Mar 31

What is Digital Marketing and Its Advantages?

The activities geared towards connecting with customers in a bid to pursue them into purchasing a product or services are what is commonly referred to as Marketing. It takes many forms and is a key element that every business must consider in order to survive. Effective marketing is not only what you see publicly it can also be a targeted approach to increase its impact on your endeavor. In a world, where the internet has allowed people from great distances to be connected in various media platforms in a fraction of a second, digital marketing has seen a great rise in its scope and relevance in the business realm. The importance of moving into your potential customers at the right place and time is paramount for modern methods of marketing, as you see plenty of online.

What is Digital Marketing?

There has been a shift of strategies when it comes to how businesses promote themselves. It used to be a mass approach wherein you get your message across to as much audience as possible. This is where billboards and televisions thrived on helping entities advertise themselves where the message is spread indiscriminately. In digital marketing, it is geared into a more targeted and personalized experience by the customer as businesses try to relate with them individually. This is made possible by the internet and the different social media platforms.

Digital Marketing uses electronic media to promote businesses, persons, products, and services. It primarily relies on the internet to deliver its material and content. We now see a lot of businesses that thrive online and depend greatly on online marketing to gain an edge over their competitors. Because people spend a lot of time online, web search results have become a battleground for businesses to position themselves at the top of the list when something relevant to them is keyed in. Google rankings and social media exposure are now an important aspect of reaching more customers and making businesses grow.

Advantages of Digital Marketing

1. Wide Audience Reach

An online presence can have a global audience as it can reach any place that has an internet connection. Online connectivity has made the entire world into a virtual village of a wide array of tradable goods and services. In order to promote your business effectively, developing a suitable campaign that caters to the different platforms online is important. This new environment of marketing has given startups a relatively even playing field against giant entities. Digital marketing also offers one more trait that helps it broaden its reach – shareability of content. Because it is easy to share your campaign ads across multiple platforms, it adds to the range that your campaign is going for. Creating a campaign that can reach customers in the far corners is one of the reasons for innumerable stories about why businesses succeed.

2. Customizable

Personalized and targeted marketing is the new trend today because digital content and media have made it possible. It is now easy to create a campaign that suits a certain group of prospects or audiences. Also, using data analytics you can refine your offers to certain customers based on their previous engagement with you through your website. This is why you see a lot of other offers in the ad space related to the previous items or searches you made. Having this ability makes it easy for businesses to cater to the needs and preferences of their prospects and improve the chances of conversion.

  1. Cost-Effective

Advertising and cost of marketing materials are some of the burdens that affect your margin and your price flexibility. Using digital materials is not only an affordable alternative but it has also proven to be cost-effective. With its wide range and its major influence on its audience, it has become the primary choice for many brands regardless of size. All you need is to have the right strategy in approaching a group of customers and you will have a greater impact at a far lesser cost. Also, e-commerce has made online transactions more convenient than ever before. It has made a lot of major aspects of the business to be done online and it further adds to the importance of promoting yourself in the digital community.

4. Measurability

Using analytics you can easily gauge how your campaign is performing. Unlike traditional methods, wherein you’ll have to wait before you can validate its effectiveness. The tools online can help you identify which campaigns are getting favorable responses from those that require some modifications. This will allow you to build on those that are working for you and improve on the ones that need it.

5. Improved Targeting

We already know that using modern marketing methods online, ads are presented to users based on their previous engagement. Unlike the spray and pray method of traditional marketers, marketing digitally involves data and algorithms that studies and collects the preferences of each user and presents the ads to them uniquely. This, however, does not stop there as you further break down a certain group of customers or cluster into categories that apply to you. An example will be if you’re selling shoes online and you have new arrivals of women’s shoes coming in, you’d want your database to collect female users and send them the ads of your new shoes. And if you have a promo specific to a region then you can send emails to those residing within that area.

  1. Branding

It has become common for not only startups, but for big companies as well to promote their brand online. The common theme is that they would like to engage with more people and potential customers every minute every day. This will keep them relevant and promotes their name to many users online. Having an effective strategy means you must engage customers in different platforms and media. This involves answering a question, helping with an issue, or correcting a misconception. These things combined with sales marketing will help the brand stay relevant and credible among the online community.

Having the right marketing strategy will help you grow your business. In these fast-paced times, it pays to be able to adapt to the changes and reach out to new potential markets and promote yourself and your business. Developing an effective digital marketing strategy can be your ticket to get your startup off the ground or take your existing business to the next level.

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Mar 30

The best social media platforms for small businesses

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You probably know social media is an important tool for growing your business, but there’s a good chance you might be a bit overwhelmed with the number of different platforms out there. Not to mention the learning curve involved in trying to master them all!

There’s no doubt the world of social media and internet marketing is a fast-changing landscape, but as the internet has begun to mature there are a handful of platforms that can definitely create results for the people who stay the course and try to master them. In this post, we’ll identify four of the big social behemoths, why they have the potential to create a lot of leverage when marketing your business, and which one might be the best for you to focus on.

Focusing on one when getting started is absolutely key here as well. Trying to learn too many different platforms at once is a sure-fire way to overload yourself with information and become paralyzed. That’s the last thing we want. We’ll show you the pros and cons of each platform and which one is most suited to your style and your business. Then it’s up to you to commit – because any one of these has the potential to transform your business in special ways.

  1. Google’s favourite son – YouTube

YouTube is thought of as a social media platform, but it’s also a very powerful search engine – so this aspect shouldn’t be overlooked.

YouTube can therefore be an excellent tool for marketing a small business. By researching keywords using a service like KWFinder, you are able to find all the relevant topics that your customers are searching for and create killer video content to answer all their queries – and make your business the go-to source for the best and most trustworthy information in your industry.

By optimising your video and deploying content marketing techniques, you can achieve higher search result rankings for your videos – resulting in greater visibility, more views, and more potential clients.

Your videos will act like little salesmen working round the clock for you as your potential customers continue to find them, allowing you to start to build relationships directly from your channel or send them over to your website.

The best thing is, you can get started relatively cheaply with YouTube. Most smartphones can record high-quality video, and you can pick up a decent microphone for as little as £30.

If you’re someone who enjoys being on camera then YouTube could be for you!

  1. Facebook’s favourite daughter – Instagram

You possibly already know the basics of using Instagram: posting regular content, trying to get good engagement on that content, swapping shout-outs and using hashtags etc.

These are all good strategies for growing a personal account. But, when it comes to a business account, creating compelling content for your customers isn’t quite as easy.

The best form of marketing is usually by referral, which means the best type of content to create for your business is often created by your audience. User-generated content is the most compelling content you can create – people seeing how your customers interact with your products and services is a very powerful way to attract them towards your brand.

Being a very visual platform, it is an ideal place for beauty professionals to market their business, for example. When Direct Line spoke to an award-winning nail artist business, for example, they stressed that Instagram was perfect for showcasing their best work. If your business is similarly visual, and already has some good customer reviews or testimonials, then Instagram could be the ideal platform for you to focus on. 

  1. A blogger’s best friend – Pinterest

Pinterest is a very popular platform with “Mommy” bloggers, most likely due to the fact that approximately 70% of its users are female.

Visual search is becoming increasingly popular and, as a “visual discovery” search engine, Pinterest is the only social platform to allow its users to search using images.

Like YouTube, Pinterest is basically another search engine masquerading as a social media platform, which makes it another great source for getting lots of free traffic.

According to the social media posting tool Hootsuite, over 80% of people use it to decide what to buy. According to Pinterest themselves, 55% of people are looking for specific products to buy and many will make a purchase on the back of the content they’ve discovered from their favourite brands on Pinterest.

If your business has a strong graphic element to it, with lots of vibrant images, then Pinterest could be an excellent solution for you.

The platform tends to work very well for people in the arts and crafts niche trying to sell jewellery on Etsy, for example.

  1. The best business networking tool – LinkedIn

Gone are the days when LinkedIn was seen as just a tool for B2B companies. There is a mindset shift with people on the platform that makes it a far more transactional environment compared to platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

People on LinkedIn tend to have a far higher net worth than the other social media platforms, so you know they mean business and will have cash on the hip!

Unlike Facebook, it is a great platform for getting organic reach – meaning your posts could get discovered by a lot of people. They are also crying out for video content, too, so adding some videos to your posts could really pay dividends.

It’s a quickly expanding platform with two new members joining every second. So, if you are looking to target young professionals, then this could be a great place to market your business.


So there you have it: our roundup of the best social media platforms for businesses right now.

It’s also worth mentioning that, with the exception of Pinterest, all these other platforms have a big focus on video at the moment.

Video is fast becoming most people’s preferred way to consume content online, and it’s estimated that over the next couple of years as much as 90% of that content will be through video.

So, whether you are thinking about creating your own videos, or having someone do it for you, video is really a medium that you can’t overlook when it comes to creating content to market your business.

All of the strategies mentioned above are for free traffic, but it is also worth noting that all these platforms have very powerful paid advertising solutions as well.

Diversifying where your traffic comes from is always a good idea, and with paid traffic being such a powerful tool, it’s probably worth thinking about adding it to your marketing arsenal as well.

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Mar 28

All You Need To Know About Internet Marketing

Online marketing is booming in this day and age for a number of reasons. Businesses because of it have ever-increasing levels of new customers from various parts of the world. When you’re trying to find out how to become a better product manager, a major part of this is being acquainted with digital marketing, knowing more about these tools will also help you in preparing for the product manager interview questions.

Importance Of Internet/Online Marketing

Internet marketing is essential because it is consistent with how consumers make purchasing decisions. Studies by analysts such as Gartner suggest that a number of customers use social media and mobile internet research to perform preliminary product and price analysis prior to final decision making. Also, It helps you to establish relationships with consumers and prospects through daily, personalized, low-cost contact that represents the shift from mass marketing. To help with this there are also internet marketing tools, they help in making the whole process of online marketing efficient. If used correctly, internet marketing tools can prove to be a game-changer for any organization.



Listed below are some of the benefits of internet marketing


Internet marketing helps you to be available for business around the clock, without thinking about operating hours or worker’s overtime payments. It is also easy for customers to sell goods on the Internet. Customers are able to search your online store at any time and place orders when they find it convenient.


By setting up local stores, you can sell products in any part of the world, broadening your target market. You can also create an export company without creating a distribution network in various countries. You should use localization services to ensure that your goods are appropriate for local markets and comply with local business legislation if you plan to sell internationally. Localization services provide translation and product adjustment, representing variations in the local market.


Internet marketing goods cost less than commercializing them through a traditional retail outlet. You will not have the recurring costs of renting and maintaining the land. You don’t have to buy stock to turn up in a shop. You can order stock according to demand, keeping the inventory costs low.

Importance of Social Media

Internet marketing lets you take advantage of social media’s rising significance. An article on the executive education website of Harvard Business School illustrated the connection between social networking and growth in online revenues. A community of consumers who reacted most strongly to the impact of social networks created increased sales of around 5 percent according to the report. One can always take advantage of such influence with the help of internet marketing tools in their online marketing campaigns.


Net marketing helps you to tailor consumer deals by creating a profile of their buying experience and expectations. You may make targeted deals representing their preferences by monitoring the web pages and product details that prospects visit. The information available from monitoring website visits also offers data for the preparation of cross-selling promotions so that the amount of revenue per customer can be increased.

Improving Relationships

The Internet offers a significant forum for developing customer connections and rising rates of customer retention. You can start the relationship when a customer has purchased a product from your online store by sending them a follow-up email confirming the transaction and thanking the customer. Daily emailing of customers with exclusive, customized deals helps keep the relationship going. You should also encourage consumers to submit reviews of the items on your website to help create a sense of community.

Internet Marketing Tools

Internet marketing tools are product development and promotional strategies and actions that a company uses to develop and promote its products or services online. Listed below are some of the best internet marketing tools in the industry



MailChimp automates your emails and makes the production of campaigns a breeze. While some of their marketing automation features have some limitations, it’s an easy tool to use. When you want something more stable you may want a device like Autopilot or HubSpot to consider. But if you’re just beginning, then MailChimp is perfect.

This internet marketing tool has a lot of features to offer such as

  • Website traffic monitoring
  • Software integrations
  • Free for small businesses
  • Email templates



This internet marketing tool works with big corporations, but it is great for small start-ups or small business marketing teams that want to start automating their social campaign and maximizing it. They make several different items that help with it as well, like website sharing widgets on their social network, and their social post scheduler.



Optimizely is an internet marketing tool that enables you to run A / B tests and multivariate tests continuously on your platform to boost conversion levels and revenues. We have also extended their feature set and run under the “Experiment everywhere” banner, enabling product- tests and deep personalization capabilities on the server-side and by acquiring Experiment Engine, they have a strong workflow and knowledge management system for the exchange of ideas and documentation.



Canva is a subscription service that makes it simple for people who need web design and do not have the funding for a full-time web designer. Optimized for the smartphone, with its visually appealing drag-and-drop features, Canva makes programming simple for amateurs. It is also one of the most popular internet marketing tools. One can use the design tools available in Canva to create forms, logos, maps, graphs and your own presentations using custom fonts. An employer can also test on a time-limit the status of tasks allocated to employees.

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Mar 26

Greener SEO Announces New Services to Help Business Owners Get More Reviews

HOUSTON, March 25, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Greener SEO announced the immediate availability of a new service to help business owners get more reviews as well as manage their reputation online.

“This will allow local as well as national businesses to easily get more Google reviews as well as getting reviews in other reputable review sites online,” said Dominik Hussl, CEO at Greener SEO.

Many local and small businesses struggle with getting more reviews for their business. This new service solves this problem by giving them several different ways to reach out and help customers easily leave a review of the business. The service allows for reaching out via a link that can be emailed to the customer, or data can be collected in a kiosk mode on a tablet or computer right in the business location. More positive reviews help to influence potential clients to try out a business’ services or products, as well as help the company gain a better overall reputation.

Greener SEO has set it up so this service can be used all by itself or combined with a local internet marketing campaign for even better results. Greener SEO is now offering an affordable SEO friendly website and e-commerce solutions for business owners looking to bring their products online. Businesses can diversify their marketing efforts by adding e-commerce sales to their revenue streams. Greener SEO now offers turnkey SEO solutions that also include search engine optimization for e-commerce websites.

About Greener SEO: Greener SEO offers several products to local businesses that allow those businesses to grow. The products include full SEO packages, local SEO packages, review packages, eCommerce solutions, and reputation management. Their packages work for both local and national businesses and can be scaled to fit any size business. For more information on internet marketing services Greener SEO has to offer, visit:

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Anna Bush
Phone: 713-664-2266

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Mar 24

Key Ways To Boost Your Business With Digital Marketing

 Judy Rae

A business is only as good as their digital footprint. While there was a time when a brick and mortar store or some newspaper ads were enough– the modern world of business demands digital marketing to thrive. Digital marketing is a sensation and a savior. It is a set of tools designed to promote your brand and service through the internet. Costs are lower than traditional advertising and the options for promotion are endless. Whether you’re a small business or a large firm you want to make a profit and an impression. Digital marketing is the best way to help you reach your business goals and connect with a new kind of customer. Digital marketing can provide a real boost to your business in just a few key ways. Let’s explore them down below. 

Create a Solid Online Presence

The keyword to focus on digital marketing is ‘digital.’ Your first step in utilizing digital marketing is to create a solid online presence. Create a website that showcases your business and social media platforms. This is known as business branding. Given that billions of people are using the internet daily, you have the potential to grab a lot of eyeballs without much work. Optimize your site for mobile and make it easy for your customers to engage while on a smartphone or tablet.

Once you have an established website, focus on hiring a firm that specializes in retail software development. A great software development team can help to differentiate your company in a competitive landscape. Use some of your marketing budgets to invest in technologies that are proven to drive growth.  Focus on digital capabilities such as behavioral analytics, indoor positioning, and even AI segmentation. Your website should be able to gather information on who your customers are and what they are looking for.

Engage With Paid Promotions On Social Media

In the modern digital marketing landscape, social media should be an ally to your business. It is without question the easiest way to garner visibility for your business. However, don’t just sign up for Instagram and call it a day. Instead, register your brand for paid promotions through Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, and even LinkedIn Ads. There are some 2.6 billion users on Facebook alone, let those users drive your businesses via paid promotions.

Both Facebook and Instagram offer various types of paid promotions. Some will garner more “likes” while others can be used as a conversion driver on a certain product or service. On Instagram, reach 700 million monthly users through filtered photo advertisements. Instagram is a natural and effortless way to share your brand’s content without having to dole out for a big advertising budget. 

Engage With Search Engine Optimization

Need to get more eyes on your website? Search engine optimization is an easy way to make that happen. In fact, it may be one of the most underrated but worthy digital marketing tactics out there today. SEO relies on content-based marketing to drive natural traffic to your site. This can often result in sales. It may take a bit longer to achieve desired results than other methods, but it is the most cost-effective digital marketing strategy available.

Studies show that some 75% of Google users will never make it past page one when conducting a search. If your website is not ranked in the top ten results on the first age, odds are, no one is going to ever see it. Find SEO services even if you are implementing other types of digital marketing such as retail software development. After all, a great website won’t matter much if it never ranks on Google!


comments so far. Comments posted to may be reprinted in the Easy Reader print edition, which is published each Thursday.

by Judy Rae

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Mar 23

What is the Best Platform to Sell Products Online?

Retailing over the internet or e-commerce has forever changed the nature of retailing. The advent of digital technology has enabled small businesses to run their company more efficiently and profitably. By keeping their fingers on the pulse of technological innovations, small businesses can increase their productivity as well as their market share.<!– –>

The barrier to entry in retail-oriented endeavors is fast becoming smaller as more entrepreneurs choose the internet over storefronts. Early adopters of technology have made e-commerce a key component of their daily operations of their business. By choosing the best platform to sell online, your business can achieve new levels of success with relative ease.

Benefit of Selling Online

The benefits are simple. E-commerce allows for speedy buying/selling, as well as easy finding the best product selections. Online stores today stay up and running 24/7, allowing customers to get online at any time of the day and buy products and services. All these irrespective where in the world your customers might be. This has led to more and more customers moving from the traditional brick and mortar store to buying goods and services on the Internet.

<!– –>Rather than opening up multiple brick and mortar stores to reach customers, you can reach a global customer base with an online store. Selling online will help you cut across the many challenges that come with opening more physical outlets to grow your business. This includes choosing locations, hiring more staff, putting in more capital for the expansions and not to mention managing the risk of not generating enough revenues to keep them up and running. By simply putting your store online, you can increase sales and your reach without experiencing the growing pains that come with expansion.

Additionally, you will have access to a range of tools to analyze every aspect of your online store. With these tools, you can design customized online experiences for your customers and maximize the ROI of your marketing spend. The technologies also help to cut costs across the board by automating customer relationship management, inventory management, transactions and more.

How to Get Started

The first step is to get your business its very own website. Once you have a website then you can incorporate an online shopping platform and social media accounts to further boost your sales. It is important to implement good communication early on in the process. Your website should be compelling enough to help you differentiate your offering, explain the key features of your products and the promises you make.

Best Platforms to Sell Online

The key to all these is to find an e-commerce website builder or platform that lets you build, customize, and run an online store. These platforms come with tools to walk you through the entire process of setting up your ecommerce venture. They will help you navigate through the steps involved such as hosting, design, pricing and payment options, marketing tools and reports. Below are some of the best platforms to sell online:


Perhaps Shopify is one of the best options for small businesses. The company provides simple, elegant, easy-to-use software for online retailers. Shopify’s platform is not only for online sales but also serves as a Piont Of Sale (POS) as well.<!– –>

Shopify offers a platform for merchants to create a multi-channel experience that helps showcase your brand. This subscription platform allows you to create a website and use their shopping cart solution to sell, ship, and manage your products.


BigCommerce is similar to Shopify. The platform offers an extensive set of e-commerce tools to help you build your website. You also have the opportunity to integrate social media into your site and sell your products through those channels.

<!– –>Among its huge selling points is it gives you a range of shipping options. You can get real-time shipping quotes, offer free shipping to your customers, and print shipping labels, all with its third-party integrations.

Wix Ecommerce

Wix Ecommerce enables small businesses with less than 50 unique products to create beautifully designed websites. It offers simple and easy to create website by using a drag and drop theme. You can add and remove features as you see fit for your business. This makes it easy for you to create your customized storefront without the need to code.

Additionally the sites are optimized for mobile display, have SSL certificates, and users can tag their pages for SEO optimization. Wix can sync with Google calendar where businesses can send confirmation emails and reminders with bookings which can also be made through Wix’s mobile app.


WooCommerce a plugin for WordPress. Unlike other platforms WooCommerce is an open-source solution. Meaning it is free for personal and commercial use. You can install and start using it immediately. However, if you are looking for a robust support such as a domain, hosting, email, and other options you will have to consider additional expenses.

This is a very user-friendly plugin which you can use to quickly develop a website. In addition to the Woocommerce community that comes with a lot of support you also have a wide assortment of plugins and extensions to enhance your online store. In terms payment it can accommodate bank transfers, cheques, cash on delivery, and PayPal.

Big Cartel

BigCartel is another e-commerce platform which lets you sell online and is best suited to selling one-off and individual products. This platform starts out strong by offering useful prompts and suggestions to guide you through the set-up process. But once the beginner-friendly on-boarding is over, things can get tricky. For you to customize your website theme on Big Cartel, you’ll need to directly edit the HTML of the theme itself. This requires you to know code.

If you can handle the coding bit, Big Cartel will provide you with features that include discount codes, free themes, inventory tracking, shipment tracking, Google Analytics and more.


Squarespace is a good option for small businesses looking for online store design solutions. It comes with sleek templates that help to draw attention to your products, and are easy to customize. Its inventory system and analytical tools are also some of the attractive features. Its built-in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) features, can help increase your site’s visibility in the results pages of Google and other search engines.

The online store template is fully customizable, you can use one of its expert designs as a baseline and edit it to match your brand colors and style. Once you’re signed in to your Squarespace dashboard, you can change the fonts, colors, buttons, and even the margins of your website

With Squarespace you can give coupon offers, shipping configurations, and manage your email lists, thus, giving you complete control over your website.


Selz mostly caters to small businesses and startups who want to sell digital, physical, or service products online. It comes with a pre-built website templates that is visually attractive. This is coupled with features for product launches, multi-product stores, and the selling of services and digital products.

What is even better is it allows you to start selling your products or monetizing your services without requiring any previous design or development background. With this platform you can create a fully standalone e-commerce store using any of the available themes. You can also add buy buttons to an existing website or blog as well as sell directly from Facebook, Twitter, and other integrated social media networks.


Weebly is an intuitive, easy-to-use platform for integrating eCommerce features. With Weebly you can choose from 40 plus responsive themes. The themes look good on any device so you can drive your eCommerce sales even on mobile.

Among its key selling points include a mobile store with checkout, filtered queries and product search, coupon codes, multiple payment gateway choices, multiple shipping options, digital and physical products, inventory management, and more.


Magento is an eCommerce platform from Adobe that is popular among retailers. While the platform’s software is free to download, it will require a developer experience to really include features for a robust e-commerce experience. In addition, you will have to independently look for a web hosting provider.

Its lean version is available as an open-source. The open source is not too user-friendly compared to the competition. This is because the actual setup and customization process can be difficult and require experience in web development. For those seeking a full-fledged support Magento Commerce is the way to go. Its Commerce feature is a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution offering additional features and services at a much higher price.

However, it is packed with lots of features retailers appreciate. It has all tools you need for your marketing, SEO, catalog management, analytics, checkout, shipping and more.


Created in 1999 Volusion is perhaps one of oldest website builders for e-commerce around. Its strengths lie in its analytics and data tools. The major drawbacks are its limited features and the editing interface is split between the storefront (what your customers see) and the back-end. Forcing you to constantly click from one to the other to see changes.

It does however boast a superb analytics tool. The search term analysis lets you see what customers are actually looking for on Google. This comes in handy for businesses who want to track what people want and tailor their website to get more prospects. In addition, the mobile app lets you manage your store on the go.

Choosing the Right Platform for Your Product

Despite the availability of several platforms for your e-commerce the key to your success lies on getting the right fit. E-commerce platforms come in all shapes, sizes and pricing. You can use open source, subscription based or mere plugins to your website. Now that you know some of the best platforms to sell online there are some points you should consider during your selection process, such as applicability, pricing and others. However, three primary issues should be addressed by your e-commerce platform provider: safety, storage space and creative design.

Safety Protocols

Safety is a very important issue in online sales. Make sure the platform you choose offers fraud protection and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption. SSL uses a cryptographic system that uses two keys to encrypt data? A public key known to everyone and a private or secret key known only to the recipient of the message. This helps protect both your business and your clients from data breaches and fraud.

Storage Space

Make sure the e-commerce platform you choose does not put a cap on your sales. This will impact your sales volume and your capacity to absorb increasing amounts of order later. Make your choice based on your inventory space and bandwidth. A good e-commerce platform will let your online shop sell online without limitations.

Creative Design

Your online store like your brick and mortar store should be enticing enough for customer to browse in it. Besides looks and responsiveness it should have a user-friendly interface. Each tool should be clear and it should be easy for the customer to select their desired options. Having well-designed menus, filters, and sorting options all provide for a comfortable experience. The more customized options your site has the better the shopping experience becomes for the customer.


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Mar 22

Is Technology Subsuming Marketing?

HBR Staff/boonchai wedmakawand/Getty Images

Last year, we published an analysis showing that U.S. companies’ advertising expenditures decreased from 1% of total expenditures in 1975 to 0.8% in 2017. We concluded that the importance of marketing must have been reduced in the organizational hierarchy, especially compared to, say, engineering, technology, and innovation. (RD expenditures increased from 1% to 8% in the same time frame.)

Many scholars and practitioners wrote to us arguing that marketing is much more than advertising spend. It was a fair point. Unfortunately, marketing expenses, as opposed to advertising outlays, are not typically disclosed by firms, making it hard to examine the importance of marketing over time based on reported expenditures.

Our data came from Standard and Poors’ Execucomp database. This database provides information on the compensation of the top-5 compensated executives for companies included in the SP 500, SP 400 MidCap, and SP SmallCap 600 indexes. Execucomp collects these data from companies’ annual proxy filings, covering salary, bonus, options and stock awards, non-equity incentive plans, pensions and other compensation items.

We identified people from marketing, technology, operations, and finance functions by performing keyword searches on their job titles. We retained 105,759 observation representing the above functions, of 21,115 unique executives in 3,169 distinct companies from 1999 to 2017. We then calculated the number of people for each function, represented in the top-5 compensation group, and then compiled the annual average of that number by function.

So we turned to another data set: the top leadership of SP 1500 firms. When we looked at the top five compensated officers of a firm between 1999 and 2017, we found a dramatic decline in the number of chief marketing officers (CMOs) in this top rung — about 35%. Meanwhile, the number of officers representing information or technology in the top five, highest-paid category increased, and now far exceeds the number of CMOs. Because compensation typically reflects an executive’s seniority in an organization, our data suggests that the importance of CMO in the organizational hierarchy has declined, which supports our earlier assessment that marketing as a function is less valued today than it once was.

We found several potential explanations for these trends. One is that the number of tech firms has increased over time, while the number of firms in other industries, such as retail and manufacturing, has declined. Both retail and manufacturing sell physical products and rely heavily on the traditional 4P marketing principles (product, price, promotion, and place).

Another explanation is that marketing itself has changed. Customers now spend an increasing percentage of their income on software-based services that are created, priced, and distributed over the internet. They also get more information about products and services from online sources — bloggers, online reviews, influencers — than from watching advertisements. Advertisements themselves are now instantaneously placed in browsers based on customer data.  So the application of the 4Ps today requires more constant experimentation and dynamic decisions (not to mention algorithms, data scientists, econometricians, and big data experts), instead of the well-thought-out and stable policies that are recommended by extensive market research. As a result, IT must play an increasingly important role in marketing, and the importance of the person who looks at marketing from the technology lens must have increased over time. On the flip side, a marketing person who doesn’t understand technology must find it difficult to keep his or her job. One could even argue that marketing is getting merged into the IT function or outsourced to companies such as Google Marketing Platform.

Another explanation is that the technology-oriented founders do not fully appreciate the importance of marketing and underinvest in the function. Many of the leading brands today, such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook, were created by technology prowess. Compare this strategy to the advertising-based brand creation strategy of past successful brands such as Coca-Cola and Nike. It is noteworthy that among Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon, the top five most valuable brands identified by Forbes magazine, only Microsoft had a CMO that appears in the list of top five paid executives in 2017.

Yet another possibility is that firms increasingly acquire brands instead of developing them organically. This is evident from the increasing pace of mergers and acquisition transactions. Recall Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn, Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp, and Google’s acquisition of YouTube, in multi-billion-dollar deals. This trend might explain the growing importance in the organizational hierarchy of the CFO, who negotiates the acquisition and the integration strategy of the target and arranges financing.

Whatever the definitive explanation, our findings indicate that the importance of CMOs in the organizational hierarchy has declined while that of CTOs has risen dramatically. Our findings should interest board of directors, CEOs, and IT, marketing, and human resources departments, as they consider their future staffing, compensation, and promotion policies. Perhaps it’s time to stop considering marketing and technology as two isolated departments and encourage closer collaborations between them.

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Mar 21

These Jaw-Dropping Facts Will Change Your Mind About the Internet of Things

Thanks to advances in technology and the proliferation of connected devices, the Internet of Things era has arrived. 

It’s been years in the making but appears poised to go mainstream. According to the consulting firm McKinsey, the number of IoT-connected devices is forecast to hit 43 billion by 2023, almost three times the number of devices in 2018. Companies and consumers are using IoT to control their heating and cooling systems remotely, doctors use it to monitor patients, and manufacturers track products across the supply chain. 

There are a lot of reasons why IoT is growing in popularity. Convenience and on-the-go-access are two big ones. But there are also those jaw-dropping reasons that will surprise even the biggest IoT skeptic. Here’s a look at four of them. 

Image source: Getty Images.

1. It can help prevent the spread of diseases like COVID-19 

The novel coronavirus outbreak is having a devastating impact on people around the globe. Spain, Italy, and France are effectively shut down, and schools and businesses across the United States are closed. The stock market has been whipsawing between huge gains and losses, and the global economy is taking a major hit. 

While IoT can’t stop COVID-19 (the disease caused by the coronavirus) from spreading, it can be used to prevent future pandemics. In an IoT world outlined by the financial consulting firm Frost Sullivan, a network of sensors placed throughout the world would be used to monitor individuals for infections, acting as an early detection system. That would reduce uncertainty in the stock market and provide governments with proof to quickly act on and stop the spread.

Implementing this on a global scale isn’t likely anytime soon. Some countries, China included, will be able to do it within their borders. Add facial recognition and GPS to the mix, and Frost Sullivan’s global research director for IoT, Dilip Sarangan, says countries would be able to monitor those who have contracted the virus and track whom they come into contact with. That could prevent virus outbreaks from becoming pandemics. “While this may sound like a police state to many, ultimately, leveraging IoT and [artificial intelligence] AI may be the most logical way to prevent highly infectious diseases from spreading rapidly in a world that is getting smaller every day with air travel,” said Sarangan in a recent report. 

There’s a slew of companies that can benefit from these early defense systems, including equipment makers and network operators. In the U.S. the wireless network providers ATT (NYSE:T), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), T-Mobile USA (NASDAQ:TMUS), and Sprint (NYSE:S) are big beneficiaries as data is transmitted across the world.

2. 5G will proliferate the number of connected devices 

With COVID-19 spreading around the world, commerce has come to a screeching halt, and that’s particularly true in the smartphone market. Hit by supply chain issues in China and a lack of demand as the number of people in quarantine grow, several mobile-phone-related companies including Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) have issued guidance warnings for their current quarters.

Despite the business interruptions, the buildout of 5G will eventually pick up, driving what is expected to be a huge smartphone upgrade cycle. It’s also expected to increase the number of devices connected to the internet, thanks to the speed and security 5G brings. With 5G networks, data can be sent back and forth between millions of devices in seconds, something not possible with existing 4G networks. That will result in billions of new devices outside of smartphones and tablets that connect to the internet.

The melding of 5G and IoT will be behind the adoption of smart cities and connected cars. It will also enable doctors to remotely treat patients and help robotic surgery become the norm. Gartner expects there to be 5.8 billion connected devices by the end of this year. That’s up 21% from the 4.8 billion at the end of 2019.

3. More than $1 trillion will be spent on IoT

Love it or hate it, the IoT market is exploding with no end in sight. Trillions of dollars are being spent on IoT start-ups as investors clamor to get in on the leaders of tomorrow. The interest is coming from an array of venture capitalists who are pouring tons of money into the market — for good reason. According to IDC, yearly spending on IoT is projected to surpass $1 trillion by 2022, growing at a double-digit rate. That bodes well for equipment providers like Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO). With global traffic poised to triple thanks to 5G, Cisco and its peers will be able to provide the hardware needed to facilitate the movement of the data. 

There are a lot of IoT use cases, but the ones drawing the biggest investments are those focused on the business market. IDC projected IoT spending by the manufacturing industry would hit $100 billion in 2019, while production asset management will attract $4.2 billion, smart home $44.1 billion, and freight monitoring $41.7 billion. The areas that are expected to see the fastest growth and thus the biggest investment dollars through 2022 include automation, electric vehicle charging, agriculture field monitoring, bedside telemetry, and in-store marketing, IDC predicted.

4. Most consumers and businesses want government IoT security regulations

The combination of IoT and 5G will transform society for the better, but that doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing ahead. There are a lot of security risks to consumers and businesses that can’t be left unchecked.

It’s something that both businesses and consumers are worried about. According to a recent survey of consumers and businesses by digital security company Gemalto, 90% of businesses and consumers believe the IoT industry should be regulated by the government. What’s more, 61% of businesses think IoT regulation should dictate who is responsible for securing the data throughout its journey.

Of the consumers polled, 65% said they are worried a hacker could take over their IoT device. Meanwhile, 60% said they are afraid their data will fall into the wrong hands. Those fears aren’t unfounded. Security from Kaspersky Labs spotted more than 100 million attacks on IoT devices in the first half of 2019 alone. 

Without a doubt, risks abound as more devices are connected to the internet. But with such wide-ranging benefits and investor interest, even IoT naysayers can’t deny the market is poised to explode. Those four jaw-dropping facts alone prove it.

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