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Crafting an Online Strategy, Part 4: Homegrown Marketing
April 27, 2016
As a maker in an e-commerce world, you have to get the word out about what you're creating. Whether you're crafting candles or jewelry, marketing leads to sales. It's one thing to set up a booth at a craft fair and meet customers face to face, but it's another thing entirely to market online. Becoming comfortable with digital marketing techniques needs to be one of your primary priorities.
Taking DIY to the Next Level
April 26, 2016
While hobbyists, inventors and innovators have been experimenting and producing a variety of do-it-yourself projects, their world is expected to undergo a hard shift as DIY moves to the next level. 3D printing is the cornerstone of the coming shift, and its effect on our daily lives will be multiplied by several converging forces: the collaborative economy, the jobless economy and personalization.
Unicorn Herd Threatens Silicon Valley, Warns VC
April 23, 2016
The age of Unicorn investing has led to alarming overvaluations of startups that could result in an afterparty roll call not seen since 1999, Silicon Valley VC Bill Gurley warned Thursday. Gurley, a general partner at Benchmark, raised a red flag over the large number of tech startups valued at more than $1 billion, and suggested that the rise of Unicorn fundraising has put the financial health of the industry at risk.
Crafting an Online Strategy, Part 3: How to Get Paid for Your Wares
April 21, 2016
If you're just starting to sell your crafts or other handmade items online, one of the first decisions you'll need to make is how to accept customer payments. There are a variety of choices for payment processing, and many crafters use several. The methods you choose will depend on the needs of your business and your customers. One of the most common payment methods for small businesses is PayPal.
Crafting an Online Strategy, Part 2: Where to Sell What You Make
April 14, 2016
You're making soap or jewelry or handcrafted leather bags, and you want to sell them online. Where do you go? What spaces work best? How do you decide where to sell your wares? It's important to choose the right selling spaces for your products and business strategy. Selling on your own site lets you control how your products are represented, while third-party sites offer a network of customers.
Crafting an Online Strategy, Part 1: Which Wares Should You Sell?
April 7, 2016
If you like to make soaps, candles, pendants, pouches or any other crafts, you might be thinking of riding the wave of craftspeople who sell their wares online. Digital marketplaces are opening a wealth of opportunities for makers. Once you've decided to stake your claim in the world of online handicraft sales, however, what's the best way to determine what to make and sell? Here are some tips.
CPQ's Challenge
March 31, 2016
Virtually every CPQ -- configuration, price and quote -- software vendor on the planet has a credible solution for the processes from which the category gets its name. That's the good news. Unfortunately, the world has moved on. Most CPQ is effective for helping promote transactions, especially the sales transaction, in which a buyer or buying entity makes a one-time purchase of a bill of goods.
GoDaddy Offers Small Businesses a Place in the Cloud
March 23, 2016
GoDaddy on Monday launched a pay-as-you-go cloud platform along with applications powered by Bitnami. The tools, Cloud Servers and Cloud Applications, are designed to help small businesses -- individual devs, tech entrepreneurs and IT professionals -- quickly build, test and scale cloud solutions. Provisioning takes 54 seconds or less, GoDaddy said.
Mining the Customer Base
February 24, 2016
One of the biases inherent in CRM is its orientation toward new business. This might sound strange to most people, but really, I think of it as the startup echo chamber. It's a bias in part because CRM was invented by new companies for new companies. However, the "C" part, customer, involves more than simply acquiring new ones, especially for established companies.
Hats Off to Chapeau Linux's Better Fedora Concept
January 4, 2016
The Chapeau project's latest version arrived last month and is a good choice for enterprise users who want something a step above the traditional Fedora distro. An iconic Linux distro, Fedora is a very popular choice in enterprise shops, but it's less than ideal for home and SMB use without an IT staff to make it work. That is where Chapeau 23 comes to the rescue.
Surprise Success: What to Do When Sales Go Through the Roof
December 22, 2015
Success is a good thing. Sometimes, however, surges in orders and sales cause headaches for e-commerce companies. The key is to expect the unexpected. Planning ahead can help ensure that sales spikes are handled as smoothly as possible. "It's never too early to start planning for growth," said Marg Hyland, founder of Pegeen. "You need to be prepared."
Sage Live Launches on Salesforce AppExchange
December 11, 2015
Sage Software on Wednesday announced that it has launched Sage Live on the Salesforce AppExchange marketplace. Sage Live, built on the Salesforce AppCloud, gives small businesses real-time data connecting CRM, accounting and financial data, and can scale with a business. It works with thousands of third-party apps through real-time integrations and APIs so it can be completely customized, the company said.
End of Year Goodies
December 8, 2015
The end of the year brings out some interesting goodies from various workshops competing with Santa for big kids' attention. Some of it is pretty good stuff. Here's a sampling of the best end-of-year product announcements from the cloud community designed to put you in the post-holiday, already-back-at-work spirit. For starters, cloud sales compensation firm Xactly announced Xactly Inspire.
Going Big: Preparing to Grow Your E-Commerce Startup
December 8, 2015
Though startups start small, if all goes well, they eventually will experience growth. It's vital, therefore, for entrepreneurs to plan for this growth. Yet what does it mean to prepare for growth? We talked to some experts, who offered tips for making your way down the yellow brick road to success. The first thing many e-business owners emphasize is that success isn't measured just by profits.
5 Customer Relationship Objectives for the Growing Biz
December 7, 2015
The amount of effort spent on talking and thinking about the best ways to connect with customers truly is incredible. The amount of ink spilled -- real and virtual -- the number of conferences held, and the dollars spent on efforts and expertise are vast. The irony is that businesses often start out with a natural ability to behave in a customer-centric way.
How to Go Viral: E-Commerce Marketing Strategies
December 1, 2015
Once you've started your e-commerce business, one of the first steps toward success is to get the word out about your products. With all the different social media and other platforms available, however, effective marketing is more complex than ever. It's important to have a balanced and far-reaching strategy -- one that's just as focused on reaching long-term goals as it is on going viral.
Report: Botnets Help Bump Cyberattack Attempts by 20 Percent
November 17, 2015
ThreatMetrix last week reported that it had detected and prevented more than 90 million attempted cyberattacks in real time across industries from July to September. The attempted attacks covered fraudulent online payments, logins and new account registrations, and represented a 20 percent increase over the previous quarter, according to ThreatMetrix Cybercrime Report: Q3 2015.
Desk.com-SalesforceIQ Integration Targets SMBs
November 12, 2015
Salesforce on Thursday announced the integration of Desk.com and SalesforceIQ to better let SMBs tie customer service with sales. Desk.com an all-in-one customer service app. SalesforceIQ for Small Business is a sales solution whose relationship intelligence feature captures, analyzes and brings forth relevant customer relationship information from email, calendars and other applications.
Channel Choosing: Where and How to Sell Online
November 10, 2015
Selling products online requires answering one basic question: where? Beyond traditional business websites, entrepreneurs have a cornucopia of choices, including Etsy, Amazon, eBay and Facebook. Making use of these alternatives can be a vital part of a business' sales strategy. Choosing where to sell products online requires evaluating the fit between channel and product.
Starting a Startup: Tips for Budding E-Commerce Entrepreneurs
October 26, 2015
So you're thinking of starting an e-commerce business. It's an exciting prospect, but it can be daunting. How do you even begin? How can you ensure that your startup gets past being a startup? It's important to understand one thing about e-commerce: Just because it's online doesn't mean it's easy. With that in mind, here are a few tips to get you going with your enterprise.
Salesforce Investors Applaud European Startup Plans
October 15, 2015
Shares of Salesforce were up Thursday as it gained momentum from investors cheering on its plans to invest $100 million into European startup firms. The company on Tuesday announced that its Salesforce Ventures unit had allocated $100 million to fund startups in the European market and improve customer service in the region. Salesforce already has partnerships with a number of European firms.
Amazon Casts Its Net on the Internet of Things
October 9, 2015
Amazon on Thursday leapt into the Internet of Things market with the announcement of its AWS IoT platform. AWS IoT lets devices -- ranging from cars and turbines to sensor grids and light bulbs -- connect to services from Amazon Web Services. That in turn allows companies to store, process, analyze and act on the mountains of data generated by connected devices.
Bogies Spotted: Jet Ventures Into Amazon's Airspace
July 22, 2015
Amazon has been in its prime for quite some time, but there's a new show in town, and it claims that its prices are lower. Online merchant Jet opened its inventory of millions of products to consumers on Tuesday. While Amazon's Prime subscription service offers consumers extra perks for $99 a year, Jet requires payment of a $50 annual membership fee to make purchases.
Leverage Big Data to Get Rid of Network Attackers
July 21, 2015
Up to 30 percent of their firms' security incidents this year should have been detected by perimeter security measures -- but weren't -- said 55 percent of respondents to a SANS Institute survey. The truth is that today's attackers have become skilled at bypassing conventional defenses, which no longer can be counted on to protect enterprise networks on their own.
The Art of E-Commerce Site Search
July 6, 2015
Providing an effortless shopping experience is a key driver to the success of any e-commerce business. E-commerce search is a big factor in this experience and when done right can provide a significant competitive advantage. An effective on-site search experience leads to higher sales and increased customer loyalty. A substandard search experience can lead to the permanent loss of a customer.
Google Takes It to the Streets
June 18, 2015
Google last week announced the formation of a new company that will develop technology to improve city life for residents, businesses and governments. Google has teamed up with Dan Doctoroff -- former Bloomberg CEO and ex-deputy mayor of economic development and rebuilding for the City of New York -- to advance the effort. Doctoroff will be CEO of Sidewalk Labs, which will be based in New York.
Sage and Salesforce Tie Partnership Knot
May 13, 2015
Sage and Salesforce put on a lovefest on Tuesday to announce their partnership, in which Sage has developed Sage Life, a product to enable small companies to connect their customer, accounting, payroll and finance data into one system, accessible from any device, anywhere. It's unclear whether the customer data is held in Salesforce's traditional CRM or if it refers more broadly to ERP data.
Sage and Salesforce: An Odd Couple?
April 15, 2015
It came as a surprise when Keith Block, vice chairman of Salesforce, made an off-the-cuff remark about a Sage-Salesforce alliance at Salesforce World Tour last week. Sage and Salesforce in February had announced they would work together, with Sage moving some of its undisclosed ERP applications to the Salesforce Cloud. However, the word didn't seem to spread, and it remained off my radar.
T-Mobile Sows Seeds of Discontent in SMB Arena
March 23, 2015
Following a sterling Q4 in which it added 2.1 million individual customers, T-Mobile last week announced it was going after competitors with its "Un-carrier for Business" plan. By offering one flexible rate plan, T-Mobile vowed to put an end to the pricing shell game and compulsory haggling businesses currently experience. T-Mobile's Simple Choice for Business plans have a 10-line minimum.
Importance of a System
March 18, 2015
I was telling a friend recently about some of the ideas in my book, Solve for the Customer. He was interested in my belief that customer science has evolved from a general emphasis on process in business, especially in the back office. His company does a lot to ensure that its customers are happy and loyal, because their business involves long-term relationships and agreements that renew for many years at a time.
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What best reflects your opinion on online privacy?
We need new laws to curb government spying.
It's dead -- Google, Facebook and others killed it.
Personalized advertising is the worst -- it's creepy.
It's achievable through encryption and other tech.
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