay a step ahead of their competitors."
6 Ways E-Commerce SMBs Can Offer Great Customer Service on a Tight Budget
November 1, 2017
Keeping customers satisfied is the No. 1 priority of any retail business. Technological advances such as interactive voice response systems, chatbots, omnichannel accessibility and robotics have helped many large e-commerce companies improve customer satisfaction rates. However, these options require financial and manpower resources that small and mid-sized firms often don't have.
With Gamification, CRM Is a Brand New Ball Game
October 27, 2017
Advances in technology -- including speech analytics, metrics, a wider array of scrabble data, and perhaps even big data -- are making gamification a must-have tool in customer relationship management, call centers, collections, sales and other business areas. Technological advances have enabled the design of games that offer employees incentives to make customers happy.
7 Tips for Highly Effective Content Marketing
October 23, 2017
Content marketing, which bridges the divide between marketing and storytelling, is vital to attracting and keeping e-commerce customers. "Content marketing is the practice of sharing information your target audience will find helpful and valuable with the intention of creating a profitable customer relationship," said Ardath Albee, CEO of Marketing Interactions.
Report Probes Social Media's Threat to Democracy
October 13, 2017
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube may pose a threat to American democracy, suggests a new report from The Omidyar Group. The report follows recent disclosures about targeted dark post advertising, fake news and other abuses propagated by Russian troll farms during the 2016 election. Among the questions the report raises is whether the U.S. government may need to step in.
3 Timely E-Commerce Shipping Tips
October 4, 2017
Shipping has become a key part of e-commerce success. Amazon has raised consumer expectations dramatically when it comes to shipping, and etailers have been scrambling to keep up. Because changes occur on a near-daily basis in the shipping world, here are some tips for getting ahead of the game. The faster you can get your goods out the door and into your customers' hands, the better.
Is Packaged Entertainment Media Really on the Way Out?
September 19, 2017
As home video viewing patterns continue to evolve, one common prediction is that packaged media is on its last legs. Streaming services have been gaining market share. In fact, streaming media sales eclipsed sales of DVDs and Blu-ray discs for the first time in Q4 2016 -- with discs accounting for $5.4 billion in annual U.S. sales compared to the $6.2 billion haul for SVOD providers.
5 Ways to Use Snapchat to Target Millennials
September 18, 2017
Once just a hangout for teenagers, Snapchat has matured into an engaging and effective social media platform. If you're trying to reach a younger demographic, it's somewhere you probably want to be. "Snapchat is the best channel to reach young people, as they count for more than two-thirds of its audience and are very active users," said Melissa Sanchot, head of marketing at MakeMeReach.
The Smart Home Appliance and You
August 22, 2017
The recent rumor that iRobot had engaged in talks with Apple, Amazon and Google parent Alphabet to sell the data its Roomba vacuum cleaner gathers caused widespread privacy concerns. Roomba maps homes -- the spatial dimensions of rooms and distances between furniture and other objects -- and the data it collects would be valuable to any of the major players battling to control the smart home.
It's a Whole New World With Alexa
August 7, 2017
Voice computing is replacing the graphical user interface, Shawn DuBravac, chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association, said early this year at CES. Digital assistants will be integrated into many household objects, he noted. About 5 million voice-activated digital voice products had been sold as of January, and Bravac estimated 5 million more would be sold this year.
Trump's Plan to Make Government IT Great
July 19, 2017
The American Technology Council, which President Donald Trump established this spring by executive order, has four years to rebuild the federal government's information technology structure. A massive reboot of both hardware and software will be necessary to bring government computers up to modern standards. The effort will force many government agencies to shift years of floppy disk and other outdated storage technologies to the cloud.
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What should be done about UFOs?
World governments should cooperate to address a potential planetary threat.
The DoD should investigate -- they could signal a hostile nation's tech advances.
The government should reveal what it already knows.
The government probably has good reasons for secrecy and should be trusted on this.
Wealthy corporate space-age visionaries should take the lead.
Nothing. Studying UFOs is a waste of resources.
Keep the stories coming. People love conspiracy theories, and it's fun to speculate.