Spend, Travel and Worry Less About Your Retail Business Using Alibaba.com

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The average U.S. small business worker is estimated to work over 50 hours a week. That’s nearly 14 hours more than the average American worker, and 14 hours likely that these SMBs wish they could save in their weekly efforts.

But how can they achieve this?

Fortunately, retailers and SMBs who face difficulties with limited time and budget do not have to settle on these realities anymore. Using Alibaba.com, there is a lot to offer SMBs, beginning with saving time and while spending less. Curious how this works? Explore below.

Money Making Opportunities

Buy low and sell high. This is the very core concept for making money on items you sell as a small and medium online retailer. With Alibaba.com you can source directly from anywhere in the world. This means you are not limited by your geographical location. More than 190 countries, 40 industries, and 5,900 categories are at your disposal in 16 translated languages.

Alibaba.com brings its 20 years of experience helping business-to-business (B2B) companies with millions of products from hundreds of thousands of suppliers for you to choose from. And one of the best ways it makes these products available to small and medium online retailers like you is by offering drop shipping.

Spending less on Alibaba.com means really spending less. Via the Alibaba.com Dropshipping Center, there are 40 categories providing over 1 million – and growing – trendy products from more than 7,000 pre-vetted high-quality manufacturers. So, you are probably asking how much less will you be spending with one of these dropshippers, right?

Within the Alibaba.com Dropshipping Center, 72% of available products are under $15. And if you make your purchase during Super September (Sept 1- 30, 2021), you get an additional 10%-off.

Dropshipping Support from Alibaba.com

If discovering products that are easy to have drop shipped has been a challenge, look no further than Alibaba.com. Fulfillment becomes easy when using Alibaba.com, with the following details further supporting their users:

Over 1 million products and counting across 40 categories. One-click product import to add new products quickly and easily to your online store. Full supply chain transparency with an automated payment processing and shipment tracking for your drop shipping online retail store and your customers. Automated processes of payments and order fulfillment.

You can also automate store connection, product listing, order processing and shipment tracking by accessing Alibaba.com Dropshipping Solutions through platform integrations from Shopify, WooCommerce, Syncee, Spocket, Dropified, and Modalyst with others on the way.

With Alibaba.com you also get ready-to-ship supplies, flexible customization, low Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) in ready-to-ship, and Request for Quotation (RFQ).

Travel Less … Or Not at All

Let’s face it, travel takes time and money. Yet as a small online retailer, this is not always readily available. Yet it’s important to explore inventory you want to consider for your business, which is why Alibaba.com offers four features that are designed to address this very issue.

#1: Virtual Reality Showroom

With more than 8,000 immersive virtual reality showrooms, you can browse and examine products through Virtual Reality technology. Beyond the short videos of True View lets you control how you see the product in an immersive environment. With a 360° detailed image of the product, you can examine it from every angle.

#2: True View

Another way you can see a product is with True View. This is yet another tool suppliers use to showcase their products with a short video to quickly highlight key features. With videos of up to one minute, suppliers show everything from how the product is used to features such as strength, colors, sizes and more.

#3: LIVE

After watching the product on the Virtual Reality Showroom and True View, you can then move on to a live stream with the supplier. This lets you talk one-on-one with a live person so you can ask additional questions about your choice. The live chats will give you insights into the business, facilities capabilities, and products of the supplier.

While this is not exactly an in-person meeting, it is the next best thing for a small online retailer as well as avoiding pandemic restrictions.

#4: Less Worry

Once you are ready to order the products you want, the last thing you need is to worry about getting them to you and your customers on time. And for small and medium online retailers, logistics is hard to manage and can be a time consuming and expensive task. The lack of certainty, transparency, and availability can make running your business more stressful than it has to be.

Under post-COVID circumstances, Elite Partner Event helps connect global buyers and sellers, and build trust with one another. It provides buyers with select verified suppliers with solid brand, production and supply chain capability that can facilitate buyer and seller communication without the need for costly travel and in-person visits. Further, EPE brings the products you need, provides information on the latest technology, and provides minimized risk and reassurance.

Alibaba.com logistics has On-Time Delivery Service* with Ready-To-Ship products along with accurate end-to-end delivery time estimates. This includes additional compensation for delivery delays. Currently there are more than 19 million Ready-To-Ship products with quick dispatch time.

Another service available to you is Delivered Duty Paid. This is a one-stop, door-to-door logistics solution to better manage your budget and logistics with end-to-end total costs. The products in the DDP Pavilion are eligible for one-stop logistics services. With these purchases you get the quote for the total cost. The seller is going to handle everything from shipping and customs clearance at the destination port, to last-mile delivery at your address.

Last but not least, prioritizes trade routes for more stable logistics services to 169 countries and regions around the world. You can access global logistics partners with some of the leading shippers in the world. You can guarantee shipment capacity and space by using the showrooms of ZIM, De Well, and Wenyao directly on Alibaba.com.

If you want to get your small online retail business up and running without the pain points, Alibaba.com makes it happen for you. Start building your online business by taking advantage of Alibaba.com’s Super September up to 40% off promotion. It’s their biggest sale of the year!

Spend less and sell more online by taking advantage of the discounts and specials taking place right now on Super September.

* On-Time Delivery Service is applicable on select products only and subject to Terms & Conditions.

This article, "Spend, Travel and Worry Less About Your Retail Business Using Alibaba.com" was first published on Small Business Trends

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10 Ways to Use Data to Improve Your Connections with Customers

improving connections with customers

Information is power when running a business. Facts, statistics, and analysis of your customers and the tools you utilize may help you connect more effectively. So how do you narrow down what information is most useful? Read on for tips from members of the online small business community.

Improve Retention by Calculating Customer Health Index

The more information you have about your customers, the more effectively you can communicate with them. That improved communication can lead to increased retention. Learn how to maximize this by calculating your customer health index in this Process Street post by Jane Courtnell.

Collect More Payments On Time

Invoicing can sometimes create friction between service businesses and their clients. This is especially true when clients forget to pay on time. However, the invoicing tools you utilize may help you get paid and eliminate issues. This InvoiceBerry post by Marya Sutimi includes some strategies to try.

Improve Your Marketing with Data Blending

There are plenty of places to collect data about your marketing tactics. But looking at all those different sources may be overwhelming. In this Whatagraph post, Gintaras Baltusevicius explores how data blending from various sources can help.

Get Your Content to Go Viral by Looking at Science

There’s no surefire way to make a blog post or video go viral. But there are plenty of examples to look at. Taking a scientific approach may unlock secrets that improve your odds. Neil Patel dives into the science behind virality in this post.

Meet and Exceed Customer Expectations

One of the most important pieces of information you should consider about your customers is their expectations. With this data, you can focus on meeting or even exceeding those standards with every interaction. Harry and Sally Vaishnav share tips in this SmallBizViewpoints post. And BizSugar members offered additional thoughts here.

Learn How Influencers Can Improve SEO

Influencer marketing can help businesses more effectively reach target customers. But that’s not the only benefit. With the right data and tracking information, you may even improve SEO. Learn about influencers and SEO from this Search Engine Watch post by Joe Sinkwitz.

Consider These Video Marketing Statistics

Video marketing is becoming an increasingly important strategy for online businesses. Having the right information about this tactic may help you tailor your content to what customers want. This Startup Bonsai post by Matt Moran features a collection of facts and statistics for businesses to consider.

Utilize Pinterest for Your Small Business

Pinterest can be an amazing tool, both for marketing a business and learning new methods and information about customers. Read this Webbiquity post by Lisa Sicard for thoughts on the platform. Then visit BizSugar to see what community members are saying.

Optimize Your Presence On Instagram by Learning About Search Algorithms

Most businesses want to be easily found on Instagram. But the algorithm can make that tough. Luckily, learning how things work may help you get in front of more users. Check out this Social Media Today post by Andrew Hutchinson for more on this topic.

Improve Your Digital Strategy with Competitor Keywords

Selecting the right keywords can make a huge difference in your SEO. However, some businesses struggle coming up with them. Looking at your competitors may actually help you narrow down some options to more efficiently connect with visitors. Connor Lahey elaborates in this SEMRush post.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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This article, "10 Ways to Use Data to Improve Your Connections with Customers" was first published on Small Business Trends

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Jon Reed of Diginomica – Virtual or Live, Events in General Just Haven’t Been Done Well, Which Continues to be a Lost Opportunity

jon reed diginomica

Before the pandemic I was going to about 30 physical events a year.  During the pandemic I haven’t gone to any, but I’ve gone to way more events virtually.  And I can honestly say that in either form, events leave a lot to be desired.  But at least physical events allowed you to actually see and be around people, which made up for some of the shortcomings of those events.

Jon Reed, ERP industry thought leader and co-founder of Diginomica, probably goes to more events than I do, along with putting on his own events.  He’s been rating events for years, which is why I recently spent A Few Good Minutes with Jon to get his take on the current state of events, and what we should expect as things begin opening up.

Below is an edited transcript of a portion of our conversation.  Click on the embedded SoundCloud player to check out the entire conversation.

smallbiztrends · Jon Reed of Diginomica – Virtual or Live, Events Haven’t Been Done Well

Brent Leary:  How have we done by way of putting on virtual events?

Jon Reed: Unfortunately, we have not done a very good job with our virtual events whatsoever. And I’m disappointed about it because I feel there’s a lot of lost possibilities that were never tried. I have some ideas behind this and I know probably some of the comments going to tick people off and event organizers are going to say, “Events are hard” and they are hard. 

I am a creative event designer and I have put on events for a long time. So, I have taken a lot of chances on the ground with events and done a bunch of stuff that I’ve never seen vendors do such as unconference days, which is almost unheard of in an enterprise setting. It’s not unheard of in geeky settings, which I also frequent to learn from the geeks. So, anyway I’ve learned the hard way and so I feel like I have some ability to criticize here. And unfortunately I think the problem that we have right now is first of all, these hybrid events that are coming, they don’t deserve the word hybrid.

They’re going to be streaming keynotes and that’s it. That’s a very passive broadcast relationship, that’s not a hybrid event. If you think a hybrid event is a streaming keynote, that’s a total fail in terms of your event creativity, I’m sorry. And the thing that I’m a little worried about here is, well, two things. One thing is I think, some vendors are rushing on the ground events with optimism about people’s readiness to attend and if they had embraced hybrid a little better, what they could do is be much more flexible and say, “Hey, we’d love to have you on the ground if you’re ready or in the region.” But if you’re not, there’s all kinds of ways you can engage without being on the ground and it does.

Hybrid events are hard, they take more work to go beyond the streaming keynote. I’m not going to sugar coat that, but what if he can do it? It gives you a lot more flexibility in terms of the kind of events you can have and if for some reason you do get concerned about say Coronavirus variant that we’re a little worried about later in the fall or something, then you could scale back and go to your online, it gives you a little more flexibility around how you want to do it or if your numbers are down, you can scale back the event and do more virtual. So, I think the problem that we’re running into right now is that virtual events are hard vendors struggle with them and so they thought, well, I can’t wait to get back on the ground because that’s so much better, that’s my comfort zone.

But the problem was that, on the ground events weren’t very good either. On the ground events were broken also and this is an important point we can argue about. But, what I would say is the reason we liked the on ground events is because we saw each other and when we see each other again, even if we’re wearing masks, it’s going to be a wonderful thing to see each other and so, that good vibe is going to overwhelm the deficiencies that we’ve always had in these on the ground events. So, basically my position is that we didn’t get virtual events right and we didn’t have on the ground events right so, we don’t really have anything right when it comes to enterprise events but, there’s an opportunity to do better and there are some vendors that are fake that are starting to get that idea.

Brent Leary: You said a lot there. The thing that I think really caught my attention even more than some of the other things was, the vendors said the virtual events are hard, which are definitely difficult in a sense that you can’t do the same thing face-to-face and then try to pass it off virtually and expect it to work out. But what you’re even saying is, even those face to face things didn’t work out to begin with so, you couldn’t even bring those to the virtual stage because then you’re just bringing something that didn’t work virtually, which means there’s more people to see the fails, so to speak. But then, the thing that really got me is they’re rushing to get back to the face-to-face events, because even though there may be some fails, at least they’re comfortable with those familiar fails, and they are anticipating that we’re so happy to get back and be able to see each other, whether we’re ready to mask or not, that we’ll be more likely to overlook the fails from the previous pre COVID event experience.

We’ll just be so happy to get back that we will overlook that and so, that’s part of the reason that they want to get these things going quick.

Jon Reed: You got it. That’s a whole host of problems we could probably spend more than a few good minutes unpacking all of that. But, I do want to emphasize a little bit though that there are creative opportunities and I think that’s the thing that gets me excited is that occasionally I do have these experiences online and also sometimes in person that really show me that there are opportunities out there. Event metrics are part of the problem. I think we’re still looking at raw lead gen metrics for the most part in terms of how we judge an event’s success or failure and I think unfortunately that’s a really narrow set of metrics and we have a bunch of metrics that don’t really work very well.

We could talk about it in terms of things like this video, are we going to look at how many eyeballs did we get? Is that how we’re going to evaluate it? And Alan, what I always come back to is that what we’re trying to measure if we can, is not these raw volume metrics, it’s got, we broke our attendee record again, that’s so awesome. What kind of engagement did we get? What kind of conversations developed from that? What kind of community interactions were fostered? Those aren’t always the easiest things to measure but, there are ways of doing it, I hate to say surveys, because that’s not my favorite, but the point being I don’t know about you Brent, but when I think about what was the successful video show for me, I think about the caliber of the conversation around it. If Alan keeps commenting and then other people start commenting, that’s great. If it’s just quiet out there that worries me.

Brent Leary: I think the quality of the conversation is paramount because even if there aren’t a lot of people watching in real time, if the content is good enough and you’re able to position it in a certain way, you’ll get a level of engagement after the show. I like the real time aspect of doing this. But, I think the thing that was missed on the most when it comes to these virtual events is enticing real-time engagement, embracing real-time engagement. A lot of times these events are very scripted and there is a very big hesitancy to the break from the script and bring in that real-time opportunity.

And I understand, our attention spans are short. I think the good things that have been the cases two and a half hour key notes have been compressed into… and I’ve seen them as little as 30 minutes, 15 minutes. I think that’s a smart move when you’re talking virtual, because there’s so many different things going on and people. I’ve got five screens, I’m sure you’ve got about at least that. And if it’s not keeping our attention, it’s too easy to transfer our attention to other stuff. So, I have seen some adjustments, but I think the one thing that’s really been missing is, I think they look at the attendee as a spectator and they don’t allow them to be more of a participant in some form or fashion. I think that’s been one of the biggest misses when it comes to these virtual events.

Jon Reed: Totally. I’ll give a good example of a way to combat that in a sec. Esteban Kolsky (SAP Chief CX Evangelist) saying, what are the goals of the event? I think Esteban nailed it there because I think I would argue that most vendors who put on events, their goals are a branding, messaging and legion. And that’s why these events fall flat.

What we end up with are these broadcasting events. And vendors do fear real-time engagement and user generated content, of course they do. But, you can spend your whole life running around worrying about compliance and legality and stuff like that or you can take a break from that and obviously if you think about those things, that’s what good event moderation is all about – anticipating that stuff. The same thing comes up in online communities and we figured out how to handle that to some extent. Let me just give one example, the event producers that did Web Summit and Collision which became these huge online conferences, and one of the missed opportunities is, you don’t have to reinvent the entire event.  

They still had a bunch of broadcast sessions and stuff like that, but they created pockets of creative engagement and so I think that’s one thing that event planners can start to do is to figure out, can we create some pockets of engagement that are manageable for us?

Instead of having a totally hybrid event, maybe you have a real live stream in one part of the venue and that’s the place where the live stream is happening all day long for example. So, instead of live streaming everything which could get crazy, you figure out, how can we live stream certain sessions? In the case of Web Summit, they did something amazing for media. What they did was they created these media led panels where I could go and meet people like yourself, but people around the world internationally, journalists and we would have these conversations online about things like monetization and advertising or the issue of free speech versus community moderation.

I’m talking with people someone’s in Spain, someone’s in Brazil and these are working journalists all around the world. I might not even have experienced that in a real time event, but I did online. And it just took a bit of creativity on their part to come up with this. And the thing is that, online, it creates a great format for that. All you have to do is do it and that’s what’s been so frustrating to me is how few vendors have taken that chance and say, “Well, we may not be able to create that for all participants and maybe all participants don’t want it, but we can do it for VIP’s, we could do it for people who want to pay extra and maybe have that engagement.” I’ve seen that work, there are ways to do it that are super cool.

This article, "Jon Reed of Diginomica – Virtual or Live, Events in General Just Haven’t Been Done Well, Which Continues to be a Lost Opportunity" was first published on Small Business Trends

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See How Alibaba.com Gives Ecommerce Businesses an Edge

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Small Business Trends takes a look at the many benefits, such as direct sourcing from manufacturers, online showrooms, and savings, that Alibaba.com offers to drop shippers and other ecommerce sellers. Watch the video here…

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