Thursday, 30 May 2013

B2B Ecommerce is on the Rise in 2013; Are You Missing Out?

B2C ecommerce has been around for a while now. When compared to B2B ecommerce, B2C  ecommerce is by far the veteran, however according to research conducted by Forrester, by the end of 2013, B2B ecommerce sales will reach $559 billion. This amount is more than twice the amount of B2C ecommerce sales. With that said, it is clear that B2B ecommerce is growing at a rapid rate.

What’s so appealing about B2B ecommerce?
Providing a B2B shopping environment online for your customers greatly enhances convenience. Customers are able to browse and research products at their leisure any time of the day. Creating this 24/7/365 access is crucial for companies in the global market.

How to make your B2B ecommerce web store a hit amongst customers
Since B2C web stores have been around longer, many have mastered the art of creating a user-friendly environment that customers enjoy. Think Amazon, for example. Given this fact, it is no wonder why many B2B ecommerce websites mirror some of the more successful B2C web stores in an attempt to provide their customers with an intuitive shopping experience and a secure, streamlined checkout process. To do this, B2B ecommerce websites will often have advanced search capabilities to make it easier for users to browse their large inventories. Thorough product details are another important feature. Simply providing the product name and price is not enough with all the media available. Product demo videos or multiple images should be used as well.

In addition to the benefit of having an online shopping environment that is always available, another advantage of a B2B ecommerce web store is the ability to provide users with logins. These logins can be linked to accounts that provide each customer with features that simplify making purchases, like the ability to reorder previous orders or view catalogs specific to them. Other self-service features that help with the user experience might include online bill pay or the ability to view different types of reports, like payment history.

To have a successful B2B ecommerce business, it is important that you target your buyers effectively and have a strong web store with features that make the user experience enjoyable. With the predicted growth in B2B ecommerce sales, a great deal of revenue is being missed out on by companies that do not have an Internet presence.

B2B ecommerce websites build on Microsoft Dynamics GP are one of the products offered by Azox. To learn more about this solution, visit our website.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

LTU hosts program on how to start a business

The Lawrence Technological University, (LTU) Entrepreneurial Collaboratory will present a free program, “How to Start and Build a Business,” 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 5, in room M336 of the Buell Management Building at Lawrence Technological University, 21000 West 10 Mile Road, Southfield.
The program, which is free and open to the public, will begin with coffee and conversation at 8:30 a.m. Participants should register at ltu.edu/startabusiness.
LTU Associate Professor Jacqueline Stavros, the co-author of “SOAR: Building Strengths-Based Strategy,” and LTU Assistant Professor Matt Cole will discuss the SOAR (strengths, opportunities, aspirations and results) planning process.
An overview of the commercialization process will be provided by Francis “Tex” Criqui, a principal of the consulting firm Technology Highway and the leader of the LTU Entrepreneurial Collaboratory.
The program is sponsored by the City of Southfield, the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce and LTU. For information, visit www.ltu.edu.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

VioPoint security consultant to present at BSides Detroit 2013

Josh Little, senior security consultant of VioPoint, a  provider of IT security and compliance solutions will make a presentation during the conference, BSides Detroit 2013 on June 7. 
BSides is a community driven event for and by information security professionals. It will be held on June 7-8 at the GM Renaissance Conference Center in Detroit. 
Little’s presentation, “A Cascade of Pebbles: How Small Incident Response Mistakes Make for Big Compromise,” will focus on a penetration test that showed gaps in the target company’s incident response process. It will highlight how the incident response short-comings allowed the attacker to stay weeks, days, hours and minutes ahead of the responders.A penetration test is a technique of evaluating the IT security of a network by simulating an attack from external and internal threats. This process involves an active analysis of the system for any potential vulnerability that can come from poor configuration, software and hardware flaws and other technical malfunctions.
Little has 14 years of experience in the IT and security fields. He is the chapter leader for OWASP Detroit (Open Web Application Security Project) and one of the founders of MiSec, a collective of Michigan based information security professionals.
For more information on VioPoint of Auburn Hills, visit  www.viopoint.com. 
BSides was named the first grassroots, DIY, open security conference in the world, providing an open platform for security professionals to share ideas, insights and foster discussions. BSides Detroit 2013 More information on BSides Detroit 2013 can be found at www.securitybsides.com/w/page/61144863/BSidesDetroit13.

Big Fireworks Ecommerce Website Built on Dynamics GP is User-Friendly, Navigable and Includes Streamlined Payment Processing


Streamlined Payment Processing
The most recent deployment from Azox is both a business facing and customer facing ecommerce website built on Dynamics GP for BigFireworks. Big Fireworks uses these ecommerce sites to sell fireworks to both consumers and distributors. The different types of fireworks available include aerial assortment packs, firecrackers, fountains, roman candles, three inch finale repeaters and more.

Big Fireworks needed a website that would allow potential customers to navigate their broad product portfolio, make purchases smoothly and securely and would have an overall positive impact in order to promote repeat business.

Navigability
From the homepage, shoppers are provided with a left side menu that separates the various fireworks alphabetically by type. From here, a consumer or distributor can select the type of firework they are interested in, for example bottle rockets. This will take them to a new screen where all variations of bottle rocks are displayed with more in depth product information, such as price and stock availability. These products can further be sorted by price, number or name to help customers find what they are looking for. From here, the customer can choose to add any quantity of the desired firework to their cart by entering a custom number in a box provided. Some fireworks feature video demos as well.




Secure Payment Processing
On the homepage, Big Fireworks provides a minimum that consumers and distributors must reach for making an order in their ecommerce store. Once the order minimum has been added to a shoppers’ cart, they can click “checkout” and begin the process of making a purchase. Return customers can login to retrieve their saved data, such as shipping address, or new customers can create an account. Several types of payments are accepted include ACH and credit cards. Payments are processed securely and sensitive data is stored off site.



A Lasting Impact
Big Fireworks has an ecommerce website that is easy to browse. There are video demos and product reviews for consumers to view prior to making a purchase decision and several payment types are accepted to make the checkout process smooth. These features provide a positive experience for customers. It is also easy to find Big Fireworks on social media for further company research by following the links provided on their website.

Big Fireworks is one of many full ecommerce solutions built on Dynamics GP developed by Azox. Learn more about Azox ecommerce and secure ACH/credit card processing software for Dynamics GP by visiting our website


Saturday, 18 May 2013

Facebook seminars included in Oakland County Business Center offerings

Business owners and entrepreneurs who need assistance are encouraged to attend seminars offered by the Oakland County Business Center. The seminars will take place at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford Township. For registration, visit www.AdvantageOakland.com/expand or call 248-858-0783.

Marketing Your Business is 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 5. The course presents practical applications of marketing concepts designed to help small businesses grow. It covers basic marketing tools including market analysis and research. The fee is $40 per person.

Financial Management is 9 a.m. to noon, Thursday, June 6. As an introductory seminar, the course covers the basics of financial management, including how to start an accounting system and how to apply the information from key financial statements to help you manage your business. The fee is $40 per person.

Business Research - Feasibility to Expansion is 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 6. It is for those thinking of starting a business and wanting to research a business idea. Presented by Oakland County Market Research and an Oakland County Public Library business reference librarian. This workshop is free, but pre-registration is required.

Venture Plan | 10-Week Series is 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays, June 11 to Aug. 20. There is no class July 2. Your application must be submitted and approved prior to registration. Venture Plan is an intensive 10-week program that helps evaluate business opportunities and develop an action plan for owning or growing a business. This program offers essential business information to help develop entrepreneurial skills and build your business on a strong foundation or help to prepare for expansion. Due to sponsor support, the fee is $140 per participant, reduced from $700.

CEED Microloan Orientation is 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 12. Many small businesses face obstacles when trying to obtain a business loan, the Microloan program is for those who need alternative financing. This workshop is free, but pre-registration is required.

Facebook for Business (Beginner) is the first of a three-part series, 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 12. Introduction to social media marketing and using Facebook for business. The fee is $40 per person.

Starting a Business is 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, June 13. It is an introductory session delivered in a workshop format, the course helps aspiring entrepreneurs assess their abilities to lead and manage a company as well as evaluate market and sales potential for their products. The fee is $30 per person.

Quickbooks Essentials (Parts 1 and 2) is 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 3 p.m. Thursday, June 13. This introduction to small business financial management provides an overview of accurate record keeping and report interpretation and utilization. Part 1 will cover basic accounting terminology, new company file setup, customizing forms and letters, and working with bank accounts. Part 2 will cover invoicing customers, receiving payments and making deposits, entering and paying vendor bills and more. The cost to attend both sessions is $75 per person or attend one session for $40 per person.

Facebook for Business (Intermediate) is 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 19. Create your Facebook Strategy. Core strategies and tactics businesses are using to get customers talking on Facebook, how to use social media management tools for Facebook and scheduling posts in advance are covered. Prerequisite: Facebook for Business (Beginner). The fee is $40 per person.

Health Care Reform and Small Business is 9 a.m. to noon, Thursday, June 20. Learn about health care reform legislation and how it will affect all business owners. The workshop covers tax penalties, small business credits, small business wellness program grants (small and large wellness program grants), full-time employee status compliance and all health care reform changes that will be implemented next year. This workshop is free, but pre-registration is required.

Writing a Business Plan is 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, June 20. It is designed for individuals who want to increase their chances for successful self-employment. Specifics of marketing and finance, legal and regulatory issues, operations, and information-based planning and management are key components of the workshop. The first steps for creating a business plan draft will be included along with a demonstration of the MI-SBTDC online business plan tool. The fee is $40 per person.

Facebook for Business (Advanced) is 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 26. This workshop discusses establishing objectives and goals for a Facebook campaign and effective Facebook promotions and/or sweepstakes that meets Facebook’s rules and guidelines. Prerequisites: Facebook for Business (beginner) and Facebook for Business (intermediate). The fee is $40 per person.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

With graduation comes student loan debt

Submitted by the American Institute of CPAs, www.aicpa.org/

New York  – Students go to college to get ahead, but many are falling behind in life’s next stages because of burgeoning school debt, according to a national telephone survey of student loan borrowers and their parents conducted for the American Institute of CPAs by Harris Interactive.
Three quarters of those surveyed, 75 percent, said they or their children have made personal or financial sacrifices because of monthly student loan payments. While 41 percent have postponed contributions to retirement plans; 40 percent have delayed car purchases; 29 percent have put off buying a house and 15 percent have postponed marriage. Most did not anticipate the financial strain, according to the survey. Only 39 percent said they fully understood the burden student loan debt would place on the future, and 60 percent now have at least some regret over their choice of education financing.
“They start out with an anchor that slows their progression toward future goals. It’s a difficult reality confronting a growing number of people, one that will come into sharp focus in the coming weeks as the nation’s colleges and universities produce a new crop of graduates,” said Ernie Almonte, CPA, CGMA, chair of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.
Almost 39 million U.S. adults had student loan debt at the end of 2012 – 70 percent more than in 2004, according to statistics from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. During that same time, the total amount of student debt nearly tripled to $966 billion to become the biggest non-mortgage debt burden in America. The average student loan balance: $24,803.
Members of the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission offer the following tips:
Start early. It’s tried and true advice that works. The earlier families start saving for college, the better positioned children will be when they get there. One simple idea: Save half of birthday and holiday money your children receive for college. A CPA can help with more complex or tax efficient strategies that might make sense for your situation. Online education planning calculators can provide a sense of what you need to sock away.
Think different. Consider attending a community college for the first two years, living at home or attending classes part time while working part time to cut down on costs. Online courses are another potential way to gain credits while managing costs. The U.S. Department of Education offers a number of tools, including the College Scorecard that helps you find out more about a college’s affordability and value.
Set limits. If you use loans, be judicious. As a general rule of thumb, your total balance at the end of four years should not exceed the amount you can expect to earn in your first year using your degree. Be realistic about your prospects. And be creative and aggressive during your college years to fend off debt. Avoid credit card and other obligations that add to your burden.
Pay fast. Resist the temptation to start your payments at the lowest level with an increase over several years. This has the effect of increasing the amount of interest you will pay and makes it difficult to build a budget because your monthly expenses will keep rising. You might have to make short-term sacrifices, but once you’re debt free it will be easier to pursue long-term goals.
For a comprehensive financial education program — 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy, visit www.360financialliteracy.org/

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Join Us For a Webinar in May!


In the market for an ecommerce or epayment solution built on Microsoft Dynamics GP? Join Azox this month for a complimentary webinar to learn about our product offerings! Next week we will be hosting three webinars that will provide an overview of our products. The first will cover online bill pay, then secure credit card processing and the final webinar will be highlight our ecommerce solution. All products integrate with Microsoft Dynamics GP. Follow the links below to register.

Monday, May 20, 2013
12:00 – 12:30 p.m. EST

Web stores that implement Azox Online Bill Pay are able to provide a portal that allows customers to log in and view, print and pay outstanding invoices online. This solution integrates seamlessly with your Microsoft Dynamics GP back office and allows payments to be accepted in a more timely manner.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
12:00 – 12:30 p.m. EST

Accept credit card and ACH payments from your web store in real time. Azox Credit Card Extension uses tokenization, which allows sensitive data to be stored securely off site. This decreases your business’ liability. This secure solution is PA-DSS certified and allows you to get more out of your Microsoft Dynamics GP investment.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
12:00 – 12:30 p.m. EST

Some of the latest features of Azox eSource include built-in CMS with WYSIWYG editor, one page/guest user checkout, web-based promo pricing and more advanced filter and sort features that help users refine search results. This ecommerce solution built on Microsoft Dynamics GP allows you to better monitor inventory, provides analytical data about shopping behavior and offers your customers an ecommerce environment where they can place and track orders.

So, if you are shopping for an ecommerce or epayment solution, be sure to join us for awebinar next week! Follow the links to register or contact our sales team today to setup a personal online demo.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Ladie's health crawl to be held at Troy's Somerset Inn

TROY — The Wayne State University Physician Group will host the second annual Ladie's Night Out Health Crawl, 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, May 14 at the Somerset Inn, 2601 W. Big Beaver in Troy. Session topics will span a variety of women’s health issues, including cardiology, dermatology, gynecology, ophthalmology, family medicine, and facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. Hors d'oeuvres and refreshments will be served at 6 p.m., with lectures starting at 6:30 p.m. Registration is required for the free event at events.wayne.edu/rsvp/lno2.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

It pays to cut paper use topic of free seminar

TROY — Prime Office Innovations announces a Lunch and Learn event, “The Cost of Managing Paper: A Great Incentive to Go Paperless!” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 14  at Automation Alley Headquarters, 2675 Bellingham Drive, Troy.
“According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the average organization spends about $20 in labor to file each paper document, approximately $120 in labor searching for each misfiled document, and $220 in re-creation of a document.”
Lunch will be provided and this seminar is free to attend.  Seating is limited.  RSVP to Rachel Kron at rkron@prime-office.com or by calling 586-992-1810. For more information, visit automationalley.com/.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Upgrade eSource to Get the Most Out of Your Ecommerce Website


If you are still on an earlier version of eSource, our ecommerce solution for Microsoft Dynamics GP, you are be missing out on features that can take your website to the next level. In addition to improving the code and vulnerability testing, which has enhanced the overall operation of eSource, many new features have been added.

Adding and editing products is now easier than ever with built-in CMS and what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) interface. These features allow you to see text and graphics onscreen while editing, rather than looking at hard code. This will give you an idea of what the final product will look like and is very user friendly.

eSource has had filtering capabilities for some time now, but with the latest release these are even better. Now users are able to filter and sort product search results with multiple criteria in each category. This means, if you sell shoes for example, a potential customer would be able to search your web store for shoes that are Nine West pumps in brown, black or white, are size eight with two to three inch heels, depending on what attributes you set up.

Online bill payment is another highly sought out feature that you may be unaware of. This add-on allows merchants to accept customer payments online via credit cards and ACH. For customers, online bill pay provides a portal for them to log in to and view the remaining balance on an invoice, apply a credit memo to an open invoice and review payments that have been made.

Another feature of eSource that helps with online advertising is web-based promo pricing. Some examples of this include coupon codes, offering free shipping, buy one, get one specials and markdowns. These are all different pricing options that you can take advantage of when you upgrade your version of eSource to the most current release.


Other standard features of eSource include wishlist/saved cart, one page/guest checkout, store locator and support for both crystal and SSRS reports.

Updates that are specific to the latest release of eSource, version 3.4, include guest user checkout, which allows a customer to make a purchase without making an account and CAPTCHA for forgotten logins and passwords.

To learn more about the benefits of upgrading eSource, join us for a webinar May 15, 2013 from 2:00 – 2:30 p.m. EST. For more information now, contact our sales team or view this eSource version comparison document.

Royal Oak retailers host Ladies Night Out


The Royal Oak Association of Retailers (ROAR) is teaming up with the Royal Oak Restaurant Association to present “Ladies Night Out”, the first big outdoor event of the year of its kind in downtown Royal Oak, 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, May 9. This event is expected to feature over 50 retailers, salons, and restaurants offering everything from prizes to demonstrations, discounted goods and services, food tastings, food specials and free shuttles. Of the many participants, Emagine Theatre is donating its trolley to shuttle women around the Downtown area from Lincoln and Woodward to 11 and Main; Noir Leather is offering foot massages by “sexy he-men” plus free new product demos and free product samples with a purchase; at Stella Boutique Ladies can make a free greeting card and enjoy free appetizers, desserts and beverages courtesy of Café Muse; Ariana Gallery will feature a psychic, make-up artist, and appetizers served by LA Fitness Musclemen; Wooden Hangers will have a healthy smoothie instructor with hands on training, tastings, and special discounts; and Blu Jeans Bar is having a “rolling out the red carpet photos” sale. Nada & Company will also features special offers and demos.
LA Fitness is supplying eye-candy for the Ladies in the form of  muscle-bound guys to serve as hunky-style waiters a la the Chippendale dancers at various location along the route. For more information, visit www.roarevents.info.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Oakland University plans health-care providers forum


AUBURN HILLS — Oakland University presents "The Physician's Practice: Emerging Issues for Healthcare Providers" — a forum bringing industry practitioners and researchers together to discuss patient needs, practice management, care delivery and information technology support. The forum is 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Thursday, May 9. In addition, a half-day post-forum workshop is scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon on Friday, May 10 at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, 2630 Featherstone Road, Auburn Hills. The cost to attend the forum is $150 and online registration is available. Participation in the Friday workshop is free. For more information, visit oakland.edu/cibre and click on the Health Care Transformation Forum link. For more information, call 248-370-2957 or email tanniru@oakland.edu.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Marketing agency hosts digital education webinars

FENTON — The marketing agency 3Sixty Interactive hosted their second webinar in their Digital Lunch Break webinar series “CEO’s Guide to Digital Marketing,” recently.This webinar focused on what CEO’s, business owners and marketers need to know about the digital world. 3Sixty Interactive webinar host, Dale Keipert, explained the steps necessary to decide to plan and execute a successful digital campaign. He stressed the need for a strategy, understanding Return on Effort, market segmentation and more.
“We understand that CEO’s, business owners and marketers are feeling frustrated with their digital marketing results. They’ve been told that by simply being online, their business would see results,” stated Dale Keipert, Chief Strategist at 3Sixty Interactive.
The webinar, “CEO’s Guide to Digital Marketing,” video and slides is available on their website. View the “CEO’s Guide to Digital Marketing” webinar. 3Sixty has also made their white paper about the “CEO’s Guide to Digital Marketing” available for download.
Next month the Digital Lunch Break webinar series will continue with the webinar “Attracting Your Customer” that will look at Generation Y customers, B2B customers, B2C customers and early adaptors. Register at www.3SixtyInteractive.com/.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Latest Ecommerce Websites from Azox Built on Microsoft Dynamics GP


Azox has recently completed new ecommerce sites built on Microsoft Dynamics GP for two different customers, Panama Jack and Pakedge.

The ecommerce websites developed for Panama Jack include a business-to-business site and a business-to-consumer site with a mobile friendly version. Panama Jack sells sun care products including sunglasses, hats, casual apparel for men and women, shoes, bags and totes, beach chairs and umbrellas along with bikes and skateboards. The company also sells indoor and outdoor furniture and décor. For their web store, Panama Jack elected to use several add-on features of our ecommerce solution to make browsing easy for users and also to cross sell products. These features include dimension group and related products. Dimension group is a feature that allows similar items to be grouped together based on defined characteristics, such as size, color, brand or manufacturer. This makes it easier to present a large number of SKUs. The other feature, related products, displays items similar to the product currently being viewed as a suggestion to users. This encourages them to dig deeper into a web store and possibly make additional purchases. Panama Jack also uses Azox Credit Card Extension for secure ACH/credit card processing in Microsoft Dynamics GP and an array of other features.


The second ecommerce website built on Microsoft Dynamics GP was developed for Pakedge. This company opted for a business-to-business web store for distributors that also has a mobile version of the site. Pakedge sells devices and software to distributors, including switches, routers, IP power and related accessories. Pakedge also opted for the related products features along with one page guest checkout, RMA return, promo pricing and shipping rate calculator. These features of Pakedge’s web store provide distributors with a secure environment that makes ordering and reordering products a streamlined process. Pakedge also uses Azox Online Bill Pay to allow distributors to make payments on invoices via a portal as well as Azox Credit Card Extension for secure ACH/credit card processing in Microsoft Dynamics GP.


Azox ecommerce websites are easy to update using our built in CMS with WYSIWYG editor. They also offer advanced filter and sort capabilities on product search results pages in addition to many other features. You can obtain a complete ecommerce solution when you choose eSource paired with Azox Credit Card Extension and Online Bill Pay. To learn more about our ecommerce websites built on Microsoft Dynamics GP, visit our website or contact the sales team and schedule a personal demo online.