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Imagine A Mall Without Any Stores: Will Online Shopping Make Retail Units Obsolete?

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The number of people who shop online is increasing year on year. In 2016, shoppers made 51 percent of purchases online, and this is a trend that has been developing and gathering speed over the course of the last five years. With Internet shopping on the rise, is it unquestionable to think of a mall without any stores? In years to come, will the idea of going shopping with friends or indulging in retail therapy involve gathering around a screen or discussing purchases and swapping photos on an instant messaging group?

The rise of Internet shopping

Research suggests that the popularity of online shopping is growing all the time. There are more sites out there, there’s more choice, and people are increasingly reliant on convenient ways of shopping. While there’s still a strong case for physical stores, especially during peak periods, like the holidays, there’s no getting away from the fact that more people are choosing to use the Internet rather than visiting a store. Trends show that it’s also not just a case of shopping on your favourite store’s website. Online-only shops are also beginning to dominate the market. According to data from the Office for National Statistics in the UK, businesses like Amazon and Asos are building their client base on a daily basis. In 2015, these online-only stores took almost 50 pence out of every pound spent online. This is a significant increase from 41 pence in 2014.

Online shopping is more accessible than ever before, and it’s available 24-hours a day, almost anywhere imaginable. In 2017, 96 percent of Americans shopped online. Although most purchases are still made offline, the gap between the web and physical stores is closing all the time.

What’s so good about online shopping?

Online shopping offers a range of benefits for consumers, especially those who don’t have the time or energy to hit the shops. With an Internet connection, you can browse, choose an item and pay in a matter of seconds. Time is of the essence for many shoppers. Although some enjoy moseying around the stores and trying things on, shopping is not everyone’s idea of fun, and online shopping can make the experience much less stressful and time-consuming. You can order what you want or need at the tap of a button from anywhere you like. You can shop in bed, on the train or while you’re sipping a cool drink on vacation. There are virtually no limits when it comes to online shopping due to advances in connectivity and the widespread availability of wifi networks and 4G. The Internet also makes shopping accessible to everyone. If you struggle to get out and about, you have health issues, or you don’t drive, getting the items you want doesn’t have to be a military operation. You no longer have to worry about getting public transport or asking for lifts. You can shop from the comfort of your own sofa.

Internet shopping is not just advantageous because it saves time and effort. You can also access a much wider range of goods online, and the web can also open you up to new shopping experiences. If you’ve ever used auction sites, for example, you may understand the thrill of winning the contest and securing a product at a bargain price. Online shopping gives you the chance to switch up the way you shop and find out more about different techniques and experiences offered by retailers. The rise in popularity of online shopping has also prompted retailers to work on their USP. There’s a huge amount of competition out there, and this benefits the customer. Companies are building on existing ideas and models to make them better. If you’re looking for an example, check out this article entitled Here’s How DealDash Is Revolutionizing The Online Auction Industry, and take note of the differences between these auctions and traditional pay to enter auctions. As a consumer, competition brings new opportunities and enhanced experiences, which you can’t enjoy when you trawl stores at a mall. There’s also the small matter of money. When you go shopping, it’s not always possible to see how much the items you want cost at different stores. With online shopping, you can compare prices in seconds. This means that it’s easier than ever to get more for your money.

Another advantage of online shopping is the ability to learn about products before you buy. In a store, you’re probably not going to have a load of reviews posted on the shelf below a TV, a laptop or a garden furniture set. If you’re online, you can read independent reviews and customer comments before you make a decision.

Are there any downsides?

Nothing is perfect, and if you surveyed a group of people about their online shopping experiences, there are bounds to be gripes and complaints in there somewhere. Perhaps the most significant difference between Internet shopping and traditional shopping is the inability to enjoy the experience of going into a shop, interacting with assistants, trying the products for size and taking advantage of that personal touch. The online experience is very different. It’s faster, it’s more clinical, and there’s always an element of risk involved. Some stores offer free returns to eliminate anxiety about what happens if a product isn’t suitable, but this isn’t a universal perk. There’s also a chance that you’ll end up receiving something that looks completely different to the product you thought you’d ordered. We’ve all seen hilarious examples of online shopping gone wrong in the papers, but this is the risk you run when you haven’t got a product in front of your very eyes.

flickr/usmarshalls

Although we laud online shopping for its convenience and speed, it can still be a more time-consuming process than going into a shop. If you want something straight away, buying in-store is almost always the best option. Even if same-day delivery is available, this is likely to come at a cost, and you’ll still have to wait hours rather than seconds or minutes.

So what does the future hold for the high street?

If you listen to broadcasts or read the news, it’s not uncommon for high street giants to report losses. The trouble is that it’s hard to ascertain the causes of slow sales. In the UK, some retail magnates are struggling, but is this purely the result of rising online retailers? It’s unlikely that the popularity of online shopping is the sole cause, especially as many of the companies that are hitting the headlines have a strong online presence. There are many factors at work, including political change and uncertainty, and some businesses are going through a period of adjustment to try and cater to new consumer trends.

The key to surviving in any business is being able to adapt to a changing environment. Time brings change, and in this case, retailers who are used to packed shop floors need to adjust to new ways of shopping. Many are stepping up their online game to attract new customers, but it also makes sense to try and make traditional forms of shopping more appealing. The aim is to enhance the experience so that customers enjoy the time they spend in-store. If they have fun, they’re impressed with the service and the shop looks the part, this is going to make them want to return and also encourage them to recommend that store to others. From installing DJs in a trendy clothing store on a Saturday afternoon to providing interactive displays featuring products on sale in a tech store, there’s a lot to be said for actually going into a shop still.

What factors affect your decisions?

When you think about shopping, what factors influence the decisions you make and ultimately, make the difference between shopping online or visiting a store? Do you prefer the personalised experience on offer in a shop or do you enjoy the speed and convenience of shopping from your living room? Sometimes, the type of products you buy makes a difference. You may feel much more comfortable ordering books, games or films online than you would a wedding dress, a state of the art TV or a new pair of shoes, for example. There’s also the question of time. If you’ve got spare time, perhaps you’d like to spend it perusing the shelves. If, on the other hand, you’re in a mad rush, you probably don’t want to contend with traffic, finding a parking space and waiting in line for the fitting room. There’s also the issue of accessibility. If you can walk to a store in five minutes, this is going to save you more time than it would to place an order and then wait for delivery. However, if you don’t drive, you work shifts, or you don’t live near a shopping centre, online shopping is a much more attractive proposition. Everyone is different, and there’s no right or wrong answer. Choose how to shop based on what you need, how much time you have and what kind of experience you’re looking for.

There’s no doubt that the Internet has changed the way we shop. With online shopping on the rise, it may seem likely that retail stores are doomed, but there’s every chance that many will adapt and adjust effectively. We may be fans of online shopping, but don’t write off your favourite high street stores just yet.

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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Silence Is a Virtue: 6 Things You Must Never Say After a Car Accident

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crashed car

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Following a car accident, we usually experience a rush of adrenaline that makes us tremble. Everything seems to be moving very fast, and in those moments, your actions mean a lot. However, what you say is very important as well. What comes out of your mouth at the scene can influence how the ensuing claims and damages are handled. Here are six things you should never speak after a car accident.

  1. “Everything’s fine, I can just go.”

Of course, not every car accident results in major damage and injuries. In these cases, you or the other driver may push the idea that you can both just call it even and leave. Never do this under any circumstances. Always insist on exchanging information and making a police report.

  1. “I am so sorry.”

Even when you’re not at fault, you might issue an apology, simply because accidents are tough on everyone involved. You really shouldn’t ever say this, as those who hear it can take it to mean you’re responsible for the accident. No matter what goes down, save your apologies for later.

  1. “I’m not injured.”

That adrenaline rush you get after an accident can mask pain. Even if your body isn’t coursing with adrenaline, there are many kinds of injuries one can sustain in an accident whose symptoms aren’t immediately apparent. If you’ve been in an accident, go to the ER to be checked over, and if an ache or anything else does arise in the following days, get to a doctor right away.

  1. “This is all my fault.”

You think you know what happened, and you’re pretty sure you’re to blame. Not so fast, there. You might be surprised what comes up during an investigation. It’s not unheard of for a person who thought an accident was their fault to learn that the other party was the one who actually violated traffic laws. In the same vein, don’t say anything which sounds like an explanation or excuse for your perceived errors.

  1. “I can’t be sure, but I think…”

The reason we shouldn’t try and explain how things happened from our perspective is because right now, it’s important to stick to basic facts. If your account differs from everyone else’s, it will make you look like the party who has something to hide. Only share information that couldn’t be construed differently by anyone else in that situation.

  1. “I can handle this myself.”

Chances are, you don’t know the person you collided with. You don’t know what they’ll say, do, or claim a week from now, even if they’re being very calm and collected immediately after the incident. You also don’t want to tangle with their insurance company alone. Hiring an auto accident lawyer is the best way to ensure fair end results.

So, what should you say? After an accident, you should ask all parties involved if they’re okay, and call for help as quickly as possible. You should provide accurate, up-to-date information about yourself. From there, make your interactions with police and insurance companies as simple and fact-based as you can, until you can get your attorney on the case.

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If you would want to build your own company, what would you need?

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Marketing business work

First of all you should have an idea. The next step, I guess, would be to have a business plan. That’s more or less an estimation of what your idea is going to cost you and studying all the laws you have to obey to be able to pursue your idea. Then you are going to need investors. I think that is the hardest part. You have to convince them that you have a good enough product to give money to, but not so good, that they want to take it away from you. And that, my friends, is a very delicate line to balance.

But let’s say your dreams come true, and somebody gives you money…. Now we have an obligation to a third party. You don’t want to let that person down, that is trusting in you. The conscience comes into play. But you are hopeful, you have a good idea, and you are going to do your best to achieve it.

So now you have to look for a location. A place that can fit your idea, it’s possible expansion in the next couple of years, the right location and a cheap price. All of this should be in the business plan, as well as future customers and maybe some other stuff that is important to the idea.

Location is an aspect, that is often ignored by the general public, because they think: If I see it, everybody else can see it too. But that is not necessarily always true. We all have mediocre ideas: “they should put an ice-cream store in that corner”, “if I could, I would open a company that sells things online”, “maybe I should start a food-truck”. But please remember: who is going to be your customer? What makes that corner so special for the an ice-cream store? Why will people buy from you online? Do you really cook well enough that somebody will buy your food out of a truck?

College students may tend to observe the tendencies of technology and decide to spend a great amount of money in something like electrospinning equipment and try to be ahead of the industrial need. This is a good idea, but you have to know who you are going to sell to, what the market value is for the quality of your product, in which country, city and street you are going to make the most sales and how you can make people notice you.

Then again, your idea doesn’t have to be a business idea. It can be more abstract: “ I want to change the name of my street”, “I think smoking has been criticised enough”, or maybe something like “I wish I could send all my leftovers to a third world country”. Those dreams are a little more difficult to follow. But the plan starts in the same way: Make an estimate, what it is going to cost you and study all the laws you have to obey to make your idea reality.

Now the first thing people will turn to is the internet. What can I find online, that will tell me how the state of the market is. My guess would be: nothing. Nobody really advertises their needs and advantages online. They do it in person. And you can’t look up the laws online, at least not for free. So then where do you go?

You look for the person who is most related to the subject, and you start to ask questions. This person may or may not want to hear You, but your ideas will certainly be heard. And then comes the question: is it more important to achieve your goal and let somebody else take the credit for it, or do you fear that the person who is listening to you is going to use your idea to achieve his own means, even if it is against what your idea originally stood for.

But then again, have the peace of mind that no one can ever be trusted. We are all humans, we all fail, disappoint and make promises we don’t know how to keep. But to be honest, If we don’t try to pursue our ideas, how can the world ever get better? How can we, the human race, ever take the role as the dominant species on this planet, if we know that our current state of industry is only killing other species and exploiting the planet we live on. Hopefully somebody has a dream, that will allow us to live in balance with the rest of nature.

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Managing creative employees

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Managing creative employees

Designers, journalists, photographers are talented and not ordinary people. At the same time, you can often hear that they can be easily distracted. But if someone complains about the uncontrollability of the creative employees, one simply does not know how to organize them.

How to manage creative employees

Designers, journalists, photographers are talented and not ordinary people. At the same time, you can often hear that they can be easily distracted. But if someone complains about the uncontrollability of the creative employees, one simply does not know how to organize them. Find out how to organize your creative employees in the best way and without unnecessary stress following the tips from these 10-page papers.

The method of the stick doesn’t work

Formally, creative people are no different from all others. And informally, of course, the difference is obvious. The geniuses have other motivators. For example, for them recognition is more important than money. A free schedule is more comfortable than working from a call to a call.

So, it’s advisable to rather choose the right leadership style to live in peace and harmony. In the scientific literature, four types of management are distinguished:

  • Authoritarian. When everything in the company occurs at the behest of the head, and the subordinates are obedient executors.
  • Market. Relations in the team are built on the principle “you do something for me and I’ll do something for you.” This is kind of entrepreneurial approach.
  • Bureaucratic. The company has clear regulations, management orders are not discussed, and all employees are disciplined and executive.
  • Democratic (humanistic). This is a paradise for creative workers. The staff of the company is one big team, where everyone is given chances to realize their ideas, even the most grandiose ones.

Follow your line

The main words to the manager is to become the creative leader himself. However, it makes no sense to create without knowing the measure and purpose. Therefore, top managers of innovative companies adhere to the following principles when running a team:

  • Self-management. Provide employees with a field for activities, not pushing in their strict framework, but also avoiding arbitrariness.
  • Personal responsibility for the result. Do so that every member of the team understands that the success of the project depends on it. Praise because creative people like approval very much.
  • Freedom. Every employee has the right to work as he likes. Work from home, at night or daytime – in fact it’s not important. The main thing is the result.
  • Tasks for interests. A routine is the most terrible word for creatives. They are bored sitting for a long time in one place, doing the same thing. A maximum of three years, and the true creator will run away, even if you give him free breakfast and lunch. So periodically change everything: tasks, areas of responsibility, and projects.

Looking for talents

In order to prevent the search for personnel from turning into a torture, one should immediately pay attention to those candidates who are equally capable of working both in the office and in public transport. And at the same time to give out unique intellectual products that did not exist before, absolutely viable.

During the interview, offer the applicant a simple test. For example, to come up with as many options for non-standard use of a paper clip within one minute. The candidate writes the answers on a letterhead, which is then analyzed.

Work environment

It’s more interesting for the creative person to work in a circle of like-minded people. It is not necessary for this to open super offices where you can ride bikes or lie on bear hides.

The creative environment is a mood, a climate, a kind of comfort. Everything will turn out fine if you take into account some features in time:

  • Create friendly relations. It is very good when you can communicate freely the company, without hierarchy, consult all issues directly with top managers and take the initiative.
  • Support the staff. In a good working climate, ideas and proposals are received with interest and are welcomed by leaders of all ranks. Often arrange brainstorming so that everyone can feel the team spirit and positive attitude.
  • Demonstrate trust and be open. When each person puts forward ideas and is not afraid to express his opinion, the emotional burnout of staff will not overtake.
  • Joke so there will be ease, spontaneity, and a friendly atmosphere.
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