eComTechnology payment processing solutions Fri, 28 Nov 2014 00:13:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Consumer spending continues to shift to mobile phones   Recently updated ! Fri, 28 Nov 2014 00:13:44 +0000 Web shoppers bought more often, but spent less per order during the weekend before Thanksgiving compared with the same period in 2013, IBM reports.

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With many retailers promoting their Black Friday offers well ahead of Thanksgiving, online shoppers scooped up plenty of bargains during the weekend before the big holiday. Online sales on Nov. 22 and 23, the weekend before Thanksgiving, were up 18.7% compared to the same period last year. But consumers spent 5.4% less per order than they did last year, spending an average of $112.86 this year.

IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark report pulls data from IBM’s work with 8,000 brands and 35,000 e-commerce clients. IBM will continue to update its data throughout the Thanksgiving weekend.

Consumer spending continues to shift to mobile phones and tablets from laptop and desktop computers. Computers accounted for only 51.2% of traffic and 73.4% of sales, compared with 63.0% of traffic and 81.0% of sales during the weekend before Thanksgiving last year.

Smartphones drove 31.8% of online traffic, and tablets 16.5%. That compares with 22.0% of traffic for smartphones and 14.0% for tablets the weekend before Thanksgiving in 2013. (The remaining 0.5% of traffic attributed to mobile devices in 2014 came from e-readers, IBM says.) Mobile sales accounted for 26.6% of all online sales, up from more than 18.0% in 2013. Tablet sales accounted for 17.3% of online sales, and smartphones accounted 9.2%. In 2013, tablet users drove 13.4% of online sales, and smartphone users drove 5.1%.

Although total sales were up, consumers spent 5.4% less per order this year than last year. The average order value this year was $112.86, with shoppers purchasing an average of 3.2 items per order, IBM says. . Consumers spent on average of 17.0% more on desktops ($123.29) than on their mobile devices ($105.37).

Consumers shopping on Apple devices outspent consumers using Google Android devices. Apple users spent on average $111.55 per order compared to $86.56 for Android users, a difference of 28.9%. Users of Apple iPhones and iPads accounted for 33% of total online traffic, while Android device users accounted for 15.3%.

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Microsoft Makes Office Free for Mobile Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:26:59 +0000 When Microsoft Office finally got off its duff this spring and released versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for the iPad, it was a big departure for a company that has been careful not to undermine its money-printing Office software. But its decision Thursday to make the software free marks a more drastic shift and brings Microsoft more in line with newer competitors.

In March, Microsoft (MSFT) required anyone who wanted to create or edit documents on their iPads to buy a $99-a-year subscription to Office 365. People without subscriptions could use the apps to read documents but not to create or edit them. Now people will have full use of the programs for free; Microsoft will still charge for advanced features such as unlimited storage and Dropbox integration.

The model for many new software companies, especially on mobile, is to draw huge numbers of people with basic services, then rely on a group of core users to pay for features that are needed only for heavy use. Microsoft’s traditional software strategy has been the opposite: It makes software, and everyone pays to use it. But the company apparently decided that the only way to compete against free was to be free itself. It is also introducing a version of its Office software for Android tablets, further expanding

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Door to Door Organics, a web-only retailer   Recently updated ! Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:52:55 +0000 The merchant, poised to bring in $35 million in online sales this year, aims to expand beyond its current markets of Colorado, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

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Door to Door Organics, a web-only retailer of organic products and groceries, raised $25.7 million in new funding, it announced this past week. The e-retailer says it plans to use the funds to expand geographically, offer more personalized shopping capabilities and beef up its mobile commerce capabilities.

The retailer currently delivers fresh food via its own fleet of 75 delivery trucks to consumers in 11 states and around 30 medium to large cities, says its founder Chad Arnold. It operates five warehouses in Colorado, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvania, each ranging in size from 10,000 to 25,000 square feet.

With the new funds, Door to Door Organics, which is poised to grow web sales 34.6% this year to around $35 million, will expand into new markets and also roll out a mobile-optimized site in early 2015, followed by a tablet site.

It’s also working to offer more personalized recommendations based on a customer’s interest in particular foods and her order history. For example, if Door to Door Organics knows that Jane Customer purchased a big batch of heirloom eggplants last year, when they come back in season this year the merchant can let her know via e-mail or other ways. It can also show her eggplant parmesan recipes and recommend to her other ingredients she might need to create the dish.

Door to Door Organics is the latest in a slew of funding announcements from online retailers in the food sector in recent months.

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trade deal signed with great fanfare between China and Australia? Mon, 24 Nov 2014 10:44:16 +0000 A trade deal signed with great fanfare between China and Australia has been touted as a major step towards Australia shifting its economy from a “mining boom” to a “dining boom,” but the reality is likely to be more sobering.

Australia is looking to replace its reliance on exports of minerals such as coal and iron ore as mining investment wanes and demand begins to dwindle. The government would prefer to expand its food and agricultural exports to capitalize on a rapidly growing Asian middle class.

It has high hopes for the proposal for a free trade agreement (FTA) signed on Monday by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chinese President Xi, but the more likely winner from the deal is the services sector.

The deal is designed to open up Chinese markets to Australian farm exporters and the services sector, while easing curbs on Chinese investment in Australia. China is already Australia’s top trading partner, with two-way trade of around A$150 billion ($130 billion) in 2013.

Several major agricultural foodstuffs, including sugar, rice and cotton, are currently excluded from the FTA, and Australia’s frequent severe droughts impose a natural production ceiling on those sectors that are part of the pact.

Experts are waiting for the full text of the pact, which Australia called the best ever between Beijing and a Western country, warning the devil may yet be in the detail.

“Labor is deeply concerned that key export sectors like sugar have been told to expect nothing from the deal,” said opposition Labor Party leader Penny Wong. “Mr Abbott has talked about a two-step FTA. The fact is Australia can’t afford a second-rate FTA with China.”



HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham said the deal would support Australia’s “great rebalancing act”, but others warned the agricultural sector is comparatively tiny.

Of Australia’s total exports to China of A$94.7 billion in 2013, iron ore accounted for A$52.7 billion, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Wool, the top agricultural export, made up just A$1.9 billion.

Boosting agriculture also requires big investment in isolated, dry and volatile areas with limited water supply. Large swathes of eastern Australia are currently in drought.

Australian farms’ return on capital has seldom topped 2 percent in a year on average during the past decade, excluding changes in land values, according to government research bureau ABARES. The unpredictability of earnings is greater than in the United States, Africa and Brazil.

Meanwhile, the sugar, rice, wheat and cotton sectors will have to wait three years for a review of their tariffs. Even then, any changes are likely to be contingent on Australia relaxing its existing requirement that all investment proposals by Chinese state-owned entities be scrutinized by the Foreign Investment Review Board.

“In this day and age, sugar being excluded in what looks like a political trade-off is an absolutely unacceptable outcome,” said Paul Schembri, chairman of industry group Canegrowers.

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chief executive officers paid more than federal income taxes contributions   Recently updated ! Sun, 23 Nov 2014 13:27:24 +0000 Seven of the 30 largest U.S. corporations paid more money to their chief executive officers last year than they paid in U.S. federal income taxes, according to a study released on Tuesday that was disputed by at least one of the companies.

Amid talk in Washington about corporate tax reform, the study said the seven companies, which in 2013 reported more than $74 billion in combined U.S. pre-tax profits, came out ahead on their taxes, gaining $1.9 billion more than they owed.

At the same time, the CEOs at each of the seven companies last year was paid an average of $17.3 million, said the study, compiled by two Washington think tanks.

The seven companies cited were Boeing Co (BA.N), Ford Motor Co (F.N), Chevron Corp (CVX.N), Citigroup Inc (C.N), Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and General Motors Co (GM.N).

The Institute for Policy Studies and the Center for Effective Government, the study’s co-authors, said its findings reflected “deep flaws in our corporate tax system.”

In reply, Verizon said it paid $422 million in income taxes in 2013. “We do not provide a breakdown between federal vs. state in that total; however, I am confirming for you that the federal portion of that number is well more than Verizon’s CEO’s compensation,” a spokesman said in an email.

Boeing said its 2013 global tax bill was $1.6 billion, though all but $5 million was deferred due to development and production investments. A spokesman said current tax expense and cash taxes were likely to rise as 787 jet deliveries ramp up.


Like the other companies, Citigroup said it abides by all tax laws. “In 2013, Citi paid more than $3 billion in payroll taxes and more than $95 million in use tax, personal property and real property taxes in the U.S.,” a spokesman said.

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Cash Flow Forever – Jeff K Johnson Sat, 22 Nov 2014 10:06:23 +0000 I have had a Real Estate License, Insurance and Mutual Fund licenses so this book was of particular interest to me and it did not let me down. With real estate pretty well part of most of our lives there are lessons to be learned with this one! Rules of the road, tricks of the trade; commercial real estate broker Jeff K. Johnson lays out a simple but highly effective formula for building net worth and cash flow through real estate investing. Jeff shares his highly educated and unique insight from working with a number of highly successful real estate investors for over thirty five years. You will find the real life stories that Jeff shares about his clients and his own investing experiences to be invaluable. This practical and easy to read book cuts right to the chase and lays out “The Real Secrets of Real Estate Investing”.cashflow


In “Cash Flow Forever” Johnson reveals more than the basics of the real estate and investment properties!

A must read for those starting out in life or venturing into the real estate and commercial properties.


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Product Description

About the Author

Jeff K Johnson CCIM SIOR is the President of Black Commercial Inc., the brokerage division of NAI Black. NAI Black is one of Spokane, Washington’s largest property management and commercial real estate companies. During his career, Jeff has worked with many highly successful real estate investors and has formed numerous real estate investment partnerships. Jeff has taught “Real Estate Investing” at Spokane Falls Community College and is the past President of the Washington Commercial Association of Realtors. Jeff grew up in Forest City, Iowa where he attended Waldorf College and met his wife Kae. Jeff is an avid rock and alpine climber.


Reviewed by R.G. Richardson.


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The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau plans to propose rules for prepaid debit cards this week to help consumers better understand how the cards work and make it easier to compare fees. The bureau is expected to issue a standard template for fee disclosure and require that consumers are protected from unauthorized transactions, according to people familiar with the matter. Moreover, the regulator will likely set limits on spending money that has not been loaded onto the cards. The new rules could hurt companies that allow overdrafts. “We’re generally in compliance with what we expect the regulation to be,” says Meta Financial Group’s Brad Hanson. Some prepaid cards have come under criticism for their fees and a feature that enables consumers to borrow money using them. The amount loaded onto the cards is expect to grow from $19.5 billion six years ago to nearly $100 billion this year, according to Mercator Advisory Group.

From “Prepaid Debit Cards Face Oversight” Wall Street Journal (11/10/14) Zibel, Alan; Sidel, Robin

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high-tech chip cards in the mail Mon, 17 Nov 2014 13:47:29 +0000 Consumers can expect a flurry of thick, credit-card-carrying mail as some banks attempt to get high-tech chip cards into their hands before the holidays.

The catalyst: A series of high-profile security breaches at U.S. retailers caused an acceleration of a multi-year transition to the chip-and-pin technology.

A year ago, credit card issuers thought the Europe-led move toward Europay, Mastercard (MA) and Visa (V) (or EMV) cards—which require a unique user code rather than an anonymous swipe—would bypass the U.S., said Paul Kleinschnitz, senior vice president in the cybersecurity group at First Data.

“After a larger breach like with Home Depot (HD),” Kleinschnitz said, “they said, ‘We’re not going to take this trickle approach. We’re going to do a massive reissuance as soon as possible.'”

While Europe, Asia and Latin America have already broadly adopted EMV technology, replacing the United States’ billion-plus swipe cards in circulation is no easy feat.

Chase (JPM) first focused on replacing cards like the British Airways Visa or Ritz Carlton Rewards card, for customers who frequently traveled internationally, said Jen Roberts, president of Chase’s high net-worth card business. Those customers, the companies said, would be able to use chip-and-pin machines abroad and be less susceptible to fraud that takes place overseas.

But in October, the reissuance went mainstream with an announcement from Charlotte-based Bank of America (BAC), which said it would be replacing expired and lost debit cards with a chip-enabled card.

Luis Lujan, a Bank of America customer living in Texas, reached out to the company directly on Twitter to learn how to replace his card, once he found out EMV technology was available.

“A step forward is better than sitting still,” he said about his approach to the switch. “Why not be proactive about ID theft?”

Titi Cole, senior vice president and product management executive at BofA, said the sooner consumers can start using the technology—which could cause a logjam in checkout lines—the better.

“There’s going to be a learning curve,” Cole said in a phone interview. “And the vast majority of merchants still don’t have it.”

So far, executives across the banking industry point to Wal-Mart (WMT) as the only major retailer that has invested in chip terminals on a large scale. In remarks at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Oct. 17, President Barack Obama acknowledged Wal-Mart, along with Home Depot (HD), Target (TGT) and Walgreen (WAG), for pledging to adopt chip-and-pin technology by the beginning of 2015.

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