Hey, Ecommerce Companies – Location Still Matters!

location still matters

If you have an eCommerce business, you probably think that location doesn’t matter. But that isn’t always the case.

New research from the Wharton School suggests that real-world factors such as location can actually have a big impact on online businesses. In this instance though, the location that matters is that of the customers rather than the business itself. In an interview with Knowledge @ Wharton, Marketing Professor David Bell explained:

“What we’re finding is that it’s still about location, but this time it’s about the location of the customer. Where is that customer and with whom does that customer also live? That’s what’s really important in the world of eCommerce.”

Here are more of Bell’s observations:

The reason that a customer’s location matters so much is pretty simple, when you think about it. Existing customers can sometimes be the most powerful source of referrals, even for online companies. That’s because customers often talk to friends and acquaintances in the offline world about their experiences with online companies. So their location, in relation to potential new customers, is paramount.

Bell offered a practical example based on his research surrounding online men’s clothing retailer Bonobos.com:

“The firm that we looked at…in locations where customers were more apt to talk to each other and trust each other, there was a greater sales diffusion online. The target customer in this case is a male, aged 25-45, who is somewhat fashion-forward. It turns out that a good proxy for where those males are congregating is the number of bars and liquor stores per capita in a location. We had some sociological theory that told us about interaction and then we were able to go to public data and find a variable that was actually a pretty good proxy.”

So what’s the takeaway from all this data?

Bell insists that more online companies are learning the importance of also operating offline. Of course, there are still benefits to operating online, says Bell. It makes it easier to reach large numbers of potential customers, makes fulfillment easier and makes it easier to scale your business. But it could be a mistake to only focus those efforts online.

He says that businesses can find correlations between online customers and their offline activities, as Bonobos.com found. And finding these links can help to plan offline marketing activities that can lead to online sales.

Location Photo via Shutterstock

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“Sponsored data” is a step towards free cellphones

Was just checking my bill on the AT&T Wireless site and was rather surprised to find that I now have a feature called “sponsored data” enabled, without any notification or promotion from AT&T. In fact, I bet you do too.

It’s described by the company thusly:

att wireless sponsored data help

This is actually really cool because it means that a company like Ford or Apple could “sponsor” visits to their Web sites such that you exploring what they have to offer, toy with the idea of buying a new car or shiny new laptop, whatever, wouldn’t come out of your data pool. For these companies, it means that it’s eliminating yet another obstacle for people deciding not to explore a given advertisement because they’re low on bandwidth or don’t pay for much bandwidth.

What’s more interesting is that it’s a step towards us having truly free, subsidized mobile devices where the cost of data connectivity is paid by advertisers not the consumer in return for access and the ability to hawk their wares to us remotely. Would I be willing to give an advertiser a few minutes/week of my time and attention in return for them paying my AT&T Wireless smartphone bill? Oh heck yeah. Wouldn’t you?

Which is why it’s so puzzling that Amazon’s slick Fire Phone is positioned as they did. The phone itself is very slick (albeit surprisingly heavy) but the pricing is completely off: Amazon should be subsidizing it so that the phone’s free, or even comes with that first year of Amazon Prime, essentially making it something they pay you to purchase. It’s not. It’s $99, which is more expensive than far more popular devices like the Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy or HTC One with a long-term contract. This goes a long way to explaining why in the first 60-days it’s sold less than 50,000 units (according to sources).

Oh, want to turn off your sponsored data? There’s a disclaimer that goes with it:

disable turn off opt out sponsored data att wireless

Surprised they don’t say “We’ll charge you more, you idiot!” Well, maybe not, but you know what I mean.

How about you? Ready to have your mobile cell phone bill reduced through corporate sponsorships?

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Free City WiFi

free city wifi

The buzz in the world of WiFi at the moment is this: A large number of cities across the globe are already offering free Internet connections through free city WiFi technology. Even more are expected to soon follow suit.

The picture that comes to mind is that people will be roaming around with mobile devices that connect to the Internet through free city WiFi and, of course, unlimited browsing – everywhere.

WiFi Offering On-the-Go Internet

While traveling, almost everyone has the urge and necessity to check mails and share documents with others. Gone are the days when you could do this only while sitting at the desktop computer in your home.

This is an age of mobile devices and people usually have many of these with them, such as the laptops, smartphones and others. Almost all of these are WiFi friendly. So, all they need to do is connect to an Internet service provider through the WiFi.

With cities offering these services, Internet can now be available anywhere you wish. So, on-road WiFi is also becoming a reality with every passing day.

Not everybody in a city can afford the Internet. Hence, there are many kids and adults who are not able to access it. However, with every passing day, steps are being undertaken to help make the Internet affordable for all.

A large number of municipalities in different cities offer free WiFi for the inhabitants there.

Something for Nothing – Is It Possible?

Do you really believe that there’s something for free? There’s no such thing as a free lunch or even a free WiFi.

The government will have to spend a lot to set up infrastructures across entire cities. It is expected that the sum may add up to millions, if not billions.

How Does City WiFi Work?

WiFi is offered through unlicensed broadcast spectrum or even sometimes through airwaves. A series of antennas need to be installed, which ensure that you will have access to high-speed Internet. These antennas are usually put on top of telephone poles and similar other places. The location of the antennas need to be selected prudently. Depending on the position where it has been installed, an antenna can offer Internet across a coverage area of about 1,000 feet in radius.

Setting up City WiFi is Costly

According to Doug Schremp:

“Setting up a citywide network is definitely not as easy as putting up access points all over the place. There are some technical issues that need to be addressed, and cities really need to look at the operational and business issues that come with building and owning their own network.”

So, it clearly indicates that the government has to spend a lot of money to ensure that all the inhabitants of the city are able to access free Internet anywhere they wish inside the boundaries of the city.

Increase in Taxes

You can’t expect the government to spend all that money without any expectation of getting something in return. There will surely be a steep rise in different types of taxes. So in the end, it really won’t be free.

Lack of Security is a Concern

One of the major disadvantages of public WiFi lies in its inability to offer proper security to the users. The people who are in charge of offering free WiFi to the inhabitants of a city are able to see each and every website that you surf or each and every click that you make on the Internet.

So, the privacy of the users is usually not there with free WiFi offered by the municipalities of different cities.

With every passing day, different governments are trying hard to provide citizens with free WiFi, which has nearly become a basic necessity these days. And the advantages offered by these services seem to outweigh the cons.

City Photo via Shutterstock

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Want Your Content to Go Viral? Here’s How You Can Increase Your Odds

content to go viral

Viral marketing means free marketing – or at least that’s what a lot of marketers think. But it isn’t always the case if you want to get the best possible results from your viral marketing efforts.

It doesn’t mean that you have to make a huge investment. But there are paid options out there that allow you to improve the odds of viral success.

Mike Templeman, CEO of Foxtail Marketing wrote in a post on VentureBeat:

“Just because it went viral doesn’t mean it did so for free. If you’ve created a video, you can pay for placements on YouTube. If you wrote a compelling blog post, you can promote it via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Regardless of what you’ve created, there’s a platform that will allow you to promote it for relatively cheap. If you’re good and you spend the time on it, you can have thousands of eyeballs on your marketing message for the cost of a can of soda.”

Yes, it is possible for you to create some content for free and have it go viral without any paid promotions. But that would require great content, perfect timing, and a lot of luck.

You spend a lot of time creating content that you think has the potential to go viral. So it can be a huge disappointment, not to mention a waste of resources, not to give that content a chance to reach as large an audience as possible.

If a small investment can get your fantastic content in front of more eyes, isn’t it worthy of consideration?

Paying for placement on social media sites and similar outlets isn’t a guaranteed strategy for getting your content to go viral, either. But it certainly increases the odds. And once your content gets in front of that initial set of eyes, that’s where the potential for going viral really begins.

If your content is share-worthy, then those who saw it because of your paid promotion are likely to share it with others. You can stop paying for placement and continue to reap the benefits of that initial investment as your content’s reach grows.

You can’t buy viral success. It still takes great content and timing. But there are ways you can improve your odds in the luck department. To give your content a better chance, consider investing in it the way you’d invest in the rest of your business. You might be surprised at the results.

Viral Photo via Shutterstock

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Black Enterprise Golf and Tennis Challenge, Day 3: Celebrity Master Chef Challenge

Celebrity Chef Challenge Black Enterprise Golf and Tennis Challenge The heat was on early this morning! Here at the Black Enterprise Golf and Tennis Challenge taking place in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, the chefs came out in force to show off their culinary skills. Comedian Mark Curry, off a splendid performance last night, was up early to host the Celebrity Master chef Challenge.

The attendees who participated in the challenge were split into 5 groups of 4 people and they were given a tasty task of making some guacamole, salsa and a morning spritzer. As Curry gave instructions to the chefs, myself and fellow judges, Jessica White and Renau, waited anxiously for the finished creations to be presented!

The contestants were to be judged on creativity, presentation and of course, taste. Given a point system of 1-5, 5 being the highest, we were presented with each team’s creation. The teams, Ironing Board Chefs, Hot Tamales, The Max Chefs, The Grill Masters and Cooking with The Curries, and one last entry, stand Alone, were given 45 minutes to create their masterpieces.

The audience was happy with Curry’s interaction with them and the contestants as his commentary kept everyone smiling while the chefs did their thing. After some great tasting by the judges, the obvious choice, based on the reactions of all 3 judges, was Cooking With the Curries! We came to the same conclusion based on the best tasting guacamole made this morning.

All contestants were happy to get a chance to do something they enjoy and getting to meet and network with others as well, so, there was nothing but smiles by the time the last participant exited the makeshift Kitchen!

Black Enterprise Golf and Tennis Challenge, Day 3: Celebrity Master Chef Challenge

Celebrity Chef Challenge Black Enterprise Golf and Tennis Challenge The heat was on early this morning! Here at the Black Enterprise Golf and Tennis Challenge taking place in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, the chefs came out in force to show off their culinary skills. Comedian Mark Curry, off a splendid performance last night, was up early to host the Celebrity Master chef Challenge.

The attendees who participated in the challenge were split into 5 groups of 4 people and they were given a tasty task of making some guacamole, salsa and a morning spritzer. As Curry gave instructions to the chefs, myself and fellow judges, Jessica White and Renau, waited anxiously for the finished creations to be presented!

The contestants were to be judged on creativity, presentation and of course, taste. Given a point system of 1-5, 5 being the highest, we were presented with each team’s creation. The teams, Ironing Board Chefs, Hot Tamales, The Max Chefs, The Grill Masters and Cooking with The Curries, and one last entry, stand Alone, were given 45 minutes to create their masterpieces.

The audience was happy with Curry’s interaction with them and the contestants as his commentary kept everyone smiling while the chefs did their thing. After some great tasting by the judges, the obvious choice, based on the reactions of all 3 judges, was Cooking With the Curries! We came to the same conclusion based on the best tasting guacamole made this morning.

All contestants were happy to get a chance to do something they enjoy and getting to meet and network with others as well, so, there was nothing but smiles by the time the last participant exited the makeshift Kitchen!

Tech Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide

tech entrepreneur's survival guideIn today’s business world, tech startups and incubators seems to be “The Hot Black.” I just came home from celebrating a Chicago incubator’s launch as I write this. But as Small Business Trends reported earlier this year, reports suggests a decline in tech startups over the past decade, despite widespread media coverage and intense interest from organization private and public, large and small.

To help your small tech startup, consider increasing access to your resources. You can start with this book, The Tech Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide: How to Bootstrap Your Startup, Lead Through Tough Times, and Cash In for Success by Bernd Schoner, PhD. (@berndschoner). I discovered the book in NetGalley, and I liked that this resource offers critical thinking of the right questions that need to be raised in developing a successful startup venture.

Survival Techniques To Make Your Startup a Survivor

A bit of background on Schoner – from the PhD at the end of his name you can surmise that the book will contain a scholarly perspective to entrepreneurship. Like an ingredient to a recipe, that perspective does enter into the text. But Schoner brings personal experience to the book material, having sold ThingMagic, a tech design and prototyping firm, after 10 years of operation.

He is now the Vice President of Business Development at Trimble Navigation – the very firm that acquired ThingMagic. Schoner writes with a casual flair, so there is an eye for unique details that keep the observations delightfully insightful but not dry.

Here’s an example of his start up experience at work, as Schoner notes how survival affected purchase and personnel decisions:

“To stay alive, we saved money in every aspect of our business. Our salaries were way below market, and the founders and management team has to live with a substantial amount of deferred compensation…My co-founders never forgave me for purchasing what they considered test equipment unworthy of their talents: used oscilloscopes and computers with the Enron property sticker on them, exchanged for a few dollars at a sketchy highway rest area.”

There are three segments, Bootstrapping, Equity Funding, and Exit. Each contains chapters with a variation in how a startup manages its resources. If I had to nail a significant similarity, it’s that all focuses on critical thinking within those stages. The result is a powerfully overview on making capital work in a startup. I have always felt that one resource will not address all of a given business’ needs, but among books The Tech Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide comes awfully close to being that one great resource.

The Tech Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide achieves that greatness in the rich detail suited for a tech startup in general. For example, there’s a section that describes patent types – kitchen sink, submarine, provisional, and utility. In the last patent type, Schoner explains the principle of patent continuations:

“If certain conditions exist, new patents can be filed and awarded many years after the description was drafted and filed, while claiming the original priority date…in short, the patent law allows for an arbitrary number of patents for more than the price of one.”

There are other tips, from doing your own PR work to managing vesting options. And some cool insights on valuing typical tech assets, such as trade secrets – they provide protection “only so long as they actually do stay secret.”

What I Liked About This Book

I liked that this book worked to address how to frame questions so that your startup is truly addressing a need versus address a fad. A segment on ideas is a great example. It offers questions meant to raise meaningful and deeper aspects to why a start up offering should exist. Is the product or service:

  • Cool and a new fad, or is there a market?
  • Will it provide happiness, pain relief, or more pain?
  • How many decades will it take to get widespread adoption?

Schoner goes on further detail, again with a blend of experience and scholarly overview:

“The public indulges stories about brilliant ideas turning into great companies…Yet never has the substance of an idea alone has been the reason for the success of the company.”

Who Would Benefit Most From This Book

Founders of tech startups are the most obvious reader demographic intended for this book. The Tech Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide enhances books such as Remote, in which a start up founder offers their personal insight more than a review of typical assets.

It’s not as deeply thorough as Venture Capital Investing, but it’s not mean to be an academic study. Anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit can enjoy this book, so incubator founders and bedroom startups will both be inspired and informed.

Read this book to minimize the monkey-wrenches that will certainly appear in your startup decisions. With a blend of scholarly insight and experience, The Tech Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide will show you the way to watch your business march towards an financial future instead of a death march to join other startup failures.

The post Tech Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide appeared first on Small Business Trends.

Our Latest Events Listing for You to Check Out

Welcome to our latest curated list of events, contests and awards for small businesses, solo entrepreneurs and growing companies. To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.



Featured Events, Contests and Awards

Who Gives a Fund Contest - Caribbean CruiseWho Gives a Fund Contest – Caribbean Cruise
Online

Create a short fun video using the phrase “Who Gives a Fund.” Share it on social. The video with the most views will win a round trip within the continental U.S. to beautiful Miami, and a 3-day cruise to the Caribbean, for two. See WhoGivesaFund.com for complete rules and details. Presented by eSmallBusinessLoan.com, to highlight that traditional bank loans are not the only source of money for your working capital needs in your business.
Hashtag: #WhoGivesaFund


Author Marketing Live!Author Marketing Live!
September 08, 2014, Cleveland, OH

Do you want to write a bestselling book and learn from the most successful authors in the industry? Learn how to build a writing empire, how to write a best-selling book, insider secrets and much, much more from 11 all-star speakers on the topic.
Discount Code
CLE (Use the discount code “CLE” for $49 off when registering.)


Camp GLP (Good Life Project)Camp GLP (Good Life Project)
September 11, 2014, Rock Hill, NY

Camp GLP is one part summer camp and one part small biz accelerator. It is a way for entrepreneurs, makers and aspiring world-shakers to step out of their everyday reality, reconnect with people who are going through similar journeys, rediscover play and nature, experience moments of ease and joy and at the same time get a ton of real business value.

Camp GLP, short for Good Life Project, is a 3-and-a-half-day excursion to Iroquois Springs Camp in Rock Hill, New York. It offers the full summer camp experience for adults, including classes, crafts, and even bunks (though single rooms are also available). Campers have access to more than 20 business workshops covering topics like crowdfunding, visual branding, podcasting, and more.
Discount Code
SBT2014 (10% off if registering before August 16.)


More Events

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology.

The post Our Latest Events Listing for You to Check Out appeared first on Small Business Trends.

From Our Community: Lessons from Facebook Messenger, Ice Bucket Challenge

tablet in cafe

Recently, social media has been abuzz with things like the Ice Bucket Challenge and the controversy surrounding Facebook Messenger. While these things don’t specifically have to do with small businesses, there are lessons businesses can take from them. These and other lessons are included in this week’s Community News and Information Roundup.

Lessons from the Ice Bucket Challenge

(Kimberly Crossland)

The Ice Bucket Challenge has taken the social media world by storm while raising money for ALS. But the success of this challenge could potentially provide some valuable lessons for businesses using viral marketing, as some members of the BizSugar community discussed. Here, Kimberly Crossland shared her own experience with the Ice Bucket Challenge and what businesses can learn from it.

What Businesses Can Learn from the Facebook Messenger App Controversy

(Horizon Business Funding)

Facebook’s Messenger app has been embroiled in some controversy recently because of the permissions that some say could impact users’ privacy. Andrew Greissman shared some things businesses can learn from this situation when developing their own apps or even using apps for business purposes. And the BizSugar community discussed it further here.

Use Trending Topics in Your Content Marketing

(SBA.gov)

Trending topics include current events and other topics that people are talking about right now. For businesses, these topics can provide inspiration for content marketing efforts. Anita Campbell shared some tips for finding trending topics and using them as part of a content marketing strategy.

Find Your Marketing Message

(Gritty Writer)

Effective marketing requires a clear message. And according to Jamillah Warner, there’s one very necessary step that a lot of marketers try to skip. In this post, she outlines the path to creating a clear marketing message.

Achieve Kickstarter Success

(Killer Startups)

Crowdfunding can be an incredibly useful tool for certain startups. But success isn’t guaranteed. In this post, Keith Liles shares one of the keys to Kickstarter success. And he even profiles a business that has found success using this method.

Write an Effective Twitter Bio

(No Passive Income)

Twitter bios only contain 160 characters, but there’s a way to fit a lot of useful information in that short space. In this post, Erik Emanuelli shares 7 essential ingredients to use in a great Twitter bio. The BizSugar community also discussed Twitter bios here.

Maximize Social Media Engagement

(Code Improv)

With so many different social media tools to choose from, how do you know what ones will truly help your business the most? In this post, Brant Bell shares three of the tools that can help your business maximize social media engagement.

Build Consumer Trust

(Content Marketing Insider)

Building consumer trust is the key to getting repeat business. So just how do you build this trust? Lucy Holloway outlines the four components necessary to develop trust with customers in this post.

Small Businesses Must Track Their Dollars

(Small Biz Survival)

Bookkeeping isn’t the most enjoyable part of running a business, but it is necessary. Glenn Muske points out some of the reasons financial record-keeping is so important and how to make it easier for your business.

Get More Interaction on Google+

(Digital Information World)

It can be tough to get as much interaction as you’d like on Google+, as some members of the BizSugar community discuss here. Meanwhile, Irfan Ahmad shares what types of posts get the most engagement on Google+ and how you can make that information work for your online presence.

You can help us make these community roundup posts even better by sharing content you think we should include. Send your suggestions to sbtips@gmail.com or submit posts to the BizSugar community.

Reading Photo via Shutterstock

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