Posted on Leave a comment

Xaiko Cider on Disrupting the Industry and Black Entrepreneurship

Xaiko Cider Talks Black Entrepreneurship

Last year, we began interviewing CEOs and Founders of early-stage companies to learn how COVID-19 impacted America’s most innovative startups. This year we continue the series with a new two-fold theme- the state of entrepreneurship in 2021 for social impact start-ups and BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color), as well as other underrepresented groups. 

We chose this theme for two reasons. First, because this year, we will be launching our own social impact enterprise (stay tuned for more details). Second, because our leadership team features BIPOC and we believe in the importance of entrepreneurial opportunities for all. Per that belief, DataDay Design is committing to donate $3 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund for every order made through our blog series from a highlighted BIPOC-owned start-up.

With that, we are excited to launch our first interview with our client, Tobin Costen and Xaiko Beverages. Tobin is a BIPOC-business founder. His company, Xaiko Beverages, offers an exciting new twist to the alcoholic cider industry. Even amidst the pandemic, it’s so popular that the business struggles to fulfill all its orders. Read on to learn more about this up-and-coming beverage brand and how Tobin views the state of entrepreneurship for Black business owners in 2021.

Xaiko Cider

Tobin Costen, Entrepreneur at Heart

Tobin is a business and sports marketing professor at Holy Names University in Oakland, California. He got his start in entrepreneurship in the ’90s when he met and started working with Master P.. Tobin became the Executive Vice President of Master P’s label, No Limit Records, and his business manager. When he found out the financial benefits of running a business oneself, he decided to start his own label, Me & Mine Entertainment. The label was a success and signed rapper King George. Independently, Tobin also signed rapper Lil Troy (of the ever-famous “Wanna Be a Baller”) and his record label, Short Stop Records, to a major distribution deal. 

Tobin Costen, Founder and CEO of Xaiko Beverages and proponent of Black Entreprenurship
Xaiko Beverages Founder & CEO, Tobin Costen

How to Start a Cider Business; Start With Sake?

In 2007, Tobin was attending graduate school when he went out with some friends to a Japanese restaurant for Sake. Some in the group were doing Sake Bombs, but others didn’t like the taste, so they didn’t participate. Tobin recalls having an idea at that moment- “what if I made a Sake that was smooth and had flavor? No one does that.” 

It was then that the name Xaiko came to him, as in being psycho for crushing Sake Bombs. The more he thought about the name, the more he wanted it to look different, so he chose Xaiko Sake. Tobin began researching because he knew nothing about the beverage business. He soon found a flavor chemist who agreed to make samples once Tobin picked a few flavors. 

After spending years on product design and struggling to get a liquor license (few are handed out in the U.S for Sake), Tobin reached a breakthrough. He met with Two Rivers Cider in Sacramento, California, who wanted to take his flavors and do them with cider. Unfortunately, they had a capacity issue, but Tobin’s mind had already turned to cider. 

He met with Hidden Star Orchards, a cider production facility in San Leandro, California. They agreed to begin producing his ciders marking the official birth of Xaiko Beverages. Xaiko Ciders started with four original flavors; Orange Lime, Raspberry Dragonfruit, Kiwi Lime, and Blackberry Rasberry. Today that offering has grown to eleven flavors with infinitely more memorable names. Those original four flavors are now known as Citrus Mistress, Mother of Dragons, Kiwi Herman, and Blackberry Bonds #25 (a la former San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds).


What is Xaiko’s Approach to Branding?

Xaiko’s most significant effort is to ensure people recognize the brand as high quality and fun. In general, cider is a lowkey hang-out drink. You chill at a restaurant or brewery, sip cider, and look at nature. Xaiko markets itself as the cider drink when you want to party, no matter if you’re 21 or 70. Unlike most sugary alcohols consumed on a night out, Xaiko Cider is low in sugar with a smooth taste while still packing 6.7% alcohol. Overall, it’s about branding for entertainment, fun, and enjoying oneself. 

As part of its efforts to be fun and enjoyable, the company tries to be present at as many events as possible. Pre-Covid, events were the main focus for branding and marketing. You could find Xaiko at almost every major event in the Bay Area or Central Valley of California. 


How is Xaiko Beverages Positioning Itself for a Post-Vaccine World?

Xaiko is expanding its operation. The company recently invested in a state-of-the-art canning machine to produce more cases to match growing demand. Also, Xaiko is working with distributor Geyser Beverages to get more products out in Northern California. Then the company will expand to the rest of the state and northwest. While there are plans to distribute Xaiko Cider further east, they are further down the line. 

In addition to its logistics focus, Xaiko is also emphasizing its digital presence to position itself as the go-to drink for a good time. As such, the business has placed a strong emphasis on the need to expand its digital presence. To do so, Xaiko contracted with DataDay Design in January 2021 to improve its social media and online engagement. We are proud to have Xaiko Beverages as a client and partner company. 


The State of Black Entrepreneurship in 2021

“As I look at entrepreneurship, in general, I think there has been no greater time to be able to provide a solution for people. The success of any business is determined by its ability to solve a problem for people, regardless of race. When we talk about Black businesses, it has always been challenging because, for whatever reason, black business owners usually do not get the benefit of the doubt. 

For example, if someone has a poor experience at a Black bakery, they don’t often say, ‘I’m not going back to Tobin Costen Bakery’; it’s usually ‘I don’t mess with black businesses or won’t go to them anymore.’ For a bakery owner of any other race, if a customer had a bad experience, they’ll say, I’m not going back to so-and-so bakery, not I’m not going to see a baker of this race ever again. As a Black business owner, you are forced to serve as the face of and speak for every black entrepreneur out there. 

Black businesses also face preconceived notions, such as that they price gouge or want to negotiate. In reality, many people devalue black companies and want to pay a black business less. ‘It’s almost like they want us to be thankful for their business.’ If you’re going to be a black business owner, you need to know that’s what you’re dealing with. You need to outwork folks and show you’re on top of things. On the other side of the coin, some people go just because you’re a black business. 


Building Wealth for the Future Starts With Entrepreneurship

In general, entrepreneurship is already a challenge, but adding in fighting the demons of being a black business makes things even more difficult. Still, in 2021 there are more opportunities and more money available for people to start businesses. Black people need to know how to do their own research to get that money. It’s a challenge for black folks, but it’s important to have more black businesses.

I believe to build wealth truly, you need to start a business. It’s a lot harder with a 401K, working for someone else. When you build a business, you get tax write-offs and can develop your personal brand. I think it is the best way to go so people can build generational wealth for their children and grandchildren. I strongly encourage Black people to consider entrepreneurship and start their own business.”

Posted on Leave a comment

Drone Technology Startup Linebird is Innovating Our Grid Management System

Drone technology startup Linebird

DataDay Design is interviewing CEOs and Founders of pre-seed and recently seed-funded start-ups to talk to them about entrepreneurship and to learn how start-up enterprises are navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. This interview is with Michael Beiro, founder and CEO of Linebird, an innovative drone technology business powering the resilience of our grids by using unmanned aerial systems to make contact with live power lines. 

You can read more of our interviews with America’s brightest entrepreneurs here

What is Linebird?

Linebird uses unmanned aerial systems (yes, that means drones) to work on power lines. What makes Linebird’s drone technology novel is it allows them to make contact with energized power lines. 

This innovation opens a host of opportunities for the utilities industry. It takes traditionally dangerous work that could only be completed by a manned crew and robotizes it. That means tasks like running diagnostics and conducting repairs on live power lines may be a thing of the past. 

Drone Technology startup Linebird
A Linebird drone prepares to make contact with an active power line

How Did Linebird Get Its Start?

Linebird grew out of an independent research study Michael worked on in 2018 while pursuing his B.S. in mechanical science from VCU. At the time of the study, he thought he might simply be offered a post-graduation job with the company he was researching with, or that he might be recognized as an accredited inventor of the new technology. Instead, about a year after he began working on the project, Michael branched out and formed Linebird. 

What Factors Have Influenced Linebird’s Approach to Growth?

The utilities industry is typically focused on the here and now. Technology that may be useful in the future often takes a backseat to more immediate concerns that must be dealt with swiftly. When dealing with critical infrastructure that powers the nation’s economy, energy companies can never be too careful. That means always taking time to understand and vet whom or what is interacting with their grid. 

Couple slow tech adaptation with an industry notorious for its risk aversion and it’s clear why Michael says Linebird decided to take a long-term approach to developing and marketing its technology. 

The company has worked tirelessly to prove the safety and efficacy of its prototype system. Now, it is preparing for its launch which should occur in about the next year. 

What Challenges Has COVID-19 Posed to Linebird as an Early-Stage Start-Up?

COVID-19 has put a pause to some of Linebird’s momentum. In February 2020, the company won the Dominion Energy Innovation pitch competition. As a result, Linebird was granted access to a de-energized linemen training yard, which essentially serves as a practice field for powerline workers. There they hoped to conduct prototype flight tests in a low-risk environment, but then COVID struck and scuppered those plans.

That is why Michael suggests that COVID-19’s greatest hindrance has been the delay it has caused to Linebird’s R&D work. 

What is Linebird’s Approach to Digital Strategy?

Linebird recently revamped its website to better market its legitimacy. The company’s previous online presence failed to develop a satisfactory brand image. Additionally, the company is extremely active on LinkedIn in introducing itself and building a network of players in the industry. 

While Linebird’s digital presence isn’t immense, Michael suggests that they do make a point to be transparent about who they are: a team of subject-matter experts committed to expanding the capabilities of unmanned aerial systems in pursuit of alleviating the dangers of one of the most fatal and lethal jobs in the country. 

Image Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch

What Has Been Linebird’s Investment Timeline?

Linebird raised funds over the last two years through friends and family to build their prototype and file for patents. 

The company has received strong financial support from its local ecosystem in Richmond. There it has earned funding in the form of awards and grants through pitch competitions and accelerator programs like Lighthouse Labs.  

When asked if Linebird will seek to raise capital in the near future, Michael confirms, suggesting that the company will look to raise heavily in and around the next 12 months when it comes time to rapidly scale the business.

What is Next for Linebird?

Linebird’s early go-to-market strategy is to operate as the sole service provider of its technology. The company will fly its own fleet of drones, equipped with its proprietary technology, to take specialized infrastructure diagnostics.

In the meantime, the business will continue to improve its technology and build out its training procedures. Once it is proven on a smaller-scale, Linebird will utilize the utilities industry’s strong network effects to undergo mass deployment. It will transition to selling a product; the licensed technology and training regimen which will be implemented into and used by other businesses drone fleets.

No matter what the future may hold for Linebird, its mission will stay the same: to sell a product that enables people to safely provide advanced services for power infrastructure while continuously innovating new solutions in a critical industry.

You can read more of our interviews with America’s brightest entrepreneurs here

Posted on Leave a comment

EdTech Startup EdConnective is Growing During COVID-19: Here’s How

EdTech startup EdConnective

DataDay Design is interviewing CEOs and Founders of start-ups and early-stage companies to talk about entrepreneurship and learn how these businesses are navigating the COVID-19 global health crisis. This interview is with Erik Skantze, co-founder and Chief Product Officer of EdConnective, a Richmond, Virginia-based EdTech startup platform designed for the new era of education by providing virtual coaching to teachers.

You can read more of our interviews with America’s brightest entrepreneurs here

What is EdConnective?

EdConnective is a platform that provides instructional coaching for teachers and administrators at the school and district levels to improve their delivery as educators. Teachers fill out a comprehensive survey and an algorithm matches them with coaches with compatible experience. They then record and upload footage of their classroom while doing live instruction, which they share with their coach.

The footage is carefully analyzed before the coach and teacher meet for an intensive training session designed to improve delivery. These coaching sessions occur 1-2 times a week, typically for 8 weeks.

The platform has engendered tremendous improvement among its teachers; one need only look at the raving testimonials given by its users.

One teacher at a private preparatory school in Maryland noted how much she grew each week. A different high school educator was impressed that “practically every student shows a brighter attitude and more engaged behavior in class” after starting on EdConnective. 

Overall, EdConnective has found that these one-on-one coaching sessions lead to much greater knowledge transfer than traditional teaching conferences.

How Did EdConnective Get Started?

EdConnective is the academic brainchild of Erik’s co-founder, Will Morris. The two met at the University of Pennsylvania while both were in graduate school. 

Erik was pursuing his MBA after recently selling an edtech startup in the D.C. area. Meanwhile, Will, a master’s student in education policy, was working on EdConnective as a part of his thesis. Their backgrounds suited each other well, and a partnership was born. 

The pair agreed that the most important thing in the classroom, at the end of the day, regardless of technology, is the teacher. If they could help educators improve and feel more supported, they’d have the opportunity to positively impact a broad range of students. 

While there are already many extremely intelligent people in the teaching profession, according to Erik, they get a large dose of pedagogy and not much practical support in terms of the tools required for classroom management and student engagement. The lack of such resources contributes to the high rates of burnout and attrition among educators. That’s ultimately the problem EdConnective set out to solve. Improve support for teachers in the classroom to help create more fulfilling careers while also improving educational outcomes.

As An EdTech Startup, How Has COVID-19 Affected EdConnective’s Growth?

Pre-COVID, teachers had a particular set of needs for in-person classrooms that has shifted with the transition to remote learning. 

Now, instructors need to figure out how to use new technology, how to engage students virtually, and how to balance synchronous and asynchronous learning. 

There’s an entirely new set of concerns for teachers, principals, and administrators, but overall the root problem is the same; educators are undersupported.

Accordingly, though EdConnective has faced COVID-related challenges, such as in-flux budgets wreaking havoc on the clarity of the sales cycle, the company has remained relatively unscathed. In fact, there is such a tremendous need for educational support that EdConnective has actually witnessed an uptick in demand. As such, the business has managed to surpass its growth goals for the year, despite COVID-19. 

What Were EdConnective’s Takeaways from the Lighthouse Labs Accelerator?

EdConnective was a member of the Fall 2018 class of the Richmond-based, Lighthouse Labs Seed-Stage Accelerator

According to Erik, Lighthouse Labs was especially helpful for providing a better understanding of the Richmond start-up ecosystem. It allowed EdConnective a chance to not only hone its pitch and bounce ideas off a great cohort of advisors, but also to be connected to local sources of capital and advisors. 

It proved to be a pivotal relationship for the edtech startup, as most of its funding to date has been raised locally to Richmond, a fact the company is especially proud of. Lighthouse Labs was key in helping to shape a strategy that helped foment those investor connections. 

What is EdConnective’s Relationship with the Local Community in Richmond?

It’s easy to fall for the idea that successful start-ups only come from Boston, New York, and San Francisco. However, EdConnective was excited by the opportunity to move to Richmond and become a part of its burgeoning start-up ecosystem. The choice of location has proven to be beneficial.

For one, there are plenty of opportunities to work with and bounce ideas off of bright people. Erik mentions, for example, EdConnective’s relationship with Trilogy Mentors, an e-learning platform focused on online tutoring. About a year ago, both businesses were facing similar strategic challenges. They both gained from being able to work through those challenges together. 

Furthermore, along with a few other local companies, EdConnective put together an EdTech startup Shark Tank, helping hone their pitch skills for investment meetings. 

Perhaps most valuably, Richmond has recently seen a number of venture funds come together. For example, Trolley Ventures, which invested in EdConnective. 

What is EdConnective’s Approach to Digital Strategy and Branding?

EdConnective takes a multi-pronged approach to its digital strategy. The company hopes to solve a common question posed by educators, “what the heck is EdConnective?” 

The goal is to help teachers quickly realize the platform is a tool to support them and help them with their personal development. To provide that information, EdConnective is utilizing social media, email marketing, and its soon-to-be-released new website. Additionally, the company has a paid advertising strategy in place. It coincides with a huge need and corresponding search for virtual support for educator coaching. 

Finally, the company is utilizing its experienced team of coaches to help develop engaging content, like blog articles on how to institute better practices for diversity, equity, and inclusion. The aim is to deliver content of real value, not just SEO clickbait to build an engaged and connected audience.

How Has EdConnective Approached Fundraising?

Similar to the vast majority of start-ups, fundraising has, at times, proven difficult. There is an exorbitant number of conversations that need to occur to understand the right people to reach out to for investment and why. Erik remembers hundreds of conversations, many of which did not prove fruitful, but were beneficial in providing valuable feedback. He notes that they always made sure to clarify what investors were looking for and why. That way, they might tweak their presentation, offerings, or how they communicated their value proposition in the future.

Going through that iterative process has been useful for understanding both how to proceed with and diversify fundraising options. For example, EdConnective has local investors from Richmond, but also investors from San Francisco as well. 

Where Do You See EdConnective in 2-3 Years?

In each of the 100 largest school districts in the United States, in every Title 1 school, and every urban school with the need of EdConnective’s services. The long-term goal is to provide the platform to every teacher that wants to improve their craft, both in this country and globally.

The beauty of EdConnective’s solution is that it’s highly flexible. Struggles with education have become a worldwide issue and the platform is certainly adaptable to international markets. Reigning in his own enthusiasm, Erik suggests EdConnective’s focus over the next 2-3 years is largely in the U.S., but the prospect of supporting education abroad is on the horizon.

You can read more of our interviews with America’s brightest entrepreneurs here

Posted on Leave a comment

DeepTech Startup Active Energy Systems Cools the Competition During COVID

DataDay Design is interviewing CEOs and Founders of start-ups and early-stage companies to talk about entrepreneurship and learn how these businesses are navigating the COVID-19 global health crisis. This interview is with Dr. Levon Atoyan, co-founder of Active Energy Systems, a seed-stage cleantech and deeptech startup developing ice thermal storage systems that will allow corporations to cool buildings more efficiently, at a lower cost. Their innovations provide opportunities for facilities to reduce their HVAC-related greenhouse gas emissions.

You can read more of our interviews with America’s brightest entrepreneurs here

How did Active Energy Systems start?

Levon and Mitchell both earned their PhDs from Cornell. After meeting through Cornell’s technical entrepreneurship club, the pair applied to NEXUS-NY, an accelerator with a focus on customer discovery, hardware development, and cleantech. NEXUS provided Mitchell and Levon an opportunity to explore the cleantech space and put their technical backgrounds to work. NEXUS also provided the initial funding that allowed Active Energy Systems to start on their prototype.

Over the course of the NEXUS accelerator, their team got serious about entrepreneurship. In 2017, they earned funding from ORNL’s Innovation Crossroads. As a result, Active Energy Systems moved its headquarters to Knoxville, TN. They’ve spent the last few years conducting research, testing different iterations of their product, and improving their prototype using government grants. Active Energy Systems will begin to seek seed funding and move beyond the R&D phase in the coming months.

From Left to Right: Mitchell, Lucas, and Levon

The company will also be shifting to commercial product development in 2021. So far, they’ve focused on building an MVP to generate confidence and trust from their end-users and partners – commercial building owners, energy/facility groups, and chiller manufacturers. Their current MVP is scaled down two orders of magnitude from their final product.

How has the global health crisis impacted AES?

Because the company is still in the product development phase, they weren’t exposed to a rapid loss of customers when COVID-19 caused an economic downturn. Active Energy Systems had to shut down their research lab in April, but their team quarantined together to continue working. Their smaller size allowed them to return to the lab in May.

Coronavirus has also impacted Levon and the team by slowing conversations with several funds they had been in contact with. 

What are some of the greatest learning experiences you’ve had since starting your own DeepTech startup?

Many of the product development processes typically employed in a start-up, such as Lean and Agile, didn’t apply to Active Energy Systems’ early-stage operations. The company’s deeptech focus typically means rapid iteration usually takes months. One of the greatest early challenges was figuring out how to adapt those traditional product development processes to their situation. By shifting to a customer discovery strategy that frontloaded concept exploration, the team was able to apply relevant development frameworks.

Another realization of note was the importance of securing non-dilutive government funding for deeptech start-ups. Those funding programs are more willing to accept technology risk than equity investors. As such, these sources of funding are critical to the early stages of developing a hard tech product.

Finally, Levon suggested that any grad or Ph.D. student planning to pursue entrepreneurship in the deeptech space has a lot to gain from exploring government SBIRs, as well as commercialization programs such as Innovation Crossroads.

Commercial Prototype

What is Active Energy Systems’ Digital Strategy?

Active Energy Systems’ growth depends on developing strong customer relationships and nurturing them over time. The company’s digital strategy is different from typical D2C companies and even most B2B companies. That’s because quick conversions based on brand or digital marketing efforts are nearly impossible.

Via direct digital outreach, AES hopes to connect with established companies looking to fulfill corporate social responsibility commitments to reduce their emissions. These corporations provided the initial customer insights that led to Active Energy Systems’ conceptualization, and their team hopes to continue focusing on corporations with a mind towards GHG emissions reduction.

Active Energy Systems is currently seeking seed funding as well as OEM partners to bring their commercial product to market.

You can read more of our interviews with America’s brightest entrepreneurs here

Posted on Leave a comment

Language Learning App Pangea Chat Emerges During the Pandemic

Language learning app Pangea Chat

DataDay Design is interviewing CEOs and Founders of start-ups and early-stage companies to talk about entrepreneurship and learn how these businesses are navigating the COVID-19 global health crisis. Our first interview is with Will Jordan-Cooley, co-founder, and lead instructional designer of Pangea Chat, a new mobile and web language learning app designed to help its users learn a language while communicating with their friends! 

You can read more of our interviews with America’s brightest entrepreneurs here.  

What is Pangea Chat, and How Did It Start?

The idea for Pangea Chat first began when Will visited a friend in Spain and tried to learn Spanish. He’d never taken Spanish before, so he started learning from square one with different platforms and by using Google Translate in his WhatsApp messages. 

Will says he quickly realized that he preferred in-message translation because he got to learn while having real conversations with real people.

With his background in the education industry, making educational games for companies and institutions like Nickelodeon and Columbia University, Will saw an opportunity. 

With advances in natural language processing, he realized he could create a valuable, structured language learning app experience built around people’s personal communications; his vision became Pangea Chat. 

With Pangea Chat, users can receive guidance and support to learn a language through their regular everyday conversations. It’s not just simple translations, but an entire ecosystem of learning including custom-built games based on users’ actual text conversations.

How Has the Global Health Crisis Affected Pangea Chat?

COVID-19 has caused a rapid shift to remote learning. That has created a new opportunity in the EdTech industry to support education. 

Pangea Chat initially focused on the individual learning market because getting into schools is difficult and time-consuming. However, the company ran into some network effects that proved difficult to get around. Most notably, it was extremely challenging to get new users to adopt the app without their friends using it first.

But with the global health crisis forcing a transition to online education, it became a good opportunity to break into schools. Suddenly, the U.S. education system was open to adopting new behaviors and systems of learning.

How is Pangea Chat Focusing on Development?

Pangea Chat is currently focusing on its beta for the K-12 classroom environment. 

In their conversations with teachers, one thing they’ve often heard is that other digital learning tools aren’t very interactive. Outside of the classroom, educators have dramatically fewer opportunities for back and forth learning exchanges. Pangea Chat is naturally suited to solving this gap since it’s designed to support language learning through conversation.

According to Will, the beautiful thing about the classroom environment is that it operates as its own little network. By developing its in-school model, Pangea Chat can simultaneously solve its network effect problem with the individual user model. 

With the classroom model, groups of friends in school will already have Pangea Chat. Therefore, attracting their other friends and family to join the platform will be much easier.  

Pangea Chat vs. Global Health

What Are Pangea Chat’s Takeaways From Participating in the Lighthouse Labs Seed Stage Accelerator? 

Customer discovery is an extremely important process. It’s not only essential to determine exactly what your customers want, but also to figure out exactly how to get buy-in from them.

Will notes that your platform might be the best solution that your customers need right now, but how you approach that conversation and your messaging is key. 

He mentions they learned that a compelling way to approach consumers is to say, “Hey, we want to hear your story and know who you are and what are your challenges”. Then, you can start to explain how you’re there to help. 

That consumer-first approach can be a more useful lead-in to your product than simply explaining why your product is great. Especially when you’re an early-stage company and your brand isn’t fully developed.

That is particularly true with teachers because their stories are rarely heard and they have quite a few to tell. This is no more evident than with Pangea Chat’s target group- language teachers. They typically receive less funding than most other subject departments in the United States.

What are the Next Steps for the Pangea Chat language learning app?

Pangea Chat is focused on conducting additional user research during its fall classroom pilot. The company plans to continue to improve both its classroom and individual learning product models. 

The company is also looking to bring on a late-stage co-founder to guide sales and fundraising. Pangea Chat expects to start seeking capital investment at the end of this calendar year.

You can read more of our interviews with America’s brightest entrepreneurs here

Posted on Leave a comment

Cyber Monday: Grow Revenue with an ECommerce Site

Cyber Monday 2020

The stage is set for Cyber Monday 2020 to be one of the highest-grossing to date. Chances are you already know why.

Since Coronavirus shut down brick and mortar stores across the U.S., there’s been a huge jump in online spending. While these stores have re-opened in some capacity in almost all states, climbing numbers in reported COVID cases mean another big online bump is likely as the holiday shopping season begins.

Regardless, the digital shift has long since been underway. This year has only accelerated the need for businesses to transform their digital strategies if they want to keep up.

Cyber Monday sales in the U.S. are projected to hit $10 billion this year.

Lucky for you, your business still has time to set up the payment processing systems needed to cash in on your piece of that Thanksgiving week pie.

Building an eCommerce platform into your website has very clear value if you’re the owner of a retail business or restaurant. You provide an additional storefront for a small fraction of the cost. It allows you to reach customers outside your main market. It also makes it easier to predict revenues and inventory needs ahead of time.

In fact, if you have a retail business or restaurant and still don’t have eCommerce capability on your site, you’re missing out on sizeable revenue growth. If you’ve considered investing in the online growth of your business before, 2020 is the year to execute.

Consider scheduling a call with DataDay today to launch an eCommerce site for your business before Cyber Monday. If you’re still unsure if you need an online checkout system for your business, read on.

Why ECommerce is Essential for Cyber Monday and Beyond

If retail isn’t a core component of your business, there are still several reasons for eCommerce functionality on your site. Having the ability to process online payments directly through your website means:

More Revenue

The easier it is for clients to pay you for the goods and services they want, the more revenue is going to come in. Simple as that. While some of your offerings and contracts may need to be highly customized, you may be underestimating how much of your business can be streamlined with an online check out process.

Whether you run an auto-shop, sell goods wholesale, or provide financial services, pinpointing a few of your most in-demand offerings and selling those online is a great start!

Opportunities for Online Promos

Having the ability to conduct online transactions can open a lot of doors for a creative marketing team. eCommerce capabilities make it easy to direct a portion of your sales to charitable causes, sell event tickets, and keep track of capacity, all in one place (NYE isn’t far away!). It also allows you to reward existing clients for referrals.

If you’re in the service industry, online payments give you the chance to do a giveaway for a trial run of your services. You could sell an eBook about your expertise for a few bucks and select a winner from that customer pool.

Schedule & Pay in Advance

If you’re offering a membership-based service or regularly managing appointments, you should absolutely set up online payments on your website. Gyms, spas, life coaches, and advisory services, this is for you.

2021 is coming up quickly! As people get serious about a fresh start (let’s be honest we all need a fresh start after 2020), you should empower your customers looking to add structure to their lives. Physical, mental, and financial wellness for them, and organizational wellness for your business.

Improved Customer Experience

Your customers should be excited to work with you! If working with your company is simple and stress-free, customers won’t think twice about bringing their business back to you. Getting new customers is good, but having a loyal customer base is always better. 

Good For Your Brand

Online payment processing gives your website a more professional feel. Having eCommerce functionality on your site shows your customers you’re serious about making their lives easier. It also proves you’re doing well enough to invest in the future of your business.