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

Gamification and Ecommerce

Gamification

Whether you’re into video games or not, you cannot ignore the behemoth known as the video games industry. In last year alone, the gaming industry saw over $63 billion dollars in revenue, and trends suggest that there is nowhere to go but up for the future. Many non-gaming companies have already noticed the power of gaming and are using gaming experiences to build their brands. Hence, the term gamification was born. You don’t have to be a true video gamer to participate in gamification. There’s a good chance that you have played in a game constructed by one of the many brands you interact with.

To step back a bit, let’s define gamification. Gamification takes typical video game mechanics and applies them to user engagement. Theoretically, this strategy works because it plays towards human beings’ competitive drives and desire for rewards. Do you check in to restaurants and buildings on Foursquare to receive badges you can display across your social media channels? Do you rack up points at the local coffee shop in order to get a free latte? Do you submit posts to online forums for badges that come with hitting certain posting milestones? If you said yes to any of these things, gamification has touched your life. In a recent Gartner study, the firm projects that 40 percent of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification some way in their business operations by 2015. Gamification is here to stay, and here are some approaches to using gamification for your ecommerce store. Continue reading Gamification and Ecommerce

5 Common Mistakes Ecommerce Businesses Make with Social Media

Social Media

Ecommerce businesses have much to gain by integrating social media channels into their general web presence. We all know that Facebook and Twitter serve as general hangouts, but they also help build your brand, strengthen your community, and generate quality leads to your website. While social media is a great way to keep a constant conversation with your customers, it’s also a convenient venue for customers to rant about poor experiences. How your business responds to complaints on social media should be taken seriously. One wrong move can cost you. Below are five social media blunders that are commonly made by businesses and how to overcome them:

1) Making the conversation a one-way street

Facebook and Twitter are great channels to create dialogues between your brand and target consumers. However, you need to make sure that the conversation is a two-way street. In other words, you need listen to every bit of what your customers are saying. You need to speak to your customers’ concerns (and quickly!) and not just talk at them. This means closely monitoring your direct messages, comments, mentions, and wall posts. By doing that, you will gain a better understanding of what types of content will appeal to your customers and show them that you truly care. Continue reading 5 Common Mistakes Ecommerce Businesses Make with Social Media

How to Take your eCommerce Business to the Moon

How to Take your eCommerce Business to the Moon

The most incredible thing about Apollo 11’s journey to the moon was that it was accomplished without someone sitting at the steering wheel. It was engineered with systems that would triangulate its position based on the location and movement of various stars. It had sensors built in that knew how fast it was going, if it was slowing down or speeding up, and if it changed direction. Apollo 11 and all its successors had internal processes that handled the minutia and set the course ahead on autopilot.

Automation can do amazing things in ecommerce as well. By utilizing the right technology and creating processes that are scalable and repeatable, you can create tremendous momentum. Heck, you might even quadruple your vacation time.

Here’s how you can automate 3 of the core aspects of your ecommerce business:

1. Marketing
2. Fulfillment
3. Retention Continue reading How to Take your eCommerce Business to the Moon

How Excellent Customer Service Can Lead to More Sales

Customer service is the most crucial aspect of sales for any ecommerce business. No product can sell itself without friendly, efficient service. Customers want their problems fixed fast, and they want to know that you truly care, which is why building a loyal following means delivering excellent customer service.  So, how do you make the extra effort to stand out from the competition?

Take Zappos as an example. The company has been called “insane” and “fanatical” for the way it will go the extra few miles to please its customers. Zappos Founder Tony Hsieh even wrote a book on world-class customer service, “Delivering Happiness,” and the company has been distinguished the online retailer as a standout in customer support. And, the company is surely a standout and has created an extremely loyal customer base with its incredible customer service. Zappos’ customer care stories are legendary and are a key part of its brand: Continue reading How Excellent Customer Service Can Lead to More Sales