business

shopping cart software

Top 10 Features of a Great Online Shopping Cart

Planning on getting a shopping cart for your online store? Here are top ten features you should look for in a shopping cart software:

shopping cart software1) Security. Need we ask more why this is number on the list? If your shopping cart is not secured, you will be putting at risk your shop and your customer’s safety. Make sure it comes with at least 128-bit SSL support to ensure security protection.

2) Ease of use. How many items can your shopping cart hold? A shopping cart that can hold large bulks of orders is more convenient.

3) Flexibility. What kinds of credit cards or payment gateways is it capable of? Is it limited to just one, two or a wide selection of gateways?

4) Real Time Shipping Status. Does it provide real time report of all deliveries from major carriers like FedEx or UPS? Customers should be able to check the progress of their shipments.

5) Import/Export Option. Does the cart provide you with the option to import or export customer orders at no extra cost of service?

6) Discount Options. Is the shopping cart capable of calculating promotional items? Is it capable of reading discount coupon codes, gift certificates and items on sale?

7) Newsletter. What about a newsletter? The best a shopping cart software in the market includes newsletter systems to help you keep in touch with your customers more easily.

8) Customization. Will you be able to customize the features according to your own preferences and needs? A cart that is easily customizable will make your tasks hassle-free.

9) Updated Statistic Reports. This particular feature will be a tremendous help in keeping track of your sales and marketing performance.

10) Customer Support. Lastly, make sure that the company provides reliable customer support 24/7 any time you may need assistance.

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Promotional Items for Business

Branders.com is an online company offering a wide range of promotional items for businesses. The homepage is particularly catchy.  Founded in 1999, the company operates in four countries and has provided service to more than 100,000 customers.

If you don’t have a particular item in mind, all you need to do is choose the right category to see suggested items.   Sign up for an account to access all the features of the website such as the online quote wizard, the patented design studio- for designing your logo, and the project tools so you can store and share quotes, designs, and ideas with your business partners.

 The company offers 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, Lowest Price Guarantee, and On-time Shipment.  If you’re not happy with your order and if your shipment is not delivered on time, you can get a full refund.  And in case you find another company that offers promotional items at a lower price, you will get an additional 36 mugs with your order, for free.

Choosing the promotional item/s will lead you to creating your personalized products. Navigating is easy as you can make your own design through their online design studio. For instance, if you want to give away corporate pens, you can choose from different styles, colours, and materials.  Uploading the desired images/company logo is fast. You can craft and polish your own design right from the website.

Don’t forget to check out the eco-friendly section where you can choose from a list of biodegradable, recycled, organic and sustainable materials.

How Much Will a Car Repair Cost You?

 

Before going to an auto repair shop, you should already have a good idea as to how much a specific service (ex. oil change or brake job) would cost you.  Look for a reliable online resource that will provide you with a fair estimate on prices of auto repairs, parts, and labor. Hence, you can avoid shops or mechanics who are out to rip you off.

One such website is Repairpal.com  From the website, you can find a local auto repair shop that offers the exact service you need and is nearest to your location.  For instance, if you live in Houston, you can simply type in your ZIP code and car make (ex. Acura TL) to get a list of Houston auto repair services.  You will also be able to read reviews and ratings from customers of each shop.

The website also provides a bulletin board where you can read tips and information on how to deal with common car problems.  You can also post your own question to get specific answers from master technicians. Lastly, you can store all information for all vehicles you own so it would be easy to keep track of all previous repairs and services.

Repairpal.com is accredited by the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and has been given an A rating. For more information, check out the website.
Web Hosting Service

In Search for the Best Web Hosting Service

To find the best web hosting service, there are a number of factors to consider.  Here is a list that can help you:
photo via: weheartit

Web space. How much web space do you need?  If you are going to use it for business, a bigger space may be necessary.  This is especially important if you have a large data base or if you need to fill your website with high resolution graphics and videos.

FTP access. Some website hosting companies have their own web builder.  Although it may be easy to modify your website using these tools, it’s better to choose a web host that provides FTP access so you can have more freedom to customize your website according to your preferences.
Bandwidth (Data transfer).  A higher bandwidth range ensures efficient data transfer so this is another factor that you must check before choosing a web host.

Up Time.
  A reliable website hosting service must ensure less down times  Although there is no webhosting company that can guarantee 100% uptime, it’s crucial to find one with the lowest down time rate, especially if you’re going to use the website for business.
Support.  Does the web hosting company provide dependable customer assistance and technical support 24/7?  Are the representatives knowledgeable and helpful?  One way to check this particular aspect is to call up their customer service number and speak with the representative.  Another way is to check its web hosting rating from the internet or do a survey of what their customers have to say about their service.
Pricing.  Of course, everyone wants to get reliable service at a reasonable price.  However, keep in mind that  a low price alone does not guarantee great service.  Spend time comparing plans and prices of different web hosting companies.  Check out a web hosting directory so you can compare  reviews and prices without hopping from site to site.

Starting An Online T-Shirt Business

If you are a designer planning to start your own online business or independent shop, there are many ways to introduce your designs. One popular type of merchandise where you can print your unique art work is the humble t-shirt.
Most shop owners purchase a large bulk of plain t-shirts from a wholesale supplier to get the cheapest price. From there, you can choose your own method of printing, be it through screen printing, transfers, digital or vinyl transfers.
While there are quite a number of shops that sell t-shirts, you can always find your niche market depending on the main theme of your designs. For instance, some illustrations and slogans are a big hit for teenagers (ex. Cafepress funny tshirts) while others are especially designed for kids. Needless to say, you need to be able to consistently come up with bright ideas if you want to attract a following of buyers. Yes, the most important aspect about this particular business is creativity.
You may also consider selling online instead of renting a shop to cut down your start-up costs. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of setting up your own website or using a third party company that offer webhosting for businesses.
Aspiring entrepreneurs can try out CafePress as a venue for their art. Café Press is an online company for customers and artists who are looking for a unique way to express themselves through customised designs on various products such as t-shirts and clothing, film posters, greeting cards stickers, buttons, magnets, and home decor.
The company was started in 1999 from a humble garage in San Leandro, California. Fred Durham and Maheesh Jain had a clear vision of a business that focuses on self-expression, freedom and creativity. Today, the website receives an average of 11 million unique visits per month and is considered to be it is one of the most successful companies online having tie-ups with major companies like Fremantle Media Enterprises, MGM, Summit Entertainment, Snoopy, E! Online, etc. Recently, it has introduced official Twilight t-shirts, New Moon and Eclipse apparel.
Some third party companies will provide the t-shirts and even take care of the shipping services so all you need to focus on are the designing and marketing aspect. Perhaps you might want to check the waters first, so to speak and see how your target market will respond to your creations. If the response is great, then that’s time you can build your own business website. Before taking the next step, be sure to do some research first so that you’ll know what to expect in running an online business and be prepared to face up to the challenges.

Asbestos Removal – What You Should Know

Asbestos is a natural mineral that can be broken down into fibres and is used in industries that require fireproofing, waterproofing, insulation and soundproofing procedures.  However, recent studies have proven that exposure to asbestos fibers can cause lung diseases such as Mesothelioma.
In response to the risks associated with the use of this mineral, different laws have been passed to protect workers whose nature of jobs may expose them to asbestos fibers.  Asbestos removal has also been introduced to protect people, in general, from inhaling asbestos fibers which can be found in both residential and commercial buildings and structures.  Who is in charge of this duty?
Only licensed asbestos contractors are assigned for the job.  Since it involves handling of high-risk materials, operators that offer asbestos removal services must secure a special license the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).  Only licensed contractors have the proper equipment, knowledge and training necessary to perform the task.
To reduce the risk of fiber inhalation, these experts use timber and polythene enclosures to seal the area, and they wear complete breathing apparatus, decontamination equipment, disposable clothing and a specialized and sealed waste kit.
How much will it cost to acquire this service?  Understandably, because the job entails serious risks and demands specialized equipment and skills, asbestos removal service may cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, depending on the size of the structure or the scale of the task at hand.
Nevertheless, if you are the owner of a rental property structure or a building, you need to ensure that your property would be safe from hazards including health risks.  Sure enough, acquiring this very important service- asbestos removal- is worth the expense.
Is it possible to free your space from asbestos materials by yourself?  Yes, it is possible but only with low-risk asbestos materials that do not involve scraping (ex. asbestos cement roof sheets, panels, etc).  If you are going to take on this task, be sure that you are fully protected from asbestos fibres by wearing a facial mask and disposable clothing.  Before starting the job, wet the materials to avoid fibre from flying off.  Work carefully to avoid breakage.  Finally, place all waste materials in a double bag of thick polythene sacks and close it tight before bringing it to the nearest recycling centre in your area.
The removal of high-risk asbestos materials such as the asbestos insulation board, sprayed coating, packing, pipe insulation, etc. should be left to the experts.  Remember, if the process will involve even a minimal amount of scraping, it is recommended that you let the professionals take over.
To learn more about asbestos products and the illnesses that are related to it, visit http://www.asbestos.registers.co.uk.  The website offers information on proper management of asbestos, as well as advice on asbestos removal for consumers and businesses alike.

Cut Back Expenditures and Save Your Business Budget

Recession has indeed affected both big and small businesses in the industry.  If you are a small biz or a home business owner, you need to be creative in finding ways to cut your costs without compromising your tasks at hand.

Below are some practical suggestions to reduce your expenditures and stretch your business budget.

Conserve energy. Do your share in saving the environment while cutting your bills at the same time.   Make sure that your office is well-ventilated.  Use energy-saving lighting devices in your office or store.  Unplug electrical devices at night.

Share marketing costs with other businesses.  Offer to help out another company in marketing in exchange for a free or a lower cost of service.  For instance, you may promote a printing company as you enjoy discounted price for printing services.

Hire freelancers. You may not need to hire a lot of in-house employees, especially if you are managing a start up the business.   During peak seasons, you may hire freelancers to temporarily lend a hand.

Take advantage of free online tools. Maximize email capability and use it to send messages whenever possible.  Make the most of free internet marketing tools to promote your business such as blogs, social networking sites, forums, press release sites, and many others.

Monitor office supplies. Buying office supplies in bulk is obviously cheaper but you also need to pay attention to how these materials are used.

Lease office equipment. Purchasing new or used equipment could eat up a huge percentage of your budget.  Consider leasing as an alternative.  Leasing allows you to pay in installments as you get to use the devices and you can be entitled to tax benefits.

Switch to VoIP (Voice-Over Internet Protocol). Through VoIP, you can make calls anywhere in the world through the Internet at a much cheaper cost.

Make payments on time.  Pay your business credit cards, business loans, leases, utility bills, suppliers and other creditors before your due date to avoid penalties and debt build-up.

Shop around before making any purchase. Just as wise consumers shop around and compare, business owners need to be diligent in doing comparisons before purchasing a product or service.

For instance, if you need a wireless phone for business use, explore your options first by using cell phone comparison tools online.  Cell phone plans vary depending on the carrier so take the extra time to study your choices.  Also, check out the BBB’s (Better Business Bureau) guide on choosing a cell phone service.