All Articles Tagged "e-commerce"
Ghanaian Entrepreneur Catherine Hagan Leverages Her Knowledge Of African Trends To Build Her E-Commerce Site
In the last five years especially, African style has been back on the collective cultural radar: Mercedes Benz and Vogue Italia sponsored African Fashion Weeks. Brands like Burberry and Suno have released African-inspired collections. Stars like Solange Knowles and Michelle Williams have adopted and adapted culture from the continent and exposed it to their millions of fans.
But even as the world gets in on the trend, African entrepreneurs and talents are capitalizing on their intimate understanding of African consumers, as well as their relationships on the continent, to capture markets at home and overseas. With her new company Makowla, an eBay/Amazon-style marketplace for African and Africa-inspired designers, Ghanaian entrepreneur Catherine Hagan is among this enterprising crop.
We asked Hagan how her connection with the continent helps distinguish her brand in this increasingly competitive market.
MadameNoire: Your company’s name Makowla is reminiscent of Ghana’s famed open-air market Makola. What inspired the name and how much does Africa’s local marketplace economy inspire the Makowla business model?
Catherine Hagan: Exactly, the name Makowla is a spin off the ‘Makola’ Market in Ghana because just like Makola, the open air market in Ghana, Makowla is a place where people can buy and sell all items (not only clothing) the only difference is that on Makowla they are doing it online.
I never really connected shopping with Twitter, but pretty soon you may be able to shop right on your Twitter timeline. On Monday, a new “Buy now” button popped up on various tweets, all of which included goodies that link back to shopping site Fancy, reports Mashable. The button only appeared on mobile. It didn’t appear on Twitter’s web version.
Tech news site Re/code first discovered the tweets, but the button didn’t work. So it looks like Twitter is just testing out the idea of entering into offering e-commerce services.
“The tweets, which no longer appear in the form captured by Re/code, gave a possible glimpse into Twitter’s plans for creating a new revenue source. So far, the social media site has relied on sponsored tweets, essentially advertising, to make money, but Wall Street wants more,” reports CNet.
When asked for a comment by Mashable, Twitter did not immediately respond. But Twitter’s entry into e-commerce has long been rumored. According to a Wall Street Journal report from April, multiple ad types were on the way for Twitter, including shop-able Twitter ads. And Twitter put its toe in the water when Amazon launched a similar shopping feature on Twitter. “The e-commerce giant now lets users put things in their shopping carts by tweeting #AmazonCart in response to any tweets with an Amazon product link,” reports CNet.
Twitter isn’t the only social media sites considering — or have tried — social shopping. Facebook tried and failed with Facebook Gifts for example. Social networks, with their viral component and the ability to add photos and clips, could attract online shoppers. Though we’ll have to see if consumers are ready to go shopping when they’re just doing a little leisurely tweeting.
If Twitter does actually roll out a shopping option let’s see how it plans on enticing you to spend your money.
What is one of the most exciting days in stores all year? Black Friday of course! Black Friday turns (some) consumers into beasts, with shoppers getting their claws out for the latest gadgets, toys and clothing throughout Thanksgiving, all at the same time.
While some might love the thrill of the hunt in stores, many are turning to their computers for their shopping adrenaline rush. If you haven’t considered Black Friday shopping online as an option, let us give you a few pros and cons about the splurge in e-commerce shopping this holiday season.
Recently the company launched ads, in an effort to address that revenue issue. However, even before the formal launch of advertising, businesses have long been using Instagram to showcase their products and grow their businesses.
According to figures compiled by Bloomberg Businessweek, 72 percent of adult internet users are joining social media and 44 percent of cell phone users sleep with their phone next to their bed. And with over $231 billion being spent on online shopping, it’s clear the internet and social media is big business.
It can be a great option for small businesses just starting out to reach the audience they want to tap into. Jeff London and Marc James, founders of a New York based independent clothing company, King Panda Apparel, utilized Instagram to reach out to high profile celebrities, influencers and stylists to take their brand to another level.
“Kevin Mccall, we reached out to him a while ago, and we tagged him in several photos and then we wrote him a message on his Instagram photo and he connected us to his person, and we were able to get in touch with him,” explained London. “The same thing [with] Craig Wayans.”
Other high profile personalities they’ve successfully engaged with on Instagram include DJ Absolut (Hot 97), Planet VI (songwriters for the likes of Kelly Rowland, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus) and Jazzy Pha.
Having recently completed business school, fashion model-turned-TV mogul Tyra Banks has made a new business move. She just announced that her company, Fierce Capital, LLC, will invest in The Hunt, the first community driven online shopping experience that makes products seen in social media photos locatable, reports Black Enterprise. This is also the first investment for Fierce Capital.
Banks, who recently completed the three-year Owner/President Management program at Harvard Business School, created Fierce Capital, LLC to help startups raise capital and develop profitable business plans.
Fierce Capital aims to identify, develop and invest in early-stage startup companies, including firms that are female-led or female-focused. It’s the investment arm of The Tyra Banks Company, of which Banks is chairwoman and CEO.
The Hunt is the first community driven online shopping experience that makes it simple to shop for the things you see in photos on sites like Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr. Based in San Francisco, it was co-founded by tech entrepreneurs Tim Weingarten and Simon Peck.
“The site provides a true social shopping experience, allowing consumers to find and buy products based on suggestions from others in real time,” notes BE.
“The Hunt brings a fun and innovative approach to shopping and fashion,” said Banks in a press statement. “What I love most about The Hunt is that women help other women find their perfect outfit H2T [head-to-toe]. I am excited to be part of this new approach to collective retail and styling.”
The Hunt has already surged to one million monthly unique visitors and hundreds of thousands of active members that have started more 150,000 hunts and found over 250,000 products for each other.
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?