Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Tablets in Mobile Commerce(m-commerce)

Tablets have brought with them an explosion in video watching and shopping activity of men are among the hottest mobile commerce trends that could impact how online retailers market and sell. Mobile commerce — mcommerce — is the fastest growing retail segment as more shoppers make purchases from smartphones and tablets. Mobile trends, therefore, will almost certainly impact ecommerce. What follows are three trends important to online retailing.

 1. Tablets Drive Mobile Sales 
 About 12 percent of U.S. ecommerce purchases were made from smartphones and tablets in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to trend-tracking firm comScore.“Tablets are the driving force behind this transaction share explosion, as the ease of use and shopping experience on a tablet device lends itself rather well to actual purchase behavior and more closely approximates the desktop buying experience than smartphones,” said comScore. “In fact, the mobile spending trend acceleration appears to coincide with the more mainstream adoption of tablets in 2011.” A separate 2011 Google study found that 43 percent of tablet computer users sent more time on their tablets than they did on a desktop computer. What’s more, nearly 33 percent of tablet users spent more time with a tablet than a television. And a 2012 Adobe study that found that 43 percent of tablet owners said they liked to shop using their tablet.

According to eMarketer, “the rapid rise in mcommerce sales on tablets means that such purchases will account for 9.4 percent of all retail ecommerce sales this year, and 16.9 percent of the total by 2016. Smartphones, which initially had a lead due to earlier adoption, will contribute 5.3 percent of retail ecommerce sales this year.” This trend may impact where and how marketers promote products in the mobile channel. For example, sale offers could make more sense on tablets while price comparison offers might make more sense for smartphones.

  2. Tablet Users Love Video
Mobile video consumption rose more than 10 percent during Q4 2012, according to Adobe’s U.S. Digital Video Benchmark study released earlier this year. "Tablet viewers, in particular, are early adopters who typically spend more money, book more trips, and consume more media content,” Adobe said in its study findings. In addition, Business Insider Australia reported that video consumption was a primary reason for tablet use in 2012 and pointed out that tablet users were more likely than smartphone users to watch video. Given that video has been shown to significantly boost ecommerce conversions, marketers aiming at tablet users may want to consider including more and better product videos on their sites and in marketing campaigns.

 3. Men Are Mobile Shoppers
A new report released this month found that men are more likely to use a mobile device to make an online purchase than are women.The data is, perhaps, counter-intuitive since many online marketers believe that women are generally more likely to make retail purchases. But there is apparently something alluring to male customers about shopping on mobile devices — perhaps from a train on the commute home or from a couch during a television commercial. Men are more likely to shop from a mobile device than women are. In the U.S., 15.9 percent of men and 13.3 percent of women were interested in making mobile commerce purchases, according to the data from Kantar Media’s Global TGI survey. In the U.K., 12 percent of men had an affinity for mobile shopping compared to about 10.3 percent of women.
This data could impact how retailers market in the mobile channel and how the mobile channel is used to reach male shoppers.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Garage stores: The biggest businesses in the world started at point zero

Are you feeling like giving up on your business? You better think twice. Every big business had to start out somewhere, right? Some have come from more humble beginnings than others, launching with no more than some basic equipment, a couple employees, a garage space and a big idea. Whether you’re a business or finance student hoping to follow your own path to entrepreneurial success or already working in your own garage on the next big thing, these stories of companies that rose from obscurity to be multi-million (or billion) dollar industries can be a big inspiration. They may very well help you finally realize your dream of getting out of that garage and onto bigger and better things.

 1. Apple
Today, consumers will wait in line for hours just to get their hands on some of Apple’s latest products, but once upon a time this electronics giant was a mere blip on the technology industry’s radar. Back in 1976, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniack and Ronald Wayne started a business out of a garage in Cupertino, CA, putting together one of the first prototypes of their personal computers. Over the next decades, the company would introduce several more models, including their Macintosh line in 1984, arguably what turned them from a struggling startup into a fully fledged business. Today, the company manufactures much more than computers, has almost 50,000 employees and brings in revenues of over 14 billion each year.

2. Google
 Google might be a household name today, but back in 1998 the search engine giant was just starting out. Their corporate headquarters? A Menlo Park, CA garage. For the next five months, Google’s staff of three would work out of this garage, perfecting their search algorithm, indexing web pages, and raiding the refrigerator of their friend’s attached home. By the next year the company had outgrown the garage and eventually moved into what is today known as the Googleplex. To celebrate their 8th birthday, Google purchased the garage and intends to preserve it as a lasting legacy to the humble beginnings of their business.

3. Mattel
Mattel wasn’t always the toy maker we know it as today. When the Handler’s got their start in the 1940’s in a Southern California garage, they were making picture frames, not toys. Ruth Handler began taking the scraps of wood from those frames and making doll furniture, a side business which proved quite successful. Because of this, the entrepreneurs decided to change their focus to toys instead. In 1959, they introduced the first Barbie, and afterwards became a household name. Today they’re home to big names in the toy business like Fisher Price, Hot Wheels, American Girl and a number of board games.

 4. HP
 Back in 1939, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard decided to establish their own electronics manufacturing company. Based out their garage in Palo Alto, CA, with an initial investment of only $538, the two helped establish the technology hub that would become Silicon Valley. When they started out, they made everything from high-tech electronics to agricultural products but by the 60’s were homing in on the tech market exclusively. Today, the company is an electronics giant, with some of the highest quality personal computing products on the market. They have opted to preserve the garage where they got their start, making it into a museum.

 5. Amazon
 In 1994, Jeff Bezos laid the foundations for what would be the online retailing giant Amazon in his garage, hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow garage entrepreneurs HP. With a strong foundation, the company grew very quickly, and before long was in need of a much bigger space to house their operations. Today, there are few people who haven’t shopped with the online retailer, buying everything from food to televisions to electronic media. This small business had become one of the leading retailers in the world, with billions of dollars in sales each year

 6. Disney
While he would go on to build an animation and entertainment empire, Walt Disney’s first studio was a tiny, one car garage in Hollywood. There he worked on a variety of animation products, setting up a makeshift studio in the space, while he waited to see if his Alice in Wonderland pilot would be picked up by any major distributors. It was, and the company quickly moved out of the garage into a proper studio. These days, Disney is an entertainment giant for kids and adults alike with movies, theme parks and products around the world. That tiny garage was almost torn down, but the dedication of a few interested citizens helped to save it and interested visitors can go there today to see where it all began. 

 7. Microsoft
 In 1975, Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft, with just a few resources and an available garage space. Unlike Apple who developed both software and hardware, Microsoft homed in on the software market. Working with IBM, the company licensed their first OS for a mere $80,000. Later, they would go on to develop more sophisticated operating systems that would evolve into those we know as Windows today. The business would grow to be one of the most profitable and powerful in the world, dominating the personal computing market.

 8. MagLite
  Anthony Maglica started his dream of owning a business by working long hours to earn the money it would take to put a down payment on his first lathe. Working in a Los Angeles garage, he began to design and build precision parts for industry, aerospace and the military. By 1974, he was incorporated as Mag Instrument and the company was gaining a reputation for the quality of their products. In 1979, MagLite released their first flashlight, the product they are best known for today. It would help them to become a household name and secure their place in the market.

 9. Yankee Candle Company
Unable to afford a present for his mother, young Michael Kittredge created his first scented candle from some melted crayons in his garage. Neighbors saw the candles and began purchasing them from him, eventually motivating the high school student to found a business with two high school friends. Kittredge sold the company in 1999 after a cancer scare, but it has gone on to even greater success and is now sold at many major retailers and a number of its own standalone stores. 

10. Harley Davidson
  It makes complete sense that a company selling vehicles would get its start in a garage or outbuilding, because that’s where those products eventually end up. Harley Davidson did just that, starting out in 1901 with a small business that built engines for bicycles. Of course, it wasn’t long before they started developing the motorcycles for which they are known, and in 1903 they had already released their first racing bike, constructed in a small wooden shed. Buoyed by the popularity and speed of their motorcycles, the company expands, constantly rethinking the best ways to build a bike. Today, they’re still known for producing some of the biggest, best motorcycles on the market and have become a household name.

 I hope that you just changed your mind. Keep dreaming big.

Succeeding in E-commerce

Things are never easy for a small-business owner. No matter how hard you try, there will always be hurdles to jumpand fires to put out. At least you can take comfort in knowing you're not alone. Every small-business owner goes through the same thing. The primary challenge as a small business is having access to capital in order to facilitate our exposure for example through marketing and to a larger extent, trying to identify who the buyers are.
 Launching an e-commerce store involves much more than simply setting up a website with a shopping cart. Driving real traffic to an e-commerce site takes serious marketing and follow through. Most E-stores close down after barely six months of operation after the owners realize  that the ride is not as smooth as anticipated. For that reason, if you are thinking of taking your store online, consider doing the following;

  1. Invest your time– For your own e-commerce business to be successful, time is your biggest investment. The more time you put in to your business, the greater the chances are of succeeding. However, an e-commerce business can also benefit you if you only invest a short amount of hours in it, as long as your time is being spent effectively. 
  2. Find a platform that is attentive to your needs- When sourcing for your site's host, get one that has an attentive and passionate customer support team as this can save you loads of time.
  3. Keep reliable sources of information- While running a business, store owners tend to encounter unpredicted challenges. It’s important that once you face a challenge, you have a knowledge base filled with information that helps you overcome it.
  4. Dream – Convey your dreams through your store design. Technology today barely limits your design aspiration. When choosing a store design template, let loose, but also ensure that it corresponds to your products.
  5. Strategies to generate traffic- Once their store is up and running, owners must start attracting customers to their businesses. Therefore, the platform you choose to work with has to have suitable marketing tools (Facebook Store, eBay & Amazon Integration, Price Comparison sites integration, Coupon Distribution, etc.) 
  6. Analyze and optimize – For a business to grow, its weaknesses must be translated into strengths. Future store owners should guarantee their business has the tools and integration capabilities for a thorough analysis of their operation. Thereafter, adjust and optimize their actions consequently.
I wish you all the best in your business. Feel free to ask questions through the comment box or my email address if you like.

ECOMMERCE: Building a shopping cart for your E-Store

I think some of the greatest advantages that you get to reap from selling your stuff online are that you will not need to pay the local rates for operating a brick and mortar store, neither will you need a license. As long as you have a computer and good internet connection, you are good to go. Another one is the possibility of getting colossal returns due to the larger market you get online. Your opportunities will soar from than selling to your local town dwellers, to selling to millions of people worldwide-that is if you consider exploring the overseas market. Your success will depend on your efforts, both in marketing and most importantly, being appealing to your customers. In this post, I will help you create an appealing E-store by looking at the options you have in getting a shopping cart for your site. A shopping cart will prove vital for your E-business as it may be the difference of making profits or not selling anything at all. Think about your local supermarket, would you not be able to buy the stuff you need if they didn’t have shopping baskets and carts? Of course you would, but would be an experience you would always dread. The baskets are thus meant to make your shopping enjoyable and the same should apply to your E-store. An E-commerce shopping cart is a software that compares to the shopping baskets in a traditional store and allows shoppers to select everything they want to buy while adding them to the basket until they are ready to ‘check out’. At this point, they can then pay for a total sum of their purchase. Shopping carts vary greatly in functionality, flexibility, ease of use and cost. It is up to you to choose one that suits your needs. Before making your choice, it is important to know that;

1.A cheap shopping cart will require more input from you while the ready to use ones will require you to chuck more money. It is therefore important that you strike a balance between cost and usability.

2.It is important to choose a flexible software so that if you happen to expand your business with time, you will still be able to use it. For example, if you decide to start shipping abroad, then your software will need to have the ability to calculate differing currency rates and taxes for your overseas customers, failure to which they might end up leaving your store without making a purchase.

3.A good software needs to have an easy checkout process. Customers, in most cases, get frustrated by slow or unclear checkout processes. Make sure that your shopping cart does the following;
           •Displays meaningful error messages if shopper information is incorrectly put.
           •Makes it easy for customers to select and amend orders
           •Has the minimum possible steps required to make a purchase and clearly indicates the shopper’s progress

 4.A shopping cart’s file( eg. .php, .xml etc) should be compatible with your web host 

5.It should be able to automatically generate delivery cost, stock availability, shipping details, order confirmation and tracking.

Finally, I would advice technical beginners to start with the ready to use shopping carts or seek the services of a professional web designer for templates that need customization.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

How to secure your E-business from hackers and fraudsters

This post will prove important to those of you that run e-businesses. It gives tips on how to prevent your website or blogs from hackers and fraudsters. As we all know, it is the duty of every merchant to safeguard the personal details of their clients.
1. Use Encryption technology. 
This is a basic e-commerce technology that allows you to "encode" or scramble data into an unreadable form to ensure privacy.
There are two kinds of encryption:

"Symetrical" or "Secret Key" which uses a single key to encrypt and decrypt messages.
"Asymmetrical" also called "Private Key" which uses one key to encrypt and another to decrypt.
Use secure pages when processing orders and payments. Secure means data is encrypted during transit. If it's unencrypted, hackers will be able to intercept the data (such as credit card info) and use it. 

You can get free encryption software at;
If you do not trust freeware, get one from Kaspersky.
You can also check comparative prices of encryption softwares.

2.Use Authenticated SSL Certificates/digital certificates.
These are digitally signed documents which bind the public key to the identity of the private key owner.
 To put this in place, you must apply with a reputable third-party that provides SSL authentication. They will review your application, background and business ethics. If they find your company is legal and genuine, they will issue you the certificate. A visitor to your site will then have the assurance that you are what you claim to be.
To read more on digital certificate, follow this link.
3. Out-source for Anti-fraud Solutions.
There are ecommerce technology companies that offer fraud protection services.Various payment systems may come with these.
4. Familiarize and Comply with Merchant Security Standards. 
No matter what commerce technology you use, be sure you comply with security standards. Credit card companies will hold an Internet merchant responsible for fraud if it happens. So get to know the requirements of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard and follow them. Non-compliance is heavily penalized. 

For tips on shopping online click here

Monday, 8 April 2013

SFI (Strong Future International) Marketing Group-The Online money train

Forget GNLD, SFI (Strong Future International) Marketing Group is the in thing and one of the few online affiliate programs I recommend. So what  does SFI has to offer?

Launched in 1998, with just one product sold only in the United States, SFI has now grown to more than 71000 products and services (and growing daily) sold in more than 190 countries around the world.
SFI was created to allow anyone with a computer and Internet access the opportunity to make money online by tapping into the worldwide e-commerce revolution. Anyone of legal age in his or her country can become an SFI affiliate for free by filling out an online registration form. There is no obligation or purchase requirements of any kind.
Once registered, affiliates are provided with professional Websites for marketing SFI's products on the Internet. SFI also provides all necessary sale support services, such as customer service, payment processing, and product shipment – all at no cost to the affiliate. For each sale generated, SFI pays the referring affiliate a commission. Additional commissions can be earned by building and leading affiliate groups. Now, this is why I call it a money train.

SFI is about having big goals...but REALISTIC goals. SFI holds tremendous potential for those who will apply themselves, but it's not going to happen overnight or without work. As the old saying goes, "the only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary."

 In short, you’ll get out of SFI what you put into it. It works...if you do. But that’s the beauty of it, too; you are in control – it’s up to you how far you take it. And don’t forget, SFI offers the opportunity to earn residual income. This basically means that for the work you do today, you have the potential to earn money not only for today but also for years to come.

 The best way to keep earning with SFI is through advertising and there are SO many methods available to you—everything from banners...and more. Build a BIG fire, build a BIG income!

 Be like the great oak tree. Reach for the sky. The higher you go, the bigger your rewards. With SFI, making money online is an abc game and like an oak tree,you NEVER stop growing!

why amazon affiliates?

There are a number of pros that make Amazon affiliates a first choice for for the average blogger seeking to earn from blogging. However, I'll request you to allow me to just consider a few.

1. Wide Array of Products
The Amazon store is probably one of the largest and has a breadth of products on offer. This is a great thing because you get to choose what to blog about from a wide range of topics plus it increases the chances of the people you refer buying more products hence earning you more commissions.

 2. Payment Options – Amazon pays their affiliates in a number of ways. One of the things that I like is that they give you the option to be paid in products instead of cash. This makes it easy to get prizes for blog readers where the prize can be paid for out of your affiliate earnings.

3. Commissions – Amazon will initially offer a 4% commission for your referrals. 4% isn’t that much when you’re selling a $10 item, however when you’re selling a Get a Price on the $50 Camera or a $5,000 Tractor  it certainly adds up. The 4% rate  is the base rate.  By selling more than 6 items in a month, your commission goes to 6% – by selling over 630 you’re up to 8% .

Finally, maybe the most important one is that;
4. Amazon is a trusted Brand – Amazon comes up as number 1 as the most popular shopping destination . Readers know Amazon and are familiar with it – they trust it and do spend significant money there.

With this information, you might just consider shopping or signing up at  Amazon

how to make money online with sfi

If you answered yes, then do what I do!
Keep it simple, and follow this plan!
SFI Ultra Basic 3 Step Plan.

1. Become an EA and remain an EA every month.
This means earn at least 1500 Versa points each month. There are different ways to do that.
One of the best ways to do that is put in an standing order for 100TCredits each month. That is worth 1200VP. Log in every day to earn your daily VP, and do the weekly actions, and you will earn over 450VP, making you an EA with no problem.

2. Recruit 5 others each month to follow you.

3. Teach them step 1, then step 2. Then teach them to do the same things for their recruits.

BUT......If you can't afford much money to start, then ask yourself one question!

Can you afford $2US per month?

Then start with the SFI Profit Plan. START SMALL....AND GROW BIG!

Just replace step 1 above with this step.

1. Setup a standing order for 1 Tcredit. It costs $1.99.

Steps 2 and 3 are the same.

If you find 5 people to do the same thing, you will have a profit. The more people you find, the more profit you will make.

Then, when you reach a point where you are getting $30 US profit, you can start to be an EA.

For each person you sponsor that does the same thing, and sets up a standing order for $1.99 you earn $0.61 commission. For every 5, that is $3.05. That would cover your cost right there.
And you make $1.06 profit.

Don't put off to tomorrow what you should be doing today to build your SFI business! For that reason, Advertise, advertise & advertise

NB. When it comes to buying triple click packs, do NOT buy a pack of 200 TC's. It will cost you $58 and you will receive 1661 VP's. Rather buy 2 x 100 TC's at $29 each. It will also cost you $58, but you will get 2 x 1200 (2400) VP's.