Archive for October, 2022

Why 3d Rendering is Perfect for Creating Captivating Social Media Content

If you’re a creative entrepreneur or content creator for a business, service, or advocacy, you’ve probably experimented with several mediums to get eyes on your social media platforms. It’s a tough job, and competition is fierce. Everyone and their grandmother is taking advantage of the latest content creation tool, whether Instagram filters or AI images, as soon as it drops.

As new tools proliferate, the content from those tools becomes more ubiquitous and homogenized, and then it’s off to find the next magic button out there. This is why it pays to have some hard designer-y skills under your belt. One of the skills that design students or anyone tech savvy with an artistic bent are quickly adopting these days is 3d rendering. Once relatively niche and primarily used in the gaming and VFX industry, working with 3d today is as accessible and inexpensive as picking up Photoshop, thanks to software like Blender 3d, Unreal Engine, and the online community built around these programs. 

3d rendering (or 3d production, to be a little more accurate) takes some effort to learn, but the rewards are worth it. By working in 3d, you can build a vast library of different materials that you can mix, match and place in front of a virtual camera to come up with captivating pieces of content for your socials, and in much less time than you’d think. In this article, we’ll look at the philosophies at play in the medium of digital 3d, and go through the process of creating an exciting piece of content from start to finish. 

Core Advantages of 3d

A Logistical Dream

The primary advantage digital 3d has over other media is that it has all the perks of working in a (simulated) physical space without the constraints you might experience working in the real world. Consider, for example, a post meant to promote a product- a new soda brand, let’s say. You might schedule a photo shoot with your photographer, travel to the studio on the agreed day, wait for post-processing and then finally have your content, only to realize that perhaps an outdoor setup would have been more appealing. With a digital 3d representation of the product, this sudden change of mind would not be as expensive.

An example of the aforementioned fictitious soda brand

3d models of  “HexaBerry Soda Cans” by hexabear2020

With a digital 3d representation of the product, you can act on your creative whim immediately and, within half an hour, have an alternate shot ready!

The digital version of the product and the additional elements for the alternate shot

The alternate shot


Modern 3d programs have proceduralism as a major focus since creatives from any industry benefit from being able to work faster. There are too many features to discuss at any length in this article, but here’s a glimpse of how a 3d project might be drastically altered just by fiddling with sliders or pressing buttons.

Here is another fictitious post for a fictitious courier service. Let’s assume the client isn’t too happy with the figure’s layout and the orange accents on the runner. Fortunately for us, the graphics were made in a 3d program.

On the right of this image is the 3d model’s material, which affects its color and surface properties. The colored rectangles on the panel correspond to the different colored areas in the character’s suit. 

We made the changes in a matter of seconds by simply clicking on these fields and choosing a new color.

Likewise, we could reposition our camera and adjust the lighting streaks by adjusting the sliders on the modifier panel on the right.

This is the essence of proceduralism in digital 3d. You can set up a workflow that frees time to work on the bigger picture instead of getting lost in the minutiae of a larger project when the time comes to respond to feedback. You can automate smaller tasks and focus on things like your composition, colors, and storytelling. Some parts of production in 3d are already procedural, but virtually anything can be set up to work procedurally – even creating models in some cases. 

Abundance of resources/ Community

Well and good, you might think, but not everyone has the luxury of spending a few days learning the ins and outs of digital 3d. For the busy designer or anyone with time constraints, there are many resources to shorten or even bypass the learning curve for some 3d tools:

Asset providers like Kitbash 3d, Sketchfab, and Polyhaven have a large collection of pre-made models you can use in your projects instead of creating everything from scratch.

Developers create plugins or modifier setups that can simplify arduous but necessary tasks. Gumroad is a great repository for such things.

Channels on Youtube or aggregate websites are perfect for keeping your ear on the ground for the latest game-changing tools.

All images thus far contain CC-0 or CC-BY assets, generators, or plugins available online. While some resources are free to use with no restrictions, others are for sale or require you to credit the original creator. As in any form of digital media, it is always wise to read carefully the terms of use for anything you might use in your work.

In-Practice Example

The examples above were for static images, but where 3d can really shine is in animation. Halloween is just around the corner at the time of this writing, so we’ll go over (in very broad strokes) how I created an animated skit for GarageFarm.NET that would suit the occasion.


GarageFarm.NET is an online render farm that allows 3d artists to meet their deadlines and save time by distributing the render process of a project over a host of high-powered computers. I decided that the skit would be about the Grim Reaper coming to claim a character only to realize that it had been beaten to it by long render times on a single workstation (a common pain point that 3d artists trying to meet short deadlines face). I used Blender 3d – an open-source 3d program available to everyone. 

The final result was completed within a total of 14-16 hours. You can check out the final video here.

Collating Assets

To manage this time constraint, I used a combination of assets that I had saved from previous projects and assets that were shared in online hubs like BlendSwap and Polyhaven – limiting my hand modeling to elements that would take less time to create than to search for online. 

The grim reaper model was just drapery simulated on a human base mesh. The base mesh would lend volume to the cloth but would otherwise be pure black save the eye regions that would glow red.
The workstation asset was shared by Bannerz from Blend Swap

The opening scene layout consists of a few elements from the talented artists who contributed to Polyhaven arranged around planes that would serve as the walls and floor of an interior setting.

The skeleton asset was from an
older post I made years ago. I used clothing from a human generator plugin for Blender called HumGen, available on BlenderMarket.

Staging the scenes

I arranged the elements into two scenes and used minimal lighting schemes to both save time and adhere to the campy/spooky theme.


With everything prepared, all that was left to do was animate the characters. I used a pointing animation from Mixamo to animate the Grim Reaper, which left only the cameras, the door, and the skeleton to think about.

Mixamo is a library of motion capture data that allows users to choose animation and quickly transfer that animation to their custom 3d character.

Hand-animating elements in 3d can be thought of as manipulating controls on a virtual puppet and keyframing changes as one would in any other animation software.


For the Grim Reaper’s voice, I used Replica, a program that reads text input using a selection from a library of AI voices.

And I used the YouTube Studio sound library for the music and sound effects. 


To go into more detail would require its own article, and I am by no means suggesting that you can pick up 3d software and instantly create something like this. Still, with dedicated study and practice and the modern tools available, I believe any creator can leverage 3d to create diversity and more interest in their social media content within a year or two. 

Whether you’re considering learning 3d or are an experienced user, I hope this article gave you a glimpse of new possibilities and inspired you to try something new. Best of luck, and happy creating!

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Tips to Secure Shadow Data

Shadow data is, first and foremost, a concern for the security and compliance teams. What can they do to ensure the security and compliance of data stores they are unaware of or have little or no control over? 

There is an inherent tension between DevOps and security teams amplified by regulatory frameworks, such as GDPR and CCPA, that set and enforce high privacy standards for data.

In this blog post, we will discuss what shadow data is, why you should not ignore it, and how to secure it effectively.

What Does Data Shadow Mean?

The term shadow data refers to your organization’s data that is likely copied, backed up, or located in a data store that is neither governed, under the same security structure or updated on a regular basis. The following are examples of shadow data:

  • Customer data that has been copied from production to development for testing purposes
  • Data stores that contain sensitive information for an application that is no longer in use
  • An application’s byproducts, such as log files, may collect sensitive information
  • Applications that use hard-to-find local databases
  • The data generated by shadow IT 
  • A siloed set of data that is only available to a specific line of business

As a matter of fact, shadow data is primarily a problem for security and compliance professionals. If they are not aware of or have little or no control over data stores, how can they be responsible for their security and compliance? Regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA, that establish and enforce high data privacy standards have amplified the tension between DevOps and security teams.

Shadow data also affects operations teams since unmanaged data sprawl can increase infrastructure costs. Cloud budgets are exceeded, with little or no visibility into how the overspend was incurred or how it can be contained. Here are some real-life examples of shadow data

  • Public, unmanaged databases: The developer implemented an SQLite database for storing sensitive data input by web application users. What is the problem? A standard web server was used to deploy the database, which was, by definition, publicly accessible. The company’s security and compliance guardrails were violated, exposing sensitive data to threats without the security team’s knowledge.
  • The data generated by backend applications: Backup files, log files and debug dumps serve the needs of DevOps engineers but are typically not monitored by security professionals. Shadow data, however, may contain sensitive information. 
  • Unmanaged cloud resources: Developers may create an S3 bucket in restricted geolocation as part of internal testing procedures that are not audited. These testing resources unnecessarily add to infrastructure costs if they are not properly decommissioned, posing security and compliance risks.

It’s time to stop ignoring shadow data

It is now challenging to ignore shadow data due to the prevalence of hybrid and multi-cloud environments. According to a recent report, 92% of enterprises today have a multi-cloud strategy, of which 82% have adopted a hybrid approach. A lack of visibility in these environments makes it difficult to monitor them effectively, and shadow data is likely to accumulate as a result.

Shadow data is also increasing due to the adoption of cloud-based continuous integration and delivery methods. In today’s market, developers have more freedom to introduce new products and features. Additionally, the self-service cloud model allows developers to provision data stores with just a few clicks, often without consideration of the organization’s governance or compliance policies. 

The proliferation of cloud-native applications based on micro-services, containers, and server-less functions has brought the issue of shadow data to the fore since decentralized workload-based data stores contribute significantly to data sprawl.

What is the difference between shadow data and dark data?

The term dark data refers to all the data within an organization that is unused, untapped, and unknown as the result of users’ daily interactions online with countless devices and systems – everything from machine data to server log files to unstructured data derived from social media interaction.

The data may be considered outdated, incomplete, redundant, or inaccessible due to a format that can’t be accessed using available tools. They don’t even know it exists most of the time.

However, it is essential to note that dark data may be one of an organization’s most valuable untapped resources. Data has become a major organizational asset, and competitive organizations must capitalize on its full potential. Furthermore, more stringent data regulations may require organizations to manage their data entirely.

Shadow data differs from dark data in that it is created within an organization’s IT infrastructure during routine business operations, serves no other purpose, and becomes unaccounted for over time. Shadow data can be viewed as a subset of dark data. A dark data set is a collection of sensitive information that was once used for legacy applications or irrelevant information generated by an application. 

Shadow data, on the other hand, is created in two main ways: by shadow IT, which is intentionally developed outside an organization’s IT infrastructure to leverage cloud-managed and SaaS applications that DevOps teams, DBAs, and others would not be able to access otherwise; or by over-sharing within an organization. Shadow data is unaccounted-for data that poses the same security risks in either case.

A three-step process for securing shadow data

  1. Visibility: It is essential that your security teams identify every cloud-managed environment and SaaS application in which your organization may have sensitive data. There is no way to apply security controls to data that is stored in repositories that you cannot access.
  2. Discovery and classification of data: Data in all of your repositories must be identified and classified so that security controls can be applied. There is a need to extend discovery and classification capabilities beyond traditional structured data; semi-structured and unstructured data must also be able to be classified. You can quickly detect anomalous behavior by consolidating your data repositories into a single source and allowing dashboard access to see what is happening across all data sources.
  3. Control the privileges of data access: Shadow data can only be mitigated by preventing insiders from creating it inadvertently. When it comes to rooting out malicious user behavior, a rigorous analysis of anomalous behavior is very effective. It is possible to baseline typical access for privileged users and send alerts if it deviates from that. It is also possible to use machine learning analytics to determine what data is business-critical and if it can be accessed by privileged users.

Minimizing the risks associated with shadow data

Data management best practices can mitigate shadow data risks in several ways, including:

  • Understand your data: Maintain a catalog of data assets that are categorized according to their sensitivity and criticality as you scan your workloads continuously. It is important that the data catalog is comprehensive, accessible to all stakeholders, and searchable according to a variety of parameters, such as owner, sensitivity, used by, version, and so on.  
  • Follow your data: A next-generation data catalog should also incorporate visualizations that highlight relationships, flows, and dependencies among data stores in a typical mid-sized to large organization. The ability to build outflows and identify who is interacting with what data will allow you to identify shadow data that is not being used. It is not only a waste of storage resources to store this data, but it can also pose a threat to cybersecurity, such as data exfiltration, due to its unused nature.
  • Clean your data: A key component of IT hygiene is keeping your data assets lean and mean. In general, each time a developer replicates a data store for testing or a database is mirrored before an upgrade, the developer or operation person should delete it when the testing environment is decommissioned, or a successful upgrade has been completed. Your environment, however, is full of redundant, incomplete, or low-value data. Ensure that shadow data is regularly disposed of.
  • Protect your data: A risk-based data protection policy and process must include shadow data. Risk assessments, which should be as automated as possible, will take into account the type of shadow data and its location, as well as any compliance requirements related to its sensitivity. After establishing the appropriate guardrails, you should include access controls, minimal privileges, monitoring for anomalous behavior, alerting to threats, and resolving misconfigurations.


By eliminating shadow data and including new data that can be useful, businesses and organizations can significantly improve their analytics, reporting, machine learning, and AI. It consequently leads to faster, and more intelligent decision-making across the enterprise.

The best way to combat shadow data is to begin by educating your entire firm’s staff about the issue. 

Educate people in your vicinity about shadow data and why they shouldn’t ignore it. Engage experts who have demonstrated their ability to successfully manage data-intensive operations if you want to gain a greater understanding of the shadow data.

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Are Video Ads a Big Factor in Your Business Success?

Video marketing is undoubtedly one of the most effective ways to improve your business and get more sales/leads. With the popularity of online videos continuing to rise with the help of sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok, business owners must tap into this medium to stay ahead of the game. 

Yes, video ads are a big factor in both business success and failure. Video Ads are one of the best ways to attract customers and convert them into sales because they have the power to create an emotional bond with your audience. When done right and with great video production software, they can also be a powerful retention tool for your current customers.

The Concept Behind Video Ads

Video ads are similar to traditional display ads in that they’re hosted on a website or app where users can view them. However, video ads are made of moving images and sound instead of static images or text.

When users click on a video ad, they’re taken either to a landing page or directly to a website. This allows them to learn more about the advertised product without leaving the host site they were visiting.

Video advertising is a form of online advertising that uses short, entertaining videos to promote products and services. Video advertising is growing in popularity because it can be more cost-effective than other forms of online advertising while still being highly effective.

Video ads typically appear in one of two places: pre-rolls before a video plays on the page or mid-rolls interrupting an existing video. Pre-rolls are usually full-screen ads that play before the desired content is displayed, while mid-rolls take up less screen real estate but interrupt what’s already playing on a page.

Video ads can be used for almost any business, from selling products to promoting services and events to selling subscriptions or services like insurance or banking. When used well, video ads can be incredibly powerful tools for driving conversions for your business — but only if you know how to use them effectively!

Why Use Video Ads?

Video Ads can be a great way to reach your audience, but they don’t work for every business. Before you jump in with both feet and start creating videos, there are some things you should know.

Video Ads are one of the most effective ways to reach your audience online. They’re more engaging than text-based ads and can help you stand out from the crowd. If done right, they can even help you generate leads and sales!

But if you’re not using them correctly, they might not be worth the time or money it takes to create them.

Video Ads vs Standard Ads

The biggest advantage of video ads is that they are more likely to get noticed than standard banner ads or text-based content on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. This makes them more likely to drive traffic back to your site or to generate leads through calls-to-action (CTAs). The greater visibility of videos means that people are more likely to click on them than other forms of online advertising, such as banner ads or social media posts competing for attention alongside other distractions like news feeds and status updates from friends and family members.

Benefits of Video Ads

There are many benefits of video ads including higher click-through rates (CTRs). Video ads can also increase brand awareness and engagement with your audience. Here are some additional benefits:

Reach a wider audience

Video ads have an incredible reach. AdWeek says more than half of all internet traffic is from YouTube alone. Video ads can also be viewed on Facebook’s Audience Network and Instagram’s Stories, which puts your message in front of billions more people each month.

Video ads are one of the most effective ways to reach a wider audience. They can be watched on mobile devices and will automatically play when a user is using their browser. Video ads are more engaging than text or banner ads and encourage repeat engagement.

They can also help you increase your brand awareness and reputation by allowing users to see your products in action. By including a call-to-action button, users can click on it and be taken directly to your website, where they can learn more about your company and its products or services.

Video ads help drive conversions because they allow you to provide more information about your product or service than other advertising formats. This includes embedded links that viewers can click through on their terms and schedules, not yours.

Increased conversions

Video ads have a much higher conversion rate than standard banner ads because they grab users’ attention and keep them engaged. Video ads also tell a story and provide information consumers want when looking online for products or services. Users can also interact with videos by clicking on them or playing them in full-screen mode.

More engagement

The main benefit of video ads is that they get more attention from viewers than other types of ads. Video ads are often watched in full, which is not the case with many other ads.

Video ads have a higher click-through rate (CTR) than text and image display ads. A study by Animoto found that video ads have an average CTR of 4.8%, 

Data collection

Video ads allow you to collect data on customers’ behavior — when they watch the ad, where they click, and how long they stay on the page. You can use this information to understand your target audience better and create more relevant content for them in the future.

Video ads can collect data about visitors’ demographics, interests, and behaviors. You can then use this information to create targeted advertisements for specific audiences or adjust your website content based on what users want from it.

Success Measurement

Video ads are a powerful tool for measuring success. They allow you to track performance using different metrics: views, clicks, actions taken (downloads and registrations), and more. 

This means that you can adjust your strategy accordingly and improve results over time. Video ads also offer real-time reporting so that you know how many people are viewing each ad at any given time. This allows you to make adjustments quickly and effectively as needed.


Overall, it’s clear that attracting video ads positively affects a business’s success, sometimes even more so than with other forms of advertising. Within this context, the best advice for business owners is to experiment and see what works best for them. No matter what form of advertising you choose, it is essential that you be willing to try new things to stand out from the competition truly.

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Top 12 Alternatives to Amazon for the Best Online Shopping Experience

Amazon has been the top online retailer since its founding in 1994, and it remains one of the most-used and visited sites on the internet. After all, it’s difficult to beat an online shopping site with such an enormous selection of products available at unbeatable prices. 

But nowadays, online shopping has become easier and more enjoyable than ever before, and it also comes with its own set of problems. While major sites like Amazon make it simple to buy anything you want without leaving your home, you may find yourself frustrated by the lengthy delivery times, lack of product selection, or other customer service issues that may arise on these huge websites. Thankfully, there are plenty of alternatives to Amazon out there that can provide an improved shopping experience when you’re ready to give them a try.

If you’re looking for the best online shopping experience, here are the top alternatives to Amazon, so you have more options to choose from when it comes time to buy the perfect product.

1. eBay

If you’re looking for a place that offers similar features as Amazon but with more flexibility, eBay is a great choice. You can buy new and used items here, as well as from individual sellers and shop owners. The site has an advanced search engine that will help you find what you need, and if you want to avoid buying from China or other countries outside of your country’s borders, eBay’s seller requirements make it possible.

Moreover, eBay is one of the few sites that accept PayPal as a form of payment. With free shipping on many items and easy returns, it’s a good alternative to try out.

And if you like bargain hunting and second-hand items then eBay might be the website for you. You can find just about anything there, new or old, at a fraction of the cost as long as you don’t mind waiting for shipping. The products are often in brand-new condition with limited or no cosmetic damage such as scuffs or scratches. With so many sellers on eBay, there are always deals available at rock-bottom prices!

2. Overstock

If you’re looking for a place to shop online, but you think Amazon is not for you, then Overstock is the place to be. This website offers an array of products that are perfect for any occasion, from fashion items to home furnishings. You can find anything from apparel and jewelry to electronics and furniture on this site. 

Another reason Overstock is an excellent choice is that it offers competitive product prices. The website also has a convenient rewards program called Club O Rewards. It’s free to join, and members will get 5% rewards with every purchase they make on their accounts. 

The rewards never expire, so customers can use them whenever they please, even years after they have joined Club O Rewards. The best part about these rewards is that there are no limits on how much customers can earn. So, if you make many purchases throughout the year, you’ll end up getting more money back than what was initially spent!

3. Target

If you’re looking for a better online shopping experience, Target won’t disappoint. The website offers competitive prices and more customer-friendly policies. You can return items at any time in person or by mail, with its generous return policy. 

Target also guarantees free two-day shipping on orders of $35 or more. And there are no surprises with this store: Shipping costs are already built into the price of each item on the site, so you know exactly what you’re going to spend before checkout! Plus, Target’s selection is expansive enough that it’s guaranteed to have something for everyone.

Overall, Target is a solid alternative to Amazon because it offers features that other retailers don’t – like those flexible returns – without sacrificing the convenience factor of an easy purchase process. 

4. Kohl’s

Another popular alternative to Amazon is Kohl’s. Unlike Target, Kohl’s doesn’t offer unlimited free returns in stores or by mail; but they do offer full refunds as long as your return meets their requirements within 90 days of purchase. 

For an even better shopping experience, you can download the Kohl’s app. You can use it to store all your Kohl’s coupons and even your Kohl’s Cash. And when you use it in the physical store, you can get 10 free reward points!

Plus, customers love that they get 10% off every day with their Kohl’s Charge card! For more information about the product offerings at Kohl’s, feel free to explore the website. 

5. Macy’s

If you’re looking for a place to buy clothing, then Macy’s is another good alternative to Amazon. You’ll find affordable prices and a wide range of clothing at this store. Plus, there are deals all year round!  

There is also free shipping on orders over $99, which can be combined with in-store discounts or rewards card incentives. 

Macy’s offers high-quality products that anyone would feel comfortable buying as gifts for others or yourself. 

6. Costco

Costco is one of the largest retailers in the United States, with more than 500 locations and $116 billion in revenue. Not only can you buy groceries there, but you can also find a variety of clothing and home items. 

The best part is that Costco has a Gold Star Membership program that offers savings on almost everything they sell, including some items up to 23% off. 

With a membership, you’ll be able to get your shopping done without any worry about going over budget because all memberships come with an annual renewal payment of just $60. 

Costco is hands down one of many shopper’s favorite alternatives to Amazon because it’s easy to navigate and full of great deals!

7. Etsy

Etsy is an online marketplace that lets you buy and sell handmade or vintage items. Sellers can post as many items as they want, and buyers can search by keyword. You can also find products from local boutiques and artisans. 

Also, Etsy offers a more personal experience because each seller has their own profile page with photos of themselves and their workspace where they produce their goods. 

People love Etsy because it’s a great place to find unique gifts that are not mass-produced, like shoes made out of recycled materials or handmade bracelets created with beads from all over the world. You’ll never know what you’ll find on Etsy! 

There are even shops selling craft supplies, so if you’re looking for something specific and don’t have time to look around in other stores, this could be your best bet. It’s also really easy to get feedback about your order: after buying something on Etsy, you can review it on the site, so other shoppers will know if your experience was good or bad. 

8. Alibaba

Alibaba is a Chinese eCommerce company founded in 1999 by Jack Ma and 16 other people. It is one of the largest online shopping sites in the world, which offers more than 550 million products from 240,000 businesses. Alibaba has also been valued at over $100 billion making it one of the most valuable privately owned companies in the world.

Alibaba’s website is operated as a desktop site and as an app for Android devices. The interface is available in several languages, including English, Spanish, Russian and German. With a mission to create opportunities for small and medium enterprises, Alibaba has set up trading hubs that provide business-to-business (B2B) platforms with international trade data, such as import duties.

Here, you can purchase a vast range of items in bulk, which makes it ideal for entrepreneurs who want to put up physical stores or start their own online stores. 

9. Wish

Wish is an online shopping site with plenty of great deals on electronics, clothing, and home goods. It’s similar to other sites like eBay or Etsy, where sellers list the items that they want to sell. 

But Wish is different in that buyers can make offers on these items, which gives them some negotiating power. The downside of this site is the shipping costs are higher than some of the other sites we mentioned, and there are often reports of counterfeit products from unscrupulous sellers. 

For most people, it may not be worth paying a little more for free 2-day shipping from another site if you’re going to buy something small. For example, you’re likely better off ordering something worth less than $20 on Amazon because you’ll get free 2-day shipping instead of paying $6+ in additional cost with Wish. 

However, if you’re looking for something bigger, like furniture or clothes, then Wish might be your best bet since they offer faster delivery times and lower prices compared to many other retailers (including Amazon). Plus, the option to negotiate prices means you have more control over your spending.

10. Gilt

Gilt is one of the biggest players in the online shopping space, and with new deals every day, it’s easy to see why. The site offers everything from clothes and shoes to furniture and décor, all at up to 60% off. 

If you’re looking for something in particular, Gilt has a search functionality that will help you find it. One downside: there are no big discounts on beauty products or household items (though you can still buy them at full price).

Still, it’s one alternative to Amazon that you shouldn’t miss!

11. Zappos

Zappos is one of the best alternatives to Amazon because it provides excellent customer service and even has its own return and exchange policy. The website also offers free returns on all orders, which is an excellent deal. You can find everything from clothes, shoes, home goods, jewelry, and more at Zappos. 

They have nearly any product that you could want. And you know, if they don’t have what you’re looking for, they will order it for you and ship it right away. What’s not to love about that? 

There are many other online shopping sites that offer great deals, but none compare to how good Zappos is. 

12. AliExpress

AliExpress is a shopping site that’s popular with people in China and offers a vast selection of products, be it the latest Nike shoe design or a book about computer threats, such as vzwpix. It’s similar to eBay, but the main difference is that you can buy items from other countries, not just items made in China. You can also find some higher-end brands at AliExpress that are cheaper than they would be on other sites.

In addition, AliExpress will often have deals or discounts on certain products, which makes it good for finding bargains. It also has an English interface, so it’s easy to navigate if you don’t speak Chinese. The drawback with AliExpress is that there isn’t always customer service available, so if you want to return an item, then make sure to keep the packaging and receipts.

The basic version of AliExpress is free, but some premium features are only available to paying members who can use their PayPal account or credit card to make payments through Alipay. 

AliExpress offers free shipping with no minimum order size on eligible items sold by US sellers and 4-day free shipping on all orders placed within China if you are using Standard Shipping. Customers can find out about the seller’s feedback score before buying their goods, too, so they know if they are getting what they paid for!

Shop with Confidence on These Amazon Alternatives!

Amazon might be the first thing you think of when you want to buy something online, but it shouldn’t be the only one. While Amazon has been hugely successful over the years, it’s not the only option out there – and many of them offer features and conveniences that Amazon simply can’t match. If you’re looking for something different from your standard online shopping experience, consider these alternatives to Amazon as possible options! They all have free trial offers, so you can try them before you buy!

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Grow your Ecommerce Store with Customization

The ecommerce sector experience considerable growth as millions of companies went online globally. 72% of local organizations began working remotely as soon as the outbreak started. In response to nationwide restrictions, 52% of people learned to buy their daily necessities online at the same time.

While the world gradually returns to some normality, ecommerce trends and numbers are anticipated to increase.

As interest in online buying activities develops, businesses must continue to match consumers’ rising expectations. This entails making investments in equipment and technology to enhance their service continuously.

You can choose which features and functionalities would enhance the online buying experience for your consumers by customizing your website.

Differentiating oneself from competitors in the ecommerce industry is one of the toughest challenges. Thus customization is very crucial. Below listed are the lists of how to grow an ecommerce store with customization:

Customize your ecommerce website:

With more business owners now seeing the online environment’s full potential, the ecommerce sector’s competition is still fierce.

Businesses must invest in the tools and technology necessary to serve their customers better to keep up with the expectations of their industry and target market.

You will be able better to please your clients with a personalized ecommerce solution, enhancing conversions and customer loyalty. A product design tool will help you to do perfect customization. 

The checkout process, payment choices, customer support, and other front-end and back-end requirements may be encountered by customers using an ecommerce platform.

Conduct competitive analysis:

Competitive analysis is a strategic research process that seeks to identify and assess your competitors’ development, products, and marketing tactics. 

The objective is to identify the traits your competitors share on the websites, product displays, and online shopping experiences.

These shared characteristics give you information about what customers want from a company like yours, providing suggestions for how and how not to design your website. 

Using a competitive study, you may also seek market gaps your company can fill. For instance, you may be the first to offer a mobile website option if most of your rivals aren’t.

Research well about your business industry:

You must conduct thorough research and investigation of your business sector before beginning the ecommerce web development process, which is one of the most important duties you must complete.

You need to be aware of the many loopholes and consider who your industry’s target market is. A product design tool plays a significant role in customizing your ecommerce store. 

Investigate your audience’s tastes, age, and other characteristics in-depth to build product categories, descriptions, payment gateways, product photos, and other elements successfully.

Set goals:

Your goals and key performance indicators will determine your compass for website development. These will decide the build’s vendors, user experience, features and functionalities, and other elements.

Let’s imagine, for instance, that your ecommerce website’s objective is to boost digital sales. Your website should include landing pages that provide a clear route to conversion and simplify online transactions.

Additionally, you require CTAs and features like discounts for in-store purchases that entice customers to visit your nearby location.

Determine your branding and plan your content strategy:

You will only be able to connect with many people with an effective branding and content strategy.

Consider the fantastic logos, product descriptions, reviews, product videos, visual pictures, emotional implications, wish lists, and other elements that have contributed to the success of many organizations. 

Likewise, it would be ideal if you gave these factors some thought, including creating an excellent logo, deciding on your company’s voice, and developing a growth and development strategy.

Select partners and vendors:

The proper technology and the right ecommerce providers and partners should be chosen. Verify that all of your service suppliers, including web developers, designers, couriers, payment partners, and others can perform the task you require of them.

For instance, you must select a payment gateway partner that enables you to accept numerous payment methods if you want your online store to get them.

Mind your business:

When your ecommerce store is still developing, it is simple to abuse your account. However, it would be beneficial if you diligently adhere to the allocated budget and use techniques. 

Bear in mind the competition:

To succeed in business, you must stand out from your rivals. As a result, you must use the appropriate catchphrases in a browser to assess their operational parts. 

Consider the numerous marketing strategies and characteristics other business owners use to draw clients. 

The technical aspect must be considered, including the hosting tool, domain name, content management system, and other add-ons they are employing.

Decide on the website feature and integration:

Make a list of the features you want for your website’s initial iteration and any future additions and enhancements. Magento product designer gives you professional customization. 

Most new ecommerce websites come standard with functionalities like user-friendly checkout, unique reporting tools, various payment alternatives, and the capacity to add additional ecommerce features.

Advanced SEO capabilities, email marketing integration, blogs, article sections, and content management tools are a few other aspects to consider.

Use an ecommerce platform that allows for simple integration with various third-party tools and software. By doing this, you may regularly update your website to match your user base’s constantly changing needs, priorities, and expectations.

Create a minimum viable product:

You must realize that selling products is an ecommerce store’s primary purpose. Conversely, an ecommerce MVP’s goal is to assess a business’s ability to convince customers to buy its goods and services. 

Your goal is to develop a unique and creative shopping platform with a high conversion rate supported by a unique algorithm designed to deliver the most excellent products and a fantastic user experience. You should then enlist the aid of a minimum viable product. 

User friendly:

Customer happiness and sales are directly correlated with usability. Ecommerce sites that are difficult to use risk losing potential clients to competitors with better-designed online storefronts. 

Think about adding tools that will simplify your clients’ online shopping experience. These include enhanced search capabilities, user-friendly registration processes, the positioning of the homepage button, and efficient navigation.

Train your team:

Dedicated SDRs are necessary if you want to improve volume and sales gradually. Make sure you have the right talent before investing in a project. 

You might occasionally run into issues with team productivity and efficiency. In that instance, you should spend money on team training and sales. 

Test and launch the website:

After taking care of all the details test your ecommerce website before going live. You and your team can identify and remove bugs, problems, and other barriers on your website by conducting website testing.

Functional, usability, security, performance, A/B, and mobile application testing are part of the process.

These quality control methods must be applied to every ecommerce website to prevent downtime, sluggish responses, and poor usability, which could be highly harmful to site performance and the company’s overall success.

Bottom line:

More business owners are scrambling to build their ecommerce websites as soon as possible as they recognize the benefits of doing so. 

By keeping these pointers in mind, you may expedite the development of your ecommerce website and guarantee functionality when it goes live.

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