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Posts Tagged ‘Kikscore’

Mobile Shopping is Going Viral this Holiday Season!

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

With only 11 shopping days left until Christmas, shoppers need all the help they can get this holiday season while trying to find the best deal on the perfect gift for their loved one.  This year more shoppers than ever before are using their smartphones to find the best deals while they are in stores around the country and even at home and work.

Pricegrabber just released these survey results last week of 3,574 online consumers in the United States.  According to these results, 39% of all respondents have a shopping-related application on their smartphone.  Out of the respondents with a shopping application on their phone, 56% indicated that they have these applications on their phone because they believe they get the best prices using mobile shopping applications.

These numbers show a staggering increase from just 1 year ago when I wrote this KikScore blog post that talked about a Wall Street Journal article that indicated that only 5.6% of consumers used a mobile phone to price compare while on the go.  The WSJ article referenced in the aforementioned blog post also says that only .1% of consumers used a mobile phone in this way in 2009.  As you can see from these numbers consumers are continuing to increase their use of smartphone mobile shopping applications at an exponential rate!

So, what are merchants across the Unites States doing in response to these legions of mobile smartphone shoppers?  Unfortunately, the answer is still “not very much” at this time.  Again, like I mentioned in my blog post last year, I still cannot walk into a Best Buy, use my smartphone to find a better price on an item online and get the store to match this price.  Many bricks and mortar stores are still having a problem reacting to this new wave of technological advancement in the pocket of the U.S. consumer.

According to this article in the Chicago Tribune, some retailers like Macy’s and J.C. Penney are starting to react to these mobile shoppers by streamlining their mobile websites, creating custom shopping applications, and increasing the speed and efficiency of their sites.  In my mind, however, this is just the very basic levels of catering to the mobile shopping consumer and great strides will need to be made in the coming years in order for this new bread of consumer to be on the same page with these large retailers in the U.S.

Have you had a positive or negative experience while using a smartphone with a mobile shopping application at a retailer?

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Business in Bloom: An Interview with Mark McCurry

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Recently, I had the opportunity of speaking with the amazing entrepreneur, Mark McCurry. Mark is a man with an impressive background; not only is he the president of the successful delivery business 1-800 Courier, but he has recently started the rapidly emerging online florist business known as Peachtree Petals. From our interview, I quickly became aware of Mark’s impressive knowledge of creating and maintaining businesses, which I want to share with others:

When and why did you decide to create Peachtree Petals?

I actually started Peachtree Petals about one month ago. At my other brand, 1-800 Courier, I noticed that we were getting a lot of delivery orders from florists. This got me to thinking that, instead of just delivering floral arrangements, maybe I could make and sell them myself. It was really easy to set up Peachtree Petals’ online store using Shopify. As of right now, we are 40 to 50 orders per day.

What was one of the biggest challenges you faced and overcame in launching Peachtree Petals?

Honestly, with my experience of launching and maintaining 1-800 Courier, I didn’t encounter a whole lot of challenges with Peachtree Petals. The one thing that I would say was most difficult was finding a designer, since I don’t really know much about flowers.

How do you advertise yourself to get more clients?

I was able to get a lot of customers out of my other business’ clientele, but I have taken a few other routes. I take advantage of Google AdWords, which is useful regardless of your business. I also set up a Peachtree Petals Facebook page, am part of a floral network, and had two billboards put up.

Have you had any trouble proving your business’ credibility and legitimacy to potential customers and website visitors?

There’s always some trouble when trying to show people that your new business can be trusted. That’s why my store uses KikScore. It’s already helped to increase by conversion by 10 percent or so.

When you’re not working on Peachtree Petals, what do you do to relax?

I have three daughters, so I spend time with them and take them to their various events. I also enjoy going out to dinner with my wife on weekends. Aside from that, I have five websites that I spend a lot of time on.

What trends do you see in the business world that you think are important for small businesses to take note of?

The biggest trend that I am seeing lately is that margins are shrinking in retail. This is due to internet-based shopping. It’s now a lot easier for people to go on line and compare prices. There’s no longer a need to get what you see at first sight.

What tools would you recommend in the small business world?

I definitely recommend Shopify for setting up your store. As I mentioned earlier, it’s really easy to do. Google Analytics is another useful tool for helping you monitor your store. Other than those two, I would suggest interconnecting through blogs. That’s a really good way to help spread the word.

If you had to pick two lessons that you’ve learned from launching and maintaining your business, what would they be?

One lesson is that you need to watch your marketing cost. If you don’t do this, you run the risk of overspending and hurting yourself more than helping yourself. My other lesson would be to make sure that you’re selling something that there’s a demand for. If there’s no demand, then who is going to buy what you’re selling? It’s best to keep watch and look out for what is in demand.

Thanks to Mark for a great interview! I hope that everyone can benefit from his business savvy and entrepreneurial spirit!

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Small Business Interview with Sophie Kovic from FlockStocks

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

I recently had the chance to interview Sophie Kovic from FlockStocks and here are some of the highlights of our discussion:

Tell us about your business and who you focus on serving?

We are a feather hair extension supplier that mainly sells to salons. We hit it big when we opened up FlockStocks as our store opening serendipitously coincided with the start of the Shopify Build-A-Business competition. Since then we have been focusing on improving our products and services and following trends. We are really trying to listen to what our clients want, and developing our products accordingly.

How did you get started selling online?

We started on eBay selling a range of products. I had a clothing label originally.  Selling online was inspired by Timothy Ferriss and the Four Hour Work Week. But the clothes didn’t really match his lifestyle model. FlockStocks is much more rewarding, and far less work. Tim would be proud.

What inspires you to grow your business?

Besides the obvious cash incentive and the subsequent lifestyle, I just really enjoy the work. One of the exciting things for me is meeting new like-minded people. At the moment my goal is to meet an inspiring business mentor.  I also have a new baby and want to make sure I can provide for him properly.

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

1) Choose something with little or no variation, such as size, color etc. With little or no variation you get less hassle, less complaints, less stock-keeping, and less returns.

2) Choose something with good Adwords potential. High clicks and low competition is everything. You must be sure you can drive customers to your site in the beginning.

Where has your business focused most of its energy this year?

We have been focusing on developing a new way of grading our products, which makes the whole process much easier for clients to select a product based on their needs and budget. That is still in the works. We have also been diversifying our products, finding better suppliers and generally growing our range. Staying current and rolling with the trends is absolutely vital to our business.

What do you see as 2 new trends in small business and in your business?

1) Sites that host timed discounts such as Groupon are great ways to get exposure.

2) Instant advertising methods have changed the way we can get potential customers to our sites. Adwords, for example can get you results in one day. Long gone are the delays of print advertising.

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

Juno. That movie came out of nowhere. It didn’t appear to fit with the mainstream, but most people ended up thinking it was really cool.

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

Kim Kardashian would be our dream spokesperson. Besides being gorgeous and surprisingly articulate she has a very talked about hairstyle and would be the perfect fit for our premium positioning in the market.  

What is the biggest challenge that your business faces as a small business and how do you work to overcome that challenge?

A new flooding of competitors is the main challenge facing our business today. Refocusing on a different clientele (salons rather than individuals) where there is less competition has been our approach to this problem.  That also works in well with Tim Ferriss’s  80/20 principal, where 80% of profits come from 20% of customers.

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

Read The Four Hour Work Week. It changed my life. I am writing this from a villa in Thailand, where I just celebrated my 25th birthday, with my partner, son and friends. We have just spent 3 months here, and I have not so much as looked at an order the whole time. I learnt that things can be automated. The world will not fall apart if you step away. Trust your people. They are smart. They will work it out. You will have more time to come back with better, bolder and bigger ideas.

So go. Do something. Be inspired. And have fun! 

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Posts Tagged ‘Kikscore’

SmartCEO Magazine & Ecommerce for Beginners Features KikScore

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

We just wanted to take this opportunity to send a shoutout to two great publications that featured KikScore recently.  We had the honor of being featured in Rachel Cieri’s article in SmartCEO in October called Good, Bad and Uncertain – As the Internet Changes So Does E-commerce.  We were able to give our feedback and some lessons learned to SmartCEO magazine and Rachel on our experience at KikScore being an e-commerce company and also serving small businesses.

Also a special thank you to JP Jones at the Ecommerce for Beginners Blog.  JP did an awesome interview of KikScore where she allowed us to tell the in-depth story behind KikScore, the biggest obstacles we have overcome, marketing tips for small business, how we handle customer service and so much more.  Check out our interview and so many other small business interviews on the Ecommerce for Beginners Blog.  We recommend JP’s blog for regular reading for all small businesses!

Many thanks again to JP and Rachel for showcasing KikScore.

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Congrats to Our Longtime Customer PaybaQ on 2011 W3 Award for Their Innovative & Unique Website

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Over the weekend we found out that our long time customer, PaybaQ won a very prestigious W3 Award for outstanding website design.  Paybaq was selected by W3 from over 3,000 entries. The founder of Brian Esposito has been a longtime KikScore customer and proudly displays his KikScore seal on PaybaQ’s website.  PaybaQ is a new age micolending site that has been growing fast and is getting a lot of attention. His KikScore seal has actually helped him increase registrations and sales on his award winning site over 20%.

To find out a little more about PaybaQ, Brian and his CTO Peter Hermsen told us their small business story just last month in one of our most highly read interviews on this blog!  They are clearly on a roll and this great award is just one further step in the growth and development of PaybaQ. Here are the details on the award that PaybaQ received.

Congrats Brian and team.  Keep it up!

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Five $5 Dollar Marketing Strategies with Fiverr

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Efficient marketing has been and will always be a key function of business, especially when dealing with small businesses. Most small businesses do not have the financial capital to support a full-fledged ad campaign and have to find other, relatively cheaper marketing tools and techniques to find their target market and attract customers. In this day and age, the internet provides many cheap and free marketing tools, such as blogging, e-mailing, and operating social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. These are great tools to exploit when marketing, but another trending site to utilize is www.fiverr.com.

Fiverr is a social marketplace website that allows for the purchasing and selling of a magnitude of services for only $5. Yes, you read it right: only $5! This website is an excellent source for inexpensive outsourcing of a wide variety of different services. The services provided on the site, called “gigs”, range from video marketing to advice to SEO building. While you may find some offbeat and bizarre services offered, such as “I will cry and put any text on a paper” or “I will be your girlfriend/wife or anything else on facebook for one week”, this website is actually does offer many great opportunities for small businesses. Here are five marketing tactics that you can implement through fiverr:

1. Video Marketing

Making videos is extremely time consuming and requires a lot of technical work for your company; instead, for only $5, you can outsource this work to a freelancer on fiverr and with your vision and guidance, he/she will make you a commercial within 2 weeks! In fact, it was too great of a deal to pass up so we at KikScore capitalized on a fiverr “gig” and had a professional video made. All we needed to do was provide the freelancer with the text and photos we wanted to use, and they put the entire video together. Check it out below!

embedded by Embedded Video

2. Writing

In addition to have a video made of virtually anything, whether it is a professional commercial or an animated cartoon, there are also a bunch of talented writers on fiverr, both business and song writers. There are many people offering to write jingles or raps on your company and what it provides and those funny and creative tunes can definitely bring in new customers! In addition to song writing though, there are also many “gigs” offering to write press releases or just articles on any topic.

3. Market Research

While I wouldn’t solely rely on fiverr freelancers for an extensive market research report, I would use their service for some basic research. For only $5, you can pay someone to conduct brief research for your business while you focus on more productive business tasks.

4. Graphics, Banners, and Logos

Similar to making videos, oftentimes designing new banners or graphics for your business’ website requires expensive graphic design work. Instead, you can outsource that work to the fiverr community, where there are a good amount of awesome, professional graphic designers.

5. Search Engine Optimization

SEO optimization is extremely crucial for all small online businesses. All businesses strive to be on the first pages of search engines like Google and Yahoo!, and employing effective SEO optimization techniques is necessary. On fiverr, many sellers offer “gigs” that will improve your business’ SEO, whether it is by social bookmarking, promoting your links on social media outlets or different directories, or helping you build a LinkedIn following.

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Helping Small Online Businesses Demonstrate Trust & Credibility: KikScore and Shopify Partner Up

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

As you all probably know, we at KikScore are dedicated to helping small businesses alleviate consumer trust concerns. What you may not have known is that, for the second time, KikScore is going to attempt to take over Canada! That’s right; we are once again arming ourselves for the coming partnership between KikScore and Canadian company Shopify. Together, we’ll help to revolutionize the ecommerce industry and continue to fulfill our mission at KikScore of doing everything we can to help small business and entrepreneurs!

Shopify, an online retail platform that hosts over 1,600 stores, has decided to partner up with KikScore. This new alliance will give Shopify ecommerce stores access to KikScore’s Confidence Badge app. This app contains KikScore’s 4 unique tools that are packaged together into a one-of-a-kind trust seal: (1) a business-specific trust score to help small businesses, (2) a Confidence Badge to display at the bottom right of the business’ website, (3) a dynamic and informative merchant report card, and (4) an interactive feedback platform.

There are a number of reasons for our partnership with Shopify. Here are a few key data points:

1) More than 50% of internet users don’t shop online because of security concerns.

2) 85% of consumers worry that online retailers don’t do enough to combat online fraud.

3) Over 75% of all potential online purchases are abandoned.

There is even more data on this issue of the challenges of small business and demonstrating trust here in this recent post we did on the topic.

Our partnership with Shopify will allow small businesses to empower themselves like never before. “We are really excited about being able to offer our KikScore Trust Seal through our new Shopify application. Now all Shopify customers can easily add a KikScore seal to their site through this streamlined application” says KikScore VP, Product, Mike Collins. With our app, small businesses can easily and efficiently display their track records of reliability. It’s time to cut down on shopping cart abandonment and increase sales!

For more information on our awesome new partnership with Shopify, take a look here.  Also please make sure to check out the KikScore Confidence Badge and Trust Seal App in the Shopify App Store.

Thanks to everyone at KikScore and Shopify for helping to make this possible.  If any Shopify merchants would like more information about the App, please feel free to email us at support@kikscore.com. We would love to hear from you.

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Small Business Influencer 2011 Champions: Some Special Shout Outs & Recommendations for Next Year’s List

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

As you know, KikScore was nominated for the top 100 list of the Small Business Influencer’s 2011 list of Champions. Late Monday evening, the winners for this honor were announced. We are happy to see those who made it in and couldn’t help but notice some names that are particularly important to KikScore. These people have been a great help to KikScore as well as the rest of the small business world and we cannot help but admire all they’ve done. It is with this that we are proud to give a special shout out to a select group of people!

Some Judges We Want to Mention

Ramon Ray – Ramon is an editor and technology evangelist for Smallbiztechnology. He has written tons of great articles, including a write up on KikScore on BusinessInsider. We’re really grateful to have had Ramon take the time to help market KikScore and build the brand. Great job with everything you’ve been up to, whether helping us out or judging the Champions list!

Anita Campbell – Anita is a publisher for Small Business Trends and BizSugar, as well as another one of the judges for Small Business Influencer 2011. What makes Anita so special to us is her constant support of KikScore. She got us invited to the webinar for Focus.com on security for small and medium businesses and has suggested small businesses to use Kikscore. Thanks for all your help and keep up all of the amazing work Anita!

Ivana Taylor – Yet another judge, Ivana is DIY Marketers’ small business evangelist. In a nutshell, she’s an incredibly helpful source of information for all things small business. Our hats go off to you, Ivana! We can’t wait to see what you do next!

The Champions of this Year

Shashi Bellamkonda – Shashi, the business swami of Network Solutions who made it into the top 100 list of Champions, has been a huge supporter and incredible help to KikScore. Among the many things he’s done, Shashi was a big part of Social Commerce Camp DC, which was a blast. You’ve been and continue to be an enormous help to all of us at KikScore and we want to congratulate you on making it into the top 100!

Melinda Emerson – Also known as SmallBizLady, Melinda has also made it into the top 100. Among many things, Melinda is the host of Twitter’s weekly talk show, #SmallBizChat. Needless to say, she is the whole reason KikScore got the opportunity to be the guest of honor on #SmallBizChat one week. Congratulations Melinda! You’ve helped us so much and we’re really excited on your making it to the top 100!

John Lawson – Another Small Business Influencer 2011 Champion, John is CEO of 3rd Power Outlet and ColderICE Media. John helps KikScore out with introductions as well as with The KikScore Startup & Small Biz Daily. His efforts have been a great help and we at KikScore are lucky to benefit from his expertise. Thanks for all your work John and enjoy your Champion position!

Laurie McCabe – A partner at the SMB Group and a small to mid-sized market expert, Laurie is yet another deserving Champion. A while back, Laurie took the time to interview KikScore for one of SMB Group’s podcasts. This was a great opportunity as well as a great honor. You’ve been great Laurie! We’re so happy to see you make it to the top 100!

Our Recommendations for Next Year

Tinu Abayomi-Paul – Tinu is part owner of the amazing Free Traffic Tips. She is truly an example of a small business expert as well as great person. Thanks for all of the guidance you’ve given the small business community, Tinu!

Shonali Burke – Owner of Shonali Burke Consulting and editor of WomenGrowBusiness, Shonali has a treasure trove of advice for us all. Alongside being a PR expert for small businesses, she truly is digital PR pioneer. Keep up all the great work, Shonali!

Jill Foster – Jill has taken on many different roles. The founder of Live Your Talk, a public speaking advocate, a blogger, and the founding editor of WomenGrowBusiness, Jill has a thing or two to teach small businesses. You continue to teach us all and for that we thank you!

To those who made Small Business Influencer 2011 possible as well as those who provide inspiration to countless small business, thank you! To everyone who made it to the Small Business Influencer 2011 top 100 list, congratulations! We think it’s awesome what is being done to recognize the folks who enable small businesses’ success and are so happy that we were nominated! We hope to see you all make the list again next year!

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Vote KikScore for 2011 Small Business Influencer Award!

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Small Business Influencer Nominee

“A small business influencer is a person, company or other organization that has made a meaningful and lasting impact on the North American small business market.”

Here at KikScore, we are honored to have recently been nominated for the 2011 Small Business Influencer award in the “Corporations” category. Above is the definition behind the Small Business Trends and Small Biz Technology’s “Small Business Influencer” award and we are glad to have been one of the 520 businesses nominated, along with other influential people and businesses, such as David Nilssen and NEXTIVA. Their goal is to honor those companies that have made the most significant contributions and impacts to the North American small business market and we’re thrilled to have made the cut!

We’d like to extend a special thanks to our friends Anita Campbell and Ramon Ray who have done a great job, along with the help of their team and associates, of putting this entire competition together and supporting the small business community! We’d also like to thank Anita for swinging by last week and participating in the #SmallBizChat (In case you missed the chat, you can view our recap presentation on How to Make Your Business Look Credible and Trustworthy Online). And  thanks to Ramon for the great write up on Business Insider that he did about KikScore last month. This competition is a great way to promote small businesses and reward those who are the most influential towards them.

The awards recognize the top 100 influencers,  being decided 40% by community votes and 60% judge votes. Voting by the community is currently underway and ends on August 9th, so we hope you can vote for us by clicking here or the icon below! The top 100 receive the recognition that comes with being named a winner, including general publicity and the right to display Winners insignias on books, websites, brochures, etc. You can vote once per nominee per 24 hours so don’t hesitate to check back and vote everyday!

Small Business Influencer Vote

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#SmallBizChat Highlights – Tips on How to Make Your SmallBiz Website Look Trustworthy & Credible

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Tonight we were honored to have been the guest on the #SmallBizChat! We would like to thank everyone for participating and sharing their opinions  on the chat and would like to especially give a special thanks to Tai Goodwin and Melinda Emerson for providing us with this great opportunity. Hope you all enjoyed the chat and benefited from learning all about how to make your small business trustworthy online! To find out more information about online trust and the KikScore solution, check out our presentation regarding the topic by clicking the link below:

After reading about the importance of trust seals, we would like to offer you a 90 day free trial at KikScore. When signing up  with KikScore, use the promotional code SMALLBIZCHAT to start the free trial and publicly demonstrate your trust on your homepage!

Thanks again!

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