New Articles

Common E-commerce Mistakes to Avoid: How Many Are You Making?


Common E-commerce Mistakes to Avoid: How Many Are You Making?

E-commerce is a truly amazing idea. You can market your product to thousands of customers without the marketing budget of a multinational company, take orders, and deliver them all at the same platform.

With the COVID-19 pandemic locking people up in their homes, online shopping has become the new norm, making e-commerce almost a necessity for most modern businesses.

While the possibilities are endless, it’s easy for things to go wrong with e-commerce if you don’t keep a few basic points in mind. If you’re wondering why your online business hasn’t achieved the growth it should have had, here are some common mistakes you might be making.

1. You have insufficient information on your store.

While everyone includes basic information like product descriptions and pricing, it’s easy to neglect the pages you think are unimportant.

One page people tend to neglect is the “About Us” page. You might think buyers aren’t interested in reading about you but you’re wrong. Buyers are curious about the person or company they’re buying from, especially if you’re just starting out and not big yet.

A well-written about us page helps you connect with your customers by sharing your personal story with them, which builds trust and credibility. At the end of the day, less buyers are going to bounce off your store.

At other times, e-commerce stores fail to clearly outline sales terms and conditions, leaving users confused about their refund and exchange policy. This can turn away a good number of buyers (no one likes taking risks with their money!), so make sure to include this information in clear terms in your store. A good online business lawyer can help you in this regard.

2. Your store is not designed for phones.

Mobile phones are a major medium people use to shop online. You could have the most amazing store, but if it’s not optimized for mobile phones, you’ve lost a lot of customers in an instant.

Open your store on your mobile browser, and see if it runs as smoothly as it does on a desktop. If it’s displayed incorrectly, lags, or is not very responsive, it means you need to have a conversation with your software team!

3. You haven’t researched the market.

This mistake can be made with any business, but it’s particularly easy to make with online businesses because they’re so easy to set up.

You can have full confidence in your product, but your business won’t flourish if no one wants your product. So it’s extremely important to find out the demand your product has before launching a store.

Another common mistake people make is failing to niche down. You should clearly define your niche, and then aim to engage your target audience. If you don’t niche down, you won’t be targeting a specific audience. You’ll basically be shooting in the dark.

4. You’ve neglected SEO.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is what makes your store visible on the internet. When you type “best pencil holders” in Google, you see a list of websites. Those websites aren’t ranked randomly but by how well they’re optimized for search engines.

Every piece of text that you put onto your store (from product descriptions to the About Us page) is an opportunity to make use of the right keywords and improve your SEO. Many e-commerce owners neglect the content they put on their website when it’s one of the most powerful tools to drive the right kind of customers to their store.

But SEO is not just about content. As competition between websites is increasing, SEO is getting more and more complex with constantly evolving on-page and off-page SEO best practices.

So it’s unlikely you’ll be able to tackle your store’s SEO by yourself. If you’re a startup, consider working with a budget-friendly SEO agency to take your store to the next level!

5. You’re not loud enough.

You can have the most amazing e-commerce store out there but it’s going to be useless if people don’t know about it.

You need to make use of all marketing platforms available to you to promote your website. Creating a brand identity and a story that people can relate with help in website promotion, so it’s a good idea to work on those aspects of your store as well.

Placing ads on social media platforms, collaborating with influencers and YouTubers, and making the right use of SEO content are some ways to promote your website. Many more ideas exist, and no one idea alone can turn things around for your store.

If you’d like to take all the ideas and turn them into an effective marketing strategy, your best bet is to work with a good digital marketer who can help you scream out as loud as possible!

6. You’re failing to close the deal.

The checkout process is the most important part of your store when it comes to closing the deal. If it’s too cumbersome, there’s a very good chance your customer will abandon the cart.

Your goal should be to make your checkout process as smooth as possible. You can do this by ensuring good page load speeds and a clean, intuitive user interface. At this point in the buying process, you should keep things minimal and avoid distracting the customer with offers, promotions, and advertisements.

It’s also helpful to keep the information required for making the purchase minimum — today’s internet users crave instant gratification and too much typing while shopping online annoys them.

Finally, try to offer as many payment options as you can. Nothing breaks the heart of an e-commerce customer like the unavailability of their preferred payment option, which sometimes is the only option they really have!


How AI is Enhancing Supply Chain Performance

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many supply chains throughout the world to collapse. This reminds us that over the years, the world has become extremely interconnected — a global village — and supply chains have grown in complexity almost exponentially.

But as businesses emerge from the devastating effects of the pandemic, one thing is clear, software, digitization, and automation will be the cornerstones of future development, and companies must incorporate these into their business structures to build resilience, weed out inefficiencies, and prepare well for the next disruption.

Intelligent project management software like pmo365 has already begun to automate and digitize the business world, allowing senior executives to monitor company resources and projects effectively. But another area where business software is making giant leaps is in improving supply chain performance via artificial intelligence.

Areas where AI can optimize supply chains

When we think about supply chains, we tend to focus on the physical (and more visible) aspects, such as transportation, transformation, and storage and warehousing of materials. But underlying these physical flows, are certain processes and information flows that are equally important for the integrity and flow of a supply chain.

Because modern supply chains are so complex, information needs to flow back and forth between various people and organizations at an alarming speed to coordinate the activities of the day and ensure the successful running of the chain.

Risks need to be predicted, potential hurdles identified, and decisions must be taken fast. All this depends on effective communication and intelligent software, and this is where AI can enhance supply chains.

In addition to information flows, AI can also power (and improve) the various processes that make up a supply chain. By automating iterative tasks, identifying inefficient processes, and providing supply chain professionals crucial predictive data, AI can shift the focus of the human workforce towards more complex and strategically important tasks.

So let’s take a look at some benefits of AI use in supply chain management.

Benefits of AI in supply chain management

AI prevents stocking of unwanted inventory

Because of AI’s ability to process huge amounts of data, identify trends, and take into account recent world events, companies are now using AI to study consumer habits and the ups and downs of seasonal demand.

This allows companies to prevent stocking unwanted inventory, which is not only a waste of space but also means the customers are not getting what they want, which really translates into a loss of revenue.

Inventory management is an overall complex process, with many aspects like order processing and packing involved. Companies strive for accurate inventory management because it prevents understocking, overstocking, or sudden stock-outs in unpredictable circumstances, all of which could translate into hefty costs.

AI can automate various processes in inventory management, reducing the risk of error, and providing valuable predictive data on supply and demand. This can turn the slow and sluggish animal of inventory management into an intelligent and efficient beast!

AI-backed decisions are better

Given the complexity of modern supply chains, it’s no surprise that supply chain professionals are often faced with difficult decisions. Huge amounts of data to sift through and limited end-to-end visibility makes these decisions even more difficult and risky.

Supply chain optimization software integrated with AI allows machines to analyze large amounts of data and detect patterns that are hard for humans to see. AI can then offer actionable insights to professionals, allowing them to make AI-backed decisions, and make them fast and at the right time. This can have a major impact on the overall efficiency of a supply chain.

AI improves fleet management

Managing large fleets is a difficult task. Fuel costs, labor issues, and unexpected bottlenecks can lead to significant fleet downtime, which negatively impacts delivery times and disrupts the supply chain.

Fleet managers often find themselves struggling to make the correct use of large amounts of data that comes in from a large fleet. With AI, fleet managers can gain a greater insight into their fleet than they ever had before.

With real-time tracking and intelligent use of weather and traffic data, AI can provide fleet managers valuable information about the optimal time, place, and date for a particular delivery to be made. AI can also detect bottlenecks and work its way around them, reducing unplanned fleet downtime and eliminating fuel inefficiencies. All of this translates into an effectively managed fleet, which is crucial for the uninterrupted running of the supply chain.

AI enhances workplace safety

Warehouses are important to supply chains, and it’s crucial for companies to provide a safe working environment for workers in a warehouse.

AI enhances warehouse safety in two ways. First, it improves the overall management and planning in a warehouse, which in turn makes it safer to work in.

Second, AI can record stocking parameters and analyze data related to workplace safety. This analysis can be turned into actionable insights for operators, allowing them to take timely decisions and be proactive about maintenance. Both of these factors play an important role in making warehouses safer!


Rising Trends for Companies Looking at Digital Avenues for Business

Business in the COVID Pandemic – Companies and Individuals Turning To Digital Avenues

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the entire framework of worldwide economic and social structures. People and businesses must work out solutions for surviving in an environment where staying at home has become critical for safety and health. Technology and digital avenues are now a practical way to serve customers, manage operations, and earn profits. Working online has become a viable option for businesses and professionals alike, regardless of their size. Here’s a closer look at the survival strategies adopted during the pandemic.

How the Corporate Culture Is Adapting

Companies in different sectors and worldwide locations have adapted by focusing on the accelerated digitization of their operations by at least three to four years. In all internal and external processes ranging from organizing supply chains of raw materials to production and supplying to customers – wherever possible, larger investments are being made in automation and contactless performance.

The Stress Is More on Digitally-Enabled Products

Adapting their portfolio and offering a more comprehensive range of digital and digitally-enabled products and services to maintain their client base is another survival strategy companies have adopted. Statistics indicate an acceleration of around seven years in how products are researched, developed, and produced. Offering online and doorstep delivery is also a practical option to encourage sales and stay competitive.

Several sectors like financial services, professional services, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals report an exponential hike in demand compared to consumer packaged goods (CPG). Some excellent examples include developing channel manager apps, digital marketing and SEO services, online coursework, and educational products.

Overcoming Resistance To Change Has Become Critical for Survival

Issues with altering the existing organizational structure and integrating technology have impeded efforts to make changes before the pandemic. The reasons cited included the possibility of clients being disinterested in digitization and the higher risk of data breaches and identity theft. However, top executives not prioritizing the transition or being unwilling to allocate the necessary funding have been the primary reasons.

The pandemic has created an environment where companies must adapt or fail. Implementing the necessary changes becomes critical considering that competitors are opening up to newer and more streamlined operational techniques. It comes down to adapting or going out of business. Catering to customer demand with stress on offerings that comply with the new health and hygiene requirements has necessitated the adoption of digital avenues for conducting business.

Companies Are Offering WFH Options

Companies are now open to raising the costs of hiring trained personnel to run operations and purchasing advanced equipment to serve customers. That includes software and hardware complete with cutting-edge solutions to prevent data breaches and provide secure platforms for conducting transactions and sales. Cutting back on in-office teams and providing work-from-home options seems to be the new normal.

Organizations and the people working in them have recognized the positives of remote working options before the pandemic. From the business perspective, operational costs and overheads are lower while productivity levels are higher. Since the COVID-19 lockdowns, employees are being encouraged to work from home. Some are also provided with the necessary equipment, such as laptops and secure Wi-Fi connections to safeguard intellectual property and company data. Video conferencing and document sharing apps allow teams to coordinate efforts and keep up with their deliverables.

Hiring Remote Teams Is an Economical Work Process

Hiring the services of online freelance contractors to keep the company operational is also the way to go. Several aspects can function with the assistance of a remote notary, accountant, SEO, digital advertising and marketing specialist, bookkeeping, attorney, data analyst, and various others. In the past, executives would take up to 12 months or more to develop and implement remote working solutions, but this timeline has been cut down to as low as a couple of weeks during the pandemic.

Digitization Has Opened New Employment Opportunities.

The demand for digital services and professionals providing those services has led to more people turning to the industry to find jobs. The COVID pandemic has resulted in the loss of an estimated 114 million jobs, with close to $3.7 trillion lost in labor income. Although people are returning to work in 2021, the International Labour Organization predicts that global working hours are unlikely to return to their pre-pandemic numbers.

The workforce must look for other avenues to earn a livelihood, considering that close to 97,966 companies have closed down permanently in the US alone. Digital marketing has emerged as an industry that has the potential to absorb a large section of the newly available talent. As long as they have a computer and a fast and reliable internet connection, any person can train and start working in this sector. Not only are there lots of accredited courses available for professionals wishing to work in the digital sphere, but there are also several websites and social media platforms offering access to jobs and employment.

The New Normal and Digitization Is Here to Stay

The COVID-19 pandemic is permanently altering how companies, consumers, and employees live and work. Experts predict that even after the crises have passed, the reliance on digital avenues for conducting business and working will continue. The protocols and behavior adopted during the pandemic are likely to last, and organizations must evolve to function according to customer demand. Employing digital channels has become indispensable in providing a holistic customer experience and remaining competitive in their respective industries. Organizations may also have to overhaul their long-term visions for business strategies and objectives to accommodate digital integration.

Over time, as digital solutions advance and innovations emerge, companies may have to employ them to deliver more customer-centric products and services. Adopting suitable approaches while experimenting with new technology is critical for survival. From the individual professional’s perspective, digital avenues could prove to be a viable source of primary income or even a side hustle to make some extra money to supplement their earnings.

transport business

What You Need to Know Before Starting a Transport and Logistics Business

It’s easy to break into the transport and logistics industry; the real challenge is maintaining a profitable business venture in a competitive environment. Aspiring business owners need to create a solid business plan, financing, and recruitment strategies before opening their doors to the public.

Whether you run a one-person business or operate 150 trucks, always be prepared for stiff competition. With that said, here’s what you need to know before starting a transport and logistics business:

Choose a Transport Niche

Choosing your niche means identifying your target audience and the service(s) you offer. Here are some of the categories of transport businesses you can choose from:

Personal transport. Companies that cater to individuals or small groups, like taxi companies or limousine rentals.

Local transport. Consumer goods, materials, livestock, and more fall under this category.

International transport. This refers to the transport of all categories but at a global scale. Companies that pick international transport usually offer air-based delivery or sea shipping.

Choose one niche and learn all you need to know about it. Suppose you’re not sure which niche to choose, research the supply and demand in your area. Identify a relevant problem or a need and formulate a solution. If you address a pressing issue, you’ll have a steady client base even before you open your business.

Consider the Expenses

Understanding your business’ finances increases your chances of success. For instance, you need to figure out how to fund your company. Are you planning to bootstrap? Apply for an unsecured business loan? Or ask for financial assistance from angel investors?

The Small Business Administration is a great resource for both small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Before you apply for a loan, be sure to create a comprehensive business plan because many lenders ask to review your plan before approving your loan application.

You also need to consider the expenses associated with running a transport and logistics business, including fuel prices, maintenance costs, license and toll fees, insurance, and hiring and training fees. You might also want to invest in an enclosed parking space when your vehicles are off the road, as well as safety features like CCTV monitoring, alarms, dashcams, etc.

Charge the Appropriate Rate

The rate you charge determines the profit you’re going to make. It should be high enough to cover your expenses and make a profit. If you set your rate too high without a basis, you can lose potential customers to your competitors. This is why it’s important to understand your finances, calculate your expenses and conduct market research.

It’s also important to note that other companies provide the same services, not to mention competing with brokers with appealing offers. If you want to increase your price, be sure to offer added value that your customers will love, like expedited shipping or a tracking app.

Here are some of the factors you need to consider when determining the right rate:

-Type of goods transported

-Type of transportation

-Weight of the goods

-Shipping method used

-Distances and time

-Shipping routes


-Added value

Use Automated Tools

Thanks to today’s technological advancements, you don’t have to run your transport and logistics business manually. Every business owner knows how important it is to constantly improve transport management to stand out from the competition.

One of the ways to do so is to use a reliable internal knowledge base and transport management software. Good software allows business owners to keep all data related to transport operations in one area. It could also track shipment scheduling, including the cargo, driver, and fuel usage. This information allows business owners to save time, money, and effort.

Set a Budget

The costs of running a transport and logistics business depend on the niche you choose. For example, running a taxi company with three vehicles is cheaper than a large logistics fleet with 15 delivery vans. But regardless of the size of your company, you can plan for these expenses.

It’s important to set budget, goals and benchmarks, but here are some of the things you need to consider:

-The amount of revenue you need to maintain operations

-The amount of money you want to invest in advertising and marketing

-How much you spend on manpower, supplies, and equipment

-The amount of debt your business has in expenses and loans

What’s Next?

Running a transport and logistics business can definitely be profitable. Follow the tips mentioned above so you can enjoy a successful company amid stiff competition.

gig economy

How the Gig Economy Benefits Employees & Businesses

Gig workers now represent more than 36% of the United States workforce, which is equivalent to 59 million Americans, according to the results of Upwork’s latest “Freelance Forward: 2020”, the most comprehensive study involving the U.S. independent workforce.

The number of freelancers, self-employed professionals, independent contractors, and gig workers is continuously increasing, and by 2028, this number is expected to exceed 90 million. With these stats, there’s no denying that the gig economy is shaping the future of work.

But how exactly does the gig economy benefit employees and businesses?

1. Save Money

Availing the services of gig workers allows businesses to save money. Employee benefits such as insurance paid vacation leaves, and retirement plans can amount to thousands of dollars each year. In fact, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employee benefits make up 32% of an employee’s compensation. By hiring gig workers, you could cut these costs by more than a half and reinvest the money saved in your business.

Companies that work with freelancers can also save money on infrastructure expenses. You don’t have to maintain office space, computers, and other office supplies. Companies that fully embrace remote work can eliminate the need for offices.

2. Find the Right Person for the Job

Aside from keeping the costs down, the gig economy gives you the freedom to hire the right person for the job. Employers will be able to apply individualized skills to different areas of your business. You can hire a gig worker to develop your website, one to work on your SEO, or one to manage your social media accounts.

In this way, you’re not trying to make one or two of your employees adapt to tasks that aren’t their strengths. The gig economy allows you to use different people who can play to their expertise. This allows businesses to operate like a large company without the overhead costs.

3. Your Employees Can Do More High-Value Work

By outsourcing other tasks to self-employed professionals, your employees can focus on doing more high-value work. Employees can offload low-value tasks – like expense accounting, booking travel arrangements, and basic tasks, making time for the work that matters. Your employees can focus on what they do best, while the appointment-setting, background research, and other tasks that can be delegated are done by freelancers.

You can hire a virtual assistant from Upwork or set up a virtual assistant subscription. As a result, your employees can concentrate on more pressing tasks, improving your company’s level of efficiency and effectiveness.

4. Easily Hire Seasonal Workers

Seasonal businesses often need seasonal workers to fill in and help around during busy seasons. Business owners often turn to temp agencies, but these agencies charge fees that can quickly add up. On average, temp agencies charge a fee equal to 12% to 50% of the temp worker’s hourly rate.

The gig economy allows businesses to eliminate the middlemen and work with freelancers and independent contractors directly. Freelancers know what they’re getting into, and there’s little to no expectation that the job will end up full-time. Gig workers and freelancers prefer the flexibility of moving from one gig to the next.

5. Greater Expectations

Consumers nowadays have greater expectations. They know what they want and when they want it. This trend is what fuels the gig economy. Business owners find a way to leverage consumer expectations by hiring gig workers. This strategy is more common during peak seasons when consumer demands drastically increase.

Businesses anticipate high-quality work from freelancers as they’re more current on industry knowledge, skills, and other tools. They need to keep up with the trends to consistently draw new clients. Consumers expect more from brands, brands strive to exceed customer expectations by hiring freelancers, and freelancers constantly improve to get more business. All parties  – freelancer, business, and consumers – consistently meet greater expectations.

Where to Find Gig Workers

Now that you know how the gig economy benefits employees and businesses, the next step is to find gig workers. You can begin your search in the following places:

-Freelancing websites: Upwork, CloudPeeps, 99Designs, and Fiverr, to mention a few.


-Your network

-Freelance communities on social media

The Future is Heading Towards Gig Economy

Technology continues to revolutionize the way people do business, and judging by the drastic increase of gig workers over the past years, the gig economy is the future of business. Employees now want flexibility, a proper work-life balance, and the freedom to choose the project they want to work on.

By acknowledging what gig workers bring to the table, you’ll be able to take advantage of the opportunities the gig economy offers. Gig workers can now choose from high-paying and full-filling projects, while businesses and employers can select the best candidate for specific tasks.

trade finance

5 Tips for Small Businesses Exploring Trade Finance Options

Just like any other industry, foreign trade businesses require a substantial amount of capital to start and operate. Trade finance makes it possible for small businesses who want to buy bulk goods from international suppliers. With cash available, SME’s can take advantage of buying supplies in bulk and negotiating a discount with the suppliers.

If you’re looking to use trade financing for your company, it pays to know a little bit of how you can make the most out of it. Here are five tips to consider when exploring trade finance options for your small business:

1. Consider the Potential of the Business You’re Applying Financing for

Before actually considering applying for different finance options, it’s smart to evaluate whether the activity you’re getting financing for can produce revenue in the future. Otherwise, you’d be stuck paying for something that isn’t actually making a profit for your business. Plus, if you fail to make payments because the products are not bringing in profits, it could ruin your relationship with the financing company.

The best way to avoid this is to do market research about the business project to determine its profitability. It also helps to explore other opportunities that you might not have tapped into and has the potential of generating higher ROI. Trade finance facilities may also be concerned with your business’s viability, so it’s crucial to show facts (research, projections) to convince them.

2. Ensure Protection Against Changes in the Foreign Currency Exchange

An increase and fluctuations in currencies are expected when doing business with other companies in another country. While fluctuations could mean reduced costs, a substantial increase could mean a loss of profit for the company.

When looking at trade finance options, make sure that the financing facility you’re working with supports the currency you’re doing business in. It’s also helpful to negotiate a fixed rate of exchange and draft it into the contract before starting the business relationship. This would mean that you won’t benefit from any fluctuations and potential savings in cases where the exchange rate fluctuates. But, the stability of having a fixed price would also protect you from potential losses if the exchange rate increases substantially in the future.

3. Look Into the Facilities that Offer Trade Financing Options

Applying for a trade finance option is a big decision for entrepreneurs to make. Considering that they would have to borrow a substantial amount of money, it’s natural for them to worry about the cost it entails. However, taking on precautionary steps and exploring the offers of different companies will help you choose the best deal your company can afford. This will ensure that you won’t miss out on opportunities that will benefit your company in the long-term.

When researching facilities, it’s best to consider the type of trade financing they offer – equity, debt, letters of credit, invoice financing, and others. Compare the prices and identify the options with payment terms that would best suit your cash flow cycle. It’s also smart to consider the ease of access to this financing. How long does the approval process usually take? Do you have to meet specific requirements like minimum revenue or credit score for approval? It’s essential to consider these, especially if you’re in a hurry to get the financing.

It also helps to ask your friends in the industry for recommendations. If they have worked with a specific company before, ask them about their experience. Learning from others is the best way to gauge if the facility is the best fit for you.

4. Talk to the Trade Financing Facility Before Doing Business With Them

Once you’ve narrowed down your options on where to apply for financing, the next step is to come down to their office to discuss their offers. This step is sometimes necessary for determining whether the company will be able to meet your company’s needs and negotiate with them so that you can maximize the financing option. By talking to them in person, you’ll be able to discuss the business and financing needs. If they can help you with it, they can tailor an offer that would best fit your company’s financial capabilities.

Since you’re planning on building a long-term relationship with them,  it’s also vital to know how the financing company handles their clients. Do they offer alternatives in case they cannot meet your financing needs? Do they give out advice? The level of their customer service will help determine whether they care and value their clients or not.

5. Read the Fine Print of the Contract

Finally, ALWAYS read the fine print of the contract. Just like any type of business financing, trade financing entails costs, fees, and other essential facts that can catch you off-guard if you don’t pay attention to the details. As much as possible, take as much time as you need in reviewing the contracts from the financing companies you’re interested in. Be fully aware of your responsibilities and the fees you have to pay for the financing.


Trade financing is a viable alternative to consider when banks refuse to lend small business loans to SME’s to buy supplies internationally. It’s worth noting, though, that every financing facility may have different requirements, so it pays to inquire with them beforehand. Ensure that your company is qualified if you’re planning to pursue applying for trade financing in their facility. Nevertheless, with proper research coupled with the tips mentioned above, you’ll be able to find the right trade finance option and facility that would address the needs of your small business.