Hashtags for Ecommerce

Using hashtags is a valuable way to get your tweets, Instagram photos, pins, and Facebook timeline posts in front of more people. It’s common nowadays to include a hashtag in a social media post, especially for ecommerce businesses. The concept was first introduced on Twitter in 2007 as a way to track conversations related to a particular topic. You can easily join or create any conversation made around that topic. As an ecommerce business, how can you leverage hashtags to enhance your marketing and sales?

Monitor visibility and gain insight into your audience

As hashtags come in handy in categorizing posts by purpose or topic, you can browse through your relevant hashtags to gain insight into what your target market is talking about. In other words, hashtags help in monitoring the visibility of your company or your products. You can monitor what your audience is posting about, what’s trending, and attitudes toward a specific topic or trend. This provides new and certainly valuable information that wasn’t available previously. With this information you learn from tracking hashtags, you can refine your marketing tactics and better target your customers. Continue reading Hashtags for Ecommerce

The Rise and Fall of Flash Sales

This past week, Fab.com made news once again after its co-founder Bradford Shellhammer stepped down. The departure is a bookend to the ecommerce store’s pivot away from flash sales and into the territory of standard online retail, a la Amazon. In its flash sale heyday, the company raised over $150 million in funding and was valued at around $1 billion dollars. Since the beginning of the year, Fab.com has been going through some rapid downscaling in an effort to be profitable. Flash sales used to be the next big thing in ecommerce, but somewhere along the line, the business model’s wheels started to fall off. Surprisingly enough, Zulily, an ecommerce flash sale store for apparel designed for kids and mothers, is trying to launch an IPO north of $200 million total value. This seems to be an outlier though, as there’s a lesson to be learned from the Groupons, Fab.coms, Totsys, and the others out there. How did the flash sale business model fall apart? Continue reading The Rise and Fall of Flash Sales

7 Creative Ways Ecommerce Stores Are Using Instagram

There are now more than 150 million users on Instagram, and it’s growing faster than ever. Instagram is a creative visual platform where people can capture, customize, and share photos and videos. The photos can be also posted on Twitter and Facebook, making it easy to integrate all your social media channels. Before we dive into how ecommerce businesses are leveraging Instagram, acquaint yourself with the basics of Instagram if you are just getting started in the platform.

Instagram allows businesses to share moments that capture the essence of their brands. Brands are constantly trying to find innovative ways to engage with customers on Instagram, and the platform makes it easy to do so. With the use of hashtags, you can track campaigns, host photo contests, market your brand with trends (i.e. #ThrowbackThursday, #WineWednesday), and inspire action.

When it comes to ecommerce businesses, Instagram is arguably the most complementary social media platform to have. People want to have a personal experience with the brands they’re engaging with, and Instagram allows your brand to do this in real time while giving customers a unique experience. There are various ways to use Instagram for ecommerce business, such as showing off a collection of products you offer, giving customers a glimpse into your company and employees, showing customers what goes on behind the scenes (i.e. photo shoots, etc), and more. Here are seven creative ways ecommerce businesses are using Instagram to engage their fans. Continue reading 7 Creative Ways Ecommerce Stores Are Using Instagram

What Google Glass Means for Ecommerce

Hailed as the next step in mobile computing technology, a pointless fashion faux pas data miner, and everything in between, Google Glass seeks to change the way you experience life. When you put on this new piece of technology, you can pull up directions, take photos and video, send and view messages, and do much more. In the professional arena, the product is already being explored for use by soldiers, doctors, security personnel, pilots, and others who need hands-free technology to perform their jobs well. One area in particular that will be affected is ecommerce. With a portable computer on your face, you can do a lot for your online shopping sprees. See something you want to buy? Need some price comparisons? Looking for product suggestions? Google Glass should be able to help you out with these sorts of tasks. Here’s how Google Glass can impact the world of ecommerce.

What is Google Glass?

Shaped as a pair of glasses, Google Glass is a computer that uses an optical head-mounted display to show you information. Think of it as a smartphone that does not require you to use your hands. You issue verbal commands to the device, and it provides you with the information or functionality you need. The initial prototype came out in 2011, and since then, the product was made available to select early adopters earlier in 2013. The official release date is probably within a year, but tech companies are already developing third-party apps for use with the headpiece, some of which pertain to ecommerce platforms. Continue reading What Google Glass Means for Ecommerce

The Marketplace Fairness Act and You

Marketplace Fairness Act

Back in early May 2013, the US Senate voted to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act, inching it closer to its implementation and enforcement. The bill aims to level the playing field between ecommerce fronts and brick and mortar stores by making purchases from both taxable. Brick and mortar stores already collect sales tax based on local tax code rates and pretty much just serve the immediate community around them. On the other hand, ecommerce sites work across the entire country and currently just collect tax for in-state customers (in-state defined as an ecommerce store having a physical address in the same state). If the act is passed, state governments should see over $10 billion in tax revenue from online sales. The bill is still technically up in the air, as the House of Representatives hasn’t voted on it and President Barrack Obama has yet to sign it into law, but he has shown strong support for it. Here’s what you need to know about this piece of legislation.

A Brief History of Taxation and Online Sales

Back in 1992, the Supreme Court case Quill Corp. v. North Dakota resulted in a ruling that required a business to have a physical presence in a state for the state to collect taxes from it. Quill Corporation, headquartered in Illinois, is an office supply retailer that offered North Dakota residents a service that allowed them to purchase items remotely from the Quill Corporation store. North Dakota wanted to tax all purchases made through this, but the Supreme Court sided with the business and struck down the state’s attempt. Continue reading The Marketplace Fairness Act and You