Online Coupons, Retail Changes, Avoiding Online Pitfalls, New Mobile Device, Online Videos

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istock_000007397325xsmallThis week’s roundup has everything to do with the internet. From coupons to videos the way retailers are reaching online customers is ever changing. The possibilities of expanding your business and profits through the internet are virtually endless if you have the right tools and knowledge. Here are a few ideas to help you evolve as an online retailer.

1. Drugstore.com reports big uptick in online coupon usage – Drugstore.com states that the number of online orders coming from customers searching for bargains is up over 90% this year. They are experiencing a dramatic increase of more than 75% of visitors on their coupon and clearance pages.

This article is great inspiration for improving profits and attaining loyal customers. Perhaps you could offer a few online coupons or a weekend clearance sale to drive visitors to your site. You could gain a whole new loyal customer base.

2. Retail Has Changed Forever – A very interesting article that talks about the retail industry splitting into three parts companies that compete on price, companies that compete on uniqueness and companies that just can’t compete. It goes on to say that the comparison shopping is made easy with the internet making it hard for some companies to compete such as Circuit City who recently closed their doors.

The article gives some great tips on competing through uniqueness to differentiate your business. Of course the obvious one is to offer unique products but it also discusses value added services and customer experience.

3. The Top 7 Mistakes Small Retailers Make On-line – James Dobson, Internet Consultant goes over the top 7 mistakes that small retailers make online that can hurt their sales and business. This is a must read for any online retailer even if you think your doing great. Don’t be disappointed by your online efforts take these tips from James and implement them immediately to see proven results.

This article will help you with marketing, naming, customer service, order fulfillment and so much more. Learn the top seven key parts to being a successful online retailer.

4. Sprint to Offer Mobile 3G Wi-Fi Device – The way that you conduct business outside of the office could change forever with the announcement of Sprints new Novatel Wireless MiFi 2200 intelligent mobile hotspot device. The device will connect to Sprints 3G network and add up to five wi-fi enabled devices.

This is an important move ahead technology for small retailers that want to offer products outside their traditional stores such as a flea market or community event. Sprint give the following example: Portable retail: Five vendors at a local art fair have kiosks in close proximity. Accessing one MiFi 2200 device signal, they each run a credit card point-of-sale device over WiFi and have secure backhaul.

Read our Review of the Sprint Novatel Wireless MiFi 2000.

5. Small retailers report success with online video – This is a small article with a BIG idea! What a great way to market your business or products, using video hosting services to get your message out. In a recent survey by vzaar a diamond retailer saw a 65% sales increase in four months after adding video reviews. If you’re looking to increase awareness and sales of your business this gives you great insight to video marketing.

Sprint Novatel Wireless MiFi 2000 Review

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sprintmobilehotspotCompany: Sprint
Product: Novatel Wireless MiFi 2200
Price Range: $100 after a $50 mail-in rebate, bundled with a new two-year service plan.
Available: First week of June 2009

Novatel Wireless MiFi 2200 Overview

Sprint’s Novatel Wireless MiFi 2200 intelligent mobile hotspot device will be available the first week of June 2009. It will allow you to connect up to five Wi-Fi devices simultaneously to Sprints 3G network. The MiFi 2000 creates a localizes Wi-Fi connection that any device equipped with Wi-Fi can use such as laptops, desktops, iPhone, MP3, game consoles and much more. The device is small and provides a built in battery that will run up to 4 hours or 40 standby hours with a single charge. The MiFi 2000 is equipped with security using WPA2-PSK, WEP and SPI Firewall. Sprint anticipates that businesspeople will be interested the device when traveling or out of the office.

Novatel Wireless MiFi 2200 Features

  • Easily fits in the palm of your hand
  • Brushed aluminum finish
  • Provides mobile broadband Rev A Internet access wirelessly
  • Supports up to five WiFi-enabled devices
  • Simple to connect with Hands-Free Activation (OMA-DM). No software installation required
  • Universal Wi-Fi compatibility
  • Advanced security through WPA2-PSK, WEP and SPI Firewall
  • Battery provides four hours of user time, 40 hours standby on single charge
  • MiFi GPS capabilities to take advantage of select location and mapping applications, such as getting driving or walking directions or finding the best restaurant nearby

CPSIA Guide, Wireless POS, Instant Webstore, Internet Ticketing, Windows 7 and POS

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thumbnailIn this weekly roundup there is everything from yard sale regulation to customers buying directly through advertisements. Grab a cup of coffee and find out what new regulations the CPSIA has put in place, how to bring your product directly to the consumer and some great tidbits on point of sale.

1. Analysis of the New Retailer’s Guide for the CPSIA – Informative article that outlines the good and the bad of the new Consumer Product Safety Commission Retailer’s Guide. Ian, the author, places a direct link in the beginning of the article to directly download the guide.

Some of the good news is there are tables and illustrations to help understand what the law is. That way you know what can and can’t be sold, avoiding jail time or a hefty fine!

The bad news sounds much worse for the average mom and pop shop or an everyday American trying to make a buck. You see even the common yard sale falls under these “new” guidelines! Yep, your garage sale now is regulated by the government. You have to read this to believe it.

2. Wireless Point Of Sale And Mobile Marketing Increases Business Profits – This article contains some great facts about how using a wireless POS can increase your profits. The cost of implementing pays for itself quickly and you will never turn back from this mainstream technology.

The example for the hospitality industry sells the concept of wireless point of sale immediately. Staff can take orders at the table eliminating the line at the stationary POS as well as relieving the kitchen of getting multiple orders all at once. This drastically improves wait times and customer service.

Imagine the possibility of a wireless mobile POS at stadiums, trade shows, race tracks, casinos and more!

3. Take the Webstore to the Customer – This is a short article featuring a different approach to traditional e-commerce. I included it because it’s such a remarkable idea everyone should be using it! A company named Avenda has enabled customers to purchase items from the Avenda webstore directly in the advertisement without leaving the current website. What a way to boost sales!

4. Internet ticketing firm TicketLeap now at the box office, too – TicketLeap Anywhere is a web based box-office ticketing program just released by TicketLeap. They provide internet ticketing services for small to midsize events.

TicketLeap Anywhere is different from other web based ticketing programs. This product allows any person to use their computer to sell tickets to their event or any event. TicketLeap came up with this product in response to customer requests and it is catching on quickly.


5. XP Mode in Windows 7 is no cop out
– This is a practical, real experience of one user trying to decide if he should upgrade the point of sale software client to Windows 7. He describes the process he went through using XP Mode to enable the POS software to run correctly. This may be a very informative article if you are considering running Windows 7 with your current point of sale software.

6. BONUS – Kudos to MerchantOS for being featured on InYourShirt.tv! Click here to view the video!

Go-Tags, Panasonic POS, Beating Large Retailers, POS Licenses, Increase Your Revenue

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3d human pick up a percentResearching articles for this weeks roundup proved extremely interesting. Learning about Go-Tags and the technology that comes along with it was amazing. The techniques outlined in the article about competing with the big box should be printed an hung on the wall of every small retailer, its great stuff! I also learned of a new concept for increasing revenue that I would have never thought of before. Enjoy this weeks retail and point of sale roundup.

1. Which Comes First, Stickers or The Phones? – “Go-Tags” is an interesting concept from First Data Corp. that will be available at some retail chains around the country. A Go-Tag is a contactless sticker that can be attached to mobile handsets for use at a point of sale. First Data Corp. has already made a deal with Visa to expand merchant acceptance in order to peak consumer interest.

CEO of product innovation Barry McCarthy hopes the demand will spur network operators and handset manufacturers to integrate the feature into future phones.

“We think we can kick-start this market.” he says.

It seems consumers were fast to accept the stickers and on average used it more frequently than conventional cards.

2. Panasonic broadens POS support – Panasonic has opened up its support base for their leading hardware platforms to add seven POS management software systems. This allows those software providers to offer their POS suite on Panasonic’s hardware including the new Stingray workstation. Read the rest of the article to view the seven POS software suites that will easily integrate into the Panasonic platform.

3. 5 Things Small Retailers Need to Compete with the Big Box Great article for any small retailer that has faced the fear of a large retail corporation moving in on their territory.

“It is only the small merchant that can truly compete with big box.”

The list contains five things that you should do to beat out the Big Box competition. Be proud you’re a small retailer and remember customers love a personal touch.

4. Point-of-sale license issue aids hunters – Pennsylvania has jumped on the bandwagon that many states have already joined…POS Hunting Licenses! These hunters can now join the modern age by purchasing their licenses through a system the Pennsylvania Game Commission calls appropriately “Point of Sale”. The system will let hunters have a new smaller license that will be easier to obtain rather than the old large paper tags on your back.

“It will provide opportunities for the Game Commission to monitor license administration, license sales, create strategic business plans based on trend analysis and, most importantly, create marketing plans based on more accurate customer demographics.’’

5. Want to Increase Revenue? Reduce Your Inventory – When I first started reading this article I thought it was a backwards concept. As the article continued it began to make sense less on-hand inventory is a great way to increase your revenue! This is a must read for any retail business especially specific niche type stores. Grab a pencil and paper, follow the steps outlined in the article and you may be able to reduce unnecessary inventory to help with your overall costs.

Low Cost Marketing, Smart Fixtures, Mobile POS, Retail Internet Technology

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expressive woman shoppingThis weeks weekly roundup is full of technology news for the retail industry. It seems shopping has come a long way from the old clunky cash registers and little variety. In today’s retail environment a customer can find what they want, when they want it and quickly. This makes every market very competitive in which you will only survive if you can provide the best customer service combined with an excellent product.

1. Low-Cost Marketing Ideas to Help You Ring Up More Sales – Another great marketing article from the Specialty Retail Expert. Patricia discusses five low cost marketing ideas to improve your overall business. These ideas are simple and straightforward she suggests giving away a monthly prize or a product giveaway promotion with a purchase. Customers love when they get something for free and it will keep them coming back for more.

2. Penney’s ‘smart fixture’ rolls out as next technological step – This is amazing technology that you must read about! J.C. Penney has taken shopping to a whole new level by implementing the smart fixture. The smart fixture is a door frame size structure that has a touchscreen and runs an application allowing for customers to scan an item, learn more about the different features and even have the information e-mailed to them. J.C.Penney has applied for a patent on a smart fixture they plan to test next month in a few stores…it’s called “findmore jcp interactive store”.

3. Live chat drives sales, satisfaction, but only when executed honestly – It’s amazing to learn that a live chat application on a website can bring more satisfaction to a customer than calling the store customer service hotline. James Brickers discusses the benefits and downfalls of offering live chat to your web-based customers. Number one no-no don’t use chat bots and always train your chat operators to be superior in customer service.

4. Which businesses should use Mobile Point of Sale Equipment? – We all know the answer to that question…any business that wants to keep their customers happy. Times are tough economically right now and the fastest ways to lose a customer is poor service and long wait times. This article discusses various options for mobile point of sale along with logical reasons every retailer should be using it.

5. Bravestorm unveils click-to-call for small retailers – This goes hand in hand with the live chat article. Bravestrom has announced a beta version of BoldCall Express click to call. It is an online lead generation tool to help retailers connect with their customers. A button placed on a website is clicked by the customer requesting that a representative from the business call them. The calls can be routed a variety of different ways to suit the business using the feature. It’s affordable, it’s new and it will bring personalization to your web based customers.

“Our goal was to make click-to-call technology easily accessible to any business,” says Bravestorm president and CEO Steve Castro-Miller.

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