Setting up a profitable professional Ebay/Amazon Store

Back in September we wrote how Independent Retailers can fight back against Amazon and Ebay.Essentially its a case of if you can’t beat them join them ! Both offer access to a very large market place for your goods and services.

Since then we have helped several clients set up their own Ebay and Amazon Stores so they can trade profitably and effectivey . We also help clients with ongoing management of their listings and sales.There is a great example here. Its important for you have a professional store front to reflect your business’s brand and maximise your potential return.Its also important that you undertsand the rules of each marketplace and how to price and sell your products correctly.We can help you navigate all the pitfalls and maximise sales and profits.

We can offer the same service you Contact Us for more details,information and fees.

You can see the article at Amazon and Ebay

How Independent Retailers can fight back against the Internet Giants like Amazon ?

A recent announcement ( see here ) that planning laws in England and Wales are to be relaxed to allow retailers to offer ‘click and collect’ services to consumers more easily got us thinking, 

online retailer

Recent years have seen many smaller independent retailers put under increasing pressure and this has seen the prediction of the demise of the traditional high street.Factors include,the recent recession,the continued rise of the big retail chains including the Supermarkets and the huge rise in online shopping with giants like Amazon.With the rise of Smartphones we have also seen an increase in ‘Showrooming’ where consumers use a local retailer to view goods they have seen online and then still purchase them online.

It all seems a bit grim for a small independent retailers on the high street but really there are many ways they can fight back.

The internet is a great opportunity for small retailers and for all small businesses.You really can compete on level terms with the very biggest retailers.Here are a few tips that might help high street shops harness the power of Online Retail:

-Invest in an e-commerce website allowing your customers to buy from you 24 hours a day/7 days a week.Development costs are quite reasonable these days typically we develop e-commerce websites from around £950 upwards.

-Set up an online store on Ebay or Amazon(‘if you cant beat them join em’)selling some of your range via two very powerful marketing platforms.

-Put ‘Buy this item Online’ QR Codes (codes that people can scan in with their smartphones) up on point of sale materials linking to your website or online Amazon/Ebay Store. These show the customer you trade online as well.That will give customers the impression that you are competitive on price with any rival.

-Offer click and collect as well as delivery.Click and collect is a massive growth area in online retail.Customers often prefer the convenience of collecting the goods when they are passing rather than waiting in for a delivery.’Click and Collect’ will raise footfall and gives you the opportunity to up sell in person.

-Embrace Social Media as the best way to interact with your customers and drive more sales to your shop.All top online retailers use Facebook,Twitter,Pinterest and other Social Media channels to engage with prospects and convert them into a sale.

There are many other hints tips and suggestions to help so for more information contact us for a free consultation.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon shows us content really is king !

One of the golden rules of Blogging,Websites and of course Social Media is that interesting relevant and original content is the key to success. Good content attracts visitors and ranks well with search engines . It also keep visitors on your site longer .

With that in mind its interesting to see the news today about Jeff Bezos of internet shoppping giant Amazon buying the Washington Post an iconic US Newspaper .The question is why would any self respecting entrepreneur buy a Newspaper when the newspaper industry is dying on its feet . Many newspapers have experienced a 90% decline in circulation from their 60s heyday with half that fall coming in the last 7 years .

The answer maybe he just wants a plaything to write off tax against or promote his personal and political views. That may be true of course but more likely just part of a race to own great content and iconic newspapers attract good journalists and therefore make great content.

Newspapers and magazines are slowly but surely going up behind paywalls so the race for ownership of content is on.

Jeff Bezos is a great innovator with amazing long term vision so it will be interesting to see what he does with the Washington Post. It certainly shows us that content really is king ?

What do you think ?

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10 Smartphone Security Tips (updated)

We are all ever more dependent on  our Smartphones (iPhone .Blackberry,Android) for everyday life and whilst the productivity benefits we get from new technology are big there is an army of people and organisations out there harvesting the Internet for our personal and business details .

Online Security is a subject that I take very seriously but even I was shocked reading about a technology journalist had all his online information hacked with disastrous consequences .You can read his account of it  here.

From stealing your email passwords to deleting all the pictures on your iphone there are real dangers. The smartphone is quickly eclipsing the PC for many common small business tasks that need to be accomplished on the road, such as email, social networking, Web browsing, editing or creating documents.

But smartphones’ growing popularity also increases their vulnerability; not only because smartphones are small and easily to lose, but they also present a big target for same kinds of security threats that plague PCs — viruses and other malware.

A recent smartphone security study by the Ponemon institute — commissioned by security software vendor AVG — found that 84 percent of respondents use the same smartphone for both business and personal use. This gives you a sense of the amount and kind of data a typical smartphone can contain, and why it needs to be protected.

So here’s 10 ways to improve your Android, BlackBerry, iPhone or Windows Phone 7 (8) smartphone security.

1. Screen Lock Your Phone

If you leave your smartphone unattended for a while — or worse, if it’s lost or stolen (more on that later) — you don’t want to make it easy for a passerby to rifle through its contents. Setting your smartphone to require a PIN code or password for access after an inactive period is a relatively easy way to thwart this kind of opportunistic unauthorized access.

2. Enable Remote Locate, Lock and Wipe

Can’t find your phone? You may have simply misplaced it somewhere around the office, or inadvertently left it at your last meeting. Then again, maybe someone nicked it when you weren’t looking. In this situation, software — or a service — with the capability to remotely locate, lock, and wipe your phone might help you retrieve it.

3. Backup or Sync Your Data Frequently

We hope you never find yourself missing a smartphone or having to issue a remote data self-destruct, but if you do, you’ll want to be sure your phone’s data exists somewhere else. The same is true in the event your device becomes incapacitated due to physical damage or some other malfunction. Whatever the case, having a backup of your data is critical.

4. Apply Operating System Updates

From time-to-time, your smartphone OS vendor, hardware manufacturer or mobile carrier will make operating system updates available for your device. Although these updates are usually promoted as providing new feature x or y that you may or may not be interested in, they typically carry security-related improvements as well, so it’s a good idea to apply updates regularly.

5. Turn Off Bluetooth Discovery Mode

People often leave a smartphone’s Bluetooth discovery mode turned on at all times (sometimes it’s on by default), but you should disable discovery when you’re not trying to pair a device. Failure to do so will continuously advertise your phone’s existence to other Bluetooth-equipped devices nearby (albeit within Bluetooth’s limited range of about 30 feet), which can result in an unauthorized connection to the phone.

6. Keep Your Phone ‘In Jail’

This one’s pretty simple. It’s tempting to “jailbreak” or “root” your smartphone to access hidden features and unofficial apps. But if you’re concerned about security, don’t do it. This can circumvent many of the safeguards built into the smartphone’s operating system, opening avenues of vulnerability that may not be readily apparent.

7. Avoid Wi-Fi Hotspots

Think twice before connecting your smartphone to a public Wi-Fi hotspot, because just as with your PC, this kind of shared, unsecured connection can leave your activity and data vulnerable to eavesdropping and theft.

8. Mind Your Mobile Apps

With such a wide selection of smartphone apps available — most of them free or low-cost — it’s tempting to load up on anything and everything that catches your fancy. That’s not a good idea, because you can’t really be sure what an app is going to do once it’s on your phone. For example, malware-laden apps were recently discovered (and removed) from the Android app marketplace, some app makers are, have been found to breached data protection laws (often to advertising networks) without users’ knowledge or content.

There’s not too much you can do to protect yourself from unseen app behavior, other than to keep the number of apps to a minimum, and if possible, use an anti-virus app, which brings me to the  next tip.

9. Use Anti-virus/Internet Security Software

As mentioned earlier, the proliferation of smartphone has not gone unnoticed by malware purveyors, who are increasingly targeting the devices for attack. You probably wouldn’t dream of using a PC without anti-virus protection, and in a world where every app, Web link, or email you access with your smartphone can potentially harbor something malicious, it’s a good idea to use anti-virus and internet security software there as well.

We recommend ESET Mobile Security and install it for our clients for £14.99+vat per phone per year. Contact Us if you would like our help with this.

10. Beware of Text Message Spam

Text messages seem innocuous enough, but just like a Web page or an email, they can be used for mischief. Especially if you don’t/can’t use smartphone anti-virus protection, never respond to or follow any links in a text sent by an unknown party. You could find yourself with unwanted software on your phone or unexplained charges on your bill.

Update : Perhaps a sign of how high up the Agenda Cyber Security is can be seen from the UK Govt’s advice for business published 5th September 2012.Worth a read here 

If your concerned about your online and smartphone  security Contact Us for a free review and consultation .

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