Begin at the End

Contrary to what you might have learned from The Sound of Music, when you are planning a new web site or a new feature for an existing site, you need to begin at the end by defining the GOAL and the WHY of what you are trying to accomplish.  What is the benefit for your customers and your organization? I was in a meeting the other day when this point was brought home again.  A client was considering adding some new functionality to their site…

5 Websites for Design Inspiration

Before we start on a web design for a client, the designers spend time doing research and searching for inspiration.  When they are working on tight deadlines on multiple projects a week for everything from retailers to manufacturers to insurance companies I am always impressed by their fresh ideas and creativity.   How do they do it week after week?   (Besides the fact that they are crazy talented!) I noticed through their time logs that they have a daily routine of surfing the web, reading…

Generic Top Level Domains News (aka gTLD’s and domain extensions)

Thinking of expanding your web presence by adding another domain? In the early days of the Internet we were limited to .com, ,net, .ca and 3 or 4 more. Today there are over 250 gTLD’s to choose from! Here are the top ten domain extensions and the bottom ten registered in the past 2 weeks (source Tucows). The total number of registrations for that extension is listed beside each one.

Mobile e-Commerce Growing Rapidly

PayPal and Ipsos released some new numbers today showing that mobile commerce is growing at a compound rate of 34% compared to traditional ecommerce growing at only 14%.  This is great news for merchants who have already made the jump to responsive web design and is consistent with what we have been seeing across our customers.  A significant portion of traffic and sales is now coming in from mobile shoppers. While the hype is great, it is important to point out that they are reporting…

Was eCommerce to Blame for Target’s Failure in Canada?

Target started on the wrong foot in Canada in many ways and their sudden and untimely exit proves that you are never to big to fail.  I am sure it will be a case study in business schools for decades to come. One of the first missteps was pricing.  The modern shopper takes about 5 seconds to check a price online and with our dollar at par at the time of Target’s Canadian launch, it didn’t take long for shoppers point out that something wasn’t…

Passwords 101

Initial investigation into the recent hack of celebrity accounts seem to indicate that the perpetrators used a brute force attack with perhaps a bit of social engineering thrown in..  This should be a wake up call for anyone with a digital life and particularly anyone with an eCommerce site. A brute force attack relies on computer repeatedly attempting to login to accounts.  As computers get more powerful they can cycle through tens of thousands of attempts an hour.  Since a shocking number of internet users…

Bank on Your Team

Victor and I had the opportunity yesterday to talk to a group of Small Business Advisers at RBC in Richmond as part of a day or workshops they were having. We were hosted by Sonya Reginato, the Sales Manager for Small Business Richmond/South Vancouver. We presented an eCommerce primer to get them up to speed on what opportunities their clients have from B2C eCommerce, B2B eCommerce, and online marketing – and what they need to look for to determine if their customers’ expectations are realistic.…

Can vs. Should. 4 Important Questions

Clients ask us all the time if we CAN do something.  I am proud and confident of our skills so my usual response is “Yes!  Our only limits are your imagination and your budget.  And we have yet to meet a client without a great imagination”. The next step though is working out if we really SHOULD be doing what the client asks.  We start with four questions to make sure we both understand the request. 1) Why do you want us to do it? …

Staples Closing Stores as B2B Sales Move Online

Big box stalwart Staples announced today that they are closing 140 stores in the US & Canada as they focus on online sales and adjust their product mix as sales of traditional items fall.  This comes on the heels of venerable Canadian office supply company Grand & Toy closing all of their retail locations earlier this year to focus on online and traditional mail order. The shrinking of Staples can be looked at as part of the general decline of big box retailers when faced…

Easy is Harder Than it Looks

“I want my site/store/software to be easy to use” is a requirement we hear all of the time.  The original iPod crushed all of the other MP3 players on the market because it was so easy to use.  History is full of examples of leaps of innovation making things so easy we can’t imagine doing it any other way.  Early cars were steered with a tiller like you would a small boat for over a decade.  Doesn’t that sound fun?  Hard to imagine though because…