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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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Hooks for industry – what do you need to know

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Construction Machine

In construction, we often find ourselves faced with the need to lift or move very heavy materials and, to this end, the role played by cranes is fundamental.

It should not be forgotten that in order to operate a crane it is essential to be in possession of a crane operators licence and, to do so, it is necessary to be over 18 years of age, pass a medical examination, have a compulsory secondary education diploma, pass a theoretical-practical course given by professionals in the sector, as well as concluding this training with a final examination.

One of the main parts of a crane is the hook, which makes it easier to hook heavy parts safely.

It is important to emphasize that the hooking of these materials must be carried out correctly following an exhaustive protocol since the detachment of these materials can cause very serious and even lethal damage and injuries. This is why these hooks require periodic revisions to check the conditions in which they are, since if they show deterioration or possible cracks, it would be necessary to replace the hook since it is not possible to work with damaged hooks.

The construction sector is very important all over the world, especially for all kinds of commercial and personal projects. The machine par excellence to carry out a work of great calibre is the crane, thanks to all the benefits and advantages that it leaves with it, such as the speed and the possibility of moving heavier elements thanks to the crane hook.

As in everything else, there are different more specific equipment depending on the type of material to be used and the size of the load itself. Therein lies the importance of the hook, which is in charge of ensuring that this material can reach its destination in the best possible way and without causing accidents along the way.

It is the companies contracted for the construction of the infrastructure themselves that are in charge of renting this type of vehicle or, in some cases, if they already have their own, they can save a large amount of money. The heaviest ones can even exceed 40 tons in weight.

What kind of materials can they transport? From pictures, screens, lifts, air conditioning and even essential elements for the assembly or disassembly of various heavy objects, which humans can not manipulate by their own.

However, not everything is as simple as having one of these machines and getting into the cabin. The engineer who is responsible for driving it must be well prepared and have advanced knowledge of what he is doing. No one wants all the work to be thrown overboard by one simple mistake, hence the importance of this person.

In the same way, the fact that all the contracted team is made up of professionals can reduce both the risks and the total costs that are going to be carried out and, if all this were not enough, you will also be making sure that the machinery will be handled successfully and the final work will obtain a better result.

The expert gets a very clear function, review the existing working conditions and know what kind of equipment and material is necessary to meet the needs of the client.

It should not be forgotten that in order to operate a crane it is essential to be in possession of a crane operators licence and, to do so, it is necessary to be over 18 years of age, pass a medical examination, have a compulsory secondary education diploma, pass a theoretical-practical course given by professionals in the sector, as well as concluding this training with a final examination.

Other option is the Elebia auto hooks for industry, that is the automatic hook. This is an innovative hook. It is a device that allows unloading remotely without the need for manual presence of any operator. It has a magnet, sibil lock, which blocks the rotating part avoiding the possibility of loosening.

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ILMAP leads the way in quality for all types of water management hardware

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water management

For over 50 years ILMAP have been developing and refining the technology and materials used in the installation and management of water management. Using the wealth of experience gained through all those years in the field, they have been able to build a wide range of products that meet a huge range of specifications.

Specialising in nozzles, traps, collectors and other accessories, their products have a wide range of application across the production of drinking water and demineralized water, treatment of waste water and filtration and water treatment  for the pharmaceutical and food industry. With so much experience and innovation ILMAP is one of the leading filter nozzle manufacturers in the world.

Filter nozzles for water treatment for industrial and residential uses

Specialists Ilmap – Filter Nozzles Made in Italy provide a wide range of water filter nozzles  and nozzle strainer for water treatment.

Across industrial applications, the products cater for a variety of industries, including electricity  power generation, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, the food and beverage industry and the agricultural sector. But is also developed for domestic uses, such as in home swimming pools, irrigation and water softening filters.

Application can range from industrial water treatment and waste water treatment to water purification and ion exchange systems, all with the highest quality and safety at the forefront of development.

Parts are produced by state of the art modern injection moulding machines, known for reliability  and high standards of finish. Customers are always at the forefront and ILMAP prides itself on offering the best in customer service. With more than 700 m2 of warehouse, supply is assured and delivery procedures set to fixed lead times, so work can be planned accordingly.

It is not only nozzles, ILMAP also produces resin traps that guarantee effective protection against material losses in your system, in materials like plastic and stainless less as required.

Quality products in the best materials for the job

ILMAP has put a huge amount of effort in the research and development of their products over the years combining experience with the latest materials and efficient production processes.

The focus has been to ensure the best quality products, with dimensional accuracy and repeatability in the production time and design. Also a key focus is compliance with standard measurement and the control of the raw materials in production. So confident in their passion for good practices, they will open their factory for both client inspections and for certification bodies to review the procedures and controls.

With a fully functional test laboratory to allow testing of the pressure drop of the nozzles and the correct certifications available, it is easy to have confidence in the products.

Independently certified for guaranteed quality

All products are manufactured with top quality materials purchased from leading suppliers. Polypropylene, PVDF, ABS and masterbatches used are certified by the manufacturer for contact with drinking water according to the main current world regulations.

Even once the raw materials have entered production, and so the raw material certification becomes invalid, the final products are also audited at authorised laboratories gaining the following certifications:

ITALY – D.M. 174 del 06.05.2004

FRANCE – ACS Certification

UNITED KINGDOM – WRAS – BS 6920 Approved Material

“Suitability of non-metallic products for use in contact with water intended for human
consumption with regard to their effect on the quality of the water”

EUROPE – Food Safety Regulation – (EU) 10/2011 & 1935/2004 EC

“materials and articles intended to come into contact with food”.

All offering reassurance for the purchaser in the standards that are applied, especially where the products come into contact with potable water. It is very important for any company involved in the purification or management of water to ensure that their suppliers follow these standards, and ILMAP are well prepared to meet them as part of their core principles of manufacturing.

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Dawn Ellmore Employment reviews the shock defeat for McDonald’s as it’s stripped of its ‘Big Mac’ EU trade mark

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mc donalds europe EU

For more than half a century McDonald’s has been a recognisable brand in just about every country you can think of. According to its website, the chain has restaurants in 101 countries. Its 36,000+ restaurants serve around 69 million fast food fans every single day.

With stats like this, and McDonald’s easily recognised by just about anybody, the recent EU trade mark ruling has surprised many. McDonald’s has just lost its EU trade mark for the Big Mac in what is dubbed a ‘David and Goliath’ battle with a small Irish chain.

How did McDonald’s lose its Big Mac EU trade mark?

When Supermac’s took on the might of McDonald’s in a trade mark battle, it was assumed by many that the smaller chain would lose. While Supermac’s may not be a household name in the UK, however, it’s much loved in Ireland.

Now the largest fast food chain in Ireland, Supermac’s began in 1978 and today has more than 110 franchises and restaurants all over the country. Founded by Pat and Una McDonagh, it was named after his nickname, ‘Supermac’ when he played Gaelic football. They also own Claddagh Irish Pubs & Restaurants through Supermac’s Ireland Ltd.

The EU trade mark battle

Supermac’s has been locked into an ongoing fight with McDonald’s since 2015, when it announced plans to expand into the EU and UK. McDonald’s initially objected to Supermac’s registering a number of trade marks for products and its name. They argued that the names McDonald’s and Supermac’s are too similar and would cause customer confusion. McDonald’s further argued that the Supermac’s brand name is visually too similar to their trade mark.

Supermac’s responded by pointing out that they had happily traded at the same time as McDonald’s in Ireland for more than 30 years with no signs of confusion on the part of customers.

Initially, McDonald’s won a part-victory when the European Union’s Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) decided that Supermac can continue to trade in its own name within the EU. However, it rejected the Irish company’s trade mark applications for various products and menu items, saying that consumers might “be confused as to whether Supermac’s is a new version of McDonald’s”, given that there are near-identical products sold by both restaurant chains.

Revoking McDonald’s EU trade marks

In January 2019, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) made a decision that allows victory to Supermac’s after all. By ruling that EU trade marks owned by McDonald’s are to be revoked, Supermac’s is clear to expand into the rest of the EU.

The landmark decision went into effect immediately, on the basis that the EUIPO rules that McDonald’s had failed to prove “genuine use” of its Big Mac trade mark as a restaurant or menu item.

Unsurprisingly delighted, Pat McDonagh says: “Never mind David versus Goliath, this unique landmark decision is akin to the Connacht team winning against the All Blacks. This is the end of the McBully. Just because McDonald’s has deep pockets and we are relatively small in context, doesn’t mean we weren’t going to fight our corner.”

How the fight played out

In April 2017, Supermac’s requested that the EUIPO cancel McDonald’s trade mark for ‘Big Mac’ and ‘Mc’. The chain also accused the US giant of “trade mark bullying” by registering and gaining protection for names, but not actually using them to stamp down any potential competition.

On its part, McDonald’s legal representatives provided signed affidavits from high level executives and showed examples of packaging and adverts to demonstrate it serves Big Macs right across the EU, and therefore deserves to retain the EU trade mark for that specific product.

However, the EUIPO deemed this “insufficient” in its judgement. As trade marks are registered at national level and at the EU, McDonald’s does not lose all of its protection for the Big Mac. They also have the right to appeal, which we suspect they are likely to do.

Supermac’s forges ahead

For Supermac’s, all eyes are on the future. Mr McDonagh says: “This now opens the door for the decision to be made by the European trade mark office to allow us to use our SuperMac as a burger across Europe.”

A representative from EIP, an intellectual property law firm, Carissa-Kendall Windless, says: “This decision is a significant one, partly because it serves as a warning to multinational companies that they can no longer simply file trade mark applications without a genuine intention to use it”.

It’s inevitable that McDonald’s will exercise its right to appeal, and it will be interesting to see how this David and Goliath battle goes on this year.

About Dawn Ellmore Employment

Dawn Ellmore Employment was incorporated in 1995 and is a market leader in intellectual property and legal recruitment.

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