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Marketing automation is a big part of the way the internet conducts business. It's wrapped into every part of the customer journey when deployed properly. []
"Should we build an app?" This is one of those questions that comes up at a Board of Directors meeting or other types of strategic planning meetings. It's a statement that sounds inherently innovative and something that could potentially remedy a lot of problems faced by periods of organizational stagnation. But it's also a question that deserves a lot of thought before you allocate resources to a brand-new product. []
As a child of the internet and a tech enthusiast, it was natural for me to take a tech-forward approach to developing and growing my role as a nonprofit operations professional over the past seven or so years. []
Fundraising is a crucial part of a non-profits existence. The biggest opportunity for a non-profit is leveraging its community to fundraise on its behalf. The hardest part is maintaining the attention of community members and empowering them to feel confident in their efforts. []
We don't often visit the intersection of tech innovation and nonprofits. Technology costs can be impactful to nonprofit budgets, which are often already eclipsed by program costs. []
What's the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? For me, it's turning off my iPhone alarm and opening my email app. Better judgment would suggest I wait until I have been awake for longer than a few moments to go through this process, but it works for me. []
It's that time again: year-end fundraising and the race to December 31st. While this can be the most wonderful time of the year, it's also the most tedious, data-intensive, drive-you-to-drink time of the year. Unless you have the right tools in place. []
Over the past year, I've accumulated several different types of email subscriptions. From Seth Godin's daily musings to Nathan Barry's drip email about his book, I've read and enjoyed them all. []
Fundraising is essential to any nonprofit organization. As organizations fight for donor interest, there are layers to the giving experience that must be improved or streamlined. No matter how noble your cause is, you will lose donors in 2017 if it isn’t as simple as possible to make a donation. []
What makes a good marketing email? For years, I thought it was a combination of colors and images, font types and social icons. I remember when Mailchimp released their drag and drop editor in November 2012 and everything changed for the amazing. []
In 2013, two “broke college students” launched MVMT, a low cost watch company aspiring to reinvent the watch industry. From the outset, MVMT founders, Jake Kassan and Kramer LaPlante, promised the same quality as designer watches, at less than half the price. []
In the late 90s, Todd Ryan began selling online. It wasn’t until 2012 that he, along with his wife and son, began selling with a competitive edge using learned business savvy and ecommerce apps. []
In the mid 90s, SitStay.com launched as one of the earliest pet stores selling online. As the market and technology has evolved, so has their business. After twenty years of selling online, SitStay embarked on a multi-year strategic restructuring process. []
In May 2014, sales in the Stupid Cancer Store reached the point where our small team was unable to continue fulfilling orders and warehouse the expanding line of products in our small New York City office space. []
In “Why change ecommerce platforms?,” my post last month, I discussed my decision to switch ecommerce platforms — from Volusion to Bigcommerce — in the fall of 2013. I made that decision based on several things that I felt were holding us back. Since the migration, I’ve talked to dozens of folks who have felt the similar pain points with their current provider. They’ve asked what they should look for in a new ecommerce platform. []
Starting a non-profit organization is no small feat. Born out of inequity, it takes a strong resolve and an entrepreneurial mindset to take the leap from side project to the international stage. []
When I took over YNPN-NYC earlier this month as Board Chair, I immediately hit the ground running with a new recurring payment provider, Recurly. []
On January 1st, I assumed the role of YNPN-NYC Board Chair. It has been a great first month, taking a 35,000-foot view of the chapter and its operations. []
One of the best parts of being an ecommerce consultant and storeowner is corresponding with all the amazing entrepreneurs who have found their niche and disrupted it. This time of year is especially worthwhile to connect with other merchants, as many are embarking on development projects to improve their stores. Whether it’s a seasoned retailer or someone looking to improve an Etsy store, everyone, seemingly, is trying to evolve and innovate. []
In my post last month, I touched on the fact that I was experimenting with omnichannel selling in 2015. If you’re not familiar, omnichannel selling is a fancy way of saying your products are available for purchase on multiple platforms. For me, this means my Bigcommerce store, Amazon, and, most recently, Facebook. []
As 2015 comes to a close, it is a good time for self-evaluation. Hopefully, you’ve met or exceeded your revenue goals, and come in under on the expense side. Regardless of where you landed, the time around Christmas and New Year’s Day is perfect for putting together a plan for the year ahead. []
I’m always fascinated when I read what apps people use on a regular basis in different industries. Here is my list. []
My fall semester graduate friends have me feeling nostalgic. Here is a list of things I wish I knew before entering the real world. []
I’ve written about using third-party apps on my Bigcommerce store. But there are many apps that merchants can use regardless of their ecommerce platform. One of my favorites is Slack, which is a team communications app. You may be thinking, “I’m a team of one, why would I need a platform built for teams?” But don’t stop reading just yet. []
Over the past 6 years, I’ve had the honor of shifting and adapting our tech infrastructure at Stupid Cancer. With a nimble team, I’ve enjoyed quick deployments, and minimal consequences if things went awry. []
I’m lucky to work in a non-profit vertical that spans from the tiny side-project to the multi-million dollar behemoth fundraising machine. In a space where we’re all working towards the same goal, it’s interesting how organizations leverage technology to carry out their mission. []
Getting people to pay attention to you is hard on any platform. For the I’m Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation (aka i[2]y Cancer Foundation), growing the social footprint didn’t have a clear path. []
One of the good things about being on a leading ecommerce platform — Bigcommerce, in my case — is the ability to easily connect third-party apps to your store. []
When I started with Stupid Cancer in late 2009, the organization had just invested in a SugarCRM database to manage relationships. I had used pharmacy management software since ’02 in my former life as a Pharmacy Tech, so I was familiar with the core functionality. SC had just hired a dev company and spent a considerable amount of money on what was then a worthwhile investment. []
My last two posts — “My search for a third party fulfillment company” and “Life after in-house fulfillment” — have addressed Stupid Cancer’s massive change from in-house to third-party fulfillment. While there were many factors that prompted this change, diminishing storage space at the home office was at the top of the list. []
In “My search for a third-party fulfillment company,” I wrote that location, automation, and accommodation were key factors in making my final decision. Once we had penned an agreement that satisfied both parties, we began the on-boarding process. []
I can’t help but reflect on this time last year as one of my greatest ecommerce successes. The Stupid Cancer store had rounded a corner of success that there was apparently no coming back from. But we needed help keeping up with an increasing flow of orders. []
In “Using ecommerce to support cancer survivors,” my last post, I discussed how Stupid Cancer launched an online store, and ultimately, a lifestyle brand. Since its inception in 2012, the Stupid Cancer store has had over 8,200 transactions and grossed more than $215,000 in revenue. []
I’ve never really been happy with things as they come “out of the box.” Perhaps Dell is to blame, after presenting 15-year-old me with way too many options as I ordered my first laptop back in 2001. []
In March 2012, I decided it was time for Stupid Cancer, the nonprofit I co-founded, to move beyond CafePress and open our own online store. We had previously been offering a wide selection of t-shirts and other accessories, but the profits were small. []
About a year ago, I began to entertain the idea of outsourcing fulfillment for my online store. My store had reached the point where the amount of sales were starting to take us away from our other duties here at Stupid Cancer. This milestone was a few years in the making, and we couldn’t be more excited to cease the picking and packing we had come to know. []
Every online business starts out the same way: as just an idea. The idea may be to bring something totally new to the marketplace or perhaps the idea will disrupt a market by offering rock bottom prices or a new spin on an old favorite (essentially what MP3s did to albums, then what iTunes did to MP3s, and now what streaming is doing to iTunes). []
Deep within the customer lifecycle lies a critical point of their journey: customer service. It’s something so crucial to your online business that if a shopper has a positive experience, they’ll tell a friend and you’re online store may very well win a new customer. If that same customer has a negative experience, however, they’re likely to take to social media and tell hundreds if not thousands of friends and followers about their frustration –– and lose your business some potential sales. []
As Chief Operating Officer at Stupid Cancer, I wear many hats. One of those hats is managing our online store from top to bottom, with customer service support from an additional team member. []
In the early days of Stupid Cancer (Then called I'm Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation), we had two employees and a small team of "executive" volunteers. Everyone was spread out around the country, and keeping in touch was critical. []
Most businesses have one thing in common: They start off with limited resources. When it comes time to build out a technological infrastructure, it makes sense that any burgeoning business will choose the path of least resistance. Enter the generic organization email inbox; a one-size-fits-all tool that is used for everything from internal communications to customer service. I’’m guilty of employing it and so are many of you. []
I recently sat down with Klipfolio to chat about how Stupid Cancer uses their service. This is a repost. []
In March 2012, I stepped into the ecommerce world and launched a Volusion store for my non-profit, Stupid Cancer. I understood the basic functions of ecommerce, and felt like I could figure the rest out as I went. My expectations were pretty accurate, and found that navigating the unknown was a lot of fun. I picked Volusion because a colleague of mine had found success with their platform, and like any other digital software vertical, there were so many options. The sales started, issues that popped up along the way were remedied, and before I knew it, I had a successful online store. []
If you're in an operations role at your company, chances are you're bombarded with business metrics information all day long. If you're like me, you probably keep multiple tabs open, or have bookmarks that go directly to various report pages. Pie charts, bar graphs, spark lines, gauges, meters, maps, and tables fill your day as you try to make sense of it all. []
I'm going to generalize and say that most non-profits lack the ability to experiment with their tech infrastructure. It's not their fault, they're just not as nerdy as Matthew and I. As I write this from my JetBlue gate at San Diego International Airport, I can't help but romanticize about closing tickets. What I'm referring to is the act of responding to inquiries that get triaged by my staff and I. It's become second nature. I know that when I check my iPhone, there could be a Zendesk push notification. []
KENNY KANE IS A NON-PROFIT CEO, ENTERPRISE CTO, DEVELOPER, BLOGGER & SPEAKER BASED IN AUSTIN, TX.
© 2017 Kenny Kane • Austin, TX