News from Digital Main Street

Technology solutions help small businesses stand out among e-commerce giants

Canada Post | March 28, 2017

"When an entrepreneur is launching their new e-store,” Gilbreath says, “they want to make sure that they can get out all the orders on time because of the high level of expectation that consumers have these days."

READ ALSO: A new crop of digital businesses is going physical and seeing results

Large or small, retailers do not get a second chance with online shoppers, he notes. "Amazon and other big retailers have set this bar really high. This is the new level of expectation."

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Question your technology

Competing in the e-commerce market can only be achieved with the most effective technology, he says. But before working with an e-commerce partner, retailers should be asking important questions.

"Is the technology seamless, do they allow you to be efficient, are the processes outside of the technology messy or are they organized?" Finally, can the online platform be easily scaled up when orders take off. "How long does it take to get 10 orders out? Do the simple math on that to see what it’s going to take if it blows up in a good way and they get 100 orders, 1,000 orders or 10,000 orders."

Gilbreath, who — like ShipStation’s chief executive officer — has a background in retailing, knows how much of a challenge it can be for small businesses to operate in the same environment as Amazon. "We are not just shipping folks. We are folks that have been there, selling stuff out of our garages to ending up at some of the biggest retailers in America."

Think about logistics from the start

Most entrepreneurs start with a cool product or idea. Few spend more than a few moments thinking about backend logistics. "When you go from a cool hip thing that flashes through social media to turning into a real business, having the right technology partners in place allows you to grow up, if you will, without actually having to grow up. You can expand the product line, have the time to come up with new products, do more marketing, the things that make you successful."

Making the jump from a mom-and-pop operation to a well-oiled machine requires you to delegate some responsibilities, he says. The entrepreneur who has had his hands on every aspect of the business suddenly has to let go of key functions of an expanding company. "You didn’t get into this world to be the shipping guru. Shipping is usually the place where if you have the right processes you can hand that off to get your time back."

Gilbreath says successful online retailers put themselves in their customers’ shoes — or more accurately, the electronic devices they use to place orders. "We think about it from the checkout experience to what is the consumer experience through the whole process."

For the customer, fulfillment is all that matters

"Shoppers today don’t care if you are fulfilling out of a garage behind your house or a big warehouse, using robots or using your Mom. They don’t care, they just want their item."

Looking out a few years, he foresees an "ever increasing expectation of service. Consumers are expecting things much more quickly, they are expecting much more choice in where, how and when they get their packages, whether it is a pickup locker location, whether it is being able to change routing of a package in transit."

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READ ALSO: Growing E-commerce in Canada: Unlocking the online shopper opportunity [New whitepaper]

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Check Out April Events at Rogers Small Business Centres

Rogers | March 28, 2017

Have you heard? Small-business owners across Canada are discovering Rogers Small Business Centres, located inside Rogers retail stores from coast to coast, where entrepreneurs can book an appointment – free of charge – with a Small Business Specialist to get one-on-one expert advice on Rogers products and services.

And there’s more: Rogers Small Business Centres also regularly host free events where small-business owners can gain valuable insights and network with their peers. If you haven’t yet checked one out, now is the time to register!

This April, Rogers Small Business Centres will be hosting an exciting series of workshops aimed at tackling a universal challenge for time-strapped small-business owners: how to boost productivity when you’re already overwhelmed and overworked running your company.

Among the speakers slated to appear are:

  • Productivity expert Ann Max, a motivational speaker and the President of consulting firm Productive to the Max

  • Vancouver-based social entrepreneur and Business Growth Strategist Hilary Kilgour

  • Valeri Hall Little, founder of Intandem, who specializes in helping small business owners streamline their operations and battle burnout

  • “Master Productivity Ninja” Jill Mallet of Think Productive, a firm that provides time-management solutions to small businesses

  • Futurpreneur Canada’s entrepreneur-in-residence, Chad Fryling

Whether it’s whittling down the number of emails in your inbox to a more manageable number, figuring out how to make the most of your apps and tech, or just getting some tips on how to improve the way you work, you can learn from local experts at Rogers Small Business Centres this April – and leave with a plan that will help you stay productive and competitive.

To find out more about dates and speakers for events at Rogers Small Business Centres in your area, or to register, visit rogersbusinesscentres.com. Seating at events varies depending on the location, so be sure to register early to secure your spot.

And to book an appointment with a Small Business Specialist, use the Store Locator to find the Rogers Business Centre nearest to you.

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Check Out March Events at Rogers Small Business Centres

Vickie Reichardt | March 16, 2017
 

Have you heard? Small-business owners across Canada are discovering Rogers Small Business Centres, located inside Rogers retail stores from coast to coast, where entrepreneurs can book an appointment – free of charge – with a Small Business Specialist to get one-on-one expert advice on Rogers products and services.

And there’s more: Rogers Small Business Centres also regularly host free events where small-business owners can gain valuable insights and network with their peers. If you haven’t yet checked one out, now is the time to register!

This March, Rogers Small Business Centres will be hosting an exciting series of workshops aimed at tackling a universal challenge for time-strapped small-business owners: how to boost productivity when you’re already overwhelmed and overworked running your company.

Among the speakers slated to appear are:

  • Productivity expert Ann Max, a motivational speaker and the President of consulting firm Productive to the Max
  • Vancouver-based social entrepreneur and Business Growth Strategist Hilary Kilgour
  • Valeri Hall Little, founder of Intandem, who specializes in helping small business owners streamline their operations and battle burnout
  • “Master Productivity Ninja” Jill Mallet of Think Productive, a firm that provides time-management solutions to small businesses
  • Futurpreneur Canada’s entrepreneur-in-residence, Chad Fryling

Whether it’s whittling down the number of emails in your inbox to a more manageable number, figuring out how to make the most of your apps and tech, or just getting some tips on how to improve the way you work, you can learn from local experts at Rogers Small Business Centres this March – and leave with a plan that will help you stay productive and competitive.

To find out more about dates and speakers for events at Rogers Small Business Centres in your area, or to register, visit rogersbusinesscentres.com. Seating at events varies depending on the location, so be sure to register early to secure your spot

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