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Online Shopping

Studies show that we are buying more goods online than ever before, and the delivery industry has had to ramp up quickly to handle this retail increase. Figures recently released in the UK reveal that deliveries are up, but road haulage has actually become more efficient. What does this mean for consumers and for retail businesses – and what is the future of online shopping in Britain and across the world?

The growth of online shopping

65% of people living in the EU made at least one online purchase in the past year, according to Eurostat. It seems that online shopping has finally reached its tipping point, outperforming the high street by around 1%. A recent Wall Street Journal study revealed that 51% of purchases were made online – up from 48% in 2015. Almost half of those purchases (45%) came from mobile devices. Today’s consumer shops quickly, orders while they are on the go, and wants fingertip access to the products they purchase. This is not just a UK or European trend either – from the US to Australia and from Eastern Asia to central Africa, online shopping is growing throughout the world. The ability to shop anywhere in the world is changing trade for every nation.

What is pushing this increase in online shopping? Consumers interviewed in New York revealed their top choices for internet purchases:

  • Electronics
  • DVDs
  • Music
  • Clothing
  • Books

Convenience and direct deliveries are a big part of the appeal when buying online, along with flexible shopping hours. “I work long hours, and don’t always get chance to visit the store,” says NYC resident Marti Jackson. “When I get home I can find my favourite stores on my iPad, and browse items at my own pace without spending hours at the mall. They get delivered directly to me and I don’t have any hassle at all”

Cutting costs is another key reason for shopping online. Deals and discounts are extremely widespread, with hundreds of retail outlets shipping designer and high street goods to buyers around the world. Shoppers love a bargain and are always looking for great offers to save them some cash. This has led experts to predict that 1.6bn parcels ordered online will be shipped to UK consumers in 2016. “Around two thirds of all code requests at our site relate to physical products – consumer goods – and this is surely contributing to a rise in overall deliveries,” said Swapnil K., marketing analyst of VoucherBin.co.uk

The impact of increased online deliveries

Recent figures released by the Department for Transportation show that road deliveries increased by a huge 12% between 2014 and 2015. In the same period, online retail sales grew by 16.2%. International courier firm UPS recently reported a 10% profit growth as a direct result of online consumer purchases. As we buy more goods online, it has the knock on effect of sending more haulage vehicles on to the roads – and increasing pressure on an already growing industry. More road haulage means an increased environmental impact, rising costs for companies – and potentially, an increase in delivery costs. One might reasonably assume that our roads have got busier to compensate for all these increased deliveries.

In part, that is certainly true. Logistics companies report a 9% increase in HGV use over the past eighteen months. However, this leaves a 3% gap that did not previously exist. It seems that as the online retail industry grows, haulage companies are becoming more efficient and can handle deliveries more effectively. This is great news for the environment, for haulage companies – and for consumers as well. Delivery companies who can keep their own costs down can pass these savings on to online shoppers.

The future of online shopping

The benefits of online retail are varied and numerous. While some still prefer physical stores where they can test out products, shopping online keeps picking up fans. Many shoppers turn to the internet to get products they cannot find locally, while others choose this route for convenience and flexibility. Access to a wider range of brands, the chance to pick up deals and voucher codes and easy delivery of heavy or bulky items are all alternative reasons to choose the online route.

It doesn’t seem likely to slow down any time soon. Millennials are the main demographic influencing today’s retail market, and they have shown an overwhelming preference for mobile web services. This is pushing many online retailers into the mobile sales market, selling their products through dedicated mobile apps and shopping hubs. In this age group, price is the biggest influencer for any purchase decision. As online is the best way to compare prices and switch between retailers, it is also the best way to get you a great low price. Brands that want to stay ahead of the market need to keep offering cut price deals and ensure they have a great mobile app for their customers to use.

Of course, online shops need to step up their game if they want to keep competing for a decent share of the market. Studies show that 59% of consumers purchase less from a retailer that has a slow loading or hard to navigate website, and 57% will reject e-commerce sites that are not mobile compatible. Keeping up with changing technology is a key to harnessing the online sales market and achieving long term success as an internet brand.

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For Enea Angelo Trevisan and Ealixir, better than solving the problem of cyberbullying is preventing it

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One of the most commentated news regarding Instagram for the past weeks was their investigation on whether to ban likes counter on the platform or not, but mostly from the perspective of marketing strategy. It turns out that the social media platform is actually considering this new feature as a means to avoid a much bigger problem: cyberbullying.

A recent studied carried by Pew Research Center showed that fifty-nine percent of teens reported to have experienced at least one of six types of abusive online behavior, cyberbullying included. Another concerning fact brought by the study shows that 16% of these teens were already subject of physical threat of some kind due to incidents in social media.

In addition to that, a report published by the Journal of Abnormal Psychology has highlighted the popularity of smartphones among teenagers – a statistic that only grew during the past seven years. “More U.S. adolescents and young adults in the late 2010s, versus the mid-2000s, experienced serious psychological distress, major depression or suicidal thoughts, and more attempted suicide,” stresses the study’s lead author, Jean Twenge, who also wrote the book iGen, in which he ponders about the influence of smartphones in teenage and child mental health.

Besides hiding how many likes a photo has received, Instagram is also considering another feature: a “nudge” alert that is activated while the user is still writing a comment that is flagged as potentially aggressive. According to the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, this could give an extra incentive for people to think twice before committing to an attack.

“Of all the obnoxious activities that can be carried out on the web, cyberbully is in my opinion the worst”, says Ealixir’s CEO and founder Enea Angelo Trevisan. “Cyberbullying targets those who cannot defend themselves: often minors or minorities. This is why one of our priorities as a company is to invest our technology in the fight against this plague.” In that sense, Ealixir gives support to individuals by making an early detection of offensive and troublesome contents, so they can be immediately erased and monitored to avoid further reloading. 

For Trevisan, the case for cyberbullying starts in schools, and this is the reason why Ealixir is also responsible for organizing sessions with children, so they can be warned about the dangers of the internet. “At this young age, kids think of internet as a huge playground. We teach them not to trust strangers and to think about the consequences of their virtual actions, exactly like in real life,” he explains.

Moreover, families also need to be aware of their children’s presence on the internet – they should not underestimate the possibilities and dangers of giving a smartphone to a child or a teen. “This is due to the fact that older generations were born and raised without the web, so they struggle to identify with their children. With Ealixir, we try and fill in this gap most of all through prevention, but also actively by deleting offensive contents and/or preventing harassment.

Besides monitoring and removing offensive contents published online, Ealixir also gives support to families and individuals who found themselves victims of cyberbullying by offering contact with specialized lawyers that can handle a case with expertise in the court. However, as much as in the case for health, prevention is the best scenario when coming to cyberbullying too, so internet literacy becomes an important competence to be learned by children for a healthier future of the web.

Sources: https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/how-instagram-plans-to-take-a-stand-against-cyberbullying

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Scaffolding rental now has more options than ever before

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There are many reasons why you might require scaffolding for your project. It is the best way to protect a workforce that needs to work for extended periods at height, without damaging the structure being worked on or using expensive equipment. 

However, every single project is different. There is no one size fits all approach, and in order to get the best results you need to be able to use scaffolding that can be built and adapted for each purpose. If you are running multiple projects, or each project is very different then it is simply not practical to buy the scaffolding yourself. 

This is why for scaffolding rental Houston, USA, has been leading the way by offering to all its clients their scaffolding needs for all types of project, and now that service model is becoming readily available across the EU as well. Here are some of the varieties on offer

Boiler scaffold for maintenance in power plants

For companies that need to work on power plant boilers, there is a definite requirement that the scaffold is as secure as possible. The specialist boiler scaffold is perfect for this, and is made from special materials to resist the extreme conditions of the power plant boiler. It can be difficult to find a bespoke scaffolding installation that is able to be operated in special conditions, but the best providers can do this.  

Special aluminium platforms for aircraft maintenance

Maintenance on aircraft can be hard when it comes to scaffolding. The shape of the airplane is unusual, and there are some quite delicate parts that cannot be damaged in anyway. A good provider like Alufase can provide modules that are specifically designed to be able to work high and close to the machine, but also adaptable for different aircraft types and shapes. 

Scaffolding for any building of any size

By approaching a scaffolding expert you can be sure that they will have the experience and adaptability you need for your project, and a team of expert engineers available to ensure the last on safety and function. Different to traditional scaffolding, it is possible to rent aluminium scaffolding these days that is much lighter and can be transported and assembled much more easily, yet with no reduction in safety and quality standards. 

Intensive work is best handled by rolling towers

For work that requires intensive use and also the ability to move the scaffolding from one location to another on the site, then rolling towers are the best option. You can reduce the risk associated with this by using professionals machines to deliver and build the towers, and make sure that the castors, frames, braces and platforms meet all the safety standards. Then you have the flexibility to move the scaffold as much as you need to. Rolling towers are incredibly useful for construction projects. 

Shipyard scaffolding doesn’t need to be difficult with the right supplier

Another awkward shape with tricky requirements is when scaffolding is required for shipyards. Like with aircraft maintenance, it is not unusual to have to have an elevated working surface, and during boat construction in particular the scaffolding needs to be able to grow as the ship does. 

Scaffolding can also be used to create huge stages

For a temporary stage structure, for example for large outdoor music concerts that are not taking place all year round, then scaffolding is the best way to ensure the safety of the performers and crowd, while elevating the performers to a high level so the crowd can actually see them. This is very different to other types of scaffolding, and the surface area needs to be a lot larger. 

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New photographs of great legends available to buy

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It takes something extremely special about a person for them to become a legend, and continue to inspire generations when they are gone. Ernest Hemingway, Orson Welles, Ava Gardner and Gary Cooper are some of those legends whose legacy continues to live on in the art and culture they left behind them, and even now have huge fan bases that admire their heroes. 

One of the fascinating things about these great legends of the past, is that unlike today there was no social media, and even the traditional media had its limits. This can make it difficult to learn more about their lives, loves and who they were outside of the public mask they wore. Well now it is possible to see a glimpse into their world. Bank photographs of Ernest Hemingway, Orson Wells, Ava Gardner and Gary Cooper during the years that they were living in Spain have been uncovered and the rights to them are available to purchase

Nobel prize winner Ernest Hemingway lived a life of adventure

Ernest Hemingway was a world renowned journalist, novelist and sportsman, who to this day continues to influence writers all over the world, and is credited with being a major influence on all 20th century literature. The works he produced are considered American classics. 

It was not only his writing that drew admiration, but also his lifestyle. Nicknamed ‘Papa’ by those closest to him, he lived life to the full. He loved being outdoors hunting or fishing, and travelled the world for his writing, acting as a war correspondent in both World War II and the Spanish Civil War, after serving himself on the Italian front in World War I. He was also a big drinker and did not believe in life passing him by. 

He had a longstanding love affair with Spain, visiting many times for both work and pleasure. This is how Ernest Hemingway rights photographs in Spain have become available to buy, from the cameras of those who were there at the time. 

This is made even more poignant, as only two short years after some of these photos of Hemingway enjoying the bulls in Pamplona, he was to take his own life. Yet in 1985, ‘A Dangerous Summer’ a book inspired by those days spent in Pamplona was published. Hemingway had travelled to Pamplona between October 1959 and May 1960 on assignment with Life Magazine in order to write a 10,000 piece about the bullfighting and the rivalry between the key matadors. But he could not do it and instead wrote over one hundred thousand words, needing a fellow writer to edit it down. The photographs discovered show this time of his life, made all the more fascinating by the novel that was produced. 

Hemingway and Orson Welles, friends and rivals

Another great who fell in love with Spain was George Orson Welles, contemporary of Hemingway and sometime rival. He was an American actor, director, writer and producer who is considered one of the greatest film directors of all time. He visited Spain many times during the course of his life, and while bullfighting and film-making might be what drew him there, it was the lifestyle, the culture and the women that brought him back time and time again. 

He loved Spain so much, his ashes were interred in the South of Spain, in fact thrown down a well of a close friend and famous matador. For a glimpse into his life the Orson Wells rights photographs in Spain are available, a side not often seen of him. 

Ava Gardner’s love of life and parties in Spain

Another friend and contemporary of Hemingway, who could not resist the draw of Spain with Ava Gardner. She was a well known American actress who discovered Spain when filming in the country. Throughout her life she would go on to earn nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress, and also BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations for her work. 

The success in her career, was equalled by her love for Spain and also for the Spanish bullfighters. Following the breakdown of her marriage to Frank Sinatra, she moved from Hollywood to Madrid, and spent her evenings creating her legend, with late night parties and drinking. It was during these days that she came to be known as the ‘World’s most beautiful animal’. Hidden away from the paparazzi that had hounded her life in the USA, she could be free to be herself. Only one camera captured these days of hedonism, that of a close personal friend. The Ava Gardner rights photographs in Spain available are from this very camera. 

Some have claimed that the parties she attended with simply urban myths, they were so crazy. However, it was real, only attended by an elite group of the rich, beautiful and artistic high flyers of the 1950’s and 60’s. Despite being in love with Spain, she never managed to learn the language, but instead got her Spanish teacher hooked on gin and tonics. For every drunken night out she would lose jewellery, often expensive, that would be left behind for a lucky finder. 

A real story that created the legend of those days in Spain

These three greats, all had one thing in common. A deep and lasting love for a country that was not their own. They found the place in which they longed to be, and this kept them all coming back again and again. More astonishingly this love affair with a country that inspired films, plays, novels and performances by these great artists was captured on film in a most honest and special way. Not posed photography, but real life, which makes it all the more special and serves to show the world the true story behind the legends. 

They represent a different era. One of adventure, of war and heartbreak, of the hot sun and fiery tempers. It is no wonder that so many are fascinated by the lives of these giants of modern culture

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