It’s Time for Small Business Web Sites to Step Up

There’s been a lot of discussion about how leading traditional retailers are stepping up their online efforts and investing more in there sites. But, what about small businesses? They need to step up their online efforts also.

According Australia-based WebAlive:

“It is crucial for every business to have a Web site. However, small local business owners may have limited knowledge when it comes to Web design best practices. Usually, hiring a Web design company or a freelancer is a good move. But these providers aren’t in the know when it comes to your products and may not know what it takes to sell. That’s why building a Web site is a collaborative process.”

“As an owner of a local business, you should have some basic idea of what you need to have on your site and what to avoid. To make things easy for you, we have created an infographic that shows 53 must-have features for a local business website. Consider this a checklist or a guideline for you and your developer – you’ll thank us later!”



Posted in Online Retailing, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The “New” Retailing Transforms Logistics

Logistics is a key factor in determining a company’s success, since it impacts on delivery times, inventory levels, sales levels, and customer satisfaction. As a definition, logistics encompasses the activities concerned with efficiently delivering raw materials, parts, semi-finished items, and finished products to designated places, at designated times, and in proper condition.

It may be undertaken by any member of a distribution channel, from producer to consumer. Logistics involves such functions as customer service, shipping, warehousing, inventory control, private trucking-fleet operations, packaging, receiving, materials handling, and plant, warehouse, and store location planning.

In recent years, due to the advances in technology and the growth of Internet transactions, logistics has been undergoing a rapid transformation. According to 2Flow (an Irish outsourced logistics solutions provider):

“Digital developments have provoked a transformation in what consumers expect from their product/service providers. These progressions have effected all aspects of professional business – in particular, the logistics industry. Over the past number of years, logistics professionals have made the shift onto digital platforms so that they can monitor and expand their operations. We created this infographic that outlines some of the biggest and most prominent trends within the logistics industry. Let’s take a look!”


Click the image for a larger version of the infographic.



Posted in Global Retailing, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Technology in Retailing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Beware of Ransomware — and Be Better Prepared

We have written several times before about the devastating results caused by ransomware hacking (see, for example, 1, 2, 3). “Ransomware is malware. The hackers demand payment, often via Bitcoin or prepaid credit card, from victims in order to regain access to an infected device and the data stored on it.” [Ransomware: The Smart Person’s Guide, by James Sanders]

Now, we are under the worst global cyberattack involving ransomware to date. On Friday May 12, 2017, Nicole Perlroth and David E. Sanger reported for the New York Times that:

“Hackers began exploiting malicious software stolen from the U.S. National Security Agency and executed damaging cyberattacks. This amounted to an audacious global blackmail attempt spread by the Internet. By late Friday, attacks had spread to more than 74 nations. Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity firm, said Russia was worst-hit, followed by Ukraine, India, and Taiwan. Reports also came from Latin America and Africa. The attacks appeared to be the largest ransomware assault on record, but the scope of damage was hard to measure. It was not clear if victims were paying ransom, which began at about $300 to unlock individual computers, or even if those who did pay would regain access to their data. Transmitted via E-mail, the malicious software demanded ransom before users could be let back in — with a threat that data would be destroyed if demands were not met.”

Today, Gerry Mullany and Paul Mozur report for the New York Times that:

“A global cyberattack spread to thousands more computers on Monday as workers logged in at the start of a new workweek. Universities, hospitals, businesses, and daily life were disrupted, but no catastrophic breakdowns were reported. In Europe, where the cyberattack first emerged, officials said it appeared that a second wave — based on copycat variants of the original software — had not yet materialized. New disruptions were most apparent in Asia, where many workers had already left on Friday when the attack occurred. China reported disruptions at nearly 40,000 organizations, including 4,000 academic institutions, figures that experts say are likely to be low estimates, given the prevalence of pirated software.”

Also today, Statista’s Dyfed Loesche notes that: “Ransomware can make you want to cry. A malicious program called ‘WannaCry’ has affected 200.000 people or organizations in 150 countries since Friday. Data by Symantec show that almost every industrial sector has been affected by ransomware in recent years. However, some types of companies are more vulnerable or more often targeted by cybercriminals trying to extort money for data than others. The analysis shows that the services sector was by far most affected by ransomware in 2016.”


Check out Statista’s synopsis. Click the chart for a larger view.


What Can YOU Do to Better Protect Against Ransomware?

Unfortunately, there is nothing that we can do to 100% protected against malicious ransomware. However, there are steps we can take to better safeguard our computers, phones, tablets, and other smart devices. Here are several tips, first, an infographic from Europol (click the image for a larger version) and, then, a few links:


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Google Analytics Is for Small Businesses Too!

All almost all of us have heard of Google Analytics. So, what is it and what information can be generated from using it?
As described by Google:
“Google Analytics gives you the digital analytics tools you need to analyze data from all touchpoints in one place, for a deeper understanding of the customer experience. You can then share the insights that matter with your whole organization. Build a complete picture: Understand your site and app users to better evaluate the performance of your content, products, and more. Get insight only Google can give you: Access Google’s proprietary audience data and machine learning capabilities to help get the most out of your data. Connect your digital analytics to results: Google Analytics is built to work with Google’s media and publisher products so you can use your digital analytics insights to drive real impact. Make your digital analytics data work for you: Process and share massive amounts of data quickly with an easy-to-use interface combined with shareable reports.”
Click here to read more about the capabilities of Google Analytics; and click here for a free sign-up for Google Analytics.
Morgan Jones — writing for Practical E-Commerce — provides a number of valuable tips for small and medium-sized businesses on how to better use Google Analytics data:
Niche E-commerce merchants must focus on cash flow. They do not have large capital reserves to support unprofitable investments. Although growing sales is good for the ego, growing cash flow is what puts food on the table. In this article, I’ll address how to use Google Analytics to track profitability by product category — reporting on sales, cost of goods sold, and advertising expense — to maximize cash flow.”
  • Reporting Sales by Product Category — Google Analytics E-commerce tracking can report sales by product category. To view sales by category, go to Conversions > E-commerce > Product Performance and select ‘Product Category.’”
  • Reporting Cost of Goods Sold by Product Category — Google Analytics has a feature to import product cost data. To set this up, first create a new custom metric at Admin > Property > Custom Definitions > Custom Metrics.”
  • Reporting Advertising Cost by Product Category — Setting up a reporting dashboard to track gross profit after advertising cost enables merchants to identify which categories generate the most cash flow. The optimal way to report advertising cost by product category is to structure advertising campaigns and ad groups to align with product categories. That way Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and other campaigns and their ad groups can be combined with category sales to report gross profit after advertising.”
Click the image to read a lot about Jones’ how-to tips.


Posted in Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 8: Putting It All Together, Social Media and Retailing | Leave a comment

How Review Sites Operate: The Case of TripAdvisor

People often look at online customer reviews when deciding on their travel plans. And many travelers are active users of TripAdvisor, which:
“is the world’s largest travel site, enabling travelers to unleash the potential of every trip. TripAdvisor offers advice from millions of travelers, with 500 million reviews and opinions covering 7 million accommodations, restaurants, and attractions, and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features — checking more than 200 Web sites to help travelers find and book today’s lowest hotel prices. TripAdvisor-branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, reaching 390 million average unique monthly visitors in 49 markets worldwide. TripAdvisor: Know better. Book better. Go better.”
In this post, two videos are embedded: (1) How TripAdvisor reviews are compiled and vetted for source authenticity (to avoid phony reviews); and (2) The impact of online travel reviews on customer behavior.




Posted in Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer, Social Media and Retailing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome World Visitors!

We are honored that this blog has received visitors from about 165 countries around the world. (As of today, we have made more than 1,625 posts in the categories shown on the right side of this screen). Thank you!!!! 🙂

Wherever you visit from, please let us know if there is any subject that you would like to see us cover. We will credit you if we use your idea. You are also invited to submit material for consideration as a guest post. Our E-mail address is

The top 20 countries outside the United States in terms of views of our blog are:
  1. India
  2. Canada
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Australia
  5. Namibia
  6. France
  7. Malaysia
  8. Philippines
  9. Israel
  10. Hong Kong SAR China
  11. Singapore
  12. Germany
  13. Spain
  14. Turkey
  15. Ireland
  16. South Africa
  17. Italy
  18. Netherlands
  19. Indonesia
  20. Mexico


Click the map to go to the home page of


Posted in Global Retailing, Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Boost YOUR Productivity

Are you productive (efficient and effective) enough or do you sometimes waste time or go off on a tangent (instead of focusing on what’s ahead of you)? If you answer the latter, then this post is for you. If you answer the former, are you being fully honest with yourself?
Consider Jeff Haden’s tips at, 90 Smart Ways to Radically Boost Your Productivity:”
“Ninety days, 90 ways to be more productive in 2017. While some will only take a few minutes, they will still make a major impact on your productivity. Others might take a little longer, especially if creating a new habit is involved, but once that habit is formed, you reap productivity benefits forever. How you use them is up to you. You can cherry-pick your favorites. You can try one every day. You can add handfuls to your daily routine. Just don’t worry that you won’t have time — when you’re more productive, you actually create time.”
Here are Haden’s top 10 tips. Click the image below the list to see all 90 tips:
  1. “Commit to a process, not a goal. Don’t just set a goal of creating better customer relationships; commit to calling at least two customers a day to ask how to better serve them. Don’t just set a goal of landing new clients; commit to cold-calling at least two leads a day.” 
  2. “Make temptations hard to reach. When something is hard to do, you’ll do less of it. Store sodas in the refrigerator and keep bottles of water on your desk. Put the TV remote in an upstairs closet. Shut down your browser so it’s harder to check out TMZ.” 
  3. Maximize the most important tasks. What two or three things contribute most to your success? What two or three things generate the most revenue? Eliminate all the extra ‘stuff’ possible so you reap the benefits of spending time on key tasks.”
  4. “Say to yourself, ‘I will do what no one else is willing to do.’ Often the easiest way to be different is to do the things other people refuse to do.It can be simple. It can be small. Whatever it is, do it. You’ll instantly be a little different from the rest of the pack.”
  5. “Start reading Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport. It’s the perfect antidote to all the alerts, distractions, and multitasking that make you feel like you’re getting a lot done, but aren’t what you really need to get done. After all, busy is very different from productive.” 
  6. “Allow yourself less time for key projects. Limit the amount of time you allow yourself to complete an important task. You’ll be more focused and motivated, your energy level will be higher, and you’ll actually get more done.” [Note: This NOT contradict 3. above!]
  7. “Chunk ‘housekeeping’ tasks. Instead of sprinkling those activities throughout the day, take care of them in a pre-planned block. And schedule that block for when you know you’ll be tired or in need of a mental break.”
  8. “Stop blaming others. People make mistakes. So you blame them for your problems. But you’re also to blame. Maybe you didn’t provide enough training.  Maybe you asked too much, too soon. Take responsibility when things go wrong.”
  9. “Just say no. You’re polite. You’re courteous. You’re helpful. You want to be a team player. You’re overwhelmed. Say no at least as often as you say yes.”
  10. “Start listening to the podcast Extreme Productivity with Kevin Kruse. Kruse sought to uncover the secrets behind achieving productivity while also feeling a sense of balance. Each 15-minute show is based on insights gained from his interviews with more than 200 highly successful people.”


Credit: Getty Images


Posted in Career Useful Information, Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment