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Small Business Health Care Stuck on Hold

Small Business Health Care Stuck on Hold

When it comes to health care, small-business owners aren’t making any fast moves.

Faced with higher premiums again in the year ahead, many business owners have found themselves in a holding pattern. They’re concerned about the rising costs and the possible impact of health reform, but unsure about making any changes until they have more clarity or options.

Mitch Goldstone, the president and CEO of, a photo scanning service in Irvine, Calif., plans to continue paying 100 percent of his 19 employees’ costs for medical, dental and vision coverage, even though premiums are expected to jump 18 percent, or roughly $18,000, in 2012.

While he considered sharing the costs with his employees in 2012, he worried that some people would opt out, putting their own health at risk and raising the per-person cost of the company’s group plan. “I didn’t think that the usurious rates that the health insurance companies are charging should be punishing my employees,” Goldstone says.

Waiting to see
He and many other business owners are waiting to see what impact the Affordable Care Act will have on them. Nineteen percent of small employers say they are either “likely” or “very likely” to terminate plans after state insurance exchanges go online in 2014, according to a November survey by Mercer, a benefits consulting firm in New York. The insurance exchanges would offer uninsured consumers a choice of health plans with information about the costs and benefits of each option.

A Proposal to Expand Health-Care Tax Credits for Small Businesses

A Proposal to Expand Health-Care Tax Credits for Small Businesses

President Barack Obama’s 2013 budget proposal includes a measure that would make a health-care tax credit available to more than a hundred thousand additional businesses — giving those owners more cash in their pockets at a time when the economy is still ailing.

If Congress approves the proposal, not only would more businesses become eligible for the tax credit, some that are already eligible would get more cash back. In 2011, the health care tax credit is estimated to have helped 360,000 small businesses that provide health insurance to two million workers. Under the President’s proposal, the tax credit would benefit 500,000 small businesses that provide insurance to four million employees.

The landmark health-care law — called the Affordable Care Act — that was passed in 2010 included a set of temporary tax breaks to help the nation’s smallest businesses deal with the surging costs of health-care premiums.

“Right now, small businesses across America pay an average of 18 percent more to provide health insurance than large businesses,” Karen Mills, the administrator of the Small Business Administration, and the newest addition to the President’s cabinet, said in a blog post yesterday.

The current health-care tax credit is available to businesses that have fewer than the equivalent of 25 full-time workers, pay at least half of the cost of their workers’ health-care premiums and pay an average annual wage of $50,000. Part-time employees count proportional to the hours they work. The percentage of health-care premiums that a business can claim increases step-wise the smaller a business is and the fewer employees. So, a business with fewer than 10 employees and average wages less than $25,000 will get the maximum allowable credit. The credit is 35 percent of what the business pays on premiums this year and next and increases to 50 percent in 2014.

The problem is that as the health-care tax credit currently stands, a big chunk of small business owners don’t qualify. And, according to a survey conducted by the Small Business Majority at the end of last year, 33 percent of employers that don’t currently offer health insurance said they would be more likely to do so because of the tax credits.

Under the President’s revised proposal for the tax credit, businesses with as many as 50 employees would be eligible to receive a tax credit and businesses with as many as 20 employees would be eligible to receive the maximum credit. Also, the President’s proposal makes the phase out schedule for the tax credit more generous and eliminates a couple of onerous requirements for small businesses to be eligible for the tax credit. For example, the President’s proposal would eliminate the current tax credit requirement that limits the employer contribution to the average premium for the state. The goal is to streamline the process of applying for the credit.

Should the expanded health-care tax credit pass muster with Congress, an additional $14 billion in tax credits would be available over the coming 10 years. That’s a tough sell for many in Congress, as there’s a deep opposition to boosting government spending.

What’s more, some Republicans in Congress aren’t convinced that expanding the tax credit would fix anything. “The current small business health care tax credit is too narrow and temporary, and expanding it to more businesses wouldn’t solve its other problems, such as unawareness of the credit or the benefit being too small to bother calculating,” said Rep. Sam Graves (R., Mo.), the Chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, in an emailed statement. “The health care law should be repealed in its entirety immediately,” he added.

But that’s not what Mark Hodesh, the owner of Downtown Home and Garden, in Ann Arbor, Mich. would tell you. Thanks to the existing tax credit, Hodesh banked $9,125, which he says is circling right back into the economy. Hodesh joined Administrator Mills on a conference call with reporters to tout the benefits of the tax credit. He has 11 full-time employees, seven of whom opt to participate in the health insurance plan, which he has offered since 1998. But in the last ten years, his premiums have skyrocketed 300 percent.

“That is just staggering,” Hodesh told Entrepreneur. “We couldn’t raise the prices we charge for merchandise to keep up with it, so it was a real squeeze, but this Affordable Care Act helped immensely.” The hefty tax credit was enough to encourage Hodesh to hire another employee.

The 10 most important sources of income for shops

The 10 most important sources of income for shops

The following points highlight the ten main sources of income of people in ancient India. The sources are: 1. Agriculture 2. Ownership of Land 3. Revenue 4. Industry 5. The Guilds 6. Trade and Commerce 7. Taxation 8. Other Sources of State Income 9. Forced Labour 10. Foreign Trade.

Source # 1. Agriculture:

Agriculture was the mainstay of the people in ancient India. Naturally, therefore majority of the people lived in villages, where they led an energetic communal life. Most of the villagers tilled their own lands, although the king often claimed ultimate ownership of the lands.

Most of the land holdings were small and worked by the owner with the help of his family. But certain large farmsteads also existed which were cultivated with the help of the hired labour. The king also owned large lands which were culti­vated by the serfs and the labourers in return for a fixed payment. Lands were also lent by the owners to the share-croppers in return for one half of the produce.

As the pressure on land increased people started the policy of colonization, clearing of waste and development of new villages. We learn from the stories in Jataka that hardly peasants from over-popu­lated villages cut jungles and started cultivation. There are instances where the entire village shifted en masse because it could not pay the taxes to the collectors.

Though the rain was the chief source of irrigation, canals, rivers and artificial reservoirs were also formed to ensure regular supply of water to the fields. We do not get any mention of the ‘Persian wheel’, although it might have been used for irrigation pur­poses. The kings considered it their religious and social duty to erect water reservoirs. We know far certain about the reservoirs at Girnar.

This embankment was over 100 feet thick at the base, which subse­quently grumbled. In Kashmir an outstanding engineer named Suyya planned a number of irrigation works in the ninth century A.D. It is said he “made the streams of Indus and Jhelum flow according to his will, like a snake charmer his snakes.”

Although most of the irri­gation works of ancient times have since vanished it can be said that important irrigation works were undertaken in ancient India.


The chief crops of ancient India were wheat, barley, rice, millet, sugarcane, sesamum, large variety of peas, beans and lentils; While barley and. wheat were cultivated in north and other cooler places, rice was cultivated in the irrigated planes. Millet was chiefly grown in those parts of Deccan which were unfit for rice cultivation.

In South India, especially Kerala, large number of spices like pepper, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon a etc. were grown, which were exported to Europe in large quantity. The saffron was mainly produced in the foothills of the Himalayas. Cotton was the most important staple textile crop.

A large variety of fruits were also grown, the most prominent amongst them being the mango. Palmyra and talipot palms were mainly grown in the coastal areas. The date palm was grown in the dry regions of West, but we find little mention of it in literature. The grape, almond and walnut were cultivated in Western Himalayas. South possessed abundance of sandal tree which provided the much prized fragrant woods.

The fertility of the soil has been greatly praised by the Greek travellers. They greatly wondered at the two crops being grown a year. Arthasastra tells us that the use of manure was known to the people. Both heavy and light ploughs were used for cultivation.


While the light ploughs were driven by two or four oxen, the heavy ploughs were driven by as many as twenty four oxen. In Arthasastra we get detailed rules for the management of king’s farms which suggests that well-developed agricultural techniques existed at that time. The harvesting was done with sickles. The corn was thrashed and winnowed by tossing it in the wind.

Cattle breeding was also known to the people. The basic livestock of the peasant were cattle. These were used for ploughing, transport as well as for food. People left sufficient meadows so that the animals could get sufficient food. They also provided necessary sheds for their protection against extreme cold and heat.

The villages employed communal cowherd who drove the cattle to the waste lands beyond the ploughed fields every morning and returned with them at dusk. It was his duty to ensure that they did not enter the fields and destroy the standing harvests.

Cow was considered to be a sacred animal for most of the time in ancient India , and its slaughtering was punished with heavy penalty. However the other animals like cattle; and oxen were killed for food purpose in the later period.

But Arthasastra makes a mention of the existence of herds of aged, diseased and sterile cattle, which shows that they were allowed to die their natural death, at least in certain parts of the country.

The other domestic animals included the buffalo, which was not only a beast of burden but also a favorite item of sacrifices to goddess Durga. In the cooler areas the sheep’s were bred, which were a source of wool, needed for the blankets. These blankets were mainly prepared in Kashmir and were exported to the northern plains. The domestic pig and the goats were also bred.

Horses were chiefly found in Sindh and North-West. They were primarily a luxury animal and were mainly used by the warrior class. People knew about the art of taming the elephants. Usually the elephants were owned by the kings and the chiefs, who employed trackers, hunters and tamers for their capture and care.

We do not get a mention about the camel, but it must have been certainly known to the people, and served as a beast of burden in the deserts. Dogs were also known to the people and were commonly used for hunting purpose. However, in Mahabharata we get a reference that the dogs were treated as a pet.

We are told that the five Pandava brothers and their wife Draupadi took their dog with them on their final pilgrimage to heaven. When the’ dog was not permitted to enter the heaven Yudhisthira refused to enter the heaven without his faithful friend, and ultimately succeeded in taking him along.

The people of ancient India knew about the breeding and rearing of the silkworms. As silk was known to the people even in the Vedic times these silk-making moths were certainty known to the people. Most probably these worms were introduced to India from China.

In one of the Buddhist scriptures silk is designated as cinapatta or the Chinese cloth. In Arthasastra also we get a confirma­tion of this view. Another insect known as lac-insect was also rear­ed. It provided resin used for the various articles of ornaments as well as the dye.

Source # 2. Ownership of Land:

On the basis of the ancient literature and ephigraphic records scholars have drawn opposite conclu­sions regarding the ownership of the land. While one of the verses in the Manusmriti states that the king is the owner of the treasures buried underground, because he is the owner of the land. This suggests that the state owned all land, including the cultivable one.

Similarly, Diodorous has recorded that the land in India is the property of the crown and no private individual is permitted to own it. But certain other scholars, on the testimony of another passage in the Manusmriti have come to the conclusion that private ownership of land existed.

According to this passage a field belonged to him who cleared away the timber and a deer to him who first wounded it with an arrow”. The Nasik caves contained definite record to show that privately owned field was requested for the benefit of ascetics.

We get a definite reference on this point in Purvamimansa which states that a king cannot dispose of the land of private individuals, when he is called upon to gift away all his possessions in charity at the end of certain sacrifices.

Similarly, Narada points out that it would be highly inquisitors if the king proceeded to interfere with the owner­ship and possession of houses and lands, for it would result in utter chaos. Arthasastra also makes a clear distinction between the crown lands and the private lands. One of the Jataka stories records that a king told his mistress that he cannot give her his kingdom because he is not its owner.

The idea of private ownership of land existed as long back as the Rig Vedic period. We get references to show that the arable and homestead land belonged either to an individual or to a family. The pasturage was perhaps common.

In fact we get so diverse re­ferences in ancient literature about the ownership of land that it is difficult to come to any specific conclusion. We get references about individual or family ownership as well as communal and royal ownership of the land. Most probably different systems prevailed in different regions of the country.

The effectiveness of the right of ownership of land depends on the right to gift, sale and mortgage of the land. The ancient legal literature not only contains references about the right of an indivi­dual to alienate the land but there are quite a number of inscriptions which record the gifting of the land by the crown, community and private individuals.

The lands were mostly gifted and we do not get many references about the buying or selling of the land.

How­ever, the Arthasastra has recorded an order of priority in choosing buyers while selling a piece of land. This priority includes kinsmen, neighbours and rich persons. People were free to gift away and mort­gage their lands. We do not get many records of the sale or transfer of land for purposes other than religious purposes. Usually the grants were made to the Brahmans or temples by the ruler or private individuals.

This does not mean that the lands were actually surren­dered to the donee; it simply implied that the taxes payable to the state in cash or kind, were to be paid to the grantee. There are also many instances to show that full ownership rights of the land were transferred to the donee.

Thus Dhruvasena I of Valabhi gave 360 padavartas of land to a temple in his kingdom. This land was not contiguous and was intercepted by land owned by private individuals.

This implies that while certain lands were owned by private indivi­duals or the community, certain other pieces of land were owned by the state. The land owned by the state was described as rajya- vastu, and its ownership acrewed to the state either through failure of heirs or through the non-payment of the land tax.

When the lands were actually transferred to the donee (instead of the revenue) it is not known how they were cultivated. Most probably they were either let out to sub-tenants or cultivated through hired labourers.

Whether these lands were granted on perpetual basis or otherwise, is also not quite clear. Most probably these grants were made on perpetual basis, but the donee had no right of alienation or a per­petual endowment of rent-free land.

According to Dr. A.S. Altekar we “possess conclusive evidence to show that in the post-Buddhist period at any rate the ownership in cultivable lands was vested in private individuals; the state could not interfere with it except for the non-payment of the land-tax. What is claimed from the average cultivator was thus not a land rent but a land tax”.

Another problem connected with the land-ownership in ancient India is whether the people enjoyed occupancy right subject to the pleasure of the king or it existed in the ordinary sense of the term. The scholars have not been able to arrive at any definite conclusion on this point.

One of the passage in the Milindapanha clearly states that all towns, ports, mines etc. which are situated on-the earth are under the ownership of the king. Manu also seems to agree with this view and states that the king is the overlord (adhipati) of the soil.

Though some scholars have contended that this view of Manu conflicts with his precept that the ownership goes to the first cleaner, but Prof. Adiya does not find any conflict between these two views of Manu. He says the ownership of land by private individual has never been an absolute right. The state has always the last say in this matter whatever may have been the position in theory.

Source # 3. Revenue:

The land revenue system prevailing in ancient India corresponded to the type now popularly known as ryotwari. Under this system the peasants cultivated their land individually, making common use of the services of the craftsmen of the village and paying land revenue to the state through the village.

The two prominent revenue officials which have been mentioned were Bhagadhuk (collector of royal share) and Samaharta (bringer of tributes). The former was concerned with the collection of taxes and tributes, which were mostly in kind, and the latter stored them in the royal granary and treasury.

The state claimed a certain portion of the produce of the crops, the amount differing in different periods. The percentage of taxation varied from eight to thirty-three per cent. This variation was not only due to variation in the quality of the land but also due to the rates charged by the rulers at different times according to their varying needs.

The normal practice was, however, to charge one- sixth of the produce as the land tax. However, those states which resorted to the imperialist policy and undertook extensive military expeditions, the rate was higher. For example Arthasastra and the Greek writers have recorded that the Mauryan rulers charged 25 per cent tax on agricultural incomes.

In cannot be said for certain whether the percentage of the land tax charged in different periods was calculated on the basis of the gross or net produce. The Jataka literature points “out that it was charged on the gross produce.

However, it is difficult to believe that the government was not making any allowance for the cost of the agriculture when it was claiming such a high share. The revenue was usually paid in kind. The revenue thus collected by the state was stored in granaries located in different parts of the country, where from it was disposed off.

However, in later period the practice of collecting revenue in cash also started although it was practised on a very limited scale.

The share of state or the land tax was not permanently fixed and the percentage varied according to the exigencies of the state finance. It could be enhanced when the king needed greater funds for the conduct of the war.

Similarly it was reduced when the crops failed or there was some other natural calamity. If the land-owner failed to pay the land tax his land could be disposed off after the lapse of a certain period, which differed from place to place and time to time. The state often charged interest on the revenue in arrears.

It may be noted that though the instances of state confiscation of land, for non­payment of land tax are available in records, the Smritis do not make any mention of the right of state to confiscate the lands of the defaulting owners. It may be further noted that the people paid all these taxes to the ruler in return for the protection which the king accorded them against all possible dangers.

Another noteworthy point with regard to the revenue adminis­tration in ancient India is that at least during the later period a systematic survey of all land was carried before determining the revenue. Both Arthasastra and Strabo confirm this.

The revenue collectors classified the different villages as best (jyestha), medium (madhama) and low (kanistha). This sort of classification of land was practiced is further confirmed by the fact that the same author­ities have mentioned different rates of revenue. Obviously this variation must have been due to the difference in the quality of land.

The rulers received a considerable part of their income from mines, forests etc. There is considerable difference of opinion amongst the authorities of this period regarding the share of the king in the metals.

While Manu says that the king should obtain one half of the metals produce in his realm, Vishnu declared the entire output of mines as the royal due. Arthasastra also says that mines were under the full control of the state.

The forests also yielded considerable re venue to the king. Persons earning a living from forests were required to pay a share to the king. According to Manu and Vishnu the king received one-sixth of the various forest products like honey, wood, medicinal herbs, leaves, grass, flowers and fruits.

In addition to the above taxes, which the king claimed regularly, certain other taxes like kara and pratibhaga were also charged by the king. The precise nature of these taxes is not clear because the different authorities have interpreted them differently.

Kara was probably a periodical tax levied on agricultural land over and above the normal grain share. Pratibhaga was sort of presents consisting of fruits, flowers and roots made to the king daily.

In short we can say that the rulers in ancient India extorted money from people under different pretexts. However, while impos­ing these taxes the ruler was expected to ensure that the subjects were not robbed of their due rewards.

We do not get any comprehensive account of the machinery for the collection of these taxes. At the most we learn that a hier­archical order of revenue officials existed. Groups of villages were administered by different officials, one under the next. These officials were responsible for the revenue administration in the area under their charge and received a fixed pay for this.

According to Prof. G. L Adhya the revenue officials were paid as follows :

Lord of 1 village—the king’s daily dues of food, drink and fuel.

Lord of 10 villages—1 Kula

Lord of 20 villages—5 Kulas

Lord of 100 villages—revenue of 1 village

Lord of 1000 villages—revenue of 1 town.

It is evident from the above account that the officials received salary according to the responsibility. Thus the lord of 20 villages received five times the income of the lord of ten. However, it is not clear as to what meant by kula. Most probably it was an area of land sufficient to maintain a family.

Source # 4. Industry:

The industry in ancient India was merely an exten­sion of the scheme of exploitation of the soil. The chief industries of ancient India were cotton and woolen textile. The other impor­tant industries included clay, metal and wood work. These industries were run by the individual craftsman with the assistance of their family members.

The larger industries also existed and were run mainly with the hired labour. For example during the times of the Mauryas the state owned not only spinning and weaving workshops, but also shops which manufactured weapons and other military equipment’s.

These worships employed large number of craftsmen on regular salaries. Even individual producers undertook production on large scale and their manufactures enjoyed wide market.

In the Jain texts we learn of the story of a potter named Saddalaputta, who owned not only 501 potters workshops but also a fleet of boats with the help of which he distributed his wares throughout the Gangetic valley. Similarly, other references are also available regarding large scale production by the individuals, hut the number of these refer­ences is not very large.

The co-operatives of the workers probably also existed. These co-operatives were based on the principle of division of labour and different members specialised in a particular branch. The individual members of the co-operatives were bound by a contract and any violation of the terms of the contract was punished severally in accordance with the law books

The craftsmen sold their products direct to the purchaser. Usually each trade or craft was concentrated in a particular locality and the stalls for sale of goods were set up in the home itself. Often these craftsmen visited the houses of the purchasers to dispose off their goods. The prices were regulated and controlled by the guilds (sreni), a sort of industrial organisation.

These guilds fixed rules of work and wages as well as the standards and prices for the commodities in which its members dealt. The regulations laid down by the guilds were enforced by the king and the government.

A person who violated the orders of the guild could be expelled from its membership and precluded from prac­tising his ancestral trade. Thus the guilds played an important role in the regulation of the economic life.

Though the guilds flourished during the times of the Buddhist scriptures, we get faint references to their existence even during the Vedic period in the Vedic literature. These guilds mainly existed in important towns of India and embrac­ed almost all trades and industries. It shall be desirable to have an idea about the organisation and functions of the guilds.

Source # 5. The Guilds:

Some sort of corporate or organised bodies of craftsmen and traders have existed in India since earliest times. These bodies were known by various terms like pani, vrata, gana and sresthi. Subsequently they came to be known as Sreni or guild.

Certain scholars have expressed doubts regarding the existence of such organised institutions in the Vedic period on the ground that the economic conditions prevailing at that time were unsuitable for their proper functioning.

During the Vedic period the society was quite primitive and was quite unstable for the working of these associations of traders and craftsmen. It is held that in India the guilds came into existence sometime between the later Vedic period and the fifth century B. C. viz., the period of the Dharmasutras.

By that time the different professions came to be organised and laid their own laws for the protection of their own interests. We get re­ferences about the guilds of agriculturists, traders, rearers of cattle, money-lenders and craftsmen in the early law books. However, it may be noted that there are no conclusive evidences to confirm the existence of the guilds during this period.

The most useful information about the early Guilds is provided by the Jatakas. The various Jataka stories are quite helpful in under­standing the working of the guilds at that time. The Jataka tells us that there were 18 kinds of guilds which shows that the guild system was quite widespread at that time.

However, the Jatakas mention only three specific guilds viz., the wood-workers, the smiths, the leather dressers and painters. The guilds gained popularity with the spread of Buddhism and Jainism.

Both these religious movements were a sort of revolt against the tyranny of the Brahmans and were heterodox religions. The merchants and artisans, whose position was not quite comfortable under the Brahmans, also extended full support to these religions.

At the time of the Arthasastra the guild system was so well entrenched in India that it pleads for certain special privileges for them such as reservation of quarters in the city and special leaves to the members of the guilds.

The influence of the guilds can be measured from the fact that the king also borrowed money from them in time of stringency. Both Manu and Yajnavalkya emphasise that the royal power should honour and preserve the laws of the guilds.

Though the primary function of the guilds was to protect the interests of the members, they also paid sufficient attention to the public good. The guilds fixed rules of work and wages as well as the standards and prices for the commodities in which its members dealt. The regulations laid down by the guilds were enforced by the king and the government.

A member who violated the orders of the guild could be expelled from the membership and precluded from practising his ancestral trade. In short, the guilds played a significant role in the regulation of the economic life.

It may be noted that the guilds mainly existed in important towns of India and embraced almost all trades and industries. Usually each guild had its own seals with particular emblems. Many such seals made of clay have been found in Basarah.

The guilds also acted as bankers and accepted deposits and lent money on interest to the merchants and others. The guilds often acted as the trustees of religious endowments and provided necessary funds for the various religious activities.

The necessary funds for meeting the expenses were raised through donations, subscription of the members, and fines levied on the defaulting members of the guilds. Sometimes rich individuals left huge funds with the guilds for carrying out public utility services on their behalf.

For example one of the inscriptions found in Jannar refers to a devotee investing the income from certain fields with a guild for the planting of karnja and banyan trees, apparently in order to gain merit by help­ing travellers. At Sanchi also the ivory-carvers guild is said to have dedicated one of the piers of Southern Gate.

The guilds found the necessary funds through donations, subscription of the members, and fines levied on the defaulting members of the guilds. The guilds also acted as the guardian of the widows and orphans of the members. It also provided them with financial assistance during sickness etc.

The chief occupations adopted by the people of ancient India included those of potters, carpenters, smiths, smelters, weavers, washermen, barbers, butchers, makers of baskets, ropes, jewelers, merchants, magicians kind so forth. The women generally engaged themselves in occupations like dyeing, embroidery and basket making.

Source # 6. Trade and Commerce:

Trade and commerce also flourished in ancient India. It was considered to be the exclusive prerogative of the Vaisya caste, even though members of the other castes also sometimes took to trade and commerce. The business was carried on both by means of barter or exchange and cash transactions.

In the earlier period the cows were convenient means of exchange and transaction. However, subsequently certain types of coins came into existence. According to scholars like Dr. Bhandarker the coins existed even during the Vedic period, but this view is not acceptable to other scholars because we have not been able to find any conclu­sive proof.

We have not come across any coins of this period. The earliest coins which have fallen in our hands belong to the first cen­tury A. D. These coins are attributed to Vima Kadphises.

Broadly speaking two types of traders existed in ancient India —those who had fixed shops and displayed and sold their goods at those shops, and the traders who moved in the shape of caravans from place to place to sell the goods.

They were popularly known as caravan traders. We cannot say for certain whether markets existed in the Vedic times, but it is certain that the villages and towns were connected by tracks, with wells at intervals.

The important inter­sections of routes in course of time developed as great commercial centres. The Buddhist Jatakas refer to numerous internal roads in northern India. Similar routes existed in the Peninsula during the Mauryan times.

J. Przyluski says, From Mauryan times onwards Patliputra was connected with Gandhara by an imperial highway, drawn on the model of the great roads of Achaemenids. It played a great part in the political and economic life of India.

After the foundation of the Greek kingdom of Bactriana commercial inter­course became very active between the valleys of the Ganges and the Oxus. For caravans loaded with goods of Bactriana and Kashmir, Mathura was the first large city in Madhvadesa as one came out of the Indus valley.

From Pataliputra three great roads radiated to the frontiers of the Empire—the south-western to Barygaza by Kausambi and Ujaayini, the northern to Nepal by Vaisali and Sarawasti, and the north-western, the longest, to Bactriana by Mathura and the upper valley of the Indus.

Kautilya tells us that the construction and maintenance of the roads was one of the primary duties of the king. For the purpose of maintenance the responsibility was entrusted to the provincial governments. From the times of, Mauryas pillars were set along the roads to mark the distances.

Waterways were also used for the purpose of trade. The ancient Indian engineers, though quite competent, could not master the art of bridges over wide rivers. Usually these rivers were crossed with the help of ferries. We have evidence to the effect that during the times of the Mauryas a well regulated ferry service was maintained by the state at important crossings.

The roads, particularly those passing through dense jungles and over hilly areas inhabited by the wild tribes, were unsafe and the merchants were waylaid by the robbers. The wild beasts like tigers, elephants, snakes etc. also posed another danger or risk to the life of the people.

To safeguard against these dangers the merchants usually moved in caravans. We learn of caravans consisting of 500 men moving under professional caravan guards who assured guidance. as well as safe conduct over the route. The danger to the merchant caravans is testified by many stories. The kings of Mauryan dynasty and certain other dynasties took numerous steps to safeguard the roads.

We do not get any evidence of the existence of a highly orga­nized financial machinery in which cheques, drafts and letters of credit existed. However, there is plenty of evidence that usury (the practice of lending money at exhorbitant rates was widespread and money lending was in vogue.

The Brahmans were however prohibited from indulging in moneylending. The Rig-Veda makes a reference to indebtedness, while Dharma Sutras lay dawn rates of interests and other regulations concerning debts and mortgages.

The just rate of interest was fifteen per cent per annum. The later commentators have however, expressed the opinion that the rates were actually much higher. Manu tells us that there was a sliding scale of interest for the unsecured loans for the debtors of different classes. While the Brahmans paid 24 per cent, Kshatriyas 36 per cent, Vaisyas 48 per cent, the Sudras had to pay 60 per cent per year.

Arthasastra makes mention of three types of rates of interest for short-term loans for commercial ventures. The normal commercial rate was 5 per cent per month. The rate for the merchants travelling through forests was 10 per cent per month and the rate for the sea-faring merchants was 20 per cent per month.

These enormous rates of interests given in the Arthasastra shows that though the commerce in ancient India was quite risky it yielded huge profit.

Source # 7. Taxation:

Like agriculture, trade and industry had also to bear its own burden of taxation. The most common tax levied on them was the octroi duties which were levied on almost all the arti­cles imported in the town or village.

The state charged this duty on the ground that it had to spend huge amounts on the up-keep and protection of the roads, which were used by the merchants to carry their goods. The octroi duties were usually collected at the gate of the town or the village by an officer known as Saulkika.

The pay­ment was made either in cash or kind, but the common practice was to charge them in kind. The octroi on different items varied. In different provinces and under different governments also their rates differed.

Arthasastra suggests that essential goods like grain, oil, sugar, pots should be taxed at one-twentieth of their value; while other goods be taxed between one-fifteenth and one-fifth, Similarly it has been suggested by Kautilya that the commodities intended for religious ceremonies and Sanskaras, as well as presents for the bride, should be exempted from octroi duties.

The custom duties were also imposed on various commodities, as in our times. No uniform rates were in existence and they differed according to the needs and policies of the different governments. Usually the goods meant for religious purposes were not subjected to any custom duty. People had also to pay ferry tax for goods, cattle, carts etc. This tax was however very nominal.

In addition to the above duties and taxes, the traders and businessmen have to pay certain other taxes. They paid fee for the testing and stamping of the weights and measures. In certain areas a shop tax was also charged, and we get frequent references about this tax in the Smritis as well as different inscriptions.

For exam­ple, the Yadavas of the Deccan charged sixed panams per annum as the shop tax. It cannot be said for certain whether sales tax was also in existence. Though Magasthenese has recorded that a ten per cent sales tax was charged, this is not confirmed by the Indian’ sources including the Arthasastra or the Smritis. According to Prof. Altekar most probably Magasthenese confused the customs dues with the sales tax.

People engaged in industry were also subjected to number of taxes. The petty artisans like smiths and carpenters had to devote one or two days work per month to the king. However, the central government could authorize the local bodies to utilise this labour for the completion of their local schemes.

Probably artisans like barbers, washermen, goldsmiths, potters etc. had to pay some nominal tax, although we do not have any confirmed basis to say so.

Trade in wine was under strict state control. Wine was manu­factured either in state distilleries or in privately owned distilleries. The latter had to pay an excise duty of 5 per cent. Excise duty was also charged on salt and other metals.

Source # 8. Other Sources of State Income:

In addition to the revenues raised through taxes, the state possessed certain other sources of income. These include the income from state properties, the profits of state industries, proceeds of fines and tributes from feudatories. It shall be desirable to make a detailed study of these sources.

The state property consisted of crown lands, waste lands, forests, mines, natural tanks and reservoirs etc. The state acquired useable income. In addition to the private owned land, a large tracts of land was owned by the state which was either given out to private tenants on rent or cultivated through hired labourers.

This yield­ed considerable income to the state. The waste-land, which belonged to the state, was usually entrusted to the care of the local bodies. These bodies in turn would hand over these lands to enterprising persons for cultivation by promising them land tax exemption for the initial period of four or five years.

The ownership of the mines and its products has vested in the state since earliest times. Most of the mines were worked by the state but sometimes these were leased out to private individuals. While the state owned the entire yield in the former category of the mines, even in the latter case it received a substantial share.

The right over the treasure troves also rested with the state, and it claim­ed a major part from the finder. The state charged certain licence fee for gambling and prostitu­tion. But the tributes from feudatories were the most important source of income, However, this source was quite uncertain and irregular.

A feudatory king paid tribute only as long as he was weak and the imperial army was strong enough to extract it. The fines imposed on criminals by the courts also went to the state treasury. The heirless and ownerless property also lapsed to the state.

Source # 9. Forced Labour:

In addition to taxes the state in ancient India extracted forced labour. The state held that the poor people, who could not afford to pay taxes in cash or kind, should also make some contribution to the state in return for the protection accorded to them.

The most convenient way to make the contribution was through free service to the state. Usually such people were required to work for the state free for one or two days in a month. While they work­ed for the state they were fed by the state.

Mostly this free labour was not utilised by the central government and it authorised the local bodies to utilise the services of these people for carrying out local works of public utility.

According to Prof. A. S. Altekar, “The right to free labour therefore eventually benefited the village commu­nities themselves, as it enabled them to get the help and cooperation of a number of labourers, carpenters and smiths in building and repairing roads, rest-houses and tanks.”

Source # 10. Foreign Trade:

India had trade relations with a number of foreign countries in ancient India. In the Vedic hymns there is a clear indication that India carried on trade with Babylon and count­ries of the West Asia. This is inferred from the legend of flood in the Satapatha Brahman.

By the Buddhist times the sailors had made contact with Burma, Malaya and the island of Indonesia. It was only in the first century A.L. that India established maritime trade with Roman empire.

India mainly exported items of luxuries to West, which were in great demand. However, with the fall of the Roman Empire India’s trade with the West declined. But some sort of trade continued with the Arabs. A contract between South India and China was also established through sea and India’s trade with China increased tremendously.

The Indian spices, jewels, perfumes and other luxury items continued to be exported to China. The trade with Central Asia was carried on through mountain track which ran from Kabul to the upper valley of Oxus, east of Bactria (Balkh).

Certain scholars have tried to suggest that the Indian maritime activities had made tremendous progress, and India possessed ships which could take 1000 passengers. This according to Prof. Basham seems to be an exaggeration.

Pliny, the Greek historian of the first century A.D. who has given us valuable information about the maritime trade of the Indians says that the largest ship known to India measured 3,000 emphorae, or only seventy-five tons. Fa-Hien, the Chinese traveller who travelled from Ceylon to Java in a ship, tells us that the Indian ships could carry 203 persons.

The ships in ancient India mainly followed the coastline and most of the ports of ancient India were located on the western coast. Some of the prominent ports included Bhargukaccha, Supara (near Bombay) and Patala, on the Indus delta.

In the East the Campa was the main port. It was located in the Ganga Basin. However by the times of Mauryas Campa lost its importance and Tamralipti developed as the main sea port of the Ganga basin in the east. Ships sailed from Tamralipti not only to Ceylon but also to South-East Asia.

The Tamilian kings also did much to encourage sea trade. They constructed a number of harbours, light-houses and wharves, where the ships of the Yavanas discharged their merchandise.

The main items exported by India to the foreign countries included spices, perfumes, jewels, fine textiles, sugar, rice, ghee and ivory goods. The Indian iron, lac and indigo were also in great demand. Live animals and birds like elephants, lions, tigers, buffa­loes, monkeys, parrots, peacocks etc. were exported to Rome.

While animals like elephants, lions, tigers, and buffaloes were meant for would beast shows of the Roman emperors, the other animals and birds were brought up as pets. In return for these exports India got plenty of gold.

Pliny, the Greek historian has said that the annual drain to the East was 103 million sesterces. This drain ultimately led tire Roman Empire into financial difficulties. In addition to gold a large number of gold coins were also exported to India.

A large quantity of Roman coins have been found in many parts of the Peninsula and Ceylon, which gives the impression that they were being used as regular currency. In addition India also imported pottery and glassware from West.

Certain remains of the same have been found at the tradition of Arikamedu near Pondicherry. The western wine, tin, lead, coral and slave girls were also in demand. Indians also imported silks from China.

Thus, we find that the maritime trade continued to flourish during the ancient times. However, subsequently this trade was monopolized by the merchants because it came to be believed that travel to foreign lands led to impurity, which could not be expun­ged.

Consequently the members of the upper classes avoided foreign travels. In subsequent centuries the Arabs and the Chinese also made considerable progress in the art of ship construction and gave a rude set-back to India’s foreign trade.

8 Key Success Strategies for e-Commerce Businesses

8 Key Success Strategies for e-Commerce Businesses

With more and more consumers shopping online each year, there’s plenty of space for e-commerce businesses of all sizes.

However, it’s more important than ever for e-commerce businesses to know their brand, promote themselves fiercely, outdo their competitors and keep their customers satisfied.
These strategies will help you on your way to e-commerce success.

Know your target audience
The key to running a successful e-commerce business is to know your target audience well – including what they like, how much money they earn (and have to spend), where they hang out online, as well as what they value in terms of delivery, customer service and add-ons.

Also, your venture shouldn’t be too broad. Specialise – focus on satisfying the wants and needs of a niche market – rather than trying to do the impossible and appeal to everyone.

Promote your brand
You don’t need to revolutionise online marketing to have a successful e-commerce business, but you do need to promote your brand effectively to ensure you have customers.

Find out where members of your target audience are spending their time online – whether on social media sites or news sites – and ensure that you promote your business there.

Get to know your competition
Knowing your competition is as important as knowing your customers. Find out what makes your competitors successful and where they are lacking. You can do this by regularly visiting their website and social media pages, using their services and talking to their customers.

Use this knowledge to improve your business model and avoid repeating their mistakes.

Provide the best shopping experience possible
With so many similar e-retailers out there, you need to provide a good experience to keep customers coming back. Make sure that your website is user-friendly and runs smoothly; provide a search function to make browsing your merchandise quick and easy; and provide online customer support.

You can go the extra mile and personalise the experience by generating recommendations for customers based on their previous purchases and what others are buying.

Be adaptable
In this day and age it is important to respond to customer wants and needs and be willing to change your business model if it doesn’t work.

This could mean changing your content, ditching or adding certain products, going mobile, embracing new forms of social media or trying new styles of marketing.

Use customer feedback to improve your business
Don’t be afraid to ask customers for feedback – after-all, their opinions matter most! Ask them what they like/dislike about your website, products and customer service, and what you could do to improve their online shopping experience.

You can this by adding a feedback box to your site, posting surveys on social media and sending follow-up emails once customers have received their products.

Use an experienced logistics partner
There’s no point in marketing your products effectively and offering consumers what they want at a competitive price if you can’t follow through with timely, reliable deliveries. The challenge lies in finding an affordable but reliable third-party logistics partner.

Find affordable, convenient e-commerce storage

eCommerce Marketing Tactics Working Today

eCommerce Marketing Tactics Working Today

The primary goal of all online retail stores is to increase traffic and boost sales. The eCommerce marketing tactics that merchants opt to leverage are the most influential element involved in achieving that aim. However, the question here is: Which are the best eCommerce marketing strategies for cultivating more clicks and conversions. The fact is that there is a panoply of marketing schemes that sellers can deploy to help scale an eCommerce business. Depending on the brand, its existing efforts, the audience it serves and a variety of other variables, some eCommerce tactics are bound to be more fruitful than others. Adding to the equation, merchants must consider the ever-expanding vista of competitors entering the eCommerce arena. Given this dynamic, it is critical to identify the best eCommerce marketing strategies that will help retailers to overcome retail rivals and obtain a larger, more devoted user base. To help cut through the digital cacophony, today, we will explore the top eight eCommerce marketing tactics for besting competitors, earning traffic and boosting sales. Without further ado, check out these powerhouse eCommerce tactics. eCommerce Marketing Tactic #1: Content Marketing High-quality content is often the elixir that can turn a stagnant eCommerce site into a highly profitable business. By broad definition, content is essentially any type of information. This can be anything from your product description to the video you shared on Facebook. Ultimately, content is a product itself. However, instead of money, your content aims to capture attention. Yet, that isn’t to say that sellers can’t drive revenue using content; that just isn’t its primary purpose, in most situations.

Your content strategy is what you plan to do with that attention when you capture it. What types of content will you be creating? Will you be sending the traffic to a product page? Is your conversion goal of that piece of content to get an email address? Your content marketing strategy is how you plan to distribute your content. Content marketing is seen as an inbound strategy that aims to bring in interested traffic. Content marketing has several major advantages as an eCommerce strategy: Provides value to customers and builds your brand. Educates customers on your product and brand. Creates a reciprocal relationship with your customers. Attracts inbound and interested traffic for free. Can be shared. Helps your site’s SEO. Can be highly targeted.

Creating Your Killer Content Marketing Strategy Content marketing and content creation are a deeply intertwined process. Content marketing is both a means of distributing your content, as well as a way of figuring out what type of content to create based on feedback.

Step 1: What Type of Content Do You Want to Create? Eliminate the guesswork of what type of content you want to create and find out what your target audience and customers want to read. This can be done by browsing sites such as Quora and Reddit to find which questions are being asked. Once you can identify certain pain points, you can provide customers with solutions. You should also incorporate your keyword research into your content strategy, but we’ll get into more of that in the next section.

Step 2: What is the Goal of Your Content? If you are in eCommerce, chances are you want to make money. So, how do we get traffic from your content to turn into money? There are various strategies you can use here, but I’ll highlight the major ones.

Step 3: How Will You Distribute Your Content? Having amazing content on your site is essentially worthless if there is no one looking at it. There is far too much noise on the internet to expect serendipitous traffic, so you need to put the control in your hands. On what channels will you share your content? You could and should incorporate it into your social media posts for variety, send out new pieces of content to your email list, or use a link building strategy to get more traffic on your posts.

eCommerce Marketing Tactic #2: Search Engine Optimization The average eCommerce merchant likely has a theoretical understanding of search engine optimization (SEO), but this strategy is still extremely underutilized or misunderstood. While this strategy requires a lot of front-loaded effort, if done successfully it will effectively bring consistent and free traffic to your site. The top-notch content you’re going to be creating from the first tactic will play a huge role in how your SEO functions.

5 Ecommerce Marketing Strategies That Work

5 Ecommerce Marketing Strategies That Work

1. Search engine optimization (SEO)
When you operate an online store, it’s important for customers to be able to find your site. Are you struggling to rank in search engine results? Search engine optimization (SEO) can help drive traffic to your ecommerce website.

By identifying and targeting keywords and phrases that shoppers use to find your products, you can increase the flow of qualified traffic to your site. Ecommerce SEO makes it easier for potential customers to find and browse your site at any time. And optimizing your website will improve user experience and bring in more targeted traffic.

SEO is especially important for ecommerce stores because customers are typically ready to buy when searching for a particular product. Without this ecommerce marketing strategy, they might not even know your store exists. Increasing the visibility of your website with ecommerce SEO boosts incoming leads and maximizes your profits.

2. Pay-per-click ads (PPC)
You might be wondering why your ecommerce website needs pay-per-click advertising (PPC) if you rank for keywords organically. PPC advertising is extremely helpful for generating traffic to your ecommerce website while you establish organic rankings.

Unless you’re an incredibly niche industry with huge amounts of traffic and almost zero competition, you’ll probably want to rely on PPC ads to drive traffic — at least at the start of marketing your ecommerce website.

With Google Ads, you can set your ads to display when people search for certain keywords. If people don’t click on your ads, you won’t pay a cent. The results can be instant, and PPC ads often pay for themselves if you target the right keywords.

3. Social media
Considering the fact that 71% of adults online use social media, chances are pretty high that you’ll be able to reach your target market with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or other social media sites.

Social media is a great opportunity to get the word out about your ecommerce products, events, and promotions, which is why it’s one of the most recommended ecommerce website marketing strategies.

You can also use social media to encourage customer feedback and build a fan base. If customers like your products, they are more likely to share your content on social media. This helps position your ecommerce website as a valuable source, and great reviews build trust among potential customers.

4. Content marketing
Creating and sharing valuable content online is essential for ecommerce companies. Search engines love quality content, and distributing it online can help boost your rankings.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of content when it comes to this ecommerce marketing strategy.

Blogs are great, but they may not achieve the results you want on their own. Consider supplementing your blog content with engaging infographics or downloadable guides.

If site visitors find your content useful, you increase your chances of gaining loyal customers. Plus, you’ll gain some cred as an authoritative source in your industry. It’s a win-win situation!

5. Email marketing
If you have a solid content marketing strategy, email is a great way to share your latest updates and posts, as well as support other strategies in your ecommerce marketing plan.

You can also advertise new products, offer coupons, and hold contests.

Add a signup form on your ecommerce website, and encourage visitors to add their email addresses to receive updates.

You may also consider adding an option for people to subscribe to your email when they checkout.

Email marketing is an effective ecommerce marketing strategy for driving traffic, clicks, and purchases – all important metrics for any ecommerce business.

Why bother with ecommerce website marketing?
Ecommerce website marketing is essential for online businesses. And effective marketing helps distinguish your brand from other sites.

Without Internet marketing, competitors will likely rank higher than you in search engine results—even if your site is eye-catching and user-friendly. To outperform other retailers online, your ecommerce company needs to use search engine optimization (SEO) and implement a comprehensive Internet marketing plan.

When you have an online store, it’s important to drive traffic to your website. Creating and implementing an ecommerce site marketing plan for your ecommerce company can help increase the number of online leads and boost conversions.

Ecommerce marketing makes it easy for potential customers to find your website. Many online sales take place because customers are looking for a specific product or service.

By optimizing your website, your company is more likely to show up in search engine results for keywords related to your offerings. As an ecommerce store, you probably sell lots of products and have a lot of keyword variations to target.

But without SEO and a strategic marketing plan, your competitors will rank higher in search results. Even if your website is beautifully designed, you need a solid SEO strategy to drive qualified traffic to your site and increase your online revenue.

Ecommerce Marketing Strategies Your Business Should Be Using

Ecommerce Marketing Strategies Your Business Should Be Using

Let’s say you’re in the market for a rose gold watch for a woman, be it yourself or someone else. When you search for this on Google, you’ll see everything from rose-tinted stainless steel for $25 to complete rose gold watches studded with chocolate diamonds and a mother of pearl face that costs several thousand.

And you’ll find hundreds of thousands of results—if not more—in between.

There is a ton of competition online for ecommerce businesses, so knowing how to set yourself apart and get your name out there is essential. Your ecommerce marketing strategies should focus on capturing people looking for products and actively using several outbound strategies to get people to want to find you.

There’s a large number of different ecommerce marketing strategies out there, and in this post, we’re going to take a look at 14 of the most essential strategies you can use to set yourself apart and get more sales.

Note, this blog post was updated on May 16, 2019.

Low-Cost Ecommerce Marketing Strategies
Virtually all ecommerce businesses can and should use these low-cost marketing strategies. I consider these tactics to be the building blocks of an ecommerce marketing strategy, because even one single action (like updating keywords or just one blog post) can yield return for years to come.

1. Optimize Your Site for Search
Search engine optimization (SEO) is still an essential part of marketing and you want to make sure that both your site and all of your individual product pages are fully optimized for the exact keywords your audience is searching for.

Keyword research can help with that. You can check out our full guide on how to conduct thorough keyword research here.

Watch out for dialect differences, too. Are they searching for “timepiece” instead of “watch?” Make sure you’re optimizing for those keywords correctly, even if the general population is searching for them less overall.

2. Include Reviews on Product Pages
I can’t overstate the importance of reviews. 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust their friends. That means we either really trust reviews or we all have really bad friends…I’m going to assume it’s the former.

3. Use Content Marketing
For many ecommerce businesses, content marketing means blogging, but also can include using lead magnets like ebooks to bring customers to your site and encourage them to purchase or sign-up for your email list.

Content marketing is free if you do it yourself, though you can also hire content marketers to develop your strategy for you or to write the posts entirely.

4. Guest Post
You can extend your reach to other blogs and publications, putting your content in front of a new audience and getting a few key links back to your site.

Only submit posts to high quality, high authority publications that you want your business to be associated with and preferably only those with engaged readerships.

5. Market on Social Media
Social media marketing is entirely free (unless you outsource it) and it’s an excellent way to build and nurture relationships with customers. It can also help you connect with new users thanks to sharing, Facebook recommendations and algorithms that share what your friends are up to.

When it comes to social media marketing for ecommerce, make sure that you’re focusing on customer relationships more than just endlessly and exclusively promoting your own products. You also want to answer questions fast to avoid abandoned carts.

6. Put Influencers to Work for You
Depending what influencers you go with, this one might not be so low cost, but for a lot of relatively small or medium-sized ecommerce businesses, influencer marketing doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

7. Start Email Marketing
Email marketing is a cornerstone part of ecommerce marketing and if you don’t think it can be effective, you’re wrong. With great visuals and great copywriting, you can deliver targeted suggestions, product announcements and discount offers to an audience who is already interested in your product.

8. Create a Shoppable Instagram
Instagram is a highly visual platform, with all the emphasis being on images and videos. It’s also a platform where users are thrilled to engage with brands, so it’s the ideal solution for ecommerce businesses selling products.

You can get the most out of the platform by making your Instagram shoppable.

Shopify stores and certain select brands can create actual Shoppable posts, where you tag products in your pictures. When users click on them, they see basic information like price and they can click again to purchase.

9. Google AdWords
With Google AdWords, you target specific keywords, effectively bidding to show up in relevant searches. Ads are displayed above search results, giving you an edge.

AdWords can help you connect with users who are actively searching for certain products or services, meaning they’re further along in the research or buying cycle, making AdWords a valuable system to invest in.

There’s a lot of strategy that comes into play when it comes to Google AdWords, so consulting an expert agency (like us!) can help make sure your money is well allocated to yield high returns.

10. Facebook & Instagram Ads
Facebook and Instagram Ads operate under the same interface, so we’re lumping them in together here.

These ads work differently than AdWords. Instead of targeting users by search intent and showing them ads when they’re looking for you, you target users based on different qualities like age, interest, and location to introduce them to your product. It’s inbound marketing at it’s finest, and it’s a great way to create demand and introduce users to your products.

Ready to get started with Facebook Ads? Check out our 101 guide here.

11. Promoted Pins
Promoted Pins is Pinterest’s PPC system and works a little like a combination of Facebook Ads and Google AdWords.

Promoted Pins work in several different ways, giving you the option to just have your ads pop up in relevant users feeds and/or to have them appear in relevant searches. It’s the best of both worlds, and since a large percentage of pinners use the platform to make buying decisions, it’s a great investment for ecommerce businesses.

12. Retargeting
Retargeting is the practice of sending targeted ads to specific users who have already interacted with your brand. This could include targeting users who:

Have recently visited certain pages on your website
Have purchased from you in the past
Are email subscribers
Were customers in the past, but are no longer engaged
Facebook is the king of retargeting, but Google AdSense also has strong retargeting capabilities.

13. Develop an App with Push Notifications
Having apps just for your business that customers download is a fantastic way to make sure that you’re staying at the forefront of their minds. Just think about how often users are on their phones, looking for something to do.

14. Target Virtual Reality Technologies
There are a lot of different ways to get involved with Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), though it’s worth nothing that the latter in particular may only put you in front of very specific types of audiences. These audiences will be tech-savvy and likely relatively high income.

Augmented Reality is a type of VR and is often the best option for ecommerce businesses. Examples could include:

Want to Learn About eCommerce?

Want to Learn About eCommerce?

So you want to learn about the most exciting industry, eCommerce?

You’re in luck because that’s exactly why I decided to launch the eCommerce Training Academy. Our courses are still in the works but for now, I’ve gathered a list of ways you can get started.

Those are the same ways I learned about eCommerce myself in addition to working in the industry for over 18 years as a Director of eCommerce & Digital Marketing.

Here are 8 ways you can learn about eCommerce:

1. Learn by Reading eCommerce Blogs
One of the quickest ways to learn about eCommerce is to read blog posts. I’ve included my favorite blogs since I’m always learning new things from them.

Shopify Blog
A Better Lemonade Stand Blog
Practical eCommerce Blog
eCommerce Training Academy Blog
2. Learn by Taking Online Courses
I don’t have any specific courses to recommend as I haven’t found one that’s really good. That’s one reason why I decided to launch this academy.

Here’s a list of the most popular websites that sell courses:
eCommerce Training Academy
3. Learn by Listening to eCommerce Podcasts
I love podcasts. You can listen to them while driving or working out. While there are many podcasts out there, I recommend you start listening to these 2:

eCommerce Fuel Podcast
Build My Store Podcast
Shopify Podcasts
4. Learn by Reading eCommerce Books & eGuides
I usually don’t recommend eCommerce books since they become out dated very fast. Here’s a list of those I bought myself and found them to be very valuable.

Ecom Hell
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
Kick Ass Social Commerce
The E-Myth Revisited
Delivering Happiness
Instead of reading books, consider these popular eGuides are amazing! Download them for free.

How to Find A Product To Sell Online: The Definitive Guide
eCommerce Branding Guide
The Ultimate Guide to Business Plans
50 Ways to Make Your First Sale
A Legal Guide to eCommerce
The Ultimate Guide to Dropshipping
Shipping and Fulfillment 101
eCommerce Analytics for Absolute Beginners
5. Learn by Attending eCommerce Webinars
There isn’t a specific webinar I recommend but there many software providers & agencies that host webinars.

For now you can try Practical eCommerce Webinars.

6. Learn by Attending eCommerce Events
Local Events – Find them on or Facebook Groups
eCommerce Conferences
7. Learn by Networking with eCommerce People
One thing I enjoy most about eCommerce is the networking. It’s fun and exciting to meet new people. Whether you’re looking for online store owners or eCommerce professionals, networking makes it possible.

My top 3 favorite ways to network are: Facebook Groups, Meetups and online communities.

Consider joining these eCommerce Facebook Groups:

eCommerce Training Academy Group
Build a Store 21 Days Group
Double My Ecommerce Sales in 12 Months
The eCommerce Group
Shopify Strategy
Shopify Entrepreneurs
Join Meetups like MTL+eCommerce

Join communities like eCommerce Fuel, Shopify Forums,

8. Learn by Opening Your Own Store
I left this one for last. Back in the day, opening an online store was hard. Now, with all the new technology out there, it’s much easier now to launch an eCommerce business. This doesn’t mean you will succeed but it’s one of the best ways to learn how to sell products online.

I recommend you open a store on Shopify (affiliate link). It’s affordable, easy to setup, great support and offers a fantastic array of apps as well as a very active online community.

Everything You Need to Know About Ecommerce: E-commerce Marketing

Everything You Need to Know About Ecommerce: E-commerce Marketing

Ecommerce marketing is the act of driving awareness and action toward a business that sells its product or service electronically.

E-commerce is also known as electronic commerce or internet commerce. … Transaction of money, funds, and data are also considered as E-commerce. These business transactions can be done in four ways: Business to Business (B2B), Business to Customer (B2C), Customer to Customer (C2C), Customer to Business (C2B).

Ecommerce marketing is the process of making sales by building and raising consciousness about an online store’s product offerings and brand. The same tactics of traditional marketing can be applied to ecommerce marketing in a digital realm, as it allows businesses to reap the benefits from those who are in the mindset to buy.

Ecommerce Advertising
In similar fashion to the way advertising falls beneath the umbrella of marketing, ecommerce advertising falls beneath ecommerce marketing — and when used in tandem, you have the ability to more effectively reach your audience members to boost conversions and improve brand awareness.


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