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E-commerce during the holidays

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We are approaching the busiest online shopping season of the year and whether you run an ecommerce store or sell digital goods / services you are going to want to be on your A game. Maarten Wensveen, CTO at the$2.5 billion company Cimpress (NASDAQ: CMPR, the parent to Vistaprint) shares some advice he learned from running VistaPrint and a dozen more e-commerce mass customization businesses around the world. The company, whose businesses often ship 60% more customer orders per day during the holiday season compared to an ‘average’ day, has lots of experience preparing for the rush. Our learnings over the years include these four steps:

  • Put Customer Experience First
    • Though the holidays are a busy time, shoppers still expect the same customer experience that they receive during any other part of the year. In fact, often, their purchases are even more important to them than at other times of the year. Focusing on efficiency improvements during the offseason is a great way to ensure your e-commerce site delivers during the peak season. For example, Cimpress is continually updating its design process to ensure it’s easy for customers to design products they love (apparel, accessories, etc.). This includes validating that customers’ uploaded images will print well and rendering instant and realistic previews that allow a shopper to review and make changes to their product before purchasing. This also increases customers’ confidence in the product they are ordering, increasing their likelihood to order.
  • Provide Affordable, On-time Delivery
    • Online shoppers have come to expect fast, affordable (if not, free) delivery 365 days a year. Delivering orders on time is therefore essential for earning a lifetime customer. That’s why Cimpress has focused on its logistics network and makes it available to all of its brands through its shipping API. Not only does it ensure faster delivery for orders, but cost savings that can be passed on to the customer. It is also very important to provide very clear information to customers about different shipping options and when customers can expect their products.
  • Don’t Just Buy More Hardware, Consider the Cloud
    • Cimpress’ ecommerce businesses can ship over one hundred thousand orders daily during the holiday season. A majority of these products have personalized images or designs that are uploaded by customers directly to our sites. Given the scale during this busy time, it’s critical that our businesses’ websites are running at top speed. Having storage and services that are cloud-based ensures that we don’t experience any slowness, and don’t need to carry excess storage or physical hardware that is underutilized during the offseason.
  • Be Prepared, Because Bad Things Will Happen
    • All kinds of problems can and will happen that will impact operations like a flood affecting a facility, a supplier experiencing a strike, or a volcanic eruption disrupting transportation and customer deliveries. The effect of these problems can be more acute during the holiday period because there is less slack in the system and customer expectations may be even more exacting. It is important to have very good monitoring to detect when problems are arising and to have built some flexibility into your operations and infrastructure that lets you react to these challenges. For example, leveraging the cloud the right way gives an organization the ability to scale systems fairly easily; building redundancy in your supplier, production, and delivery networks allows for automatic or manual failover as needed.

Be sure to connect with Maarten Wensveen on LinkedIn and Twitter

Anthony Delgado (born February 6, 1986) is an American software developer and internet entrepreneur widely known as a professional hacker in the developer community. Anthony Delgado has won numerous hackathons sponsored by Fortune 500 tech companies like Google, IBM, Intel, Facebook and Microsoft and hosted by organizations including Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the AT&T Developer Summit in New York City.

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Interviews

Interview with Todd Denkin from DigiPath

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We recently had the opportunity to talk to Todd Denkin the CEO and Founder of DigiPath. Since joining Digipath, Inc., in 2014 Todd Denkin has transformed the company from a pure digital pathology solution provider into a leader in the medical and recreational cannabis testing market. Digipath Labs’ Las Vegas cannabis testing facility is the number-one testing lab in Nevada, seeing a steady increase in clients and revenues since opening in May of 2015. While maintaining the highest standard for cannabis testing, Todd also focuses on expanding the business through licensing agreements and partnerships that will bring the reliability, experience, and customer service Digipath Labs is known for to cannabis markets across the country. While doing all of that, Todd also co-founded TNMNews Corp. where he serves as it’s president and on-air host.

Denkin’s career has been defined by foresight––the ability to spot and take advantage of emerging market trends and navigate new companies into lucrative markets. In 2009, Todd identified a trend in grow-your-own hydroponic systems and co-founded the self-contained hydroponic system leader Phototron Holdings, helping take the company public and serving as its president. At the time it was one of the very first publicly traded cannabis companies.

He also founded 10 Mile Farms, a hydroponic vegetable growing company dedicated to sprouting locally grown vertical indoor organic produce farms in communities across the country.

Starting in the television and film production business since attending the University of Florida, Denkin became a 25-year show business veteran making TV shows, commercials, infomercials music videos and films. It was another natural fit for Denkin to shift to the Internet in 2000 with a streaming video dot com startup in Las Vegas, NV. He helped take that company public in 2003 and was instrumental in building it to a $300 million market cap.

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Podcasts

Glenn Parada & Darwin Roman from Latino Wealth Movement on ParadaWorks

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On this episode of ParadaWorks, Glenn Parada sits down to interview Darwin Roman founder of the Latino Wealth Movement to discuss everything from business to leadership. Buckle your seatbelts you are not going to want to miss this episode. Enjoy.

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Startups

The Advantages Of Working With An Executive Search Firm

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Hiring for an executive role at your company is a lot more challenging than hiring for a lower level position. To make the process easier, you may want to work with an executive search firm. These firms provide a number of benefits including the following:

1. They can introduce you to a wider group of applicants, connecting you with potential hires who may not have discovered the opening on their own.

Posting an ad on a traditional job board will only allow you to reach people who are actively searching for a job. In many cases, however, the best person for the position may already be employed by a competing company. An executive search service can get your job in front of these potential candidates.

2. The skills, knowledge, and expertise of the executives at your business play a key role in your company’s overall success.

Even though it costs more to hire top talent for your business, it is an investment that almost always pays off. The right candidate can help your company increase profits and can help secure your future success, more than paying for themselves over time. By using an executive search firm, you can find someone who is perfectly suited for the role that you need to fill.

3. The best candidates may not actively be looking for a job.

Most methods that companies use to advertise job openings are passive in nature. For instance, if you post an ad on a job board, you need people to take action in order to see it. With an executive search firm, on the other hand, they reach out to potential candidates for you, letting them know about the opening at your company. This can help you reach people who aren’t currently searching job boards.

4. Executive search providers actively look for the best candidate for the role instead of waiting for people to come to them.

Oftentimes, companies that market themselves as recruiting services don’t actually go out and recruit talent. Instead, they post ads and wait for people to reply, sorting through the applicants to find the best ones. With an executive search firm, the process is quite a bit different. Instead of passively waiting for applications, they go out and search for qualified candidates, giving you a variety of options to select from. Here are some more tips on how to partner with an executive recruiter

5. Working with the right firm decreases wasted time by weeding out unqualified applicants.

When you post a job opening, you may get hundreds of responses. Initially, that may seem like a good thing. As you dig deeper, however, you may discover that most of the applicants aren’t qualified for the role. Instead, all of the time that you spent reviewing those applications was wasted when it could have been better spent on other aspects of your business. When you work with an executive search company, they will present you with a small group of prescreened candidates who are qualified for the position. That means that you only have to review a few different applications rather than hundreds, saving you a lot of time.

6. No need to settle for mediocre talent.

Executive search firms go above and beyond to find the most qualified candidates for any position. That means that you don’t have to settle for someone who is just okay. Instead, you can get the top talent in the industry.

7. Candidates are evaluated on their future potential as well as their current abilities.

The last thing that you want is to have to hire new people over and over again. To avoid high turnover rates, executive search firms evaluate candidates based not only on how they will perform today but also how likely they are to stick around in the future. The ideal candidate is someone who is qualified for the job and who is excited about contributing to your business and helping it grow for a long time to come.

8. Executive search firms focus on what candidates can actually do for your company rather than on the bullet points listed on their resume.

Before they begin their search, an executive search company will meet with you to talk about the particular role you are trying to fill as well as about the long-term goals of your business. Based on the information they gather, they will actively search for candidates that have the potential to take your company where you want it to go. That involves a lot more than just reading resumes. Instead, it is about matching up the talents of the candidates with the requirements of the position.

9. Working with an executive search firm provides you with more options and access to uniquely qualified candidates.

Hiring someone for an executive role is about more than just reading resumes. Instead, it is about finding someone whose talents and objectives closely align with the goals of your company so that they can help your business succeed.

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