Understanding the Rise of Personalized Products in Ecommerce

Only a few years ago we knew about personalized products only in the form of a few prints on coffee mugs or key chains from the local printer or photo studio. The market witnessed the transition in the recent years and it was so swift that one could hardly comprehend the momentum. Now, almost every other traditional printer has shifted to web to ecommerce or is thinking of doing so in the near future. But, why? Why was there such a sudden changeover and how is the demand for personalized products on the constant rise? Let’s try to unravel the reasons behind the shift.

Ease of Access

With printers shifting to the online market and offering personalized products with the help of web to print design software, the products are much easier to access as there is no real effort required to go to the printer, explain them the product, and pick up the product. This reason is common to all industries but somehow print industry is slightly different as the availability had always been limited in offline stores as compared to what they can offer online, due to various factors.

New dimension to online gifting

Product personalization software adds a new dimension to online gifting by adding a personal touch to the product in spite of the buyer ordering it from miles away. Other gifts are detached, and merely some item one picks and orders it to another address. But in personalized gifting, the effort of the giver shows as they design the product themselves often with personal pictures and messages.

Cost Effective

Looking at overall expenses the customer might spend over finding a store, placing an order, and picking it up, online shopping for personalized product is much more cost effective. And then, there are so many options available that they can compare costs and buy something within their budget rather than giving up to the whims of the monopolistic printer of their locality.

Extensive Options

The web to print design software that ecommerce businesses offer provides freedom of designing their own products to the customer. They can take up as much time as they need, without annoying the printer and try editing various pictures and graphics until they get what they desire. The range of products is also extensive as compared to local stores. Moreover, with the help of web to print tool, customers can virtually see how the products will turn out in terms of colors, print area, etc.

Social Media Integration

Another unavoidable factor is the Social Media support these products have got. A good Web to print ecommerce software lets the customers to create their own funky products and like everything else, customers love to share their creations on social media which promotes the products indirectly. Additionally, the most popular social media platforms of the current times like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. provide options to directly sell from their respective pages which drive more customers to the stores.

To conclude, it can be said that the rise of personalized products is not unaccounted for. And as the reasons state, the business doesn’t grow on its own. There are many factors that assist it including your business model, marketing strategy, and most importantly your web to print ecommerce software. In a brief, you need to efficiently provide everything for which the consumer is moving to web to print. Only when you understand this, can you grow with the budding industry!

Business Styles and Personal Productivity

Recently, a newsletter arrived from a self growth website which explained dysfunctional personal productivity personalities.  Because productivity styles can mean the difference between entrepreneurial success and failure, I’ve taken some time to analyze this topic and provided some tips and techniques that have worked for me in overcoming some of these productivity inhibitors.

Scrappers are people whose offices and desktops look like modern art with a collage of post-its and paper scraps. While conventional wisdom accepts that a cluttered desk is an indication of a cluttered mind, disorganization can result in missed deliverables and over-commitment.

If this is your style, whether you are working solo or in a partnership, adopting a method that serves to remind you of what you have to get done can be useful. If you have a partner, ask them to send you email reminders prior to important deadlines. Using a website like Airset allows you to set up a system that will allow you to put your projects online with automated reminders about deliverables sent to your email. Face it, a little up-front planning is needed for any endeavor.

Pilers don’t throw anything away and file nothing. They can sometimes find what they’re looking for quickly but watching them sift through their piles of books and papers can be unnerving. Many years ago, I adopted the tactic of dating a hard copy document if I decided I needed to keep it after reading it. These days, most of my files are kept on my hard drives and I still tend to precede the document name with a date, year first, if I’ve taken notes using notepad.

My work entails writing business proposals, marketing plans, project plans, website code, creating website artwork, and researching business niches for good keywords. For obvious reasons, these sorts of files must be saved for a period of time, even if the project has ended.

At the end of 2008, after a cross country move, I spent several hours moving client folders off of removable storage and onto a secure location within my network. Using a standard folder hierarchy allows me to go directly to a client folder to locate content related to those projects immediately. My clients seem grateful for my organizational skills when they call to ask for a password that they’ve lost!

At the beginning of each month, I set aside a few hours to sift through file folders in my inbox and in the folders related to my clients. It takes time but the time is well spent.

Multi-taskers have millions of things they hope to get done simultaneously and seem to take great pride in talking about their long lists. A downside for some can be that a lot of things get started but none get finished.

If you are an entrepreneur with clients or own multiple websites multi-tasking is essential, but if you’ve begun to notice that you are feeling frazzled or overwhelmed by your work, it is time to take a serious look at your short and long-term goals. Document all the things you have committed to do and organize it into do-able chunks that are prioritized by relevance. Aside from family commitments, your most important things to do ought to be money making activities.

Interrupters are people who do not respect the fact that, just because they have time to talk about something now doesn’t mean that you do. Because I am sensitive to this myself, I’ve always allowed the person whom I think I need to talk with know why I’d like to talk with them right away and never fail to ask if it is a good time for them.  If not, I negotiate a more agreeable time for them.

When someone unexpectedly requests my time, I’ve found that my best defense is to be honest with them and, if I don’t have time for the interruption, I force myself to refuse and also let them know when I’ll be free. If I feel that I can take a few minutes at the time of their request, I inform them up-front about my time constraints and hold to that schedule by curtailing the conversation or text chat when the boundary is reached.

Procrastinators claim to work well under pressure and use this an excuse for putting things off to the last minute.  Their real crime is that they work on things that they would prefer to work on, which pushes the less desirable, and often more complicated tasks, back and puts them at risk.  Sure, we all are guilty of this sometimes but the pursuit of business success doesn’t guarantee that everything you will work on will be easy to do or fun.

Unmanaged, a procrastinator on a project can create havoc for other members of that group. While their creativity and talents might be welcomed, they require firm guidance and follow-up from a more focused team member.

Socializers waste incredible amounts of time communicating in frivolous ways. With the advent of social networking, people I was fascinated by and lost a lot of time on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook profile updates and responses. In an effort to recover my productivity, I established an hour or so at the end of each day to research topics that I wanted to post to Twitter and set up those transmissions using one of the many tools available for timing them. Many of these sites allow you to update multiple social networking profiles at once, and always include the highest quality sites.

I use a very similar tactic with both phones and Skype. Turning off the ringer during times of the day that I need to focus avoids phone interruptions. Similarly, putting Skype on “do not disturb” allows me to see when someone is trying to contact me and choose whether or not an immediate response is required.

Meeting addicts are obsessed with convening to talk about what needs to be done. So much time can be spent talking about such things that forward progress is hindered, however. If you’re invited to attend a meeting, ensure that the organizer has a clear purpose and that an agenda is issued in advance. If the topics on the agenda do not mesh with what is critical to your immediate needs, take care of yourself and decline the meeting.

If you are in a meeting and have something to say, make sure to apply the “So What?” rule before opening your mouth. This may sound like a statement from a belligerent child but it does force you to evaluate, in advance, whether what you have to say is relevant or useful to the group at the meeting.

E-mailers never use the phone to deliver a short update and love to broadcast their news to everyone on their list. It’s easy to ignore superfluous emails but, IM broadcasting software has opened up a new arena for pointless intrusions. Without exception, everyone who uses a Skype broadcast tool to communicate useless BizOp updates has been blocked from my list.

Although it is “polite” to acknowledge communications, not all emails or IMs require a response, especially if it is an uninvited solicitation.

Crisis creators dwell in a state of anxiety and everything is critical to them. The slightest problems can be exaggerated and their alarmist mentality can draw you in, if you are close to them.

Fire-fighting is a part of my business, at times, but keeping a cool head is what my clients seem to appreciate. If I cannot see an immediate way to help them with their problem, I will get offline with them and decide or do what needs to be done.  If I am able to resolve the issue without another conversation, I will provide a real-time or email update apprising them of the cause and the solution.  If not, I get back to them with a strategy, at the very least.

Packrats have never thrown away anything in their lives. This obsession has become a matter of public interest but not all packrats are obsessive. Like clearing your desk on a regular basis, making sure that you are eliminating clutter from your office or household is important. If you are looking over stored items and realize you haven’t opened the box or envelope in years, then you might want to honestly evaluate whether or not you need to hang onto it.  Heirlooms and sentimental keepsakes are excluded from this, of course.

As a funny aside, I once dated a fellow like this. The first time I visited his apartment, the ancient computer equipment and stacks of printouts astounded me. There was but a narrow path between spaces to a chair in the living room, his bedroom, and the kitchen. When he moved to a new place, all of these things wound up in his garage too.:)

Perfectionists are so interested in doing things perfectly that they often neglect to get them done. Impressively long lists and generous offers to contribute are part of their style. I have known people whose lists were so lengthy that their lack of completion caused them distress. I recommended that they write shorter so things could be checked off quicker.

This actually could related to the multi-tasker style and the suggestions that were made there are certainly applicable here. Organizing and prioritizing “to-do” items into chunks that are easily accomplished not only gives a sense of personal satisfaction but also demonstrates to your clients that you are capable of getting things done.

Workaholics can’t seem to think of anything but work and also can’t seem to avoid reminding people about how much they work. As an entrepreneur working from my home, it has sometimes been difficult for me to separate my work and personal life but assuming dual expenses for internet, phones, utilities, and rent is not desirable to me.

I’ve learned to schedule “free time” for family, play, and personal projects figuring that, as human beings, we were given life so we could experience pleasure and fun too. I like to call these things mini-vacations, for all work and no play can make one dull and this is the last thing any of us wants.

This is a fairly complete list of things that could be hindering your entrepreneurial output but I’m sure that those of you reading this post can think of others. Any thoughts that you have and want to leave as comments are welcomed. During holiday seasons, when stress levels are higher, make sure to take care of yourself.  Business success may be critical to your survival but so is your emotional health.

Boosting Your Personal Productivity

With so many tasks fighting for our attention, it’s no wonder we struggle with feeling productive. For most women, it’s important to us that we feel productive, and we usually measure our productivity by our output – how much do we get done in a given day? If we get a lot done, then we feel happy, but if at the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves what we did all day, irritability sinks in.

If you have a business deadline, a family and home that need attention, and a volunteer project that begs to be completed, how will you pull together the resources and energy you need to successfully manage these commitments without compromising yourself? Boosting our personal productivity is possible if we know how to do it. Productivity involves three components: getting things done, the ability to make the right decisions quickly, and being able to create innovative solutions to our perceived challenges.

Getting Things Done

Getting things done requires both external and internal resources. Externally, it involves using people, time and money to achieve the results you want. Utilizing our people resources means we have to give up this idea that we are alone and on our own. We have to look at who in our life may be able to pitch in and help out. Can you involve a babysitter or spouse to help with the kids while you work on your business commitments? What other volunteers can you pull together to help you accomplish your projects?

Managing your time involves your ability to organize yourself, evaluate your priorities and focus on what’s most important to carry out your mission. More often than not, a lot of people have a large ongoing “to do” list that they work from. Everything has equal priority and focus is lost because the list is too overwhelming. Break up your list by order of importance and focus on only 2-3 tasks per day. You will be more successful in getting things done.

Internally, getting things done is all about your motivation behind the task. We come to every task in our lives with a certain level of energy, or attitude about the task. When I asked one woman why she wanted to take care of herself by exercising, her response was because she needed to make sure she was healthy enough to take care of other people. It’s very subtle and hard to see, but her motivation was out of fear. She was afraid if she didn’t take care of herself, she wouldn’t be able to take care of her family and business. When we are motivated by any kind of negative emotion like fear, worry, anger, or guilt, the energy we come to the task with is low. When you associate a task with pain (I hate exercising; it’s so hard), you are less likely to do it.

Complete this sentence: I want to…. Most likely, your answer was some kind of task or activity that you enjoy. Perhaps you said, “I want to read a book” or maybe you said “I want to take a vacation.” The energy behind wanting to do something is high, and unless you let guilt get in the way, you will very likely complete a task you want to do. Always focus on why you want to get something done, even if you have to seek out the benefits received from doing a task you feel you have to do.

Making Decisions

If there is one thing that will bring your productivity to a screeching halt, it is the inability to make decisions. I don’t know how many decisions we make everyday, but I know it’s a lot. Should I get up? What will I have for breakfast today? What should I wear today? What do I want to do first? Should I take a nap? Hey, a short nap can improve your productivity.

For the last two days, I have been dragging my feet on making a business decision. On Sunday, as I was working on creating some visuals for an upcoming presentation, my husband says, “It’s too bad you can’t find a way to make your visuals more professional looking.” That started the decision making cycle that I am stuck in. How can I create professional looking visuals on my budget? While I wait for the “perfect” answer to come to me, my project remains undone.

The ability to make fast and accurate decisions can make a world of difference in your personal productivity. What is your perspective on making decisions accurately and quickly? Do you avoid making decisions for fear of making the wrong choices? Do you look at decisions as opportunities to grow and develop as an individual? Wouldn’t it be nice to view decisions as an effortless task? What gets in the way of all your decisions being made accurately and quickly? Leaving decisions pending in your “inner” inbox can deplete your daily energy level, even if you are not consciously thinking about them.

Creating Innovative Solutions

Have you ever had a day or a situation when everything seemed to work out smoothly? You were “in the zone” and you were accomplishing more than you ever could have imagined. Your energy was high, your mood was great, and you were amazed at how easy life was. When we are in this “genius” mode, we have the innate ability to eliminate all obstacles, noise, and clutter, externally and internally. We are able to let go, focus, and let our intuition take over.

Recently, I have been faced with a situation that needs an innovative solution. My teenager hates English and is unmotivated to do what is required of him in this class. He is resistant to reading, but yet he has a 400 page book that he has to read to complete a 14 page research paper. A traditional approach of telling him he better start reading or he’s going to fail won’t work. A slightly different approach of suggesting he read just 20 minutes a day doesn’t work either. In order for me to be successful at coming up with a creative solution, I must be able to see multiple perspectives all at the same time. What is blocking my son mentally? What motivates him? How does he learn? What does he need to accomplish? How can I partner with my son to create an opportunity for success? By keeping an open mind to all the possibilities that are available to me, a solution will be delivered. So far I’ve thought of reading the book together, downloading the book on his iPod so he can listen to it, motivating him with a reward dinner at his favorite restaurant, and renting the book in movie format. As I stay open to my intuition, more solutions will come to me.

While it would certainly be nice to live a life that is truly simplistic, it is not possible or realistic to think life will not have challenges that require innovative solutions. We will always have competing demands that require us to pull together our resources to get things done, make quick and accurate decisions and utilize our creativity and intuition to find solutions to whatever trials life brings us. When you can successfully implement these three keys, you will experience personal productivity every day of your life.

Increase Your Personal Productivity – Tips to Ensure That Your Day Is Well Spent

Do you feel that you are unable to get enough work done even though you have very little time to spare at the end of it? If you feel completely overwhelmed by work then it is perhaps time for you to examine your personal productivity. The difference between successful people and those who are not is perhaps how they are able to make their time more productive. In fact, it is a well-known fact that overachievers are able to get more work done in the least possible time and they also have plenty of time left over for leisure.

Distractions are the biggest killers of personal productivity. They can happen whether one works at home or in an office and can take the form of telephone calls, text messages and increasingly, social networking sites like Facebook. If you examine your day you are bound to find many of these distractions that resulted in you spending a lot more time doing work than you really needed to.

If you are unable to deal with these distractions by exercising self-control then you ought to keep them as far away from you as possible. Switch off your internet connection if necessary. If you get a lot of phone calls then you should screen them for the really important ones. If the distractions are caused by people at office who just stop by for a chat then you should learn to politely deflect their attempts at conversation. You could always tell them that you will be available to chat during lunch or some other convenient time.

Even the way in which you do work might be eating into your productivity. If you are disorganized then you will very likely be scrambling from one task to the other without completing any. Always start your day (and preferably your week) with a proper schedule so that your time is well mapped out. Focus on the most important tasks first. If it is possible to delegate less important tasks then you ought to do that as well since this will save you a great deal of time.

You also need the right equipment in order to be very productive at work. Make sure that you know how to use technology effectively so that you can cut through your work. For instance, you could use your cell phone or any other hand held communication device to sort through your emails and also plan your day while you have some spare time. Your workstation should also be tidy and organized so that you do not waste time looking for things. Also, a tidy place will help ensure that your thoughts are orderly.

It is always good to get professional help if you feel that you still cannot get things under control. Join a training program that will help you increase your personal productivity or at least buy a tutorial on the subject. You will be very happy with the way in which your work output increases and also with the fact that you will have lots of time left over for leisure.