Get big with Bigcommerce Next
For those looking to build an online trading platform, online build it yourself commerce platform Bigcommerce has launched Bigcommerce Next.
The release adds over 20 new features to the current Bigcommerce platform, including single click apps - an app store integrated directly into Bigcommerce. Other key features include a theme store with dozens of store designs, a new blogging engine, store management apps for iOS and android, Stripe payments integration, Google Trusted Stores support, Bigcommerce University and more.
Bigcommerce Next extends the power that Bigcommerce is known for, coupled with a meticulous focus on design and ease-of use that allows newer merchants to launch their own online store in 30 minutes or less.
“With Bigcommerce Next we’ve placed a huge focus on two things - expanding the capabilities of our platform with single click apps and increasing conversion rates for our merchants with blogging and dozens of new store designs that have been extensively optimised for conversion,” say Eddie Machaalani, co-founder and co-CEO of Bigcommerce.
Single Click Apps make it easy for merchants to add new capabilities to their store in a single click, without ever leaving Bigcommerce. For example, they can easily add point of sale capabilities by installing the Zing Checkout app or social incentives by installing the JustUno app. The company says it is doing for commerce what Salesforce did for CRM and Facebook did for social media.
A 15-day free trial is available for merchants wanting to try the new release from the link below.
Canon adds entry level courses for PSPs looking to add cross-media services
Canon has expanded its Essential Business Builder Program with the addition of a new, entry-level workshop for print service providers considering the adoption of cross-media services. This one day workshop assumes no prior marketing background or experience and is intended as a first step on the road to offering cross-media services.
Commencing this autumn, the workshops will comprise of a number of sessions which explore a range of themes for those new to cross-media. The sessions will cover what it means to be a marketing services provider, along with how cross-media marketing (CMM) can support existing clients and help to attract new business. Other topics will include how PSPs can promote print as an integral element of CMM, how to pitch services and how to create effective marketing messages.
Delegates will learn about different marketing channels and how they can be delivered, and have the chance to dissect and define a simple, typical CMM campaign. Finally, they will be able to take part in a practical exercise during which they will build their own CMM campaign.
Andrew Harris, Graphic Arts customer marketing manager, Canon Europe and UK, says: “The marketing and communications landscape is constantly evolving with social media, email marketing and applications such as QR codes and augmented reality being used to engage audiences and increase the impact of campaigns.
“This workshop is ideal for printers with a desire to better understand CMM and how it can help to generate new business, set them apart from their competitors and support their existing print service offering.
“Following the course we will also be offering ongoing mentoring for PSPs who wish to continue the journey into cross-media, ensuring that our customers have the support when they need it to make this another successful arm of their business,” he added.
Up the LinkedIn-junction
Oxley & Coward Solicitors LLP is advising businesses using social networking sites such as LinkedIn to forge business contacts, to take steps to secure their data against potential misuse. Few realise the implications for confidential data when employees move on, so while a recent High Court ruling gives employers the means to tackle misuse, prevention is better than cure.
Many companies ask employees to use LinkedIn on their behalf to maintain customer contacts. While LinkedIn has advantages over the address book of old, in an era of blurred boundaries between personal and professional, staff making personal contacts as part of their legitimate role can lead to problems.
In the past, a company-held database clearly belonged to the business and is easily protected against misuse or theft. But if a company LinkedIn account is opened with, say, an employee’s personal email rather than a business one, this is a thornier problem in law.
The case of Whitmar Publications Limited v Gamage and Others in the High Court has led to a so called ‘LinkedIn injunction’. This allows employers to secure contacts cultivated on behalf of the company, where a legitimate proprietary interest in an employee’s LinkedIn profile can be demonstrated. The company needs to show the loss or misuse of an employee’s profile may give rise to “irreparable harm that cannot be compensated” by any financial payment.
Whitmar was granted a restraining ‘LinkedIn injunction’ against former employees who had set up in competition, alleging they did so while still employed and that contact data had been taken from LinkedIn groups maintained by Whitmar. The Court agreed the groups involved constituted company property, as one of the employees involved was responsible for these groups as part of their duties, with the clear aim of promoting Whitmar’s business.
“Employers must ensure social media accounts for sites like LinkedIn are opened using an agreed company email address, rather than an employee’s personal email,” says Oxley & Coward’s Dawn Cherry. “All content, photos and individual profile descriptions of an employee’s current role should also be cleared by the company before publication.”
The Court accepted the former employees had used Whitmar’s LinkedIn contacts to send out promotional material about their new company. The injunction restrained the use of Whitmar’s confidential data in this way, requiring the ex-employees to return such data and to open their computers for forensic inspection.
“All job descriptions should state that cultivating connections via LinkedIn is a part of business development for the company,” she adds. “Employment contracts and social media policies must specify that LinkedIn activity by an employee is conducted on the employer’s behalf, contributing to a database of proprietary trade information and that compensation is being given for doing so, as it takes place during working hours.”
Social media Get in the game, or get left behind
Mark Thompson is sales director at Printdesign, a specialist company dealing in wide format digital printing and portable presentation solutions. Here he talks about how to use social media to promote events and trade shows.
The message is clear for businesses that are not currently using social media: get in the game, or get left behind. Those who are using social networks in order to promote their events and trade shows, as well as interact with consumers while they are exhibiting, and follow up with them afterwards, are reaping the rewards that often come with technological innovation of this type.
Social media is now no longer a luxury for businesses; it is a necessity. Those who use social media as part of their events are seeing fantastic results in conversion and client retention rates, as well as seeing general interest in their business soar. It is important for all businesses to start to embrace the power of social media, and by implementing it into a trade show marketing strategy; they can truly see how much it will benefit them in the long run.
Social media allows businesses to get the conversation started when it comes to promoting their business. Rather than handing out flyers and creating a one-way interaction with prospective clients, social media allows prospective attendees to become involved with the business, chatting with those in charge and engaging with the brand before they even set foot inside the event. Create an event on Facebook and invite all friends, use the forum to conduct surveys and interact with attendees, and create a contest for those who show up to the event. Also create a #hashtag on Twitter and use it to raise awareness about the event and a business’ presence at the show.
During the event, social media really comes to the fore; it can be used to engage with visitors at the event and even those who couldn’t attend but are interested in the promotion taking place. Place a QR code on an exhibition stand and have it link to a homepage or a social network profile. Using Twitter or Facebook, companies can set competitions with their fans or followers; for example, posting that the first 10 people to arrive at the booth quoting ‘Facebook’ or their Twitter handle, will receive a prize or a discount. Google+ also allows for video links called ‘Hangouts’, which allows those who couldn’t attend the event to take part and be there virtually.
After the event, social media is all about tracking results and gaining feedback. Ask for comments or opinions on every social network; start a poll on Facebook, follow up with attendees on Twitter and for all those who signed up for a mailing list or registered their interest on the day, send them invites to social networking accounts to ensure they are fully connected with the business in the future.
Don’t just rely on the phone book for business
Dean Derhak is the product director at SAi in Salt Lake City. As part of his job, Dean visits sign shops and large-format print businesses to learn what processes they've employed to increase their profits. Here, Dean gives more details on how sign shops can improve their web presence and compete locally with national Internet-based sign and print sellers.
Traditionally, most sign shops have relied on their yellow page ad and storefront signage to bring them new business. Most also have websites. But many shop owners are realising times have changed. Shops across the US are telling me they are losing business to big online print sellers. Owners believe their new business calls and walk-in traffic are slowing as a result.
Despite the apparent trend, people still prefer to buy locally. According to a 2012 US Public Affairs Pulse Survey, 88% of adults have a favourable view of local small businesses. Fifty-three percent have a very favourable view of local small businesses. So what’s going on?
One of the biggest problems shops have - without even knowing it – is that their web sites are not showing up in the places people today are looking for sign providers. With the proliferation of mobile devices and “geo-location” websites, it’s not enough anymore to have your shop appear in standard web searches.
The most important thing you can do right now is check to see if your website appears on sites like, yell.com, scoot.co.uk, maps.google.com and foursquare.com. These sites and their mobile apps are where more and more people are going to find local businesses. Another great resource is kellysearch.com, which checks your shop listing on all kinds of local search engines and business listings. It is also very important that your shop name, phone number, and address are consistent throughout these sites.
By making sure your business appears in searches on popular websites and mobile apps, you assure local customers can easily find you. They’d rather be doing business with you anyway.