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The Doorman App

Have you ever ordered something offline and when it was delivered to your house you weren’t there? Instead of coming home to find the product you ordered you find a delivery notice. Well, there is a new and innovative app called Doorman that is aiming to solve this problem.

Doorman is trying to eradicate this problem by allowing customers to schedule their own delivery times. Even if it is as late as midnight seven days a week.

Doorman was created by a former Pixar Technical Director named Zander Adel. Zander came up with this idea by looking at the retailers that offer same day shipping. Places like Amazon or Postmates. He goes on to explain that all of the shipping and deliveries are done through companies like FedEx and UPS. As a result of this customers have less control over the time their product is delivered.

Doorman fixes this by allowing customers to give these retailers their “Doorman address” which is a location of the company’s warehouse. The customer will then be able to specify exactly when they want their order delivered.

Doorman has already delivered over 25,000 packages in its first market in San Francisco and is preparing to spread to the east coast.

When looking at how awesome the name of this app is and how cool of an idea it is, I wish I could have come up with it first.

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Flow Hive: How Bees Went Viral

Flow Hive Beekeeping

Bees didn’t used to be a topic of conversation. These days, we’re hearing more and more about how the bee population is in danger, and the repercussions of the bee species dying off. For years, not much was done in the consumer world to combat this. We all worried about prices of honey rising, and maybe planted some wildflowers in our backyards, but that was about it. At least, until the Anderson family came along.

The Andersons have been beekeeping for three generations. Father and son duo Stuart and Cedar Anderson recognized a problem in the beekeeping industry – harvesting honey was disruptive to the bees, and often resulted in the beekeeper being stung. “There must be a better way,” Cedar remembers thinking at a very young age – he began beekeeping when he was only six years old. Stu and Cedar tinkered with designs for almost a decade before coming up with the Flow Hive.

Stu and Cedar launched an Indiegogo campaign in February 2015 that would quickly become one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns in history. Their humble goal of $70,000 was reached within minutes of going live. Flow Hive holds the title of the most successful campaign ever launched on Indiegogo. So, what’s their secret?

For starters, they had identified a problem and pain that seriously lacked a solution. Bees were already on the forefront of people’s minds – Flow Hive offered a way for people to be connected. Stu says, “I think people saw Flow as a sort of drawbridge to connect them with the natural world.” Nothing like this product had ever been offered before, and they had an already established niche market of beekeepers – but their market extended past that because of the usability of the product. With Flow Hive, anyone could be a beekeeper.

 

The Internet played a massive role in the success of Flow Hive. They started a social media campaign less than a month before their Indiegogo campaign began. The goal was to tap into their personal networks and gain a few beekeepers, but the videos Cedar had made for the campaign went viral – the Andersons attribute it to help from friends and family and a genuine interest in bees and the concept of beekeeping. Their campaign page was clear, descriptive, and showed the passion Stu and Cedar had for their project. By the end of the campaign, Flow Hive had raised over $13 million from 38,000 contributors.

Flow Hive is a perfect example of how the Internet can exponentially grow the success and reach of a start-up. Without it, there’s a slim chance we would have heard about a normal father-son duo from Australia and their groundbreaking idea to innovate beekeeping.

Check out the Andersons’ story of the Flow Hive invention process:

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Casper: Waking Up The Mattress Industry

 

Casper is a rapidly growing business that has revolutionized the mattress industry.  This company has designed a latex-memory foam mattress that can fold up and fit into a box about the size of a set of golf clubs.  In the past, shopping for a mattress required going to a store and then paying to have it delivered or hauling it home.  Casper has completely changed this by creating a mattress that can be bought online and shipped anywhere in the world.  This company has taken a similar approach to Zappos on returns by offering a one-hundred-night trial.  Since the majority of customers are not able to try the mattress in a showroom before purchase, the company allows customers to try the mattress in the comfort of their home for one-hundred nights and return it for a complete refund if the purchaser is not 100% satisfied.  The company does have a showroom in New York City and Los Angeles, but they are primarily an online business.

Philip Krim, Gabriel Flateman, Luke Sherwin, Jeff Chapin, and Neil Parikh are the founders of this company.  Their goal was to make buying a mattress as painless as possible.  One of the ways they do this is through exceptional customer service.  Their company has been so successful that they raised a million dollars within the first month of business and sold thirty million dollars of mattresses within fourteen months.  Each mattress sells for less than a thousand dollars.  They have expanded their selection of products to include sleep related items such as pillows and sheets.  According to Laura Entis from Fortune, Casper is looking to become the “Amazon for all things sleep.”

Evidently, this company has been very successful since opening its doors a few years ago.  I believe that their success is due in large part to the focus that they put on the customer experience.  They do this by offering benefits such as a hundred-night trial, hassle-free returns, and ten-year warranty.  By putting a large emphasis on the customer experience and making the process of buying a mattress as easy as possible, Casper has profited greatly and completely revolutionized the dormant mattress industry.

 

Sources:

www.casper.com

http://fortune.com/2016/04/19/casper-amazon-of-sleep/

http://www.businessinsider.com/mattress-startup-casper-raises-55-million-2015-6

 

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Logistics Tips for E-Commerce Startups

In 2014, e-commerce sales rose 15.4%. Total sales rose to $305 billion, but even with this huge amount, e-commerce only accounts for 6.5% of sales in the retail sector in the US. This just shows that there is still a very large amount of room for the e-commerce market to grow. You will need to know some tips about the logistics of your company if you are hoping to create a startup in this potential market. Many of the same rules apply for brick and mortar companies but with e-commerce there is more of an emphasis on delivery and less on store operations. Here are three tips to remember when it comes to creating the logistics and distribution side of your startup.

Do not be afraid to mix possible logistics solutions.

Few startups will be able to afford their own in-house logistics, but it is possible to mix logistics models. Amazon is a prime example of this. By using reliable couriers the company has concentrated most of its efforts on distribution without having to worry about maintaining in-house logistics or its own fleet of vans. The company uses UPS, FedEx and the USPS to fulfill the majority of its orders. If you are providing great customer service and fast delivery, your customers should be happy.

Offer Multiple Delivery Options to Increase Conversion Rates

Multiple delivery options can be combined with reward programs to offer an attractive mix to local and international clients. In turn, this will significantly increase your traffic and sales. For example, Target offers its customers five possible shipping options. These include free shipping, delivery subscriptions, store pickup, rush delivery, and a ship home option. Target’s Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales rose 40% in 2014 because of their expanded delivery options. In offering multiple delivery options, you will provide your customers will the convenience that they otherwise would not have.

Provide Tracking Info to Reduce Customer Service Emails

Providing customers with details about where there package is and when it will most likely arrive will give your customers peace of mind. Increasing the information given to the customer is almost always a smart move. If possible, offer the very latest package tracking services. If this is not possible, provide information to help customers arrange pickups for returns or customs. This will reduce the number of customer emails you get and improve operations. Try to make every service including returns trackable for full transparency from start to finish. This will ensure that the customer is as happy as can be.

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Bouqs

At one point or another, you have experienced  the “oh no, I forgot about my mom’s birthday” frenzy and ordered an overpriced bouquet of flowers from 1-800-Flowers.

Po online flowers companies such as 1-800-Flowers or Pro Flowers, offer flower bouquets and arrangements for any occasion. Delivery is usually quick, but prices are pretty steep.

But then there is Bouq, another online flower delivery company. Bouq has taken a different branding approach. Instead of the cluttered websites with frumpy, feminine colors, Bouq has a clean aesthetic with a young spirit. Aside from their branding, you may be wondering, “how could Bouq be any different than the rest of it’s competitors?” I was asking the same question before watching this video:

Right off the bat, Bouq predict’s their customer’s biggest question. They  tackle this concern by titling their about page, “Our Difference.” By doing this, they are establishing their credibility to their customers and hopefully gaining customer loyalty.

So what are the differences between Bouq and the rest of the overpriced online flower companies? Well, there are four.

  1. Farm (& volcano) fresh flowers.  Not only are your ordered flowers shipped 2-4 days after being cut, they are also cut directly from the side of a volcano or from an eco-friendly American farm. Pretty fancy, right?
  2. Simple ordering. Bouq offers a hand crafted selection of flower bouquets from their floral experts. By charging a flat fee of $40 including shipping, they erase the chance of hidden fees and sell ups. In addition, they offer a 3 step check out method, so you aren’t mentally exhausted by the end of your purchase.
  3. Earth-loving farms. Bouq sources all of their flowers from farms who respect and love the Earth. They only cut what they sell which eliminates the possibility of wasting flowers.
  4. Subscription options. Keyword: options. Purchasing a subscription is completely optional, but will save you money! They offer 3 different packages that offer different services such as regular deliveries, pre-scheduled deliveries for special occasions, or sporadic deliveries for Just Because bouquets. With each package, you save 25% off your order.

So there you have it. When you are in the dog house for forgetting your anniversary with your girlfriend or need a Mother’s Day gift for your mom, try out Bouq!

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Due.com

 

“Freelancers need different ways for their clients to pay them, whether it is PayPal, credit card, Venmo, or other similar options. Due.com provides an easy to use invoicing system and a timekeeping ability allowing freelancers to separate projects, and invoice clients individually through many different means.”

 

Due.com online invoicing and billing software offers easy-to-use tools for creating invoices and basic project tracking. Due.com is trying to make both invoicing and receiving money seamless.  Due.com integrates with PayPal and Basecamp and invoices in multiple currencies.   It is currently only available online with an iPhone app in the works.  However, for those of you who are Android users, there has been no mention of an Android app.  I think that once they get the mobile versions running they will attract more users because for me, having things at the touch of my hands is very helpful.

 

Due.com has a freemium model and a premium model (which involves prices that I will talk about later).  The basic freemium model, as well as the paid version, includes widgets called The Dashboard Tab, The Invoice Tab, The Client Tab as well as The Projects Tab.  Each of these tabs have helpful tools in them that could help run your busy entrepreneurship life easy.

 

The Dashboard Tab includes a calendar and list of reports. It is something like a homepage where from here you are able to click to other pages and gives you a quick look at everything you’re working with at once.

The Invoice Tab gives a person a quick look at how many invoices are pending, paid, and the ID numbers all listed out neatly in a chart at the bottom of the page. They are also able to easily click to Recurring Invoices to make sure everything is set correctly. From here a person is also able to create a new invoices.

The Client Tab is a pretty straightforward feature that makes it easy to create an address book of your clients so that you can navigate to his/her contact information and find him/her easily when creating and invoice or a project. You may also notice that there is one Project associated with this client.  From here you can also go straight to The Projects Tab if wanted.

The Projects Tab has two different parts to it: Projects and Tasks.  Here a person is able to create a project and then add tasks to that project. They have the ability to add a budget, client name, due date, and can make edits and changes at any time.

 

To unlock the other tabs you have to pay a monthly fee anywhere from $10/ month, $25/ month, or $100/ month.  Looking into the paid version is something that a larger businesses would benefit because it opens up features like PayPal integration, Invoice Export Options, a Timeline of your Activity, and allows them to add other Staff members to your projects and activity. For smaller businesses or freelance work, the free version is more than enough.  Each paid version offers unlimited project, clients, tasks and invoices. The free version is enough to try some of the main features, but it only supports five clients and two invoices. Also, you cannot send quotes, run reports, create recurring invoices or use PayPal.

 

I have not tried this site myself, but after looking into it and reading lots of reviews, I would recommend looking into getting involved with due.com.  I read many positive comments from people who use it already, and I myself find this site to be very useful.  Definitely something a person who is an entrepreneur and just starting or even a big company that has been around for a while.  Whether you’re cutting grass or running a big business, Due.com could be very helpful for you.

 

“It’s so easy to use and straightforward that it actually does make things easier, which so many tool that try to do-it-all simply just can’t master. It’s intuitive, the navigation makes sense, and it automatically tracks everything for you so you know when something is completed and what’s coming up on your calendar.”

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