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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.
How I Grew My E-Commerce Business From 0-$100K in Less Than 4 Months
October 5, 2018
Over the past 10 years, I've been a part of at least that many startups. The tools of the trade have changed rapidly, but the core elements of successful entrepreneurship remain relatively unchanged. When I first started out, "social media marketing" was a brand new concept. Now entrepreneurs have a slew of tools to amplify their brand and grow their e-commerce revenue.
6 Surefire Ways Etailers Can Boost Customer Loyalty
October 4, 2018
Given today's data and technological advancements, coupled with an abundance of choices for consumers, the importance of loyalty has never been greater. The marketing landscape has shifted as power has moved from sellers to buyers, and businesses have realized a heightened need for customer loyalty. Market fragmentation has dramatically increased competition, magnifying the need for loyalty.
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.
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