E-Commerce

Software As A Service (SaaS)

by Joe B on August 30, 2011

HubSpot Certified PartnerAccording to Wikipedia, Software as a service (SaaS) is a software delivery model in which software and its associated data are hosted centrally (in the cloud) and are typically accessed by users using a thin client, usually a web browser over the internet. It has become a common delivery model for many business applications.

One of the benefits of SaaS is its pricing. Unlike the pricing structure of traditional software, which is typically sold as a perpetual license with an up-front fee (and smaller ongoing support or upgrade fees), SaaS is usually priced as a subscription fee, typically a monthly or annual fee. This allows the initial setup cost for SaaS to be lower than the equivalent enterprise software.

Centralized hosting allows the SaaS provider to offer better support. Since the software is hosted at the provider’s location, the provider doesn’t have to be concerned with the software being compatible with thousands of computer/OS configurations.

We use a SaaS called HubSpot for ourselves and our clients. HubSpot has taken all of the best inbound marketing methods and consolidated them into one integrated software package, so you can blog, tweet, optimize, capture leads and nurture them all in one place. This software would have cost tens of thousands of dollars if it were sold at a one time price. But because it is SaaS, it is only a few hundred dollars per month. And worth every penny. In fact, we became Certified HubSpot Partners because we think this is such a valuable SaaS.

We also use another SaaS for our e-commerce clients that integrates e-commerce, social media and mobile marketing all in one solution. The monthly fee is based upon how many products you have for sale.

SaaS is a great way to get comprehensive software and great support for a great price. If you would like to learn about the HubSpot software and how you can use it to grow your business through Inbound Marketing, contact us for a demo.




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Holiday Checklist for Businesses

by Christi on November 11, 2010

Holiday ShoppingIs your business ready for the holidays? For many businesses, this is the busiest time of year. Here is a checklist to help make sure you are ready for the season.

  1. Is your site mobile compatible? Especially, ecommerce sites need to take into account the rise of mobile shoppers.
  2. How are you listed locally? Check your business listings with Get Listed to see how you are listed and make any corrections or additions as needed. Also, consider adding coupons and special holiday discounts to your listings.
  3. Do you have clear calls to action? Check your site to see how clear you have made your call to action. Look for things like “buy now”, “call today” and other calls to action that let your visitor know what steps they need to take once they are on your site.
  4. Are you leveraging the power of  social media? Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are a great way to get the word out about your business. If you have set up social media accounts, make sure that you are engaging with your fans. Whatever you do, DON’T put up a page and then abandon it. That is like having an interested customer come in your door and you ignoring them! Also, integrate your social media accounts with your website. Make them all work together!
  5. Are you optimized for search engines? Most people now start their shopping online. They look for information about products, services, hours, locations, etc. Be sure to provide that kind of information and be sure that you can be found by search engines. You can find lots of articles about search engine optimization (SEO) on this blog.

The holiday season is nearly upon us. Make sure that your business website is ready too. If you need any help getting ready for the holidays, we would love to be of assistance. Don’t hesitate to call or email us!

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More E-Commerce

by Joe B on May 6, 2009

professional
Once you’ve decided to sell your product online, there are a few things you will want to work on.

You site should have a professional appearance. When you are asking people to trust you enough to give you credit card information to purchase products online, a professional appearance is very important. You want to make you customers comfortable.

To add to the comfort of your customers it is a good idea to include a return policy, a privacy policy and a security policy. Let them know that you are serious about protecting their information and following through on your commitment to serve them professionally and courteously.

When you are planning an e-commerce site, take the time to plan and execute carefully. A bad experience for your customers due to lack of planning on your part can be a costly mistake.

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More About Selling Online

by Joe B on May 5, 2009

obstacles
Yesterday, we looked at the advantages to selling online. Today, we’ll look at some of the obstacles facing businesses that are considering selling products online.

The first obstacle is cost. If you already have an existing website, obviously that will help some, but, if you plan to sell more than just a small number of items, and, you are not a tech company, you will most likely need help to do this. You will need a way to keep track of the inventory as well as the internet marketing components of the e-commerce site.

Another obstacle is security. In order to process credit card payments online, you will need a secure server. Of course, you could always opt out of accepting credit cards but some statistics say you will be turning away 80% of your business. Not a good choice.

The last obstacle we will discuss here today is customer service. You will need a way for customers to contact you with questions and a system that ensures that you respond in a timely manner. Because customers are buying from you online, they never have the opportunity to meet your friendly sales clerks, so, you have to find a way to give them a friendly feeling experience online.

Obviously, there are ways to overcome most of these obstacles and give your customers a great experience from buying from you online. The investment in doing in right could add a whole new customer base to your business.

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Selling Online?

by Joe B on May 4, 2009

24-hours
Ever thought about selling your product online? There are a lot of things to consider. Today, let’s look at some of the advantages.

  • You can be open 24/7/365. Your products are available for purchase when your customers are ready to shop, whether you, or your employees, are there, or not!
  • According to a 2008 survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 78 percent of Internet users either agree or strongly agree that online shopping is “convenient,” and 68 percent say that it “saves them time.”
  • Even if you’re a small, home-based company, you can establish a global reach
  • A well-designed, well-written Web site can do double (or triple) duty as a marketing and advertising tool, a salesperson and a cashier, all wrapped up in one.
  • Anyone, anywhere, with an internet connection can read about your product, and even better, buy it!

These are just some of the advantages of selling products on line. This week we will look at e-commerce – advantages, disadvantages and some tricks of the trade.

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