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Sneak peek: the anatomy of the NEW Dollardays.com

ddiWe’ve all known it for sometime; years in fact. Our website needed a facelift. Not just a cosmetic one, but one that included the new technologies that had surfaced over the years, such as mobile adaptability. We wanted to create an inviting, user friendly experience.

That said, last December, DollarDays decided it was time to begin the process. That included creating an RFP (request for proposal), which is essentially pages and pages and pages of our demands, painstakingly prepared to send to digital agencies with hope they would respond. Seriously, with a website the size of DollarDays, there was more to consider for an RFP than we imagined.

Digital agencies vetted and selected, RFPs sent. Then the wait for proposals. We received nearly a dozen of proposals, each that once again, needed careful vetting by the website committee. We narrowed it down to about four agencies that came to our offices, gave their presentations and hoped for the win. Yep, more vetting. We had to cut through the miracle (or disaster) of presentations to dive deep and determine the agency that took the time to understand our business model, identify our strengths and weaknesses and make recommendations to achieve our original goal: an inviting, user friendly experience.

The agency we chose was Resound Creative from Tempe, ARIZ. Mike Jones, principal, and our main contact, has been amazing throughout the process. His copywriter has worked hard to get the right messaging that aligns with who we are as a company, and his programmer has been more than amazing—he’s been within arm’s reach throughout the process of creating our new look. Resound Creative has simply been stellar.

In addition to the agency creating our new look, every person on the DollarDays redesign team has been in overdrive, vetting the process. Checking what’s working, what could be better, what should be added or subtracted. Whew. And as of this very moment, we are STILL vetting and preparing for the official launch on July 1.

What we know for sure, a website (any website) is ALWAYS in beta! There’s always more we can do to improve it. And no one knows better than Ryan Grange, our IT manager and programmer extraordinaire who logged hundreds and hundreds of hours to ensure the site is is a masterpiece.

Want a sneak peek? Click here. Enjoy. Let us know what you think.

June 18, 2014   1 Comment

Meet DollarDays’ New Summer Intern!

Greetings!

I am Austin Czisny, the new summer intern here at Dollar Days. I will be working with  the great DollarDays team  while on break from school. They have already been awesome and I can tell that I will highly enjoy my time here this summer.

A little about me…I am about to enter my senior year at Hanover College in Hanover ,IN. While I’m a political science major, I also participate in the Business Scholars program that Hanover offers. Through the Business Scholar program, I was able to secure a summer internship here at Dollar Days. The program is designed to supplement my major and give me the skills needed to be successful in a business environment. The curriculum of the program calls for me to have an internship at the end of my junior year and I am very excited to have one with Dollar Days.

I will be working in the marketing department and have already learned a lot as well as shared new ideas with my coworkers. I am excited to be working under Jackie Eldridge and I can already tell I will walk away with lots of new skills and experience that will help me in the future.

Besides my academics, I am also a member of the varsity lacrosse team, Student Athletic Advisory Board, and Greek Life at Hanover. In my free time I enjoy many outdoor activities such as fishing and hiking. I also enjoy playing video games, reading and keeping up to date with current events.

Regards,

Austin

large mouth bass

4 lbs.,10 oz., 22 inches!
Largemouth bass.

June 13, 2014   No Comments

AgoraPulse is a great find for Facebook management

Tagorapulsewo years ago, Jackie Eldridge, Marketing Director for DollarDays.com, met Richard Beeson, Director of Client Happiness Enforcement for AgoraPulse at a Social Media Conference in New York City. Eldridge was impressed with the platform at first pass; it seemed to be the perfect tool to manage our Facebook promotions and growth. The bonus to a platform that has every feature we’d been looking for is the customer service. Seriously, it’s not even customer service—DollarDays feels like this vendor is more like family, and that’s because they are are genuine in all of our communications AND available nearly on a moment’s notice. They are fun, light and extremely passionate about AgoraPulse.

As a company, we’ve never stepped out and fully endorsed a product, except now.  Give it a look—we recommend it to any company who manages Facebook pages and is looking to grow their audience and reach, while having hands-on reporting tools and cutting edge promotional apps. Watch the video that captures our unsolicited take on AgoraPulse.

One more thing. You will not believe the price. Hint: the monthly fee makes our CFO very happy.

June 5, 2014   No Comments

Kids lose their future to poverty

Reposted from The Huffington Post 

marc huff poNow that one school year is over and we are preparing for the next, June is a month of reflection for educators and parents on how to do better next school year. It is hard enough for students to learn at school in today’s world. You throw in overcrowding, teacher to student ratios, poverty affecting too many students and lack of funding for supplies, and it becomes almost impossible for the average student to get ahead.

The New York Daily News reported that in New York City, 6,313 classes ( 200 more than last year) were overcrowded, based on the teacher’s union contract which sets 34 kids as the limit in high schools and 25 in kindergarten. In these classrooms, kids were sitting on the floors or standing, the whole period. It is tough to imagine how children can function in these overcrowded situations, let alone how can teachers concentrate and keep the kids interested? How can these kids learn when they are sitting on top of each other?

Add, on top of this, 16 million children in the USA (22% of all children) live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level of $23,550 a year (which is $65 a day) for a family of four, according to the National Center of Children in Poverty. These children are far more likely to have limited access to sufficient food (known as food insecurity). And with Congress cutting out $8.6 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (known as SNAP) earlier this year, these kids just got a little bit hungrier. The states where the most kids go hungry include New Mexico at 29.2%, Mississippi at 28.7%, Arizona at 28.2% and Georgia and Nevada both at 28.1%. How can these kids learn when they go to school hungry?

Now look at the 1.2 million children in the USA who are homeless. Forty-one states saw a rise in homelessness among school-aged children. According to the  American Institutes for Research, homeless children have four times as many respiratory infections, twice as many ear infections, five times more gastrointestinal problems and four times more likely to have asthma. And when at school, they have three times the rate of emotional and behavioral problems compared to non-homeless children. How can these kids learn when they have so many personal problems?

Poverty and poor performance go hand in hand in school. DoSomething.org reports that children living in poverty have a higher number of absenteeism or leave school all together because they are more likely to have to work or care for family members. Dropout rates of 16-24 year old students from low income families are seven times more likely than those from families with higher income. By the end of the fourth grade, low income students are already two years behind, and by the twelfth grade, they are four years behind. How can these kids perform when they are adults, when they fall so far behind in school?

The USA educational system is ranked as the fourteenth best in the world. South Korea is number one, followed by Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Finland, UK, Canada, The Netherlands, Ireland, Poland, Denmark, Germany and Russia. Why is the most powerful nation in the world ranked in the middle of the pack in educating its children? Last year $1.15 trillion was spent on education in the US, of which 10.8% came from federal funds and the rest from state and local contributions. You would think that is enough to educate every student, rich or poor, but obviously it was not sufficient.

The US sure has a lot of things to fix to break into the top ten countries in educating its kids. Since the vast majority of funding for education falls back to the states and local communities, local help is where it has got to begin. It has to fix the children who go hungry and the children of the poor. There are great organizations to contribute to for this—like Save the Children and the Children’s Defense League to help these less fortunate kids. We have to fix the homeless children situation where organizations like Stand Up for Kids and NationalHomeless.org focus on these suffering children. And somehow we have to get the right equipment into the hands of these poor kids, like the right books, pencils, paper and calculators so they can keep up with everyone else in their classrooms. At DollarDays on our Facebook page, we are giving away backpacks stuffed with school supplies to four different classrooms (25 of the stuffed backpacks to each classroom), so make sure you nominate your favorite teacher or school or town to win these backpacks.

I wish we could just flip a switch and poverty and hunger and homelessness would disappear for our kids, but we all know that won’t happen. Who chooses what kids are born into wealth and those who are born to live on the streets? Who chooses the kids who suffer in overcrowded schools or those who go to schools with sophisticated arts, music and computer programs? Back in 1918, the US House of Representatives passed the American Creed, which states “The United States of America is a government of the people, by the people and for the people, established on the principles of freedom, equality, justice and humanity for all.” It is up to all of us to bring these poor, hungry and homeless children up to the standards our forefathers envisioned for all of us, and we need to start today.

May 31, 2014   No Comments

Winners from our May $5,000 Merchandise Giveaway!

may14contest_160x300During May 2014, DollarDays had a $5,000 merchandise giveaway for military families that were nominated by our Facebook fans. In anticipation of the Memorial Day celebration in the United States, and in honor of those who have served our country, DollarDays committed $5,000 in merchandise to these heroes who keep us safe every day of the year. DollarDays would like to thank all of those who have served.

The military families who won in the giveaway are:
Lee Shearer Family    $2,000 shopping spree
Troy Ellis  $1,000 shopping spree
Morneo Family  $500 shopping spree
Each of the following military families received a $100 shopping spree:
Carl and Ashley Coker, William Mcassie, Lt. Tetyana Muirhead, Boots on the Ground, Williams Family, Peter Mason, Mitch & Hillary Braswell, Valles Family, Matthew and Mikai Roberson, Vitali Shatkouski, Macedo Family, Holland Family, Chad and Shelby Erickson, Robert and Allison Frain.
Congratulations to everyone. You will each receive an email with instructions on how to proceed with your shopping spree! We pay shipping too! Check your spam folders in case you don’t get your email. If you see someone on this list who YOU nominated, let them know!

June’s Facebook giveaways is 100 pre-filled backpacks for teachers, classrooms, schools or any organizations that care for kids. The backpacks have all the essentials kids need for school! Four nominees will each receive 25 pre-filled backpacks. Be sure to nominate a school, a teacher or an organization that could use the help.FB Click On Like

 

May 31, 2014   No Comments

Sneak preview of the new DollarDays website!

You may or may not know that DollarDays has been working on creating a new website since last year. We are getting incredibly close to launching a beautiful new site that is visually appealing, easier to navigate, has a personality and is fun! Resound Agency in Tempe, Ariz has been the harbinger of our success and we could have never done this enormous feat without their amazing creative direction.

Below are a few snippets of the site so you can get an idea of what the new DollarDays site will look like. Our color theme throughout the site is orange, blue and green—with a lot of white space!! The navigation has been improved to help you find what you’re looking for must faster and easier. The products are displayed so that you can see more of them on one page and you can get a quick view of any product. Once you are logged in, depending on whether you are a consumer, business or non-profit, you can click on the correlating box and see the hottest products related to your customer type.

Pretty cool, right? We’re so excited about it. We expect to launch it to the public in early July. Meanwhile, our coders are working night and day to make it as user friendly and full of personality as they possibly can!

Feel free to leave a comment or suggestion! Pass it on!

new site

 

May 23, 2014   No Comments

Do You Really Save Money By Buying Online?

Trying to save money shopping online can be exhausting. Entire industries have grown up online to help you save money, but you can spend so much time trying to figure out what to do that in the long run, it’s not even worth it to save a couple of dollars.


(Photo credit: StormKatt via photopin cc)

So Many Options!

For instance, there are several coupon sites you can go to that aggregate coupon codes from online merchants so you have one place to look. Sites like RetailMeNot.com, CouponCabin.com and BradsDeals.com pull together this information so you can take the codes to sites to help save money.

There are rebate sites like Ebates.com and FatWallet.com that give you cash back on all the purchases you make on their deal sites. There are daily deal sites like Groupon.com, LivingSocial.com, NoMoreRack.com and 1SaleDay.com that will inundate your email box with great deals every single day.

You start to add all this up with coupons, rebates, deal of the day sites, etc., and a serious shopper could be spending their entire morning bouncing back and forth trying to figure out where to save that extra dollar.

Now comparison shopping sites like PriceGrabber.com, Google Shopping, Shopping.com and Shopzilla.com have begun to streamline the exercise of shopping by letting you compare the same item on one page with prices from several different selling sites. This is progress for the hurried shopper.

Money-Saving Secret

But the hidden secret of the Internet is the emergence of warehouse club sites that take away all the fluff, and if you are willing to buy in a little bit larger quantities, they truly save you money.


Sure, it may look intimidating, but warehouse clubs can save you some serious money. (Photo credit: kenteegardin via photopin cc)

Go to Costco.com; they have thousands of items on their site that can not only be found in the warehouse club stores and bought online, but many new additional items can be bought just online from them. Look at their brand Kirkland baby wipes and baby diapers. What new family does not need a case of those to survive the week? Their pricing on this high-demand commodity item beats all the coupon sites, rebate sites and even the deal sites.

Go to BJ’s Wholesale Club Site and find supplies for your home office from recognized brand names like Hammermill Paper, which verifies the better pricing of this newer group of sites that actually do save you money.

DollarDays.com supplies over 300,000 general merchandise products at wholesale and closeout pricing that falls right in line with these wholesale club sites. Here, the consumer can find all the back-to-school products, health and beauty products and all the snacks they need to fill their pantries or the clothing needed to fill their closets.

Internet entrepreneurs try to figure out the most efficient way to get you the best deal. That is why lots of ideas are thrown against the wall and over time, with a few developing into winners. And this will be how Internet shopping sorts itself out to become the most efficient way save money on the products that you really need and want. Will the coupon sites be the winners, will the rebate sites prevail, or is it the deal sites that rise above the rest? Maybe all three will win; it just depends on what you are looking to buy.

Marc Joseph is the founder of DollarDays.com, the premier online wholesaler that helps small businesses compete against larger enterprises and nonprofit organizations find the products they need to support their causes.

Reprinted from Mint.com.

May 15, 2014   No Comments

April’s Facebook Small Business Award Winners!

apr14contest_160x300 (1)Thank you to the thousands of people who nominated businesses in their home towns to receive an award in our $5,000 merchandise giveaway during April.  There were entries from Alaska to Maine.

As you know, DollarDays is a HUGE fan of small businesses and supports them throughout the year.  We believe small businesses are the backbone of our country and we’d like to say thanks to all of you for working hard, especially the winners of April’s $5,000 merchandise giveaway!

First place winner receives a $2,000 shopping spree, second place, a $1000 shopping spree and third place, a $500 shopping spree. Fifteen each won $100 shopping spree. And we pay shipping too! All they have to do is shop! And the winners are:

Award Name of Business Nominated City & State  
1st PLACE $2,000 Wicked Blue Box Chicago, IL
2nd PLACE $1,000 Changing Hands Tempe, AZ
3rd PLACE $500 River Market Community Co-op Stillwater, MN
$100 Evolution Studio Harrison, OH
$100 Beaded Couture Conyers, GA
$100 Joe & Bj’s Trading Post Georgetown, KY
$100 Arresting Desgins Texarkana, AR
$100 Lisa’s Crochet & More Atkins, AR
$100 Southern Gypsy Bishop, TX
$100 Creative Options Delaware, OH
$100 Mail and More of Redmond Redmond, OR
$100 Chippy’s Popcorn Creations Beaver Dam, WI
$100 Wigglebutt Inn Naples, FL
$100 Goodbyes Consignment Sarasota, Florida
$100 Just Adorable Gifts Woodland Hills, CA
$100 Say Computer Owosso, MI
$100 Cesar’s Mexican and Greek Restaurant Albuquerque, NM
$100 Steve’s Locksmith Highland, MI

Winners will be notified by email with instructions on how to redeem their awards! Congratulations everyone! Please post your win on your Facebook page and let your friends know how much we honor small businesses!

Be sure to nominate a military family you know for our May $5,000 Merchandise Giveaway on Facebook.

 

April 30, 2014   No Comments

Teacher Julie Ahern from Waukegan wins Hero Award

Mrs. Ahern's students are so gracious!

Mrs. Ahern’s students are so gracious!

Below is an email we received from a very special friend of DollarDays, second grade teacher Julie Ahern from Waukegan, IL, who we met through one of our Facebook merchandise giveaways where she was a winner, and we’ve stayed in touched ever since. We asked our fans to vote for her to win this award. We posted it on Facebook, Twitter and even our blog. We’re not sure how much of an impact we had, but were are so happy that she won this award AND her first trip to California!

It’s very rewarding to us that our fans took the time to help Julie win this award. A little kindness goes a long, long way!

Dear DollarDays,
I am very happy to share with you that, thanks to people like you and the Dollar Days’ fans, I did receive enough votes to become the American Federation of Teachers Everyday Hero Teacher winner.Smile  
 
This afternoon our school secretary called down to my classroom on the intercom to say that I had a telephone call. I shared that I had my students with me. She said, “It’s from AFT.” My students and I all looked at each other and I said, “Right, line up, we’re headed to the office!” I brought the phone out to the hallway and my students got to hear first hand the good news. Their loud cheers really warmed my heart. This summer I am invited to the AFT convention in Los Angeles —my first trip to California. Pinch me!
 
My Sincere Gratitude, 
Mrs. Julie Ahern
2nd Grade Teacher
Andrew Cooke Magnet Elementary School
Waukegan, IL  60085

April 28, 2014   No Comments

Meet our new VP of Merchandising

steve walkerWe have some exciting news to share with you!

We have a new VP of Merchandising, Steve Walker, who comes from a successful background in merchandising, with the majority of his tenure at Safeway and SuperValu stores.

Steve has just completed his first week at DollarDays with flying colors! He is excited about his new position and is already making plans to “move the needle” in our merchandising department. Steve’s commitment is the value he places on relationships.  He believes that “moving the needle” includes the entire team, which is why he values all relationships.

Steve’s plans for the next few weeks include calling all of our vendors to introduce himself and learn how he can best serve them as a DollarDays vendor. For those of you who would like to call Steve, feel free to phone him at 480.922.8155 ext 109 or email at swalker@dollardays.com.

This is a big change for all of us—you, DollarDays and Steve. It’s an opportunity for you to voice ideas you believe will enhance the relationship, and ultimately help you sell more products. And it’s an opportunity for DollarDays to create the environment that is a catalyst for sales growth, which is great news for all of us.

A little about Steve (in case you were wondering)—he is a progressive and broadly experienced leader with a solid track record of success in merchandising. His experience in dealing with suppliers and in every facet of the retail and wholesale industry helps ensure that the DollarDays site continues to have a robust assortment of products to offer its customers. Steve is collaborative, resourceful, and innovative in driving positive impact with our vendors. Walker graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Accounting from the University of Tulsa and an MS in Management from University of St. Thomas, summa cum laude as well. Want to know more, visit his LinkedIn profile.

 

 

April 23, 2014   No Comments