Earlier in May, the U.S. Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act that has as its aim sales tax collection from all internet site purchases. The U.S. House of Representatives has not yet acted upon this bill.
Until now, online shoppers have enjoyed buying items from ecommerce sites largely sales tax free. Most existing state tax laws only impose tax collection responsibilities on businesses that have a physical presence in that state, such as a retail store or warehouse distribution location.
Many retail associations like the National Retail Federation endorse the plan. Big internet sales sites such as Ebay oppose such collections.
2012 internet sales exceeded $225 billion, so forecasted tax revenues could approach $20 billion. There are plenty of persuasive and powerful pros and cons to this argument. Stay tuned.
While so-called POS digital wallets, such as Google Wallet, using near field communication (NFC) are still relatively new, it’s another opportunity for businesses to grow their customer base, add value, and differentiate themselves from competitors.
Digital wallets, for now, are largely NFC-enabled Android smartphones or tablets that allow customers to pay using pre-established debit and credit card account information by tapping or bringing their mobile device into close proximity to an NFC device at a check-out station. There’s no need for the customer to pull a card, swipe it, sign the receipt, and the like.
As an example, a dry cleaner the other day indicated that they wanted to attract more and younger customers. This POS capability could combine the payment processing speed of NFC with the marketing potential for promotional offers and loyalty program capture. Similarly, NFC has many other ecommerce and plastic card information storage applications beyond payment processing. A personal medical history could be accessed at a doctor’s office just as readily, for example.
Along with scannable Quick Response Codes (QR), those odd-looking black postage stamp-like images you see in magazines that are used for marketing and advertising, there’s a lot to consider before you decide if these initiatives make sense for your business. Some research on your part will help you decide, if and when, these capabilities are accretive to your sales planning. Websites such as nfc.org, nfc-forum.org, and mashable.com can help you learn more.
So, how’s your website doing? Social media and SEO efforts building momentum? Site traffic up? Ecommerce sales increasing? Probably not, if you’ve not optimized your website for the explosion in handheld devices: smartphones, tablets, Kindles, and the like. Virtually everyone has a smartphone or similar device with them for instant internet access. And the device numbers are increasing at a dizzyingly frenetic pace.
Google estimates that more than 75% of smartphone users research local businesses on that device before they buy. And then they act in a hurry! Yet it’s estimated that less than a quarter of all websites are optimized for mobile access. Can you shout OPPORTUNITY!
Want to stay ahead of your competitors and pick up some new customers? Make your site mobile device-friendly. Do it now. At Western Equity LLC all of our future web initiatives will emphasize mobile device access to max out their visibility and potential for success.
As someone once said: “Will all of those that say it can’t be done, please get out of the way of those of us that are doing it.” Starting a new year is traditionally an opportune time to make needed strategic and tactical improvements. Did you meet or exceed your business goals in the last calendar or fiscal year?
The real test of business health is sales and revenue growth. It’s why businesses are started. Growth demonstrates market and competitive effectiveness. No matter how a business delivers goods or services, owners must analyze, evaluate, plan, and adapt as needed in order to maintain positive sales momentum. Should traditional markets erode, find others. If better competitor product or service alternatives exist, then tough decisions are required. Consumers and B2B’ers are buying every day, which means someone’s business is successfully selling. For all the gloom and doom out there, new entrepreneurs and savvy in-place business adapters find a way to sell and excel. It might as well be you!
So get your company story told, embrace your customers and prospects, and stay slightly paranoid, but always on the offensive. Too many businesses have tried to save their way to continued existence. Such cutbacks invariably end, typically with unintended sales and customer impact. It’s just not realistic to expect to “save” your way to high performance.
Western Equity seeks to form, partner with, or acquire a far ranging mix of business ventures. Western Equity services include structure, management, strategic planning, marketing, financial viability, sales, products and services, customer care, and operational support. In this broader holding company capacity, Western Equity derives the majority of sales and revenues from underlying entities and affiliations.
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