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Posts Tagged ‘Ecommerce Trends’

Small Biz interview with Little Duck Organics owner Zak Normandin

Monday, January 25th, 2010

LDO LogoToday’s KikScore interview is with Zak Normandin, owner of Little Duck Organicsa unique and tasty organic snack food for infants and toddlers – and adults too!  We came across Zak and Little Duck Organics on Twitter where Zak and team are actively promoting their yummy organic treats.  Little Duck Organics is relatively new to the online community and shares a passion for the world of small business and bringing a much needed product to the organic conscious community.  I had the pleasure of talking for awhile with Zak and sharing startup ideas and promotional concepts.  Thanks for your insight Zak and for being a KikScore customer!

1. Tell us about Little Duck Organics and who you focus on serving?

Little Duck Organics is a business that I started developing in February of 2009. My wife and I have always been a fan of all natural/organic/locally produced products, and when we went food shopping for our daughters we really didn’t see anything like that available in the baby aisle. Most of the products that were available contained added sugars, artificial flavors, and preservatives which we preferred not to feed to our kids. When we talked to other parents, they agreed that there was definitely a lack of wholesome, nutritious products available for babies. At the time, I was looking for a new venture to invest in, so I started researching what it would take to bring an organic line of baby products to market. It took me about 10 months to design our first line of products and arrange to have it manufactured and packaged. In December of 2009, we formally launched on Amazon.com and at independent grocery stores in New Hampshire.

2. How did you get started with selling online?

One of our first customers was Amazon.com. They started buying products from us in December to sell through their online grocery division. This was the first experience that we had with selling products online. At the beginning of this month (January), we set up our own online store to begin selling Little Duck snacks directly to customers through our website. This allowed us to have a little bit more control over product placement, descriptions, Etc. Overall, the experience has been great. We’re focusing now on increasing our conversion rate and finding new ways to advertise to potential customers.

3. Where will Little Duck Organics focus most of its energy in 2010?

In 2010, our goals will be to expand our retail and online distribution channels and develop the Little Duck Organics brand. One of our main focuses will be to build customer loyalty and awareness within the baby products niche. We will be working closely with the blogging community, and plan to do a lot of traveling to sample our products at retail stores. In addition, we’re planning on introducing two new products later this year that will compliment our current line of products.

4. If you had 1 lesson that you learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what would it be?

The biggest lesson that I have learned so far since we set up our online store is that you need to be very aware and organized with all of the external costs associated with selling a product through a website. Credit card fees, boxes, packing materials & shipping costs all add up with you are selling a product with a low retail price. You need to keep these things in mind and adjust your prices accordingly so that what you are offering to customers is still attractively priced.

5. As 2010 begins, what trends do you see in your business this year?

As far as trending goes in the organic baby sector, I think that there will be more of a shift from the conventional baby food companies to upgrade their product lines to incorporate more natural/organic options. Fortunately for us, Gerber will always be Gerber and Beech-Nut will always be Beech-Nut. No matter how they market their products, they will always have the same brand-association in the mind of most consumers. Our advantage is that we were able to start from ground zero and build a brand around a mindset (Creating delicious organic baby snacks with no preservatives or additives).

6. If your business could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

I’ve always loved the movie “Click” with Adam Sandler. I really relate to his character, and although the movie does not directly relate to Little Duck Organics, I can see a lot of similarities between the story-line and our business. For anyone who has not seen the film, the main character is an architect who has the ability to fast forward his life to critical points of success. Basically, he does not want to have to go through the mundane and only wants to experience the promotions, bonuses, success Etc. I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone who has not seen it, but at the end Sandler learns to appreciate his family, friends, and the journey of life more than he previously had. I’m making a big effort to do the same in my life and at Little Duck Organics this year. I need to enjoy the process of building the business and everything that comes along with it. We’re doing something that most people only dream of , and that in itself should be viewed as an accomplishment.

7. If Little Duck Organics could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

I can’t think of anyone specific off the top of my head, but it would have to be a celebrity or someone famous who has the same mindset as our company. I would prefer a mom who understands the value in feeding wholesome organic foods to their children.

8. How do the folks at Little Duck Organics let loose after a busy day working?

Although most of my time is spent building the business, It is nice to wind down after a long day at work. At home, I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughters. We love trying out new foods and traveling. In the summer, we usually go for a walk every night with our dog. My older daughter loves helping me cook, so I try to do that with her whenever I can. At three years old, she can already make a mean Alfredo sauce :-)

9. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

Know your competition, Work your butt off, Pray for luck.  Cheers!

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Posts Tagged ‘Ecommerce Trends’

What Sparks a Small Business Venture?

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

ks Pic2When starting a small business, what drives and motivates you? Is it passion for a cause or the imminent proof that there is a vacancy for a certain need? In talking with a variety of small business owners for our KikScore blog, the desires and drive to start their own venture vary as much as the different products and services they offer such as KKBB and SimplyAstro

If I were to have followed true passion in where I could be doing the daily equivalent of a comforting and true cause past time, I would have opened a No-Kill Cat shelter… however, this was a very difficult venture to get past my husband Lou, who has more of a passion for golfthan rescuing cats. Add the fact that neither of us has the building space or other means to house so many furry friends. Plus the overhead of running a shelter can be very costly and you need to ensure you have ample vet care on site and plenty of other key resources.

The general thought is you will find happiness doing what you love, it takes the ‘work’ out of ‘work’.   So what you need to find is a viable product, service, or solution that people need — or something that you can convince the general populous they can’t live without.

So how did my KikScore business partners and I end up here?

Another key element in launching a successful start up is to tap into the inner expertise of yourself to uncover a passion that had been slighted due to mundane day job activities, or inability (not to mention lack of desire) to climb the corporate ladder.   All of us at KikScore have vastly different backgrounds, yet a strong desire to not only be our own bosses eventually, but also to provide a product that is cutting edge.

Technology became a strong passion of mine, having launched my career shortly after college working for one of the most accredited entrepreneurs out there, Bob Parsons at Parsons Technology.  As technology and the Internet have migrated over time, running in stride and identifying the gaps are what caused KikScore to come to fruition.

How do I feed that need to own a cat shelter someday? Well… we do have multipe cats running about our home which reminds me I’ve saved some great lives. I frequently volunteer at the local shelter to share the warmth and experience some excess purring.DaxCosmoHeineken

Back to the original question, when starting a small business, what drives and motivates you? Share your stories and ideas with us. We’d love to showcase your small business story for the next KikScore blog!

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Posts Tagged ‘Ecommerce Trends’

Solicit and Listen – Customer Feedback is critical to business success

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Clip noteSocial media was the craze of 2009 and will only continue to gain ground in 2010. Blogging about your product and/or service is an incredible way to promote your business or product. While customers and passersby can comment on blog entries or Tweet their favorites, how do you convert the blog commenter into a devoted and loyal customer for future success?

As a business owner, you need to provide easy to use feedback tools to ensure that you are in touch with your customers (and would-be customers) and frequently and consistently responding to their needs. This entails listening to comments and being able to categorize them and REACT. There are a variety of tools available (some such asCrowdsound, RatePoint, Yelp) but do these sites bring traffic back to your site? Some do, but some are a link off with minimal options to react to comments. In a previouspost by DojoMike:  customers are sometimes reluctant to provide feedback (positive or negative).

To maintain an open dialog with customers and encourage feedback, the comment avenue needs to be easy to use and promote responses from the merchant/business owner. As a business owner, you also need to be able to solicit feedback and react to it, professionally. If a negative comment comes through, don’t ignore it, you need to respond and make changes that address the issue. At a minimum, sending an email to a customer who recently bought an item from your online store is an easy avenue to inquire if the ordering process was seamless and also to ask for website suggested changes or product improvements. The more you ask a customer for their input, the more likely they will become a repeat customer AND tell their friends about your site and excellent customer service.

At KikScore, we have created a feedback tool within the KikScore seal itself. Comments that are posted here are sent directly to merchants to review and respond. These comments are also available for all to see that are reviewing that site’s KikScore Seal.

How do you solicit feedback from customers? What do you do with the feedback you get? Do you have any feedback/suggestions for KikScore? Please share with us!

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Posts Tagged ‘Ecommerce Trends’

SmallBiz Conversation with KKBB Apparel's Michael Banos & Tom Prince

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

KKBB

Today’s KikScore small business interview is with Michael Banos and Tom Prince from the super hip KKBB Apparel.  Michael, Tom and KKBB caught Kikscore’s eye for a number of reasons as you will see from their uniqueness and creativity that comes through in the interview.  But everyone should check out KKBB’s About Us page is very cool and follows from what we often talk about at KikScore that every small business should have a unique personality that your customers can relate to.  Kikscore is not even a customer of KKBB’s but their culture, vibe and approach is refreshing!

1. Tell us about KKBB and who you focuses on serving?

KKBB is an apparel company specializing in vibrant, off-the-wall designs. It’s pretty hard to ignore a piece from our catalog. Our target demographic is the 13-24 year old crowd. Young trendsetters who have an affinity for music and action sports. We went out on the Vans Warped Tour last year and pretty much hit the nail on the head with who we were trying to reach with our product.

2. How did you get your started selling online?

We’ve had an online store from the very beginning. When we launched the brand our website was up right away and we featured the online store from day one. Right now we’re in the process of creating a section of the store that is wholesaler specific. Our hope is to give each of our wholesale clients their own login which will grant them access to the wholesale prices and ordering forms. This should make the process of ordering wholesale from us easier on both ends.

3. Where will KKBB focus most of its energy in 2010?

Hopefully we’ll be able to maintain the solid customer base we’ve created by engaging them with interesting and funny content through our various web incarnations (website, Facebook, etc.). We’ll be working hard on bringing the brand to people who’ve yet to hear of it and taking steps to acquire more wholesale accounts, both big and small. We’re also looking to sponsor bands and extreme athletes.

4. If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?

1. Be aware of all the various fees you’ll be encountering through online sales, such as PayPal or fees applied by your store’s host. They can add up very quickly.

2. Make sure to have a solid shipping method setup. That way when the orders begin coming in you can keep up with the volume.

5. As 2009 just closed, what do you see as 2 new trends in your business this year?

We’re going to be getting more involved with sunglasses and other accessories. Also, by the end of 2010 we should be making the transition into cut-and-sew pieces. It wont be long before you’re seeing KKBB jeans, jackets, button-ups and much more.

6. If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

The first thing that comes to mind is Chuck Norris but he’s been a bit of a cop-out as of late so we’ll go with King Leonidas from the movie 300. While on tour last summer we adopted the call and response of “KKBB… What is your occupation?!”, “HUH HUH HUH!!” Warped Tour is no joke and it is not for the weak of heart. The KKBB crew never backs down, never gives up, and never surrenders. We are willing to push our bodies to the brink to reach whatever goals we’ve set for ourselves.

7. If KKBB could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

Christopher Walken would make the absolute perfect spokesperson for KKBB. If he was going to shoot a commercial or something for us I don’t even think we would give him any lines. I think we would just hand him a shirt to hold up while he spoke into the camera. We could just let this go on for an hour or so and then go into the editing room and splice the gems together. I’m confident it would turn out to be the most brilliant ad campaign ever.

8. How do the folks at KKBB let loose after a busy day working?

We usually find ourselves at the local watering holes with friends, playing 9-ball and shooting darts. We just try and relax because we rarely get any days off. When we do it’s a ton of lounging.

9. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

When you’re greeted with the opportunity for a business meeting, take it, regardless of who it is or what company they represent. Just because a company/product seems unrelated to your own doesn’t mean you wont pick up a great piece of advice, an amazing new contact, or hear about a product that may be useful to you in the future. But always keep in mind, everyone is playing an angle and you have to know what it is.

Thanks to Michael for taking the time for this interview.  If you have questions, please post them in our comment section and we will get Michael to answer them!

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Posts Tagged ‘Ecommerce Trends’

2009 KikScore Blog Greatest Hits

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

As 2009 quickly winds down, we see “Best of 2009 Lists” pop up for everything from movies, books, songs and football games to name a few. This year being the end of a decade, we get the added benefit of a bunch of “Best of the Decade” lists.

As many of you know, we started this blog this fall. It has been a lot of fun and we have published a lot of content on many different issues relating to small business. It has also been interesting to learn on the fly as we began blogging to experiment with different styles, a variety of topics, some videos, interviews of other small businesses and stories about our KikScore product launch.  So narrowing down a list of my greatest hits of 2009 is not the easiest thing to do because we had so much fun putting together the posts on nearly a daily basis since the blog’s launch.

Well I have to make my picks and so here is my best of list for our 2009 KikScore blog posts.

1. A transparent look into a KikScore internal debate related to our product in Diary of a Tech Start-up: Disagreement Over Product Features.

2. A great practical piece on businesses picking smartphones in Choosing the Right Smartphone to Manage Your Business While You Arent in the Office.

3. A good two part list of top small business blogs in A Few Good Blogs: Our Go-To Small Business Blogs KikScore Likes Part 1 and Part 2.

4. Our first two small business interviews of Rick Shoop from Oregon Seafoods and Shiv Verma of Astro Swami.com.

5. One of my favorite’s of 2009 has to be the post on small business optimism where we drew the parallel of being optimistic with a spilled margarita titled: The Glass is Half Full Because the Other Half is On My Pants!

6. Ok, this one is a little selfish but my bonus pick for this list is the post that announced the introduction of our free KikScore service that helps online merchants demonstrate that they are trustworthy and reliable to online shoppers in: Sell Online? Signup For KikScore’s Free Beta Service.

Please tell us which post would make your top list of blogs.


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Posts Tagged ‘Ecommerce Trends’

This Just In: Marketing to Your Own Social Network Works and it's Cheap!

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
social-network-icons
I was just reading an article in the Denver Post today that talked about how social networking sites, like Twitter and Facebook, may have played a part in boosting retail sales this holiday season. In my opinion it is a no-brainer for all retailers, but especially small-to-midsize retailers who tend to be more local and closer to their customers, to use these social networking tools to promote their current sales and to distribute marketing information through.  Who is going to be more interested in coupons or promotional materials for your company’s products than people who have gone out of their way to include themselves in your social network using these online tools?
 
Not only is marketing to these individuals more effective but it is also more cost efficient when done through these channels.  The article in the Denver Post mentions that ad spending in the U.S. was down 14.7% in the first 9 months of 2009, due in part to these retailers spending more time and money on these non-traditional marketing techniques.  I would think that this type of social network marketing would be especially effective for online-only retailers since consumers could easily follow a link in the marketing materials directly to the storefront to purchase the advertised product.  Another astonishing statistic that I saw today showed that online sales increased 15.5% during the period from November 1 to December 24th when compared to the same period last year and online sales now account for 10% of all retail sales during that time.  I know that I personally did about 90% of my holiday shopping online this year and don’t plan on having that number go down anytime soon!
 
Retailers are also finding new creative ways to use social networking and blogs to interact with their customer base. As referenced in the same article above, Best Buy has a new group on Twitter referred to as “Twelpforce” that customer service agents use to tweet various product-related tips and suggestions.  Qwest Communicationshas a Twitter team that scours tweets for issues that customers are having with their phone or internet service and contacts them directly via Twitter or e-mail to resolve them. Also, some online retailers (like Simply Astro and Oregon Seafood ) have chosen to use this very KikScore blog to promote their company online by letting us do a short interview with them so that you can learn more about their products and future initiatives.
 
Finally, in news related to a post I made on this blog a couple weeks ago, Google just announced yesterday that they are holding an “Android-related press conference” on January 5.  Speculation is high that they will announce plans to roll-out their highly anticipated Nexus One phone (otherwise known as the G-Phone) that may have some features not yet seen on a Smartphone and this phone may be sold directly to consumers through their website without a dedicated carrier.  I guess we will find out more next week!

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Posts Tagged ‘Ecommerce Trends’

Forget the Store, Lets Just Buy That Online!

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Bad Santa

As the picture above from the classic Christmas movie Bad Santa shows, the holiday season is generally a time to flock to the mall.  Many of us try so hard to overcome the crowds, the aggressive shoppers and the mall traffic to make sure we have all of our gifts for friends, families and co-workers.

My wife and I began this season spending a lot of time shopping at various stores.  A lot of the places were actually home improvement, department and electronics stores like Home Depot, Best Buy and Sears.   Much of the shopping focused around our never ending condo renovation.  And I am not the only person shopping from Kikscore. Others spent time shopping for items like coats for their brother!

Throughout much of our shopping, I kept saying to my wife, “Lets go get some Red Lobster because we can buy these items online.  Its easier, we can get more selection and we can pick it out while we are relaxing on our couch.”  One added bonus of not buying in the store is when you purchase online it gets delivered. Therefore I am saved from breaking my back trying to load the purchases into the Black Dragon (our 2000 Black Honda Accord – @157,000 miles).

Buying online is just so much easier than having to fight through the crowds to get what you want.  Its even better because then I do not have to face the challenge of my pregnant wife being able to outwalk me!

This season we are buying online much more because:

1) Buying online is easy;

2) Buying online is convenient;

3) Buying online allows you to shop at multiple sites from the comfort of your home;

4) Buying online allows you to do real time price and product functionality lookups and comparisons;

5) Buying online gets your products delivered to your doorstep; and

6) Buying online allows you to avoid the hyped H1NI germs, frantic shoppers, bad traffic and interesting characters that roam the shopping malls

Now buying online is not without its issues too. For example, we recently ordered a large sink for our bathroom.  Well the supplier of the sink decided to ship it via ground transportation.  What do you think happened when the sink had to make its way from St. Louis to Washington DC in the back of a truck along beautiful and scenic I-70?  Well that sink was delivered 3 separate times and each time there was a large crack in it forcing us to return the sink.  So watch out and make sure you use these 5 tips for safe online shopping when you buy online.

Let us know if you are avoiding the crowds and buying more online.

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Posts Tagged ‘Ecommerce Trends’

5 Must Read Tips for Safe Shopping on Cyber Monday and Beyond

Monday, November 30th, 2009

I was sitting around the dinner table this Thanksgiving telling friends and family about KikScore and a recurring story kept being told by different people. Multiple friends and family relayed horror stories of bad online shopping experiences.  These were just a few of the issues that they experienced:

  • incorrect credit card charges that were never fixed by the retailer;
  • others complained about never receiving their products that they bought from an online store;
  • still others talked about bad experiences with returning products that they purchased; and
  • there were complaints about having no contact information for the online stores so these shoppers had no way of contacting the store when there was an issue with the product.

These complaints do not even include the biggest fears of online shopping which often are worries about identify theft or compromised credit cards.  The common theme in these complaints is that shoppers wished they had more information before the bought from an online retailer.  Armed with that additional information, the shopper thought they would have been able to make a better choice of where to buy from at that time. This is especially the case when you are buying from small businesses that often offer better pricing than the larger retail chains that have online stores but often lack any significant information about the small business.

So with today being Cyber Monday (and I learned it is also the start of hunting season in my wife’s home state of PA so especially for folks in PA your safe tip for today is stay off the streets and on your computer to avoid being caught in the crossfire), here are some online shopping tips I gave friends and family. These tips will allow you, just prior to an online purchase, to quickly help gather key pieces of information so you can make a more informed shopping decision on Cyber Monday and in the future.

1. Contact Information: Make sure that the online store has contact information and preferably a phone number and/or email address so if there is an issue/question that arises post transaction you can contact the store.  Generally this information is under the “Contact Us” tab of a store’s websiste.  Remember phone numbers are generally better than email addresses and email addresses are better than no contact information at all.

2. Return Policy: Look for information regarding the store’s return policy.  This is important for you so you can understand what, if any, policy the store has about handling returns.  Be careful of stores that do not list a return policy or at least acknowledge that returns are accepted.

3. Management/Owner Information:  Look for information about who is the owner of the store.  An online store should provide information about who owns the online store, including their names and ideally some background information on that manager/owner.  I call it their story.  Here is a good example of a store at 17thandRiggs.com that provides information about the owners of the online store. This information gives shoppers comfort that there is a real person behind this store and it is not a fraud site. Some sites even have online videos that introduce the management to shoppers.  This is a good prior post on the use of videos to build credibility for your online store.

4. Trust and Validation Marks/Seals: When you go to a site, there should be some type of third party validation and trust mark that a store can provide a shopper.  These trust and validation marks run the gamut, but check them out and click on them before you buy. They provide different types of information about the store such as whether customer information is stored securely, whether the store’s website is scanned for vulnerabilities, where the store is located, and whether there are privacy and customer service policies.  The stores that have trust and validations marks that provide the greatest amount of information often are considered credible and reliable stores.  A few seals even provide much of the information that is covered in this post through just one seal that resides on an online store’s website. Look for those seals.

5. Customer Feedback: The online store that you are about to buy from should have some customer feedback.  Stores today thrive on this feedback.  Now, buyer beware there are ways to game customer feedback.  Its not hard to have friends or even the store’s owners themselves submit fake feedback.  So be wary of all positive feedback for a site.  With that caveat, online stores should have some feedback mechanism that you should be able to review to see what other purchasers experienced when buying from that store.

6. Bonus Tip – Your Own Internet Search: Use tools such as Domain Tools to quickly research the history of a website.  This is helpful because if the store says its been around for 20 years and you see that the store’s website was just registered last year then that should be a red flag. Also Domain Tools will tell you if that site you are just about to buy from is actually based in Nigeria when they claim they are in the beautiful, Buckeye State of Ohio. Again, this is a quick way to do your own diligence.

Next  do a quick Google search of the store’s entire website name (i.e. www.ClevelandSportsChampionshipTshirts.com) and the management’s name and see what comes up in Google. You can find out a lot about a store from an online search including their Twitter postings, Facebook etc.  Why is this important?  Because it will give you comfort that this is a legitimate store and that there are multiple avenues for you to communicate with the store, if something goes wrong. Also you may come across blog postings about the store which will give you even more feedback about the store.

Lastly, if you have concerns on whether the site is legitimate you can always check out a great tool at Compete.com that will allow you to review the traffic history for an online store.  If there is little to no traffic to the site and the store claims that thousands of people buy every day from the store, then that should be a red flag for you as well.

Start using these tips and hopefully you will have a safe and happy holiday shopping experience online.  Feel free to share if you have any additional safe shopping tips.

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Posts Tagged ‘Ecommerce Trends’

Who Ya Gonna Call for Help With Your Business? Not Ghostbusters, But Crowdsourcers

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Small Business often get the  feeling they are alone on an island.  Sometime they can feel that island is haunted by competitors, new entrants, angry customers and all sorts of other folks who can scare a small business.  A small business can really feel like they are alone trying to keep their head above water managing their day to day business business.  But what about growth, what about adding product and service enhancements that your customers have been asking for over and over or that upgraded website that you know you need?  And how about all of those branding and marketing initiatives you have been hoping to spend time thinking about, creating and designing?

Enter Crowdsourcing. This is a method to get your business to address many of these issues.  Even better, typically you can use crowdsourcing to get help from individuas and suppliers with subject matter experience and at a low cost.

Wikipedia defines crowdsourcing as “taking tasks traditionally performed by an employee and outsourcing it to a group (crowd) of people or community in the form of an open call.”  So what this means is that there are people all over the United States and in  fact the world who have skills that your business can start using immediately.  There are actually multiple websites or skill portals that are solely devoted to specific areas of a business.  At these website and skill portals, talent of all skill levels and expertise congregate and compte to provide services to small, medium and large businesses.

Here is how it works:  You posts a problem, project or an idea related to your business directly on a particular website or portal.  The crowd of folks that have an interest or a level of expertise in that problem, project or idea then give you feedback.  Then the crowd can even comment on the crowd’s feedback or your follow-up feedback to the crowd.  After this, you can ask someone from the crowd to assist you with your problem, project or idea if you decide their feedback is in line with what you would like to use.

Review Profiles of Suppliers Most of these sites have supplier and user profiles that you can review. during the exchange of feedback over a project.  The supplier profiles typically detail a supplier’s or individual’s skill set, expertise and even examples of their prior work on similar issues.  Many profiles have a feedback mechanism so you can see  feedback that has been posted from prior users of that person’s services.  This allows you to make an informed decision for your small business about what member or supplier from the crowd you want to hire.

Inc. magazine recently had a nice example of a crowdsourcing success story for small business. Another good post about how crowdsoucing is even involved with American Idol can be found here.  And even the city of San Francisco is using crowdsourcing through an application called City Sourced to address city issues.

Here are just a few crowdsourcing services that small businesses are using to help themselves.

1)99designs – Use this service if you want something designed.  Crowd members specialize in providing graphic design and logo design services.  Get your next logo or product brochure designed here.

2) Odesk – Use this service if you want to get a website designed or even if you would like to have a quick IT project such as a computer application built for your website or company. You can even get sales and marketing services, customer support and translation services here.

3) NameThis – Use this service for naming services.  So if you need to rebrand a product, create a new product name for a line you are launching or need a new catchy name for your blog, NameThis and the community there can help your business.

4) Threadless – Use this service the next time you go to a trade show and pass out some cool T-Shirts with your brand name on it.  Threadless was profiled in Inc Magazine where they described Threadless as a place where The Customer Is the Company!” The community of designers will help you design your next company shirt.

5) iStockPhoto Use this service when your business needs an inexpensive image, illustartion or video for your company brochure, website or presentation.

6) Guru – Use this service for your business to access freelancers who work on legal, finance, accounting, data entry and evenHR and payroll matters.

Remeber when using any of these crowdsourcing sites, ask a lot of questions, do your dillegence and make sure to utlize the escrow and payment milestone services that some of these sites use.  That way you can protect your business when you use these services.

So if you add these recources to the great small business tools and widgets we identified previously you can know you aren’t alone anymore on the small business island!  Start using these recourcss to beat back those ghosts and competitors.

Please share your crowdsourcing experience with us in the comments.

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Posts Tagged ‘Ecommerce Trends’

Black Friday Is Coming

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

No Black Friday is not every Friday during the NFL Football season before yet another Cleveland Browns loss. If you are an online retailer, you really know what Black Friday is and what it means for your business.  We at KikScore wanted to pass along this very good article on dealing with shopping cart abandonment before Black Friday.  Some interesting statistics from the article are:

  • Shopping cart abandonment can result in a loss of 70% of a merchant’s potential sales.
  • Merchants that take steps to proactively address shopping cart abandonment by re-marketing to shoppers who abandon their shopping cart can recoup up to 50 percent of the losses from those abandonments
  • SeeWhy’s Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Charles Nicholls says that if you re-market through email within hours of the shopper’s abandonment,  merchants can get up to a fifty percent checkout rate on those abandonments

With Black Friday coming, the lesson learned is if you can take proactive steps to address those shopping cart abandonments through re-marketing, you can turn those abandonments into conversions.  That will make Black Monday much better than Orange and Brown Sundays after another Cleveland Browns loss!!!!

Tell us if you have any ideas or suggestions for addressing shopping cart adandonment in the comments.

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