Emerald Business Systems Blog

Hey, Waiter! Just How Much Extra Do You Really Expect? – City Room Blog – NYTimes.com

Posted in Bars and Taverns,POS,Restaurant by ebs4pos on February 28, 2010

“Do you need change?”Funny you should ask, because I just gave you a $10 bill, and my latte and raspberry scone came to $5.75. As much as I think you’re pleasing to look at, and you do magical things with frothy milk, I just don’t see your services commanding a 70-plus percent premium over the market rate for my breakfast. And you, my dear bartender, who cracked open a $4 beer bottle, and handed me back my change entirely in a stack of one-dollar notes. Very subtle. As though the sheer bulk of that paper would deter me from putting it back in my wallet, and, defeated, I’d simply leave it there for you like a burnt offering on your sticky altar.At least you two left me a choice, unlike the menu last night, whose fine print stated how “parties of six or more will be charged a 20 percent gratuity.” Because there’s simply no way that six adults can gauge the service of a meal one of hundreds in their lives with any degree of accuracy. Better to just slap us with a perfunctory tax and screw up our orders anyway. Once that tip is locked in, who cares if the fish is cold?

via Hey, Waiter! Just How Much Extra Do You Really Expect? – City Room Blog – NYTimes.com.


Cellphone Applications Let Shoppers Point, Click and Buy – NYTimes.com

Posted in Online Business,POS,Retail by ebs4pos on February 27, 2010

Shoppers will soon be able to stand outside the designer Norma Kamali’s boutique in Manhattan, point a phone at merchandise in the window and buy it — even late at night when the store is closed. ScanLife technology allows customers to scan bar codes on merchandise.Ms. Kamali is at the forefront of a technological transformation coming to many of the nation’s retailers. They are determined to strengthen the link between their physical stores and the Web, and to use technology to make shopping easier for consumers and more lucrative for themselves.The main way they plan to do it is by turning people’s mobile phones into information displays and ordering devices. Can’t find the flour at the grocery store? Grocers will offer phone applications that tell shoppers exactly where to go. Is the department store out of size 8 jeans? Retailers want to make it simple to punch a couple of buttons and have the desired size shipped home.

via Cellphone Applications Let Shoppers Point, Click and Buy – NYTimes.com.

Subscriptions Deal with Transactions Times Twelve

Posted in Online Business,PCI,Retail,Security by ebs4pos on February 27, 2010

I was talking to a company that accepts credit cards for monthly subscription or service dues (think something as simple as paying your electric bill with your credit card) and when I asked them what level merchant they were, I was shocked to have them tell me they were at the top end of the Level 3 bracket! While I do not advocate focusing your PCI DSS efforts based only on your validation requirements, but it is interesting to consider what might happen if you were to reduce the number of payment cards you process in one year.

via Branden R. Williams, Business Security Specialist » Subscriptions Deal with Transactions Times Twelve.

Do You Know Your Customers Enough to be a Social Media Hit | Guest Posts | Social Media Consulting – Convince & Convert

Posted in General Business,Online Business,Social Media Marketing by ebs4pos on February 27, 2010

Being relevant to customers isn’t about just using their first name in an email. True relevance grows from a deep understanding of what motivates your customers, and ensuring that every contact they have with your organization shows to what degree your company values their reasons for choosing you. That deep respect for what drives your customers and prospects can’t be faked, either – you either live it or you don’t, and they can tell the difference.

The best example I’ve ever seen of this is from a company called ThinkGeek, which prides itself on carrying the most robust collection of unique, thought-provoking products with the biggest nerd appeal on the planet. They have 3 million unique visitors and 35 million page views every month.

ThinkGeek has a robust involvement in social media, with over 68,000 followers on Twitter, 50,000 fans on Facebook and over 11,000 subscribers to their channel on YouTube, which features company-posted videos demonstrating items like their proximity-meter t-shirts and fake-blood-filled, realistically gummy heart for Valentine’s Day.

They are successful because they unabashedly have the same interests as their customers, and they are incredibly consistent across all outposts. Here’s what they’re doing right:

via Do You Know Your Customers Enough to be a Social Media Hit | Guest Posts | Social Media Consulting – Convince & Convert.

CyberCrime & Doing Time: What the Bad Guys Know: We’ll Click on ANYTHING!

Posted in Online Business,Security by ebs4pos on February 27, 2010

For years the bad guys have been working to perfect the perfect social engineering schemes. By “social engineering” we are talking about the fact that in most situations the biggest security risk present at a computer has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with the human at the keyboard. The bad guys have made a science out of sending various malicious links and malware attachments to people and determining what message is required to make the human at the keyboard do what they want them to do.

What message is required to make you open an attachment to your email? A few that bad guys have discovered work reliably are to tell you that its information about an undelivered package (such as the UPS, DHL, USPS, FedEx scams we’ve seen), or a message that says your email is going to be deleted unless you confirm you still want it. For years an obvious one has been to pray on male insecurity about their sexual prowess, promising that clicking their link will lead to a larger penis which will make the women you know beg you for sex every night!

But recently the bad guys have figured out that it really doesn’t matter what they type in the email, if they only need a few people to buy their product or follow their link. The current round of Zeus spam doesn’t have a meaningful subject, and doesn’t contain any text at all! Only a link.

And people are clicking on it like mad to infect themselves! What mystery! I think I’ll click and see what it is!

The top email subjects right now are:

via CyberCrime & Doing Time: What the Bad Guys Know: We’ll Click on ANYTHING!.

7 Steps to Creating a Social Media Strategy

Posted in Online Business,Social Media Marketing by ebs4pos on February 27, 2010

1. Assess where you are now.

How knowledgeable are you about Social Media? What site(s) are you currently using? Are you currently engaging with others through Social Media? What are you using Social Media for: the keep up with friends/acquaintances, to share photos or videos, to post information, to gain information, to meet new people, to network within your industry? How comfortable are you using Social Media? How much time are you willing to invest in learning?

2. Find out where your customers already hang out online.

Survey your customers to find out what sites they are already using and to what degree. Ask where they might be interested in connecting with you. If your customers aren’t on Twitter, then there’s no point in you being there.

Follow the link for the rest….

via 7 Steps to Creating a Social Media Strategy.

Why Wineries, Restaurants & Hospitality Businesses need to be on Foursquare

Posted in Bars and Taverns,Online Business,Restaurant,Social Media Marketing by ebs4pos on February 27, 2010

In social media, it seems that things are happening faster and faster, and we are bombarded with changes and new technology constantly. Even Google has jumped into the game with the recent launch of Google Buzz. As a business owner or manager especially in our industry, where people tend to work long and hard, how do you find the time to use all the social media that everyone is telling you to be using? Well, that may be a different conversation, and a long and hard one at that.Today, I want to tell you about foursquare, and why your business wants to be there, now. In fact, you probably already are, whether you know it or not; another reason you want to claim your business’s online identity. You’ll be happy to know that there’s no huge time commitment, and its fast and easy to learn. Nope, you won’t even have to hire a social media consultant to do it for you.Foursquare is applicable to many businesses, however it was really created for restaurants, bars and similar businesses, its a no-brainer for any winery with a tasting room or even specialty retailers. The claim right on the foursquare home page is “If you own a bar or restaurant, foursquare can help you find new ways to connect with your customers.” What is it? foursquare is a location based social mobile network, that also adds some gaming elements.How foursquare works and why you should care:

via Why Wineries, Restaurants & Hospitality Businesses need to be on Foursquare.

How To Get More From Google Alerts

Posted in Bars and Taverns,General Business,Restaurant,Retail,Social Media Marketing by ebs4pos on February 20, 2010

As a small business owner, I prefer simple tools. I like having one tool that I can push to the limits over a slew of them that I have to manage. It makes my life a little easier and m processes more streamlined. Which is why I’m a huge fan of using Google Alerts.You’re probably already very familiar with Google Alerts. Google lets you set up as many Alerts as you’d like on as many different topics as you’d like. You tell them what to track, what kinds of content to track News, Blogs, Video, Groups, or Comprehensive , how often you want it and they’ll create you a list every day and send it to you via email or RSS. Google Alerts have always been a super easy way to track brand mentions and listen in to conversations, but that’s not all they can be used for. I thought I’d break down a few of my favorite ways to use Google Alerts and see if maybe some of them could help you as well.Here are six ways I use Google Alerts.

via How To Get More From Google Alerts | Small Business Trends.

The 39 Social Media Tools I’ll Use Today

Posted in Online Business,Social Media Marketing by ebs4pos on February 20, 2010

Amazingly, it seems like there’s more social media tools than Jonas brothers, with the gap growing every day.

I don’t feel the need to experiment with every new piece of software that emerges from its chrysalis, but I do feel a responsibility to you and my clients to have some idea of what’s out there and what’s worthwhile.

Also, at my social media speaking engagements hither and yon I’m often asked what tools I use. So, I took a personal inventory and created this overview of the 39 social media tools I use daily.

via The 39 Social Media Tools I’ll Use Today | Blogging and Content Creation | Social Media Consulting – Convince & Convert.

Five “Old School” Tactics That Can Ruin Your Sales Page

Posted in Online Business,Social Media Marketing by ebs4pos on February 20, 2010

Do you despise long sales letters, yellow highlighters and blood-red, hype-laden headlines?These tried and true copywriting tactics are proven winners at converting “cold” traffic into paying customers – and $10,000-a-page copywriters use them without hesitation because they appeal to the baser instincts of the easily swayed. They may be embarrassing to look at, but historically, they’ve just plain worked.But if you’re a Third Tribe type of marketer, you’re in a quandary because you know these push-comes-to-shove sales page tactics just won’t work in your case.They won’t work for you because you won’t be able to sleep at night. They won’t work for your audience either, because they’re smart and savvy, and they’ll lose faith in you and go off in search of someone more professional.But these cheesy tactics are tempting nonetheless, because you’ve seen them on pages that you know are converting a lot of customers. Against your better instincts, you might feel a pull to use just one or two of them to stack the deck in your favor – especially if your current page isn’t converting as well as you’d hope.There’s good news, though – you don’t have to sell your integrity to sell more of your products. All you need to do is learn how to use some semantic aikido to harness the power of these psychologically effective strategies – all the while saying “hold the cheese.”Let’s take a look at 5 “hard sell” tactics and apply some Third Tribe magic to make them feel better for you and your future customers.

via Five “Old School” Tactics That Can Ruin Your Sales Page | Copyblogger.

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