All about Gamification

In today’s world of super Droids and ginormous iPhones, immersion is everything—and it’s set to change how we market our products

Good marketing is not just showing content. It’s about giving an experience.

Err, that’s highly arguable, we agree. But there’s some truth to that, and it’s all thanks to the conception of technology so game-changing (excuse the pun) that marketers around the world revere it with so much hype.

At first, putting ‘games’ and ‘marketing’ side by side may sound strange, but they’re a match made in heaven. Your visitors have fun interacting with their beloved brands, while you as a company increases customer engagement. Win-win.

And the good thing about it is it didn’t stay as a hyped-up marketing campaign of otherworldly proportions. Gamification has developed into a $1.65 billion industry and is projected to reach 11.1 billion by 2020. By the onset of the new decade, gamified strategies are expected to dominate marketing practices as the primary medium to increase brand engagement and customer loyalty. Using gamification will help you secure a loyal pool of customers, long-term engagements, and valuable results for your business.

But what is gamification, and why does it work? Learn more right after the jump.


Gamification is the practical application of techniques and concepts from gaming to marketing strategies. It’s essentially a process wherein you take the essence of what makes games so “immersive and irresistible” and integrate them into non-gaming experiences, such as marketing our tourism.

Remember when McDonald’s released a fast-food themed Monopoly game?

That’s one fine example of gamification. And the concepts you will use for your business can be actual games, trophies, or even points. The idea is that marketing content that mimics games is better at converting visitors into dollar-dispensing customers.

Does it work? The core elements of gaming added to your site? For the record, it may trigger a sense of achievement and make use of the competitive nature in people, encouraging them to stay on your website even more, because they simply enjoy staying there.
Also, by incorporating gamification into your business, you create a fun experience for your customers and audience, which may lead to a longer and more engaging relationship. Because there is a rewards system, customers get motivated to participate, and it could lead to an unprecedented activity rate for your website. Lastly, gamification also works well with other areas of your business. Think project management, talent acquisition, and more. The possibilities are almost endless.


Your customers get to indulge in game-like euphoria, and you get to keep their dollars. Sounds like a win-win? Here are some thoughts to pond over.

  • Gamification generally increases the engagement of customers, visitors, and partners. Which then turns to wider, more powerful brand awareness. Which ultimately materializes as either a one-time sale or long-term loyal patronage. The idea remains unchanged: it has the potential to get anyone who will visit your store hooked and hungry for what you have to offer.
  • It speaks to the sense of achievement and competitiveness of your audience. Most shoppers like to spoil themselves in rewards. Performing better than their peers will leave them with a sense of achievement.
  • However, gamification can get quite tedious. The system of getting achievements and rewards will become inevitably repetitive, and so your developers (yes, you will require a separate team for that) will have to innovate something again.


You also have to consider that gamification is not a widely accepted tool in the marketing world yet. Customers may find it unconventional, but if statistics are true, people will adapt to this trend easily in the future.


We list some tips on how to get started with gamification in your marketing strategy.

  • Set your goals. Get a good overview of what you believe could use a little help from this wonderful invention.
  • Focus on what your audience wants. “What’s going to work for them? What kind of games will appeal to them the most?” Always remember: a game will not be the same for an older audience than for a younger audience.
  • Start small by implementing subtle elements first before going big or overboard. You can launch a small game and see how it goes. Let your customers have little challenges and quizzes to reward them.
  • Be clear with the rewards you’re giving away. These rewards can be monetary or in the form of in-house, cash-convertible points.
  • Most importantly, make it fun and memorable.

In a dynamic world such as marketing, innovation is always the name of the game. Gamification is an incredible crossover—the union of two unsuspecting ideas that are star-crossed lovers. The best news is: it’s here to stay—and for a long while.

Interested in enhancing your website? Always Open Commerce can help you integrate creative elements into your online store! Overhaul, redesign, and breathe life to your site with our exceptional solutions designed for your e-commerce needs. Give us a call or shoot us an email through this page so we can hear more.

The Technologies that Will Shape the Future of Ecommerce

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”—Arthur C. Clarke

Who would’ve thought that we’ll be developing a form of technology so advanced it can replicate human consciousness and has the potential to become self-aware? Okay, well, we’re not there yet—but it’s so close it can be a bit overwhelming if not frightening. Thankfully, the world’s visionaries have found ways to trickle down these massive, bleeding-edge techs into something more applied and practical. Most importantly, technology benefitted the way we do business.

          Technological developments have made a tremendous impact on the world of commerce, transforming the way consumers interact with businesses and empowering them to identify which brand fits their wants and their budget. When electronic commerce, commonly known as e-commerce, was introduced during the early 1980s, public reception was lukewarm at best. Not because the world hasn’t fully exploited the potential of the Internet, but because it defies the concept of shopping—weekends at the mall, lunch with the fam, you get it—that sort of mushy stuff that accompanies brick-and-mortar shopping. Ecommerce faced an opposition founded on family-based traditions, and it was almost wiped out until technology took over the steering wheel before the end of the 20th century.

          Today, the Internet is a busy marketplace. Millions of customers are ordering online from electronic shopping platforms (ex. eCommerce websites) as the can get anything from undergarments to mattresses to coffees right at their doorsteps. And as the commercial landscape continues to evolve yearly, new opportunities for businesses are emerging.

 For you to stay ahead of the curve, you must educate yourself about the latest technological trends in eCommerce, and how you can utilize them to your advantage.

        Fathom CEO and founder Gareth Dunlop predicts that virtual assistants – chatbots – will be integrated to more than 25 percent of all customer support services by 2020.

          Kelly Vaughn, founder of The Taproom Agency, supports Dunlop’s forecast, “Customers want prompt and accurate answers to their inquiries, and in busy times, eCommerce merchants are not always able to keep up with the rate of messages coming in. Thankfully, chatbots are getting smarter, and I expect to see this trend to continue upward.”

          Neural networks allow tools like chatbots to get a better understanding of how humans interact with machines—in which case, what questions are being asked most frequently when customers shop online. Because AIs are modeled after the human brain, machines have ‘somehow’ developed the ability to parse customer data for deeper personalization of support experience to a specific customer.

          “Advice is probably obvious here—if you haven’t tried using a chatbot on your online store, give one a test run,” says Kelly.

Augmented Reality

          Ever played Pokémon Go or Harry Potter: Wizards Unite? These are popular mobile games, with the former being credited as the catalyst of the AR revolution. WeMakeWebsites co-founder and lead designer Piers Thorogood believes that the years of 2018, 2019, or 2020 will witness the explosion in popularity of augmented reality – way beyond its limited use to mobile games and apps.

"With tools like ‘Shopify AR powered by 3D Warehouse’ and a growing number of 3D modeling experts, it’s become extremely easy to integrate AR into eCommerce stores," Thorogood explains. He emphasized major advantages for both consumers and merchants. For the former, AR means a much richer shopping experience, getting to test out a product as if they already have it. As for the latter, this means higher conversion rates.

Ben Froedge, head of content and marketing at Shopify Plus, adds that AR is bridging the gap between the brick-and-mortar buying experience and ordering the product online.

He commented that being able to physically see the product in your home – where you want it to be placed – is a potential game-changer for shoppers. Now thousands of eCommerce businesses are combining hardware (smartphones) with applications (3D Warehouse) to integrate AR with shopping.

Future Tech

          The face of eCommerce is changing. Technological revitalizations are helping every aspect of society realize the real potential of their respective causes. At the opposite extreme lies pessimistic headlines about the dangers of uncontrolled technological advancement – that our generation is not yet ready for such drastic change in the level of 1700s Industrial Revolution. But why the grim ideals? One way or another, we’ll have to arrive on the decision that will affect us all, for better or for worse.

          Throughout this article, we have summed up the capabilities that technology can realize. Many successful e-commerce businesses invest in these technologies because it enables them to stay ahead of the curve, and to strategically heighten their success. To learn more about the latest trends in e-commerce and their practical applications to your business, we’re more than delighted to talk with you.

A Three-Part Guide to Setting Up an Online Business in Australia


In the previous article, we have discussed the basics of setting up an online business in Australia. We’ve summarized the entire process into 8 distinct steps, providing you a complete initial walkthrough of starting an online store.

          Part 2 is all about logistics.

          Logistics play a crucial part in any forms of retail. Whether you’re running a brick-and-mortar store or making deals through online channels, logistics is, simply put, the way you will get your products to your customers. It works like a human’s skeleton – serving as the framework of any business and by extension, the backbone of a nation’s economy.

          But how does logistics work in an isolated country like Australia? Let’s talk about the dropshipping model.

Understanding dropshipping in Australia


Infographic by Oberlo. For in-depth discussion about dropshipping, visit

          Dropshipping is a method of retail fulfillment where the supplier—not the retailer—delivers the goods directly to the customer. The retailer doesn’t keep and track inventory; instead, when an online store receives an order, the merchant (or retailer) forwards the request to a dropshipping partner (or supplier).

          To further understand the simplicity of the dropshipping business model, here’s a sample process flow for an online store we’ve made up – the Always Open Candies (AOT) store.

Dropshipping Model

Warehouse Model

Customer Sandra places an order of 3 boxes of gummy bears on AOC store.

Customer Sandra places an order of 3 boxes of gummy bears on AOC store.

AOC store forwards the order to a third-party drop shipping partner.

AOC store confirms it has stock of the ordered product in its warehouse.

Dropshipping partner prepares, packages, and ships the goods using AOC Store branding.

AOC Store prepares, packages, and ships the goods from its own warehouse.

Customer Sandra receives the goods at her indicated address.

Customer Sandra receives the goods at her indicated address.

Looks pretty good? Well, yes and no. Using a dropshipping model has its benefits and drawbacks.



Low startup costs

Challenging to find a trustworthy and reliable dropshipping partner

Easy to setup

You don’t have quality control over your products

Low operating expenses (overhead)

Lower profit margins

Wide selection of products

Inventory issues

Can run the business anywhere

Shipping complexities

          Apparently, the dropshipping model is most suitable for startup companies who have limited capital. Because of its flexible nature, dropshipping allows you, the merchant, to sell items on your online store without shelling out money for initial inventory. It also prevents you from overstocking and writing off unsold items (if the goods have an expiry period).

          If you’re really into setting up your own online business for the Aussies, you might want to look at this list (just scroll down to see the section “List of the Major Drop Shipping Companies”). It’s a list of the most trusted dropshipping companies based in Australia that focus on e-commerce logistics.

          But, what if you HAVE the capital needed to start a medium-scale online business. Would you rather opt for local sourcing, or is it safe to get your products abroad? Let’s talk about that right after the jump.

Local Suppliers vs. International Suppliers

Australia is an exporter country, with $243B exports and $199B imports in 2017.

          Part of any retail business’ logistics operations is the sourcing of goods to sell, may it be online or traditional. Say your business is growing, and you have your own warehouse to fill in, where would you source your stock?

                    The common perspective of both online and traditional merchants on this says that local sourcing is faster and easier to manage, while overseas sourcing is much cheaper if you transact in bulk. These factors may sound self-explanatory, but they can be easily missed if not properly understood.

          Low-cost country sourcing (LCCS) is the best logistic option if you want to source your goods from abroad. In LCCS, products or materials originate from countries with cheap labor and manufacturing costs resulting in astoundingly low purchasing prices. LCCS nations are often resource-rich countries with strictly imposed regulated wages such as China, India, and Mexico. Familiar with the quality epidemic “Made in China”? Now you know where that’s coming from.

          Local sourcing, on the contrary, requires some considerations. One of the fundamental reasons to source locally is proximity. Purchasers that are based in the same country as the producer has greater control over inventories afforded by frequent quality checks and clear communication. In many circumstances, companies that are based in a country that has a weaker currency relative to the supplier’s country are advised to source their products locally. It’s not only quicker; logistics are less costly when shipping domestically.

Decision Time

          Seeing your online business grow is like reaping the fruits of the seeds you sowed. As it continually expands, a business’ logistics requirements become more pressing. Sourcing locally or internationally is never a simple, cut-and-dry decision. You have to identify key factors—what is vital and what can be compromised—before establishing a solid direction.

          It is also essential for online businesses to view suppliers as a partner rather than a one-time deal, taking into consideration that some of the world’s biggest retailers became what they are thanks to loyal business "relationships."

          Ultimately, any decisions regarding the ordering of supplies or inventory stock are far more stable and risk-free if precise knowledge of current stock and future needs are laid out and properly reported. This precision requires expert-level intervention—an inventory or product management system with comprehensive capabilities of monitoring and analyzing data.
We will talk about these software systems on our third and last part of this blog series.

A Three-Part Guide to Setting Up Online Business in Australia


If you’re thinking of starting a business empire, Australia’s e-commerce market is a treasure trove of opportunities. To be precise, it’s a pile of loot at a value of nearly US$32 billion (or AU$41 billion), and to the delight of us all, that stockpile shows no sign of slowing down. That translates to the 5th largest e-commerce market in the Asia Pacific region, according to Forrester. In other words, it’s an opportunity to make serious money.

What’s the catch? This question.

"How do I start an e-commerce or online store business in Australia?"

Well, we’ve anticipated that. You may find the process tedious and complicated (and you will), but that’s okay. Now you’re here, you can relax. Because in this three-part guide, we will walk you through the basics of setting up an online store if you live in Australia (or planning to expand your business there). We’ll discuss the 8 steps to get your online business up and running.

8 Steps to Set Your Store Up

  1. Decide what you want to sell and your target market.
  2. Of course. This is arguably the most important step in this long, tedious process of setting up an online business.

    The Internet as a marketplace can be ruthless; no room for second chances, let alone careless errors and miscalculations. You are about to sell in the most competitive market in the world, with millions of merchants hungry to get a chunk of the 1.8 billion customers who are actively purchasing goods online. The point is you have to know what you’re going to sell and to which sector of the global market you intend to sell your products to. Ignoring this crucial step means failing to specialize your business around the interest of your target audience.

    Case in point: if you like flowers, then set up an online flower shop with additional services, knowing that your main target market is mostly females and other business which use floral products (wedding organizers, specialty gift shops, among others).

  3. Register your business – including your store’s domain name.
  4. After careful planning about your business’ nature and structure (note: it must take time), you should now register your business. If you have an existing ABN (Australian Business Number), you’re only required to register your domain name. To maximize market reach, your domain name should match the product or service you want to offer. Does a website named selling Korean cosmetics make any sense?

    Also, noticed that .au at the end of the domain name? That’ll be useful if you want your store to specifically cater to the Australian market. If you want to go global or envisions your business to do so in the future, choose the .com domain extension.

  5. Build your store using the right platform.
  6. Now comes another important step that is crucial to the success of your online business – choosing the right e-commerce platform.

    We’ll save the discussions for this topic later, as the third part of this 3-part blog series will be focusing on the best e-commerce platforms to consider for beginners in the industry.

    For starters, choosing the right platform is similar to how a brick-and-mortar store would function on a day-to-day basis.

    It’s natural to have questions about the complexities of e-commerce, and that’s where e-commerce solutions come handy.

  7. Invest in store designs and functionalities.
  8. Today, just before the second decade of the 21st century ends, ultra-modern and AI-toting shops and stores dot multiple megacities around the world. These sweet, futuristic features come with hefty price tags, and for their respective owners and companies, they are significant investments. Unnecessary for their operations to continue, but vital for future-proofing and making an impression.

    It’s practically the same for online stores. Once you’ve chosen a platform, you must invest in designs and functionalities that give you an edge over your competitors. It’ll leave a stronger first impression and, as a result, get more conversions.

    If you want to work with an e-commerce website design in Sydney, you can click here for more info.

  9. Track your store’s key performance indicators (or KPIs).
  10. KPIs are business tools every merchant needs to know to track and assess your store’s performance. It’s like a daily or weekly financial report on how well your online business is performing.

    We’ve enumerated the following e-commerce-specific indicators that you should regularly monitor:

    • Average order value: measures the revenue you earn per order. If you want to make promos like discounts and item bundling, use this indicator to know how much you’ll be earning.
    • Customer lifetime value: a useful indicator that determines customer retention and loyalty. CLV projects the expected revenue from customers for their entire lifetimes.
    • Conversion rate: the most important performance indicator is your conversion rate, which measures the percentage of site visitors who purchase from your store.
    • Revenue on ad spend: shows the revenue you earn per advertising spend. It’s a crucial indicator of the effectiveness of your advertisements. Understanding how this works can save you from unnecessary expenses.
    • Shopping cart abandonment: this figure reflects possible inconveniences encountered by customers such as high shipping fees, lengthy checkout process, or lack of payment options.
    • Map overlay: this indicator lets you know which visitors belong to a specific country or state. This is vital if you’re planning to expand your reach overseas or focus on a particular city.
  11. Advertise your website with modern tools.
  12. Don’t even think about posting on Gumtree. You wouldn’t want your customers to have that kind of impression. What you need is a holistic approach to your marketing strategy; the kind that builds reputation and loyalty. You must avoid giving off a “one-time thing” vibe—at all costs.

    For this, you will need to use a variety of digital marketing tools.

    • Social media marketing – a direct, cost-friendly way to engage with potential customers and maintain a solid relationship with your established fans and regulars, both contribute to higher conversion rates
    • Blogging/vlogging – people’s eyes have never been this glued to their smartphones before thanks to the rise of vloggers and influencers – and it’s an effective way to tap the ever-growing millennial market
    • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – online marketing’s most effective tool for making your store appear on the top results of search engines using powerful keywords and substantial content
    • Online ads – there’s no better way to generate buzz than running an ad campaign through Google or Facebook, offering cost flexibility and a location-targeted engine if you want to advertise only in a specific area
  13. Choose your payment gateways.
  14. For emphasis, you don’t want one-time customers, right? Of course. That will spell doom for your online store. So, BEFORE getting started with your Australian dream to dominate retail on this side of the world, you need to make sure your checkout process will not irk your customers.

    What to do? Opt for the right payment gateways and methods to speed up transactions, not overcomplicating them with unnecessary surveys and checkout forms.

    Here are the top payment methods for Australian customers:

    • Credit cards (MasterCard and Visa)
    • Internet banking
    • E-wallets (PayPal, Visa Online)
    • Mobile payments
    • Online bank transfer
    • Cash-on-delivery
  15. Partner with a trusted logistics provider.
  16. Yes! You’re ready to put the cherry on top of the cake. Partnering your business with a reliable logistics service is crucial, yet often overlooked step in setting up an online store in Australia. Forget to set this up, and no one’s going to visit your store again.

    If you have the resources to assemble an in-house distribution and delivery team, it’ll be ideal for your business in the long run. However, this can be difficult to manage (and finance) if you’re a from-scratch start-up. Outsourcing your logistical needs is the only way to go.

Getting Started and Moving Forward

          There you go! You just finished setting up your online store in Australia. Well, hypothetically speaking. But isn’t it easy? True, it can be quite intimidating, but you don’t have to launch a perfect online store. Ever heard of feedbacks? Just wait for them to come at you popping as notifications. You’ll get used to it, eventually. And for many successful merchants, that’s the beauty of online selling—receiving praise and accepting criticisms, all for the improvement of your business.

          In the next article, we’ll be discussing the technicalities of online selling and maintaining your store in-depth. Stay tuned!

Pros and Cons of Business Process Outsourcing

In simplest terms, business process outsourcing (BPO) is the delegation of specific business operations to a third-party service provider. It is a common practice among large-scale businesses and multi-level corporations. Call centers are shining testaments of the BPO business model.

For most small-to-medium enterprises, outsourcing is more or less a stroke of genius; it helps you seek ways to adapt and stay competitive. If you’re selling products online, you’re already outsourcing your operations to a third-party service provider (platforms or e-commerce solutions) that has better expertise—which in time will save you a lot of time, money and resources.

Yet, deciding to outsource your operations should not be an easy decision—at some cases, it might be met with some resistance within the business. That’s why we’ve collected the pros and cons of BPO, weighing the good and the bad, so you can make an informed decision on what is best for your business.


Business process outsourcing will provide your enterprise with many benefits, some of which are discussed below.

  • Frees up your operations so you can focus more on running the business. When a third-party handles time-consuming business processes (such as customer service), it frees up more of your time. With more time available, you can put your attention towards the business’ core competencies.
  • Minimizes overhead costs. With BPO, your business can lower overhead costs and become more efficient, being able to do more for less.
  • Grants you access to a competitive industry. Working with third-party solutions provider like Always Open Commerce gives you direct access to people with superior knowledge and experience in the industry.


As with any other major business decision, it’s a must to consider the disadvantages—or nitpick, if you will—of moving ahead with a third-party service.

  • Requires careful planning. Getting your business into BPO is not a matter of making the decision over a cup of coffee and then handing things over to the third-party at dinner. For instance, meetings with key contact persons are almost necessary to set things up. It takes a lot of planning and consideration.
  • Occasional hidden costs. Watch out for hidden costs, such as legal expenses, when dealing with BPO companies. Make sure everything is written on paper, so there are no financial surprises.

Should you worry about these cons when you consider working with Always Open Commerce? Not at all! And we have five compelling reasons why our clients trust us as their third-party solutions provider. Click here to learn more!

Always Open Commerce is a third-party e-commerce solutions provider with expertise in the development, design, and maintenance of online stores.

The Life of Warren Buffett: One of the World’s Most Successful Investors

Berkshire Hathaway.

          Perhaps, you’ve heard that name—it often makes appearances in newspapers on the financial section at page 4, or more possibly, a dedicated article by TIME or Forbes in one of its monthly releases. But most importantly, Berkshire Hathaway is the 5th largest public company in the world, with almost $500 billion in market capitalization. Its financial services earn more than any other banking firm on the planet, making it one of the most powerful corporations to have ever existed, employing—and affecting the lives of—more than 360,000 employees across the globe. Truly, Berkshire’s success is tantamount, all credit is due to its Chairman and CEO, the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett.

Who is Warren Buffett?

          Born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1930, Buffett demonstrated exceptional instincts of a businessman at a young age. After studying business and graduating at the University of Nebraska, he started taking entrepreneurship seriously by forming the Buffett Partnership Ltd. in 1956.

          Warren is the only son of a congressman and stockbroker Howard Buffett. His mother, Leila Stahl Buffett, was a homemaker. By the age of 13, Buffett was running his own business as a paperboy, filing his first tax return that same year. He attended Woodrow Wilson High School in D.C., where he continued growing his little business empire by purchasing a used pinball machine for $25. Buffett and his friend installed it in a barbershop, and within a few months, the profits enabled them to buy other machines. His co-owned gaming business grew to three different locations before it got sold for $1,200.

Establishing Berkshire Hathaway

After setting up his first firm Buffet Partnership in Omaha, he began purchasing and identifying undervalued companies that he thought was an investment. Once such enterprise is the now almighty Berkshire Hathaway, which was once a textile company. Through Berkshire, Warren Buffet began accumulating stock in the early 1960s, and by 1965 he had assumed control of the soon-to-be mega-enterprise.

          What happened to Buffett Partnership? Warren decided to dissolve the firm in 1969 to focus on the development of Berkshire Hathaway. The company’s manufacturing division was phased out and instead shifted to what Buffett is good at: investments. It expanded by buying assets in media (The Washington Post), insurance (GEICO), and oil production (Exxon). Later in 1987, Buffett steered Berkshire’s then-burgeoning success into saving seemingly failing companies—metaphorically turning rocks into gold. Most notable is his purchase of the controversial investment bank Salomon Brothers.

          Eventually, under Buffett’s leadership, Berkshire had numerous deals with other mega companies, including a 7% stake in The Coca-Cola Company worth $1.1 billion in 1988. Warren became director of the company from 1989 until 2006. His flirtations with financial firms made him into one of the directors of Citigroup Global Markets Holdings, Graham Holdings, and The Gillette Company.

          Today, Berkshire Hathaway completely owns staple brands like underwear maker Fruit of the Loom and ice creamery Dairy Queen. As a minority stockholder, the Buffett led holding company owns a part of Apple, Inc. and American Express.

Becoming the World’s Most Successful Investor

          As of 2018, Buffett is the third wealthiest man on the planet. He has an estimated net worth of $84 billion.

          I know people who have a lot of money, and they get testimonial dinners and they get hospital wings named after them. But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them,” said Buffett. If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster.”

          Warren Buffett is no doubt the world’s most successful investor, but he’s also a business icon who can deliver the gift of wisdom and truth when we need it most. As a self-made billionaire, Buffett can attest to the fact that the amount you are loved for – not your wealth or accomplishments – is the one, true measure of success in life.

5 Proven Ways that Will Boost Your Social Media Engagement Without Spending Money

Here’s an observable truth: hundreds of businesses stagnate because of failure to acknowledge an inevitable fact— that the Internet has become the world’s most powerful mechanism. And within this mechanism is a platform of boundless influence, one that reaches even the remotest sector of society. Social media has overcome traditional media as the main stage of information; equipping itself with bleeding-edge tech and bypassing conventional channels of communication through creative yet radical means—memes, vines, vlogs, to name a few. It is here to stay, for better or for worse, and businesses must adapt or else they might be jeopardizing their own market growth.

                Interestingly, expanding your social media presence isn’t as costly as setting up a new store—and definitely not as demanding. A solid social media strategy can drive growth for your business by fostering lasting and loyal relationships with customers and prospects—a much better compromise than putting up branches or pouring out thousands of dollars on traditional marketing. That leads to another interesting proposition: how can you boost your online presence in social media without spending money, or at least, not too much? We list down five proven ways.

  1. Choose the network that caters to your needs
  2. Since the world witnessed the cultural explosion brought by social media and its catalyst, Facebook, back in the early 2010s, it has brought unprecedented change to the landscape of commerce and marketing. More and more people flock to social media for their information needs than reading the newspaper or watching CNN. And because this technological phenomenon generated so much traffic online, businesses naturally flocked to social media as well, bringing their products and services online which in turn, produced additional revenue through e-commerce. Facebook was and still is at the center of it all, garnering over 2 billion memberships in just a span of a decade. The many milestones of Facebook in transforming the commercial landscape made it a universal top-of-mind choice for every marketer. Other social media platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, target a more specific market, although synchronization of these platforms is always possible.

  3. Religiously respond to your customers
  4. Boosting your social media presence doesn’t just mean getting into the right platform and setting up an account. Let your audience see a softer side. This means interacting on social media accounts on a regular basis. Respond to posts or comments from your followers and interact when they show interest. Show them who you are, whether as a business entity or as a person and surely your audience will feel more connected to you. Eventually, they will follow your activities and start promoting you—a momentum much need for growth.

  5. Know what they need
  6. Getting more intimate with your audience is key to successful online marketing. Understanding what they need will help you be able to determine the products or services you will offer them. Once you’ve become fully aware of your audience’s needs, countless opportunities await for your business as they will definitely take interest on what you have in store for them, and what your business is all about.

  7. Pay attention to what’s in
  8. One of the best ways to reach a bigger audience and create a larger social media presence is to milk every popular trend. You can get ahead of these trends just by taking a look at what’s going on around the world—sporting events, blockbuster hits, or viral videos. For instance, staying active on Twitter can give you an overview of what is trending in the online world. Hashtagged events are also becoming a thing, like #NationalCoffeeDay, #NationalBestfriendsDay, #NationalWhoCaresDay—you get it. This simple technique will get your profile in front of a ton of users who never knew your business before and could even help your posts go viral.

  9. Use dazzling visuals
  10. Mediocrity has stagnated some business pages across Facebook and Twitter. They use re-uploaded photos of their products, posted with an old blurb without anything to drool for. You need to up your graphics games and have your page stand out. Try to avoid using too many boring stock photos. Instead, focus on sharing images that will resonate your vision. Share high-quality, well-polished, and if necessary, out-of-the-box graphics with exemplary short phrases that will connect with your followers. Sometimes, sharing your customers’ photos of them interacting with your product or service—with their permission—will also create proof of your loyalty to your fanbase.

                If you want to create a social media presence, your social media accounts must imitate real-life communities wherein people gather with a unifying purpose. This means positive interaction and appreciation. Engaging with your followers will not only increase your online presence; you will develop real relationships with customers as well. In an ever-changing world of business and commerce, adaptability is ultimately the main ingredient for a well-brewed formula of success—hot-served and well-stirred.

Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs

Looking for a decent job that pays well used to be a painful, terrible process. Back on the days when the Internet was just a concept, job hunting can take weeks or months, costing you a lot of resources.

Fast-forward to 2019 and you can now filter job postings according to your preferences and skills. It’s a masterstroke of IT developers to create useful search functions and filters for such complex directories like job listings. Most importantly, information technology helped job hunters to know what vacancies pay a good sum of money. Glassdoor, one of the world’s biggest job listing sites, is the best place to start.

Last year, Glassdoor published a list of the highest-paying jobs in the United States.

The survey pointed out several factors such as annual base salary, number of jobs opening available, and active job listings. Data for the research were submitted by employees from across the continental United States.

The top 10 highest paying jobs according to Glassdoor are listed below:

  1. Physician
    Doctors of medicine got the top spot—comprising of physicians and surgeons. And hey, they should get paid nicely. They will definitely save your life one day.Median base salary: $195,000+
    Job openings: 3,000+Companies hiring:
    Zumedic, Caresouth Carolina, InnovAge, Team Health,
    GoHealth Urgent Care & more
  2. Pharmacy Manager
    Thanks to our pharmacy managers, medicines in our local pharmacy store are well-kept and stored.Median base salary: $146,000+
    Job openings: 2000+Companies hiring:
    Albertsons, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Johns Hopkins
    Home Care Group, Soliant Health, Costco & more
  3. Pharmacist
    Our friendly pharmacists supervise medicine supply chains and ensure that we can get the right medicine for our condition.
    Median base salary: $127,000+
    Job openings: 2,500+Companies hiring:
    Chewy, Inova, Woman’s Hospital, divvyDose, Safeway,
    Health Mart Pharmacy & more
  4. Enterprise Architect
    Someone who’s responsible for the stability of a company’s business strategy, an enterprise architect gets paid well for implementing tech systems to achieve the company’s goals.Median base salary: $115,900+
    Job openings: 1,000+Companies hiring:
    The Nerdery, Allianz Global Investors, NorthBay Healthcare,
    Fiserv, ProHealth Care & more
  5. Corporate CounselCorporate lawyers work in law firms, where they counsel clients and handle business transactions.Median base salary: $115,500+
    Job openings: < 700Companies hiring: AppFolio, Dynamic Signal, Experian, Sleep Number
    Corporation, MailChimp & more
  6. Software Development Manager
    The great SD (software development) manager leads a team of professional software developers working in industries that require IT support.Median base salary: $108,800+
    Job openings: 1,000+Companies hiring: Conduent, CSG, MoneyGram, Wi-Tronix, American
    Management Association & more
  7. Physician Assistant
    Every doctor needs a right hand, and that’s the role of physician assistants. They are medical professionals who operate under a doctor’s supervision.Median base salary: $108,700+
    Job openings: 8,600+Companies hiring: Urgentmed, Lifespan, SCL Health, Intercept Youth Services,
    Magruder Hospital & more
  8. Software Engineering Manager
    Responsible for assembling a team of software engineers that can work quickly and successfully on software products.Median base salary: $107,400+
    Job openings: 1,100+Companies hiring: Juniper Networks, Nexon M, Medidata Solutions, Rubicon
    Project, FINRA & more
  9. Nurse Practitioner
    An advanced registered nurse, a nurse practitioner is trained to assess your needs as a patient, order and interpret diagnostic and laboratory tests, make initial diagnosis and prescribe medications.Median base salary: $106,900+
    Job openings: 14,900+Companies hiring: Team Health, Dominion Youth Services, Petaluma Health
    Center, Marathon Health, Assurance Health System & more
  10. Software Architect
    Much like a software developer but is more concerned with high-level software design and dictates technical standards, including coding, tools, and platforms.Median base salary: $105,300+
    Job openings: 1,100+Companies hiring: Dynatrace, Payfactors, Leidos, General Dynamics
    Information Technology, NextCapital & more

Interestingly, roles in the medical field and IT industries continue to deliver impressive, eye-popping salaries. These are very valuable positions, as top Glassdoor analyst Amanda Stansell described the demand, “That fact that employers are paying top dollar for many tech and health care jobs reinforces how demand for these valuable skill sets continues to outpace the supply of talent with these expertise.”

So if you have the expertise and the experience that these jobs require, say thanks to the developers who made it easy for us to enumerate this list.


Always Open Commerce is an IT solutions company that provides web services for sites like Glassdoor.

Why 2019 Should Be the Year of Success

Congratulations, you survived 2018. Pat yourself on the back, it’s no small feat.

Aside from being the fourth hottest year on record, 2018 saw numerous declines, particularly countries which were already struggling for the past couple of years. Worldwide pollution and traffic indices have worsened, according to statistics by Numbeo. Cyclones have become nastier; inflation rates skyrocketed in some economies, and headwinds of political and religious instability barraged the world in 2018. Is there any reason left to stay positive in 2019? Yes, a lot! Never mind those New Year resolutions; we list some of the good things to expect this 2019 and why it should be your year of success. Let’s go!

2019 is going to be the year of crazy techs

Self-driving cars? Foldable phones? Augmented or virtual reality? They’re great, but not revolutionary. What will define 2019 in the field of tech is 3D printing. Expect this awesome tech to come into the mainstream on later quarters of the year. And hey, we’re talking about 3D bioprinting—for your new arms or whatever parts you’re missing; advanced 3D metal printing which will *gasps* cancel out traditional manufacturing in the long run, benefitting not just our rivers and streams but our lungs as well; and an even more accessible 3D printing at home. A new industry is about to be born.

What can this mean for you? As the famed lyricist and poet Paulo Coelho said, everything around you “conspires” to help you achieve success. You might open up your own business anytime this year, with all this tech popping out from nowhere—there’s a gazillion of ideas waiting to be picked up. Daring the odds are not without its risks, but success never comes to those who just wait for the apple to fall. Take advantage of the new techs and industries rising up, and let time do the unfolding.

2019 is going to be the year without a recession—most likely

2018 was the year the world felt for the last time the crippling effects of ’08 global financial crisis (GFC). This year will be a fresh start for most economies affected by the ’08 recession. Steve Rick, chief economist for insurance and investment firm CUNA Mutual Group, retains a bullish forecast for the world economy in 2019. “Global economy will grow at around 2.3 percent. It may not seem much, but that is still above the long-run average,” he said. “So 2019 will be a very good year.”

The ongoing U.S.-China trade war could have some effect on capital spending by companies in 2019, but that wouldn’t hurt the economy overall. There is a growing purchasing power in the middle-class sector, consumer confidence is high, and consumer spending will finally gain momentum throughout the year. “Right now there is so much momentum behind the economy that there is very little chance of a recession coming before 2020—barring a ‘black swan’ event that can’t be predicted or forecasted,” Rick assured.

Yay, that’s really great news! It could mean better circumstances for your career shift or higher yields for your business expansion. There is technically nothing to worry about the economy; no signs of an imminent recession are being observed. Risks of falling into debt due to higher interest rates are at their lowest since the peak of the global financial crisis in 2008. The US stock market remains robust, jobs are growing, and real estate markets are finally picking up the pieces of what’s left of the 2008 housing market meltdown. To be precise, 2019 will be a return to normal.

And that is one big reason to believe that 2019 will be your year of success. As a bonus, we’ll give you five practical tips on how you can take advantage of these positive forecasts.

  • Get up early – most successful people follow a strict schedule. Getting up early gives you time to get ahead.
  • Get in touch with someone you have not spoken to in a while – being too consumed in our daily lives is never healthy. Be it a friend or potential business partner, giving someone a call may reduce tension, research shows.
  • Read news daily – our brain is thrilled every time we learn new information. And no better way to stay mentally sharp than to read at least 3-4 articles of new every day, preferably early.
  • Write a note – keeping a personal journal update would be nice, but just writing something down can relieve piled-up stress. You might be surprised how it makes you think differently about what you’re writing.
  • Stay connected with your inner child – go out and do some arcade games, or run with your dog while crunching autumn leaves under your feet. Chances are, you still find this remarkably satisfying.


Photo credits:

5 Motivational Quotes from Successful People Who Failed Before

When life gives you lemons, it can pretty much suck out all of your energy. But taking some time to read motivational messages from friends—or even successful people—whom by themselves didn’t have a smooth ride either, make the weariness a little bit more easy to bear. Here are some driving words from people who didn’t give up on life.

  1. Stephen Hawking
    “Black holes ain’t as black as they are painted. They are not the eternal prisons they were once thought. Things can get out of a black hole both on the outside and possibly to another universe. So if you feel you are in a black hole, don’t give up—there’s a way out.”

    Known for his superior intellect and great scientific endeavors, Hawking also had a way with words. For him, his ALS was never a true black hole—albeit it was his personal one. He thought of his condition as an opportunity to motivate people that no matter how hard a situation can be, there’s always a way out.

  2. J.K. Rowling
    “It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.”

    The Harry Potter creator knows about failure just as much as her famous boy wizard do. Philosopher’s Stone (Sorcerer’s Stone in the US and India) was rejected by publishers 12 times until Bloomsbury and Scholastic Corporation green-lit the manuscript and published the first of seven books in 1997 and 1998. Rowling’s real-life Potter-esque ups-and-downs will teach us to live life without fear of failure.

  3. Walt Disney
    “First, think. Second, dream. Third, believe. And finally, dare.”

    All it took was a single leap of faith for American cartoonist Walt Disney to change the world of entertainment. His empire grew from Mickey Mouse to integrated resorts, movie studios, and altogether a powerful media conglomerate. He dreamed about how his pet mouse can make animation be known not just in America but in the whole world—and that he did.

  4. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do…keep moving forward.”

    American civil rights’ most important figure Martin Luther King defied the odds and persevered to solidify equality between races in the United States. He never stopped fighting for his cause, even at the cost of his own life when he was assassinated in Tennessee in 1968. Even at the face of many adversities, he strived to move forward—believing that one day, the world will remember him with a grateful heart.

  5. Paulo Coelho
    “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.”

    Enlightened by his many ‘ pilgrimages’ around the world, Coelho’s rebellious personality was suddenly overturned when he wrote his first book in Spain about a boy whose dreams are prophetic. Readers of Coelho’s books are often inspired, awakened, or rejuvenated after reading his works. He believes that everything around us is in synergy with our desires, as long as it is proper and selfless.

These people went through difficult times but outmaneuvered the obstacles. As long as you stay positive, having a healthy mindset, and equipped with the right motivation, you can make lemonades from the lemons life throws at you. Add sugar to taste, if you will.