Category Archives: Technology

Over 75 Facts about Cyber Crime


cyber securityThanks to “Best” for allowing me to share their infographic.

2018 Retail Trends You Will Likely See

Retail Trends Likely to Dominate the Scene in 2018

Trends and predictions are part and parcel with the start of a new calendar year. One area in which trends are analyzed at the beginning of the year involves the retail market segment. There are a number of retail trends that are likely to dominate the scene in 2018.

Grocery eCommerce will Blast Off

A major 2018 retail trend will center 2018 Retail trends on grocery eCommerce. A primary reason a focus in 2018 will be on grocery eCommerce is associated with Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods and Walmart’s decision to up its game when it comes to online grocery marketing.

Prior to the latter part of 2017, U.S. citizens lagged behind their international counterparts when it came to grocery eCommerce. All of that is expected to change in 2018 due to a significant uptick in the number of U.S. consumers who will embrace grocery eCommerce.

“Traditional” Retailers and the Realization that They Must Change

Forbes, the widely read business J.R. Atkins on retail trendsmagazine, traditionally makes predictions pertaining to retail trends at the start of a new year. In 2018, the magazine focused on one major trend to pay attention to in the retail market segment in 2018. Specifically, the “big trend” to watch for in 2018 is that a multitude of retailers, from different market segments, will finally concede that they must embrace change.

Embracing change does primarily involve so-called traditional retailers, including those stores that have been in business for more extended periods of time. These enterprises have long held firm to the principle that retailers determine what a customer should desire to purchase. These enterprises also believed that retailers held the keys as to how customers shop.

In reality, that has not been the case for quite some time. In fact, in the digital age, customers truly to define the shopping experience on all levels. 2018 is marked to be the year in which retailers reluctant to accept this reality will finally do so.

With a notable number of traditional retailers closing their doors forever, many others muttered the mantra that 2017 was a year to survive. Those that made it into 2018 are expected to be seen realizing that they must change and embracing that process.

Integration of Crypto Currencies

2017 say the cryptocurrency world 2018 Retail Trendsgarner attention from the media and large swaths of the public. By the last quarter of 2017, a growing number of retailers were also starting to take notice of cryptocurrency.

Thus far, cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, has been regarded as an asset class rather than a type of currency or form of payment. A trend among some retailers in 2018 will the integration of cryptocurrency into their sales systems. As part of this effort, some retailers will take the step of holding onto whatever cryptocurrency or currencies they elect to accept from consumers. This will eliminate the fees associated with conversion to U.S. dollars following a cryptocurrency purchase.

Tech-enhanced Store Staff and Elimination of Checkout Counters

Another significant trend to keep a 2018 tech retail trendslookout for in 2018 is the further tech enhancement of store associates. Accompanying this trend will be an increasing elimination of checkout counters in stores.

The one benefit that brick and mortar stores have over online retailers is face-to-face human interaction. Increasing the tech availabilities of retail staff, and eliminating the checkout counter, is thought to be a sure way to enhance the overall human interaction between patrons and staff at retailers in the brick and mortar world.

The Rise of the Robot

2018 will not be the year in which 2018 Retail trendsrobots start to populate retailers floor space in the brick and mortar world in large numbers. There actually will be an uptick in the visibility of robots and automation in brick and mortar stores, but the real trend in robotics will be behind the scenes in retail fulfillment centers.

Major online retailers, with Amazon leading the way, will incorporate robots into the work of more of their fulfillment centers in 2018. In 2017, Amazon had robots in action in about 20 percent of their fulfillment centers. That number will increase, and noticeably so, in 2018. Similarly, other retailers will utilize robots more broadly in their fulfillment operations during 2018.

Guest Blogger: Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Faxage a leading company that provides Internet fax service for individuals and businesses.


5 Social Trends We’re Expecting to be Huge In 2018

Technology as a field implores innovation; it is perhaps the fastest moving industry in the world. Social media, technology’s wild child, is no exception to this.

Social media is inherently unpredictable. Companies can push new features or channels all they want, but they won’t always see the results to back their efforts up. Whether it’s content, audience, or channel mismatch, social media success can be elusive.

Part of making the most of social media is knowing what’s hot, and what’s not. Here are five essential social trends you need to make note of for 2018.

J.R. Atkins social media

Live Videos

J.R. Atkins uses Facebook live2017 was the year live streaming entered our collective consciousness. Which was almost entirely down to Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat: they presented live stream videos in the most accessible, hard-to-ignore packages possible. Live videos suddenly became a great way to add more context to personal and brand stories.

When browsing Instagram, a live stream pops up as a notification almost as if they were streaming just for you. An ingenious way to present the feature; long gone are the archaic days of Meerkat.

And it appears live video’s popularity will only continue to rise in 2018. Look at these stats for some evidence:  82% of online users have stated they prefer to consume video content rather than written, and 88% users are more likely to stay when a page proposes prominent video content.

Use live videos as part of your social strategy to spice things up at an event or awards show, or use them as small instructional features you use to pass on knowledge.

Algorithms Getting Harder To Beat

In some ways, it’s getting harder and harder to engage a genuine social media audience.

For starters, Facebook has made some plans. Huge plans. Massive plans. They have, for the first time in their history, made a decision that didn’t have the overarching premise of increased engagement. They want ‘meaningful’ usage, which apparently isn’t videos of people falling over with garishly blatant text narration. Who would have thought?

J.R. Atkins in AlgorithmsMark Zuckerberg has stated they’re going to ‘tune out’ publishers and brands, focusing more so on the updates of your friends and family. Part of that change has been the realization that passively scrolling through a page full of articles and videos, although addictive, is not good for our collective wellbeing. Read here for more ideas on how to deal with the changing Facebook.

As said, social trends are unpredictable. 2017 alluded towards branded video content becoming increasingly omnipresent, one announcement from Facebook later — that may have been flipped on its head.

It’s a good time to invest in paid advertising on Facebook as the organic game gets tougher and tougher, but make sure you put time and effort into crafting good ads that will gain genuine traction with your audience.


Gamification has been on a steady rise for years. Historically, it has been a tad gimmicky. Moving forward, it will probably mature into something more compelling and useful for social media marketers.

Gamification affects salesGamification improves brand loyalty. We’ve seen this with Snapchat; their streak feature is thought to have been one of the key reasons for their somewhat short-lived dominance. Gartner has stated that gamification inspires users to “higher levels of engagement” as humans are “hardwired to enjoy games”. Considering this, we believe its usage will only grow as people seek new ways to engage their target audience(s).

For us, the highlight of gamification in 2017 was when Mind, an app enabling one to connect with a higher sense of mindfulness, gave users achievements for day streaks. It’s a great testament to how even the realms of Zen Buddhism can be harnessed for gamification features!

Think about how you can bring gamification to your social media strategy in 2018. Maybe start with something easy like a competition to get things going?

WeChat & Messenger Takeover

Did you know that the most sold beer in the world is Snow? We doubt most have even heard of that golden nectar. It’s only sold in China but dominates the market there. Similarly, WeChat is one of the biggest social phenomena in the world, and we doubt you’ve ever heard of it. But that’s probably going to change.

Something Different Companies uses Messenger WeChat is used by 95% of the 16+ population in China. The app is an amalgamation of Whatsapp, Uber, Slack, and Monzo. It’s popularity has demanded total control of the Chinese market.

Whilst it’s not definite that WeChat will resonate with our market, it comes as no Pay that Facebook are attempting to imitate the model. They’re slowly integrating Facebook pay more and more. Considering their Whatsapp purchase, it appears that Facebook are also trying to dominate the messaging world. Is Uber next?

Value, Not Selling

J.R. Atkins offers valueLast, but most certainly not least: value.

Invasively targeted ads appearing on all social mediums – Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter  — are having a dulling effect on the consumer. They’ve brought about a renewed questioning of the real value of social media.

Privacy is also at the forefront of social dialogue: all companies that have access to private information have to be totally transparent with their intentions. This will be a key feature of marketing across the board in 2018.

We believe many will look for apps and websites that put the user’s desires first, rather than their own financial incentive of selling information. It’s all about giving people real value and compensation for their time, so make sure that you’re not engaging in any clickbait or low value activities.

Considering the potential changes with Facebook, and the emphasis on privacy; we do believe the consumer will have more power in 2018. It’s an exciting time for brands who are willing to go the extra mile and engage with their audience in a way that’s real and genuine.

Guest Blogger:

Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer.Victoria Greene is a freelance blogger and branding expert. On her blog, Victoriaecommerce she shares tips on building awesome brands that people feel compelled to follow

How Tech Is Reshaping PR

How Technology Is Reshaping the PR Industry

Over the past decade, technology completely transformed the marketing and advertising industry, but it’s rarely discussed how it changed the PR industry. Back in the day, at the dawn of the internet, issuing press releases used to be the most common method of keeping your key publics, as well as the general public, informed about some important activities of your company, increasing exposure, and expanding your reach. Nowadays, there are more personal and direct ways to contact your target audience and let them know that you’re about to launch a new product or service, enhance your brand recognition, or improve your company image.

PR is key for Brand Marketing

Social media

There’s no doubt that social media platforms have changed the face of communication. If we bear in mind that Facebook has 2,01 billion monthly active users, or that Twitter boasts 328 million people who share their thoughts and ideas within its 140-character limit, it’s clear that together with Instagram and LinkedIn, these social networks enable companies to break the fourth wall and enter their audiences’ lives on a more profound level. Successful companies combine their PR, development of a visual brand and social media efforts in order to create an effective two-way communication channel with their target audiences.

Apart from using social media networks to announce new products and all kinds of events, you can also take advantage of your audience’s comments, suggestions, and frequently asked questions to create relatable content, and even improve your products’ functionalities thus meeting your audience’s needs.

Of course, the development of digital media doesn’t mean that you should stop paying attention to traditional marketing channels. There are certain demographics that can be reached almost exclusively through traditional media. That’s why it’s essential to employ a comprehensive media and PR strategy that will extend your reach, as well as, access all your potential customers.


As of late, marketing and sales can’t be imagined without the use of AI. According to The Economist Intelligence Unit, 75% of surveyed executives said that they would actively implement AI in their companies within the following three years. All kinds of automation tools make things much easier and improve customer experience. Chatbots are among them, and now many websites feature these little gadgets that help their customers solve some common issues or even pick a product they need. Since PR and customer service are closely related in the sense that bad customer service results in negative PR, while great customer service can do wonders for PR, it goes without saying that if you want to make your customers happy thus creating an impeccable reputation, you need to provide them with the latest technology tools. Luckily, modern chatbots can perfectly impersonate human interaction, which means that you can engage your customers in a friendly, personal chat and start building trust.


One of the most frequent questions regarding PR is how to calculate its ROI. This is one of the biggest shortcomings of the traditional PR since it’s extremely difficult to identify which PR tactics are effective and which should be improved. Fortunately, there are tools that can help you establish whether a tactic manages to drive engagement and to what extent. Also, it’s worth mentioning that many marketers use Google Analytics in a superficial manner, that is only to keep track of monthly visitor count, and they fail to use its other, more complex features to the fullest. Google Analytics segments can make a big difference in the way you analyze the data you’ve collected and provide you with more detailed insight into various metrics.


This is one of the most popular buzzwords of the moment, as almost all companies, both small startups, and the industry giants, believe that employing influencers is critical for their image and reputation. Influencer marketing is similar to celebrity endorsements, and the main difference between these two strategies lies in the fact that celebrities lend their names and a portion of their fame to brands, but this doesn’t imply that they have to be experts when it comes to the products they’re endorsing.

On the other hand, influencers try out, test, and research the products they recommend, and their followers are convinced that their expertise in a particular niche guarantees that the product they are promoting is of the best quality. A stunning 94% of marketers that participated in a recent research study said that they believed in the effectiveness of influencer marketing. This strategy is, undoubtedly, capable of being extremely beneficial for PR, and despite some controversies, it has been gaining momentum ever since its appearance.


Content obviously rules. It’s indispensable in both marketing and PR, and creating a brand story is crucial for attracting your prospects and capturing their attention, as well as for improving your brand image. When we’re talking about content, it’s important to stress that it refers to any element of your interaction with your customers, and it includes blogging, advertisements, social media posts, press releases, white papers, emails, websites, and landing pages. Even details, such as email signatures, play an important role in creating a positive image and reputation.

Producing quality content should be your first and foremost concern, not only because you want to educate and entertain your customers, but also as it’s a powerful weapon against negative brand advocates. You can count on the fact that you’ll have your fair share of PR and marketing rough patches, such as people sharing some negative experiences with your brand on social media, and that’s where awesome content will come to your rescue and save the day.

Sometimes negative customer experiences can’t be prevented, and if you think that ignoring bad comments and angry customers is an excellent PR strategy, you’re wrong. It’s important to handle such incidents in a professional manner and turn these potential PR disasters into triumphs, and that’s why a great narrative, paired with impressive communication skills, is a must.

Technology is of paramount importance to the PR industry, and it can be a game-changer in building and maintaining a positive public image.


Guest Blogger at something Different CompaniesGuest Blogger: Nate Vickrey is a marketing consultant and an online author. He is mostly engaged in providing his expertise to startups and SMBs. He is also the executive editor at Bizzmark Blog and an author on TheNextWeb.

2017 Trends for Online Privacy

With the latest move to dismantle internet privacy protection guidelines, online privacy continues to remain exposed. Consumer advocates seem to have a tougher journey ahead as they need to create a stronger framework to debate it out. As much the telecommunication companies hold the consumer in their grip, internet companies equally enjoy the custody of consumer data which is highly sensitive.

Research by the SANS Institute found that 80 percent of data breaches originate from third parties. This doesn’t mean the entire chunk is neglectful towards internet privacy but signals the lack of confidence in the measures they take to maintain online privacy.

While it’s difficult to fight the telecom entities in terms of information required by them, we can certainly be more vigilant with our online behavior by deploying safer internet practices like incorporating data protection tools and private search engines.

The infographic below beautifully depicts the current trends and measures towards online privacy. Take a look –

J.R. Atkins Privacy Trends & Measures 2017

5 Ways Your Website Could Be Hurting Sales

website conversion helpIf you’re in the business of selling products or services online, your website can make or break your brand. While most companies stay on top of the marketing techniques that can help to drive more traffic to their site, they often forget to make improvements to the site itself. Here are five ways that your site might be hurting sales and how you can fix it.

1. You Have Unresolved Glitches

This sounds like a simple problem that any web administrator with an ounce of sense would avoid. However, many site admins don’t realize that their e-retail platform has a glitch because they don’t regularly check the platform for user friendliness. If customers run into a glitch, they’ll oftentimes abandon the purchase rather than contacting the administrator about the problem. Hence, it’s crucial that you’re regularly checking the site for any glitches or issues.

2. There’s Never Any Rush To Buy

If your site isn’t regularly running promotions that feature a deadline, such as “product X is 25% off until this Friday,” then you’re not creating time-sensitive reasons for customers to make purchases. Companies attach deadlines to their promo codes and sales for good reason; it gives the customer a reason to buy now instead of later. Don’t think of these promotions as sleazy. They’re actually quite common and a completely moral sales tactic.

3. The Tech Is Fine, But The Site Itself Is Hideous

Sure, any e-retailer needs to have a glitch-free storefront that runs smoothly and processes data and promo codes without error. But don’t think that design doesn’t matter. Customers like to be welcomed by a web design and graphics that are pleasing to the eyes. Good visuals can compel customers who are on the fence to finally make that purchase.

4. Zero Social Media Presence

As social media becomes more and more of an integral part of how our society communicates, retailers can’t afford not to have a strong social media presence. It’s common for consumers to look at a brand’s Twitter or Instagram before deciding to make a purchase. If your site doesn’t have any sort of social media presence, customers may actually find that to be odd and somewhat suspicious. Social media isn’t just good from a marketing perspective. Rather, it’s a good way to cement your brand as trustworthy and give a legitimacy to your brand’s entire presence online.

5. Contacting Customer Service Is A Nightmare

No one wants to receive a barrage of petty customer complaints or unnecessary questions. For this reason, many sites tend to bury their customer service contact form or information, theorizing that only customers with legitimate questions will take the time to seek out the contact info. While this idea is okay in theory, it can kill potential sales. When customers have a question that they need to ask before they feel confident making a purchase, they want to be able to contact customer service quickly and simply. This is why a customer service contact should always be plainly visible on your site.

If you stay on top of these five potential mishaps, you can create a site that is user-friendly and conducive to consistent sales.

Guest Blogger: Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who has worked in eCommerce for the last five years. She currently writes for Rakuten Super Logistics and recommends them for all your fulfillment

Mobile Road Map to Success by J.R. Atkins

J.R. Atkins Mobile Road Map to SuccessHow do you get a mobile app for your big idea or business? The solutions to this question is addressed in Mobile Road Map to Success by J.R. Atkins, MBA. “When I first developed this material I was working closely with entrepreneurs developing mobile apps and companies seeking to add mobile apps to their business lines. As I reflect on this content, a few years later, it’s still sound thinking and applicable today.”

One example of continued relevance is the dominance of iOS and Android operating systems over Blackberry, Microsoft, and Symbian.  Microsoft still is active on their platform but it just never took off with independent developers who dominate the mobile app development field.

Another example of relevant content is the mobile app development process represented by the flow chart below. I still run across people who say they have an idea for a mobile app but have not taken step one, which is creating a written description.

stepps to building a mobile app

A third example of continued relevance is the basic cost associated with mobile app development. I would have guessed that this would have changed but, since they are general categories, the price points still hold true.

How much money to build a mobile app

New log for SDC llcEven though time has passed and application development has improved, these are still reasonable guidelines to use in early planning. For more details and the rest of the story on Mobile Road Map to Success, check out the book on Amazon.

I look forward to seeing your comments and questions.

J.R. Atkins has been speaking, teaching and consulting on Social Media since 2008. He has a BA in Marketing from Texas A&M University, an MBA from The University of Phoenix, Dallas Campus and is currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. He has published 3 books: Success Simplified, Social Media 2.0 and Mobile Road Map to Success. His company, Something Different Companies, works with churches, individuals and companies to implement effective online communication strategies.

Major League Gaming, Coming to a City Near You

J.R. Atkins writes about major league gamingOn a recent trip to Atlanta, I had the opportunity to learn more about the industry of Major League Gaming. For the uninitiated, you can now be a professional gamer. All those hours in front of a screen playing Nintendo Wii and DS, Xbox, Play station and PSP, Game Boy, Atari and Pong could now equate to being a professional gamer with all the star power and perks of a rock star or professional athlete.

J.R. Atkins attends Final Round 18During the Delta flight to Atlanta, I watched a free video clip on my iPhone via the on plane Wi-Fi on Major League Gaming. (See related article in SKY) According to Wikipedia, “Major League Gaming (MLG), founded in 2002 by Sundance DiGiovanni and Mike Sepso, is a North American professional Electronic sports organization, headquartered in New York City. MLG has held official video game tournaments throughout the United States and Canada. Major League Gaming competitions have been broadcast on television, and other broadband sites. The company has also been involved in television production and game development. MLG’s aim is to elevate computer and console game tournaments to viable competitive and spectator events.” Although interesting, I simply watched another video on my flight and moved on with my life.

Game Stick at Final Round 18When I arrived at my hotel, I was surprised to see a group of motly dressed people with colored hair and baggy clothing reminiscent of pajamas, walking around with a gaming console they call a “stick.” Come to find out, the Final Round 18 Fighting Game Competition was being held at my hotel. Cool! I got to see firsthand what all the fuss and fanfare was all about. When my son was young, we played Mortal Combat at the pizza place and these people were still at it. The whole tournament was all about fighting games. You could watch people play in the lobby, in the main ballroom, in their hotel rooms, just about everywhere for 3 days and nights straight. Can you say “Cha-Ching?” Someone is making some serious cash here.

Based on what I learned, within the next 3 years we will probably see the following:

  • Gamer Celebrity Status like Justin Biber & Johnny Football
  • Million Dollar Signing Bonus for Gamers
  • Endorsements from games, clothing, theme parks and more
  • TV coverage by ESPN and major networks
  • Someone will suggest that gaming should be added to the Olympics
  • Stadium & Auditoriums Filled with fans to see gaming events
  • More Merchandise (coming to a Christmas near you)
  • “Fill out your bracket at work for the Championship rounds”
  • Vegas odds makers listing the likely top winners in gaming

What does this have to do with business? First, you can quit complaining about people who sit around and play games all day, it’s a profession now. Second, expect to see business applications for those with gaming skills on their resume. There could be a correlation between business intelligence, data management, coding and other workplace skills and gaming skills.

What social or business applications do you see in regards to professional gaming? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

What Airline has the best in flight WiFi?

Check out the following article on Quartz by  Zainab Mudallal 

Do you use Wi-Fi much when you fly? If so, more for work or entertainment?


Wi-Fi has become one of the most sought-after things on a flight, even more important to passengers than a reclining seat or extra legroom. The latest report from Routehappy, a website that compares airlines by in-flight amenities, finds that its availability is spreading fast.

The report, published today, analyzed flights scheduled to depart this coming Feb. 5—a “typical mid-week travel day”—and found that passengers have “some chance” (i.e. one-third or better) of getting Wi-Fi on almost one-quarter of the airline miles flown worldwide. On US domestic flights, there’s some chance of Wi-Fi on two-thirds of the airline miles—up from just 38% of them a year and a half ago.

On those flights that do have Wi-Fi, its performance varies. In the US, 35% of those flights had “good” Wi-Fi, meaning the equivalent of 3G connection speeds; 38% had “better” Wi-Fi, similar to 4G; and only 1% had the “best” quality, good enough for video streaming.

There were also big gaps between airlines. In the US, virtually all Virgin America flights had Wi-Fi, followed by Southwest and Delta.

See the rest of the article at:

Creating Graphics for Business Growth by J.R. Atkins MBA

As someone delivering Social Media, Websites and Online Marketing, I find myself in need of creative graphics on a regular basis and I have found some resources you might what to check out.

1. JRA Visme ProjectVisme: Think of Visme as a perfect marriage between Microsoft PowerPoint and Adobe InDesign; ease of use meets professional design. Their clean graphic website will walk you through the three easy steps to create your first graphic image and includes a nice short video to help you get started. Use the Visme tool set to create:

  • Infographics
  • Presentations
  • Charts & Graphs
  • Web Banners
  • Animations
  • And more

The free version allows you to create 3 projects and is a great way to check it out. If you like it and want to upgrade, the Standard Plan is $4.50 per month and the Complete Plan is $14.25 per month, no too much when you consider the competition.  I’m hoping they will preformatted projects for cover images for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ as I am tasked to create these often. Below is a sample project I created in less than five minutes. Let me know how Visme works for you.

2. Fivver: If you are more into outsources than “DYI” then check out Fivver. You hire someone to do you graphic for you at very low prices, like $5.00. The prices goes up as you add requirements but you still can get graphics delivered in a few days for less than $50.00. Again, not to bad when you consider other alternatives. Here is a recent example from Fivver that ran me $5.00 and took 4 days to complete.

Social Mead posting by J.R. Atkins 


3. Design Class: Most class work in design requires the student to create projects for real companies. Most will have a digital portfolio to show you how their skills and talents are developing. Why not let your brand benefit from the bright minds of tomorrow’s professional designers. Just Google “InDesign Classes” in your area then contact the instructor about student projects with your organization.

This example Portfolio is from Ashley Denton at Texas State, San Marcos, TX

 Ashley Denton recommended by J.R. Atkins

Events Worth Considering

Travel with J.R. Atkins to Holy sites




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