Threadflip, the online and mobile marketplace that helps users clean out their closets, or buy from those who are doing just that, is today introducing a completely revamped mobile experience for its iOS application following a surge of growth from its mobile user base. It’s a welcome change, and one that should help the company better compete with similar services from Poshmark or thredUP, for example.
The update comes at a time when everyone is shifting their shopping behavior to mobile, forcing companies to quickly ramp up their mobile experiences to meet that demand. For example, Fab reported last month that a third of its sales were placed via mobile, ModCloth says a quarter of its traffic came from mobile devices (even before it had released its iPhone app!), and JackThreads just a couple of weeks ago said that nearly half its orders were coming in through mobile.
The numbers Threadflip is seeing fit right in with this trend.
“We’re noticing a pretty big paradigm shift towards the mobile companion use cases both on the buyer’s side, as well as the seller’s side,” Threadflip CEO and founder Manik Singh tells us. “Forty percent of our daily uploads (people selling items) are coming from mobile. Twenty percent of our daily transactions are coming from mobile. We’re seeing 70 percent of the emails we send to our consumers – both marketing and transactional – opened on mobile devices,” he says.
Threadflip’s iOS application was released around a year ago, but it’s only been over the past three to four months that mobile began to take off in a huge way. Singh attributes this shift both to Threadflip’s growing traction as a brand, as well as the fact that, as its users shift from being buyers to sellers, it’s easier to snap photos of their fashion items using their phone’s camera, which then leads them to download the mobile app.
Because of this growing mobile audience, Threadflip wanted to revamp the app to better serve its users’ needs and address their feedback. Most noticeably, the overall appearance has been redesigned. Now, instead of dropping users directly into the shopping experience, the app starts you off on a new homepage where you can choose a category (e.g. clothing, shoes, accessories, all or “Editor’s Picks” for a best-of-the-best view).
There’s also a better filtering menu which lets you find items by size, price, category (dresses, jeans, etc.) and designer. And there are a number of little touches, such as the ability to swipe between photos, change view options, share items to other social networks with a tap, and more.
“We’ve started to build heavily for the sell use case,” says Threadflip product head Anand Iyer. Sellers can snap and upload photos from the right-side menu, then stay on top of buyer activity using newly added support for push notifications. “Now with the new app, you can swipe through and say, ‘I’m accepting your request to buy my item,’ then generate a shipping label on the fly, and even print the label from the phone,” he explains.
Both buyers and sellers will receive shipment notifications, too (via USPS), and sellers are alerted when their account is credited.
However, one of the standout features is highly uncommon for e-commerce marketplaces: a universal shopping cart. ”That’s kind of a novel and different experience for a marketplace,” Iyer notes. Typically, marketplace sites require that buyers transact with individual sellers one-by-one, but Threadflip’s revamp makes buying secondhand feel more like shopping at a “real” e-commerce site with this addition.
The company isn’t disclosing its user or transaction numbers right now, but reports double-digit month-over-month growth since launch, and a bigger jump over the past three months as mobile has picked up. Threadflip has also been growing its team, too, following its $6.5 million Series A from Shasta Ventures, Lowercase Capital, First Round Capital, Forerunner, Baseline, and others. Now with $8.1 million in total outside funding, Threadflip has gone from five people to a staff of 20.
And yes, some of them are working on the native iPad app and an Android version, as well as some new features (tease, tease) for web and mobile due out in about a month.
Business filing company CorpNet.com recently launched a free alerts service designed to help entrepreneurs keep compliant with state corporate filings, to avoid late fees and penalties. It’s called the Business Information Zone (B.I.Z).
This online tool is not limited to existing CorpNet.com clients, but is available to any small business.
CEO Nellie Akalp saw a need for the corporate filing compliance service after watching clients miss important filing deadlines and incur penalties. ”Clients would call in, not knowing why their business was in bad standing with the state and why they owed all these high penalties. Clients would find their company being dissolved by the state, and would complain that they hadn’t gotten any notice about it.”
As a business owner, once you are granted a corporation or LLC, you may think the work is done. But that’s not the case, says Akalp. Many don’t realize they need to file regular paperwork to stay compliant. Failure to do so risks being charged late penalties — or worse.
With rising budget deficits, states are looking to increase revenues by ramping up collection from small business owners who don’t file on time. As an example, in California, a business that fails to file its annual report by the deadline will be hit with $250 in penalties and fines. Akalp says CorpNet’s new service aims to educate business owners “about all of these due dates and requirements and keep their business in compliance throughout the lifetime of their business.”
Akalp calls CorpNet’s B.I.Z. service a “personal concierge service for your business at no charge.” Competitors offer similar services, she says, but they charge for it or require paid registered agent services.
How The Corporate Filing Compliance Service Works
Once business owners sign up, they can receive email reminders on tax and compliance alerts. They can also store their business documents, and keep a personalized business profile that tracks important data about their company — such as formation date, Federal Tax ID number, business licenses and permits, and more.
Users can also order other services from CorpNet within the platform, such as filing for a fictitious business name/DBA, obtaining stock certificates, or apply for a sellers permit. While use of the B.I.Z. monitoring platform itself is free, filings may involve charges.
The idea is to be a “one stop shop” for all corporate and state filing needs. It eliminates the need to navigate multiple websites — like those for city, state, or county governments, the IRS, or the Franchise Tax Board — to find the proper applications and information. “CorpNet aims to make it easier to take care of such paperwork at a click of button,” says Akalp.
While the new service is available to any small business, it’s aimed at solopreneurs and DIY small business owners who aren’t accustomed to filing the paperwork necessary for corporate annual reports, business license renewals, tax filings and so on. CPAs and attorneys who manage their clients’ businesses are also taking advantage of the platform.
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Backlift, a Y Combinator-backed startup that bills itself as a back-end service for front-end developers, launched its first product today. Airfoil, which is obviously based on Backlift, is an A/B testing service for landing pages that’s aimed at designers and marketers who want the flexibility of working with their code directly and an easy to use dashboard to track their stats, but don’t want to use complicated testing services either.
Just like Backlift, which helps front-end developers get to work without having to deal with setting up a server, Airfoil uses Dropbox as its synchronization layer and signing up for Airfoil also creates a Backlift account. Users simply authorize their accounts through Dropbox and the service automatically creates a new folder for you with all of the baseline templates for both a barebones landing page and your admin interface (so you can customize that, too).
From there, developers can just take any HTML they want and drop it into the Airfoil folder, including, for example, pre-made landing pages from Themeforest and similar services. All they have to do to start A/B testing their sites is to drop in a number of basic template tags to up their variations. Users don’t have to use any WYSIWYG visual editors or know anything about back-end programming to get started and, maybe most importantly, they never give up full control of their HTML.
Airfoil’s dashboard then tracks how users react to the different versions of your site and displays those stats in its customizable dashboard.
As its founder Cole Krumbholz (who is one of Y Combinator’s few solo founders told me, Airfoil is essentially meant to provide users with a “great example of what you can do with Backlift. In the long run, Krumbholz hopes, Backlift could become something akin to WordPress, where developers will be able to use the service as a canvas to create new apps and maybe even make them available through a built-in repository, similar to what plugin and theme developers can do with WordPress.
Ten years ago, it was enough for a business to create a website, cast it out into the wild and merely sit back while the traffic rolled in. But in today’s increasingly technical world with big data seamlessly flowing, it has become essential for small businesses to study their website analytics in order to personalize the experience for visitors, compete with industry behemoths and improve overall business.
For those of you that aren’t studying your website analytics to enhance business, the investment it took to build that website is destined to be a lost cause.
According to a recent study on small businesses’ online strategies, only 25 percent of small businesses use an analytics tool, such as the free Google Analytics service, to measure website performance. That means 75 percent of small businesses are missing opportunities to enhance website traffic, improve sales and drive business forward.
With this decade’s eruption in technology and big data, businesses that don’t know what their audience is doing online are simply flying blind.
Google Analytics is the most popular website statistics service, with a usership of more than 55 percent of the top 10,000 websites last year. This tool and similar services are seeing higher demand as more and more businesses realize the positive impact of using such data. What’s more, Google Analytics is available to businesses at no cost, meaning enterprises and small businesses can benefit just the same.
Small businesses competing with industry giants can leverage website analytics to cater towards particular audiences and direct messages appropriately.
A great example of a company that successfully studied data to increase appeal with its audience is BannerView. They sought to understand what keywords and topics listed in their bi-weekly newsletter most resonated with their subscribers. From the last 12 newsletters, BannerView discovered SEO and online marketing content racked up the most hits and comments, which allowed them to then tailor their newsletters to better fit their audience’s interests.
BannerView gained more responses and was able to develop new content marketing products based on the results of this data alone.
Undoubtedly, with the large volume of data flowing in each day, it’s growing harder to make sense of it all. However, website analytics can offer solutions to your company’s online Web woes. Whether you’re questioning the success of your blog content, wondering if specific content fits better on another page or looking to see which devices viewers use to access your site the most, website analytics are there for you.
Many think of website analytics as a tool that just tells you how many visitors your website receives each day, but that is only one small component of what Web analytics can tell you about the performance of your website.
Building a website and blindly casting it into the vast, expanding online sea is no longer enough. The key to your website’s online success now lies in your ability to unlock its rich user data so you can drive your business initiative – from branding and sales to customer service – through a deep understanding of your audience.
Analytics Photo via Shutterstock
The post Why Website Analytics Are Vital For Your Business appeared first on Small Business Trends.
At its I/O developer conference, Google just announced its new Play Games Services API, a new API that allows game developers to save game states and sync them between different machines. This service will be available for Android and iOS developers. The API will also include the usual achievements, leaderboards and multiplayer services that developers have come to expect from similar services.
This new API will roll out today to all Android users on Android Froyo and up. This new API, Google says, will allow for real cross-platform gaming experiences and ensure that users can easily switch between their phones and tablets without losing their game states.
The multiplayer aspect of the service will feature both a matchmaking aspect, but the focus is clearly on connecting you to your Google+ friends. The matchmaking feature, as Google’s Huga Barra noted, will match users automatically and the API in general will handle “all of the hardcore data” worked involved in building a multiplayer game.
Sadly, part of the demo failed at the keynote today, but this is obviously a service that game developers will latch on to. This move also clearly means that Google is getting serious about gaming.