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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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How to Boost Your Company’s Income Long Term

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Part of running a company is trying to make it profitable at least in the short term. You need to make your business generate money, so you can keep the company running each day. However, what if you want to expand your company in the future, or start offering more choice to your customers? You might not have enough profits to achieve this now, but you can try to boost your company’s long-term income so that you can build towards it in the future.

Work on Your Profit Margin

Although your profits might be doing well, there might be room for improvement that will give you a better long-term return. Think about your business and see if there are any areas where you can improve your profitability. You might be able to do small things like finding a cheaper energy supplier or use cheaper suppliers for your products. Another option is to see if you can increase your productivity which will generate more profits in return. To make this work effectively, you need to create a plan that will take into account all parts of your business.

Seek Long-Term Investment

If you have been making steady profits for a while, there should be no reason why investors shouldn’t look favorably on investing in your company. You need to give them a long-term vision of where you want to take the company, and how much you think you can sell at that time. It needs to be realistic, or your potential investors might not come on board, but it also needs to be ambitious enough that your company will grow as a result. If you already have investors in your company, then they might be more able to invest more in the company knowing its current growth.

Invest in Other Companies

There are many companies that choose to invest in other businesses. For some, these are long-term investments designed to generate additional income for the business. It might also be an avenue personally, as you can invest in other companies and use the income to help finance your business. If you are new to investing, then there are ways such as Betterment investing that are great for new investors who don’t want a lot of hands-on dealings.

Consider Franchising

One way that you can increase your profits without having to spend a lot of money is to offer franchises. These offer budding business owners the chance to start their own business and have all the back-up they need, without having to create their own business idea. It also works for you because you don’t have to run the franchise or provide staff. There have been many companies that have benefited well from launching franchises.

Even though the immediate future of your company is important, you need to think ahead so you can keep your business growing. Part of that is trying to generate enough income to move into other areas or bring out new products.

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Forex Brokers In Shambles As New Rules Draw Close

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The new regulations established by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) are drawing closer and brokers are fidgeting. The implementation date of these rules that touch on a vast section of the forex market is set for August 1. There are many new changes that are expected to come with these new rules, among them, the reduction of the margins of major currency pairs. As of now, currencies get up to 200:1 ratios but the expected rules establish the maximum ratio to be 30:1. As expected, the volumes of trade and revenues will be highly affected by the rules. Other changes that will be heralded by the regulations include the banning of negative account balances that caused havoc in 2015.

Owing to the expected changes, a lot of brokers are set to either move to new operating bases outside Europe or completely leave the business before the regulations take effect. The market is definitely set for a turbulence as these adjustments pan out. If the brokers shift their bases though, their fate is unlikely to change as regulations will still follow in whatever country they might go. At the end of the day, the clients will have the final say as to whether to do business with the brokers or not.

Most of the smaller brokers have the option of merging their businesses with established brokers in the market. Failure to do this would render their business untenable due to high operating costs. It is expected that the new changes will raise the operating costs for brokers while the revenues will take a downward turn. Some of the major brokerage companies have already started giving out details of how much the new rules will affect the market. Some big firms like Dukascopy have already either expanded to other markets or planned to do so.

The forex market is usually tough for most traders and the high levels of leverage come with both benefits and disadvantages. Most traders today can share experiences during a forex seminar as there are many of those every year.

CME records high volumes in the month of May

CME Group Inc. came out with positive news that seems to be a reflection of the crisis in Italy and the abrupt market movements. CME reported a year on year growth of 34% by the month of May, which was higher than the previous year. In addition, EUR/USD recorded a breakout from a slump that lasted for three months. The over 1.1 million daily contracts recorded were responsible for this development.

Questrade receives accolades in Canada

In the Canadian market, long-standing firm Questrade was touted as one of the best in the market from the annual ranking of Canadian brokers. The firm came out on top of the Initial Impressions category and also came out as a strong contender in the overall market category. Other areas of the firm that were ranked as impressive include; customer service, mobile accessibility, and fees and commissions. The company has had a number of innovative solutions which include free ETF’s, a remarkable chat service and one-cent trades. MoneySense, in partnership with Surviscor Inc., carried out the research and ranking.

LCG woes persist as more staff leave

The London Capital Group has been facing several challenges in recent times. A considerable number of employees have left the firm and the latest person on the list is the CEO Charles-Henri Sabet. The many challenges that the firm has faced have not waned despite it raising huge amounts of capital in recent years. Two years ago, over one-third of the employees left the company and the departure by the CEO is simply a clear sign of failure by the firm to compete with its rivals. Some firms, including GAIN and Cantor Fitzgerald, had earlier made moves towards acquiring the troubled firm. Those moves, however, did not materialize after both firms review LCG’s financials.

XTB gets new Compliance Officer

XTB U.K. has a new Compliance Officer. Suraj Patel, the new head in the department, comes at a time when the new rules in the financial market are set to take place. This has indicated the firm’s devotion to comply with the expected regulations. Suraj Patel will be responsible for the firm’s cooperation with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). XTB U.K. has recently received some favorable ranking according to online broker reviews.

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Harmonic Patterns and their Use in the Currency Markets

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In the world of currency trading, there are many patterns that you can observe when you want to learn about the direction the market is taking. One of the most common patterns are the Harmonic patterns. These patterns are known to be very accurate in determining the movements that are just about to happen in the market. A lot of traders, therefore, use them to predict the future of the market. There are many ways the patterns are applied in the forex market. In order to understand the Harmonic trading strategy, we need to understand what the Harmonic patterns are all about.

The Core Structure of Harmonic Patterns

The basic structure of Harmonic patterns entails core elements of geometrical patterns which have been augmented by Fibonacci numbers. This means that the fundamental premise of the resultant patterns is that they are bound to repeat themselves in the market. Indeed, there are established ratios that record the manner in which the Harmonic patterns repeat themselves. At the start of any Harmonic pattern is the ratio 0.618 and its equivalents. This pattern is borrowed from nature itself as there are many recorded occurrences where the pattern is evident. Traders in the financial markets use this ratio to forecast the market’s direction.

In order to use the Harmonic patterns effectively, a trader must know how to adjust the strategy when necessary. The occurrence of a pattern can, for instance, mark a reversal zone. This means that price predictions would not be feasible. A confirmation is thus necessary and a suitable indicator would be great for providing this information. There are many great indicators to use with the Harmonic patterns and you can find them discussed in detail at Admiral Markets.

Visual Patterns of Harmonic Patterns

There are many patterns that can be observed when using the Harmonic trading strategy. Of the many patterns observable, four key visual patterns stand out among the rest. Each of these patterns come with accompanying signals and thus unique approaches to trading. The patterns are:

  • The Gartley Pattern
  • The Bat
  • The Butterfly
  • The Crab

1.The Gartley pattern

This pattern basically works on the premise that a reversal is bound to occur after a certain pattern has been established. When a Gartley pattern is formed, the last potential reversal zone that occurs is what traders look at to determine how they will place their next trade. In any market, an upward or downward trend can only be sustained for so long before the reverse occurs.

2. The Bat

The Bat also works the same way as the Gartley pattern but the main difference between the two are the resulting figures. For the Bat, the potential reversal zone is not as intense compared to the Gartley pattern. The reversal in this pattern for instance usually comes at shorter measurements in general. The bearish and bullish patterns thus appear much more frequently in this pattern.

3. The butterfly

The butterfly is quite different compared to the previous two patterns because its retracement levels often exceed the original starting point of the pattern. The butterfly relies on short trades and most of the ratios established in the pattern often have to be disregarded as they might be misleading.

4. The crab

Finally, the crab is often touted as among the most accurate of all Harmonic patterns. This pattern is quite distinct from the others since its reversals are almost always very close to each other. It is thus very easy to identify bullish and bearish markets.

Issues Associated with Harmonic Patterns

Like all other trading patterns, you will need to be careful so as to not miss the important signals when you are trading with Harmonics. Since the patterns rely a lot on the Fibonacci levels, many patterns that might look like Harmonic patterns often do not have corresponding Fibonacci numbers and thus cannot be used for trading.

It is also common for traders to be caught off guard by the market when they are over analyzing the Harmonic patterns. Not every pattern that begins like a Harmonic pattern ends up to be one. Other than that, there are also many other patterns that can be observed in the market alongside Harmonic patterns and this might make it difficult to track the relevant market signals.

In Summary

Harmonic trading is rational and thus crucial for trading. It, however, has its issues and should thus be used by experts in the filed. It takes time to get used to the different patterns and how to look out for them in the market.

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