E-Commerce In The Age Of Covid-19 Part One: Advances In Merchant Software

This article is the first article of a three-part series on e-commerce addressing the merchant experience, improving consumer experience, and the next generation of technology

Covid-19’s impact on American retailers has been massive — not just in terms of lost income or jobs, but also the accelerated rise in e-commerce volume. Online retail, which had previously taken more than a decade to reach 16%, leapfrogged to 27% in the 2 months following the onset of Covid. Experts forecast this growth will only continue, magnifying the opportunity for e-commerce but also the challenges ahead.

For merchants, the rapid shift from in-store to online has made an e-commerce platform a business necessity. Retailers that had previously sat on the sidelines are now forced to reckon with a new reality. Meanwhile, those that already had strong web platforms are quickly working to improve them. Regardless of their prior embrace of the stage of e-commerce, all retailers now recognize that a dynamic online presence is critical to survival. They also recognize that shifting toward online comes with new complications.

That’s where software companies have an important role to play. This year has seen a surge of new software offerings aimed at modernizing, expanding and fixing shortcomings in merchants’ online platforms. Even though e-commerce technology remains a work in progress, the pace of progress has been brisk.

Take fraud for example, which becomes more complex and more prevalent as shoppers are no longer physically present at checkout. Credit card fraud is easier to execute online than in a store, making it a serious pain point for retail. And a costly one, at that. Merchants are responsible for fraud prevention and have to deal with the ultimate compromise of taking on more risk or tightening controls with the consequence of turning away paying customers. Fraud eats

Bill Gates Learned at an Early Age This Lesson That Takes Most People a Lifetime. Some People Never Do

You can say what you want about Bill Gates, but it would be hard to argue that he hasn’t experienced success. He’s one of the wealthiest people on earth, having co-founded one of the world’s most valuable companies. He now spends his time giving away all of that money to causes like eradicating polio. His is not a bad resume. 

A lot of that accomplishment comes from a simple lesson Bill Gates learned early on in his life. I think it’s worth looking at, especially since it’s something many people take a lifetime to learn, if they ever do at all.

Most of us assume that it is, which means everything that isn’t success must be failure. But the opposite of success isn’t failure. Or, it doesn’t have to be. And, that’s a distinction that can make all the difference. Unfortunately, it’s one that many people never learn to make.

Most people measure success by whatever the equivalent is in their job of shooting an arrow and hitting the center of the target. There’s very little margin for error: you either hit it or you didn’t. If that’s the case, everything else is a failure. That belief is often what makes us afraid to try, because success is narrowly defined as only the best possible outcome. 

In most cases, though, success is incremental. You try something and it works, you take a step forward. You try something else, and it doesn’t work, so you learn something and look for more things like the first attempt. Eventually, you get to wherever you were headed.

This brings up another reason success isn’t binary: in many cases, it’s impossible to understand the best possible outcome. In fact, there are a lot of things that don’t qualify as a “success,” but shouldn’t be defined

A B2B Website in the Age of COVID-19

In the age of COVID-19, there are minimal networking, tradeshow, or face-to-face selling opportunities. Many B2B companies who relied on these tactics for lead generation have been caught flat-footed and are in a state of panic due to the lack of leads.

Bop Design has a current client that has relied on a 1-page website for years because most of their sales were based on networking at trade shows and one-on-one relationship building. Since events and in-person meetings aren’t possible now, they realized they needed a better B2B website to help them with sales and conversions.

COVID-19 has exposed the need for every B2B marketing strategy to be multi-faceted. A multipronged B2B marketing strategy reliant on multiple lead generation tactics is always the best approach. This way when something unexpected comes up like a pandemic, you can turn to lead generation activities that are viable. Right now, and for the near future, every B2B company is more reliant on its website than ever.

B2B Marketing Will Never Be the Same

If you are an event marketing company or a convention center, you may be hoping for things to go back to normal. The problem is the normal we knew 7 months ago is not coming back. Experts predict that business travel will never return to the volume it was before COVID-19, thus you see major hotel chains permanently closing locations in popular places like Times Square.

No matter what you believe on the COVID-19 political spectrum, the acceptance of this reality means you must let go of some short-term, makeshift strategy until COVID-19 “blows over.” B2B companies need to accept reality and determine a long-term strategy based on more virtual selling and digital marketing.

Acceptance Leads to a Path Forward

Accepting this virtual way of doing business will be commonplace

Dance in the age of coronavirus: Cleveland’s professional troupes display creativity in 2020 fall season programming

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Different as they are, Cleveland’s major dance groups are alike in evincing one important quality during the coronavirus pandemic: creativity.

Unable to proceed as normal, to perform for live audiences in their usual venues, all have displayed balletic flexibility and remarkable haste in efforts to amend or wholly redesign their fall seasons.

“We’re talking about a significant change to our lifestyle,” said Margaret Carlson, producing artistic director of Verb Ballets. “We’re experimenting with different ways of reaching audiences. It’s all an experimental process.”

For some, the experiment already has been underway for months. Many spent the summer finding larger studios, learning to dance while wearing masks, and devising ways to connect with patrons online or in other socially distant manners.

Others, meanwhile, have had to act more quickly. They’re now drafting new game-plans for the fall, having waited out the summer in the hope that larger audiences would be permitted to gather indoors by this point. One troupe, Neos Dance Theatre, went and remains on hiatus during the pandemic, and is now mulling a company-wide restructuring.

“There’s a lot of learning curve here,” said Pam Young, executive director of DanceCleveland, noting that with so much uncertainty in the world, “the best we can do right now is put dates on the calendar by which we have to make decisions.”

Cleveland Ballet had an ambitious fall season on the horizon, including a production of “The Magic Flute” at Playhouse Square. That, though, became unfeasible with Playhouse Square remaining closed and indoor gatherings still limited.

Luckily, it found an alternative. Just before the weather changed too dramatically, the company put together an Ohio tour called “Outside the Box,” a whirlwind string of outdoor shows at Stan Hywet Hall and vineyards in Aurora and Canton. Thus will “The Magic Flute”

Half of young women will leave their tech job by age 35, study finds

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Young women in tech aren’t staying in the industry. 


Getty Images

Half of young women who go into tech jobs leave by age 35, according to a report out Tuesday from IT consulting firm Accenture and tech education organization Girls Who Code. 

The primary reason? Noninclusive company culture. Thirty-seven percent of respondents who said they’d left the industry listed this as their reason for leaving. 

The study, called Resetting Tech Culture, gathered information from 1,990 tech workers and 500 senior human resources leaders in companies employing people in technology jobs. It also gathered info from 2,700 college students. 

This type of attrition, the report says, is a blow to an industry that’s already struggling with a lack of diversity, with the proportion of women actually declining in the last three decades.

“[Women] have actually fallen further behind at the very moment when tech roles are surging and vital to the U.S. economy and its continued leadership around the globe,” the report says. 

The study comes at a time when tech companies have faced increased scrutiny over the demographic imbalances in their workforces. Big names like Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and others release diversity reports every year showing incremental progress. Despite investing time, money and PR into corporate diversity efforts, tech companies like Uber are still plagued with reports of workplace discrimination and the like.

The report also comes as more than 30,000 women are expected to gather virtually this week for the Grace Hooper Celebration, a 20-year-running conference devoted to supporting women in technology. 

Accenture and Girls Who Code also found that a disparity exists between how senior HR leaders at companies and women themselves perceive the