All posts in “Business”

Apple Feature Forces Change in Online Ad Industry

Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature has made it difficult for online advertisers to use cookies to target Safari users based on their browsing habits, according to The Information, which cited data from The Rubicon Project.

Third-party cookies “serve as the foundation for almost all advertising use cases,” noted Jordan Mitchell, head of consumer privacy, identity and data at the IAB Tech Lab.

The blocking “negatively affects the ability for brands to target audiences, and therefore the revenue earned by website properties,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

“I think much of what we’re seeing is specifically focused on advertising retargeting and clamping down on the bad actors who are leveraging tracking techniques to execute more bad spray-and-pray tactics pretending to be personalization,” suggested Constellation Research Principal Analyst Liz Miller.

“Serving me an ad that shows me the shoes I bought yesterday now, for a lower price, doesn’t enhance the customer experience or foster trust and loyalty among customers, but it sure moves targeted ad units,” she told the E-Commerce Times.

The Scourge of Advertisers

Safari users tend to be more affluent, and thus more attractive to users. Safari claimed nearly 53 percent of the mobile browser market in the U.S. last month, while Google Chrome’s share was about 40 percent.

Only about 9 percent of iPhone Safari users allowed outside companies to track their activity on the Web, versus 79 percent of Google Chrome browser users, Nativo told The Information.

Blocking tracking cookies has sent ad prices on Safari falling by more than 60 percent. Meanwhile, the cost of ads on the Google Chrome browser has risen slightly.

However, Apple is not alone in blocking tracking cookies.

Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection blocks third-party cookies by default. Microsoft announced it will do the same with its Edge browser; and Google will add cookie blocking controls to its Chrome browser.

“This news of more hurdles and roadblocks to profit and margin isn’t good for ad agencies, media firms and publishers,” Constellation’s Miller remarked. “Ad units are shrinking while ad costs are increasing by as much as 6 percent, so everything could start costing more.”

That said, focusing on first-party data — the data gleaned after getting permission from consumers — “is becoming more and more important to both advertisers and pubishers,” observed Constellation Research Principal Analyst Nicole France.

“Apple, FireFox, and Microsoft have all figured out that their browser users expect to have better data privacy and protection,” she told the E-Commerce Times. “Successful businesses are starting to come to the same conclusion.”

Alternatives to Cookie Tracking

Personalization will remain a key issue for both advertisers and the ad industry. Members of the Association of National Advertisers selected “personalization” as the ANA 2019 marketing word of the year.

However, marketers should use caution with their personalization strategies and tactics because they might not be well received by consumers, advised the ANA, and because some believe that more personalization does not necessarily provide a better experience.

Advertisers are turning from tracking cookies to contextual advertising and other technologies.

“Large-scale blocking of cookies, without a privacy-forward alternative for the industry, further undermines consumer privacy and results in unintended consequences,” the IAB Tech Lab’s Mitchell cautioned.

“For example, it’s encouraged misdirected innovation around more opaque tracking techniques such as fingerprinting, which cannot be detected or controlled by the consumer, or used in ways that preserve and respect their privacy choices,” he pointed out.

Browser fingerprinting tracks Web browsers by the configuration and settings information they offer websites, creating profiles of consumers based on various factors. It is difficult to detect and thwart.

If advertisers move to platforms such as Facebook, Google or Amazon, consumer privacy could take a huge hit.

“Amazon, Facebook and other platforms collect their own internal data from their customers, regardless of browser, so consumers might end up surrendering more of their online privacy than they might think,” noted Keri Rhodes, marketing director at Etailz.

Amazon “has seen explosive growth in its ad revenue over the last few years,” she told the E-Commerce Times. “More companies are taking their own search engine marketing knowledge and moving over to Amazon and Walmart through these companies’ software solutions.”

Tokens May Be the New Key

The drive to limit tracking “is accelerating marketing and advertising towards an alternative of tokenized networks where consumers are given more control over their data and what is shared in exchange for transparent value,” Constellation’s France said.

Such networks are blockchain-based, and create a trusted connection between advertiser, publisher and user.

The IAB Tech Lab has issued a Proposal for Enhanced Accountability, which suggests the use of an encrypted, revocable token for ad delivery that builds consumer privacy into the fabric of the ad ecosystem.

“We are calling for collaboration across industries to rethink the HTTP cookie as the only technical mechanism available for storing and respecting consumer privacy settings,” Mitchell said.

“Part of getting personalization right means understanding when, where and how to advertise in a way that’s useful rather than invasive,” France remarked. “That’s where thoughtful advertisers and publishers can take the lead.”

Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard.

How to Turn First-Time Holiday Shoppers Into Repeat Buyers

More shoppers. Increased sales. Larger orders. This year’s five-day stretch between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday left echoing “cha-chings” ringing through the retail atmosphere. A record 190 million Americans shopped during Thanksgiving weekend, and they’re not done yet.

This will be the first year that every day in November and December will surpass US$1 billion in online sales, Adobe Digital Insights predicted.

This isn’t your mother’s booming holiday economy, however. The majority of those 190 million U.S. consumers did their shopping online — and more than half of Black Friday purchases came from first-time buyers.

The chances that you have had or are going to have a new customer complete an online purchase this holiday season without ever having visited your store (physical or digital), are… well, pretty high.

As if converting a new buyer into a repeat purchaser isn’t already complex enough, add to the mix one hypercompetitive holiday landscape, a litany of never-ending cyber discounts, and the demanding logistics of on-time holiday package deliveries.

What can you do — absent the opportunity to interact with customers face-to-face — to turn your first-time online buyers into repeat customers after the holiday season is all unwrapped and stored away? Here are a few ideas.

1. Check In on Your Digital Storefront

It’s hard to overlook the special attention retailers give their storefronts this time of year. I mean, just take a look at Saks Fifth Avenue. It went all in on its Frozen 2 theme, complete with an Idina Menzel performance, 50-person choir song and dance, and fireworks show.

While there’s likely no tasteful way to reproduce such theatrics on a Web browser or mobile app, retailers should give just as much care — if not more — to their digital storefront.

Assess your online store’s presence in less than five minutes by considering the following questions:

  • How accessible and alluring is your digital storefront?
  • Brick-and-mortar store owners don’t expect customers to put on a blindfold, walk up seven flights of stairs and tap on the door with a secret knock in order to gain access to their shop. They do everything they can to show passersby what they’re selling and how it benefits the consumer.

    A “Come on in. We’re open!” sign encourages browsers to stop by. E-commerce businesses must incorporate the digital equivalent by displaying what they’re selling effectively — most importantly, why they’re selling it.

    This language should be evident from the website’s SEO and meta descriptions to the content on the page itself, and even in the post-purchase text. Shoppers should feel comfortable and welcome on your website throughout every step of the customer journey.

  • Is your site properly optimized for a great mobile experience?
  • Mobile plays an indisputably large role in e-commerce. This Black Friday, consumers relied on their smartphones more than ever, with 61 percent of all visits to online retailers coming from smartphones.

    Content must be simple and clear enough for first-time visitors to navigate quickly from their phones. Assume they will encounter your shop first from a mobile device — because statistically, they will.

  • Do you offer services that have become the “e-commerce norm”?
  • This year, buy online pick-up in store, or BOPIS, grew by 41 percent. Customers are taking advantage of even more fulfillment options to maximize convenience and save on time.

    More and more retailers are offering faster and cheaper shipping than ever, in order to keep up with e-commerce giants like Amazon, and to make the most of a condensed holiday shopping season.

    While it’s logistically impossible for all online retailers to offer BOPIS and next-day delivery, the point is this: Consumers want the benefits of in-store shopping (i.e. immediate possession of product at no added cost) combined with the convenience of online shopping.

    Constantly evolve to make sure you’re offering shoppers maximum convenience, efficiency and value.

  • Is the checkout experience easy and painfree?
  • Shopping cart abandonment long has been an issue for online retailers, and as consumers are switching to mobile transactions, the rate continues to climb. Long, complicated checkout processes don’t convert.

    Here are a few pointers for optimizing your online checkout experience:

    • Display a “check out” option in multiple places on a page.
    • Make sure the process is secure and advertised as such.
    • Don’t require shoppers to fill out long and redundant information in order to complete their transaction (e.g., provide an option to duplicate the billing address as a shipping address with the click of a button).
    • Provide a guest checkout option.
    • Give shoppers several payment options.
    • Give shoppers access to an agent through an integrated live chat feature on your website.

    Most of all –and I cannot stress this enough– make the entire process seamless on mobile!

  • What are people saying about your products and business online?
  • New shoppers often first encounter your brand through other people, including friends, social media connections, and online reviews. Now is a good time to take a look at what’s being said about your store and products online.

    How do you look on Google and Yelp? What are people saying about your customer service and products? Don’t worry if you haven’t generated all five-star reviews, but do resolve and respond to any negative feedback on review sites and social media channels.

2. Set the Hook With a Personalized Experience

Your work isn’t done once the customer enters your shop. In many ways, it’s just begun. Think about it: How offputting (and just plain weird) would it be if you walked into a brick-and-mortar store and were ignored completely by the staff, the fitting room attendant, and the cashier?

When customers arrive in your digital shop, your job is to simplify their path to making a purchase. Consumers are interested in technologies that show whether a product is in stock (55 percent); help them compare prices or read reviews (49 percent); make it easier to find a product or its location (47 percent); or try an item before buying it (38 percent).

Some retailers have implemented a peer-to-peer shopping model, wherein their best customers or “brand advocates” virtually walk alongside online shoppers as they browse, answering questions and making recommendations along the way. These pseudo virtual assistants convert at higher rates than standard customer service reps, and their personalized approach keeps customers coming back.

Because brand advocates are actual users of the product and not hired customer service representatives, shoppers trust them more when asking for their firsthand knowledge and expertise. This model proves particularly helpful during the holiday season when many first-time shoppers are buying products as gifts for family members and friends.

3. Leave Them Wanting More

While it’s great to attract new customers, it’s even more important to turn new shoppers into repeat buyers over time. Repeat customers are easier to convert, have a higher average order value, build up your brand, and require less marketing and organizational spend. The best way to influence second-time purchases is to provide an excellent experience and engage new customers immediately.

Retailers using the peer-to-peer shopping model have found that customers who make their first purchase around the holidays and connect with a brand advocate over live chat during the shopping process are as much as 4.5 times more likely to become repeat shoppers over the next 12 months.

Other retailers have found similar success through the implementation of loyalty programs, discount codes, and redeemable-for-later currency. However, deploying a loyalty program is not a set-it-then-forget-it strategy. Of the 30 loyalty programs the average North American household enrolls in, 54 percent are inactive.

The challenge is for businesses to keep their loyalty programs top of mind for consumers. Strategic metrics around details like return visits, ad engagement, click-through data and email open rates can help you further segment your customers, define demographics, and effectively target your marketing activities.

At the end of the day, what keeps people coming back — both in-store and online — is experience. The best way to deliver that? Be a human. Yes: Be convenient, be digital, be alluring — but don’t rely solely on automation, AI and bots to provide the personalized touch only a human can provide.

Sixty-nine percent of consumers in a recent survey identified
not being able to reach a human being as the biggest post-sale customer service mistake retailers make.

In a retail environment with little room for error, don’t fall short on the one thing we all have to offer: being a human.

Brandon Anderson has more than a decade of e-commerce experience and is the CEO of Needle, a company that finds retailers’ most passionate fans (advocates) and connects them with shoppers in real time. Brandon lives in Utah with his wife and four kids and can often be found enjoying family time with a side of games, pizza and adventures in the family camper trailer.

How to Take CPG Sales to the Next Level

Consumer packaged goods, or CPG, are the everyday items consumers use, such as food, beverages, clothes and household products. These products are ones that require regular replacement or replenishing. Due to the frequency of purchases and the low cost of switching brands, this market is extremely competitive.

E-commerce is now a popular channel through which consumers are purchasing these types of products. With the level of competition, businesses need to find ways to get ahead and stay on top.

All business decisions center around getting the best return on investment. Typically, a sales manager is tasked with determining the best ways to allocate the time and resources of the sales team for the best ROI. However, CPG sales largely rely on field merchandising or marketing reps who work remotely, scattered throughout different territories.

Field sales brings with it different variables that aren’t as prevalent in traditional inside sales roles — such as traffic, weather and various market conditions. However, with all the time reps spend out in the field, and the different variables they face, there is an opportunity to gather data. Field sales data can be extremely beneficial if you can collect and centralize it.

Too often companies make decisions around their products with very little information on the individuality of each market they are selling in. The emergence of technologies to support analytics is changing things by making data analysis much more attainable. Companies are able to gather and analyze data around the different markets they sell to, which is key to making smarter business decisions and getting ahead.

Three critical field sales data metrics can take CPG sales to the next level.

1. The Value of a Single Visit

As it is one of the most important key performance indicators, it’s a serious wonder that so many sales managers are unable to answer the very important question: “What’s the value of a visit?”

I can’t stress the importance of knowing this account KPI. Determining this metric sets the stage for a lot of other decisions. For example, you’ll know where to prioritize your travels when in a limited-time scenario — which is always!

Graph: Dollar Value of a Visit

In the above graph, we are comparing the value of a visit over a four-month period. Value of a visit is calculated by revenue/number of visits for each rep in each month. This type of analysis and related graphs could be useful in directing sales reps toward best uses of their time.

2. Visit Cadence and Revenue Output Correlations

Tracking your rep’s location visits is much more about the activities themselves than it is tracking their locations — and your reps need to know that! Actively recording their visit whereabouts and cadence provides foundational data that can be used to understand a visit’s impact on revenue output and other performance output metrics.

Combining location revenue output with visit activities and running correlation analysis will provide insights into which visits have the type of impact on location revenue that your company is hoping for.

After running this type of analysis, it appears that there is no correlation between visits and revenue generated out of a particular location, intelligent sales professionals should begin to consider shifting their attention elsewhere.

It is important to mention that in making this type of determination, one also should consider the type of visit being made. Certain visit types can be more impactful than others (i.e. demonstration events, product training/educational events, general account checkups). Recording the type of event that has occurred is essential in finding correlation coefficients associated with visit types.

Graph: Number of Visits vs Revenue

In this graph, we are looking for the correlation between number of visits made to an account/store and revenue from the same account/store. We can see the revenue increases as the number of visits made increases. Intuitively, the linear relationship cannot go forever, since there will be a point where an extra visit to a store/account will not bring extra revenue expected. In analytical terms, this point is considered where rate of diminishing returns start. By analyzing more data, we can find the optimum number of visits that should be made for an account.

3. Visit Duration

Thirty minutes? An hour? Three hours? Reps often have some flex in determining how long they will tend to an account. However, uncertainty about the appropriate amount of time to designate for a visit is coming to an end — and it should be, considering today’s available technology.

Accurately tracking the amount of time a rep spends on location combined with performance output data of said location lends itself to an incredible insight metric: the inflection point where the law of diminishing returns starts.

This metric is important because it informs sales professionals of the optimal amount of time to spend on location before ROI starts to depreciate, allowing them to reduce costs and head to other accounts.

Graph: Average Visit Duration vs Average Monthly Revenue

In this graph, we are looking at the correlation between duration of a visit and revenue. Here we tried to find the time where the rate of diminishing returns starts. In this analysis, that point is 51 minutes, which means each additional minute spent in a store/account will bring less revenue.

Whether in field sales, marketing or merchandising, sales professionals should expand their level of thinking as it relates to sales operations and execution. The available technology provides a platform for deeper thinking around performance, strategy and execution.

In a world where the CPG space is being impacted significantly by the “Amazon Effect,” brands have to become smarter and more efficient in order to remain competitive.

Austin Rolling is the cofounder and CEO of Outfield. As a third-generation entrepreneur, he started his first company, a fashion website, at the age of 20. He holds a BA in Communication from Eastern Michigan University and an MBA from Texas A&M University. He has spent the majority of his career working in the consumer goods and IT space in field sales and marketing, management, and business development roles.

Should Oracle Split?

We’re used to discussing mergers and acquisitions in the tech sector, but splitting a company into two parts is a rarity. Analysts always have to ask who benefits and how? Shareholders? Other stakeholders, including customers? Employees? Why does this not happen more often?

Surely businesses outgrow their markets’ demands, but more often than not a business will sell itself to a suitor rather than splitting or going private to retool — an exception seems to be Dell.

There aren’t a lot of good examples of big companies splitting like an amoeba, but HP did the deed in late 2015 forming an enterprise division specializing in servers and other enterprise technology, and a consumer division oriented to PCs and printers, among other things.

In the four years since the split, each company’s stock mostly has treaded water, so one conclusion you could draw is that the split didn’t do much for shareholders, a key constituency. You’d also have to say that these companies didn’t tank either.

A Modest Proposal

The question I want to ask here is whether Oracle should consider a similar gambit, a split. Oracle arguably is in better shape than HP was when it split, after hemorrhaging money through a cascade of ill-considered acquisitions and write-downs that lasted more than adecade. Oracle’s acquisitions usually have borne fruit, and you only need to look as far as NetSuite, which has been growing like a proverbial weed since its purchase.

However, Oracle is at an existential moment, partly caused by its tardy arrival to the cloud but also as a casualty of its own success. It’s long forgotten now, but it was once common wisdom that in computer hardware no manufacturer survived a transition to smaller devices.

Mainframe makers had names like “Control Data,” “Burroughs” and “IBM.” Mini-computers were dominated by a handful of companies that started up in the Boston suburbs, and they had names like “Digital Equipment Corporation,” “Data General,” “Prime,” “Wang”and a few others. HP did well, and it was one of the few mini-computer makers not domiciled near Route 128.

The PC revolution saw companies like DEC try and fail to enter the market in part due to an inability to standardize on an operating system. Even the PC guys went through some generational upheaval. Compaq was bought by HP; IBM sold its business to Lenovo; Dell went public, then private, then re-emerged. There also were companies like Gateway — and Eagle, whose CEO crashed his Italian sports car and died, hours after his company’s IPO made him a multimillionaire.

Software has been different. In the 1980s there were about a dozen relational database vendors. Oracle dominated the industry and remains an independent company today in part because it makes a ton of applications and some very advanced hardware — especially storage devices that keep data running at memory speeds rather than much slower disk drives.

Application vendors generally have followed where the database vendors have led, from on-premises, to client-server, to cloud.

Why Oracle, Now?

Oracle has been the unsung hero of the cloud revolution even though it was late to put its own products there. The Oracle database has been the mainstay of enterprise cloud computing, though upstarts like Amazon AWS are nibbling away at that market. Today Oracle’s Autonomous Database in the cloud is one of a small handful of databases, along with AWS and Azure, and its companion hardware sets it apart.

Those familiar with the knowledge spilling out of business schools — you may have heard of Clay Christenson’s The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997) — know that when the upstarts begin nibbling at your market, you’re already in trouble. The dilemma is what to do about it.

Trying to compete with the upstarts doesn’t work that well — not necessarily because your technology can’t keep up, and not because your business model can’t change, and not even because your internal culture is too rigid.

Some of these issues might have been true in the past, but this is not anyone’s first trip around the track. What to do becomes an opportunity to chart a new path, or at least focus better on the core business.

Mainframe and mini-computer makers didn’t have that luxury. Some certainly were slow to adapt, some had cultural issues, and some were locked into business models that shareholders would not consider changing.

That’s not today, though, and it’s not Oracle’s condition.

Today Oracle has some well-differentiated products that give it a significant performance edge. It’s also Oracle’s good fortune that the industry is at a turning point: Cloud computing, which is still replacing on-premises computing, is itself morphing. Over the next decade we’ll witness cloud computing turn into a full-scale utility resembling the electric grid in some important ways.

Path Forward

You may have encountered this idea in previous articles, but they bear repeating and fleshing out. First, truth be told, we don’t have an electric grid. We have several regional grids covering large parts of the continent, but they all adhere to a common set of standards like 120 volts and 60Hz.

The deregulated industry enables vendors to specialize into entities that only generate power or only transport it, etc. The result is the appearance of a grid and a thriving ecosystem of providers ensuring no single point of failure. (OK, we do have outages, but they are very rare. You get the point.)

Second, the standards the industry sets include minimum training and certification for people using the utility. You don’t need special training to change a light bulb and maybe a little instruction from your dad is all you need to wire a simple socket, but you absolutely cannot climb a utility pole and monkey with those wires.

The standard enables us to do some self-maintenance, but beyond that we need professionals. Imagine if we had this minimal set of standards how different social media might be — not for individuals but for society.

Also, there’s service if you need it and nobody steals power from your meter. That’s a utility, and we’ve already reached a time when we’re dependent on data that we access without a thought from all of our devices, wired or not.

So, we’re already most of the way to an information utility, except for the standards and some reliability issues. We need better standards to make information exchange simple and quick, which isn’t always the case, and to do a better job of protecting ourselves from the bad guys (talking about you, Vladimir).

Consumers and companies dependent on valid information to run their lives and business operations — and who isn’t? — need protection from bad actors who might want to steal data or misrepresent facts. That’s why we need the standards that will make the information utility whole.

That’s something that Oracle and a few like-minded vendors — such as Microsoft, IBM and Amazon — might be well-suited to do. The effort would look a lot like the effort that resulted in setting the SQL standard. Oracle was a part of that too.

Splitting Oracle

That’s why Oracle should be a candidate for a split. The division would yield an applications company on one side, and a utility grade infrastructure company on the other. We don’t need to say much about Oracle’s applications. They’re highly competitive, and the company has a large and capable global sales team, put in place by the late Mark Hurd. They’ll do fine.

The utility infrastructure company would consist of the database and related systems, as well as the hardware that makes it run so fast. Hardware today is a commodity, and so is the relational database, but considering them together provides a unique solution.

The infrastructure company would continue selling products that support its applications and those of its partners, but its prime focus would be on organizing and launching the utility, because there’s a need for an information utility and plenty of enterprises willing to pay for the security it brings.

This will necessitate forming a committee to define the information utility’s standards for information sharing and mapping, security, and other things that should look like a high fastball to Oracle.

The arrangement would have multiple advantages for Oracle as well as the rest of the tech world, especially in areas like the Internet of Things, machine learning, analytics, data representation — a long list.

It would give the new companies the ability to establish new personalities and relationships with customers, effectively hitting the reset button on some relationships that may be more tolerated than embraced today.

Most of all, a split would enable Oracle to position itself as the driving force of the industry and a leader in a new era of high performance and secure computing.

Finally, it would help to tame the Wild West cloud culture that makes it too easy for hackers, malware makers and hostile governments to trash one of the most important lifelines for civilization today, information.

Summing Up

Oracle is at a tipping point but so is the rest of the industry. There’s an obvious need for the structures, standards and best practices of a utility to govern our information systems today.

It’s difficult to see how any vendor could pull together everything needed to deploy a true information utility,because all of them would seek to have an advantage over their competitors. Setting up a new entity to converge with others to generate standards that eventually would reach ANSI, the American National Standards Institute, is a good end run around that problem.

At the same time, splitting Oracle also would breathe new life into the business, and help the resulting entities better focus on markets that have become more complicated as they have gained sophistication.

Making this split would be a big move and not something to be taken lightly. In many ways it might be easier to spin up a new business unit than contemplate a significant remodel. However, that’s the nature of the technology industry. Nothing remains the same, and reinvention is part of its DNA. Time to be an amoeba, I think.

Denis Pombriant is a well-known CRM industry analyst, strategist, writer and speaker. His new book, You Can’t Buy Customer Loyalty, But You Can Earn It, is now available on Amazon. His 2015 book, Solve for the Customer, is also available there. Email Denis.

The best 17-inch laptop bags and backpacks for 2019

Do you have an extra-large laptop you need to take with you? Sometimes size really does matter, and if you are a photographer, business professional or gamer on the go, you need something just suited to you. Our favorites are Vaschy and Mancro models that include plenty of space and USB charging ports, but we have a lot of picks for every style. Check them out here — these are the best 17-inch laptop bags money can buy.

Have a smaller or larger device? We’ve also rounded up the best laptop bags overall, which includes picks for both commuters and outdoor adventurers.

Vaschy 17-inch Laptop Backpack with USB Charging Port

Vaschy 17-inch Laptop Backpack with USB Charging Port

This simple and reliable Vaschy backpack is made of water-resistant polyester and has plenty of extra storage while still staying lightweight. The pack includes multiple sections, five interior pockets, and of course the padded laptop compartment. It also has a USB charging port built in. This allows you to easily charge on the go, especially if you have a charger pack that you use with your laptop — or charge your other devices with your laptop if necessary. This is a nice feature for those frequently on the move, such as busy professionals or students. It even comes with a waterproof cover.

Mancro Laptop Backpack with Charging Port

Mancro Laptop Backpack with Charging Port

This stylish Mancro backpack has plenty of space, making it an ideal choice for students: There are three main compartments, nine inner pockets, two sealed side pockets and more — perfect for storing all your odds and ends no matter how much stuff you’ve brought. The exterior is made with a water repellent nylon fabric with padded shoulder straps. There’s also a USB port included on this pack. All the better for charging your devices.

Asus ROG Nomad Backpack


This Asus bag is designed with school or backpacking in mind, and specifically for gamers who need to carry their heavy-duty systems around. It is also made to look like a “gladiator’s helmet” which, well… judge for yourself on that count. However, the rugged design is handy, and there are lots of dedicated pockets for headsets, adapters, USBs, mice, water bottles, keyboards, and other odds and ends that gamers may need on the go, making this a very complete package.

Case Logic Laptop and Tablet Briefcase

Case Logic

There are actually quite a few Case Logic cases that fit the larger class of laptop — more than most other brands. But this particular case gets recognition for combining enough room for a 17.3-inch laptop with an extra pocket for your tablet computer, along with a few other odds and ends. It’s a nondescript, versatile case that, in addition to being big, is made for pretty much any purpose, from business to travel. Case Logic also has some of the least expensive cases available, and you can find this one for low prices online.

Everki Advance


Everki is all about productivity and usability, and this simple briefcase is an excellent choice for all kinds of work or play environments. Everything about it is no-nonsense, and it’s big enough to carry 18.4-inch laptops if necessary. The laptop compartment is a top-loading, padded option, and the briefcase includes a removable shoulder strap as well as a trolley handle pass-through. The lifetime warranty is pretty nice, too.

McKlein Damen 80715


The name sounds like something James Bond would use, and we have to admit, this is a seriously classy laptop case for those who want to make a real statement on their travels. And “travels” is the operative word, too — no backpacking around campus for this suitcase, with its built-in wheels and extendable towing handle. The suitcase material is made from soft, plushy “cowhide leather” material. The laptop case itself includes a foam-protected compartment to minimize shock.

Timbuk2 Command Laptop Messenger Bag (TSA-Friendly)


This casual laptop bag is designed for ease of use — for both you and TSA agents. If you find yourself heading through airports frequently, then this could help you save time for your larger laptops. There’s a compliant external compartment that quickly unzips and lies flat for swift inspections without the need to fully remove your laptop, and a waterproof liner for some added weather protection, too. Otherwise, this bag is pretty bare bones but it gets the job done: Make sure you spring for the large version to fit your 17-inch laptop.

Solo Classic 17-inch Attaché


Have you been unimpressed by the laptop cases on this list? Have they all disappointed you in terms of class, professionalism, or pizzazz? Then here’s a case just for you: The Solo 17.3-inch Laptop Attaché. It’s silvery (but also comes in black), it has combination locks, and it makes you look like you are carrying important documents. There’s not much inside except for a few pockets and room for your laptop and adapter, but room isn’t the point: If you like this case, you want something to show off in the board room.

Editors’ Recommendations