eCommerce Trends

2021 Sales Tax Changes Midyear Update Report

Avalara 2021 Sales Tax Changes Midyear Update Report

A lot of changes happened during the first half of 2021. This informative mid-year update to the 2021 sales tax changes report from Avalara delves into those changes and much more. The report goes beyond sales and uses tax compliance and will highlight key developments in a number of focal industries. Review the update to learn about new tax exemption considerations by state; details about obligations from increased marketplace sales; effects on the international market and so much more.  

Learn more and download the report here >>>>> https://avlr.co/3yJ31cZ

Business License Compliance Framework

Avalara Business License Compliance Framework banner

Does your business have lots of physical locations? Are you looking at adding even more?

Acquiring and managing hundreds or thousands of business/professional licenses and permits across a large business doesn't have to be a manual compliance nightmare. Read this paper to gain a better understanding of the framework for managing business licenses, permits, and tax registrations, and learn how Avalara can help you manage it all through a single application.

Read the Business License Compliance paper »

Business License Compliance

Licensing your business for operation is generally not a one-time, one-stop activity and, if you are selling online, the number of licenses you’ll need increases because you are selling cross-border.  You can try to maintain current licenses manually but why not automate so you are notified when:

  • licenses need to be renewed
  • a new product or tax jurisdiction is added
  • municipalities update their regulations without notification

An automated business license compliance solution does the research for you and will provide an efficient workflow, custom reports, task management tools, and dynamic calendars to keep you tax compliant.

Read the Business License Compliance paper »

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The Ultimate Guide to Exemptions Certificates for Sales Tax Compliance

The Ultimate Guide to Exemptions Certificates for Sales Tax Compliance banner

Achieving sales tax compliance in today’s complex environment is no easy feat. There are changing rates to calculate, evolving requirements to monitor and a wide array of exemption certificates to manage. Companies must handle every step correctly, and each one is riddled with potential pitfalls. This guide will help your business navigate all those challenges.

Get Avalara's Sales Tax Guide 

Pay or Don’t Pay?

If you are in the business of transacting business, you know there are a multitude of laws and regulations you must follow to remain in business or, at the very least, to not pay penalties for non-compliance.  Making sure you pay the right amount of sales tax to the government is an obvious example of when you want to ensure compliance.  

And knowing when you don’t have to collect and pay sales tax is equally important because you have to able to prove retroactively why you didn’t.

Generally speaking, the scenarios where a sale can occur without sales tax being collected are:

  • The buyer, such as a school or non-profit, is deemed tax-exempt by law
  • The buyer is going to re-sell the product to their customer
  • The product being purchased, such as some foods, is tax-exempt by law.

As a seller of products, and also many services, such as landscaping in Texas or accounting in New Mexico, there is a simple way for you to stay on top of sales tax compliance – automate it and avoid:

  • Overpayment
  • Credit rebilling
  • Product delivery delays

Learn more about tax-exempt sales with Avalara's ultimate guide 

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Setting up Google Tag Manager for Adobe Commerce

Google Tag Manager logo

Google Tag Manager (GTM) has become an incredibly powerful tool in eCommerce when it comes to tracking user behavior, gathering analytics, tracking affiliate activity, and user testing. Over the years I’ve watched the platform and technology grow beyond the original purpose of tag management. As a result, I’ve updated our approach to using it to make our work more efficient and effective. Below are a few tips to help you make sure you’re getting the most out of Google Tag Manager for your Magento eCommerce site.

Go Native

If you’re using Magento Open Source, you will need a module to provide you with the dataLayer, but if you’re using the more advanced Adobe Commerce, Adobe has already provided a baked-in solution. Simply look under the Google settings in the admin, add your container ID, and you’re set. Assuming you haven’t done any major customization to your templates, Magento will now be providing dataLayer information for all your primary events. Pretty cool.

  • Impressions (category pages and related product sliders)
  • Product Detail (aka Product Pages)
  • Adding and removing items from the cart
  • Checkout events
  • Transactions (order success)
  • Promo Views (for promotional content like banners)

Are You The One?

I still see many clients using different GTM containers to manage different environments, like a development environment versus production. But I found the process of exporting and importing tag information between different accounts, and having to review and adjust any tags that overlapped or were overridden - well, cumbersome. Even the built-in environments seem a bit clunky to me. As a result, requiring human intervention as part of the process inevitably leads to errors. Conversely, by setting up all of your environments using the same container will not only simplify your management, but reduce some risk while you’re at it.

Ok, ok, get on with it already... It’s pretty simple really. Look under the Built-In Variables section and make sure you have ‘Page Hostname’ checked. With that enabled you will now see the host name coming through on events (e.g. staging.domain.com, www.mysite.com, etc.) and more importantly, use this data to set conditions. We can now create a trigger that may only fire on our staging environment, and configure a custom variable to use a lookup table so we provide different analytics IDs based on your hostname. On top of that, deployment doesn’t require merging containers or switching environments; which would result in twice the testing cost. Once your tags have been confirmed in Preview mode, it’s as easy as updating a trigger and publishing the changes to your site.

Copypasta

There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. Use templates or built-in tags whenever possible. More often than not you can find good examples of all your major tags. Custom tags are great but they add risk: thorough testing is required, and introducing any broken (or potentially malicious) JavaScript to your page could be catastrophic.

Less is More

When my family goes on vacation, it doesn’t matter if we’re leaving for just one night - sometimes my family needs EIGHT bags worth of stuff. It’s madness, and really causes me more stress than it should. So, my advice? Be mindful not to overpack for an overnight trip and when you’re reviewing your tag plan: minimize your tags. How many tags are too many? I don’t know, and I haven’t seen any conclusive performance testing to give any better advice other than the following: being nice to people, use your good common sense, and follow best practices:

  • Pause or remove any tags not relevant to current tracking or testing
  • Remove tags and triggers not being used
  • Remove any custom variables not being used

For the “remove tags and custom variables”, I recommend that you should audit all of your Google Tag Manager entries once a quarter to make sure obsolete tags and variables are no longer being used.

Keep It Tight

Lastly, tag Management isn’t a “set it and forget it” situation - this isn’t the Honda Civic you drove for four years of college without ever once changing the oil - it’s important to review your tags and update accordingly as technology and your business needs grow. But you also don’t need to review your implementation every single day or week.

The platform is growing and more tagging is coming into play as we find new ways to offer personalized experiences to our customers, which is exciting but requires regular maintenance.

Added Bonus

Google Tag Manager is also an excellent way to manage all of your 3rd party scripts for affiliate tracking, live chat, digital marketing, or advertising and social media tracking. Set up your ids as variables just like we set up our ecommerce tagging and you’ll keep the data clean. The added bonus: no need for code deployments or providing more admin access.

Naughty x Nurture Podcast eCommerce and Fishing Episode with Kadro

naughty-x-nurture-podcast-withKadro-ArielMordetsky

We’re casting a line to lure you in to listen to the next installment in the Naughty X Nurture podcast series by dotdigital where you’ll hear Ariel Mordetsky (Kadro), Jeff Roth (Avalara) and your host Gavin Laugenie (dotdigital) discuss the similarities between eCommerce and fishing. Have we hooked your interest? Get on board starting Friday, April 23rd. It will be reel fun!  Listen in https://bit.ly/3xdkutW

What’s the One Thing Businesses Need in 2021

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Answer: Loyalty!

Regardless of the type of commerce you engage in, B2B or B2C or both, and whether you are online exclusively or omni-channel, something you can’t live without in 2021 are strategies and tactics aimed at maximizing customer retention and loyalty.


There are a lot of uncertainties in the world today, but the one thing we all know is that keeping existing customers is vital to the growth and sustainability of your business. For years we have read and heard the adage, it’s cheaper to keep a customer than to find new ones and this simple statement has never more true than in today turbulent business environment.


This time last year, where we were citing reasons retention is important like the Bain stat that says increase retention 5% and you’ll increase profits by 75%. This year poses four additional reasons to connect and stay connected at a new level with your customers, which reinforces why you really can’t pass on your loyalty strategy in 2021.

  1. Economic uncertainty and recessionary times
  2. Consumers demands (and needs) for genuine communications and real connectivity
  3. A far greater number of choices, especially in the eCommerce space
  4. Saying goodbye to cookies and other 3rd party data approaches

Economic Uncertainty Drives a Need to Focus on Customer Retention

When times get tough, money gets tight. People spend less and make more critical decisions as to where they do spend. In 2008, many organizations made conscience decisions to shift their limited marketing dollars to retention efforts. Those that did fared far better through and post recession period than those who kept spending consistent or slowed spend all together.


With limited resources, consumers are more concerned about making a purchase mistake. They tend to be less likely to try new things. With limited cash in hand, consumers tend to make the familiar choice, the trusted choice and the smart choice that has served them well in the past. If a consumer or business is a customer of yours, you want to be that familiar, trusted, and smart choice.

But to ensure your customers come back to you, you need to connect with them on a consistent basis. You need to reinforce the value you bring to their business. You need to remind them of the positive experiences they’ve had in doing business with you and reinforce those experiences at each touch point. You need to establish a personalized ongoing relationship of mutual value.


Consumers Need Genuine Communication and Real Connectivity

Fast forward 10 years, 2018 as consumers began to raise the bar on their expectations of the organizations where they do business. It was no longer okay to just personalize with my name in an email. Or offer up product selections based on the items they purchased. Consumers know they are sharing their data. They’re expecting organizations to be diligent stewards of their data and use the data to deliver a more relevant customer experience.


Additionally, people today are more focused on what they feel is important – doing good, giving back, sustainability, equality, etc. They expect organizations they patronize to share the same concerns and values they embrace. A few years ago consumers were asking brands to “know me, understand me, inspire me.” Today consumer’s expectations go further to “walk with me, walk in my shoes.”


To top it off, we experienced a year unlike any other in recent history which placed us in lockdown from which we are only now slowly emerging. People are focused more than ever on what’s important to them. They’re making more and more conscience choices based on their values. The right loyalty strategies and programs allow organizations to create a clear, unique, personal, even empathic value exchange with customers.


The Field of Available Choices Has Grown Much Broader

Changes that the COVID virus created in the global business sphere include a rapid expansion of online commerce with many new merchants opening online stores and a transformation in brick-and- mortar commerce with many brick-and-mortar merchants going online and offering new ways of shopping and pickup (BOPIS). With such a rapid expansion in available choices for consumers and businesses wishing to shop and buy online, companies must give strong credence to development and implementation of loyalty strategies and tactics since now more than ever it is essential to retain customers once you get them.


Bye Bye Cookies

As marketers, we’ve grown accustomed to building out our marketing strategies based on 3rd party data and technology tricks like cookies to identify customers and prospects and deliver personalized experiences based on these inferences. We’ve built our tech stacks and our analytics around look-alike models and personas. We’ve invested in CDPs that can get us to 70-75% accuracy in matching data. These activities have been working fairly well for organizations.


Now, all of this is changing. The stringent privacy laws to protect consumers and their data are finally coming to fruition. They are finally here. Organizations are now being forced to play by new rules. These new rules are affecting the technologies we’ve grown accustomed to using. A great example of these changes – cookies are going away.


With the dawning GDPR, CCPA – now morphing to a much more stringent CPRA, mean organizations will need to move from reliance on 3rd party data, to going directly to the source – your customer – for information. Organizations will be forced to work directly with customers to collect their information and gain permission to use their data in marketing efforts.


For many organizations, this means a whole new way of marketing and potentially a number of new technologies. The good news – loyalty technology is built on the foundation of permissible value exchange. These 4 major environmental changes point to the need to research and select the right technology partners to develop, integrate and implement your online eCommerce environment and to guide you through loyalty as a core solution and strategy you must have to be successful in 2021 and beyond.

Kadro, a certified Magento Solutions Partner with 20 years experience, is here to help make your vision for selling online a reality. We help clients, large and small, in a wide array of industries create full-feature, high-functioning, eCommerce environments on the Magento Commerce platform and then integrate those environments with applicable ERP, OMS, PIM, CRM and other backend systems. You can learn more by visiting the Kadro website. Also follow us on popular social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.


And to ensure you are successful in your loyalty strategy, the Annex Cloud Loyalty Experience Platform is the perfect answer. With roots in the social space, Annex Cloud is the only solution that can track, understand and communicate with your customer with a personalized, empathic message at every touch point. Plus with our extensive integration and partner network, the launch process is swift ensuring you can make an impact in 2021.


This article was co-authored by Erin Raese, CMO - Annex Cloud

November 2020 Kadro eCommerce Insights newsletter

November 2020 Kadro eCommerce Insights newsletter holiday banner image

News, insights and information from the rapidly changing world of eCommerce designed for the online B2B and B2C merchant!                                             In the November 2020 Edition.....

  • Holiday specials brought to you by select Kadro online merchant customers

  • A look back and at today for Kadro's first customer - REEDS Jewelers 

  • Technology Partner of the Month - Vertex, a leading provider of business  tax software and services 

  • Did you know about Kadro's Marketplace services?

  • Kadro's Site Analysis & Optimization Services (SAOS) can help to ensure that performance issues don't interfere with your online business.

  • Meet Elyse Robillard, Kadro's Senior Project Manager

  • Kadro named a North Carolina Top Performing E-Commerce Developer

  • Explore recent blog posts


SAVE-AT-HOME HOLIDAY SPECIALS BROUGHT TO YOU BY SELECT KADRO CUSTOMERS

Holiday gifts

PetEdge banner image

Groomers, kennels, veterinarians, breeders, and active pet enthusiasts have access to over 10,000 national-brand and exclusive PetEdge-brand products through our website and catalogs.

Houser Shoes banner image

Browse through our wide collection of affordable shoes by designers, clothing, footwear, and accessories for women, men, and children.

SeaDek Marine Products banner image

Founded in 2002, SeaDek® Marine Products, part of Hyperform Inc., is a leading developer and manufacturer of innovative marine decking materials and lamination for OEM boat builders in the marine industry as well as to boat owners seeking custom products. Made from closed cell PE/EVA foam, SeaDek Marine Products offers safe and comfortable alternatives to marine traction products currently on the market.

Get special holiday savings from these Kadro online merchants by visiting our holiday promotions page! Holiday savings end 12/31/20.


REEDS Jewelers

REEDS Jewelers home page

Since 2001, Kadro has worked with REEDS Jewelers as their eCommerce solutions provider and partner. Over that time, we have delivered on multiple site redesigns, a re-platforming, the implementation of a number of custom site features and integrations, and evolved REEDS online business to an omni-channel solution.

We believe that this relationship speaks well of our ability to evolve with the needs of our clients, our extensive eCommerce expertise, and our commitment to customer service which has resulted in the common experience of satisfied and loyal clients.

Looking back a few years, in March 2018 Kadro and REEDS successfully launched the re-platform of REEDS.com B2C website onto Magento Commerce. The success of this project was largely measured by achieving functional parity with well-established business processes and mission critical back-office integrations required to operate their online business. It was a large collaborative effort between REEDS' eCommerce and IT teams, Kadro, and a number of other technology partners.

More recently, we worked with REEDS on a redesign of their website.  You can see it here at https://www.reeds.com/.  

Mark deCausmeaker, Director of Multi Channel Sales at REEDS Jewelers Inc. described the REEDS/Kadro relationship this way... 

“REEDS Jewelers has been in business for over 65 years but having retail knowledge does not necessarily translate into having a successful website. With Kadro we have a partner that offers direction, planning, and services over a wide variety of E-commerce related fields such as mobile commerce, social media and standard ecommerce solutions.

Kadro seeks to anticipate our needs and offer solutions, often before we see the opportunity or problems which enable us to concentrate the bulk of our efforts in our area of expertise, the jewelry industry and our customers."

We are obviously honored to be able to play a role in advancing REEDS success in the highly-competitive retail jewelry business.

We wanted to take a moment to also acknowledge a recent honor bestowed on Arthur Phidd, CIO of REEDS.  Mr. Phidd was named one of the 10 Best CIOS for 2020 by Industry Era Magazine.


Technology Partner of the Month 

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Tax Technology at the Speed of Business

Founded in 1978, Vertex is a Pennsylvania-based leading provider of business tax software and services for companies of all sizes with both cloud and on-premise solutions to enable compliance for sales and use, income, value-added and payroll taxes.  


Marketplaces banner
Experience the ability to bring your brand to new channels like Amazon, eBay, Walmart with our affordable omni-channel tool.  Or if you are thinking of starting your own marketplace, then explore Kadro's best-in-class multi-vendor marketplace solution that runs on Magento Commerce.


Supercharge Your Magento Website with Site Analysis & Optimization Services (SAOS) from Kadro 

Site running slow?  Inconsistent performance?  Need a partner who has the expertise to improve your website's performance? We can audit your website environment and propose solutions to your site’s functionality and performance woes. Check out this link - https://www.kadro.com/magento-turbo-boost-service - to learn more.


Meet Elyse Robillard, Senior Project Manager at Kadro

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It takes a wide array of skills and experience to successfully complete a major eCommerce project. Thus, the Kadro team is made up of individuals skilled in a number of disciplines from accounting to specialized technical proficiencies. A key role in each project is that of project manager. With that in mind, in this month’s Kadro newsletter we introduce you to one of the company’s senior project managers, Elyse Robillard.

 Elyse joined Kadro in 2014 after spending a number of years at computer giant IBM. She was happy to make the transition from the vastness of a large global organization with hundreds of thousands of employees to a more modest sized, family environment  organization like Kadro. The downsizing just felt right and more personal to Elyse.

Like quite a few members of the Kadro team, Elyse fills a number of roles. Officially, she is a Senior Project Manager. She also handles the majority of invoicing for the company’s new and existing eCommerce customer engagements. Keeping accurate track of work and billings is obviously an essential task in any Kadro project. Elyse supplements that work with the function of providing non-technical new hire training to new staff members as they enter the organization.

With her role and tenure, Elyse has been a member of teams involved in a wide range of customer projects from REEDS.com’s (fine jeweler) move to Magento to eCommerce work completed for Weekends Only (furniture retailer) and Doheny’s (consumer and commercial pool supplies and equipment).

Outside of work, Elyse spends plenty of quality time with her son playing outdoors, enjoying time at their pool, and heading to the beach (as Covid conditions allow of course). In the same regard, as conditions allow she also enjoys global travel, especially to Europe and more specifically Ireland. Sounds like fun.

As the holidays commence, we wish all those that may travel a happy and safe journey.



Kadro named Top Developer in North Carolina by Clutch

Kadro named one of the Top Performing E-Commerce Developers in North Carolina 

The team at Kadro received some exciting news recently from Clutch, the internationally-renowned B2B rating and review platform. Kadro was named one of North Carolina’s top e-commerce developers for 2020. Clutch praised Kadro's e-commerce strategy, consulting, design, and development expertise!  According to Clutch and their research, amongst all providers in North Carolina, Kadro is consistently one of the best! 


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