All Articles Tagged "e-commerce"
College students have been finding innovative ways to make money since the birth of higher education. From waitressing weekends, to setting up salons in dorm rooms, hustling is just as much a part of the college experience as the classes themselves. Current students like University of Kansas senior, Jacque Amadi, are giving that hustler’s spirit a tech upgrade.
A psychology major and business minor, Jacque doesn’t have a resume that screams fashion. She dabbled in fashion blogging, but never thought to pursue it professionally. Her online boutique, Lioness, started as a celebration of her hobbies and interests, one she hoped would ease the financial woes that come with a college education.
“I would sell clothes on eBay whenever I needed money,” says Jacque. “And I love thrifting, even if I don’t keep what I find. With blogging and taking pictures – I loved doing it, but I was broke. So, I wanted to do all these things that I love in a way that could make me money.”
There’s one extra twist. Lioness is a digital time machine where the dial is always set to 1995. Jacque may be too young to remember the top news stories of the decade, but the images she saw as a child made a big impression on her.
“At first I was selling any vintage clothes I found, but then I decided to focus on the 90s because I felt that time period was the best time period for African Americans in terms of our exposure and our reach on television,” Jacque said.
American Express is giving us more ways to shop, because that’s exactly what we need.
The financial service company has partnered with Twitter to introduce “Amex Sync,” which will let cardholders sync their accounts with Twitter in order to buy things using special hashtags. Customers already had the ability to learn about new discounts via Twitter. But this takes the social media integration to another level to include the ability to actually purchase goods. A statement from American Express (quoted in Business Insider) says that, starting today, users can buy a $25 Amex gift card for just $15 “by tweeting #BuyAmexGiftCard25.”
Once you activate your account, you’ll start interacting directly with the @AmexSync handle. This, of course, adds to the perks of having an Amex card. For Twitter, this could be a moneymaking opportunity. And for shoppers, here’s your chance to buy a little something without clicking away from your Twitter timeline.
After the jump, we’ve got a short clip with the details. If this proves successful for Amex, certainly other card companies will follow suit. Will you be shopping on Twitter any time soon?
Last year after her first baby was born, Asharah Damore was looking for something to keep her creative juices flowing as well as make a little money while she stayed home with her newborn son. “Although this was a tremendous blessing I felt like I was losing my identity after about the six-month mark. I knew I didn’t want to go back to work but I wanted to make money doing something I enjoyed,” Damore explains to us.
So she turned to eBay. “I frequent the thrift stores and I would always see brand new or next to new items not in my size which I would pass [on] buying because I had no one to buy them for,” she says. “So I decided to start buying a few of those items too see if I could re-sell them on eBay.”
Damore found nearly immediate success, but the eBay format took time to master. “The first month was great and but it was hard to keep the momentum because on eBay keywords are very important and depending on how you list your items someone searching for what you have may or may not be able to find it,” Damore points out. “So you have to be creative on how title you listings.”
It’s not hard, however, to get started. First, you need to set up an account by registering on the website. “There’s no fee for listing items so long as you do not exceed 50 items per month; after that, the fee is nominal. In addition, once your item sells, you must pay eBay nine percent of the sale price, with a maximum fee of $250,” reports Forbes.
Ebay gives users two options on how to sell their products. The most common is the auction method. A seller establishes a baseline price (reserve), the length of auction and can even strike a deal, called “Buy it Now.” You can also lists items for sale at a set price with no bidding.
Now, you have opened a virtual business. Treat it as such and be professional in your approach, online language and dealings with customers. Forbes suggests picture your eBay business as a virtual storefront. “There are also websites, such as auctiva and The Seller Sourcebook, that provide thousands of templates based on a variety of categories. Pick one that works for you. Then be sure to categorize each item correctly so it can be easily found,” reports Forbes.
Like Black Friday, Cyber Monday is a marketing creation, born out of the increasing use of Internet on the job. Historically, people would head back to work on Monday where the Internet connection was better and faster, and do their online shopping at their desks. But that was back in 2005. Nowadays, your handheld device has enough connectivity to let you do your shopping on the go. As a result, some suspect that the fire surrounding Cyber Monday may start to burn out.
USA Today took a look at comScore numbers, showing that Americans are expected to spend another $1.5 billion today, up 20 percent from last year. But online shopping is now taking place across a more dispersed amount of time. Consumers spent $663 million on Thanksgiving Day, up 32 percent. CBS News reports that 57 million people have already gone online to shop during Black Friday, with sales topping $1 billion for the first time. And “for the holiday season-to-date, comScore found that $13.7 billion has been spent online, marking a 16% increase over last year,” USA Today writes.
In addition, retailers are trying to cut off e-commerce sites at the pass. “In an effort to get a leg up on online retailers and each other, many brick-and-mortar retailers — including some of the biggest, such as Walmart — opened their stores as early as 8 p.m. the day before this past Black Friday, and advertised their deals online in the days and weeks leading up to the event,” reports Mashable.
In other words, you can shop anywhere, anytime, using almost any device you can get your hands on. So Cyber Monday may one day be just another day online. But if today is your shopping day, here’s a list of deals.
Black Friday is just two days away (or less if you’re planning to venture out Thursday evening for deals). But when you’re out shopping, or looking at retailers’ websites online, how much does your Twitter activity influence your shopping habits?
Compete, the market research division of Kantar, partnered with Twitter for the “Tweets in Action: Retail” study, which found that if a user sees a tweet from a retailer, they are more likely to not only visit that retailer’s website, but they’re also more likely to make purchases.
The study analyzed 7,600 consumers around the back-to-school shopping season (August 1 to October 14, 2012) and separated them into three groups: average Internet users, Twitter users who were exposed to retailer tweets, and Twitter users who were not exposed to retailer tweets.
All users were very likely to have visited a retailer website, with 89.9 percent of average Internet users doing so. But both sets of Twitter users were more likely, with 94.4 percent of normal Twitter users and 95.2 percent of those Twitter users who were exposed to a retailer’s tweet visiting retailer sites.
Looking at actual purchases, 38.9 percent of exposed Twitter users made an online purchase during the time frame, compared to 33.4 percent of non-exposed Twitter users and 26.9 percent of mere Internet users.
In general, Twitter users are already Web-savvy, which may be a factor in their propensity to visit retailer websites and make online purchases. But the fact that people exposed to retailer tweets are even more inclined to do so is great news for Twitter—and the brands that are on the site.
This exposure doesn’t have to be Promoted Tweets or advertising on Twitter, the study found. It could be seeing a regular tweet in their feed, seeing a friend re-tweeting a retailer’s comment, visiting the retailer’s page on Twitter, or seeing a retailer tweet while searching on Twitter. We’ll be curious to see how inundated we are with retailer tweets come Black Friday.
Do you see retailer tweets while you’re on Twitter? Does that impact your online shopping habits?
Just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Facebook is pushing its new Gifts program, which officially launched in September and allows users to purchase physical items to send to friends or family.
At an event at the famed FAO Schwartz store in New York, the social network announced new retail partners, including babyGap, Brookstone, and Lindt. Users can also purchase online subscriptions as gifts, such as Hulu Plus or Pandora.
PC World spoke to Jeff Petrosillo, a senior e-commerce manager for L’Occitane, one of the new retail partners. L’Occitane will offer gifts starting at $19, he said, and using Facebook will be just one more way to sell products.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, users were able to use Facebook to give gifts to charities, and that will still be available, said Lee Linden, head of product for the gifts division. But the main focus for post-IPO Facebook is diversifying its revenue streams and attracting sales.
Additionally this week, Facebook announced updates to its mobile presence for both iOS and Android devices. On Wednesday, Facebook debuted its share button for mobile, its version of the re-tweet, allowing users to re-post an update or photo posted by a friend or Facebook page. It was originally available on Facebook’s mobile site, but with the debut of new versions of the Facebook app for iOS and Android yesterday, it is now more widely accessible.
Today, there are 644 million websites on the Internet, many of them online businesses. That means a lot of competition if you are thinking of starting your own e-commerce business.
Doing business virtually is still doing business. Tom Antion of the Great Internet Marketing Training Site suggests you approach an online business the way you would with any other: find an in-demand product or service; create a business plan; then figure out what Internet path you want to take. “Focus on a few social media platforms that work for you,” says video strategist Miss K, who has successfully sold two online magazines.
Good Visuals Are Key
“Have clean page layouts,” says Krista Jackson, site manager of Internet retailer Ruby Bag. “Remember that clutter can be bad online. The easier your site is to navigate, the more likely you are to provide a positive user experience. No online shopper wants to work just to get through the website.”
A split test, says Antion, will let you see which designs attract the most attention. “This is how great online marketers maximize the value of every promotion,” he explains to Madame Noire.
Pictures alone don’t make a site great. Write text that is not only informative but attracts attention. “Learn to write sales copy which will also apply to your videos and articles,” says Antion.
Keep Them Coming Back For More
Don’t just look for one-time users, you want to develop relationships with your customers so they keep coming back for more. Special deals and regular sales can help with that. “Deals have increased our sales, as well as promoted customers to return to our site in order to see what the new deals are,” says Jackson, who also emphasizes the positive business impact of good customer service.
How To Promote Your Online Business
To keep your customer base growing, you need to consistently promote your site. Steve Caradano, founder of Italian luxury bed linens seller Vero Linens, turned to bloggers to promote his site and products. He blogged himself as well. “I blogged like crazy. [S]earch engines like new and fresh content. I found other bloggers that had huge followings and sponsored a product giveaway. Regardless of how much I could spend on advertising, I could never tell my message as effectively as they do and with their credibility,” he says.
Using the right keywords for your business is also a way to drive people to your site.
And promote your business directly to your customers. “A lot of e-commerce businesses don’t use social channels or their email newsletters to their advantage,” notes Jackson. ”These are all great ways to have a conversation with your customers. Businesses are really missing out when they don’t use those channels to hear back from their customers about what they want.”
And, don’t forget offline promotion. “Network offline to promote your online business,” Miss K tells us. “Use video as an cost-effective and powerful way to promote your business.”
Shopping is so great. So so great. But even something as simple and perfect as this changes with the times.
Increasingly, brick-and-mortar shops are serving as showrooms for online purchases. More people are shopping on their mobile devices. Technology like apps that scan products to find you the best deals across retail outlets and the coming hi-tech fitting rooms will change the way we buy our wardrobes, electronics and other items. And, of course, everyone has their credit card information and shipping address saved on their favorite e-commerce site to make online shopping that much easier.
On the one hand, this is good news. Apps like Shopkick are showing people (lots of people) how they can save money. More information via mobile devices and online sites means a more customized shopping trip for customers. Waste less time, get what you need, get in and get out.
A new and improved site for Lucky magazine promises to be even more direct by letting you shop from their website. They’re even making digital stickers available to flag items you like online. And, chances are, you’re already getting your daily deals emails from sites like LivingSocial and Ideeli. You can buy everything you need and never leave the house.
But all this progress can have drawbacks. Providing more information to do all that mobile shopping could be made available to retailers, which could cause privacy concerns for some. Those who enjoy a good shopping trip could eventually find less merchandise at the stores to linger over.
And there will likely be cuts to the retail workforce.
“Experts aren’t predicting the end of the in-store experience, but it stands to reason that as with other industries, technology might improve efficiency while setting retailers on a path toward a leaner workforce,” writes USA Today. Already, in an effort to revive lagging business and compete with companies like Apple and Amazon, Best Buy is shutting 50 stores and planning to cut $800 million in costs over the next three years. It’s possible even more stores will close. The coming health care law also bodes poorly for retail workers who may find themselves cut all together rather than adding medical benefits.
Are you using all of the latest technology to do your shopping? What do you think of these changes?
(New York Times) — WHO’S afraid of Internet fraud? Consumers who still pay bills via snail mail. Hospitals leery of making treatment records available online to their patients. Some state motor vehicle registries that require car owners to appear in person — or to mail back license plates — in order to transfer vehicle ownership. But the White House is out to fight cyberphobia with an initiative intended to bolster confidence in e-commerce. The plan, called the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace and introduced earlier this year, encourages the private-sector development and public adoption of online user authentication systems. Think of it as a driver’s license for the Internet. The idea is that if people have a simple, easy way to prove who they are online with more than a flimsy password, they’ll naturally do more business on the Web. And companies and government agencies, likeSocial Security or the I.R.S., could offer those consumers faster, more secure online services without having to come up with their own individual vetting systems.
By Denise Burrell-Stinson
There was a time when many thought selling fashion and beauty items on the Internet was a big question mark — a business strategy that should be approached cautiously, if not skeptically. Would style-conscious consumers of be enticed by small labels (as opposed to prestige brands) outside of the pomp and circumstance of a cool, freestanding store in a swanky neighborhood? Now, however, that sentiment has gone the way of dial-up. Fashion lovers now flock to the web to conveniently shop for unique accessories, home decor items and clothing – and black sartorial entrepreneurs are taking advantage of this trend. The Atlanta Post has profiled seven exciting black-owned brands that are finding the lower costs associated with launching an e-commerce site ideal for breaking into the tough style arena. Meet the Top Seven Black Online Fashion Entrepreneurs to Watch.
Roslyn Johnson, a 26-year-old New Yorker, launched her online shop just four months ago. Previously, she had she worked for the boutique chainlet Scoop, interned for Sean John and spent three years working in the buying office of a major department store. Her beginning career moves gave her the confidence to start her own brand. “I saw a number of up-and-coming collections and thought I had what it took to compete,” Johnson told The Atlanta Post. For her Inkwell designs, Johnson uses Malian mud cloth dyed with plant juices, teas and mud in a process called Bogolanfini, that give a mature, classic Hollywood sexiness to her cocktail dresses and miniskirts. “I saw a void in the marketplace for an African-American heritage brand that incorporates tribal fabrics in a more all-American way,” she says of the classic cuts of her pieces. According to Dr. Angela Hausman, associate professor at the Howard University School of Business and founder of the marketing consulting outfit Hausman & Associates, the web can be an ideal starting point for someone with Johnson’s entrepreneurial spirit. “There are a lot of real costs involved in brick-and-mortar,” says Hausman. “But on the Internet, you don’t have to sign a lease, arrange utilities or build out a space.” Free of these limitations, Johnson took her idea, and ran with it.