Top 2022 resources on business
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Learn more about business to improve your e-commerce strategy.
11 Grand Opening (and Reopening) Ideas for Any Business
Your new business’s grand opening isn’t just a one-day event—it includes a buildup to your big moment. Whether you’re opening your first business or your 10th, a launch is cause for celebration. Here, we’ll look at real examples of virtual grand openings, in-store events, grand reopenings, and other grand opening ideas to inspire your own.More
Topics: ideas, business, event, store, online, host, live, social, grand, opening, customers, reopening.
12 Expert-Vetted Sample Business Plans to Help You Write Your Own
Ask any successful sports coach how they win so many games, and they’ll tell you they have a unique plan for every single game they coach. The same logic applies to business. If you want to build a thriving company that can pull ahead of the competition, you need to prepare yourself for battle before you break into a market.
Topics: write, youre, template, company, business, sample, marketing, plan, plans, youll, help, expertvetted.
13 New Ecommerce Books for Spring 2022
Once a quarter we publish a rundown of new business books that could help ecommerce merchants. This installment includes titles on analytics, podcasting, events, direct-to-consumer, more.
Topics: spring, ecommerce, hardcover, marketing, learn, success, startup, guide, kindle, business, retail, books.
14 Marketplaces to Buy and Sell Websites
Buyers and sellers of websites and other digital assets have plenty of marketplaces to facilitate transactions. Here's a rundown of 14 options ranging from full-service merger-and-acquisition providers to bare-bones listing services.
Topics: business, websites, sell, valuation, marketplaces, million, sellers, marketplace, online, sale, businesses, buy, selling.
16 Leadership Resources for Any Stage of Your Career [+ 9 Extra Tools]
When you think of leadership resources, terms like ROI, budget, and management might come to mind. But the data is in.
There's a new way to think about leadership. It's time to focus on the relationships that are essential to business success.
Topics: business, offers, courses, great, learning, extra, leadership, resources, help, stage, tools, podcast, career, online.
22 Small Business Tax Deductions to Lower Your Bill This Year
If you run an online store, putting some of your profits towards tax-deductible business expenses can help your business grow and give you a break come tax season.
Even day-to-day expenses—car trips to the post office, or the electricity bill for your home office—could be saving you money, so long as they’re recorded and reported.
Read on to learn about the write-offs you may be missing, and some ideas on how to use them as a means to reinvest in your ecommerce business.More
Topics: ecommerce, youre, bill, deductions, deduction, cost, retirement, business, tax, small, expenses, plan, lower, deduct.
7 Business Models for Monetizing Digital Content
This post was originally published Novemeber 4th 2012 and has been updated to include more descriptions and add relevancy.
In our latest webinar Monetizing Content in a World of Digital Disruption I covered a number of examples from across industries of innovative ways to get paid for digital products and content.
While I encourage you to check out the replay for all the juicy details, this post recaps the various business models represented by the examples.
"Just free" is a legitimate business model, though not a sustainable one (unless you're lucky enough to get bought out by a big fish). Many startups charge nothing in order to get a critical mass of users and word of mouth before figuring out how to profit (think Twitter in its early years). While it's not a viable long-term strategy, it can make sense in the short-term. (Remember, no business is married to just one business model over the life of a product or service.)
Simply free may also be a way to drive sales in another channel. For example, the software is free, but the company makes money on services and/or sister products.
The subscription model is common for all types of digital content - software, gaming, e-newspapers, e-magazines, telco services and streaming content (Netflix, Hulu, Spotify). Many of these types of content use paywalls.
A paywall is a method restricting content to members that pay a fee to the platform. They perform by interrupting content and urge viewers to subscribe to create an account.
Paywalls may be presented immediately, after a free trial, or be "metered," appearing after a certain number of page views or content views/listens. 78% of newspapers use a metered paywall, which allows them to generate more ad revenue than shutting visitors out.
Publishers can experiment with "soft paywall" alternatives like Google Consumer Surveys and Double Recall - interactive surveys and ad-units that provide inexpensive market research for brands and greater recall than banner ads.
Selling content by subscription is getting harder for newspapers, and publishers must figure out how to mitigate disruption from news aggregator apps like Apple News, The Week and Flipboard. Curated news is gaining popularity, but it threatens the appeal of subscribing to individual publications while at the same time potentially drawing in new customers. For example, the New York Times allows its subscribers full access to stories through Flipboard, while non-subscribers see only the top 10 stories in full text. Non-subscribers are given the opportunity to subscribe, and teasers within Flipboard may create that desire to unlock full access. However, revenue driven through Flipboard must be shared with Flipboard.
We have even seen habits shift to a Twitter-like summary of the news, rather than full articles. A 17 year-old recently raised millions in capital for his app that shrinks daily news down to 3 or 4 paragraphs. Says the teen founder “I designed Summly because I felt that my generation wasn’t consuming news in the traditional way any more."
However, other subscription verticals like gaming, software and media are thriving, themselves disrupting the old model of ownership of physical products.
Microtransactions are what they sound, piece-meal access to digital content and applications, being either pay-to-play (streaming content, time-limited access to content or applications) or pay-to-own (download a track, movie, article, image, etc.) This model pre-dates the common use of the Internet - think pay-per-view movies and sports and arcade games.
iTunes is a prime example of a microtransaction model, and O'Reilly publishing has been offering books by the chapter for years. Newer examples include Google's freshly launched micropayments option for Wallet users (a paywall alternative for publishers).
The question remains whether this model will work for news and magazine articles, which are typically one-time reads, where music and video track downloads are more sticky.
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The hallmark of freemium model is offering basic features for a product or services to consumers at no cost but charging a premium fee to access more advances features. There are a few variations of this model:
Free and paid version (e.g. lite use and power use, personal vs. business use, ad-supported vs. ad-free, basic vs. enhanced features, etc.)
Free with in-product transactions (e.g. virtual goods and currency in-game, which accounts for 72% of Apple App Store revenue)
Free and premium with microtransactions (buy ad-free Angry Birds, buy levels and goods within the game)
Ad-supported free products are common across digital verticals, from newspapers and magazines to games and software, on-demand video, music services and social networks. But it goes beyond banner ads. Viggle was an example of innovative ad opportunities in the mis 2000's
Its second-screen app (companion to television) is not only free for users, but rewards users for engagement with TV shows and ads through its own loyalty program. Points accrued from check-ins to favorite TV shows, ad viewing, trivia and other actions are redeemable for real gift cards like Starbucks, Amazon, Groupon, Fandango and Facebook. This differentiates it from other second-screen apps like GetGlue.
Another differentiator is its own proprietary audio recognition technology (similar to Shazam) that verifies a user is watching a program.
The company's also created new ways to watch TV, like MyGuy, a fantasy sports app that allows you to pick your star player for a game, and win extra points when your player is doing well.
Ad revenue comes from TV networks looking to promote their shows and brands that advertise within the app. A TV show pays for point value, which increases the attractiveness of checking into the show. They may also pay for placements in other contests and promotions.
The long-term goal for Viggle was to become an AdWords-like platform where network shows use real-time bidding to drive tune-ins and engagement for their shows. Unfortunately Viggle's goals were shortlived with the advancement of more technology
Today we have Google Play Movies & TV and AMC app which continuously provide content you may be interested in to keep you on the app. For example, if you are watching a tv show they have prompts to upsell sound track and additional content based on what you are watching.
Back in the mid 2000's there use to be Kindles with ads and sponsored screensavers are available at a discount price. This was great for its time, but over the years we have shifted digitally and most freemium models have been provided for software instead like with DropBox and Trello. For DropBox you get access to a limited amount of storage space for free but if you want to get more, you have to pay a premium. Similarly, Trello gives access to all of its boards for free but if you want to integrate it the app with any other system, you have to pay a premium.
The affiliate model is essentially based on commissions. This model allows your company to be compensated for generating traffic, leads, or sales to another company's products and services. These are usually tracked through coded affiliate links. Let's take a look at Shazam for example.
Shazam is an audio recognition app that helps you discover or remember who sings that song you're hearing right now. "Tagging" a song searches its database and presents the answer along with affiliate links to download tracks or buy tickets to local gigs.
Shazam began as all-free, and moved to a freemium model. Its free version was limited to 5 song tags per month, and unlimited access for a one-time payment of $4.99.
Down the road, Shazam dumped its freemium scheme for free-for-all access, a move that can potentially increase it's revenue greatly. Providing everyone unlimited tagging widens its opportunity for affiliate revenue. More tags = wider funnel.
Services like Spotify license content from record labels and independent artists, Hulu and Netflix from Hollywood. Software products white-label. Publishers syndicate content. There are many examples of licensing digital goods.
Beyond content, innovators can license their proprietary technology to others. Shazam could license audio recognition technology to other companies to add an additional revenue stream.
Many content producers are sitting on piles of existing and legacy content that can be remixed into new experiences and licensed to third parties. I covered Pearson's API on the Elastic Path blog, along with 7 other wicked applications of commerce APIs.
The Last.fm music service sits on a mound of listener data, and can offer advertisers highly targeted campaign opportunities. An example is for Puma's Deadmau5 running shoe. The brand was able to target the band's fans within a social network using Last.fm's technology features.
Selling data is an opportunity for additional revenue for digital products and services that collect it.
Similarly, pieces of content can be remixed into new products, or derivative products, used internally or licensed to developers. Two examples mentioned in the webinar are Hark and Eyewitness.
Hark is a YouTube for audio clips from popular movies, TV shows and even political quotes (how timely). It streams sound files and enables social sharing and embedding, with links to rent or buy full content from Amazon.
Guardian's Eyewitness mobile app features its famous photographs, repurposed for iPad. The app is freemium, sponsored by Canon (a fitting partnership). Free users get a daily photo, paid users get an extra 3 photos per day and sports photos for £1.49 per month.
More examples can be found in our webinar, available on demand: Monetizing Content in a World of Digital Disruption.
Topics: app, users, products, digital, free, monetizing, business, access, tv, revenue, models, model, content.
A Practical Guide to Ethical Website Analytics – Top Solutions Reviewed
As technology evolves, so does the power of digital surveillance. One area in which this has become particularly prominent is web analytics. A website that isn’t using ethical website analytics will collect data on where you are, how you use…
Continue reading A Practical Guide to Ethical Website Analytics – Top Solutions Reviewed
Topics: analytics, web, website, solutions, business, practical, gdpr, free, compliant, reviewed, ethical, google, guide, data.
Amazon aggregator Thrasio begins layoffs, names new CEO
The layoffs and new CEO appointment are the latest developments in a series of ups and downs for Thrasio.
Topics: amazon, business, memo, aggregator, company, businesses, thrasios, layoffs, thrasio, cashman, ceo, names, billion, begins, team, techcrunch.
Amazon to close 68 physical retail locations, including Amazon Books and 4-star stores
Amazon’s physical retail business is suffering a major blow as the company today confirmed to Reuters it will close 68 brick-and-mortar retail stores across the U.S. and U.K. This includes its Amazon Books bookstores, its pop-up shops in various markets and its 4-star stores, where customers could shop popular and highly rated products across Amazon.com. […]
Topics: techcrunch, books, amazon, locations, brickandmortar, close, physical, stores, company, workers, retail, business, including, online.
Best CRM Software & Services Compared for 2022
If you’ve been questioning the value of customer relationship management (CRM) software, you can stop now. A recent study by…
Topics: team, crm, customer, software, compared, business, management, best, features, sales, services, email.
Best Financial PR Agencies & Services : Top Financial PR Firms to Help Your Business
Financial companies are often under immense public scrutiny. A single mistake could lead to a scandal that destroys a company’s…
Topics: services, help, financial, best, agencies, firms, media, business, firm, agency, specialize, pr, company.
Best eCommerce Order Management System
Any eCommerce platform requires applications to manage necessary functions. One of those applications is an OMS or Order Management System. Let’s get into what these systems are and provide examples of top providers in the market today.
What is an Order Management System?
Businesses across channels or eCommerce businesses and sellers use an OMS to streamline and automate the sales and fulfillment process from POS to delivery. An OMS system is multi-dimensional and faceted; it touches all aspects of your business from the customer to your sales channels and products, to inventory levels, customer service, and all aspects of the ordering process from printing and packing to shipping.
In the securities market, an order management system is used to transact orders in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Brokers and dealers use an OMS when filling orders for various types of securities and can track the progress of each order throughout the system. An OMS in the Financial markets may also be referred to as a trade order management system.
What should an effective OMS do?
The purpose of an eCommerce OMS is to automate the order fulfillment process so you can focus on decision-making and relationship building. An OMS speeds the process to fulfillment, so your customers are satisfied, and your business model stays solvent. Forecasting capabilities within an OMS can also prevent stockouts – a costly consequence for businesses of all sizes. Here are a few OMS providers and what differentiates them in the market. What works for your business?
You may ask yourself a few questions:
How well will it integrate with my content platform?
What features do I need?
How fast can I make changes to processes?
What's my budget?
What OMS systems work best with my business model/channel?
Can I customize it for alternate payment methods and discount pricing?
Do I need options for multiple currency management?
How will my business change in the next 3-5 years, and will this system scale?
While this isn’t a complete list by any means of all the providers in the market, one of these may resonate with you based on your specific needs.
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Headquarters: Bristol, UK
Brightpearl allows for different types of fulfillment options such as partial or multi-location, or through Amazon. They are touted for their ease of doing business and their customer support team. While they are a more expensive option, they score high with customers when it comes to data integration functionality.
Headquarters: New South Wales, Australia
Fluent Commerce has out-of-the box functionality with the flexibility to launch quickly and a rapid time to value. They are known for scalability as your business needs change. Speed to market and adaptability are key strengths.
Headquarters: Bath, England
Jetti streamlines operations by automating drop shipping. It integrates well into any platform whether that is eCommerce, accounting functions, or shipping couriers connected through your store. Synced information connecting inventory and pricing so you have a clear picture of the state of business, as well as the ability to upload catalogs and other product data sources as needed.
Headquarters: Newark, Delaware
Orderhive offers a wide range of features to manage complexities with a reasonable price tag; including custom tagging for order identification, pre-order, backorder, or partial fulfillment situations, and the ability to convert in multiple currencies.
Capitalizing on its credibility in the accounting software market, QuickBooks Commerce is known for its flexibility and affordability in the OMS category. The application integrates well into other eCommerce platforms and offers business intelligence tools to aid in decision making.
Headquarters: Chicago, IL
An especially useful tool for companies in the B2B wholesale channel. Robust product features such as sales forecasting and tax automation.
Headquarters: El Segundo, CA
Skubana comes with a learning curve given its extensive offering. A single dashboard provides insights by channel, warehouse, and product. Forecasting tools and sales reports are available to help with daily and long-term decision making as needed.
Headquarters: Swansea; Austin, TX; Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Veeqo offers a few extra features for retailers such as performance reports and the ability to manage purchase orders and create labels and invoices.
Headquarters: Chennai, India
Zoho Inventory is known as a small business solution with both paid and free versions. All the functionality you’d expect such as tracking inventory and sending updates to customers regarding orders, however you can’t use the product offline. You do have the ability to connect with other Zoho products. Ideal for value in a small business and they do score well for continuous product improvements.
Moving Ahead With Automation and Convenience in Mind
We know. This can be a daunting decision especially when it comes to making business decisions in a rapidly changing landscape. But Elastic Path can simplify your complexities and business needs.
Take the time to research and drill down to what really matters in your eCommerce strategy and goals.
How can we help?
For more information and insights, check out this ebook: Order Management API for eCommerce
Topics: product, market, system, oms, fulfillment, business, management, best, systems, order, commerce, ecommerce.
Branch carves out new furniture collection as folks return to the office
Customers can purchase premium furniture without having to go through a dealer, saving on average 50% over buying from traditional retailers.
Topics: business, office, collection, techcrunch, return, company, carves, furniture, folks, hayes, products, including, branch, way.
Brand Strategy 101: 7 Important Elements of a Company Branding Plan
Just as an architect draws out a building plan before they start building, you need to develop a brand strategy for your business.
Topics: elements, business, plan, strategy, branding, important, brands, customer, purpose, brand, product, old, customers, company.
Clutter merges with MakeSpace to add scale to the business of moving and storage
Some consolidation is afoot in the world of moving and storage startups: Clutter and MakeSpace, two erstwhile rivals in the market, are merging to form a single company, which will operate under the Clutter brand, serving some 6,500 towns in the U.S. that together cover about 60% of the total population in the country, with […]
Topics: business, told, company, techcrunch, million, companies, add, scale, clutter, merges, deal, moving, makespace, storage, mir.
Cococart sweetens the process for e-commerce companies to take orders immediately
Cococart's tools enable merchants to set up an online store in minutes with no code, no design and no app downloads.
Topics: business, cococart, process, merchants, low, immediately, businesses, techcrunch, orders, selling, ecommerce, companies, started, running, sweetens, online.
Composable Commerce is More than a Cart
It seems the mood music has shifted away from monolith to composable, at least for those organisations looking to gain significant competitive advantage and be able to differentiate themselves by innovative use of technology.
The logic seems clear; select the "best-of-breed" technology at every stage of your development, and progressively up-platform as the requirements grow and change. You may not need a CMS for the MVP / early phases, but you’ll need to plug one in further down the road - that works. Or the tax engine you currently use is OK until you expand into new regions and need to provide additional coverage, no problem.
However, there are two camps emerging in composable which, whilst on the face of it appear similar but can result in radically different outcomes.
Before exploring further, let's look at the typical capabilities that a business needs from a modern commerce solution (in addition to commerce) - front to back:
Front end framework - the glass that allows access and enables your team to deliver the UI
CMS - to manage rich content so that your marketers can develop the brand images and messaging
Search (and Merch) - product discovery, recommendations so that your products can be found, and so that you can deliver the appropriate ranking etc.
Promotions - to improve conversion and revenue options
PIM - to manage product data, workflows, approval etc.
OMS - Order management (and typically complex inventory) so that you only offer what you can sell and deliver on the promise of fulfilment
Marketplace – So that you can onboard suppliers and offer third party products
and of course various back-end ERP, CRM, etc.
A lot of software, but the key thing is that the composable solution should be focused on "what does the business need at this stage of the programme?
Put another way, what is the simplest and easiest way of delivering the business outcome, not "best-of-breed" per se, but "best for me" - and that is critical to your selection of a commerce vendor.
Because, as one starts to review the components and build out a composable commerce solution, it becomes clear that at the very heart, the commerce engine, there are two distinct schools of thought emerging - let's call them minimalist and most complete.
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On the minimalist side we see commerce vendors pushing pretty much all the functionality onto third parties, and I don't mean things that shouldn't be in commerce like Search, CMS, or Marketplace, but core components that any serious organisation needs to operate at the most basic level. In here I put capabilities like Catalogue Management, Pricing data and Product Data (Including Bundles and Variations).
The minimalist approach says "oh, that's OK, all you really need is the cart/checkout and the rest comes from 3rd parties." Which is fine, if you are never going to change your current ways of managing your catalogue, pricing, or product data.
But that's wrong. And the reason is that you are effectively committing to building a bespoke system, from the ground up, from day one. Not only does this dramatically increase the cost, time, and risk to the project, but by its very essence, you are committed to custom build, which means it's not covered by vendor support or SLA, SI/Agency lock-in and growing technical debt.
Of course, it also restricts your choices as you move from MVP through the subsequent phases of your rollout. Without core capabilities you will always have to go outside the commerce engine to manage your catalogues for example - or put another way, you will always have to pay for that capability above and beyond the commerce fee - same for promotions, etc.
The most complete view may look only a little different, but the outcome is radically different. The argument from this camp is that a well-rounded commerce engine will do, functionally, what you need it to do, most of the time, and certainly for the MVP and early phases. Yes, checkout and cart, but also allow you to manage your catalogues, your promotions, your variations, your bundles - you know, the basic things that your merchandising team needs to do to get an offer to your clients and prospects.
The result is a quicker, cheaper, less risky rollout; with more time to spend on innovation, less on heavy lifting, and quicker time to revenue. Not only are you not building core commerce from the ground up, but critically, you get to decide when and if to take on additional functionality - do it when the business requirement is there, not from day one when you must purchase because the capability is lacking in the core commerce platform.
I guess it's OK to just use your commerce system for a cart/checkout and do bespoke build. But if that's all you are going to use it for, then make that decision with open eyes, and pay accordingly. Choose best for me, don't be forced to take best-of- breed due to lack of capability in the core.
Topics: product, way, thats, cart, commerce, engine, manage, composable, business, need, core.
Content Management Systems (CMS) and the Front End
What your customer sees and how they interact with your content matters. User experience is at the forefront of eCommerce success stories, and a key part of that experience is how you as a business create and manage content.
A Content Management System (CMS) is software that helps you create, manage, and change content with rudimentary knowledge of code, or even no knowledge of code at all.
Here we’ll take a look at different use cases for a CMS and how it relates to front end development. Let’s begin with a few basic comparisons:
Front End – anything the user sees and interacts with, or rather the look and feel of your site and functionality like cart and navigation with no interaction with the code or development. Most often called the public facing portion of your site.
Back End – what goes on in the server side. The analogy is a car engine with all its complexities; the back end consists of API, business logic, data storage, and user authentication; what largely is the developer’s world.
When it comes to CMS, it’s usually managed as back-end functionality and it determines the content shown on the front end for any visitor on the site. A few examples of popular CMS names in the marketplace include Wix, Drupal, or WordPress. These applications allow for admin changes without the responsibility of knowing code. However, the confusing part is there are technically both front and back-end functionalities to a CMS. Let’s look at three CMS types:
Traditional CMS – Like the names we’ve mentioned above, a traditional CMS allows an admin to create, publish and edit content with an easy front-end interface like an HTML editor. The file and codes are stored in a back-end database to run the CMS platform. The issue with a traditional CMS is the front and back ends are tightly coupled which results in a limited pre-built application which results in limited control as to where content goes.
Headless CMS – this term comes from the decoupling of the front and back-end functions of the CMS. A headless CMS is deemed “front end agnostic”; there is no default presentation layer. What this means for eCommerce brands? In a headless CMS world, you are free to distribute content to as many “heads” as you desire driven by APIs. That may be smartphones, dedicated apps, or any channel of your choosing.
Bear in mind when choosing a Headless CMS you’ll need to build out a front end customized for your needs. The great news is there are vendors who specialize in providing these development services.
Watch our CEO Jamus Driscoll talk with Patrick Friday, CEO and co-founder of Vue Storefront about the differences between front end as a service and a CMS in an installment of the web series, “The One Question”.
In essence, a traditional CMS appeals to the marketing side of the house, and the headless side to the developer. While there are benefits to both, a hybrid approach is another option.
Consider this scenario: marketers who may have little knowledge of the tech stack are dependent on IT support to get changes made to reflect the business need. This creates tension, bottlenecks, and stalled responses to change. And there’s more…
Phase- driven innovation – You may start with website and rollout to channels gradually. Think of this as an omnichannel strategy eventually evolving into a dedicated app, or a broader business model (B2B, B2C, D2C)
Integrate more tooling – once you’ve adopted a hybrid approach, you’ll have better experiences with analytics and CRM tools
Empower your team – adopting a hybrid CMS allows for less friction between the business and tech sides
What does it mean to have a Composable architecture?
Discover more about the latest approach to ecommerce, it's three core architectural tenets, and whether or not the approach is right for you.
Read the Guide
Take an at-a-glance comparison of each CMS type:
Ideal for marketers
Manage page structure and templates
Little flexibility where content ultimately goes
Flexibility to push content anywhere driven by APIs
Better user experience
Not as marketer friendly when changes arise
Heavier dependence on IT
The same flexibility for omnichannel content through APIs
Ease-of-use interface for marketers
The Choice is Yours
The ultimate decision of which option will work best really depends on your business needs and your team’s makeup. Consider how and who will be managing your resources, and what customer facing experiences you’re looking to create in a commerce platform.
Topics: cms, approach, systems, headless, user, code, business, end, backend, create, content, management.
Do You Need a Business Intelligence Tool?
In an age of massive data, a business intelligence tool can be a necessity for ecommerce merchants. Here's an example using QuickSight, Amazon's tool, with hypothetical Meta Ads data.
Topics: campaign, ads, visualization, tool, id, business, quicksight, need, add, meta, list, intelligence, data.
Ecommerce Product Releases: May 3, 2022
Twice a month we publish a rundown of new services, updates, and collaborations that could help merchants. This installment includes updates on augmented reality, international transactions, small business marketing, and more.
Topics: releases, business, product, ecommerce, ar, aws, merchants, platform, services, announced, small.
Efficiency Pro: Happy People Are More Productive
Thanh Pham is the founder of Asian Efficiency, a productivity training company. He believes building in-person connections and nurturing relationships naturally enhances productivity.
Topics: pro, happy, business, productive, assistant, youll, book, right, productivity, efficiency, yes, dont.
Employee Compensation Options, Near and Long-term
A good employee compensation plan will provide near and long-term value to workers. The plan could have components that are guaranteed and performance-based.
Topics: compensation, longterm, options, near, help, workers, employee, guaranteed, form, equity, business, employees, paycheck.
Ex-Chime engineers raise $4M for B2B payments infrastructure startup Streamlined
While working as the head of treasury at Braintree, Boris de Souza once discovered a $90 million payment that went “missing” for over two weeks because of poor payments infrastructure. “It was my first week on the job, and I received an email from a client saying ‘I think you shorted us $90 million,’” he […]
Topics: techcrunch, engineers, million, ecommerce, businesses, infrastructure, startup, raise, 4m, payment, souza, b2b, business, exchime, streamlined, payments, ach.
Exploring Black Health, Wellness and Entrepreneurship with Muniq Founder and CEO Marc Washington
Black History Month is a dedicated time to remember, reflect and honor African-American history and achievements. At BigCommerce, we’re honored…
Topics: business, history, washington, black, really, community, marc, qa, bigcommerce, brand, founder, look, muniq, health, ceo.
Facebook Marketing: An 11-Step Guide to Growing Your Business on Facebook
Topics: facebook, growing, guide, products, page, audience, target, marketing, 11step, content, media, followers, business.
FloorFound grabs more capital to grow its oversized recommerce business
What makes FloorFound stand out from its competitors is its approach to putting retailers, which often struggle with how to effectively do returns, at the center of recommerce.
Topics: grow, funding, business, richter, grabs, series, resale, company, recommerce, million, floorfound, item, oversized, capital, techcrunch.
For Supply.co, EOS Is A-OK
By late 2021, Patrick Coddou, the founder of Supply.co, was exhausted and burned out, having endured a harsh year for the business and himself. He turned to the Entrepreneurial Operating System.
Topics: vision, changed, company, system, business, eos, told, im, aok, supplyco, problems.
From Family Recipe to 7-Figure Sales: Pan’s Journey of A Decade-Long Side Hustle
Michael Pan fell in love with mushroom jerky during a visit to family in Malaysia. He knew right away that he needed to share the snack with the rest of the world. Michael launched Pan’s Mushroom Jerky and brought this family recipe to the market. In this episode of Shopify Masters, Michael shares how he ran the business as a decade-long side hustle, and how his Shark Tank pitch generated millions in sales in a matter of days.More
Topics: business, going, right, sales, hustle, family, pans, journey, 7figure, able, things, product, thats, youre, lot, recipe, decadelong, really.
Here’s how JOKR became gross-profit positive amid a cutthroat grocery delivery industry
Founder and CEO Ralf Wenzel, discussed, according to him, why his company’s grocery delivery model is doing better than most.
Topics: heres, company, grocery, type, amid, million, customers, techcrunch, business, industry, jokr, positive, grossprofit, online, weve, delivery, inventory, cutthroat.
How 3 Childhood Friends Without Business Experience Built “The Best Brand in Denmark”
In this episode of Shopify Masters, we chat with the founders of the recently named “best brand in Denmark,” Shaping New Tomorrow. The three friends, Christian Aachmann, Kasper Ulrich, and Christoffer Bak were able to disrupt the menswear industry, build multiple physical stores, and scale beyond 8-figures in annual sales.More
Topics: experience, childhood, pants, menswear, friends, tomorrow, shaping, built, good, scale, denmark, brand, best, business, lot, really, products.
How Boxraw’s Founder 3x Sales and Overcame A Broken 7-Figure Partnership Deal
Ben Amanna was endlessly bullied as a kid. At the age of 12, Ben turned to boxing as a safe haven. He became immersed in the world of boxing—from starting a boxing club and winning national championships to promoting live matches and exploring the business side of boxing. Ben’s expertise in the space allowed him to identify a gap in the athletic clothing market: sportswear for the boxing lifestyle. A serial entrepreneur, Ben left behind a lucrative business to launch BOXRAW, an apparel brand dedicated to boxing. In this episode of Shopify Masters, Ben shares how his company bounced back from a failed partnership deal and how he built a community of boxing enthusiasts using social media.More
Topics: brand, going, trying, days, broken, lot, partnership, 7figure, boxraw, started, deal, boxing, really, business, overcame, founder, 3x, sales, boxraws.
How Conversion Funnels Create a Better Customer Journey + How to Optimize Yours
Conversion funnels are a fundamental concept in sales. Personally, I like to visualize the funnel as that big scary slide you wanted to try as a kid. You saw your friends whizzing down, which sparked your interest. You watched how much fun they were having, doing your research. And then the benefits of having fun outweighed your fear, so you climbed up and flew down.
Topics: business, conversion, optimize, purchase, funnel, sales, create, potential, funnels, customers, leads, better, journey, customer.
How Elle Liu Turned a Rough Night’s Sleep into a 7-Figure Ecommerce Brand
Elle Liu was a hot sleeper and often had her slumber disrupted by uncomfortable cotton sheets. She decided to turn this peeve into a 7-figure ecommerce brand called Eucalypso, which creates sleep-friendly, earth-friendly bedding from eucalyptus fibers.More
Topics: marketing, eucalypso, elle, liu, product, lot, sleep, social, 7figure, support, brand, nights, ecommerce, rough, cotton, business, turned.
How Ethey Is Scaling A Zero-Waste Meal Delivery Business Beyond $100 Million
The Americana food industry creates $240 billion dollars worth of waste every year. Nick Spina wanted to change that. So he launched Ethey, a zero-waste ready-to-eat meal delivery company that prevents one pound of food waste for each meal. In this episode of Shopify Masters, Nick tells us about his journey of finding the ideal production facility and launching a successful subscription model.More
Topics: scaling, important, thats, meal, able, challenges, business, right, delivery, zerowaste, lot, million, going, ethey, really, dont.
How Just a 2 Percent Lift in Ecommerce Conversions Can Grow Your Company by $72,000
When 98% of most shoppers fail to complete the checkout, here's how just a 2% lift in ecommerce conversions can add more than $72,000 in new revenue and drive higher profits for your business.
Topics: company, conversion, checkout, conversions, rates, lift, grow, shoppers, customers, rate, ecommerce, trust, business.
How Merchants Combat Inflation without Raising Prices
Inflation could be an opportunity for merchants to improve their businesses. Subscriptions, updated products, new markets, heightened productivity — all are potential alternatives to raising consumer prices.
Topics: retailers, products, combat, example, inflation, raising, market, prices, business, company, upset, merchants, price.
How Tajinebanane Managed 3X Annual Growth and Built An Empowering Community
In this episode of Shopify Masters, Marvin Cavaillé of Tajinebanane shares with us the journey of building a brand for breastfeeding moms, with his sister Ali. We learn about growing community before selling a single product, and the marketing approach that led to 3X sales in their first year. Marvine also shares how Tajinebanane plans to incorporate a social impact mandate in its operations.More
Topics: community, really, empowering, growth, built, business, annual, dont, know, tajinebanane, think, managed, breastfeeding, thing, going, sister, thats, 3x.
How This Data Scientist Used Market Research to Launch A Successful Fertility Business
Amy Divaraniya had enjoyed a comfortable career in data science when she realized she had another calling. After she faced struggles conceiving her son, Amy decided to build a solution to help women with their fertility. OOVA is an at-home test that measures multiple hormones through urine samples and provides personalized results and insights. In this episode of Shopify Masters, Amy shares with us the essential questions to ask when conducting market research and the challenges of being a female founder.More
Topics: really, used, launch, dont, research, youre, fertility, data, scientist, things, oova, im, thats, business, company, product, successful, market, going.
How This Founder Built A 7-Figure Business While Keeping A Full-Time Job
Roc Pilon was just 19 years old when he turned his passion for power lifting and working out into a business. He launched Gymreapers, an equipment and apparel company that makes affordable, stylish products or gym goers and athletes. In this episode of Shopify Masters, Roc shares his methodical approach to building a multimillion dollar business—all while working full time.More
Topics: business, fulltime, market, 7figure, product, dont, need, brand, job, built, able, products, youre, founder, work, keeping.
How Website Accessibility Affects Your Brand's Reputation and Success
If your business site isn't broadly accessible by users with disabilities, you aren't just missing out on revenue, but also exposing yourself to potential legal trouble.
Topics: reputation, brands, affects, success, business, websites, ada, disabilities, compliance, standards, accessible, website, access, accessibility.
How Your Audience Could Shift in Web 3 [Executive Insights + Podcast Episode]
If you work in tech, media, or even marketing, you've likely heard a lot of buzz around Web 3.
Topics: podcast, business, episode, audience, product, internet, marketing, feedback, customers, going, executive, shift, community, platforms, web, insights.
How a “Nightmare” Ring Shopping Experience Turned Into a Niche Business
Shopping for wedding bands is a high stakes experience, due to the cost and nature of the product. So when John Ruggiero and Michelle Luchese went shopping for a wedding band for John, they had a “nightmare” experience finding one that matched his personality and budget. That’s when they decided to launch Manly Bands, a line of rings that uses high-quality, non-traditional materials like dino bone, meteorite, and deer antler. In this episode of Shopify Masters, John and Michelle discuss how to differentiate themselves in a saturated market and how to hire the ideal team for expansion.More
Topics: customers, things, business, thats, shopping, lot, nightmare, experience, ring, niche, really, product, rings, customer, youre, turned, different.
How to Become a Shopify Expert (From Start to Finish)
You may have heard of the Shopify Experts marketplace and considered it as a way to make money selling your services. If that’s the case, it’s essential to understand the fundamentals of the marketplace and what it takes to become…
Continue reading How to Become a Shopify Expert (From Start to Finish)
Topics: start, services, store, shopify, partners, experts, clients, merchants, expert, business, marketplace, finish.
How to Build a Detailed Business Plan That Stands Out [Free Template]
While starting a company may seem easier now than ever before, entrepreneurs have an uphill battle from the moment they start a business. And without a clear, actionable business plan for selling, marketing, finances, and operations, you're almost destined to face significant challenges.
Topics: detailed, free, template, company, need, business, market, street, sales, marketing, plan, stands, product, build, restaurant.
How to Do PR: The Ultimate Guide to Public Relations in 2022
Public relations walks a tightrope between creativity, persuasion, and strategy. If you know how to do PR you can impact every part of a business or brand.
Topics: public, ultimate, social, pr, relations, media, strategy, guide, help, brand, marketing, business.
How to Increase Your Product Sales on Amazon Today
Maximize your full revenue potential on Amazon with these valuable tips.
Topics: sales, amazon, customers, marketing, brand, buy, product, products, box, increase, business, today.
How to Prevent Click Fraud
When it comes to business, the old adage "You’ve got to spend money to make money," couldn’t be more true. Aside from the financial outlay to develop your product and manufacture it, and all the overhead that comes with owning a business, you are responsible for marketing your product so the public knows that your product exists.
Topics: ads, google, ad, prevent, fraud, clicks, business, starts, protect, click, plan.
How to Scale Your Small Business in 6 Steps
Scaling a business sustainably means being prepared for long-term growth. This guide will walk you through how to scale up your business so you always remain in control of your future.More
Topics: plan, business, means, need, marketing, scaling, pantee, steps, service, right, scale, small.
How to Sell CBD Online
The CBD market is booming, and the growth of eCommerce will only amplify it. Now is the time to build and launch a CBD online store. Learn how to build your website and get the top tips for boosting your CBD sales.
Why you Should Look to Start a CBD Online Store?
1. The CBD Market is Growing
CBD is a budding business.The cannabidiol (CBD) market is booming but starting this post with a pun was unavoidable.
In a report released from the Brightfield Group, a company specializing in predictive consumer and market intelligence for the CBD and cannabis industries, they noted CBD sales are expected to reach $20 billion by 2022, with a compound annual growth rate of 147%. While forecasts aren’t set in stone, historical numbers can’t lie.
Ninety-seven percent of cannabis users primarily took CBD for chronic pain relief, while 50% of 100 respondents said they used CBD to reduce stress or anxiety. Looking at the same CBD usage statistics, 45% stated they took CBD to improve a sleep disorder, most commonly insomnia.
Numbers aside, it’s hard to miss the explosive growth and use of CBD products. People of all ages, backgrounds, and lifestyles seem to be avid consumers and it feels like almost everyone has experimented with various forms of CBD for one reason or another. It is truly becoming a mainstream component of today’s culture, which means there is a huge market opportunity for business owners.
Whether you’re already in the CBD business, or looking to break in, now is the time to launch your online store. For those with brick-and-mortar shops who might be wondering whether to expand, you honestly don’t have a choice. Taking an omni-channel approach to your CBD business will be the key driver behind continued success and growth, because if you don’t, your competitors will.
2. ECommerce in General is Exploding
In the United States, sales of CBD in the e-commerce channel are forecast to increase from approximately two billion U.S. dollars in 2021 to more than six billion U.S. dollars by 2026.
The new shopping mindset of the consumer is pushing more companies than ever to turn their sights to the internet, and you don’t want to get left behind.
3. The Constraints around CBD Have Loosened
The passing of the 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized the production and sale of industrial hemp in the U.S., the plant where CBD derives. Legislation helped facilitate explosive growth in CBD products by reclassifying CBD and disassociating the compound from its cousin, THC, giving growers and businesses the ability to legally manufacture, sell, and ship hemp-derived products. This in turn gave consumers easier access to CBD, and as we know today, convenience in shopping is everything.
Positive public perception surrounding weed in general is on the rise with legislators on both sides of the aisle looking to support the full legalization of cannabis.
More than two in three Americans (68%) support legalizing marijuana, maintaining the record high level, according to a Gallup poll. The same research shows Democrats (83%) in support of full legalization, with Independents coming in at 71%, and Republicans on the fence at 50% supporting full legalization.
4. Consumer Demand is High
From recreational use to treating everyday anxiety and stress, or even alleviating the symptoms of more serious medical conditions like Parkinson’s or PTSD, the reasons for consuming CBD are expanding, and just as with any product, consumers like having options.
You can find CBD coffee shops as well as established spas offering CBD massages. Companies even sell CBD pet products. From CBD oil to gummies, chocolates, creams, supplements, vapes, or even chap stick and nasal spray, manufacturers and distributors are getting more creative with what products they’re infusing with CBD.
The Bottom Line is Consumers Want CBD. The Demand is There.
Nine million people started using CBD for the first time due to the pandemic; on average Americans spend an average of $20–$80 per month on CBD.
One in three American adults have used CBD oil, and over 66% of the population is familiar with the product. Moreover, about 40% are using it for chronic pain relief.
What does the average CBD oil user look like? 20% of U.S. adults aged 18-29 personally use CBD products, with the percentages decreasing as the age groups progress.
An expanded customer base means more potential sales and opportunities for your CBD business, but it also means you need to find and define your ideal customer and product. The first step, however, is making sure your business is legal.
Ensuring you Sell CBD Online Legally
The answer to the question, “is it legal to sell CBD online?” is yes and no. If you’re looking to expand your existing company or are interested in starting an online CBD business, I’m sure we don’t have to tell you this, but we’ll restate it anyways – selling CBD oil or other products, online or in-store, is not the same as selling marijuana. They are different; marijuana is in fact still federally classified as a Schedule I narcotic by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
A Quick Overview: CBD vs. THC
Without getting into the weeds, the high-level differentiation between the two is that the compound CBD is typically extracted from the hemp plant, while tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is extracted from the cannabis plant. CBD contains minimal to no traces of THC and is non-psychoactive, so it does not affect the brain the same way that THC does (also, if you caught that last pun, I promise there are only one or two more).
While federally legal, CBD is still highly regulated both nationally and at the state level. The Farm Bill shifted oversight from the DEA to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which means there is a whole array of testing that needs to be done and labeling regulations that must be meticulously followed.
States also have the final say as to whether it’s legal to buy, possess, manufacture, or sell CBD products within their borders. Using hemp-based CBD for recreational or medicinal purposes remains illegal in in Idaho and Nebraska.
Do’s and Don’ts of Selling CBD
Know your state-by-state laws. CBD sellers and buyers should know where CBD is legal. This is a two-way street. As a business owner however, you need to ensure that your online CBD store is built to handle the varying regulations.
To legally sell CBD, all products must be within the THC limit of 0.3%. You need to be 100% positive the products you're selling, or if you’re manufacturing and providing wholesale options, that your CBD products follow this guideline and don’t surpass the legal limit.
Do not make health claims. The FDA has issued warning letters against making health claims. While both marijuana and CBD have documented health benefits, there is only one FDA-approved drug that contains CBD at the moment, the epilepsy medication Epidiolex.
Some states have legalized medical marijuana and the grip on CBD is loosening, so the opportunities for researching cannabis and running studies to understand marijuana and CBD benefits are expanding. Until it’s been thoroughly vetted however, it’s best to steer clear of making health claims.
Finally, your products must be labeled correctly. Your label has to say CBD (among other things). This is essential for you to not only ensure your FDA compliant, but for shipping carriers to acknowledge and mail your products.
Finding a CBD distributor whose products comply with FDA regulations is vital, and just like your customers would expect to trust you as a business, you need to know you can trust your source. There are many components to a CBD business, and your distributor is just one piece of the puzzle.
Starting a CBD Online Business
So you’ve decided to dive in. You’ve researched how to sell CBD oil (or other CBD products), sculpted a business plan, and are now ready to build and launch your brand. There are several pieces you need in place to start selling and making revenue.
1. Finding a Reputable CBD Supplier
If you already own a CBD shop, you can skip ahead to part 2. If you’re just getting started and are looking at reselling CBD products that have already been manufactured or are interested in creating your own, you need a high-quality CBD supplier. There are a number in the market today, both U.S.-based and international that you can choose from.
Many wholesalers in the U.S. have been sourcing their CBD from Europe, where farmers have had years more experience in growing hemp, so sourcing from abroad is an option. With the 2018 Farm Bill in place, I would expect the national options to be on the rise.
Regardless, there are two key documents you’ll want to make sure any distributor has - the cGMP and COA.
Certificate of Analysis (COA). Make this mandatory and make sure you know how to read a COA report. It is essential for you to vet the quality of the products or CBD extract you’re purchasing and ensure you’re running a legal business. The COA is a report that provides the test results and analytics (usually run by a separate 3rd party lab), of the supplier’s CBD goods. It will confirm what plant species the CBD was extracted from, the levels of CBD and THC, and verify you’re within your legal 0.3% limit.
The COA will also give you a detailed analysis and the percentage breakdown of the other components that might be found in the CBD, including heavy metals, pesticides used on the plant (sample below), and terpenes, an aromatic oil that is secreted from the plants (it’s what gives off that skunky or sweet smell). If you’re ever in doubt, you can always get a test run yourself. Neither you nor your customers should be surprised by what’s in your products and you don’t want to be responsible for health risks.
Current Goods Manufacturing Practice (cGMP). GMP is set of rules and regulations set forth by administrations, like the FDA, to ensure that products are safe for human consumption by outlining standards for how they’re manufactured, cleaned, packaged, and handed. Manufacturing facilities that meet these standards will be given a certificate, which is a good indicator for you that their practices conform to FDA and individual state guidelines.
2. Building and Launching CBD Websites
Your online store will be your most powerful tool for driving revenue, so you’re going to want to make sure it’s aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly. Ecommerce platforms come in many shapes and offer a myriad of capabilities and features. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. You’ll want to pick one that meets your business requirements.
Option 1: Pre-Built Templates
If you find yourself short of a web developer and need a solution that provides front-end themes, store templates, and other UI components out-of-the-box, companies like Shopify and BigCommerce might be a good choice. Platforms like these will also include other business critical features like shopping carts, but often provide flexibility when it comes to customizing.
Option 2: Custom Stores
If you want to provide a unique shopping experience tailored to your brand and consumer and have decided to go with a custom front-end, you will need an ecommerce solution that provides core services and features like shopping carts, checkout processes, and catalogue management. These pieces will have to tie seamlessly into your website and companies like Elastic Path or Commerce Tools will offer the type of solutions you’ll need.
Either way, an attractive website with easy-to-understand navigation and fast loading times will make your users’ journey convenient and frictionless, the key to a higher conversion for you.
Due to the nature of the CBD and marijuana industry, insurance companies, merchant account providers, and payment processors consider CBD businesses ‘high-risk.’ Many won’t take you on as a customer.
Payment gateways and payment processors are no different, but there are a number that specialize in helping high-risk CDB businesses such as Payment Cloud or Easy Pay Direct. Make sure that whichever provider you choose, you can seamlessly integrate it with your full eCommerce platform or cart and checkout process. Without the ability to accept credit cards and process payments, an online store is pointless.
A note on cannabis-focused cryptocurrency
You can accept payment types outside of the typical credit card payment. For example, CBD companies like BlueBird Botanicals accept cryptocurrency on their website. Accepting and processing cryptocurrency payments gives you a broader array of payment pathways you can give your customers, many of whom may be trading cryptocurrencies.
From household names like BitCoin, to industry specific options like HempCoin, there are a number you can look at. There is some concern that cryptocurrency will fail soon and that this link between industries will flop by association. However, it hasn’t yet and there seem to be close cultural ties between Cryptocurrency providers and CBD supporters, which is why many speculate the two industries have looked to each other for support.
4. Shipping Carriers
With CBD being federally legal, you won’t face a lot of restrictions here, if you make sure you follow the guidelines of whoever you decide on using. The United States Postal Service has guidelines on shipping hemp-based products. UPS will carry your CBD products, just make sure you’re keeping tabs on what’s required.
Top Challenges with Selling CBD Online & Suggested Solutions
Everything we’ve discussed so far is just the tip of the iceberg. Once you’ve guaranteed your CBD products are legal, built your website, and found funding, the real eCommerce challenges begin.
1. Banking and Payment Processing
We just walked through a short overview of why these are important but finding a payment processor and merchant account for your company is probably one of the most frustrating parts of bringing your CBD business plan to life. Providers that specialize in helping ‘high-risk’ merchants usually have higher processing fees, more restrictions, and will give you less time to solve chargeback issues.
If you’re only selling CBD products online, you’ll have to choose a 3rd-party provider that will process payments for CBD goods out of the gate. If you sell other goods and have decided to expand your product catalogue to include CBD, you already have these systems and providers in place.
This means you may need more than one, and your back-end website logic will have to treat CBD products differently. You’ll have to handle any payment restrictions or limitations at the product-level. This will add a lot of complexity to your site architecture and will require a higher degree of customization in the back end.
Resources for Finding online CBD Payment Processors or a Merchant Account for CBD
The Best CBD Merchant Account Providers
CBD Payment Gateways
2. Risk of Losing Access to your 3-party Providers
You’re at the mercy of whichever merchant account provider, eCommerce solution, or payment gateway you choose. It’s not unheard of for these companies to update their acceptable use policies on a whim and add new limitations to what their platforms can be used for. With CBD still a gray area legally, you’re pretty much always at risk of losing access.
Tip for Reducing Risk: Build a website that decouples your front end, or what the customer sees, from the back end and take a component-based approach to building your eCommerce experience. This is a technical tip but taking these steps will give you the flexibility you need to switch vendors quickly if needed and will give you complete control over your website.
What we mean by this is, don’t lock yourself into a single vendor that offers everything ‘out-of-the-box’ with a particular list of integrations they suggest using. Giving yourself options and flexibility will reduce the risk of you losing the ability to keep your business running.
3. Tying State Regulations into your Cart and Checkout Process
If you’re selling a mix of products that aren’t just CBD-based, you need to make sure your online store can implement product-based shipping rules that will guarantee you stay within safe shipping zones depending on what’s in your customer’s cart.
Different taxes may also apply to different goods and depending on the state, so your shopping cart will need to be able to access the right data and apply it accordingly.
4. Competition and Differentiating your Business
Earlier in this post, we talked a lot about the extensive market opportunity that CBD provides business owners and how the rise of ecommerce is geared up to support the continued growth of the industry.
Unfortunately, with opportunity like this, comes great competition. The ‘green-rush’ is very real. Everyone, from your next-door neighbor to your local coffee shop, gas station, and even multi-national organizations are looking to take advantage of this increase in market demand. Many pharmacies and retailers now carry CBD products. The good news is, it’s still not a reality to sell CBD products on major platforms like Amazon and eBay.
Tips for Beating the Competition: This is why it’s vital you build a trustworthy brand that consumers will love and follow. This starts with you providing a custom, customer-centric online experience. It’s like that saying where you have seven seconds to make a first impression. In this case, your website will have to do that for you.
5. Marketing CBD: Advertising and Promotions
Anyone’s initial thoughts on how to build awareness and beat the competition would be jump on the online advertising bandwagon. Sorry again, but you’ll face huge limitations here as well. Google and Facebook Ads will not run CBD ads. This means you can’t leverage some of today’s biggest consumer platforms to market your products, like Instagram, in the same way other retailers can.
This is a key reason you see brands vying for the attention and support of influencers, which, is a great tactic to explore. However, short of getting the Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski to partner with you and publicly back your business and product, you’ll have to get a little more creative in how you advertise your business.
Tips for Advertising your CBD Business
Focus on increasing website traffic with an SEO strategy and blog posts. We can’t state this enough, but your website is really the heart of your business. Build and implement a solid SEO strategy around CBD keywords and your products. Start a blog and publish regular, educational, and informational content.
The goal here is to establish yourself and your business as an industry leader, or at the very least, as a knowledgeable and trustworthy brand. Blogs are also a powerful tool to connect to other 3rd party CBD companies or industry publications. Offering to link to them in exchange for a mention on their site will increase your backlinks and make you more favorable in Google’s eyes.
Leverage industry publications. Speaking of publications, there are several marijuana and CBD magazines and sites with both print and digital editions, all of which offer advertising in one form or another and have Facebook and twitter followers in the thousands. Take a look at some of our favorites:
Cannabis Culture Magazine
Marijuana Business Daily
Emails. Seems basic but drive site visitors and blog readers to subscribe or leave their email so you can continue to send them information.
Tradeshows. This is huge. Due to limitations surrounding online advertising, you may want to place a higher priority on making it to in-person events. There are several shows globally, multiple times a year - and they’re expanding rapidly.
Tradeshows are not only a great place to meet potential customers and other CBD business owners (if you’re B2B) but also CBD suppliers, growers, manufacturers, labs for testing and analytics, flavor suppliers, and distributors. You might even meet a law firm or eCommerce platform that specializes in CBD.
Top Features to Look For in an eCommerce Solution for CBD
We’ve talked a lot about how your website will be the key to success for your CBD business. All aspects of your business will flow through that online portal and because you’re selling regulated goods, some aspects will be more difficult to manage. Here’s the three key attributes you should look for when building your eCommerce site:
Scalability. Whether it’s handling a larger volume of traffic and order placements, to a growing product catalogue, your site, and primarily your cart and checkout process, should be able to grow with you as your business scales.
Flexibility. You need to seamlessly integrate with a multitude of 3rd party providers that address steps across the entire customer journey to keep the engine running. Just as you should be able to easily weave one into your architecture, should you be able to replace one.
When your payment processor decides to stop handling payments for CBD products you don’t want to be stuck and risk losing the ability to accept credit card info. If you’ve decided to accept bitcoin payments for your products, you ecommerce site will need to be able to handle multiple payment types. Long term, as you expand, you might want to start using multiple languages and accepting foreign currency.
You will also need to implement a variety of tax specifications and shipping regulations by state. If you decide to include an age-verification step in your checkout process, your site will need to be able to accept and process this data.
Speed. You lose revenue for every millisecond your site doesn’t load. We’re not kidding. Amazon did a whole study on it. Your site’s architecture and the tech stack that supports it will directly impact your site performance.
Building your eCommerce Experience with Elastic Path
You only get the true flexibility you need from an eCommerce site that has an API-based architecture that decouples your front-end from your back end. Yes, I’m talking about headless, but merely picking a headless solution isn’t enough - you need a headless approach that is also ‘services based’ (meaning each part of your eCommerce journey is a separate microservice component that can be assembled together).
We’re not talking about using a platform like BigCommerce, Salesforce, or Shopify that offer a form of ‘headless,’ where the APIs are bolted onto the infrastructure already in place, but about building CBD websites with a natively microservices-based back end completely built on APIs. This will enable you to create an eCommerce site with fit-for-purpose components and provide only the features you need.
You can learn more here, about why a headless approach to ecommerce is the best option for regulated or high-risk businesses. With Elastic Path you can easily manage complex back-end logic and alleviate many of the challenges you’ll have to face when building and launching your online CBD store.
Let us know if you want to learn more about how Elastic Path can help you launch and manage your CBD business.
Topics: business, products, need, youre, cbd, sell, payment, ecommerce, marijuana, online, site.
How to Start a Phone Case Business (With No Prior Experience)
Phone cases are everywhere. And the demand for phone cases is constantly rising because of new phone version releases, old phones, broken cases, an increase in population, and new customers getting into the market (like teenagers with their first phones).…
Continue reading How to Start a Phone Case Business (With No Prior Experience)
Topics: design, shopify, printful, cases, start, case, product, prior, store, experience, phone, business.
How to Write a Case Study: Bookmarkable Guide & Template
Earning the trust of prospective customers can be a struggle. Before you can even begin to expect to earn their business, you need to demonstrate your ability to deliver on what your product or service promises.
Topics: customers, write, work, case, product, business, customer, service, study, client, bookmarkable, youre, guide, template.
How to Write a Great Value Proposition [5 Top Examples + Template]
Your company’s value proposition is the core of your competitive advantage. It clearly articulates why someone would want to buy from your company instead of a competitor.
Topics: examples, proposition, products, customers, business, help, product, youll, template, customer, service, write, great, value.
How to evolve your DTC startup’s data strategy and identify critical metrics
We’re generally big fans of plug-and-play business intelligence tools, but they won’t scale with your business. Don’t rely on them after you’ve outgrown them.
Topics: evolve, techcrunch, companies, dont, big, tools, offtheshelf, critical, founders, identify, data, dtc, intelligence, startups, strategy, metrics, business.
I F*cked Up: Three Entrepreneurs Get Real About Their Biggest Fails
Real stories from real entrepreneurs. In their own words, three founders confess their biggest business mess-ups and what they learned from them.More
Topics: real, know, started, went, biggest, business, products, fails, entrepreneurs, product, fcked, inventory, toronto, needed, start.
Is Internal Recruitment Good for Business?
During my days as a journalist, I saw many different forms of recruitment take place. It was common to see reporters and photographers recruited from all over the country to work with the team.
Topics: business, different, employees, good, role, internally, employee, internal, company, external, position, recruitment.
KPI Dashboards & How to Use Them in Your Marketing
As a business leader, a big part of your responsibilities involves ensuring existing projects and initiatives within your organization are on track while creating space for smart new strategies.
Topics: data, dashboards, dashboard, help, create, business, metrics, kpi, team, marketing.
Key Ecommerce Trends That Can Take Your Business to the Next Level
Ecommerce brands need to be prepared for the coming disruptions to succeed in their chosen industry. The trends described below are those I believe will have the most influence in the coming year.
Topics: customers, customer, product, important, social, brands, marketing, key, media, business, trends, ecommerce, level.
Lessons from 16 Years in Ecommerce
Christopher Dobroth has worked in ecommerce since 2006. He's held management and operational positions across many industries. Here are his three lessons for success.
Topics: works, ecommerce, lighting, weaknesses, site, theres, business, lessons, work, ive, team.
Make it Big Podcast: Tapping Into Social Commerce Success with Meta
Welcome to The Make it Big Podcast, a bi-weekly audio series about all things ecommerce by BigCommerce. In this episode,…
Topics: brand, meta, social, commerce, big, success, instagram, business, tapping, going, product, content, really, podcast, way.
My Starting Over Story: How I Revisited a Passion Project During My Lowest Point
A series of events in Terrell Grayson’s life derailed his plans. When tragedy struck his family, he lost his job, his car, and his home. In the midst of the lowest period of his life, Terrell turned to a personal passion and launched The Simple Bow. This is his story of starting over.More
Topics: lowest, mother, losing, simple, revisited, passion, didnt, project, started, business, confidence, mental, point, day, starting, family.
My Starting-Over Story: How I Rediscovered Creativity After Trauma
When Monisha Edwards became a full- time caregiver for her father, her business and creativity struggled. A mental health diagnosis encouraged her to invest in self care. That’s when she discovered candle making. Monisha now runs her candle business full time. This is her starting-over story, in her own words.More
Topics: things, making, started, business, taught, startingover, trying, trauma, creativity, health, really, rediscovered, candles, mental.
Needing Deodorant, Curie Founder Made Her Own
In 2018 Sarah Moret, an accountant and athlete, couldn't find a suitable aluminum-free deodorant. So she made her own. Fast forward to 2022 and that deodorant business is now Curie, a thriving direct-to-consumer seller.
Topics: shark, products, founder, business, customers, started, site, think, body, needing, deodorant, tank, curie.
Only $150 Left In The Bank Account: How This Business Bounced Back
Connor Meakin was a runner who couldn’t run. A devastating foot injury in 2016 put an abrupt stop to his favorite thing to do: compete in marathons at an elite level. This athlete who loved nothing more than to be outdoors had his life upended with doctors doubtful he would fully recover. After fruitless attempts at rehab, he took his health into his own hands, adoptin a new approach to his lifestyle. He soon discovered the benefits of bone broth. After healing his foot and getting back to ultra marathon running, Connor quit his job and launched Bluebird Provisions to share bone broth with the world. In this episode of Shopify Masters, Connor shares how he recovered from financial hurdles and pivoted online to save his business.More
Topics: things, business, lot, product, thats, left, email, broth, youre, bone, going, really, account, bank, bounced.
Picking a Processor: How Security Leads to Success in the CBD Industry
In the year 2022, if you’re in the business of, well, business, setting up an ecommerce platform on your website…
Topics: online, business, industry, help, ecommerce, payments, processor, success, cbd, security, picking, payment, leads, merchant, processing.
Podcast 34: Productivity Insights After Six Months on the Road
In this episode, Drew talks about the five different observations he had while working and growing his business during 7 months of travel with his family, and the people and tools that made it possible. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher EXCLUSIVE RESOURCE: Prefer to read rather than listen? the text transcribe from this episode. Highlights Five different […]
Topics: im, podcast, business, think, road, week, things, productivity, really, months, insights, youre, work, going.
Podcast 35: Top Nerd Travel Tools
In this episode, Drew talks in-depth about the tools that made productive work possible during a 7-month long trip across the globe with his family. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher EXCLUSIVE RESOURCE: Prefer to read rather than listen? the text transcribe from this episode. Highlights 19 Online tools that made it possible to work and travel for […]
Topics: things, kind, business, thats, podcast, tools, dont, im, really, case, going, know, travel, nerd.
Podcast 36: So we just bought AutoAnything.com ….
In this episode, Drew talks about buying a company, and a few major lessons he learned from doing the deal. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher EXCLUSIVE RESOURCE: Prefer to read rather than listen? the text transcribe from this episode. Highlights The Lessons I learned from the AutoAnything deal Links / Resources AutoAnything Press Release Transcript Prefer to […]
Topics: things, think, company, really, going, autoanythingcom, business, theres, lot, bought, know, deal, podcast.
Podcast 37: Intro to Private Equity
In this episode, Drew talks about his own personal experiences in buying and selling companies, and gives a brief intro to private equity, which he’ll discuss in the next few episodes. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher EXCLUSIVE RESOURCE: Prefer to read rather than listen? the text transcribe from this episode. Highlights Insight on selling Drew’s first company, […]
Topics: companies, going, podcast, private, equity, lot, money, business, think, intro, maybe, company.
Podcast 38: How you sell a business—“the Deal Process”
In this episode, Drew talks about the three highlights of how deals go down in the private equity process. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher EXCLUSIVE RESOURCE: Prefer to read rather than listen? the text transcribe from this episode. Highlights Three highlights on how deals go down in the private equity Links / Resources FE International Quiet Light […]
Topics: company, diligence, process, buyer, business, wanna, businessthe, podcast, youre, multiple, deal, gonna, sell.
Podcast 39: The Six Things You Can Do Today to Maximize Your Valuation Tomorrow
In this episode, Drew talks about six things you can do to maximize your company’s valuations. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher EXCLUSIVE RESOURCE: Prefer to read rather than listen? the text transcribe from this episode. Highlights Six tips to maximize your valuation How to decide on your story Tips for minimizing risk Diversifying your traffic sources Getting […]
Topics: really, valuation, sell, maximize, things, today, risk, number, podcast, company, lot, tomorrow, buyers, business, going.
Pros & Cons of Dropship eCommerce
Dropshipping is one of the easiest, low-barrier to entry businesses provided you have access to the internet. If you’re not familiar with the dropship business model it’s relatively simple; you set up a virtual storefront and sell items at retail (without holding inventory), to which you forward for fulfillment by a wholesaler, and you in turn keep the profit.
How Popular is Dropship?
Dropshipping is still a viable business given that dropshippers have the leverage to earn more than 50% profit than those who keep their own inventory; and with eCommerce steadily on the rise even post-pandemic, there is opportunity to reach customers where they are with this method. Suppliers also stand to gain with 18% more profit selling their products to dropshippers.
Sounds simple? It is and it isn’t. In this post we’ll take a second look at dropship and review the pros and cons as a business model. We’ll start with the pros:
#1 Pro – Turn a Profit if the Product is Right
You’ll want to do a fair amount of brainstorming and market research before venturing into the world of drop ship. The key to success is finding your product niche. With eCommerce heavily influenced by competition, you’ll need to stand out in the marketplace. Look at what’s trending; are there upticks in a particular industry such as health and beauty, driven by a social media influencer touting the next greatest skincare regimen? Is there a new craze in mobile accessories targeting the 18–24-year-old set?
Current trends point to increased spend within women’s clothing, baby items, and tools (think specialized all-in-one kits for the home or car), with beauty products not far behind.
#2 Pro – No Inventory Management
Without the pressure of where to store product, you have freedom to test products without buying in bulk. Less overhead, less to worry about. Your biggest upfront expense is how you will host your virtual storefront, but more on that later.
#3 Pro – Work with Trusted Vendor Partners
A good partner is crucial to your success. You’ll want to work with vendors who offer ease of use, support, and speed, such as selecting a reliable Order Management System (OMS). We commonly work with Jetti and FluentCommerce for order management integrations specifically related to drop ship. We cover more top OMS providers in our blog for more insight as to Who’s Who in the market, and what questions you’ll need to ask to determine what provider is right for your business.
#4 Pro – Speed to Market
You’ll be off the ground and running in no time. With no physical retail space and inventory to manage and insure, your startup costs are minimal. Your focus with any dropship business as we’ve mentioned above is the product mix; you’ll want to focus on a niche market or what’s trending like fire in the market. It’s also a good idea to test products since you don’t need to purchase in bulk.
#5 Pro – Scalability
Dropshipping is highly scalable considering you can sell about anything and ship it to anywhere in the world, provided your fulfillment vendor has service there.
And now for the inevitable Cons:
Want to Learn More About the Top eCommerce Solutions?
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#1 Con - There will be Upfront Costs
You are essentially creating your own personal storefront, so you’ll need the platform to build it out and go live. Vendors like Shopify, WooCommerce, OpenCart, and Drupal are common in the market, with WooCommerce known for its economy especially when starting small dropship stores. A basic WordPress site could run between $1,500 - $3,500, however if you need advanced features, you’re looking at additional spend for plug-ins and customizations.
From the Shopify side, it’s an estimated monthly charge of $30 to create and host a site, along with their selection of themes and branding tools.
Building rapport with your customers begins with a name. Choose a domain name that fits your brand style and is memorable. The average domain cost is between $5-$20/year. If you need help selecting a name with a ring to it, try using a domain name generator to see what’s available.
You’ll need to invest in advertising. As your business grows organically you may scale the budget back, but when you launch take full advantage of mobile and social ads to get your name out there.
Ask Plenty of Questions
Look at the basic features offered by a provider such as product, catalog, payment gateways, taxes, and shipping methods, and determine what you’ll require to get up and running. You may not even require additional plugins at this stage in the business.
You’ll also want to consider ease of use with clean user interfaces, and the all-important scalability factor. I recommend looking at several vendors to compare your needs to go live quickly, and where you see yourself in a year.
#2 Con – This is Not a Get Rich Quick Business Model
If you’re looking for overnight success, dropshipping is not the right business for you. It’s not simply opening the virtual storefront and advertising while your fulfillment partner does all the work. A growth mindset will serve you well.
Knowing what to sell and for how long is key to dropshipping success. Bear in mind again with so much competition you’ll need to stand out with the product and how you sell it in your store. This article offers tips on how to make your dropship offer unique and profitable.
#3 Con – You Have Less Control of the Customer Experience
In contrast to a B2C or D2C channel, you have little control over outcomes such as shipping and packaging; especially if you are drop shipping overseas. If there are customer complaints regarding shipping delays it’s out of your control to fix it, if not prohibitive. This is where finding a reliable fulfillment vendor is so important; you’ll need to build a relationship with them and know their limitations and strengths.
#4 - Lack of Quality Control
You’re selling a product sight unseen with little shipping control. The condition of the product once it’s received can be unpredictable. If you have concerns about a product’s initial quality, it’s recommended to order a sample to see and touch for yourself. This is also a perfect opportunity to create product imagery or content for your storefront to put the product’s best foot forward.
Dropshipping May be Just the Right Model for You
A fair number of pros and cons in the drop shipping model, however if you do your market research, keep an open mind, pick the right vendors, and strike while the iron is hot you stand to fare well.
Topics: storefront, need, business, pro, products, ecommerce, cons, product, shipping, pros, youll, market, dropship.
Quora Ads: Are They Right For Your Business?
When you think of online advertising, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? Google? Facebook? YouTube?
Topics: quora, quoras, users, ad, targeting, way, pixel, best, business, right, ads, advertising.
Ryan Trahan’s Journey From College Dropout to 6.8 Million YouTube Subscribers
In 2017, Ryan Trahan dropped out of college, with 30,000 YouTube subscribers and plans to become a full-time creator. Today he’s one of the most recognizable YouTubers in the world, with over 5.6 million subscribers, trending videos, and a penchant for going viral. But Ryan isn’t only a creator—he's a serial entrepreneur who’s been dreaming up and building businesses since he was 14, combining his creative prowess with an entrepreneurial spirit. More
Topics: creators, hes, business, dropout, trahans, youtube, journey, subscribers, content, videos, ryan, college, video, million.
Starbucks to launch NFTs this year, offering access to ‘unique experiences and benefits’
Would you like an NFT with your Starbucks latte? The coffee giant this week announced its plans to enter the web3 space with the launch of its own NFT collection later this year, where the individual digital collectibles also provide their owners with access to exclusive content experiences and other benefits, it said. The company […]
Topics: web3, digital, launch, benefits, experiences, techcrunch, offering, nfts, unique, access, business, stores, nft, company, technologies, starbucks, ceo.
Statrys Review (Apr 2022): How it Works, Fees, Pros & Cons
When launching an online business, you need to consider where your funds will go once you start making sales. To keep compliant with taxes and receive a clear overview of your cash flow, creating a separate business account is advisable.…
Continue reading Statrys Review (Apr 2022): How it Works, Fees, Pros & Cons
Topics: apr, works, fees, kong, statrys, cons, online, business, hong, fee, payments, support, review, pros, account.
Stripe expands its infrastructure play with Data Pipeline to sync financial data with Amazon and Snowflake
Stripe — the payments giant valued at $95 billion — is on a product sprint to expand its services and functionality beyond the basic payments that form the core of its business today. Today the company took the wraps off Data Pipeline, an infrastructure product that will let its users create links between their Stripe […]
Topics: snowflake, infrastructure, sync, payments, play, financial, amazon, techcrunch, users, business, services, expands, user, data, stripe, pipeline, product.
Text Commerce Is Upfront Permission to Sell
Text commerce is the process of obtaining payment and shipping info from shoppers upfront as well as permission to send offers. The model can solve multiple hurdles for merchants.
Topics: service, text, wine, shipping, sell, payment, upfront, permission, ecommerce, address, coffee, business, messages, commerce.
The 13 Best Marketing Channels for Growing Your Ecommerce Business
We’ll define what a marketing channel is, share examples of different channels, and walk through a framework for choosing the right ones for your brand. More
Topics: marketing, alex, email, customers, channels, product, brand, best, ecommerce, growing, search, paid, business.
The 8 Best Free Flowchart Templates [+ Examples]
A flowchart template will help you easily map out business processes, improve workflows, and even clarify your organizational structure — without you needing to draw a single line from scratch.
Topics: process, business, help, templates, free, flowchart, customer, flowcharts, template, best, processes, different, examples.
The Best POS System for Small Business (Apr 2022)
The best POS system for small business is a simple, affordable, and reliable tool for managing sales and in-person transactions. A point-of-sale system empowers businesses to take payments from consumers in-store and track the movement of inventory. With a leading…
Continue reading The Best POS System for Small Business (Apr 2022)
Topics: small, shopify, apr, online, sales, range, solution, tools, system, best, business, features, pos.
The Fallacy of Data-driven Decisions
The notion of data-driven decisions implies the data is perfect and the decision is unaffected by external influences. Neither is true.
Topics: decision, robe, business, public, diderot, datadriven, fallacy, decisions, freedom, effect, managers, data.
The State of Content Marketing in 2022 [Stats & Trends to Watch]
Content marketing is the process of planning, creating, and sharing content with your target audience. It helps you generate brand awareness, convince customers to take action, and drive revenue.
Topics: content, trends, responsibility, state, podcasts, watch, seo, business, investing, stats, marketers, marketing, businesses, social.
The Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Business [+Data From 500 Marketers]
More companies than ever are using Instagram for business. Back in 2017, the social platform celebrated having over 25 million businesses. Today, we can bet that number has likely doubled.
Topics: audience, content, create, followers, instagram, marketers, post, ultimate, data, youll, guide, business, ad.
The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Strategies & How to Improve Your Digital Presence
Would it be correct to assume a major part of your marketing strategy today is digital? Probably.
Topics: strategy, ultimate, improve, content, marketing, strategies, business, plan, paid, youre, digital, guide, customers, media, presence.
The Ultimate Guide to Pinterest Marketing
Pinterest marketing is incredibly effective.
Marketers target Pinterest users by sharing content that’s too irresistible for us to pass up. And with over 433 million people on Pinterest, why wouldn’t marketers want to be on the platform? Not to mention 83% of users have made a purchase from content they’ve seen on Pinterest. So, how can your business use Pinterest as a marketing tactic to help improve your brand awareness and conversions?
In this guide, we’ll cover the answer to that question as well as how Pinterest works, which Pinterest marketing strategies you should implement, how small businesses can benefit from the platform, and which tools you can use to ensure your Pinterest marketing strategy works for your business. But first, we’ll review what the platform is and how it works — let’s get started.
Topics: marketing, pinterest, content, ultimate, audience, guide, social, users, help, images, followers, business.
The co-founder of Brazil’s first unicorn bags $6M for new grocery startup
Mara, a São Paulo-based startup that aims to “reinvent” the grocery shopping experience for the underserved in Latin America, has raised $6 million in a funding round co-led by Canary and Caffeinated Capital. This round caught my attention for a few reasons. For one, Mara was founded by Danilo Mansano and Ariel Lambrecht, the latter […]
Topics: 6m, cofounder, techcrunch, products, mansano, grocery, orders, help, business, brazils, startup, unicorn, mara, lambrecht, brazil, bags.
Top Reasons to Not Choose Composable Commerce
Since spearheading the Composable Commerce movement and advocating for its game changing tenets and architecture, we’ve made it our mission to reimagine eCommerce for leading brands.
By definition, Composable Commerce refers to a modular digital commerce approach utilizing composable architecture. The API-first, microservices-based architecture powers solutions to achieve unique business needs in a customized tech stack.
Composable Commerce enables marketing, merchandising, and sales teams to bring a brand's unique digital vision to life by launching and continuously optimizing digital commerce experiences that leverage multiple, best-of-breed vendors composed together into a complete business-ready solution.
Digital commerce footprints no longer fit the one-size-fits-all model from one vendor. Back in the first wave of the eCommerce revolution businesses ventured online with standardized platforms and minimal control over outcomes.
The eCommerce landscape of today is far more demanding. With far more touchpoints, a saturated market, and consumer expectation for modern digital experiences, businesses can no longer rely on outdated legacy platforms that can’t keep up. Out of this demand for innovation in the eCommerce space is the Composable Commerce movement.
But, what if the Composable Commerce approach isn’t for everyone? You may have heard Gartner’s prediction that by 2023 organizations who have adopted a Composable Commerce approach will outpace competition by 80% in the speed of new feature implementation.
A compelling case, but let’s take a look at the reasons why a company may not fit the Composable Commerce model. ￼First and foremost, you may be completely happy with the out-of-the-box functionality of your platform. If your existing solution checks all the boxes for your business for where you are right now, you may not see a reason to replatform.
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The Size of Your Business
Smaller operations don’t require multiple vendor partners and integrations that composability affords. New businesses, home startups, and small mom and pop shops (10K and under of GMV), don’t have complex business requirements that would necessitate all the functionality and capabilities of a composable solution.
Low-Level Digital Maturity
You have low digital maturity if you have little to no in-house technical expertise, and no intention to hire a partner with technical expertise. In addition, your business is likely new to digital commerce and does not yet see it as a fundamental driver of business success. Being low in digital maturity is not a bad thing at all – it’s about finding the best vendor solutions to match your needs. For low maturity companies, out-of-the-box eCommerce solutions are your best investment.
If your catalog is fairly simple with limited product variations you don’t need functionality to manage multiple brands, geographies, or hierarchies. In addition, if you’re operating solely in the D2C or B2C channels, without a plan in the short term to expand into new markets (B2B, B2B2C), a flexible, fast, and scalable architecture is not necessary. Again, an out-of-the box solution you can manage without a development team is a better choice. You can always re-evaluate (and replatform) as your business grows.
Logistics of Managing Multiple Vendors
Adding multiple services and vendors requires a certain level of management. You’re dealing with numerous sales and support teams and integrating with their software.
Our answer to that challenge is Composable Commerce XA™, proprietary monitoring technology enabling Elastic Path to monitor integration data flow to quickly and easily identify the source of an issue across a multi-vendor solution. And in the event of an identified issue, we serve as the primary point of contact throughout the process of managing issue resolution across a multi-vendor solution.
With the complexity of multiple vendors are these sub factors:
Multiple Service Level Agreements
Each vendor will have their own Service Level Agreements (SLAs) in a composable solution. With an open ecosystem of vendors, it can be a challenge to predict consistent service levels.
Microservices-Based Architecture Can Be Overwhelming
Within an eCommerce composable solution, you’ll need to work across separate interfaces and tools. This takes investment of time and money and is daunting to a less technical team. Many companies who are ready to adopt the approach choose a system integrator or agency to provide guidance with the process in lieu of an in-house technical team.
A Great Place to Start
Today’s eCommerce landscape is fiercely competitive. You’ll need to leverage every tool to remain in the game. Wondering about your next move when it comes to eCommerce? Check out our eCommerce evaluation tool.
Topics: ecommerce, vendors, vendor, digital, business, solution, reasons, composable, architecture, multiple, commerce, choose.
Triple Whale Review: Everything You Need to Know
During this Triple Whale review, we’re going to be looking at a leading analytics solution, designed to change the way companies interact with metrics and data. One of the most complex parts of running a successful business is getting insights…
Continue reading Triple Whale Review: Everything You Need to Know
Topics: whale, companies, triple, app, data, need, multiple, review, business, view, track, know.
Unsure about a New Project? Try a Pilot Program
Launching a new product or feature is exciting but risky, especially if it requires capital. A well-structured pilot program can provide answers.
Topics: project, items, investment, line, program, food, business, revenue, unsure, pilot, plan, try.
Upgrade gives hair stylists tools to market, sell custom wigs from one marketplace
Remember Mary J. Blige’s hair at the Super Bowl? That was via Upgrade.
Topics: company, sell, marketplace, market, hair, business, winters, wigs, upgrade, tools, gives, stylist, techcrunch, stylists, women, working.
What Are Local Citations [+ 4 Steps to Build Them for Your Business]
If you’re not sure what local citations are, don’t worry — you’ve probably come across them while looking for a new service-provider, brand, or company.
For example, a few weeks ago, my sister came to town and wanted to take me out to dinner. She’s unfamiliar with the area’s local spots, so my sister took to Yelp to find a restaurant we’d both love. After scrolling through Yelp, she found a Black-owned restaurant called 7th + Grove that had rave reviews.
Topics: search, directories, online, citations, steps, websites, submit, business, nap, build, local, information.
What Does It Mean to be API-first?
If you’re building a commerce platform, why reinvent the wheel when the right APIs will do? In his essay, APIs All the Way Down, Packy McCormick suggests that instead of building from scratch, companies can gain a competitive advantage from leveraging APIs. According to McCormick’s argument, by building a commerce platform out of APIs, there are two main ways to differentiate: By creating custom solutions paired with API-based components, or by organizing API-based components in a novel or interesting way. (I’ll talk more about how that can work later.)
The issue for many companies is the abundance of commerce APIs, which create an unnecessary perception of difficulty. The old way of thinking is based on the illusion of simplicity, wherein one vendor controls the entire commerce stack. Unfortunately, a monolithic software stack creates inertia and an inability to move fast enough to keep up with changing technologies and shopper preferences. As a result, commerce teams are forced to look beyond the monolith to achieve their business objectives – shattering the illusion of simplicity that drove their purchase of a monolithic solution in the first place.
That’s where a solution like Elastic Path can help, as it provides the logic and building blocks for getting started with an API-first commerce ecosystem. We make it simple to select and integrate the best tools for your business requirements and follow best practices to unleash the combinatorial power of APIs, as opposed to drowning your business and technical teams in complexity.
But how do you know if the technology you select is truly API-first? Many companies attempt to disassemble legacy monoliths and repackage or refactor them as microservices-based, API-first platforms. This approach adds unnecessary complexity, and flies in the face of API-first, cloud native principles meant to accelerate innovation.
In part one of this two-part series, I’ll cover what it means to be API-first. In part two, we’ll dive into what differentiates an API-first company from dressed up middleware.
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The Rise of the Request/Response Model
An API-first approach means thinking of an API as the most important user for an application. In an API-first company, the APIs are often the first thing to be developed, and all new functionality should be exposed as an API. This approach is much different than “code-first,” where developers create an application first, and insert the API at the end. Legacy commerce vendors that are retrofitting their software to work with APIs fall in the code-first category. This approach can be an issue if the original application isn’t structured in a way that makes it simple for the API to access data.
API-first isn’t as simple as adding an API to the end of an overly complex system. As Chris Sperandio wrote while at Segment, “APIs are eating the value chain.” In the old enterprise software business model, companies bought packaged applications to streamline certain functions of their business, and these vendors charged extra for external API connectivity. Companies were forced to adapt to the way software vendors did business. Today, software is too interconnected to play that way.
Instead, a request/response model is taking over. API-first companies exist entirely between the HTTP request and response. As Sperandio writes: “Companies like Stripe and Twilio set themselves apart not only by the sheer amount of operative complexity they’re able to put behind an API, but because of how elegant, simple, and downright pleasant their APIs are to use for developers. In doing so, they give developers literal superpowers.”
The packaged enterprise software suites of the past few decades don’t function well in this Request/Response model because they aren’t built with APIs in mind. They’re built as self-contained ecosystems. That means their users are missing out on everything great about an API-first ecosystem: an improved developer experience, higher performance storefronts, reduced costs, faster time to market, and the ability to easily integrate with countless other “best-for-me” services.
Stay tuned for part two of this series, where I’ll explore what this means within ecommerce, and what differentiates an API-first company from dressed up middleware.
Topics: commerce, way, api, software, does, means, business, companies, mean, simple, apis, apifirst.
What Glossier got wrong
The fundamental disconnect: Software-enabled businesses don’t necessarily monetize the same way that software businesses do.
Topics: tech, beauty, business, techcrunch, public, glossier, way, youre, wrong, companies, work, company.
What Is Small Business SEO?
Despite being a small business, it’s still possible to develop an SEO strategy that helps you stay competitive in your market.
Topics: local, website, seo, business, google, helps, site, small, image, search.
What I’ve Learned about Ecommerce Platforms
Contributor Christopher Dobroth has spent 16 years in ecommerce. He has used many ecommerce platforms. Here's what he's learned to date.
Topics: ive, ecommerce, worked, need, features, resources, business, bigcommerce, platforms, budget, learned, platform, needed.
Why Your Agency Needs Composable Commerce Solutions in the Mix?
Composable Commerce may have reached buzzword status, but its driving force in today’s eCommerce success stories is unrefuted. Both major and up and coming brands are adopting its approach and architecture to transform the customer experience at speeds faster than ever expected. Today’s customer demands it.
As an agency it’s critical to be at the forefront of technology, with every resource at your disposal to deliver on your client’s expectations. Composable Commerce is the right now of eCommerce. Here’s why your agency should join the movement.
Composable Commerce Changes the Game
With the flexibility of modular architecture and the open ecosystem of vendors, brands like never before have more control of user experiences and have the ability to scale at speeds faster than ever before.
One of the Big-Five publishers had outgrown ShopifyPlus, but was worried it would take too long to move to a new eCommerce platform. They migrated in only 54 days using one of our Pre-Composed Solutions™.
Composability supports brands and businesses who need to pivot quickly with growing demand. And if the last two years taught us anything it’s that change is constant.
Composable Commerce Supports Complex Business Requirements
In the early days of eCommerce, monolith systems were the gold standard; an out-of-the-box functionality with core features in a one-size-fits-all model. But for businesses (and your potential clients) with more complex needs, this platform can’t keep up with demand when it’s time to iterate.
Think of businesses with instances of “multis” – multi brands, multi geographies, multi channels, or multi catalogs. This level of complexity requires modularity; the flexibility and speed that a microservices-based, API-first approach offers without the bloat of features not needed and the slow to market speed of a monolith. (If the wheels don’t fall off first).
Composable Commerce Opens Up New Partnerships and Revenue
With an open ecosystem of vendors great partners lead to even greater implementations. For functionality ranging from search, tax, chat, payments, CRM, OMS, and more, you’re opening the possibilities to develop even better solutions. Through our community of implementation, solutions and tech partners, we’ve developed unique solutions for brands ready to take the first steps into composability.
Composable Commerce is future-proof. Referencing the modular building block analogy, the components are meant to be swapped for better functionality. There is no locked-in vendor solution, the approach is based on a best for the business need.
For your agency this means growing partner relationships and opportunity to develop unique solutions – great for your reputation as an innovator and great for your revenue to always be building better. You want to stay ahead of the game with your clients, and composability by design is built for change.
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No Other Approach Brings Business and Tech Users Together
Speaking of a growth mindset and the power of partnerships, another key tenet of Composable Commerce is its benefits to both business and tech stakeholders. We’ve already touched on complex business requirements and the ability to iterate at speed, but let’s take another look at what that means for the stakeholders involved.
In a recent Gartner study, 84% of respondents indicated there can be more than twelve primary leaders of a digital commerce initiative. The remaining respondents cited no primary lead for a digital commerce strategy. Similar questions posed in a 2019 survey produced the same results. A shift has occurred towards a digital commerce approach of total ownership distributed across the organization.
So what does that mean? A siloed environment is death to the customer experience. A friction-free customer journey starts with open communication and a shared roadmap among all teams involved. And that opens the conversation to developers, marketing, customer service, and operations teams; wherever data and customer touchpoints can be identified and streamlined in the solution.
A happy customer is confident and ready to purchase. For you as an agency, happy customers lead to conversions, and conversions lead to happy clients.
The Composable Commerce Approach Can Be Gradual
Let’s say you have a client on a monolith commerce platform who is reticent, rightfully so, of making the switch to a more composable solution. It can be daunting for a business new to a multi-vendor solution and microservices-based architecture; especially those without an in-house dev team.
The good news is they can gradually transition over one functionality at a time. Let’s say they need more self-checkout options at point-of-sale – those integrations can be made with their existing legacy system and launched quickly without disruption to the business.
You can now set the stage for future implementations with total client confidence because you’re meeting the client where they are, not forcing a canned sales pitch of services they don’t need.
Incredible Opportunities in Growth, Technology, and Industry Reputation
It’s official – eCommerce has gone composable. It will benefit your agency’s bottom line to advocate for its adoption, but also your reputation as a thought leader and innovator.
Read more about our community of Solutions and Tech partners and find out more about joining the Composable Commerce movement as a partner.
Topics: customer, commerce, solutions, tech, needs, mix, agency, business, brands, ecommerce, platform, approach, composable.
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