Monday, May 20, 2013

Kevin Richards talks about Marketplace Fairness Act, Google Glass, and Amy's Baking Company

On Friday, May 17th, Kevin Richards spoke with Las Vegas Radio Icon Alan Stock.  Here's the transcript of the discussion and a link hear the interview on YouTube. 




AS: I’m Alan Stock, Great to have you with us on this Friday morning on the eye of entertainment coming up this hour and towards the end of this half hour we have Kathy Jung coming up with our Pet Pick of The Week!  Want to get a preview?  No problem. Go to alanstock.com and speaking of Alan stock.com my internet guru is Kevin Richards with Ventura Web Design.  He’s joining us right now on KDWN live line, and I appreciate it very much.
Kevin thanks for being with us.


KR: Hey good morning Alan how are you today?

AS: I am doing absolutely great, let’s get right into it, we have a lot to talk about here.  First of all the internet sales tax being debated left and right some say it will actually level the playing field for the local retailers because no the internet does not charge tax.  You can buy something on the internet and not pay tax.  You can go to your local retailer, you have to buy at maybe at the same price, if you’re lucky, and pay tax on top of that, so they’re saying it’s going to level the playing field, yes or no?

KR: Well the history of it is, you are a retailer and your looking in Nevada and you don’t have any locations any where else nation wide, you’re only required to collect sales tax for sales that you’re shipping to people in Nevada.  So what they’re looking to do is make it so that retailers in Nevada, if you collect more than one million dollars a year in revenue, total, you then have to collect sales tax for fifty states and ninety-six hundred jurisdictions.  So if you’ve ever been the lucky recipient of an audit from the IRS now you get 50 more chances, at least, for audits.

AS: Wow. So you’re going to have to know what it is that each state uses as a sales tax measure.

KR: Exactly.  So people like Amazon use to be really opposed to this, they had what was basically a heat map and an internal company heat map and what they would is identify states that were safe to do business with, and those that were not, and it would be identified like a stop sign, so red was “absolutely not”, yellow was “maybe, check with legal”, and green was “go for it.”  Now Amazon has changed their tune because about a year and a half ago they figured out that they could make money off of the collections sales tax.  So with your seller using the Amazon web-store platform, or selling through their seller’s central tool, you will now have the ability and the obligation, to collect sales tax as well as paying Amazon for the service of collecting that sales tax for you and remitting it to the agencies.

AS: So the internet sales companies will make money on this.

KR:  Absolutely. Now the market place fairness act, that’s what the senate passed last week, what they’re saying is that they’re requiring the state to provide free software, and they’re requiring the states to only have one FC that you have to work with, and twenty-two states are already on board because they’ve passed the streamline sales and use tax agreement, but the reality is, online stores use so many different technologies, they’re called platforms, that’s your e-commerce platform that you use to sell on, there are so many different technologies, there’s no such thing as one size fits all.  There’s companies out there that currently provide this for the larger internet seller who do have multiple locations and are required to collect sales tax, but you know, if you’re an internet retailer doing a million dollars, two million dollars, or even five million dollars, the reality is, you’re not making enough money to cover the ten to fifteen thousand dollars a year that that software really costs, as well as the maintenance and integration. 

AS:  So how will this once again affect the local retailers?  I mean, if they in fact do sell the same thing you can find online without paying tax.  I mean is it going to level the playing field for any of those folks?

KR: No, as a small retailer, that’s the whole point, it’s not leveling the playing field at all, that’s the reason Amazon is getting behind it.  It’s actually doing the opposite.  If you’re a small retailer it’s making your life significantly more difficult, and one of the things they’re doing is they’re using this million dollar mark, they’re making it seem like “Wow, if you’re making a million dollars you’re really rolling in the dough!”  Most people don’t realize, that as a small retailer, you start out, before you sell a product, you purchase that product for about 60 to 70% of the price you’re ultimately going to sell it for.  So before you’ve paid your employees, before you’ve paid rent, utilities, and all of your marketing, you’re out seventy dollars of that hundred dollar product, then after you’ve paid all those other fees, you’re lucky if you end up with a 5-10% margin on that hundred dollar product that you’ve sold.  That’s why when you look at Walmart and you realize their business is all about volume, you start to understand the retail business model a little better.

AS:  So small retailers it’s not a good idea, for people like Amazon, a good idea, but chances are it will pass, yes or no?

KR: I’m not one to…I live in Las Vegas but I’m not a gambling guy, I don’t know on that one.  We’re hoping that the house will put some amendments in there.  You know, it’s kind of an interesting thing, if it’s so easy to collect the sales tax, and any body can do it, then why is there a one million dollar threshold exemption? Shouldn’t it be that everyone can collect it?  You know, if you’re making five to ten million online that doesn’t magically help you be able to deal with fifty audits every single year, and all the other legal ramifications.

AS: Tell me about these Google glasses that are out.  People can wear a glass and…what do they do exactly, what’s the function?

KR: Well Google glasses is a pretty cool technology that’s come out, it’s a very Star Trek kind of technology, basically you wear some glasses on your head, and it has speakers that use the bone behind your ear to let you hear what’s going on. You’ve got a camera that’s constantly rolling. Basically it’s got you connected to the internet 24/7, you can see it right through your field of vision, and it’s kind of neat technology.  It’s caught the attention of the U.S. Congress. They sent a letter to Google CEO Larry Page, asking him if these products could infringe upon the privacy of the average American citizen, and asking him to respond to a series of questions.

AS:  Well it certainly could infringe.  The big issue also is, how will people be driving?  You couldn’t drive with one of these and then be distracted by all these things going on at one time, and also I might add that local casinos here in Las Vegas have banned them.

KR: Yeah, it’s kind of interesting when you where the glasses, if you want to see what’s being projected onto the glass you look up.   So you definitely take your eyes off of what’s in front of you, and right now there’s an app that gives you New York Time’s alerts so you could be walking around and you could be getting the latest New York Times, what ever is coming across the stream.  Ultimately, obviously, there’s going to be a Twitter integration so you can just constantly have a live Twitter stream, and you’re going to be fully connect 24/7 if you want to be.

AS:  Wow, Incredible. Alright, I want to talk a little bit, when we come back, about Amy’s Baking Company. I happened to see that particular show that was done on the Kitchen Nightmare with Chef Ramsay, and we couldn’t believe it.  I mean, the most amazing of all of his Kitchen Nightmares, ever.

KR:  Social media experts there.

AS: Well yeah but they’ve now gone to the social media to deal with this whole thing.  We’ll talk about it in just a moment. I’ve got Kevin Richard’s joining me from Ventura Web Design, and if you saw that show by the way, stick around, we’ve got some thoughts on that. Right after Kevin, it’s our Pet Pick of The Week.  I’ve got Kathy Jung bringing in a great pooch. If you want to get an advanced look go to alanstock.com and I guarantee’ya you’re going to love this particular pooch.

::Traffic Report::

AS:  I’m Alan Stock, thanks so much for joining us.  We’ve got the Pet Pick of The Week coming up in just a few moments, to find out about the Pet Pick of The Week go to alanstock.com. Joining me right now is Kevin Richards, he being the principal owner of Ventura Web Design and I’m glad you’re joining me this morning.  The Amy’s Baking Company was the last stop of Chef Ramsay on this last season’s Kitchen Nightmare, and it was an absolute nightmare.  He has never walked out on any job ever before, he walked out on this because these people are nuts.  And now they’re taking it to the internet, I guess to fight back.  What’s going on?

KR:  Well the history there is, about two years ago, they had some diners in there, and we’ve all heard about Yelp, and we’ve all heard that bloggers like to go to restaurants, and enjoy or…not so much enjoy the food and then write paragraphs and pages upon pages about their experience, so Amy, the chef owner, and her husband Sammy, Sammy’s job is apparently to yell at patrons who don’t like her food, and then not tell her that nobody likes her food…and then Amy’s job is to hop onto social media and call people who have given her bad reviews morons and losers.  So the main thing is they aired on Kitchen Nightmares on May 10th, and since that aired they’ve gone from nearly zero social media presence to now more than eighty-five thousand likes on Facebook.  The interesting thing about that is, negative PR, as we all know can sometime be positive, the interesting thing here is, if they’re smart, which they have hired a PR firm, they’re going to be able to take all the buzz all the traffic that’s coming from their website, re-brand themselves, and suddenly be very well known and have a lot of control over their social media experience.

AS:  Wait a minute!  They have eighty-five thousand likes? Meaning people agree with the Amy’s Baking Company?

KR:  That’s the neat thing about Facebook a like is the only tool you have to kind of interact with a company, it does not necessarily mean that you like them.

AS: Ah, ok.

KR:  I know I’ve got a lot of friends who’ve like them and they’re doing it because you can’t turn your head away from watching the train wreck, right?

AS: And it was an absolute train wreck.  I mean Sammy, somebody actually complained to Sammy that they had waited a long time since they had been served, and he says to them “F-off” right there.  And this is the owner of the place telling a customer.  And they try to shanghai some customers who were leaving because they didn’t get served and they said “I don’t care that you didn’t get served, you have to pay for it any way.” And of course her attitude, she keeps rolling her eyes every time Chef Ramsay tries to tell her something.  It’s like “Yeah. Ok.  Fine. Uh huh. Sure.” She’s like a spoiled valley girl.

KR: Oh yeah, and I’m not sure if she’s from Vegas or not.  They claim Sammy was a big Vegas playboy, better than Hugh Heffner, right?

AS:  He, a playboy? Oh. My. God. Ok.

KR:   Yeah, if you’ve seen the episode, I think you’d know better.  But I mean if you look at their social media…

AS: If he was a playboy than I’m the Pope!  Ok, go ahead.

KR: Somebody commented, “Unflattering portrayal on TV included when you yelled at a customer, demanded he pay for food he didn't receive, physically assault him and then threaten to call the cops on him? Hmm, the camera must add 5 lbs of unprofessional.” Because the whole point is, Amy’s screaming on social media that Chef Ramsay is portraying her incorrectly, that all these bloggers are portraying her incorrectly, she is just a victim of cyber bullying.

AS: Well that’s what she said the whole time. That they both claim they were victims.  And no matter what went on they were victims, victims. They ended up firing a gal because she asked a simple question, and they went through a hundred people in a year.  A hundred employees they fired in a year.  These people are psycho.  But if you want to see the train wreck it’s Amy’s Baking Company online, you can go there…I wouldn’t like them . You can go and take a look and watch the train wreck, because I think that’s all it’s worth.  I mean they really are nuts.  And again, this is the only show he’s ever walked out on. Everyone else was a tough row to hoe, but he stuck with it, and he was able to help turn things around, and the people went ahead and were able to make some money and have a successful business.  These people would just not listen to him.  Why they asked him there in the first place when they wouldn’t listen to him…that’s what Rode and I were scratching our heads about.  If you didn’t want to listen to him, why’d you even invite him in the first place?

KR:  Well the funny thing is they most recently claimed that all those bad comments on their Facebook and social media was result of them being hacked, and they made a report to the Scottsdale Police Department.  We actually called them, we tried to get a comment from Scottsdale Police Department, they said “No comment, they’re not going to get involved.” I highly doubt that a police report was actually made.

AS:  Kitchen Nightmare was not hacked and we saw…and I’m telling you, these people are nuts. Ok Amy’s Baking Company.  Kevin Richards, Ventura Web Design, if you want to find out more about Ventura Web Design go to alanstock.com and right there you can click on Ventura Web Design, right on the right hand side of the page, find out more about them, great people, they do a great job, obviously, look at my website. Kevin, thanks so much for being with us. I do appreciate it and we’ll talk again next week.

KR: Hey thanks for having me next week we’ll talk about Facebook fatigue and what’s going to happen there.

AS: Alright take good care.  Kevin Richards with Ventura Web Design, joining us on news talk 720 KDWN.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Thoughts on one page checkout for Yahoo! Store

So you're a Yahoo! Store owner and you're thinking of adding the one page checkout?  Here are our thoughts on the feature.

One page checkout is good for shoppers when all of these conditions are met:
1) Already have an account with the merchant
2) Shopper trusts the merchant
3) Shipping rates are pre-populated by existing account settings, so shipping is displayed prior to submitting the order.

As a shopper, I like the single page checkout that Amazon.com provides, but only because the above requirements are met.

Small merchants do not typically have the brand loyalty or awareness that is required to meet the above guidelines. 

It is important when making any change to your checkout page, you clearly think through how your customers will react to the change.  Remember that a good chunk of your daily business comes from customers that have never heard of you before today. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Not optimizing or designing for the Chrome browser? OOPS!

The official announcement came today via the Google Blog that starting on June 15th, Google has partnered with Amazon and Best Buy to sell what will be known as the Chromebook. This super fast, simple, web-centric PC platform will be rented to businesses for $28/month and individuals/schools for $20/month.

So the question is, has your Yahoo! Store been designed to be Chrome compliant? Ours are! Checkout our candles at Scents & Sprays using your Chrome browser. The experience will be fast, smooth, and error free.

Don't let the marketing fool you. These computers will have solid state hard drives (in the range of 16GB), so you will still be capable of storing content locally.

So when moving forward with your next redesign, keep Chrome in mind. In fact, keep Safari in mind... Internet Explorer (versions 8 and up)... and of course, Firefox should all be used to test your site for usability and cross-browser compatibility.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Yahoo! Store Summit 2010 - SEO and SEM Session

Kevin Richards, CEO of Ventura Web Design, spoke at the 2010 Yahoo! Store Summit on the topics of Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing.

View the speaking panel segments here:
SEO Segment 1 - Mike Ober, Yahoo! Sr. Mgr. of Merchant Development introduces the panel. Title tags based on your keywords and content.

SEO Segment 2 - Pay-per-click testing. Change on or two words. Use Yahoo! tracking links. Track revenue and conversion rates. Increase click-through rate (quality score).

SEO Segment 3 - PPC tips: Landing page optimization. Promote your value proposition at the top of your page and make it easy for customers to know why you're the best. Optimize your title and description constantly and don't rely on Google to choose for you.

SEO Segment 4 - "I'm a one man operation, what should I do in 1 hour a day?" and "I rely heavily on Google [SERPs], how do I diversify? How can I hire a web designer that won't screw up my SEO?"

Webmaster Guidelines from Google is one of the easiest ways to make sure your site redesign goes smoothly, from an SEO perspective.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ventura Web Design Complaints


For nearly 15 years (since 1997), Ventura Web Design has been helping clients from all over the United States build successful online webstores. Today we want to toot our own customer service horn a little bit.

The Better Business Bureau of Southern Nevada has awarded us with an A Rating. Checkout all of the Ventura Web Design Complaints. When you visit the BBB live site, you will find that we have zero unresolved complaints. Places like Rip Off Report will show just a single consumer complaint, which is the same complaint that was filed with the BBB back in 2007.

It is quite remarkable that a business that has been operating for nearly fifteen years only has one complaint that has ever been filed with the BBB. After working with thousands of clients, we are proud of our exceptional customer service rating.

All Clients are encouraged to work directly with their Project Manager to resolve any mis-communications or misunderstandings that inherently arise when building a new business. And that's what developing or redesigning a website is. You are building a new business, often times from the ground up. We both (Client and Ventura) bring different experience to the table. It is through a mutual understanding and respect for one another that we are able to produce the right e-commerce website for you.

Written by: Kevin Richards, CEO of Ventura Web Design

Visit Kevin Richards on LinkedIn

Monday, April 4, 2011

Introducing Advanced Cross Selling for the Yahoo! Store



Straight from the Ventura Web Design Labs comes another great programming feature for the Yahoo! Store: Advanced Cross Selling

This feature was inspired by the number 1 online retailer in the world, Amazon.com. The concept is simple. Sell more products to the same customer base, thus increasing your average ticket value (avg total per order).

How does it work? Simple. Retailers identify which items they want to be sold together as a "combo". Choose the amount of discount (dollar amount or percentage off) that your customer will receive by purchasing all items together and you're done.

Here is an example of how Amazon.com has deployed this feature with similar products:


This feature is available for most Yahoo! Stores. Please contact Ventura Web Design today to discuss adding this new feature to your store.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Internet Retailer 2011


Internet Retailer is coming to San Diego this year. This event is for those who want to increase their e-commerce knowledge and truly take their webstore to the next level.

Visit Ventura Web Design as we demo new Yahoo! Store features that are sure to increase your bottom line.

Act today and save! Early bird registration ends soon. Visit IRCE for details.

Meet our Yahoo! Store Developers and discuss specifics about your existing e-commerce store.

Thinking of switching platforms? IRCE is a great opportunity to meet with the Yahoo! Store / Yahoo! Small Business team and learn about the capacity, stability, and reliability of this industry leading platform.

Experts will be on hand to help you asses your current strengths and weaknesses, no matter what platform you are currently using for e-commerce.