Thursday, August 28, 2014

Yahoo Launches Robust eCommerce Platform

According to FierceRetail, Yahoo has introduced Stores, an eCommerce platform for retailers to build and grow businesses online.

"Yahoo Small Business took the best of everything we've learned from our million-plus customers over the past 16 years, and applied it to Yahoo Stores to give small business owners a more powerful, streamlined and beautiful way to turn their ideas into a business," wrote Amit Kumar, head of Yahoo Small Business, in an announcement.

The new platform makes it easy to create an online store and automatically integrate a PCI-compliant payment processing system, which connects retailers to a payment service provider in just a few clicks. The new platform also includes automatic SEO. 

Stores is intended to give neophyte eTailers the same serving technology used on Yahoo.com, including relevant keywords in the Website URLs, concise descriptions of the Website's content, a full product catalog schema, and tools for merchants to organize and promote their products.

Additional features include assistance with Website building and Website aesthetics, as well as the Live Web Insights mobile app that allows users to manage their Websites from their smartphones.

The Yahoo site offers three price points for Stores: $10.95 per month for the Starter edition (less than $12,000 a month in sales), $25.95 per month for the Standard edition ($12,000- $80,000 in monthly sales, with upsell/cross-sell capabilities), and $254.95 for the Professional edition (more than $80,000 per month in sales, and featuring the lowest transaction fees).  

Yahoo is actively competing with other search engines in the eCommerce platform business. This past spring, reports FierceRetail, Google launched a program to help retailers understand how their online ads were generating in-store sales

Friday, August 01, 2014

HSO Named 2014 Microsoft Dynamics ERP Partner of the Year

HSO, a global provider of Microsoft Dynamics AX business management solutions, have announced they were named the 2014 Microsoft Dynamics ERP Partner of the Year.

The award, which recognizes the top Microsoft Partners for their ability to solve customer challenges with
innovative technology solutions, was presented to HSO at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference  in Washington, DC, July 13-17, 2014.

With over 400 professionals throughout Europe, North America and Asia, HSO combines innovative technologies including Microsoft Dynamics AX, Dynamics CRM, Office365 and BI solutions and extensive business process experience in the Retail, Distribution, Manufacturing, and Services industries to help their clients’ improve business performance and achieve and maintain a competitive advantage.

In addition to the Partner of the Year Award, HSO was named a member of the 2014 Microsoft Dynamics Inner Circle for the eighth year in a row. The Inner Circle honors an elite group of strategic partners across the globe with a commitment to customers, as reflected in their business performance and high level of sales
achievement.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Visa Checkout for Online Purchases

Visa has announced the launch of Visa Checkout, a payment service that replaces V.me and enables consumers throughout the United States, Canada and Australia to pay for goods online, on any device, in just a few clicks, according to a press release. 

Consumers can enroll any Visa debit or credit card, plus other branded cards, in Visa Checkout to make purchases from a PC, mobile device or within a mobile app. by entering their username and password to complete the payment process directly on the merchant’s website.

A new mobile SDK (Software Development Kit) is available, allowing developers to build and implement a native in-app checkout experience for iOS and Android-based devices. This can be downloaded from the Visa Developers website at http://developer.visa.com/visacheckout.

The Marketplace Fairness Act and the Internet Tax Freedom Act Would Kick The Can Down the Road

As Multichannel Merchant magazine has reported, the Marketplace and Internet Tax Freedom Act, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate on July 15 by Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mark Pryor (D-AR), if passed, would keep the Internet free of across-the-board sales taxation for 10 years, while giving states the ability to enforce their sales tax laws on businesses selling to consumers located within their borders. Currently, based on the 1994 Quill decision, Web purchases are taxable only in states where the merchant has a "nexus," i.e. a store, warehouse, or other physical facility.
There are three salient issues here:
1) From the point of view of the consumer, if they are active direct purchasers now (via their computer, tablet, catalog, or phone), they may notice higher purchase prices on many items because the Nexus requirement will be eliminated. I doubt that this will depress sales much, however, since the convenience of direct sales will not be hurt by this. If you live in a state that collects sales taxes, it will eventually bring price parity to the marketplace.
2) From the merchant's point of view, this will place an even greater premium on free shipping than exists already, in those states with sales taxes (and likely in all states). 
3) From a systems perspective, the imposition of sales taxes on items shipped to virtually every state will mean that third-party sales tax management solutions will become even more popular (or necessary). Keeping track of all the rules and regulations is not something that any OMS vendor is going to willingly embrace, while the third-party sales tax collection services obviously excel at this. Since these packages are typically rather expensive (mid-five-figures), we may see more entries into this niche, which will give merchants more choice and potentially lower the pricing on them. 
Overall, though, it will make direct sales more expensive, and shift the complexity from keeping track of nexus for each merchant to keeping track of tax rules in each of the 44 states that collect sales taxes.
Ultimately, a universal direct sales tax, by being simpler, would reduce overall costs, level-the-playing field, and most likely result in higher direct sales revenues across the board. Like many compromises, the proposed legislation just kicks the can down the road.

Friday, June 20, 2014

PRC Approves Potpourri Holdings' First-Ever Catalog NSA

Last March Potpourri Holdings Inc. filed the first-ever catalog Negotiated Service Agreement request, which The Postal Regulatory Commission recently approved (Click here for the complete ruling.)

Demonstrating both the USPS’s commitment to growing catalog volume and its improved understanding of how the unique catalog business model functions, this is the third Market-Dominant NSA approved since 2006’s postal reform act (PAEA) It took a lot of time and much hard work by Potpourri to come to fruition, but the American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA) expects it to pave the way for other cataloger NSAs. ACMA also anticipates it will be among several initiatives by the Postal Service to boost catalog mail volume.

According to ACMA, the essential moving parts of the NSA are as follows:


  • The Postal Service has established annual and quarterly thresholds to recognize Potpourri Group's recent catalog mailing activity.
  • Carrier Route and High Density mail above the quarterly threshold receives a lower postal rate, making incremental mail volume feasible for Potpourri and generates additional, incremental contribution volume for the Postal Service.
  • Covering five years, the thresholds are adjusted to recognize volume growth from the increased circulation.
  • The discounts apply only to Carrier Route and High Density volume, and are tiered at 10%, 15%, and 20% off published rates, dependent on the actual volume mailed
  • Frugi's Growth Required Scalable Solution

    Frugi, a fast-growth Cornish based ethical organic clothing brand started by Lucy & Kurt Jewson, recently celebrated its tenth year. The business has experienced unprecedented growth and has won the Queens Award for Export.

    Fortunately, a new scalable retail platform from MNP helps keep the fast-paced growth on track. The immediate challenge was inventory management and real-time integration to ensure a consistent brand experience regardless of channel, which for Frugi’s include direct sales via catalogues, online marketplaces, and separate B2B and B2C eCommerce sites. In addition, B2B is a major part of the business for Frugi, including sales to John Lewis and a significant number of independent stores.

    The capacity to deal with high double-digit growth, manage inventory by channel, provide a holistic view of customers, and support top-line scalability were key factors for Frugi, as they are for many of MNP’s fast-growth client base.

    MNP's OMS (order management system) was selected to provide the central enterprise retail platform, real-time inventory management for all sales channels, and bi-directional Web service feeds with the bluCommerce eCommerce platform. The OMS centralizes customer data for customer service and to enable the marketing team to grow top-line sales from the extensive customer data available. Marketing will be driven from segmented customer-level attributes, with outputs to third-party service provider More2.

    MNP provides a modular approach to enterprise retailing solutions including PLM, PIM & Buying, OMS, WMS, and in-store tablet solutions in the UK, Germany and USA.

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

    Honolulu Cookie Company Implements CORESense to Manage its eCommerce Operations

    CORESense, a provider of all-in-one, cloud-based retail management & eCommerce software solutions, has announced that Honolulu Cookie Company has successfully implemented CORESense's Ecommerce Enterprise Solution to mange its growing eCommerce business, including their online storefront, www.honolulucookie.com.

    Founded in 1998, Honolulu Cookie Company is dedicated to spreading the spirit of Aloha around the world with gourmet cookies made in Hawaii.  With a wide variety of cookies and packaging to choose from, Honolulu Cookie Company’s customers can currently purchase items online or in one of their shops. By leveraging the flexible design capabilities of the CORESense eCommerce software solution, Honolulu Cookie is serving up a search- and user-friendly shopping experience across desktop and mobile devices. 

    “We needed a next generation eCommerce platform that would not only deliver a great shopping experience but also enable us to deliver great service after the sale,” said Jaynel Panquites, Ecommerce Manager, Honolulu Cookie Company. “We selected CORESense because they were able to deliver a robust Website combined with the end-to-end operations management capabilities needed to streamline our operations, enabling us to deliver great customer service. Having everything managed by one Web-accessible system provides us with the real-time view of our business we need to proactively respond to customers and profitably grow our business.”
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