What’s New

Power Up

Hidden energy costs can run to hundreds of millions of dollars a year, says Jeffrey Hart, head of expense management firm Cadence Network Inc. Frequently, companies don’t know what they’re paying for — one of Cadence’s clients, for example, was paying monthly energy bills at a location that had shut down five years earlier. Hart suggests asking yourself these questions: Which sites incur the most expenses and why? What is our electricity rate and how can we reduce it? Are we sure that our utility, telecom, waste, and lease invoices are correct? Are we making the right purchasing decisions?

Online Optimism

If you run a small business, it’s time to put in that high-speed Internet connection. Small business owners who buy business products on eBay are more likely than non-eBay users to expect their companies, number of offices and locations, and number of employees to expand, reports an ACNielsen survey. Eighty-two percent of the eBay surfers said the Internet had helped their businesses grow, and 78% reported that it had reduced their costs, compared to 57% and 45%, respectively, of non-eBay users.

What’s New

Lighten Up Natural light isn’t just pretty — it’s profitable. There’s proof positive that “daylighting” works wonders in logistics operations. Businesses whose productivity has soared 40%-55% after installing natural lighting in their facilities include Federated Logistics & Operations, Verifone, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing. Energy savings, which can run as much as 90% in some cases, are another bonus — and this can come in handy if California’s stringent energy code, known as Title 24, sets the standard for other states. Title 24 requires buildings larger than 25,000 sq. ft. and with ceilings higher than 15 ft. to have 50% of the floor space illuminated by daylight.

Shipping Out “Offshore” may be a dirty word, but that isn’t stopping CEOs from sending work abroad. About 27% of the heads of small and midsized companies will be outsourcing some operations in the next three years, reports a survey by TEC International. Most of the jobs moved overseas will be, as they have for years, manufacturing and IT positions. The good news is that over 60% of the 1,091 CEOs surveyed expect to hire more employees.

What’s New

Where’s my Wireless?

For an in-depth look at who’s buying what gadget, check out “The Technological Elite and Other Users,” a report from the Pew Internet and American Project. The survey enmeshes you in a bewildering array of groups like The Young Tech Elite, Older Wired Baby Boomers, Young Marrieds, Low-Tech Elderly, and most tantalizing, Wired Senior Men. If you can slog through the jargon, there’s a lot of valuable information here. Young Marrieds, for instance, spend $124 a month on information goods. And the top spenders are not the pierced-tongue set; Older Wired Baby Boomers take the prize, forking out $175 a month for high-tech goodies.

Over There

With the U.S. economy in the doldrums, it may be worthwhile to take a trip across the pond. Citigroup Global Markets Group reports:

  • Economic growth in Europe will outpace that of the U.S.
  • The dollar will continue weak.
  • Europe will be a safer place to conduct business than Asia.
  • Inflation in the Euro Zone will drop to 2% or below.
  • France, Germany, and Italy should exceed 3% GDP growth.


– To help boost conversion rates from affiliate programs, ePod Corp. (www.epod.com) has launched the ePod. Described as “a transactional showcase,” an ePod enables members of affiliate programs to offer interactive – even transactional – frames within the host’s Website. While the benefit for the affiliated Website is clear, the advantage for the host site is that the consumer who is interested in the affiliate’s offer need not leave the host site and is, in fact, still on the original site even after making a purchase from the affiliate. The New York-based ePod also offers design, merchandising, and production services to support use of the tool.

– Accurately representing colors of merchandise on the Web is particularly important for marketers selling apparel, decor, or luxury goods. Two companies have launched tools that they say will improve color accuracy. Oakdale, MN-based Imation Corp. (www.imation.com) expects to make its Verifi tool widely available in the third quarter of the year. The server-based application resides at the host site. A visitor to a Verifi-enabled site takes a quick color-comparison survey that enables the tool to determine the color biases of the user’s monitor so that it can then adjust the Website’s images accordingly to compensate. The True Internet Color technology from E-Color (www.ecolor.com) works on the same principle. According to the San Francisco-based company, department store Bloomingdale’s, beauty site Indulge.com, and Lucy.com, which sells women’s athletic apparel, are already using the server-based software.

– Having been available on a limited basis in Asia, DecisionEdge for Campaign Management from IBM (www.ibm.com/software) is now available worldwide. IBM created the tool as an affordable option for midsize organizations. Among its key functions, DecisionEdge allows marketers to personalize a single message via multiple offers throughout an entire campaign cycle. It also manages the overall campaign activity to ensure that the most relevant offers reach the most appropriate customers and prospects. The base price for DecisionEdge for Campaign Management is $75,000, plus $7,000 per 100,000 customer records.

– To help personalize e-mail marketing, ClickAction (www.clickaction.com) has embedded the Advisor Solutions Suite from Mountain View, CA-based Blaze Software (www.blazesoft.com) into its E-mail Relationship Management (ERM) service. According to Palo Alto, CA-based ClickAction, the integrated product allows marketers to modify their e-mail offerings based on the recipients’ behavior and other data. Or, to quote from the ClickAction statement, “Rich customer e-mail dialogue, driven by rules-based technology, lets clients offer specifically targeted recommendations based on the companies’ best business and customer-service practices.”

– The IBACK system from Onlinefulfillment.com (formerly Cargo Connection) consists of management tools and back-end solutions designed to provide real-time, round-the-clock access to receipt logs, inventory, tracking, and orders processed. Companies can give different users varying levels of access to the information. Other features include online credit card authorization and automatic batch processing for high order volumes from call centers and electronic interchange.