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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.

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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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Online comparators are the best allies to help you find the loan you need

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When applying for a loan, it is common for people to look forward to having the complete information at hand in order to choose the type of credit and the financial institution that better suits their needs. Online comparators are an excellent online resource, as they explain in detail the best options for users to select the credit product with the most favourable conditions for them.

For many years now, loans have established themselves as one of the best ways to obtain the necessary liquidity to address a wide variety of issues, from financial hardship, to entrepreneurial projects, mortgages and more.

One of the countries where credit supply is one of the widest is the United States, which is due to its strong economic development in all sectors and the fact that it is one of the main drivers of the world economy.

In this sense, there is a wide diversity of ways to obtain money for a vast number of purposes. It is very common in the United States to apply for loans to financiate a trip, to pay fines, to reunify debts, to buy a house or a car, to start a business, etc.

For each type of need there are different categories of loans: personal loans, quick loans, credit cards, mortgages or government loans. It all depends on what the capital is required for, how much is needed and how the amount received is to be repaid, and the respective interest that is to be paid.

How to get the ideal funding?

It is very common to have many doubts when it comes to obtaining financing, especially in the United States, where the range of options is quite wide. This is where the internet plays a fundamental role.

Nowadays, specialised platforms can be visited on the internet to obtain detailed information on all the types of loans that exist, including comparisons of financial institutions and their products, so that the user can select the one that meets his requirements and has the best conditions.

These days, one of the types of financing that are well sought-after are quick loans, which are ideal for getting out of financial difficulties, especially those unforeseen events that sometimes arise when you do not have the necessary liquidity. These are credit products for which few requirements are asked, with short contracting times and with the possibility of receiving the amount the same day.

There are comparative websites that present users with the best fast loan alternatives available in the United States, including options for those who for one reason or another have a low credit rating or simply no credit rating at all. These alternatives are called bad credit or no credit loans.

These platforms analyse the best quick loans and disclose all the details, so that users do not get any unpleasant surprises.

Government loans are in high demand

Another type of loan that has been in high demand in the United States lately are the government loans. There is also a wide variety of alternatives for this type of loan, so it is difficult for many people to know if they are ideal candidates for one.

Digital platforms are also an excellent support in this regard. They  provide users with all the necessary information so they can find out all the details that will allow them to take advantage of the credit options offered by the US government.

There are very useful online resources that can be of great help for people to find government loans for which they can qualify, i.e. for which they may be eligible.

Among the categories of government credits that these platforms analyse are agricultural loans, education loans, commercial loans, housing loans, veterans’ loans, loan repayment loans and much more. In fact, there are web portals that allow you to check your eligibility among more than 1,000 types of benefits.

These portals usually have a loan search engine that consists of a questionnaire to be answered by the user, which allows the user to filter through all the alternatives and review only those that fit the profile and requirements.

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Strategies to Have in Place When Launching a New Product on Your E-Commerce

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When launching a new product on your e-commerce website, there are several strategies you need to have in place in order to ensure its success. You want to ensure that you create a buzz around the product before it even hits the shelves and that you have a plan for marketing and selling it once it becomes available. This blog post will discuss some of the most important strategies you need to consider when launching a new product.

Create a Buzz: 

One of the most important things you can do when launching a new product is to create a buzz around it before it even hits the shelves. There are several ways you can go about doing this. You can start by releasing teaser images or videos on your social media channels or even holding a contest where people can win the product before it launches. This will get people talking and excited about the product, and they’ll be more likely to buy it once it does become available.

Another way to create a buzz is to reach out to influencers in your industry and see if they’d be interested in featuring the product on their own channels. This can help spread the word quickly and get people talking about the product before it even launches.

You can also try to get press coverage for the product. This can be done by reaching out to media outlets and pitching them the product launch story. Getting some press coverage leading up to the launch will help create a buzz and get people talking about the product.

Marketing and Sales Plan: 

Once the product is available for purchase, you need to have a plan in place for marketing and selling it. This will include things like setting up a landing page on your website, creating social media posts and ads and reaching out to your email list. You want to ensure that you’re doing everything possible to drive traffic to the product page and get people interested in buying it.

It would help if you also had a plan for post-purchase follow-up. This includes things like sending thank-you emails, providing customer support, and offering discounts or coupons for future purchases. By following up with customers after they’ve bought the product, you can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, and you’ll be more likely to make sales down the road.

IT and Technicalities: 

When launching a new product, you also need to have an IT strategy in place. This includes setting up a testing environment, ensuring that the website can handle increased traffic, and ensuring that all of the payment and shipping systems are working correctly. By having an IT-strategie in place, you can avoid any potential issues that could arise during the launch and ensure that everything goes smoothly.

Following these strategies can set your new product up for success. For example, creating a buzz before the launch will help increase interest and sales, and having a marketing and sales plan will ensure that you’re able to drive traffic to the product page and make sales. Additionally, an IT strategy is essential for avoiding any potential issues that could occur during the launch. Having all these strategies in place can ensure that your new product launch is a success.

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Scale Up Your Small Business And Accelerate Your Customer Base

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Small businesses can get lost in the sea of other similar businesses if they aren’t careful. There are hundreds of new businesses added to the market every day. Therefore, it is important for new business owners to know what to do in order to enhance their business and attract and win over as many customers as possible.

From improving the experience of your business website to giving customers regular discounts, here is how to scale up your small business and accelerate your customer base.

Offer the best product/service experience

Whether you are creating a new product or service to offer to customers, you will want to make it as good as possible so that the customers are not disappointed. Offering the best product/service possible will make sure to win over customers and maintain their attention. Any fault with your product/service could result in them looking elsewhere.

For instance, let’s say you are a new music teacher that wants to start a business teaching teeangers fresh out of college. If so, you will want the best equipment possible so that they can have the most fun and attain the best results. Hence, you could invest in equipment usch as Drum Machines for Beginners so that the students can create drum sounds that sound like the real thing. This will make their music creations much easier and more professional, which will help them gain more confidence in their education, creations, and results.

Improve your small businesses website experience for customers

Another important aspect to focus on when you are trying to scale up your small business and attract as many people as possible is to improve your website experience. Like a faulty product/service, if your website is difficult to use or faulty, then a customer will soon lose interest.

You should consider working with website designers so that you create the most efficient website for your small business. Thereafter, ensure to maintain its speed, SEO, and updates so that it runs smoothly.

Make more marketing efforts

Marketing techniques are important to focus on and get right if you want to enhance your brand awareness and attract more customers.

The more you focus on your marketing, the more traffic you will gain. Being active on social media, improving your website SEO, and using various means of marketing will ensure that you can reach a wider audience, which should hone in more customers and help your small business make more sales.

Build a great customer service team

Giving your customers the best customer service possible will ensure that they maintain their satisfaction. Good customer service includes:

Being friendly

Offering fast responses

Always helping no matter if there is an issue or a compliment

You should consider adding a live chat service to your website so that customers can attain immediate responses to their queries. Thereafter, you could also encourage customers to message you through your social media channels if they want to ask a question. Having one or two people monitoring the channels will ensure that the customers get a quick response.

It is always beneficial to train all members of the team to be as friendly and as helpful as possible when dealing with customers. Making sure that every customer is treated fairly will result in happy customers. Happy customers will likely be regular customers. They will provide your business with positive feedback, which will encourage more customers to try your small business and help it grow.

Ask for customer feedback

Speaking of customer feedback, this is another important task to tick off when you are looking to scale up your business.

Customer feedback will help you understand what people truly think to your business. Although negative feedback can feel upsetting, it is good to take it on board and use it wisely to adjust your business. The feedback will help you align your business with customer expectations, which will result in customer satisfaction and a more successful business.

Make good first impressions

Alike customer service, your first impression should also be top tier. If you get off on the wrong foot with a customer, then it won’t look good. Although nobody is perfect, it is smart to be friendly, helpful, and of good service. The better impression you make, the more encouraged a customer will be to come back time and time again to use your business.

Good first impressions will also filter through in conversation. For example, an impressed customer might encourage their friend to try your business. New customers equal more sales and greater success.

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