E-commerce is a rapidly growing industry that, far from being some shopper fad or trend, has changed the way businesses interact and trade with consumers on a global scale and it’s here to stay.
Any business, from the lone home-worker to the grand multi-national must have an online presence and cater for distant customers if it wants to remain relevant and competitive.
For almost any enterprise, e-commerce trading has a number of advantages over bricks-and-mortar premises; although there’s mounting evidence that the retail sector in particular needs to provide consumers with both in an omni-channel shopping experience.
An online presence with e-commerce capabilities can enable businesses to:
According to industry research firm eMarketer, e-commerce is forecast to grow by 20.2% across the board, with emerging markets in the Middle East, Africa and China being responsible for driving global B2C sales in excess of £1.5 trillion this year.
Although e-markets in Europe and the US are well established, they have not yet reached maturity and according to Forrester, are also forecast to maintain “a slightly more modest 9.1 per cent” growth until 2018.
However, despite strong consumer demand for e-commerce, there are a number of barriers that all businesses wanting to implement or increase online sales, face.
For many, those barriers relate to infrastructure, skilled personnel, costs, consumer trust but most importantly of all, competent distribution logistics; without the capacity to deliver goods, e-commerce organisations simply fail to deliver.
A recent study conducted by comScore explored the impact of viable delivery options on consumer trust and shopping habits.
Those surveyed cited transparent shipping information, including a “projected timing of delivery, clear communication while goods are in transit and clear communication of a company’s returns policy” along with free or discounted delivery options as major factors influencing their purchasing decisions.
While most participants agreed that a delivery window of up to 5 days was acceptable, a failure to provide information about the delivery service in its entirety in a concise and clear way directly contributed to 55% of those asked to ‘abandon shopping carts’ before making a purchase.
However, sites which manage consumer delivery expectations well and offer a user-friendly returns policy could expect return visits from 48% of their consumers with the same amount making retailer recommendations to their friends.
It seems that for any sized business, deciding how to meet customers’ delivery service expectations and finding the right distribution partner is vital for overall e-commerce success.
The good news is that because the very essence of e-commerce is global trade, any business whether small or large, whether in a mature or emerging market, can benefit from using an established international mail house or distribution centre, anywhere.
Organisations like Asendia, a British consolidation of La Poste and Swiss Post are already equipped with a variety of delivery solutions including distribution, order fulfillment, secure storage and pick and pack services that cater for the specific needs of the e-commerce industry.
To improve your online operations or source the right distribution solution for your start-up, contact Asendia directly for advice and information on adopting a tailored delivery service suited to your e-commerce venture.
Saving money can be difficult. From paying bills, to groceries, to going out for lunch – it can feel like our funds are disappearing without a trace. Once you’ve found your dream home, however, there is much more of an aspiration to save. You have a goal in mind, and will do whatever you can to reach it. To help you buy your dream home, here are five tips to help you save.
Write a list. It sounds simple, but it makes a huge difference. Then, don’t forget to take the list with you. Before leaving, have a look through your pantry and fridge, and decide what you need to buy more of. If you take the list and buy only what is on it, you will save on wasting money on things you don’t need. Another way of saving on groceries, is to take only the amount of money you will need to buy what is on your list. Don’t take any extra cash.
To save on bills, try thinking of some ways to keep your home warmer or cooler – depending on the season. Make sure to turn all appliances off at night, taking special care to turn off the heater and/or air conditioner. In winter, use alternatives to keep the house warm. Put a snake under the door to keep the warmth in, and rug up in jumpers and scarves. To save a bit extra, turn off the television when nobody is watching it, and consider using energy efficient light bulbs.
All of us love to buy new clothes, and it can become one of the easiest ways of spending money. However, instead of going to clothing stores or malls, try op shops and flea markets. You can find designer clothes for a few dollars at many markets, and you will be surprised by what you can find in op shops. They provide a wide range of styles and clothing for a few dollars. This way, you save money, and can purchase more.
If you really need to save money, try changing a habit. This doesn’t have to be something as large as giving up cigarettes or alcohol (although that would be ideal). If you buy your lunch every day, consider packing it before you leave. Do you buy a coffee every morning? Try making a thermos before you leave the house. These may seem like small changes, but the savings do add up.
It’s all good and well to save your $4.50 a day on a tall latte, but you’re never really going to see the savings if the money remains in your purse. Rather than spending it on other things – which you will – even if you have the intention to save, put it somewhere. A money box, or a shoebox – anywhere. As long as you take the money out and put it somewhere, you’re not going to spend it on something else.
There are several ways to save money if you’re committed. It’s just a matter of trying them out and being as motivated as possible. Have a go at these techniques, maybe even invent your own. There are no boundaries when it comes to saving money. Different strategies work for different people – be creative. To inspire you, do some research into your dream home. Have a look at pictures on the internet or even examples of Coral Homes. For more information on how to purchase your dream home visit Coral Homes on True Local.
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Since the real estate market crashed a few years ago, many people shudder at the thought of putting their money in properties. As 2013 approaches, people should reconsider their investment decisions because the housing market is in recovery. A clear indication that the market is recovering fast is the number of building permits issued during the year. In 2012, around 770,000 building permits were issued. This is the highest number since the market crashed in 2008.
The National Association of Realtors has indicated that the market is stabilizing as positive trends begin to take shape. According to their indices, the current builder confidence level is at its highest point since 2008. This means that builders will most likely put up more units in the coming years.
According to the FHA, property prices have increased gradually at a rate of 0.3 percent month after month. This is very encouraging for home builders and property owners. While the figure may seem small, it is important to note real estate property values were depreciating at a higher rate after the recession.
The number of foreclosures has also decreased quite considerably, indicating that the disposable consumer income is increasing. Homeowners are now able to service their mortgages accordingly.
While the markets might not have recovered fully, several major home builders have reported huge profits in the last financial year. Some have even surpassed profit projections by over 100 percent. This means that properties are being developed and people are buying. The profit projections for 2013 are even much higher than previous estimates.
What This Means For The Real Estate Market
As the economy recovers, the time to invest in real estate is now. Prospective homeowners can buy the home of their dreams at a discount because property prices are about 30 percent lower than the peak price. Real estate investors can buy at these low prices, flip and sell them at a profit when prices increase. Banks are offering mortgage loans at affordable rates, so this is the perfect opportunity for investors to buy property. Business is also expected to pick up next year for property managers when new units are commissioned.
Unfortunately, some newspapers, TV shows and radio programs still portray real estate investing as a bad idea. The saddest thing about it is that most people rely on these sources for accurate information. This is one of the contributing factors to the slow recovery of the real estate market in the recent years. Now that presidential elections are over, the media can start giving people facts about the industry. Investing in property is a big decision and nobody should rely on only one source for information. Consulting experts in the industry is the most effective way of getting the most up to date information about the market.
About the author:
Mildred Johnson is a writer and real estate trend analyst for Boston properties.
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