Its official, July is here,which means weve passedthe halfway point of yetanother year. From thismoment forward the rest ofthe year is going to rocketby at warp speed. Beforeyou know it youll betoasting a successful 2012and slurring the words toAuld Lang Syne, as thenight sky is lit withfireworks.
Still, in the here and now its only the beginning of Julyand theres a lot of work to do before we start planningfor the holidays. For ALLPRO, that means ramping uppreparations for the Fall Stockholder meeting inOctober. This years meeting will be held at the WestinKierland in Scottsdale, Arizona, which is just outside ofPhoenix. The format will be a little different than lastyears meeting in that we will not be hosting exhibits.Instead, this meeting will focus on a mix of memberinformation/breakout sessions and workshops. Thepurpose of this article is to give you a brief overview ofwhat we have planned for the fall.
The first series of workshops on tap for the fall meetingwill cover Point of Sale software. Each of our three POSsuppliers; EPICOR (Activant), CBC Computer Systems,and SBC Solutions (Autologue) will hold individualworkshops where they will discuss topics relevant totheir respective software systems. These will be heldconcurrently and members can attend the POS sessionof their choice.
Following the POS sessions we will host two veryimportant sessions:
Valuing Your Business presented by accountingfirm Pender Newkirk & Company, this session willfocus on determining the value of your company andalso discuss the planning steps necessary intransferring ownership.
Effectively Managing your Purchasing and Selling presented by Gleco Paint, this session will focus onpurchasing tactics that balance direct purchasing
vs. buying through distribution and also presenteffective selling tactics on ALLPRO branded productsto generate greater profit dollars.
Afterwards we'll host the stockholder general sessionand town hall meeting. This segment will providemembers an opportunity to openly discussorganizational or industry topics with board andcommittee members, the ALLPRO staff and the groupas a whole.
That should keep everyone gainfully involved the firstday of the meeting. The second day will pick up with arecap and continuation of Pender Newkirks LossPrevention session from the 2010 stockholder meeting.Many of you felt there wasnt enough time for thissession then, so we are not only revisiting it at thismeeting but PNC will expand on their previous session.
Following the PNC presentation we will hear fromseveral members who will offer insights and advice ondiversifying your business model. Specifically, we havea number of members whove expanded their productofferings to include industrial/high performancecoatings, hardware, window treatments andcommercial wallcovering, and flooring.
The Loss Prevention and diversifying your businesssessions will be presented to the group en masse,which should allow for a wealth of valuable input andinteraction from the membership.
Aside from the full schedule of breakouts we willalso host a Next Generation reception just prior tothe opening reception. We received quite a bit ofinterest in continuing to offer a reception just for theunder 45 crowd, so this should provide anothergreat opportunity for the up-and-comers to meetand network with one another.
Obviously, were still in the process of finalizing theregistration forms and other materials, which should beavailable on the ALLPRO website in the coming weeks.The above is meant to give you a sneak peak at whatthe fall meeting will hold, so you can begin to planaccordingly. You can expect an official announcementcomplete with agenda and registration materials fromus sometime during mid-July.
An ALLPRO Publication VOL. 22, ISSUE 4 JULY / AUGUST 2012
By: Al Kinnear
One of the hottest topics in theworld of websites and websitedevelopment is how one goesabout optimizing a corporatewebsite for the rise of mobiledevices role in societyswebsite browsing. A studyperformed last year from Pewand from On Device Researchshowed that over 25 percent
of people in the US who browse the web on mobiledevices almost never use any other platform. Mobiledevices consist of tablets and smart phones. Thismonths technology focus will be on optimizing awebsite for a tablet.
According to Time.com, tabletsales worldwide will exceed 275million by 2015. At the end of2011 Apple had sold 55 millioniPads since their introduction andsome forecasts show Applemoving 66 million iPads in 2012alone. The tablet segment of themobile market is not as large asthe smart phone segment, but itdoes require that attention bepaid to it on its own whenoptimizing your website.
Tablets range in sizes fromapproximately 7 inches to 10inches in screen size, and vary in resolution size from1024 x 600 for the Samsung Galaxy to 2048 x 1536 forthe newest iPad. Check outwww.tabletpccomparison.net for a really greatcomparative analysis of tablet sizes etc Theresolution indicates how many pixels can be displayedin each dimension (width x height). This is quiteimportant when planning your website optimization asyou want to make sure you keep these dimensions inmind.
There are ways to actually sense when a tablet deviceis landing on your website and then providing awebsite that has been optimized for tablet viewingonly. Experience tells us that there is not muchappetite for this type of expenditure on websites withinthe paint and decorating website space. We havefound that the most cost effective solution for ourclientele is to optimize the website for both Tablets andPC users with 5 easy steps
Optimizing for Tablets 5 Easy Steps1. Remove all Flash from your website: There was a
well-publicized feud between Adobe and Applewhich rendered Flash absolutely useless for anyApple iPads. Since Apples iPad dominates the
tablet landscape, it makes no sense to continuewith Flash. Although not as dynamic as flashslideshows, a suitable replacement called JQueryallows programmers to replace most flash contentquickly and easily and allow your site to be iPadcompliant. An example of a JQuery presentationthat used to be Flash can be found atwww.hadlockpaint.com on the home page. SayBye Bye to Flash. Anyone resistant to updatingtheir Flash routines to JQuery or other solution arereally asking iPad users to simply look elsewhere.
2. Review your page content and consider splittingcontent into more bitesize pieces. Its a-ok torequire a user to scroll down to complete contentreview, however, you simply cannot overwhelm auser with never ending pages of content. The user
will simple press the X andleave your website.
3. Use PDF documents tooffer additional productinformation, sales offers,promotional couponsetc, this not only allowsminimal scrolling,but also allows the userto store your sitecontent for futurereference on their tabletdevice.
4. Pay close attention to howyour website looks in both
the portrait and landscape modes on a tablet device.This is where you need to review the resolutions ofthe tablets and make a decision on how best tooptimize your website page layout. This is definitelya conversation that you need to have with yourwebsite programmer. The conversation should focuson the appropriate page layout dimensions to besttake advantage of PC browsers while still allowingfor a great experience on a tablet.
5. Review your website on your favorite tablet andhave your staff do the same. There is really nobetter tool for evaluating how your website looksthan reviewing it on your PC, and as many tablets asyou can find. Make sure that you and your staff aresatisfied with your website on both devices. After afew rounds of review, you will have the confidenceto know that your website provides a pleasurableexperience on both a PC and Tablet.
Our next article will look at a cost-effective way ofproviding an optimized Smart Phone website versionfor your business that allows you to not only provideimportant details for folks looking at your website on aSmart Phone, but also a strategy that does not breakthe bank account in doing so.
Optimizing Your Website For Mobile Devices Part I: Ipads and Tablets
not offer the same for Facebooks business pages.Hopefully the developers at Pinterest will allow for thatfeature as the site grows in popularity but for now it isnot an option. Aside from that, pins can be sharedthrough Twitter or embedded directly into a website.
Who uses Pinterest and why?According to comScore, 80% of Pinterest users arefemale, primarily between the ages of 18 and 54 withsome college education and an annual householdincome between $25k and $75k. When you stop toconsider that women today are responsible for 85% ofall consumer purchases (including 94% of homefurnishings and 91% of houses), they purchase for thetheir families, and control the research and evaluationstages of purchasing, its easy to see why Pinterest isgaining so much attention from marketers.
The second part, why they use it is simple. 72% ofwomen using Pinterest are Gen X and younger, whichmeans they, for the most part, are technology savvyand readily assimilate it into their every day routine.
Additionally, web enabledsmart phones and tablets nowpermeate the marketplace,which means people canaccess web based informationalmost anywhere and at anytime and they frequently do.
Additionally, Pinterest providesa convenience in that it allowsits users to consolidate andorganize their interests onto asingle, user-friendly web-basedplatform that can be accessedon the go. Since content isvisual and organized bywhatever category a user hasset, it is very easily and quicklyretrieved. And since theimage pinned typically links
back to a website, more detailed information is just a tapof the touch screen away.
For instance, my wife recently signed up on Pinterestand quickly observed that she no longer needed to cutrecipes out of magazines. She simply opens thePinterest app on her iPhone, goes to her recipes board,and looks for the product shot of the Balsamic HoneyPulled Pork Sliders she pinned earlier and clicks theimage, which links her to the site with the recipe.From there she can either begin preparations or pay avisit to the market to pick up whatever ingredients shemay need.
The Business of PinterestWhen you consider who uses the site and why, theappeal for business application is considerable. Youessentially have the key buyers of householdseverywhere collecting, organizing, and storing visualcontent representative of ways they want to spend
To Pin or Not to Pin, that is the Question.
By Scott Morath
Keeping up with the seemingly endless emergence ofnew social media sites can be a daunting task. Whatsmore, understanding their uses and determiningwhether or not they can be effectively leveraged forbusiness is not always obvious. For that reason thisarticle takes aim at Pinterest, the newest social mediasite that has taken the internet by storm. Its an image-sharing service that, according to comScore.com, hasreached the 10 million-user mark faster than anystandalone site ever. The intent is to offer a briefoverview of Pinterest and help you evaluate it as apossible tool for your business.
What is it?Classifying Pinterest as animage-sharing service is correctbut thats a bit of anoversimplification. Essentially, itis a digital scrap book thatallows users to curate theirinterests by posting, or pinningimages onto one or more pinboards he or she has created.Users or pinners as theyrecalled, can setup any number ofpin boards, which are usuallycategorized by individual interests(i.e., home ideas, decorating,inspirations, apparel, etc.).
Pinners collect images from anynumber of sources. They cancome from other websites such as travel sites, foodblogs, online catalogs, etc., they can be uploadeddirectly to the site or even repinned from anotherusers collection.
Pinterest is a social media site, so content is meant tobe shared and pinners have the option of followingother pinners. However, unlike Facebook or Twitter ausers pin boards are available for public consumption.Meaning, a user cannot limit their pin boards to specificfollowers or make them private. As a user pins newitems those pins will appear in their followers pin feed(similar in principle to Facebooks news feed) and alsobe visible in the larger pool of pins that any user canbrowse through (see screen shot on this page).
Unfortunately, a big downside to Pinterest right now isits limitation when sharing across other social mediaplatforms. While an individual user can share pins totheir personal Facebook page, currently Pinterest does
places, add your own captions and pin them to variousboards youve created.
Tool for brand building as a paint store or decoratingcenter you are in the business of being a color andor decorating expert. Anything you can do to furtherthat perception among your customers is brandbuilding. Providing a convenient resource withcreative and inspirational examples of pairing variouscolors will only build on that perception.
But what would I pin?While there is a category for products in the broaderPinterest search criteria for products of all types,I wouldnt waste time posting images of paint cans orrolls of wallpaper. Reason being, Pinterest is arepository for inspirational and aspirational ideas in theform of visual imagery. Users login to curate thoseideas, not look at pictures of the product they might useto bring those ideas to fruition.
That being said, you want to post an image that evokesan emotional response and showcases color ininteresting ways. Images could range anywhere from apicturesque sunset to a flower garden to a nicelyappointed living room to food items. Basically, anythingthat showcases color.
For example, Southern Paint has a board for ColorInspired by Food where they feature a collection ofinteresting and appealing color combinations found inevery day food items. Other boards are titled Clothingfor Walls, Inspirations, Colors we Love, and Dontforget about the kids. Each offers a collection ofdifferent images that focus on the specific category andoffer ideas that provide customers the impetus to visittheir stores to bring those ideas to fruition in their home.
That is Pinterest in a nutshell. As with any other socialmedia platform, it is not a means to directly promoteyour business but a way to add value, which ismarketing speak for pay it forward. Is it worth the timeand effort to have a presence on Pinterest for yourcustomers? In my opinion, if your business ispositioned as a decorating center and you are fortunateenough to employ full or even part time colorconsultants, designers or creatives who can make thetime (15-20 minutes per week) there is a benefit. Ifhowever, you are a business that caters primarily to thepot & brush professional painter and you find it difficultto keep up with your website and/or Facebook thendont jump in just yet. If youre somewhere in betweenthose two extremes, its a judgment call. As with anysocia...