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Chinese e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is now building an international platform of its monolithic e-commerce portal, Taobao. This global version will appear in multiple languages, including English, but English-speaking shoppers will have to continue to use a field guide to navigate the site in the meantime. To understand the implications of this move, it's important to first take a look at eBay. The U.S. online retail platform was a major contributing factor to the $1 trillion of retail sales directly connected to e-commerce made in 2012. After all, by the end of 2012, eBay had a whopping 123.5 million active user accounts. With all the online clout eBay has, Alibaba was still able to squeeze it out of China when it made its debut back in 2003. Just last year, its some seven million merchants and 800 million shoppers transacted about $160 billion worth of goods. In fact, Taobao is arguably the largest e-commerce operator in the world by sales. On November 11 -- the Chinese shopping holiday "Single's Day" -- it raked in $9.3 billion in sales. This is an impressive figure made only more jaw-dropping by the fact that it's double the West's 2013 Black Friday and...
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3D printing is a relatively new industry. However, many different types of 3D printers are already available on the market. 3D printing enthusiasts buy a 3D printer in the heat of the moment and later regret. The 3D printing industry is advancing very rapidly. But, do not expect miracles to happen with your first 3D printer. 3D printers that can print objects on demand are now affordable. If you have patience and are okay with using limited materials, then you can buy the decently priced models available for sale. These take several hours to build an object and can usually work with two types of thermoplastic, namely PLA and ABS. The best consumer 3D printers cannot print objects bigger than a loaf of bread, but they print with amazing clarity, strength, smoothness, and finish. They are very useful for printing household objects such as small spare parts that are difficult to find in retail shops, or personalized salt-and-pepper shakers. Here are 8 points to consider when buying your first printer.1. What are you? Depending on whether you are a tinkerer or a designer, you can choose and buy a 3D printer that exactly suits your needs. Tinkerers are attracted to 3D...
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Making sure that your conference, or any event type, is a hit on Twitter could be the difference between having a few people show up, and having hundreds of engaged and interested fans show up. With some organization ahead of time, and a bit of work controlling the chaos on the day of the event, you can achieve that perfect mix of offline and online good hosting behavior. To help this post along, I’m going to pretend that I’m a person who runs a sports store. I’m having an event at my store where people are coming over to watch the local team in the playoffs for a #PlayoffParty2014 event. This event will tie in with a sale that’s happening, the #PlayoffSale, during the entire playoff run. Be a good host on Twitter: Start with a hashtag You likely have a number of hashtags that you’re working with. Your standard hashtags are good to use during the promotion of your event, but you can’t rely on them solely for your Twitter event’s buildup. For the example I’m using, I can still use my hashtag for the general #PlayoffSale, but I need a new one to connect discussions about the event. #PlayoffParty2014...
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With the advent of smartphones and tablets and with their tight integration into our (online) lives, a natural need arose to optimize the content on the internet in such way that it is more easily and elegantly presentable on handheld devices. The idea of responsive design came fairly quickly, as one of the most logical solutions to the problem of adapting website content to look good on all screen sizes. However, synchronously with this change in web design paradigm, another idea gathered a lot of attention from design professionals. Existent for quite some time (after all, the whole concept is not truly original) but first brought into the spotlight by Google’s information hub, Google Now, the idea of cards which stand for chunks of information which are easily digestible and just sufficiently informative spread like wildfire in the world of web and mobile app design.   It would not be fair to call Google Now a new idea, either. After all, information hubs are a pretty old thing on the internet, and Apple’s Siri, a hugely popular (albeit often disputed) iOS virtual personal assistant does almost exactly the same thing: informs the user about weather, traffic and provides them with quick...
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This is a good time to engage with your customers as a business owner. Social media networking opens us immense possibilities and opportunities for you to promote your offerings. Here's how:1. Engage your customers Just like you create a profile for your personal contacts, you should create a profile for your business. Post interesting content regularly on this profile - content that is attractive and appealing to your customers. Study the habits and demographic profile of your customers, and post content accordingly. It is also a good idea to have a planned strategy for posting content. Work out a schedule for your updates well in advance. This will help you keep up a regular pace for posting content on your business profile.2. Write attractive blog content Blogging platforms such as Wordpress can be used to provide updates to clients and suppliers about your business. Another idea is to create a forum on your website where your customers can post their opinions and discuss their thoughts. Take part in online networking forums, start threads relevant to your business, and comment on people's blogs. This will draw attention to you and your business.3. Request feedback If you encourage your customers to provide feedback...
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