Streamlining the path to purchase and checkout process has been one of the key ways that e-tailers have been able to improve their customers’ online shopping experiences and drive conversions. Mobile consumers have come to expect the fastest, most seamless checkout experiences possible. They don't want to type their credit card numbers or shipping addresses into a small screen every time they shop a new site. They also never want to worry about the security of their data, which high-profile breaches at major retailers routinely call into question. New alternate payment options promise to accelerate this process, and merchants should take a hard look at implementing them for several reasons.

There was a time not that long ago when retailers exploring new ways to execute effective social engagement strategies would face a barrage of questions about return on investment. How do we know, CFOs and other company leaders would ask, if all that tweeting, liking, and pinning is doing anything for the bottom line? Where's the proof that the investments in maintaining, monitoring and updating an ever-expanding array of social media outposts are driving conversions and increasing profits? Fair questions to be sure.

Dynamic imaging enables retailers to easily deliver large, deep-level zoom, allowing consumers to examine product detail at great depth and obtain a more holistic image of craftsmanship. In addition to honing in on particular aspects of the product, dynamic imaging also facilitates 360-degree spin. This allows consumers to view the product from all angles and through alternative views, helping them uncover unique details previously undetectable in traditional flat images. For example, perhaps a pair of pumps has distinctive beading on the heels or maybe a satchel has a pouch designed to protect a tablet sown into the inside flap. As all retailers know, it's often details such as these that push a hesitant consumer to purchase. As such, dynamic imaging technology is a valuable tool in brands’ e-commerce arsenal.

Looking for a low-risk, high-reward way to ramp up your international e-commerce sales? International marketplaces are an increasingly popular market entry strategy for internationally ambitious retailers — especially small to midsize specialty brands. Not surprisingly, options are quickly expanding beyond the tried-and-true marketplaces operated by global giants Rakuten, eBay and

Until now, larger, resource-rich retailers have had the upper hand over their smaller counterparts due to the millions of dollars they invest in people and the latest technologies to improve the shopping experience for consumers. After decades of limited access to critical tools and techniques, several new classes of technology have emerged, offering smaller retailers an opportunity to level the playing field against the's of the world.

Americans spent more than $200 billion on online shopping in 2011 and are expected to shell out $327 billion on internet stores by 2016. That's the estimate from a report released by Forrester Research Analyst Sucharita Mulpuru, who also predicts that online sales will make up almost 9 percent of overall retail sales by 2016, up from 7 percent.

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