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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.
Petya's Ransomware Cloaking Device
July 11, 2017
Recent ransomware threats have escalated into a global crisis, and cybersecurity experts and government authorities have redoubled their investigative efforts. Of grave concern is the possibility that the recent Petya attack had more sinister motives than typical ransomware operations, and that state actors were involved behind the scenes. The Petya attack actually used ransomware as a cover.
Art, History and 3D Printing
June 15, 2017
The Tech Museum of Innovation last month debuted an exhibit that includes numerous installations with an interactive component. Visitors can don Occulus VR headsets to appreciate classical works of art in virtual reality -- a completely new museum experience. There long has been a debate on what constitutes "art" -- and opinions have differed as to how music, film, radio and TV fit in.
Getting Serious About Teen Smartphone Addiction
May 24, 2017
Parents don't need a poll to tell them their teenagers are addicted to smartphones. After all, smartphones are a permanent fixture rather than accessories on the visages of kids of all ages these days. Even so, polls move these everyday observances from anecdotal to official problem when the numbers tilt in that direction -- and a Common Sense Media poll hit full tilt.
The Grim Upward Trajectory of Mobile Fraud Risks
May 1, 2017
More than 8,600 retail locations will shut down this year, following the 5,077 that closed last year, based on data from Credit Suisse. Moreover, 2017 could surpass 2008 -- the worst year for retail closures on record -- when 6,163 stores shut down operations. However, unlike 2008, when overall consumer spending declined with the onset of a global recession.
Traversing the Social Media Minefield
December 9, 2016
Many people expect celebrities and other prominent figures to have thicker skins than the average Jane or Joe. However -- as evidenced by the numbers of celebrities who've forsaken social media -- fame and fortune are not effective defenses against an all-out troll assault. While attacks on private individuals can be more personal and more targeted, they're typically much less numerous.
China's Business-Unfriendly Cybersecurity Stance
November 30, 2016
China's parliament earlier this month passed a law aimed at addressing the country's concerns about hacking and terrorism, which has spiked concerns among foreign businesses and human rights advocates. One interpretation of the new law is that it only codifies China's existing cybersecurity practices. However, 46 global business groups across a variety of industries didn't see it that way.
Conspiracy Theories in the Information Age, Part 2
November 15, 2016
In the past, heightened rhetoric and propaganda were the tools of choice for those looking to convince an electorate to vote them into office, and conspiracy theories were their bane. This election season has seen the rise of a new form of persuasion, one that's unique to the Information Age. For months, WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange had promised to rain bombshells.
Conspiracy Theories in the Information Age, Part 1
October 28, 2016
One of the most volatile conspiracy theories in recent times ended with a whimper last month, when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made the terse statement, "President Barack Obama was born in the U.S. Period." Though birthers may be with us always, it seems many have turned their attention to other potentially scandalous topics -- and they need look no further than the Internet.
Tech on TV: A Little Realism Goes a Long Way
October 27, 2016
Watching TV shows often requires the suspension of disbelief -- that is, a willingness to press pause on one's critical faculties in order to believe the unbelievable. Realism often must be secondary to story, in other words. This very often is necessary when computers are used to advance plot lines, when programmers and hackers alike can produce tremendous results in seconds.
Surviving the Internet's Troll Apocalypse
September 29, 2016
Social media has sharpened humans' age-old appetite for public shaming, providing a stage and unlimited seating for an endless stream of immorality plays. Those who share even the simplest identifying details about themselves are vulnerable to being pushed into the glare of the spotlight. Anonymity frees many individuals of the consequences they might face offline for being abusive to others.
The Internet's Shameful Role in Propagating Body Shaming
September 21, 2016
A problem once associated mainly with school playgrounds often follows people into adulthood, and the anonymity of the Internet has aided its proliferation. People have been shamed for being overweight, underweight, too conservative, too revealing, too young, too old, too plastic or too real. Bullying and harassment are very real problems not only for children, but also for countless adults.
25 Years of Linux: What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been
August 25, 2016
Happy Birthday Linux! You're 25! When Linux was born on Aug. 25, 1991, it was little more than a hobby for 21-year old Linus Torvald. Today the Linux community is estimated to be upwards of 86 million users strong. It has become the backbone of large enterprises, and it is installed in government systems and embedded in devices worldwide. It has grown into a major mainstream computing platform.
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What do you see as the biggest obstacle to mainstream adoption of video calling?
Too many steps are required to reach a contact.
Video quality is often poor -- dropped calls, frozen images.
There's no advantage to face-to-face communication in most cases.
Too many people feel uncomfortable on live cameras.
There are too many security and privacy issues.
The trend is away from personal engagement and toward texting.
The obstacles are fading, and video calling is well on its way to adoption.
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