Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Is it time to get into the e-commerce game?

First, I want to be clear about who I am talking to. The title of this article would suggest that it’s only for those who don’t currently have an online store. While it does speak to that audience, those of you who do have an e-commerce solution already might ask yourself the following question: are you actually in the game?

The direction we’re moving: an overview of the stats

According to Forrester Research by the year 2016 consumers will spend $327 billion (that’s billion with a “B”) online. That is a 45% increase from the past year, 2012. The study attributes much of this growth to improved website functionality. You might be thinking, “that’s just from ‘online shoppers’” (i.e. those already doing their shopping online.) True. However, the number of those doing their shopping online is also steadily increasing and is projected to be up 15% by 2016. In short, more people are doing their shopping online and those
already there are spending more.

What does this mean for you?

It’s obvious that e-commerce is more than a fad. For those of you who have products to sell and aren’t selling them online, it’s probably time to consider what an e-commerce solution could mean for your company. For those of you who are B2B, don’t think this doesn’t apply to you. The number of wholesalers and distributers on the web is also on the rise. Again, according to Forrester Research, B2B e-commerce sales are expected to reach $559 billion by the end of...wait for it. 2013! Half a trillion dollars of B2B revenue will be generated from online purchases by the end of this year. Think about that for a minute. Lastly, those of you who have an e-commerce solution, think about
these three questions:

Have you reached a glass ceiling?

Some popular e-commerce solutions out there seem great at first blush, however after a few years you realize there’s little room for growth. You’re not getting the brand awareness you wanted, you’re limited in the number of products you can offer and you can’t offer your customers the latest tools that emerge as the result of the thriving industry that is e-commerce. On top of all that, you’re being charged transaction fees and closing costs. If any of this is remotely familiar it might be time to consider a more scalable platform.

Are you competitive?

Again, because the e-commerce industry is booming, new tools are constantly emerging from innovative developers. You want to make sure that you’re on the front end of that innovation, and are showing your customers you care about their online experience by making it easy for them. Which leads us to the final question.

Do you have customer loyalty?

Online loyalty programs are all the rave. Giving your customers specialized pricing or reduced or expedited shipping will keep them coming back for more. The percent of online shoppers belonging to a customer loyalty program was at 12% in 2011, up from 9% the previous year according to Forrester. Of the 12% that belong to programs, 61% said they purchased from the retailer offering that program at some point throughout the year. You spend time getting the customers, make sure you’re keeping them.

In the end...

You can ignore it, but what are you losing if you do?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

Server Monitoring Tools Change IT Services in Dallas

Shane Kimbrel, VP at Data Magic, talks about how server monitoring tools are changing the way we view IT support in the Dallas Metroplex.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Managed IT Services Overview

Listen to Shane Kimbrel, VP at Data Magic talk about the difference between the break/fix model of IT services vs. a more comprehensive managed services model.


Thursday, January 31, 2013

eCommerce Platform: eCommVillage - An Overview

This is just a brief overview of our ecommerce platform for B2B and B2C, eCommVillage and it's capabilities.  If you are interested in learning more, you can sign up for a demo or a webinar.  You can also read more about our ecommerce solution.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Key questions to ask yourself before picking your company’s back-up solution.

A few things to consider:

1. How long can you go before backing up? 
In recent years there has been a major shift away from using once a day tape backups. Consider this, how much data are you entering between 8:00am to 5:00pm? What if disaster strikes at 4:50pm? Technology has advanced. Consider a solution that can back up automatically every 5 minutes.

2. How long will it take you to get back up and running? 
When picking a back-up solution, many companies only consider the security of their data. Consider this, how long are you willing to be down? With some back-ups, recovery time can take days, even weeks to get back up and running at the same capacity your were before the failure. Consider a solution that allows recovery in minutes, not days. 

3. Is your back-up even working? 
We’ve had companies that were going about their daily backup routine, no physical signs of any trouble. When the time came, as it does for most, when the need to recover data arose, their data hadn’t been backing up for months. Consider this, what would it mean for your company if half a year of data, was erased with no means to recover. Your inventory, accounting, processing, purchasing, all gone. Consider a solution that is monitored 24/7 to insure it is always working properly.

4. Have you covered all your bases? 
Many companies back-up onsite which might be good 90% of the time. Consider this, what happens if your backup solution is physically damaged (fire, flood, tornado)? However, backing up your entire business offsite can get quite pricey. Consider a solution that offers a hybrid. You can continue to back-up your entire network locally, but for added security, back-up your crucial data offsite as well.