New Year’s Resolutions Every Virtual Entrepreneur Should Adopt

Things to Do

Every New Year is an opportunity to make a fresh start. New Year’s Day is a good day to put all the bad decisions you made in 2017 behind you and to start looking ahead for new goals and opportunities in 2018. There are so many New Year’s goals to include on your 2018 resolution and one of these goals might include learning to manage your time more efficiently. Your business should, however, have its very own resolution list for 2018 because this new list will help you reinvent targets and aim for a much better and brighter tomorrow.

Here are some fantastic New Year’s resolutions every entrepreneur should adopt.

Join social media

If you don’t have a business social media page yet, then this should be high on your 2018 list. Social media is an absolute must for business, especially those that operate online and market or sell to consumers. There are billions of social media users now and this number is only going to keep rising. The average adult spends about two hours on these social sites each and every day, and this makes it a great place to promote your business.

Improve your tech skills

Technology is always advancing which means that this is the one goal to include on every list in the future. It is estimated that about 9 in 10 adults with average income use more than one device on a daily basis. It is time to embrace technology and all the latest digital marketing methods, digital wallets, and multi-channel selling platforms. It might even be time to consider a mobile app for your company.

Visit your vendors

While everything seems to be going digital, you should strive to maintain positive relationships with key partners, suppliers, and customer. Meet with everyone that makes a significant contribution to your business. Otherwise, some of your most strategic relationships may weaken and negatively affect your business. Face to face interactions are ideal for business, and technology means these can happen using video chats when travel doesn’t make sense.

Analyze your data

Data can give you lots of information on the best marketing methods and strategies. Even if you are not ready to deeply analyze data, start capturing and saving all of the data you can today. Historical data will prove vital once you are ready because you won’t have to wait for future data before you can gain valuable insights.

Automate your business

Look for ways to automate your business because this can save you tremendous amounts of time and money. One good way to begin is going paperless wherever it is possible. Here again, even if you are not ready to automate large portions of your operations, having months or years of paperless records will make things faster, easier, and cheaper in the future.

Get a website update

There’s no credible excuse for your business website to not match or surpass the websites of your competitors. You probably wouldn’t settle for your office to look worse well than your competitor’s office, or your products and services to work less than theirs. If that’s true, then you better make sure your website looks and works better too or your customers may decide to become their customers.

Improve and learn skills

Learning something new regularly can foster a great routine for improving skills. Developing new skills are a good idea too. With some focus, for example, you will soon be able to effectively delegate more of your tactical work to others so you can work on strategic challenges and opportunity, or take some extra time for yourself.

Give back to the others

Start supporting your local community with donations, or by simply using local suppliers, so you can improve the standing of your businesses. You might also create a rewards system for employees and a loyalty system for customers that benefits them and your business. The possibilities are endless.

New Year’s resolutions for your company and you are a great way to generate more success and to continue growing your company. Like all resolutions, you probably won’t stick to all of them for the entire year but the weeks and months you do will result in meaningful benefits.

6 Marketing Trends to Include in Your 2018 Digital Strategy

Marketing Trends

A good marketing strategy is critical for business success. But designing a good marketing strategy is no simple task. One of the biggest challenges is keeping up with the latest marketing trends. Digital advertising is constantly changing and this means posts and content that does well today may not do so well tomorrow. It is important to always monitor the success of present marketing strategies and to keep updating them to match emerging trends so your marketing will always be relevant as possible.

Here are the top 6 marketing trends that you should adopt in your 2018 marketing strategy.

  1. Integrating marketing into your customer lifecycle

Digital marketing is already incredibly complex and these complexities will only keep increasing. To reach customers, marketers already have to use techniques like journey mapping, consumer analysis, and more. It is estimated that a big 2018 marketing trend will have businesses incorporate their daily marketing into the customer lifecycle in order to maximize reach.

  1. Personalization will be enhanced

Marketing content is mostly generalized in order to apply to many people in a specific target audience. Modern marketing, and analytical solutions and software, are making it much easier and more affordable to personalize more marketing content to suit specific customers. Where more marketing content was once general, it will soon be highly personalized to match individual customers.

  1. Automated targeting

About 50% of companies that use online marketing don’t target their audience for content. They post content and spend on marketing without ever reaching real buyers. For 2018, marketers will focus more on automated targeting which will make targeted marketing far easier and more effective.

  1. Social messaging apps for business

More mobile users want to be accommodated and that is exactly why using more social messaging apps to communicate with customers is good for business. Video content is gaining a lot of popularity and will continue to be a popular marketing trend in 2018. More customers simply prefer the visual and video content.

  1. Customer engagement strategies

Customer engagement is tough, but will gain more attention in 2018 because engagement is what inspires people to trust your company. You should find ways to engage more deeply with your customers in 2018.

  1. Start using marketing technology

Signing in and out of accounts and doing daily posts is very time-consuming. In 2018, you should use comprehensive digital marketing tools that support multiple functions and greater automation. This tool should facilitate content distribution across all of the online sites your customers frequent.

It might take some time to incorporate these six marketing trends into your strategy, but doing so will be worth the effort when more likes, comments, web traffic, and customers appear for your business.

8 E-Commerce Packaging Ideas for the Holiday Season

E-Commerce Packaging Ideas

It probably wasn’t an easy task to choose the right e-commerce packaging ideas and designs for your products. If you think that this part of the business-decision making is over and done with then you might be very wrong. The holiday season is a time for giving, a time to be merry, and a time to make a lot of extra money if you have the right type of business. While your normal business packaging is perfectly fine at any other time of the year, you should invest just a little bit extra time and money during the holiday season. The right type of packaging will make customers appreciate your products and customer service more than ever, and they will definitely come back for more during future gifting.

Here are 10 great e-commerce packaging ideas to use for your online store this holiday season.

  1. Custom printed boxes

The end-of-year holidays are often the busiest times for a lot of businesses. It can be tough to put in extra thought into packaging when orders are streaming in from all direction, but it is definitely worth the extra effort. A good way to lift holiday spirits in any customer is with a custom printed box. Ask your graphic designer to create a holiday design and to leave some space where you can get customer names printed.

  1. Quote holiday songs in notes

A good way to emphasize the holiday season is by including printed notes with lines of holiday music. You can decorate these notes in script fonts and include them on all packages. You might even consider creating a series of holiday packages, each with different quotes. An even better choice might be to include lyric portions of a single song across multiple package versions so your best customers might assemble the entire song!

  1. Use holiday colors

Using a bit of holiday color can capture the attention of your customers. It something any business can try, even if holiday colors don’t match your company colors at all. Your customers will appreciate your holiday spirit and will understand you’re not changing your branding or company colors permanently. This is one of the few times you can introduce new color schemes and switch back without confusing anyone.

  1. Create a holiday logo

Another good idea is to ask a graphic designer to modify your standard logo just a bit with holiday flair, especially if you use this temporary logo on holiday-themed items including packaging. Just as with color changes for the holidays, everyone should understand it’s a temporary change done in good spirits.

  1. Include cards in packages

A simple thank you note on a themed card is another great way to connect your business with the holidays and show off your company’s culture. The best cards should match all of the events during the year-end holiday season. Your best customer might receive hand written notes from your customer support staff, and a few unique customers might get one from the business managers. Personalize for extra credit.

  1. Give decorations a try

It’s true that often the thoughtfulness of a holiday flourish is more appreciated than the quality of the holiday item. This can be especially useful when you don’t have a large budget to purchase and distribute pre-made items. For example, you might choose to decorate standard packages with holiday stickers or ribbons. You can use almost anything that your customers will associate with the holidays.

  1. Use nature to decorate

If you have natural looking or health products, then natural elements like leaves, pine cones, or small wreaths can create a great look for packaging. In this case, you probably want to decorate the items inside the package so your efforts arrive intact. Examples of eco-friendly decorating items include unusual papers, printed fabrics, and natural strings or ropes. Thinking creatively should result in your decorations becoming unique and memorable.

  1. Wrap items and packages

Many customers will like receiving ready-to-gift items wrapped in holiday themed papers. It’s a great time saver for those with busy lifestyles, which happens to match the profile of most online shoppers. If it doesn’t make sense to wrap each of the individual items for their eventual recipient, consider wrapping the shipping container for your direct customer. Even hand-written messages or signatures on the outside of packages will get noticed as unusual and special, but use permanent markers with wide lines of bright inks so your writing survives the trip.

Spread a little bit of extra holiday joy this festive season by adding to the excitement in festive ways your customers will remember all year long. Your customers will definitely love the extra effort.

6 E-Commerce Design Trends to Keep in Mind for 2018

E-Commerce Design Trends

Online shopping is more popular than ever before and experts predict this trend will just keep growing. Online markets are incredibly competitive and businesses are constantly launching aggressive marketing strategies in order to boost website traffic and to ensure that they get the most customers. While it is important to attend to your marketing strategy, it is also important to follow e-commerce design trends and constantly upgrade or improve your e-commerce stores. Customers have almost no tolerance for e-commerce stores that don’t perform fast enough or they find difficult to navigate. Getting website visitors is a simple compared to getting people to actually hit that ‘add to cart’ button.

Here are 7 e-commerce design trends to consider if you want your online store to stay in top shape and to remain competitive next year.

  1. Mobile optimization

It is absolutely critical to have a website that is mobile optimized because more customers use mobile devices for online shopping than ever before. Online customers don’t want to struggle with a website that is designed for desktop access only. With mobile optimization, they can navigate your site as easily as they could be using a laptop or desktop computer and experience hassle-free shopping.

  1. Mobile payment structures

While more shoppers are using mobile devices to log onto your e-commerce site, you can bet that more want to use their devices for payment too. It just makes everything a lot easier when they can buy and pay directly from their smartphones. Make sure your payment getaway feature of your website is also mobile friendly.

  1. Improve your website speed

Your website should appear instantly to visitors. Researchers concluded that most shoppers will give your website only a few seconds to load before they become frustrated and leave. Enhance your website by adding a content distribution network (CDN) system, investing in a bigger hosting package, or switching website hosts.

  1. Simplify your page layout

Don’t take your customers through major detours before they get to the products they want. Be focused and to the point with your website layout so customers can quickly and easily find exactly what they are looking for. Always try to simplify your website design so navigation becomes easier.

  1. Use mobile-friendly menus

Hamburger style menus are gaining a lot of popularity because they are so efficient when it comes to mobile use. This menu type is a major design trend to keep in mind if you are looking for an easy and quick website upgrade for 2018.

  1. Motion animation

Caution should be used when you consider this visual design trend. More web users love motion animations. Plus, many don’t mind because data packages are getting more generous and internet speeds are increasingly faster. But too many motion animations can annoy and distract your visitors. If you use them the right way, however, motion creates a much more visually appealing site.

It is important to periodically review and improve your e-commerce site. With frequent website updates, you create the impression of a modern business and you make it so much easier for customers to buy products.

Boost E-commerce Sales with Better Product Photographs

Better Product Photography

Online shopping has some disadvantages. When you shop online, you cannot check a product out in person. You cannot hold the item in your hand to see its quality. You never know what the exact color might be because different colors appear differently on screens than in real life. It can be tough to spot fake or counterfeit products when you are shopping online. These are the main reasons why so many people still refrain from online shopping in our digital and modern age and why they would rather travel to brick and mortar stores. To inspire people to actually take the risk on your products, you need to supply them with enough information and especially with enough visual input. Yes, we are talking photographs. Lots of better product photographs!

Good photos will boost sales. People are visual creatures and they tend to flock towards better-looking products rather than products that are healthier. When your product photos look better, you improve the chances of getting likes and shares on social media and you boost the chances of getting more sales since your company seems much more professional.

There are lots of tips for better-looking product photos. No, you don’t have to go and spend a fortune on a specialized product photographer. There are plenty of online tips available to help you take better photographs yourself.

Here are the top tips for superb DIY product photographs: 

  • Natural light – Choose an indoor or under roof outdoor area with plenty of light, especially if you are using a smartphone for product photography. Good lighting naturally improves the quality of your photographs and reduces blurring or pixelation. 
  • Use a white background – Want people to focus on your specific product? Then a white background is best. You can even create yourself a mini photo booth with a white painted box or white sheet. The white surroundings will emphasize product colors, and will also reflect light better, which will result in much better-quality photos. There are, however, plenty of online stores that enjoy plenty of success by adding props or other backgrounds to their photography, but it is a bit harder to keep a uniform theme when you use this photography method. 
  • Use a tripod – Blurry photos are a big no! Use a tripod so you can get perfect product shots, especially when you have a lot of photographs to shoot. 
  • No over editing – Too much editing is bad for many reasons. For one thing, the photo ends up looking nothing like the products which can result in a lot of sales returns. Try to keep things as natural as possible. 
  • Take multiple shots – Online viewers want to see your products from all sides because it gives them a much better idea of what the product looks like. Take shots from multiple angles, even if it takes a little bit more of your time.

Good quality photographs are critical for growing your e-commerce sales. If your product photographs are of bad quality, or if the photos are not appealing, your web visitors will move on to a competitor’s site. This is because poor quality photos make you look lazy and unprofessional, and can even create the impression that your business is counterfeit.

Taking some extra time to create better-looking product photographs will be worth every extra minute and every extra penny you spend, especially if you are distributing products at a large scale.

Tips for Maintaining Brand Recognition in Marketplaces

Maintaining Brand Recognition

Multichannel selling does have some huge benefits to businesses and especially online businesses, but maintaining brand recognition is not one of them. Some of the biggest benefits that businesses enjoy when they sell products on various virtual marketplaces include the following:

  • Higher revenue due to higher volume sales.
  • Easier product marketing since these marketplaces takes care of a lot of marketing on your behalf.
  • Easier product and client interaction since the digital platforms log all of your orders and client inquiries.
  • Easier business management thanks to software like Atandra that integrates all your online stores, virtual market places, and e-commerce order management.
  • The ability to reach more clients and target the right clients based on the type of channel you use for sales.

One downside to multichannel marketing

An important downside to selling on these channels is the fact that brand recognition can get lost. Let’s look at shopping online on Amazon, for example. When you view products on Amazon, its brand is immediately recognizable and so is the brand of your product. Your business name, however, isn’t quite as obvious, especially when you are a business that sells products manufactured by other companies.

Brand recognition and business recognition is important for building a good relationship with your customers so they will buy again and for navigating your customers to your other products. Let’s look at a brick and mortar shop for example. If you enjoy a shopping trip in an actual store, find good products, and enjoy good service, you will shop from that particular store again. Selling on virtual marketplaces is nothing like this because the name of the virtual store is boosted and not your company name.

Tips for maintaining brand recognition

So how can you promote your specific brand or business name? Well perhaps these tips can help.

  • Include your logo on all products – Each and every product you sell should include your business name or logo. That way, you reduce the chances of competitors stealing your product photographs and you also implement brand recognition on each and every product you sell.
  • Emphasize your business name in all conversations – Every time you interact with a client, you should put emphasis on your company name. You can use phrases like “Thank you for using…your business name…how can we help?” or other similar phrases.
  • Ask customers to consider your other products – Customers that buy on digital marketplaces are not always aware that you might have other products available on that particular marketplace. When a customer buys a product, you can send a short message that refers customers to some of your other products which also highlights your business and puts emphasis on your service delivery.
  • Focus on interaction – Try to engage with customers. Ask them to view your other products, inquire about product satisfaction, and remember to include your business signature in all of your interactions.

Multichannel Selling on the Rise

Multichannel Selling

Trying to get more traffic for your website is a good idea, but it isn’t your only option for increasing sales. Multichannel selling is proving to be tremendously beneficial to a lot of online businesses so more websites with their own online stores are moving to using multiple channels to sell online!

What exactly is multichannel selling?

If you are not sure what multichannel selling is, then you might be in trouble because this might mean that your business methods are behind. Multichannel selling involves selling on different platforms at the same time. This form of selling involves distributing your products via different methods.

  • Offline sales involve selling through a retail brick and mortar store, trade shows, and other physical markets.
  • Selling through digital marketplaces means you are selling through large online locations like Amazon, eBay, and more.
  • Multichannel selling involves complementing your own e-commerce store with one or more third-party online stores like Etsy, social media channels like Facebook, etc.

What is the future of multichannel selling?

More and more online, and even brick and mortar, businesses are starting to ‘act out of the box’ because they are stepping over their own store limits by distributing products using other popular marketplaces and online stores.

By doing this, these businesses often reach a more of their target audience, especially if they choose virtual marketplaces that mostly suit their personal product category. Customers also enjoy much easier shopping experiences since they have access to all of the products they desire from the online stores they visit most often.

The future for multichannel is quite bright because this form of selling produces a much higher revenue and gives online businesses an easier way to target and distribute products to different sectors or even internationally.

No, multichannel selling isn’t hard.

Think that it is hard to sell on multiple channels? Think again! This sales method is actually quite easy because most online marketing channels do all the processing automatically. Client queries and questions are automatically navigated back to the seller, for example. It also isn’t hard to keep track of your different marketing channels or the data from these channels because software like Atandra links all of your online markets, including your own e-commerce store, as well as your shipping and tracking to a singular dashboard and QuickBooks business accounting software.

Get on board or fall behind!

The only way to compete successfully with your competitors is to constantly upgrade your selling strategies and to ensure that your products are the quickest and easiest to find and buy. It only makes sense that your business will start falling behind pretty quickly if you don’t get on board of the multichannel selling strategy, especially since businesses are flooding these marketplaces at such an alarming phase.

The future of online shopping may well involve shopping everything you want from a single virtual marketplace which means you need to be selling on these popular platforms or you might miss out on some good sales and good company growth.

Top Virtual Marketplaces to Consider

Top Virtual Marketplaces

Online shoppers love to buy from top virtual marketplaces. Shoppers can enjoy a much greater variety of products and they can scout for much lower prices on the same product. One of the biggest reasons why online shoppers prefer to buy from these virtual marketplaces is because these platforms pose a much lower risk to the buyer than smaller e-commerce stores due to the customer protection services these virtual marketplaces provide.

With these benefits, it makes complete sense that online marketplaces are often a much better solution than selling from an e-commerce store, especially if your product list is greatly limited. The only downside is that each of these online marketplaces operates differently. They have different terms and conditions and they charge differently to boost product ratings or for virtual store space. It is critical to choose the right virtual marketplaces for your sales. The right marketplaces will reduce marketing costs and boost sales at the same time.

Here are the top market channels to consider if you are planning on expanding your sales reach:


Amazon is an online store based in Seattle, Washington. The store was founded in 1994 and is currently one of the top marketing channels in the world. Amazon recently expanded their services and now ship to a lot more countries than ever before.


eBay focuses on consumer-to-consumer (C2C) and business-to-consumer (B2C) sales. This is one of the biggest multichannel e-commerce stores in the world and they have headquarters in San Jose, California.


Etsy is a little bit different than other marketplaces or multichannel stores. The channel functions on a peer-to-peer basis and mostly focuses on handmade or vintage items. This channel is probably only suitable for your business focuses on consumer products.


This is one of the best stores to consider if you have a technology products business. Newegg mostly sells electronics, gaming gear, networking products, office solutions, and similar technology items. While they also have categories like homeware, tools, hobbies, and toys, they remain focused on consumer electronics and business technology products.


Sears have been active for more than 120 years! They have a fantastic global rank and can be a great option for businesses that want to expand their product sales to international customers. The store consists of all types of products and goods such as appliances, auto, baby, clothing, electronics, fitness, home, jewelry, and much more.


This e-commerce site sells design products at the cheapest prices and might be a good option if you have unique or special designed products. Categories include home, art, tech, and gifts, but be aware they also offer and promote an adults-only category.

You have quite a lot of choices when it comes to virtual marketplaces and there is no way most businesses will be able to afford to sell on all of them. The best way to go about choosing is to pick the marketplaces with a customer base that mostly closely matches your target audience and currently offers products that complement those offered by your business.

Top Tips to Successfully Run Online Stores

Running online stores

Thanks to many online services, and even hosting companies, it is now easier than ever to create and run online stores.  Most of these e-commerce platforms use drag and drop functions that make it super easy to redesign and modify web templates to suit your unique business. Uploading your products to the online stores is getting easier every year.

The hard part of running online stores is generating revenue and profits.  The ease of shipping makes it much more convenient for you to sell products online, but also means that you have a much bigger competitor list. Getting traffic to your website is no simple task but often determines success or failure.

Top Tips to Make Your Online Store a Success

There are several small things you can do to run online stores and boost success, and many of these small tips won’t cost you much at all.  Here are the nine things that should be considered for improved online sales.

  1. Improve Your Website

You only have a few seconds to impress those that visit your website, which means everything on your website and especially online store needs to be perfect.

  • Ensure that your website has a fast loading speed
  • Regularly update and improve your design for a modern feel
  • Ensure your website functions well on multiple devices including smartphones and tablets
  • Watch out website ads because they things look messy and can affect credibility
  1. Include Company Info

It is important to state the obvious on your website.  Include an ‘About Us’ section when running online stores so visitors can quickly identify what your entire business is about. Add contact information so visitors know they can reach you if they have any questions or problems.

  1. Offer Online Support

A lot of people hate communicating via telephone and email can sometimes take too long.  Online support, especially via chat or text messaging, can help your customers experience an immediate response and provide a more positive shopping experience.

  1. Easy Payment Methods

Use easy and commonly used payment methods like PayPal, credit cards, EFT payments and more to run online stores. Supporting the most popularly used methods among your typical customers is vital, especially mobile-friendly options. Avoid having your customer struggle during checkout.

  1. Connect Your Social Media

Social media is a great way to promote your website and store online.  Include links to your website on all advertisements, promote products on social media often, and consider using social network advertising options to increase sales.

  1. Don’t Ignore your Blog

Blogs are great for two major reasons. Firstly, they increase your SEO because blog information is much more likely to appear in search engine results and blogs with plenty of backlinks and useful information are great for improving your website ratings so your site will appear higher in search engine results.  Secondly, a blog is great for supplying your visitors with something fresh and interesting to read.

  1. Highlight Reviews and Testimonials

A popular way to get people to trust the online store you run is by giving them a way to comment directly on products.  The reviews they provide help to convince others to purchase that product or service while giving valuable information on the product itself. Testimonials about your company build trust and credibility that benefits all products.

5 Tips for Your Multichannel Selling Strategy

Multichannel selling

So, you already have the basic functions of your business in place?  Well, perhaps it is time to start looking out for a next step to boost sales or to simply make it easier for customers to get your products.  Multichannel selling is one of the best ways to reach more clients, but this type of marketing requires a lot more research and time.

Multi-channel marketing involves distributing and promoting your products across multiple places or channels.  This usually involves selling on different online stores and using different e-commerce platforms.  For example, you can sell with online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, sell via social media sites like Facebook, sell on your website with an e-commerce store, and sell through physical ‘brick and mortar’ retail stores.

A multichannel selling strategy is useful because each multichannel network has individual sales pros and cons that can affect your success overall success, revenue, and profits.

5 Tips for Your Multichannel Selling Strategy

To create a simple but effective multichannel selling strategy, research and consider the following five things:

Choose the Right Channels

You need to do your homework before deciding on the sales channels to use.  Each is going to cost you some money in the form of marketing, management, hosting, or rental expenses. Using these channels involves different infrastructures which mean different training requirements.  Here are the top sales channels to consider for your multichannel strategy:

  • Virtual marketplaces like Amazon or eBay
  • E-commerce stores on your and other websites
  • Direct social media sales like Facebook Store
  • Physical brick and mortar retail stores

It is always best to start off slowly by picking one or two new marketing channels until you feel comfortable enough to expand further.

Find the Best Multichannel System

One of the hardest parts of multi-channel marketing is finding a multichannel retail system that allows you to process invoicing, sales, and inventory across all channels. Without a common system, you should expect to spend a lot more time on product administration, order processing, and financial accounting using the different systems provided by each channel.

Integrate Your Channels and Systems

For your systems and multichannel networks to co-exist effectively without resulting in chaos, you need to integrate these systems so they function from a single management point.  T-HUB by Atandra is a terrific platform to consider because it enables you to manage products, process orders, and update accounting across different networks with ease from a single system.

Enhance the Customer Experience

Customer experience is critical if you want to make a success of any e-commerce channel.  It is important to follow up on the shopping experiences of your customers on every different channel so you will know which channels require improvement.

Simplify Multichannel Management

It is only natural to want more channels as your business grows.  You want to be able to generate sales data from all different networks, and you want to maximize profits on all different platforms.  There are quite a few options when it comes to multichannel management, but you find yourself using individual managers to optimize the success of each channel.