Colorado the most recent state to require out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax

I just got an email from B&H Photo stating that they would now be collecting sales tax in Colorado. Sadly, this is not because they are opening a store here (I love their New York store!), but instead because of a new tax law. The email stated, “All reputable retailers are complying with the new laws and collecting sales tax.”

Sales tax has long applied to brick and mortar business in the United States, but eCommerce businesses have been operating largely tax-free outside their home state. The new ruling overturns a decision made in 1992 that said businesses were exempt from sales tax unless they had a substantial connection to the particular state they operated in. This has opened the door for states to tax sales for businesses that do not have a presence in their state.

Based on a June 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, states now have the opportunity to start collecting sales tax at the point of sales, rather than on the point of delivery. The Colorado Department of Revenue issued a press release that requires online retailers to begin collecting sales tax as of November 20, 2018., even if they have no physical presence in the state.

“Tax collection at the point of sale eases the process for our residents and creates a level playing field for Colorado businesses, as out-of-state retailers will be required to collect state sales tax, just as in-state retailers do today,” Colorado Department of Revenue Executive Director Michael Hartman said in the release.

Per the Supreme court’s ruling, “there is a small-seller exception for retailers whose in state sales of products do not exceed $100,000 or 200 transactions annually.” Wholesale orders are not taxed, only orders being shipped directly to consumers.

Per the Supreme court's ruling, there is a small-seller exception for retailers whose in state sales of products do not exceed $100,000 or 200 transactions annually. Click To Tweet

“The [Colorado Department of Revenue] will ensure fair, efficient and transparent implementation of this decision,” Hartman said. “We will pave the least burdensome road possible for businesses to comply with these regulations.”

“Out-of-state retailers were not required to collect sales tax on sales prior to the registration deadline,” the release said. Visit Colorado.gov/tax/sales-tax-changes  to register for a sales tax license if you plan on selling online into Colorado going forward.

The best way to manage this retail nightmare is to utilize WooCommerce as your shopping cart platform and install JetPack.  With JetPack,  it’s possible to enable automated tax calculations. With automated taxes enabled, you won’t need to set up any tax rates manually — it will be taken care of for you!

This is not just an issue if you sell more than $100,000 or have 200 transactions in Colorado. It is an issue you must address for every state as they adopt legislation to take advantage of the tax ruling. Detailed information about which states […]

The busiest shopping weekend of the year – are you ready?

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday traditionally mark the busiest shopping weekend of the year, and the start of the holiday shopping season. How do you compete against WalMart and other big box stores to get your share of the holiday revenue? Here’s some tips to help you get the most out of your sales and marketing efforts this year:

1. Create the Perfect Product Sales Page

I just wrote a new (very short) ebook about creating the prefect product page that will literally help you sell more. You can get it for free this week on Amazon (I’m looking for reviews!). Check it out at: https://amzn.to/2ToXcgM

2. Use your email list

You do have a list of your customer’s emails that you’ve been collecting throughout the year, don’t you? Send them special coupons just for existing customers.

3. Throw a party.

Have food and drinks available for your special guests. Treat Small Business Saturday as an open house to retain your customers over the long haul.

4. Free gift wrap.

Do something that the big box stores are unable to do, especially during busy times.

5. Provide an incentive.

Have your customers bring in a friend, and give them a small gift for doing so.

6. Whether people are shopping online or in your store, create a deal.

Customers don’t just randomly flock to the big box stores this weekend – they go there because they know about and/or are expecting deals they don’t normally get. As a small business owner, you too must offer deals to bring customers into your store and your website. Don’t disappoint them, or you may end up disappointed yourself.

Customers are expecting a deal this weekend. Don't disappoint them, or you may end up disappointed yourself. Click To Tweet

It should go without saying that if you really want to take advantage of this shopping weekend (or holiday shopping in general), you need to market what you are doing. Make it different than just saying “come into our store” or “visit our website” – give them a reason to do so. then tell the world what you are doing to make this season special. Tweet about it. Post to Facebook. Write blog posts, Send emails – really step up your marketing so you get seen above the crowds and the noise being generated by the big boxes. Consider retargeted ads (see my post from a couple of weeks ago: https://webstoresltd.com/2018/11/07/how-can-i-get-more-traffic-to-my-website/).

What are you doing to attract customers this holiday season? What are doing for Black Friday/SBS/Cyber Monday? I’d love to hear your thoughts! […]

Related videos on YouTube embeds is no longer working

YouTube is a great place to post videos. Since it is owned by Google, YouTube videos are great for SEO. You can post as many videos as you want to for free, even “unlisted” and “private” videos. and until recently, you could uncheck the box on embedding videos that would show related videos at the end of when your video was done playing. Alternatively, you could add ?rel=0 to the end of the embed string. But now Google/YouTube has decided that showing related videos at the end of your current video is important to their user interface, and simply ignores this parameter.

More accurately, when you use the ?rel=o parameter on your video, YouTube now shows only YOUR videos, not videos created by others. But, it will show other videos regardless, just yours instead of competitors. The option to disable or remove these related videos has completely gone. Google believes that related videos are an essential part of their UI (user interface) and are now promoting the feature. There is no work-around except to use a different video hosting site. […]

I grew my Instagram by 100 followers per day!

Perhaps I still don’t get it, but Instagram is a strange social media platform. Instagram is not a website, but an app. You have to use your phone to post on Instagram. Every post must include a photo – and the photo must be square. Further, you can’t include a link in your posts to drive people to your website. Quite honestly, I find all of these things annoying, especially for business use. Yet, I’ve heard so many great things about Instagram, especially for Influencer Marketing, that I keep trying to figure out how to really make it work. I’ve tried assorted services that will grow your account, without buying followers, but instead will get you real people following your account. These have worked only marginally, growing my followers by perhaps 10 to 20 people per day. Not stellar, but I know better than to buy fake followers. Besides, what good are followers on Instagram if you can’t include a link? – you might as well just advertise where you can get people to click.

I don’t take a constant stream of selfies to post to social media, I prefer to create real valuable content, so decided to generate a series of motivational quotes. I grabbed some free stock photos, found quotes related to marketing, online sales, and ebusiness, and made a new meme for each day. Editing tools are better on my laptop, so I create the memes on my computer, then transfer them to my phone in order to post them on Instagram. These are good quality content, and I share them on Instagram with automatic posts to Facebook and Twitter (which you can do on Instagram). I also included a variety of hashtags. (Hashtags are those key words that start with # and are clickable links that people follow). Hashtags are key to growing your following on Instagram, as that is how new people find you. So, you want to use hashtags that people are looking for.

Anyways, it was recently Veteran’s Day. I decided to post a photo of my dad from back in the day when he was a liaison officer at the Air Force Academy. I used hashtags like #airforce, #veteransday, and #military. My account grew by over 100 followers in a single day – way better than anything I had done previously. Then it hit me as to why Instagram is important for your business. It is because […]

How can I get more traffic to my website?

I recently had a customer ask me, “how can I get more traffic to my website?” The answer can be broken down into 2 parts: free (organic) traffic and paid (advertising) traffic. Let’s examine the benefits and disadvantages of each.

Free traffic: This is what everyone wants, but has become increasingly harder to get and sustain ongoing. The way to get lots of free traffic is to create amazing content on an ongoing and consistent basis. Whether it be great photos that get shared, viral videos, or articles that offer information that visitors want to consume, content is what drives free traffic. If you build great content on a regular basis and keep doing it week after week, month after month, and year after year, then people start to notice you. And when people start to notice you, Google and the other search engines start to notice you. It takes a long time and a lot of work to generate free traffic. The advantage of course is that it is free, and it last a long time – when you put out quality content, your information may very well still be found months later. But it does take a huge amount of time and effort.

Amateur web designers rely on free traffic, while professionals pay for traffic by advertising. Click To Tweet

Paid Traffic: The other option is paid traffic. Paid traffic is great: create an ad for Facebook or Google, and they will send traffic your way. Plus, the traffic is highly optimized, either based on a specific search term or the targeted interests of your customers. I’ve heard it said that amateur web designers rely on free traffic, while professionals pay for traffic by advertising. And here’s the thing: you WILL get a lot more traffic when you advertise. Of course, your offer still has to be of interest to your customers; if they don’t care about what you are selling or what your lead magnet is, they will still not buy anything. I just did an entire podcast episode today on “conversion optimization,” which is all about getting someone to take action once they reach your website – watch for it in a couple of weeks.

So, is Facebook advertising worth it? […]

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