What’s New at Google – May June July 2017

In the past few months, Google has been busy! Google added some fancy charting features to Google Sheets, Android Pay partnered with PayPal, Google NoCaptcha reCaptcha arrived, Backup and Sync from Google became available, and easy HIPAA compliance showed up

What's New at Google | Web and Beyond

In the past few months, Google has been busy! Google added some fancy charting features to Google Sheets, Android Pay partnered with PayPal, Google NoCaptcha reCaptcha arrived, Backup and Sync from Google became available, and easy HIPAA compliance showed up for G Suite (with help from partner, Virtru). I’m going to highlight the important ones in this installment of What’s New at Google (WNAG). I’m restarting these WNAG posts again, and since it’s been a while, I’m mashing together a few months’ worth of news.

Google and G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Work) constantly changes and some of it’s pretty important to the overall productivity of a Small Business. Other changes, not so much. This ongoing Web and Beyond blog series, What’s New at Google parses through the chaff so you know what’s going on at Alphabet and its most powerful Search Engine subsidiary, Google. These posts update you about new updates to the Google ecosystem that affects you as a Small Business owner and entrepreneur. These are the exciting and frequent enhancements that Google makes to deliver better products for you, as well as danger zones to avoid when they fall short.

Backup your Computer Files and Photos Easily with Google – What’s New at Google

It’s really important for Small Business owners to secure their business data. Laptops and mobile devices break, get lost, and are stolen. And, when (not if) these incidents happen, Small Businesses are put in catastrophic positions. Don’t let this happen!

Google has finally released its anticipated backup solution (for Windows and Mac OS X) and it’s available for G Suite too, so this is going to be really great for Small Business. It uses the data of your Google or individual G Suite user account storage space for the data you backup. It allows you to selectively choose which folders to backup in Google Drive, and which folders to backup to Google Photos.

Head over to Google’s Backup and Sync for Google Photos and for Google Drive and get your computer data securely backed up to the cloud.

What’s next for Google payment and loyalty experiences – What’s New at Google

Google’s The Keyword blog, which is the omniblog for all of Google’s products and services, wrote an article about its new payment and loyalty upgrades it’s making across the Google and Android ecosystems. This may seem technically trivial and summarily benign to you but if you’re a local Small Business, this is incredibly important.

As Google upgrades it Google Payment API and Card Linked Offers API (the services that connect Google tools to your eCommerce websites and mobile apps), the more you’ll have the ability to drive retail traffic into your business.

Here’s an example that will be possible someday very soon, and even sooner if you’re using a Clover Small Business Point of Sale solution:

Jane Shopper is searching for a yoga school to join. Up pops not just yoga studios in her area, but Google now surfaces a list of classes and the ability to “Book” a class today, right now from Google Search or Google Maps. (As a business owner, this currently works if you’re using one of several scheduling services in a supported industry, including Genbook, SalonRunner, Rosy, Yocale, and WellnessLiving. In short speed, Google will be also bring on board Booksy, Envision, MyTime, Schedulicity, Setmore, Shore, SimpleSpa, SuperSalon and TimeTrade.)

Now Jane walks into that yoga class and has a great experience. Before leaving, you, the savvy yoga studio owner, let’s call her Yogi Jill, have Jane sign-up for your loyalty program. If she comes to a few more classes, then she’ll get a discount on a monthly package going forward. Every time Jane uses Android Pay for touchless payment at the yoga studio, Yogi Jill is able to track data about Jane and push new offers to her when they’re earned. This keeps the relationship warm, Jane getting her asanas sharp, and the retail traffic continuous.

And, if you’re selling products, note that this works similarly for retail stores as well. My advice to Small Business owners right now is to make sure that you’re using the technology that connects to Google and don’t invest in any Point of Sale solution provider that isn’t going to integrate with NFC payment (i.e., Android Pay and Apple Pay), as well as connecting to your loyalty program, and Google Payment and Card Linked Offers APIs.

Google adds some fancy charting features to Google Sheets – What’s New at Google

Visualize data instantly with machine learning in Google Sheets

Image: www.blog.google

Google Sheets has introduced machine learning into its skill-set through the Explore feature. You can use natural language searches for data you have in your spreadsheet workbook and get that data visualized more easily.

Learn more in Google’s article, “Visualize data instantly with machine learning in Google Sheets.”

If you’re a Small Business trying to make better decisions, the more you can centralize your data into Google Sheets and make it visual, the easier those decisions can be. You can export data from Google Analytics, your CRM, and recent purchase information from your Point of Sale or invoicing software, then import those into one Google Sheets workbook. From there, you can use the Google Sheets Explore feature to unearth insights that will help you create stronger customer relationships.

Google NoCaptcha arrives – What’s New at Google

So, we all know the bane of Internet’s existence are spammers, hackers, and trolls. But, for the average user, the most prevalent annoyance are the images that you need to decipher and complete in order to complete forms, known as CAPTCHA/reCAPTCHA.

As Google explains it,

reCAPTCHA is a free service that protects your website from spam and abuse. reCAPTCHA uses an advanced risk analysis engine and adaptive CAPTCHAs to keep automated software from engaging in abusive activities on your site. It does this while letting your valid users pass through with ease.

reCAPTCHA offers more than just spam protection. Every time our CAPTCHAs are solved, that human effort helps digitize text, annotate images, and build machine learning datasets. This in turn helps preserve books, improve maps, and solve hard AI problems.

Of course, this is less than ideal, because the onus is on your fickle website visitor to have the patience to complete the reCAPTCHA puzzle in order to submit a contact or other types of forms on your website. Google is solving this with invisible NoCAPTCHA. With the new NoCAPTCHA, the common website visitor won’t see a reCAPTCHA puzzle unless they’re identified as a likely spammer. The website publishers and visitors the world over all exhale a collective sigh of relief.

As a business website publisher, all you need to do is setup Google reCAPTCHA on your website, and the rest is taken care of for you by Google.

Google brings Smart Reply to Gmail on Android and iOS so you never have to type again – What’s New at Google

The last update I wanted to cover is Google’s update to its mobile apps for Gmail. They’ve implemented Inbox by Gmail’s Smart Reply functionality into Gmail Mobile. This is great for those one word to one sentence responses that comprise of many email messages we receive on a daily basis. This is available in the consumer-side Gmail and in G Suite Gmail, so check it out and see if it’s helpful to your productivity.

More Updates – What’s New at Google

Here are some other highlights over the past few months, if you want to dig deeper:

Until next time on What’s New at Google!


G Suite ← Use this signup link to try G Suite Business with a free trial. If you want to keep it, I can give a discount on your G Suite account, covering your first year of service. See these instructions and request a redemption code.

 

Retail Doom & Gloom: Crisis or Opportunity?

Mid Year State of the Market: Maurisa Potts, in a mid year “state of the market” presentation sponsored by the Alexandria SBDC featured a headline stating, “Soft economy hitting big retailers hard.” There are, I might add, some small ones not doing too well either. Potts went on to note that online shopping is not the only reason for this, siting over built retail real estate, escalating rents, and shifts in consumer spending from goods to services. Whatever the reasons, there are few retailers not feeling the current uncertainty. This, according to Potts, begs the questions what is it, crisis or opportunity?

Clearly Unclear: I like this mindset. It presuppose important changes in the business model by which most retailers operate. Savvy retailers need little schooling on this topic, and outside of a reference list here, my interest is about how a physical store might be impacted. According to Potts the action takes place in three areas. The first two, customer focused retail and the resultant deep market analytics are technology driven. The third is the technology. Clearly the lines between the physical and digital store are becoming unclear. A retailer must decide which options to embrace:

mobile apps/enhanced mobile apps/personal concierge
smart navigation
mobile checkout
on demand customer service.
virtual fitting rooms
flexible fulfillment options
enhanced product information
community connections
target walk by shoppers
holographic product displays
delivery service
drones

Augmented Retail: Each of these items taken individually involves some type of electronic technology which must be both accommodated and invisible, a subject covered in previous posts so not detailed again here. Together, though, they define what is referred to as augmented retail, a situation with substance and influence on how a physical store will look. Rachel Shechtman, the founder of Story, a cutting edge store in Manhattan, described the design concept as a physical magazine. This is so telling. Store planners and designers have probably not seen such a revolutionary design idea since the emergence of big box retail. In the marketing world I would compare the trend to the early days of Martha Stewart Omnimedia which eventually consolidated her various publishing and media outlets into a single brand. It seems to have come full circle as omnimedia has finally found expression in bricks n mortar.

Design by Collaboration: Pick up a copy of your favorite magazine and flip it open to the index page. What do you see? I see an implied program for a store design, an outline of ways to engage the customer, often a recipe for co-creation where the customer participates in the outcome of his/her shopping trip. What combination of media, mobile apps, interactive displays, technology, and hard store design options a retailer chooses to bring into his/her store is a collaborative decision best made between the store designer, the retailer, the marketing team, and the all important technology consultants. When these things work together a really successful store can be the outcome.

The Positive Case for Bricks N Mortar: Barbara Thau, writing for Forbes, lists, “Five Signs That Stores (Not E-Commerce) Are the Future of Retail.” Worried retailers might do themselves a favor by considering the following:

“All But One Of The Top Ten U.S. Retailers Are Physical Chains

Stores Are More Profitable Than E-Commerce

Amazon Purchased Whole Foods

Millennials And Generation Z Prefer Real-Life Stores

Online Retailers Are Being Eaten By Legacy Retailers

Bridget Gaddis, is a Licensed Architect and LEED-accredited Professional practicing nationally, and locally in the Washington DC area. She holds professional degrees in both Architecture and Interior Design, and with a comprehensive background in commercial retail design, planning and construction has completed projects for such for such well known brands as Chloe, Zegna, and Bvlgari. Her career began in tenant coordination and site planning for two well-known Cleveland developers, followed by six years in store planning for a national retailer. After a move to New York City in 1997, she spent the next years working for architecture firms specializing in retail projects. In 2011 she started her own practice in Alexandria, VA. Ms. Gaddis is the author of two blogs dealing with architectural subjects.

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eCommerce Basics for Retail Small Business | Web and Beyond

Find the original archive of the video here: https://youtu.be/ct9-zrgffHk. Point of Sale – eCommerce – mCommerce solutions for Small Business Selling online today is seemingly easier than ever! You hear the advertising online and in television ads on how easy

Find the original archive of the video here: https://youtu.be/ct9-zrgffHk.

Point of Sale – eCommerce – mCommerce solutions for Small Business

Selling online today is seemingly easier than ever! You hear the advertising online and in television ads on how easy it is to setup an eCommerce website and sell to your customers 24/7. Then, you go to actually do it and it’s another story. We hear this over and over again when clients have attempted eCommerce without knowing the right steps to get started. In this Web-based presentation, we covered the basics needed to understand what you need to get started in eCommerce, and the tools available to get you there successfully…the first time!

In this Webinar, we will cover:
– Best-practices for planning a Web-connected Point of Sale system;
– Best-practices for planning and implementing an eCommerce or mCommerce solution for your Small Business; and,
– Tools that can help you build out the above effectively for marketing and operational success, and that fits a Small Business budget.


These Webinars are hosted by the Virginia Small Business Development Center Network – http://virginiasbdc.org – and presented by Ray Sidney-Smith, Author of “SoLoMo Success” (available on Amazon Kindle and paperback), Digital Marketing Strategist, and Managing Director of W3C Web Services, providing affordable Web, WordPress, email, domain and other related services for Small Business – http://web.w3cinc.com. With the transfer of your business’ domain, WordPress *and* email hosting services, get a complimentary 1-hour Web, Mobile & Social Media marketing strategy session. Email [email protected] for full details and to get started!

Who should watch?
– Small business owners, entrepreneurs, micropreneurs, and solopreneurs
– Office/sales/customer service managers, marketing directors, executives and professionals
– Administrative/executive assistants and sales/account representatives
– nonprofit executive directors and board members

Know Yourself

This post was written by Gloria Flanagan, Assistant Director, Alexandria SBDC I attended two programs last week – one was the Alexandria Small Business Roundtable discussion on work spaces (home-based businesses, co-working spaces, executive office suites, brick & mortar, etc.). The second program was a Retail Week workshop sponsored by our colleagues at the Community… Read more »

The post Know Yourself appeared first on Alexandria Small Business Development Center.

This post was written by Gloria Flanagan, Assistant Director, Alexandria SBDC

I attended two programs last week – one was the Alexandria Small Business Roundtable discussion on work spaces (home-based businesses, co-working spaces, executive office suites, brick & mortar, etc.). The second program was a Retail Week workshop sponsored by our colleagues at the Community Business Partnership on how artists can use social media to engage their audience.  Very different subjects – right? Yes, but they had a common thread that is worth noting. It involves knowing yourself, being honest about how you work, what you enjoy doing and what you do well.

The Roundtable discussion centered on how various individuals work. Do you need to have all of your projects in front of you all of the time so that nothing “falls through the cracks”? If so, a co-working space is probably not your optimal setup; you are not going to want to put everything away at the end of the day. Until you can afford a workspace that is all your own, you may well be a “dining room table” worker at home, and that is okay. Many entrepreneurs start out that way, and some like it so much that they continue to work from home even when they could afford to rent an office.

Do you work well in fluid situations and get energized by the people working around you? If you like this dynamic workspace and are not continually distracted by what other folks are doing, then a co-working space may be perfect for you. There is no right answer or space that is perfect for everyone, but if you take the time to think about how you really work, there is an optimal space for you.

On another note, it is generally understood these days that whether you are in business to sell your art, your product, or a service, you will need to include social media in your marketing plan.  One of the first points that the presenter at the Artist’s Workshop made was to think about who you are and what you like to do. This is important in determining what social media platform or platforms you choose to use.  He said that he is a “maker”. He does not like to write. A written blog, while an excellent marketing method for many entrepreneurs, is not for him. He told the artists that people like to see their art (photos!) but also like to see how it is made. A short video showing the process and production would help the artist begin a relationship with the person viewing their art, beyond the individual piece itself.

Choosing your primary social media platform requires you to consider how you like to communicate, but you should not be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Experiment a bit and see what works for you and your business. Remember that it is important to be consistent, so pick something that you will be able to keep up. If social media is just not for you on any platform, you may have to hire someone to do it for you. Again, be honest with yourself about what you can and will do. A little introspection, whether on where you work or how you market your work will go a long way to building your success. There is no “right way” – there is something that is right for you!

The post Know Yourself appeared first on Alexandria Small Business Development Center.

LinkedIn 201: Perfecting your LinkedIn Settings

In the beginning, she had just graduated. Flush with her accomplishment and a sense of possibility, she set out to conquer the world. On the first day, she created a profile on LinkedIn. And (because she had used my tips in LinkedIn 101) she saw that i…

In the beginning, she had just graduated. Flush with her accomplishment and a sense of possibility, she set out to conquer the world. On the first day, she created a profile on LinkedIn. And (because she had used my tips in LinkedIn 101) she saw that it was good. On the second day, she thought: But how do I make ...

Exceeding Customer Expectations

This article was written by Ray Sidney-Smith, facilitator for Alexandria Small Business Development Center’s monthly Business Development Roundtable. You may join us every third Tuesday of the month for different topic-based discussions for Small Business in the City of Alexandria, Virginia. From the moment a customer or client comes into contact with a Small Business,… Read more »

The post Exceeding Customer Expectations appeared first on Alexandria Small Business Development Center.

This article was written by Ray Sidney-Smith, facilitator for Alexandria Small Business Development Center’s monthly Business Development Roundtable. You may join us every third Tuesday of the month for different topic-based discussions for Small Business in the City of Alexandria, Virginia.

From the moment a customer or client comes into contact with a Small Business, they are having an experience with your brand. And, it matters. How much impact and to what extent you have control over that first moment is likely great and minimal, respectively. And, what we want as Small Business owners is to increase our control over every touchpoint with a client. This is whether it is during marketing, sales, fulfillment, or post-delivery customer interactions. It’s important so that their first touchpoint isn’t our last chance!

For the May Business Development Roundtable at the Alexandria Small Business Development Center, we discussed, Exceeding Customers’ Expectations: How to Motivate Yourself and Your Staff to Provide Excellent Customer Service. And, the participants at that Roundtable had insights that I thought proved useful for all Small Business owners trying to get a handle on customer experience and customer service management.

What is customer experience? What is customer service?

A frequently-asked question I receive at workshops and seminars is, what is the “customer experience” I speak of when I’m relating stories about how potential clients come into contact with a business on Social Media? (This relates to all first contacts with potential clients online and offline, by the way.) I would call this “brand messaging” in professional jargon, but more simply it’s what your customer sees, feels, and hears, which I detailed in a recent blog post on branding for Small Business. I think of customer experience as the sum total of your brand strategy’s value from the perspective of your customer, and customer service as the transactional, day-to-day interactions that build up to the customer experience.

Patra Frame from Strategies for Human Resources kicked off the discussion with a reference to The Washington Post article, “The real value in business may not be the thing so many fixate on”. In brief, the article details that, as Patra put it, “giving people an experience” as opposed to simply selling your wares and services. As the article notes, “‘people will pay for an experience that is superior’ [according to David Sax, author of The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter] to what they can get in the mass market. There is a difference between a thing and an experience. One can be possessed. The other can be felt.” Small Business is positioned perfectly to provide bespoke, superior experiences to our customers and clients.

How does customer service affect your business?

Whether it’s during the sales process, through fulfillment and delivery of services, or service after the sale, customers need you and your staff to be motivated to provide the best level of customer service. According to American Express Survey, 2011, 78% of consumers have left a transaction midstream because of poor customer service experience. Even more shocking is that dissatisfied customers speak up only four percent of the time. That means 96% of unsatisfactory customer experiences go untold to you! That’s money being thrown out the window if you’re not paying attention to customer service. (Source: “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner.) If you make a first-time purchaser a long-term customer, they can be worth upward of 10 times the value of their first purchase. Simply put, customer service makes or breaks your business.

How do you handle a bad customer experience?

Not all customer interactions are going to go well for any Small Business. However, there are ways in which you can address the issue so that it turns a bad customer experience into a positive one. First, it’s been widely noted that speed of response is crucial, that is, the faster you respond to a customer’s complaint the better the outcomes.

Also, show empathy to your customer’s perspective and situation. A startling statistic is something that I heard many years ago from a malpractice attorney, who said that doctors who said “I’m sorry” to patients had dramatically fewer malpractice claims brought against them. The active empathizing with a customer goes a long way.

If it’s within your control, fix the mistake. Many times small business owners think about the short-term impact of correcting a customer service issue and they ignore the long-term impact of a loyal customer. If you keep the long tail approach to your customer service you will be able to make much more money by correcting errors now and putting systems in place so that they don’t happen in the future.

How do you approach online reviews? Ratings?

No customer service conversation could end without a discussion of how online reviews and ratings affect business today.  My general recommendations to all businesses when they receive a poor rating is to quickly respond to the reviewer or rater. Ask if you were able to connect offline so that you can empathize and fix the issue. Finally once you have made the unhappy customer whole regarding the situation, politely ask them to go back and re-review your company. You want people to see that when your business makes a mistake, you fix it. Problems or mistakes will occur with every business. Would you rather work with one that doesn’t correct these matters, or one that makes sure you’re taken care of? In my opinion as a customer myself, that’s far more powerful than all the five-star ratings in the world.

The post Exceeding Customer Expectations appeared first on Alexandria Small Business Development Center.

Getting Found on Google: Search Engine Optimization for Local Small Business

In our latest Beyond Google Webinar, I had the pleasure of talking about “Getting Found on Google: Search Engine Optimization for Local Small Business.” This is an important topic and one in which is even more important today with increased

In our latest Beyond Google Webinar, I had the pleasure of talking about “Getting Found on Google: Search Engine Optimization for Local Small Business.” This is an important topic and one in which is even more important today with increased Web traffic competition, especially in local communities.

Getting to the top of a Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is more complicated than ever when updating and contributing content to your website, blog, and Social Media. For local Small Business, there is an added layer of trying to drive local Web and Mobile traffic to our websites, not traffic from national or international audiences who can’t buy or use our products or services. For the majority of local Small Business, most of your revenue comes from a five-mile radius from your business location. In this Web-based presentation, we talked about what you should do to create a Web presence that optimizes for a local audience.

In this Webinar, we covered:
– Who benefits from local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)…and why the answer is every business;
– How to create a targeted local Web presence for your business; and,
– Tools you can use to help you know you’re on the right track for getting found on Google.

This Webinar, as part of the Beyond Google: Marketing and Managing on the Web series from Virginia SBDC (http://www.virginiasbdc.org/training-…), are presented by Ray Sidney-Smith, Web & Mobile Strategist, author of SoLoMo Success: Social Media, Local and Web Small Business Marketing Strategy Explained, President of W3 Consulting, and Managing Director of W3C Web Services, providing affordable Web/WordPress hosting, domain name registration, SSL certificate, and email hosting services focused on helping Small Business market and manage on the Web.

Who should watch?
– Small business owners, entrepreneurs, micropreneurs, and solopreneurs
– Office/sales/customer service managers, marketing directors, executives and professionals
– Administrative/executive assistants and sales/account representatives
– nonprofit executive directors and board members

Learning LinkedIn: Adult Social Media

It’s that time of year: Pollen counts are high, toes are peeking out of shoes, and bright-eyed graduates are spilling out of classrooms and into the job market – the world of adulthood. Looking for work is reality and I don’t mean TV! So, let’s say TTYL to telling your story on Instagram, Facebook Live, and Snapchat, and say hello …

It’s that time of year: Pollen counts are high, toes are peeking out of shoes, and bright-eyed graduates are spilling out of classrooms and into the job market – the world of adulthood. Looking for work is reality and I don’t mean TV! So, let’s say TTYL to telling your story on Instagram, Facebook Live, and Snapchat, and say hello ...