Important features to look for a shopping cart

Article by Total Merchants.

Here are some important features that should be a part of any shopping cart services you select for your e-commerce operation:

Payment options

Consumers are no longer hesitant to use their credit cards online, and every shopping cart system supports cards. However, what you need to look for a is a system that supports other online payment methods. PayPal and Google Checkout are just two examples of services that consumers like to use as a security precaution against credit card fraud. Some providers can give you a merchant account in as little as 24 hours.

Search

When you use a shopping cart system, the user moves off-site and is within the store. Any search operations are now part of the store and not the main website. The quality of the search engine is important since there should be as little friction as possible for customers to find what they want.

Reviews

Studies show that sites with user-generated reviews generate more sales than sites do not. The increase in sales does come at a price. When users can enter their reviews, the system is then open to abuse. Preventing comment spam and abuse requires comment and review moderation teams. If you have the time and resources, then user moderation is a killer feature.

Real-time inventory

The worst thing that can happen from the perspective of a customer is to find a product, go through the long process of placing the order, only to be told that the product is no longer available. The chances are that customer will never return and encourage people to avoid the site for that same reason. Real-time inventory management is critical, especially for larger stores.

 

The difference between a microsite and a website

You hear the term microsite a lot, but what is the real difference? A website is your regular website that contains all the information you want to present to your visitors. A microsite is a site that you create for a specific purpose, be it marketing or for focus. You will probably host them in the same place, your Los Angeles data center. Here are some of the main criteria when defining a microsite:

A microsite is usually a temporary construct that only exists for the period of its purpose. If there is a marketing campaign that is focusing on a niche or product, it is often a good idea to create an accompanying microsite for the duration of the campaign. Please remember that a microsite is not a landing page and has more information.

The microsite also does not need to be small. The micro component of the name is more about its purpose than its size. It is as big as it needs to be. It might be a

subdomain or a subfolder of the main site but has to function as a standalone site and should only have a cursory reference to the main site.

You will also find that microsites have its own social media profiles, email address, and forms. According to Rack Alley, even video and text content will exist purely for the microsite, for the duration of the campaign, or as a permanent resource for the niche.

Ergonomic Furniture Can Improve Operator Efficiency

Summary: Ergonomic furniture can help operators work at a more efficient rate.

Running a command center comes with its caveats. For one, you’ll have to ensure that your operators are engaged at all times – not to mention ready to handle any emergency situations. One approach you can take to help improve efficiency in your EOC building is to invest in ergonomic furniture.

Helping Posture and Increased Comfort

Ergonomic chairs are designed for those that require a more comfortable chair and can help keep their spine aligned and postured. Simple furniture pieces like these can have a direct impact on performance. For instance, if an operator is suffering from chronic back pain due to those cheap office chairs, swapping out to an ergonomic alternative can help mitigate this pain, and in turn, improve the worker’s efficiency.

Boosting Morale

A psychological factor that can impact efficiency is making your employees feel special and welcome. If they are treated fairly and given even an ergonomic piece of furniture, it can improve their productivity and they may also feel like their owner cares for them. Studies have shown that happier employees are more efficient when working on the job.

While it’s great to provide your employees with a gift or two every once in a while, be sure to consider the limitations as well. The purchase isn’t going to turn your command center into an industry-leading command center, but the gesture definitely helps. Listening and changing the environment around your employees can improve productivity and may even reduce the feeling of sluggishness and resentment.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Portable Power Supply

Generally speaking, it’s not difficult to sell most people on the benefits of a portable power supply. The versatility and convenience of various types of power supplies and generators speak for themselves. Before springing for just any old model, you need to ask yourself a few questions. Be sure to mull the following when making any auxiliary power unit purchase.

Source of Power

Firstly, you should think about where your power supply’s juice will ultimately come from. Some portable generators use gasoline while others rely on diesel fuel. Quite a few models are diesel-electric hybrids. Some units are merely compact arrays of lithium batteries that store energy generated elsewhere. A few even create their own electricity using photovoltaic panels.

Type of Current

Without a doubt one of the most important decisions you can make in regards to a portable power unit is whether it’ll deliver AC power, DC power or both. Most portable power pack models are DC-only. Larger generator-style power supplies tend to give users the option of outputting either AC or DC power on demand.

Voltage & Power Output

A power supply is only as good as its ability to meet the demands of any given job. Popular models range from 12 volt jump-starters all the way up to 28 volt power supplies that can deliver up to 2,000 peak amps. Ensure that your chosen power supply can deliver the wattage you need at the right voltages.

Intended Usage & Compatibility

In the portable power supply arena, compatibility with a variety of gear is a critical concern. Most generators and power supplies boast standard sockets that will be compatible with most tools and appliances. If you need a power supply for a specialized purpose such as jump-starting aircraft, you’ll need to pay close attention to connector compatibility.

Size and Mobility

Nowadays, external power supplies come in all shapes and sizes. Where you plan on taking a power supply will inform your decision to a great extent. Clearly, smaller power packs can be taken pretty much anywhere. Larger, high-output models must be equipped with wheels and handles to provide an acceptable level of mobility.

Something for Everybody

If you’re looking for a portable power supply, your decision won’t hinge on a single factor. You’ll need to take all of the aforementioned considerations into account when weighing the pros and cons of any given option. Fortunately, the perfect power supply unit for your purposes is out there if you do your research.

How Emergency Management Activities Are Structured

Summary: EOCs are designed to facilitate ongoing high-risk events and manage them quickly and effectively.

 

EOCs exist in a variety of forms – similar to that of a NOC design. There is no single organizational structure that can define an Emergency Operation Center. Each jurisdiction requires a variation of an EOC that fits the need. The key is to maximize the staff’s efforts in decision making at the lowest practical level.

 

An EOC needs to be organized with the intent of facilitating a smooth operation with documenting, collecting data, and making executive decisions to ensure public confidence. This is done through efficiency, organization, and flexibility.

 

Management Activities Structure

 

The organizational structure of EOCs vary based on design and community need. For instance, one of the more utilized management activities structure comes in the form of an emergency management operations group, which houses representatives from any agency that handles a specific incident for a tactical assignment such as fire, law enforcement, public works, medical services, and more. The advantage to using this model is that the organizational structure is relatively simple – straight lines of communication.

 

The Pros of an Emergency Management Activities Structure

Additionally, using this model, key problem solvers and representatives from participating agencies can contribute to making key decisions and allocating resources to wherever necessary. Most custom manufacturers designer will look to address what specific type of station the EOC will be before starting work on it. By doing so, the appropriate space for foot traffic and equipment can be considered when creating the entire center. This is an important task that must be considered

Top 5 Tips for NOC/SOC Collaboration

Summary: NOC and SOC teams must work in tandem to mitigate and eliminate any potential security threats.

This guide is designed to showcase how NOCs and SOCs can collaborate to improve a company’s overall efficiency.

  1. Aligning Your IT With Your Business Goals

One of the most important tasks for a company is obtaining a consolidated view of the entire IT operations data so that it aligns with one’s business goals. Now, there there are numerous executive dashboards each of them in the current market but staying true to your business goals will allow you to thrive.

  1. Security Lies in Visibility

If your IT team is unable to identify the problem, how are they going to secure it? Look for a single vendor that can provide integrated tools to solve your IT issues. It starts with a centralized approach to managing all of the important data.

  1. Log Management

With the emergence of new data management, you’ll need to analyze every single event or piece of data that comes your way to maximize security. By using comprehensive log management solutions to manage your system, you’ll enhance the overall level of efficiency.

  1. Utilize Event Correlation Tools

You’ll want to connect users with their roles, responsibilities, and access controls to maintain a balanced, well-rounded IT environment. Without any direction or organization, your IT team is less likely to secure your network.

  1. Network Tools

Every IT operation requires network monitoring tools to prevent and minimize any damage done by intruders. Utilizing certain intrusion prevention systems that integrate these tools with log management is one positive step towards efficient network security management. Be sure that the tools you’re using are capable of handling every aspect of securing your network.

 

How the Deployment of Video Walls in Command Centers are Increasing Productivity

Summary: Today’s command centers are utilizing video wall displays to spur competition and increase productivity.

Various organizations are finding value in deploying flexible video walls within command centers that deliver a numerous benefits. Now, by delivering a little something called real-time information across a variety of facilities, organizations are spurring competition and providing an adequate digital solution to today’s risk management industry. This information is not only driving internal competition but it’s also increasing productivity and functionality, which proves to pay huge dividends in the long run – including significant returns on investment.

Contradicting Thoughts

Video walls tend to be immediately compared to an expensive set of high-end displays that are pinned to the wall only to display information that’s dependent on the command center’s needs. However, organizations of all sizes are find out that the increased quality and technology of these screens and supporting peripherals are making video walls a must-have in today’s command center design.

In the past it would be unthinkable to allocate a large amount of capital to spend on resources to digitally display information that could easily be replicated on a chalk or dry-erase board. However, with the rapid jump in technology, organizations knew that video walls both catch the eye and automatically pull information from designated systems at a price point that people certainly couldn’t pass up on. This is where the quaint command center became a haven for advanced technological equipment – which include the high-tech video walls you are all familiar with today.

Video Walls are “Displaying” Promise

Now, video walls don’t need to be the largest in size or the latest model. Rather, a small installation can even deliver an impactful expression of what the organization is trying to portray. The future of video walls is here and is showing an immense amount of promise for all types of organizations.

 

How NOCs Can Improve Productivity Efficiency

Summary: In order to improve your company’s effectiveness and overall security, a NOC can be your solution.

The Network Operations Center (NOC) is more than just a central command center. It not only provides the customer that peace of mind that they need when it comes to running a successful and efficient business, but it also monitors the health, productivity, and security of the network infrastructure that’s required. Here are some of the reasons why co-sourcing a Network Operations Center might be the best decision you’ll make for your business.

24/7 Protection

One of the issues with in-house monitoring is the limited time frame that the IT specialists have. More specifically, the team cannot manage an issue if something goes wrong during the middle of the night. In most cases, if a problem does occur, the team will walk into the next day to resolve it, as opposed to a 24 hour NOC that’ll handle anything by utilizing remote monitoring and management software that can remotely access any network and obtain the information they need to correct the problem.

 

Resolution

With these alerts, the team can resolve the issue immediately as opposed to having to rely on making tickets that are categorized by priority and severity. Now, you might be thinking there may not be a need for security operation center consoles, but consider the fact that you could be the target of a major hack. What if it occurs at the middle of the night when your employees are sleeping soundly? Consider it “open season” for those that are targeting your company. And, the effects of this can be devastating.

Data center or server room: Which is better for your business?

It wasn’t very long ago that all servers were entirely in-house. The company invested in the server room, the backup systems and security. Also, the company hired staff with specific skills to manage the different systems. Today, the story is very different, with cloud hosting or an LA data center, these same organizations have the option to stay in-house or move everything out. Here is a quick look at the advantages and disadvantages of maintaining your server room:

Advantages:

The main advantage is that you own all the systems. Everything happens on your schedule, and any costs can be deferred or incurred as you see fit. It is a lot of work, but it comes with the sort of customization that is difficult in most third-party environments. You can modify or change any component of the system to your needs, where in any other setting it might clash with the policies of the host or the requirements of other clients.

Disadvantages:

There are two big disadvantages. The first issue is with the resource requirements. You want your IT staff working on solutions and improvements to the technology related to running the business, rather than working to keep the data center running. The other is security. According to Rack Alley, there is an ever-increasing threat of new and advanced malware, viruses and malicious Internet traffic, which requires the sort of security expertise that is expensive to maintain in-house.

Running Employment Checks: The Pros and Cons

 

 

Summary: Pre employment checks are mandatory for successful companies (especially nonprofit organizations). There are however, both pros and cons to performing these checks.

In today’s work environment, background checks have become the norm. Too many applicants tend to cover up their previous history or try to hide information that should be worth mentioning. However, there are both pros and cons to performing this screening process. This article will discuss both sides to help you get a better understanding of what you’re subjecting your applicants (and workplace) to.

The Pros

Pre employment checks can help an organization or company be more successful through numerous factors. Some of them include: reduced negligent hiring liability, reduced losses from dishonesty, minimal workplace violence, and increased new hire quality. All of these improvements will most likely have a positive impact on your business.

One of the first benefits revolves around the inclusion of fewer applications that contain serious discrepancies. It also discourages applicants to apply that are hiding something on their record that you don’t want to see. And, since you most likely want a safe and nonviolent workplace, you’ll be able to dictate what type of individuals you’ll want in your work setting.

As an employer, you have a moral and legal obligation to provide a safe work environment for your employees. Therefore, knowing whether an applicant has been involved in criminal activity will allow you to determine whether or not the applicant will be a good fit in your business. Factor in the costs of workplace violent, which can add up to the millions if something were to occur, and you have a system that’s definitely worth investing in. Many instant background checks are available online. However, it’s worth investigating whether or not the company is legitimate and provides you with a detailed report.

The Cons

While obtaining the background information on a prospective employee may be a solid indicator of future performance, they are also cons such as excessive costs and wasted time. When you’re looking for a service that provides a criminal background check for employment, you undoubtedly want to deal with a company that follows both federal and state legal requirements. Some background check companies tend to give a false sense of security and often leave out information that you need to further go about with the hiring process. It’s highly recommended that you perform a comprehensive check on your preferred screening company to ensure that you’re receiving a quality report each and every time. As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for”, and it definitely applies to pre employment checks.