IoT in Retail - Smart Packaging & Connected Products by QLIKTAG Software Inc.

| February 8, 2019

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IoT in Retail is often associated with devices, smart store technologies, sensors, consumer behavior data and similar applications. However, product data & enabling everyday consumer products as IoT connected Smart Products and deploying Smart Packaging changes the paradigm of IoT in Retail. This means, products can become interactive and send or receive information about themselves over the internet to manufacturers, retailers and stakeholders in the supply chain and even end consumers, as they go through their lifecycle.

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Online Marketing Institute

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OTHER ARTICLES

What are the biggest barriers to AI adoption for retailers?

Article | February 24, 2020

According to KPMG’s “Living in an AI World 2020 Report,” retailers have some optimism, some skepticism and some pessimism about how artificial intelligence (AI) will impact the industry. The study explored how 751 insiders across five industries, including retail, view the future of AI in their sectors. On the downside, 64 percent of retail insiders agreed that the use of AI to help businesses is more hype than reality right now. The study also identified numerous challenges retailers believe they face in capitalizing on AI’s potential: AI readiness: Just 43 percent of retail respondents believe their employees are prepared for AI adoption. Relatedly, only 52 percent say their companies offer any type of AI training.

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Grow your retail business with new customer trends

Article | February 24, 2020

Retailers know how important it is to drive customer engagement a business's success depends on customer retention, growth and ultimately sales. As an entrepreneur and the owner of retail jewelry brand Blossom Box Jewelry, I understand first-hand how important and often difficult it is to develop sales and marketing plans and strategies that will resonate with a target audience and provide a competitive advantage over other brands. With markets becoming increasingly saturated, it's crucial to create key differentiators for a business to remain successful. Throughout the year, I track customer e-commerce trends and online purchasing habits to identify ways to reach my customer base more effectively. That's the key to turning site browsers into paying customers: reaching shoppers the way they want to be reached, adapting business strategies to fit their needs, learning from their behaviors, and ultimately forming meaningful connections.

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5 Shopify Alternatives in 2020-21 that Make Ecommerce Simple for Beginners

Article | February 24, 2020

In 2004, Tobias Lutke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Luke established an online website to sell snowboards. They tried a bunch of online store builders but were not satisfied with the status quo. So, they decided to build a tool that could operate their website. Soon, they realized that the tool was more powerful than the website's business. And hence, Shopify was born. Eventually, Shopify became one of the largest eCommerce store builders in the world. By 2009, the company had $100 million in sales and decided to launch its own API as well as an app store. More than a decade later, Shopify is now supporting over 800,000 stores globally and is a $125 billion company. While the company has shown remarkable growth in its business, it would be ignorant to say the market's needs have been fulfilled by the Shopify platform. Shopify's eCommerce platform works for a lot of businesses, but that does not mean it will work for every business. Here is why Shopify is Not the Right Fit for Every Business: Shopify's growth over the years shows that the company has taken several steps to address the market's inherent needs. However, the presence of several other companies and the issues still faced by merchants show some significant gaps in Shopify's offerings: 1. Cost of Setting Up: Each price-point offers a fixed set of features and functionalities. If you want anything over and above that, you will have to buy the subsequent package. For instance – something as conventional as a Gift Card is not available in the $29 per month package; to get it activated, pay as much as $299 per month. 2. Cost of Operations: The additional functionalities and features cost extra in your package. Even basic features like transaction or credit card processing attract an additional fee. To add to that, you have to purchase the app to activate the feature from the Shopify app store. Even though some apps are free, the apps that offer maximum value tend to cost north of $39.99 per month. 3. Limited and Expensive Themes: The entire Shopify store has a total of 73 themes, with the prices going as high as $180 a theme. This means that as a merchant, even after paying the high price, you may end up with an eCommerce platform that hardly stands out from the crowd. In short, while Shopify was started with great intentions, the cost of using it has started outweighing the probable value it has to offer. This issue gets further highlighted when one starts looking at the Shopify alternatives. Best Alternatives of Shopify While Shopify suits the needs of a certain set of merchants, here are the alternatives that can suit the merchants looking for more tailored, affordable, or customizable solutions: 1. Quick eSelling Quick eSelling is one of the most affordable and easy to deploy ecommerce store builder among the Shopify alternatives. It can be deployed in under 10 minutes for the basic variant. Its free variant has some prolific features like a native Android app, responsive website, and a catalog that can support up to 1000 products. The free package requires a 5% transaction fee, which gets eliminated the moment you upgrade to a paid plan. All the paid plans have a fixed monthly fee and no setup costs. The list of standard features includes a wide set of functionalities like customizable web-store themes, SMS & Email marketing, comprehensive payment gateway integrations, detailed analytics reports, inventory management systems, social media plugins, discount coupon codes, and even live chat. The premium package which costs around 50% the price of the $299 Shopify package, comes with a dedicated account manager and enterprise-level integrations. Ideal for: Merchants who are seeking an affordable, easily usable, and quickly deployable solution. 2. WooCommerce WooCommerce is popularly considered one of the most preferred alternatives for Shopify. It is quite convenient for website owners as it is a plugin for WordPress. Unlike other tools in the list, WooCommerce is designed to make WordPress sites work as functional eCommerce platforms. And in that particular aspect, it does a great job. However, if you are not already using an established WordPress site with high traffic, running WooCommerce can become quite expensive. On average, a website owner has to spend as much as $1000 in setting up a WooCommerce store with a moderate degree of customization. Even if you are not customizing a lot, running a WooCommerce store can cost you as much as $150 in a month. This would cover your hosting, themes, shipping plugins, security, and SEO. You will pay additional 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. Ideal for: Someone who has a successful WordPress website and now wants to convert it into an eCommerce store. 3. Yo!Kart: Yo!Kart is a popular self-hosted multi-vendor platform for building online marketplaces. Unlike Shopify, it is a standalone platform that comes with a lifetime license and rich ecommerce features. The platform is fully customizable and scalable. Yo!Kart packages start from $999 and every package comes with a 1-year free technical support, free installation, and full source code. There are no monthly or yearly recurring fees. Considering it is a comprehensive platform, you may need some technical training to understand the system. Ideal for: Business owners who want to start ecommerce websites like Amazon or ebay where multiple sellers are selling under the same roof. 4. PrestaShop PrestaShop runs on the basic premise that creating an online eCommerce store should be an affordable exercise for any merchant. That is the reason why it is available for free and comes without any additional monthly fees. Its features include eCommerce functionalities like CRM & Email Marketing, Inventory Management, Multi-Store Management, and SEO Management. You can get a basic eCommerce store running by paying the registration fee for the domain and the hosting fee dues. While this may seem like a great alternative, given the fact that it is practically free, there is one major caveat – you cannot deploy or personalize your PrestaShop eCommerce store unless you know how to code. The entire platform has been designed, keeping in mind people who can code at professional levels of proficiency. The cost of hiring a developer who can add features to your store or modify the theme can be very costly. In addition to this, some basic features like promotions & reviews management, data security, and mobile access are not available on the platform. Ideal for: The merchants who have access to programming talent and don't mind a basic eCommerce store. 5. Wix Wix became popular as an online website builder. It also offers interesting eCommerce functionalities. For as low as $35 a year, you can have the Business Basic package that comes with a free year of using the domain, analytics reports, and 20 GB of storage. If you want greater control of your eCommerce platform but are not a professional programmer and are not interested in hiring one, Wix can be a great alternative. Its most expensive package costs about $80 a year. It comes with features like email marketing, SEO management, inventory management, data security, and promotions management. The challenge is – most of the charges marketed by Wix are very affordable for the first year in operations. After a year, many of these features, like the domain, will become payable elements. This way as soon as the first year of your operations is over, your cost of running the eCommerce platform will dramatically go up. Ideal for: Merchants who want to have greater control of their website's design without the need for coding skills and those who want the first year of operations to be largely affordable. Conclusion: Shopify can work for you if you are seeking a limited set of features. However, for lesser price-points, the alternatives for Shopify offer great functionalities. Quick eSelling is good for cost-effective and rapidly deployable eCommerce websites that come loaded with native features. WooCommerce is a viable option if you have a WordPress site and want to convert it into an eCommerce store. Yo!Kart specializes in building multi-vendor marketplaces. PrestaShop can be handy and very budget-friendly if you have access to coding talent. And Wix is good if you want greater control over what your store looks like, without getting into the programming aspects.

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Macy's Furloughs Workers, and Other Retail News Related to the COVID-19 Crisis

Article | February 24, 2020

Retailers are continuing to lay off and furlough workers due to the coronavirus uncertainty. Macy's announced this morning that the majority of employees for the Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and Bluemercury brands will go on furlough beginning this week. U.S. clothing rental firm Rent the Runway also said on Saturday it had laid off retail employees following temporary store closures amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. “Like many businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Rent the Runway has had to make some difficult decisions in the short term to thrive in the long term, which include temporary store closures and retail role eliminations,” a company spokeswoman said in an emailed statement to Reuters. Last week, Everlane laid off and furloughed more than 200 workers, including retail and those operating back-end functions, as it struggles to cope with the shutdown of its retail business over measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

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Spotlight

Online Marketing Institute

Founded in 2007, OMI set out to educate marketers on the known truths and best practices of digital marketing. Starting with industry-leading certification programs to teach, validate and enable digital marketing excellence through the industry’s most credible and widely known educators, OMI has become the de facto standard for digital marketing credentials.

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