Occasion turned two on August 21, 2015.Read More >
Stacks Feature Release
Over the last few months, we have challenged our team to rethink the way business owners and their customers interact with Occasion. Today, we are happy to announce the launch of Stacks, an interactive portal to post and group listings in a website.Read More >
Simplicity is the cornerstone of our work at Occasion. We have been asked many times now about our logo. The top question we get is “what do the two circles in the logo represent?”
In short, the two white circles in our logo represent the the consumer and the merchant.
Here’s the backstory on how we brought it together. In the winter of 2013, before we launched, we wanted a build a product different from other booking software available.
The answer became clear over several weeks as we talked to potential customers on our approach. The customers looked at the product mock-ups and remarked, “this is so easy and simple”, “it’s only one-page”, “it’s user-friendly”.
What other products lacked was the “human element”. The user experience and user expectations were absent from the product.
When designing our logo, we wanted this human element to become part of our company DNA.
The inner circle puts the consumer booking experience at the core. Our belief is that if a consumer has a great experience while making a booking, they will do it over and over again.
The outer circle represents the importance of making it easy for the merchant to use the software.
Our logo is a constant reminder to us that we serve two constituents and by default, everything we do must align with their interests.
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Harper Reed, former CTO of Obama for America, recently spoke at a Tech Cocktail event, where Occasion was one of ten showcase startups. Harper, among a lot of other things, talked about how there is so much ‘e’, which stands for ‘electronic’, that it’s no longer worth noting. This resonated with the entire Occasion team.
‘E’ is often applied to major industries, such as e-banking, e-marketing, e-payments, and e-commerce. He said—and I’m paraphrasing—that there is no ‘e’ in anything anymore: It’s simply marketing, commerce, and banking. Digital is no longer a new thing. It’s a way of life.
Here’s how digital is part of our everyday lives.
I have not stepped inside a bank in over a year. I actually closed my accounts with any bank that has retail locations, and I now bank with Simple.
Ninety-nine percent of my communication is electronic, whether via texts, emails, Facebook, Twitter, or Yammer. Less than one percent of my communication is via my actual voice. For now, that is still non-digital.
I am streaming all sorts of entertainment: sports, tv shows, movies and music on my computer, iPad and Android phone. I am a “cord cutter”, and so are most of my friends.
I pay all my bills online either with my credit card or online banking. I don’t use or even have a checkbook for personal or business payments. Digital wallets will soon be the norm, revolutionizing person-to-person (P2P) payments as well.
Search ads, email marketing, video ads, content marketing, customer support and conversations with customers are all happening online. There is a startup that is helping consumers de-clutter their life from analog versions of marketing (print ads), which are impersonal and non-targeted.
B2B and B2C transactions continue to move online, and therefore still presents a lot of merchants with a big opportunity for growth. Commerce is growing three times faster online than offline in the United States. More commerce will move online as consumers prefer to buy faster and easier, and businesses seek the higher margins of frictionless sales.
The prevalent prefix of ‘e’ looks normal today, but in the not-too-distant future it will likely seem as quaint as calling the internet the World Wide Web.
Why does it seem like everyone likes pizza?
Because it’s delicious, you say. And I give you that. It is indeed delicious.
But I also believe that pizza’s popularity is a result of another feature: It’s customizable.
And pizza has got to be the most customizable food available to order online. There are so many steps to make between my feeling hungry for tasty pizza and actually placing the order. Think of all the decisions you have to make: size, type of crust, sauce type, cheese, veggies, meat… Yet, we still find ourselves going online to order pizza—not despite the steps, but likely because of them. It’s fun to make your own pizza, and a computer can’t misunderstand your order.
In a survey conducted by industry magazine PMQ, 57 percent of respondents age 25 to 34 considered an online ordering option important, and yet only 18 percent of the pizzerias they surveyed have received a pizza order online (that includes through their own website or third-party services like GrubHub).
The Big Three pizzeria chains—Pizza Hut, Domino’s, and Papa John’s—all have online ordering systems in place. In fact, Domino’s collected a cool billion dollars worth of orders online, representing a third of it’s total sales.
Independent pizzerias, which represent 53 percent of the industry, still lag behind in terms of adopting online ordering. According to PMQ, pizzeria operators seem hesitant to adopt online ordering as an option, but those that wait will miss out on a golden opportunity.
“Although not considered a trend anymore, online ordering continues to grow and expand. And while some pizzeria operators are still a bit gun-shy about it, one look at the success of some of the top chains in this area can attest to its viability.”
There’s no excuse for independent pizzerias allowing the big corporations to out-innovate them. As consumers continue to demand online ordering as an option, those pizzerias that offer it will likely find greater success.
Image from Giordanos Pizza
When Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, he said, “Because that’s where the money is.”
Actually, it turns out that’s a myth. But perhaps the reason the misquote has persisted is that it is so brilliantly simple.
While his methods were not legal, you could hardly argue that they were ineffective. Sutton is credited with stealing about $2 million over his career, which would equal about $20 million today.
If you are a small business owner, how can you use Willie Sutton’s advice to tap into some new revenues of your own?
The answer is to go where the money is. And the money is online.
According to the below infographic, Forrester reports that e-commerce in 2013 will have grown to $262 billion, up from $231 billion in 2012. The firm also predicts that online retail sales will grow at a compounded annual rate of 10% for the next five years. (See infographic)
Further, by 2017, 90% of consumers will regularly shop online. Ninety percent! And while most small businesses these days already have websites, few of them allow their customers to buy what they’re selling on them. Luckily for small businesses, tapping into the lucrative stream of online transactions is much easier than cracking a bank’s safe.
A website should be a business owner’s virtual store. Allowing customers to easily book or buy on the website is essential. If you do not have the ecommerce tools in place, then it’s time to enable online transactions.
Now that you’re ready to unleash your inner Willie Sutton, make sure you do it according to ecommerce best practices. Here are some key guidelines to consider:
– Make product information accessible.
– Provide a clear call to action.
– Earn the trust of your customers.
– Eliminate unnecessary steps between the customer’s desire to buy and the purchase.
– Maintain your branding.
Implementing an ecommerce solution that follows these guidelines will position your business where the money is and where it will continue to go: Online. Your customers will thank you for it, and we’ll bet they even tell a friend or two.