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4 Big Mistakes Small Businesses Make in eCommerce

August 22, 2014

Check out this recent article from Small Business Trends on making sure that your eCommerce ducks are in a row:

Whether you run a brick-and-mortar location or operate exclusively online, eCommerce can help your small business expand your customer base, increase visibility, and boost profits. But there’s more to eCommerce than setting up an online storefront and hoping that people will buy.

Many small businesses fail to consider their eCommerce operations from a customer point of view. As a result, they see little to no online sales. You don’t have to be Amazon to succeed with eCommerce, but you should still emulate the aspects of successful eTailers that keep customers flocking to them for online purchases.

Is your small business making any of these big eCommerce mistakes?

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The Threat of Just-in-Time Scheduling

August 21, 2014

Check out this recent article from Huffington Post on effective employee scheduling practices:

One of the most unnoticed labor trends in the past few decades has been the rise of “just-in-time scheduling,” the practice of scheduling workers’ shifts with little advance notice that are subject to cancelation hours before they are due to begin. Such scheduling practices mean that already low-wage workers often have fluctuating pay checks, leading them to rely on shady lenders or credit cards to make ends meet. Such consequences especially affect women and workers of color, who disproportionately fill these jobs.

New research from three University of Chicago professors, Susan J. Lambert, Peter J. Fugiel, and Julia R. Henly, examines scheduling practices for young adults (26 to 32 years old). Many outlets have reported their finding that part-time workers face greater scheduling uncertainty than full-time workers: 39 percent of full-time workers report receiving hours one week or less before work, compared to 47 percent of part-time workers. But less attention has been paid to the race gap: 49 percent of blacks and 47 percent of Hispanics receive their hours with a week or less of notice, compared with 39 percent of white workers.

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How to Earn Customer Loyalty

August 20, 2014

Check out this recent article from Bloomberg Businessweek on gaining return customers:

Question: I get a lot of customers who come into my business once but never return. Do you have any tips on building customer loyalty?

Answer: Loyalty really comes down to this: giving people a reason to shop at your business, rather than going across town or hopping online and spending their money at a larger, better-known company. Most often, people go out of their way to patronize small companies because they know and like the people there and enjoy the shopping experience.

Of course, you have to offer excellent products or services at reasonable prices, but you probably can’t compete for customers who are looking only at cost. What you’ve got that the bigger guys don’t, however, is a reputation in your community.

Be the kind of friendly, honest, service-oriented business owner whom everyone enjoys interacting with, and you shouldn’t have a problem getting repeat customers. Here are a few more specific tips:

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Reach More Eager Customers With Targeted Marketing

August 19, 2014

Check out this recent article from AllBusiness Experts on focusing your marketing efforts:

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a small business owner is believing that your product is right for everyone. It isn’t — and that’s a good thing.

The key to optimizing your product’s marketing performance is to understand who your customer is. Marketing your product to everyone is a huge mistake; targeted marketing is the best way to get your product in front of people who actually will benefit from your product — and buy it. Understanding who your target audience is will ensure that you do not waste time, energy, and resources on marketing tactics that get you nowhere. So how do you do it?

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Social Engagement Comes in Many Forms

August 18, 2014

Check out this recent article from ClickZ on engaging potential clients through social media:

At her session at ClickZ Live San Francisco, IBM’s social business strategist discussed the ways in which several brands have excelled at engagement.

In May 2011, a 3-year-old girl named Lily wrote a letter to Sainsbury’s, a British supermarket chain, about its Tiger Bread. Lily felt that with its spotted crust, Giraffe Bread would be a more appropriate name. After the store manager wrote back, Lily’s mother put the letter on Facebook and it promptly went viral.

“Because of one little girl, a thoughtful supermarket manager, and 150,000 Facebook likes, a major retail brand rebranded a product,” said IBM’s Michelle Killebrew at her ClickZ Live San Francisco session, “Connect, Engage, Collaborate: Building and Sustaining an Audience in a Social World.”

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