September 23rd, 2014

E-commerce Security: How to Control User Access to Your Environment

Category:E-Commerce | Posted By Mai Erne on September 23rd, 2014

e-commerce security

Whereas security in brick-and-mortar stores is essential, it’s even more important in e-Commerce. Customers who lose assurance in their security could potentially stop buying. This is why IT security should be a fundamental design principle in every company.

 

User authentication and authorisation of roles are another vital component of e-Commerce security. With various levels of servers and users, a centralized way of managing user access is ideal.

Many IT security breaches occur because of sloppy, or malicious behaviour. It can be difficult to guard against an insider physically taking for example customer information, but e-Commerce operations can take precautions to ensure their customer data is well protected. Process governance, audit trails and restricting employees’ use of external data storage all reduce risk. In e-Commerce environments it is essential to restrict the commands that users can run and record exactly which actions have been performed.

Remember that security breaches are a real threat to e-Commerce businesses, leaving them at risk for fines and other related damages to their reputation. IT security should be implemented and designed to minimize risk by strictly controlling user access.

Organisations should also have a Standard Operating Environment (SOE) with a Management Platform designed and configured to include ‘security by default’.

Another way to maintain good security is to use strong SSL authentication for Web and data protection. It can be a leap of faith for customers to trust that your e-commerce site is safe, particularly when Web-based attacks increased 30 percent last year. Nonetheless, it’s important to use SSL certificates to authenticate the identity of your business and encrypt the data in transit. SSL certificates are also a must for transactions. To validate credit cards we use a payment gateway that uses live address verification services right on our checkout. This prevents fraudulent purchases by comparing the address entered online to the address they have on file with their credit card company.

September 22nd, 2014

Omnichannel Marketing Forever Changing The Buyer’s Journey

Category:E-Commerce, Marketing | Posted By Mai Erne on September 22nd, 2014

 

omnichannelWith the rapid growth of digital consumption and what seems like daily proliferation of social media channels, marketers are faced with more choices than ever when considering how they want to reach the consumer.

With each choice comes a certain amount of risk as marketers choosing to put a heavy investment in one channel may miss the untapped potential of another. This leaves a smaller margin for error as highly informed consumers have become acutely aware of how to seek out information, poll their networks and complete transactions across a plethora of interactive channels.

With this transformation has come a new set of rules, breeding marketers with a hybrid capability to not be just focused on one type of marketing whether it be direct, digital or retail, but rather a marketer that understands experience, and how consumers are seeking ubiquity. From their cell phone to the desktop to an in store visit; we are entering an omni-channel world, where consumers seek an omni-channel experience.

What Is Omnichannel

 

Besides just being another marketing term or dare I say “Buzzword,” omni-channel is a reflection of the choice that consumers have in how they engage a brand, and therefore is best represented as how brands enable their clients and consumers to use these channels to engage with them.

Whether the purchase experience starts online or via a catalogue, the customer has a plethora of options as to how they may want to move through the buyer’s journey with the brand.

Omni-Channel and The Multi-Path Purchase Experience

 

According to MIT’s report, “Beyond the Checkout Cart,” more than 80 percent of store shoppers check prices online.

If you think about the above data point, this shows the rapid evolution of omni-channel. Customers are going from screen to store and store to screen as they engage in buying behavior and for many consumers it doesn’t start and stop there.

September 19th, 2014

Klenzoid Gets Operations Flowing with NetSuite CRM

Category:Netsuite, New York | Posted By Mai Erne on September 19th, 2014

crm

 

Klenzoid is an industrial water treatment company offering programs that substantially reduce energy, water and chemical costs for steam boilers and cooling water systems.

The company recently decided to use Netsuite CRM to develop, customize, and host specific applications. According to Michael Cairns, this decision has allowed Klenzoid to improve their operational efficiencies by more than 40 per cent.

Klenzoid now has live access to customer data, and in a big data world is able to run lots of calculations. This is clearly helping to support the organic growth that Klenzoid is experiencing.

Not stopping there, Klenzoid plans to bring in further data acquisition streamlining to be even quicker in their response to customers.

In the cloud, Klenzoid saw an opportunity to serve their customers more effectively not so much by increasing their field staff but more so by investing in a system customization that would improve the quality and timeliness of the services that they deliver.

The customization of the NetSuite platform has had a huge payoff for both Klenzoid and its customers. As a golden rule of business, Cairns aptly stated, “If you do the right thing – eventually the market will reward you as well.”

Prior to the transition to NetSuite, Cairns describes how there were many different branches of information in Klenzoid, and none talked to the other. Now, with its innovative approaches, the NetSuite system provides information for key decision making; it highlights sales issues, opportunities, from beginning to end; there is one stream of data – from sales, to accounting to data on energy – all on one system.

crm

Klenzoid’s use of NetSuite has also allowed them to optimize their own operations and develop innovations with customers in mind. The new design and capability that comes with NetSuite allows Klenzoid to use customization that forged greater connectivity than had ever been previously possible. As a golden rule of business, Cairns aptly stated, “If you do the right thing – eventually the market will reward you as well.”

September 18th, 2014

Should You make the move to an e-Commerce site?

Category:Hara Partners | Posted By Mai Erne on September 18th, 2014

As online sales market share continues to soar – according to current estimates online sales will make up 10% of all US retail sales – perhaps it’s time to consider supplementing your B&M (“brick and mortar”, refers to physical store) with an e-commerce site. For the uninitiated though, the idea is quite daunting, sounds expensive, and for all they know, may not even genNow is the time to open an e-commerce site.erate any income. So, how is one to know when the time is right to make the move to online sales?

Making the move to an e-Commerce site:

Does your product fit the bill?

Before even considering an e-commerce site you need to determine whether it’s even a possibility. The issue here is shipping. While there is a means of shipping any product, some items – perishable goods, bulky or heavy items, and the very fragile- present difficulties and increased costs that may make the move online less feasible, or even possible.

An E-commerce site will increase your presence

How do current customers discover your store? Is your main draw through word of mouth, through the yellow pages, “local search sites” like Google local and yelp, or simply passers-by stopping in? Having an e-commerce site extends your presence, not only to the global market, but even within your local marketplace. Globally, your base of potential customers will increase exponentially. This is true locally too, albeit on a much smaller scale. Most people these days use search engines the same way people in the past used the phone book – to find local places to shop. Having an e-commerce site means those people can find you. Additionally, by showing up in search you’ll not only be seen by potential customers, you’ll even have the opportunity to show why they should choose you over the competition.

E-commerce sites never close

Websites, unlike physical stores, never need to shut down. And staying open 24/7 won’t even cost you a cent because an e-commerce site doesn’t require anyone to be there to work. You’ll now be able to capture sales that you’d have missed in the past.

While not every company can make the move online, those that can should grasp the opportunity to do so. The increased presence and lack of down time make this a no-brainer.

Convinced? Check out Hara Partner’s top five tips for choosing the e-commerce site that’s right for you.

September 17th, 2014

Choosing an E-commerce Platform, Five Tips from Hara Partners

Category:E-Commerce, Hara Partners | Posted By Mai Erne on September 17th, 2014

choosing an e-commerce platform

So, you wanna be an e-commerce superstar?

Opening an e-tail operation is no easy feat, with so many variables to consider it’s no wonder so many online retail businesses never get off the ground. The first step, and perhaps the most daunting, in starting your online business is choosing an e-commerce platform. Check out Hara Partner’s 10 factors to consider when choosing the platform that’s right for you.

Choosing an e-Commerce Platform:

1: Thinking big, or starting small?

At the most basic level e-commerce platforms can be broken into two categories: non-scalable and scalable. Scalability refers to a program’s capability to expand to meet growing demand. In plain English, will you platform be able to accommodate the increased needs as your business grows.

Often, when choosing an e-commerce platform e-tailers will opt for the non-scalable platform simply because it is cheaper only to find themselves at a crossroads later. And migrating a business from one e-commerce platform to another has the potential for disaster. For example, bugs or errors can crop up during the migration process causing downtime. And in some cases migration has led to a precipitous drop in search engine ranking.

The flip side of the coin is that choosing a scalable e-commerce platform can be costly. And research has shown that one of the largest contributors to e-tail failure is overspending at startup.

2: Open Source vs Closed Source

Thousands of pages have been written extolling the virtues of one model over the other, but here’s a look at a couple of basic points as they pertain to each.

Security:

Closed Source – The general belief is that software vendor will invest the time and money needed to extensively test the code before its release to find and fix all possible security breaches. Of course, since no one can “see” the code there is only the vendor’s word that this has been done, not to mention that all the time and money spent on testing done will factor into the price of the software.

Open Source – Though OS products are not tested as rigorously as their CS counterparts, the fact that so many users have access to the code means that breaches, once found, will have an army of engineers tackling them and quickly, patches will become readily available.

Support:

Closed Source – The logic here is much the same as for security – a commercial vendor “should” have the resources to respond rapidly to and permanently fix any issues that crop up. However, bear in mind that with most CS programs you will be limited to using their in-house tech support.

Open Source – Again, the thinking here mirrors the above. Should an issue arise, there will be many attempting to fix it, and often a solution will be available in only a matter of hours.

Two corollaries: With a OS platform finding the solution to an issue can take a significant amount of searching through forums, not something every business owner has time for. And when a solution can’t be located it would fall upon the owner to hire an outside expert to fix the issue. Neither of these possibilities exist for CS platforms.

3: Customizability

For some businesses their chosen e-commerce platform will be good right out of the box. But for most this isn’t the case. When choosing an e-commerce platform you’ll want to consider the possibility that you’ll need to make modifications.

All programs can be modified the difference lies in the difficulty and thus, cost of doing so. This is another benefit of open source software. Platforms like Magento have their own community stores, where users can purchase (though many are free) extensions, add-ons and themes pre-made to work with the program.

4. Features and Pricing
Pricing for various ecommerce platforms may seem competitive, but you have to really have to examine the features different price ranges include. For example, you may be comparing one platform that starts at $29 per month, and another that starts at $19. The $19 one on the surface may seem like a good deal, but it may only include the ability to sell 10 products whereas the $29 per month platform may include the ability to sell 100. One platform may allow you to offer discount codes at a certain price point, while another won’t. One may offer support, while another sells that separately. Thoroughly comparing features vs. pricing can help you choose a platform that fits your needs at the best price possible.

5. To the Cloud!

Many e-commerce platforms are offered as a SaaS (Software as a Service) which means they are hosted by the provider. Choosing a cloud-based platform means you’ll be able to access your data at any time, from anywhere. The other option is self-hosted, which means you need to choose a host for the program. Be sure to take great care when finding a hosting partner as any server issue will lead to downtime on the site.