22 Mar

How to Improve the Shopping Experience of Your Online Customers

With online shopping growing rapidly in popularity, providing a great customer experience is no longer restricted to the high street. When it comes to shopping, most people would agree that they wouldn’t return to a store if the aisles were untidy and disorganised, they couldn’t purchase their goods securely, and the goods were priced ridiculously. The same is true for the online world – when it comes to running an e-commerce store, providing your customers with an awesome experience when they shop will keep them coming back for more and earn you some serious reputation points. We’ve listed some of the most effective methods of improving the customer experience at your e-commerce store.

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Upgrade Your Platform

If you are using a cheap, low-quality e-commerce platform, this could be contributing to a poor overall customer experience when shopping. Investing in an e-commerce platform upgrade, for example using this recommended Magento agency, will ensure that your customers are receiving a top service and create a great impression of your online store. Along with choosing a high-quality e-commerce platform that offers a great UI and a series of customer service features, outsourcing your e-commerce tasks to a reliable, experienced agency can help you to get the best results.

Ensure Secure Payments

When it comes to shopping online, many customers are still worried about their secure financial details being stolen. This is very understandable – even in the digital age of today, identity theft happens online more often than many of us realise. So, a secure payment system that allows customers to enter their payment card details with confidence and peace of mind is one of the most important components of a great online shopping experience. Along with this, it can help to give customers the option to pay with a range of other more secure methods, such as PayPal payments, which can easily be accepted on all good e-commerce platforms.

Easy to Use Navigation

Feeling like you’re navigating a maze would surely put anybody off purchasing in a high street store, and the same goes for shopping online. If it takes customers a long time to be able to find the items that they are looking to purchase, this can easily damage their opinion of your store and perhaps even leave them looking for an alternative. Investing in a professional web design that’s easy to navigate and includes a handy search tool so customers can find exactly what they’re looking for is critical to ensure a great shopping experience.

Develop an App

Lastly, developing a mobile app which customers can use to purchase products from your e-commerce store is a very worthwhile investment to consider making. With more and more web users swapping desktop and laptop PCs for smartphones and tablets, developing an app makes sense since they are easy to use with these kinds of devices. Being able to return to their basket easily in an app provides a much more convenient online shopping experience for customers. Additionally, you can utilise the power of push notifications for marketing.

Share your top tips for e-commerce success in the comments below!

08 Mar

Should You Move To Actively Managed Assets?

It’s very likely that the Federal Reserve will start with raising interest rates. This will cause the interest rates to rise very quickly, although I can’t say when will this happen.

It’s quite possible that the Fed will take action in the first half of 2015. But in case stock markets become unstable or if the economy doesn’t show signs of improvement, the Fed might not act at all.

The Fed keeps printing money because it expects this will speed up the economy and reduce the unemployment rate.

If you remember, the Fed bought treasury notes and mortgage-backed securities in November 2008. Bank debt was $2.1 trillion by the end of June 2010. $30 billion was printed, each and every month.

2011 was the year when the Fed started buying Treasury securities in amount of $600 billion. September 2012 saw the Fed printing $40 billion per month. This was increase just 3 months later – to $85 billion per month. The Fed’s balance sheet increase to $4.5 trillion.

All this money printing should generate inflation, but that didn’t happen. Since there’s so much money being printed, each and every month, we are bound to experience the inflation. Currently, it’s the 0% cap on federal funds rate that keeps the inflation at bay. But when this cap disappears and when interest rates start to rise, increase in inflation will occur.

As inflation rises, interest rates and capitalization rates will rise. Real assets will decrease in valuations, which will have a negative impact on real estate assets with single tenant leases. These assets will be sold at a higher rate and they will lose value. Therefore, the investors will take a hit as well.

This is why investors should shift their investments to actively managed assets that have inflation protected leases. Also, they should look for real estate assets that can be redeveloped, remarketed and repositioned.

At least 77% of the nontraded REITs have triple net leases with no rent increases. In case REITs have to dispose of these assets within a certain timeframe, they will take a hit.

22 Feb

How to Ramp Up Cash Flow Without Taking a Bank Loan

Growing your business is a challenge, and many entrepreneurs have faced cash flow crunches. In a word, it takes money to make money. Growing businesses need to pay employees, stay current on vendor invoices, and cover day to day expenses from business locations to inventory. But if you’re finding yourself running short on funds, there are several creative approaches you can take to maximizing cash flow. Here is a closer look at how to improve capital without using a bank.

Evaluate your inventory: Are you sitting on inventory that’s not selling? Then it’s time to take a hard look at your assets and get creative about ways to get them moving. For example, could you offer a discount or other incentive to get merchandise selling? Is it time to spearhead an advertising campaign? Could you offload the inventory at a loss, which you can take on your taxes, to a partner or competitor to generate short-term revenue? If you’ve got product to sell, the best way to improve your cash flow is to be creative about how you convert that into cash.

Look at what you’re spending: Do you have current levels of debt that are being charged at a high interest rate? Paying those off faster or finding a way to refinance them at a lower interest rate could free up hundreds in interest payments each month. Another important question is whether you have fixed expenses that could be reduced or eliminated entirely. For example, do you need to pay the expensive month to month rent on a fancy office space when today’s collaborative tools enable remote productivity? Finally, do you need to slash costs by eliminating some positions and taking on more yourself or consolidating positions?

Go after accounts receivable: Do you have customers or clients that are slow to pay? If so, you’re basically giving them a loan and floating their businesses. Look at your terms. If your contracts are currently net sixty or net ninety, try reducing your terms to net thirty or paid upon demand. The more you can shorten the time between a sale and a collection, the better your cash flow will be. If you have delinquent payments from customers, make collecting them a priority. Personally call each overdue client and follow up on payments. Consider using a collections agency to pursue truly overdue bills.

Look into factoring: With accounts receivable factoring, you essentially take a portion of the invoices that are due to your business and sell them to a third party. The third party either advances you a portion of the cash or charges a processing fee. Principally, that lets you access cash ahead of your net terms in order to keep things operating smoothly or enables you to invest in growth. Since factoring isn’t a loan, users avoid the detailed credit inquiries and long approval times associated with bank financing.

Obtaining business financing can be a challenge. But there are a number of ways, from improving your internal sales and collections processes to taking advantage of accounts receivable factoring, to make the most of your cash flow without dealing with a bank.

15 Jan

Immigrating To Monaco: The Benefits

monaco from afar

Beautiful Monaco, nestled on the edge of the Mediterranean, is a lot more than just a holiday destination for many Europeans. It’s also a popular target for permanent relocation thanks to its financial situation. The city-state of Monaco has some impressive financial credentials: It has the lowest poverty rate in the world, the highest GDP per capita, and a truly outrageous proportion of millionaires and billionaires. The standard of living in Monaco is extremely high and has been for decades.

( Cayman Islands are also a good solution. )

What are the financial attractions that make Monaco a haven for the wealthy? These are the key draws:

* No Income Tax

Citizens of Monaco enjoy the world’s lowest tax bracket, ensuring that more (in fact, all) of their take-home pay is theirs to do with as they please. The city-state’s unemployment rate is an astonishing zero percent, so this tax policy affects every citizen in a positive way. Income is considerably above European averages, so most residents are enjoying very healthy compensation.

* No Tax On Capital Gains

Residents of Monaco do not pay capital gains tax. This is one of the factors driving the petite country’s property market to such heights. Property in Monaco is amongst the world’s most valuable, with the average square metre trading hands for an astonishing 65,600GBP.

* No Wealth Tax

Although the UK does not have a wealth tax itself, this form of taxation is increasingly common in continental Europe. Such taxes are imposed by France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. This makes Monaco an attractive destination for relocation and asset transfer – rich French citizens are particularly enthusiastic about coming to Monaco for this purpose.

* No Inheritance Tax

One’s heirs pay no tax on estates in Monaco. Inheritance taxes can be vast in other European nations.

* Favorable Location

All of the continent’s major cultural and financial centers – Paris, London, and Zurich – are easily accessible from Monaco. It’s a convenient place from which to run a business, and it also features an extremely comfortable climate.

* Financial Security

Though Monaco’s personal financial restrictions are minimal, the rules and regulations applied to businesses and banks are much more thorough.

* Pro-Business

The strict regulations governing businesses and branches operating in Monaco don’t serve to drive off any companies. Those that choose to operate in Monaco enjoy very favorable business tax rates, more than making up for the regulatory complexities of the city-state.

Though Monaco is a member state of the European Union, becoming a resident takes considerably more than simply relocating to the city-state. Monaco has a vested interest in preserving and maintaining its high social and economic standards. That means the financial requirements and background checks are extremely thorough.

On the financial side, prospective residents are required to have a local bank account. Since minimum initial deposits at Monaco banks are generally on the order of 300,000GBP, this is not an insignificant bar to clear. Would-be residents also have to go through a criminal background check that needs to turn up a completely crime-free history for at least the last five years. Many individuals turn to the help of dedicated consulting companies for relocation to Monaco ( http://www.relocation-monaco.com ) to help them with all the details and paperwork.

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26 Dec

How to Choose the Right SME Loan Consultant?

Choosing your next SME loan consultant can make or break the success of your business. Following an SME’s business advice is crucial and may even create a huge difference to how your company will develop in the following years. To ensure that you are hiring the appropriate SME loan consultant for your company, then follow the tips below.

loan consultant form

1. Ensure that you are hiring a qualified consultant

Whether you only need help on a single project or you want ongoing consultancy, make sure that you are seeking advice from the right person. It wouldn’t hurt to do a background check of the person’s qualifications before agreeing to follow his or her opinions on certain matters. Remember that it is your business’ success that is on the line at all times.

2. Identify your needs

There are certain aspects in your business that you can cover yourself so be sure that you really need a consultant before you even hire one. Take a closer look at your business needs and check what really has to be prioritized. This will save you more money and time since you already know how the SME loan consultant will resolve your concerns.

3. Check if the advice is unbiased

There are consultants that are getting paid through a commission for recommending a service or a certain course of action. That’s why you need to check if the person you are hiring can really be trusted.

4. Be straightforward

Call the attention of the SME consultant if think that you are not getting the level of service that you are expecting. Speak up and be brave enough to tell them that you are not satisfied with their advice or if you think that the proposed solution is not feasible.

5. Make sure that they understand your business niche

It will be best if you hire a consultant that specializes in the kind of business that you are in. Check if their area of expertise matches your business niche to ensure that they understand your requirements.

27 Oct

5 Tips for Using Internet Marketing for Branding

Internet marketing is a hugely useful tool for businesses. It can help to promote products and services to a large, global audience and increase site traffic, helping to convert browsers into customers. It can also be a great tool for branding and creating an iconic brand identity. Here’s how you can use internet marketing as a branding device for your business.

Social Media

If you want a recognisable brand identity, you should jump on board social media. Make sure you’re posting regularly on your accounts (but not spamming; that will do more harm than good), and you use your platform to communicate with your followers. Having the freedom to post whatever you want means that you can decide exactly how your audience will see your brand, creating your own unique identity.

SEO

Search engine optimisation is critical to a successful online presence and according to one SEO agency in Cambridge, it became a must for local businesses if they want to attract traffic via internet. It is essentially the process of curating content that will help you rank higher in the search engine results. This will maximise your online presence, helping you to better build up a brand identity, and show your audience that you’re a notable business.

Internet Marketing for Branding

Blogs

Adding a blog to your website can do wonders for your brand. By using your blog to advise potential customers and give more information on your products and services, you create a more trustworthy brand identity and encourage sales. You can also discuss topics around your niche, to show you know your stuff. If you’re a small, local business, posting local news now and again (keep it positive) will also help establish your brand as a part of your community.

Consistency is Key

To build up a recognisable brand identity through internet marketing, you need to ensure all of your content and pages are consistently similar. Use a recognisable logo on all of your platforms and any advertisement, and keep font and colour schemes the same. This will encourage viewers to associate your brand with your image. You should also follow a similar tone of voice, for example light-hearted and friendly or professional and factual. If you aren’t consistent, you’ll find it a lot harder to establish your brand identity.

More than Just a Business

A great way to establish a brand identity through internet marketing is to offer your audience more than just what you are selling. Allow them access behind the scenes on social media, showing them how products are created and what goes into your brand, and make sure to include a section on your website to introduce the team. You should also keep communication open with customers. This kind of personal touch will help your audience to connect with your brand and they’ll feel more comfortable buying from you.

Branding is an extremely vital aspect of any offline and online business, and you should be taking advantage of how easy it is to create your brand identity online. Unlike with traditional ads, it’s far easier to connect with customers through internet marketing, and to show your business exactly as you want it to be seen.

12 Oct

4 Things to Consider Before Choosing your POS Products

With so many varieties available, finding the right POS products for your business can be difficult. If you’re starting from scratch, with no POS products whatsoever and little knowledge about which will suit you, it can be hard to find your perfect match. Before making any purchases, you should take into consideration a number of things – 4, to be exact – that will help you to get what you need.

What’s your Business?

The first thing you should consider is what your business is, and so what you will need your POS products for. If you’re a clothes shop, for example, most advertising is usually images of products on posters, so snap frames are probably best for you, whereas a restaurant is advertising their food so will, of course, need menu holders and also products such as chalkboards for daily specials. Knowing what you need is the first step to finding the right POS.

display in snap frames

 

What’s your Budget?

You should also be considering your budget before buying POS products. Although it is a very cheap and cost effective way to advertise, if you’re buying multiple products it can soon add up. Know how much you can realistically spend before buying, and then how much you can spend on each type of POS product, taking into account how much they cost – that is if you’re buying multiple varieties of course. This will prevent you from spending a load of money on, say, leaflet holders, and being left with only enough for one snap frame. A disaster!

How Much Room?

It’s pointless buying a load of POS products only to realise you have nowhere to put them. This is why it’s important to plan ahead and look at what space you have. If you have a lot of wall space, anything that can be wall-mounted is a good idea, and before buying pavement signs make sure you actually have room to put them on the street without getting in everybody’s way. Make a plan of where all the products you’re buying will go before you hand over any money, and don’t forget about storage of them too!

signs

Which Variety of your Chosen Variety?

That’s right, the choices aren’t over once you’ve selected a type of POS products. You’ll need to also consider which style of that product you would like, depending on your use and it’s location. For example, should you get lockable poster cases or will snap frames do? A weighted pavement sign or one with wheels? These should all be decided based on how you plan to use your POS products, and the practical aspects such as safety and accessibility.

POS products can be a great asset to any business, as long as you pick the right ones! Considering these factors before you make any purchases will help you to get what you need and stop you from realising too late that you haven’t got the room or you’ve spent too much money, or whatever disaster has occurred. Once you’ve found exactly the right products for you, you’ll be grateful you took the time to go through these questions.

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25 Jul

The Rise of Central and Eastern Europe Nearshoring

More than 10 years ago, the Economist foresaw the rise of outsourcing in Central and Eastern Europe, but the report mainly concentrated on just a couple of countries, such as Russia and the Czech Republic. The fact is, nobody could predict how attractive Central and Eastern Europe would become to German and UK companies in the next couple of years. As more and more IT outsourcing locations start to emerge on the map, it looks like that nearshoring can gradually replace the widely used “offshore-onshore” outsourcing model. Read More

19 Jul

What Does Gundlach Say About Gold

About Gold

Over the weekend, the head of DoubleLine Capital and Bond Guru gave an interview, and Gundlach said what he thought about different factors such as the upcoming US elections and the fallout from Brexit. He maintained his views that gold prices will continue to rise, and that gold miners would have a probability of making 10%, if gold was bought today. He added that a gain of 10% on Treasuries is about 20%. Read More