The Evolution of Shopping: Changes in the Modern Business World

The Evolution of Shopping: Changes in the Modern Business World

The Future of Shopping: How Going Online Affects Retail Stores

The predictions regarding the future of shopping have long been talked about. A few years ago, numerous speculations from experts and analysts were all over how technology would change and affect our lives – and they weren’t wrong.

Today, we enjoy the many benefits, convenience, and opportunities that these innovations have brought us. But along with it, challenges and social changes are expected, especially for entrepreneurs. The correlation between the tools that we use and our social structures forces our society to adjust accordingly.

The Internet is no exception. The huge impact it has brought has changed the game for brick-and-mortar stores since online shopping became possible. Sadly, most of these physical stores became one of the many casualties when the coronavirus hit worldwide.

Thus, online shopping swiftly earned its sweet spot as the most popular online activity globally.

Thelatest survey from PYMNTSfound that 35.7% of consumers in the U.S. prefer buying retail items online. A separate studyinvolving 3,700 respondents from emerging and developed countries found that more than half of them now shop online more frequently compared to the past years.

The Fight to Go Online

Online shopping isn’t new to the pre-pandemic world. The rise of online retail giants worldwide has made it possible for anyone to order items of their liking anytime, anywhere, and even have them delivered on their doorsteps the same day without hassle and stress. The implementation of a worldwide lockdown and limited movements intensified the joy and ease of having to scroll over our favorite online shop.

The increased appetite for consumers to purchase online continues to spike, especially for essentials, food, and so on. Thus, the need for businesses to adapt is inevitable, forcing most retail stores to switch or branch out online to cater to the growing demand and up their game.

Online Selling versus Physical Stores

The reasons many customers and sellers prefer purchasing and selling their items online seem endless. The convenience of surfing over the internet to find what you’re looking for and even scoring great deals, discounts, coupons, and loyalty points saves so much time and money for the consumer compared to their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

With the ongoing digitalization of modern life, multiple payment methods and options to cater to each consumer’s need have greatly influenced their purchase decision. Each one suits their needs, giving the buyers the freedom to explore their options and score the best deal.

From traditional cash to credit/debit cards and bank transfers, people can now seamlessly and securely enjoy paying through their prepaid cards, e-wallets, points earned,cash-on-delivery service, and even cryptocurrencies.

Of course, it’s not a one-way street. Sellers also enjoy the benefits from online selling in terms of low cost on rent and premises, getting more traffic, getting consumer data insights, and whatnot.

However, despite its convenience, online shopping still has its downside. The joy of physically seeing, touching, and even smelling the item you’re buying is something online shopping cannot offer. One good example is the fashion and textile industries. Most people still think that trying the items on and inspecting the look and feel of it when worn will convince them to buy the item.

It’s the same with other things that people try to buy online. Some find it hard to see if the items are legitimate or authentic. Luckily, thiscan be preventedusing the right tools, research, and guide.

The Future of Shopping

The buying pattern for most customers today has drastically changed over the past few years. Though many prefer going to physical stores, comparing prices online and getting the same item at a much lower price still earns the consumer’s preference at the end of the day.

This is not to declare that physical stores are on the brink of extinction. But to remain on the game, a business must adapt. From cassettes and mp3’s to digital music, it seems we haven’t seen the end of the tunnel for the evolution trail on businesses yet. Thus, learning to swim with the tide is crucial.

Physical stores may be behind, but most of them have already cemented their place in the industry and have earned trust and credibility, which is a huge edge for their competitors. On the other hand, the convenience and growing demand that online shops have on people continue and shouldn’t be ignored.

Undoubtedly, both will have a huge impact on the existing retail infrastructure. Some will fail, some will grow, and some will spring up from continuous innovation. But one thing is for sure, none of them are going anywhere.

Can Small Businesses Grow in the New Economic Landscape?

Can Small Businesses Grow in the New Economic Landscape?

How Small Businesses Can Remain Relevant After COVID-19

The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic quickly evolved from a temporary arrangement into a long-term reality. From households to businesses, no party was untouched by the virus’s overwhelming effects.

Small businesses, in particular, struggled to cope. 88% of small business owners in the U.S.exhausted their Paycheck Protection Program loan, according to the10,000 Small Businessesreport by Goldman Sachs.

With vaccinations paving the way for economic recovery, small businesses are also set to experience improved conditions as the year progresses. The pace of economic growth, however, remainshinged on the speed of the rollout.

Keeping these in mind, it is apparent that small businesses still have opportunities to expand during this season. Like the previous year, growth will rely on making strategic moves relevant to the post-pandemic consumer.

Improve Your eCommerce Processes

The pandemic has further emphasized the importance of going online in reaching consumers. Businesses that give way for accessible and efficient online transactions are at an advantage.

Payment options also matter to customers. Cater to the varying preferences of each customer by making card and cash payments available. Consider options for gift giving by allowing customers to pay viacash remittance services, especially if the buyer is overseas.

Pay attention to product packaging, too. Design them in such a way that reflects the core of your business while keeping in mind that consumers are growing morepartial toward eco-friendly products. Wrap products well and work with reliable shipping services to ensure orders do not become damaged in transit.

In addition to versatile payment options, improving eCommerce processes also includes having an easily navigable user interface for your website. Have a clean, straightforward design that shows all pertinent information about a product. Go further by including customer ratings and reviews and further recommendations when visitors are viewing particular products.

Ramp up Your Digital Marketing

Aside from having a strong eCommerce site, your business should also be visible to consumers on social media. Facebook is the most popular social media platform, with upwards of two billion active users monthly. Your small business can reach a larger audience through this channel.

When choosing the platforms where you want to promote your business, go with those that your consumers use often. Once you have determined these, tailor your content to fit each channel. For instance, Instagram is heavy on visuals, so you need to prepare appealing photos and videos for posting on your feed and as stories.

Advertising on these channels will also help your business reach the particular audiences that you want to reach. Review the kinds of content that receive significantly more engagement on your pages and base your future boosted posts on these. High-performing content reveals what your audience prefers to see from your page.

Be Available for Your Customers

Hand in hand with marketing efforts is proactively making your availability known to customers. This includes supplying quick responses to customer queries from your communication channels. Chatbots are helpful for these, as they can provide responses to simple questions while giving more time for customer representatives to reach out.

It also pays to be sensitive to their concerns. Make a habit of studying the behavior of your customers and taking comments and suggestions from them. Knowing these allows your business to reassess its product quality, relevance, and accessibility and respond accordingly.

Despite vaccinations, customers will remain conscious of their safety in the future. Show and explain your COVID-19 guidelines and protocols to your customer base to reassure them of your products’ quality and cleanliness.

Take Care of Your Employees

Small businesses should not only gear themselves toward capturing a wider consumer base. Extend your efforts from external matters to internal concerns, too, to operate efficiently during an economic crisis. Afterward, employees must remain productive.

Research from Saïd Business School of Oxford University shows that employees who arehappy are 13% more productivethan those who are not. In their study, satisfied workers made more calls and were able to make more sales.

It showed, then, that productivity is not tied to increased work hours. Rather, workers who are content can accomplish more within the time frame provided to them.

Businesses that want to perform well must not only focus their efforts on their customers. They must also ensure employee satisfaction.

Have Realistic Expectations

While businesses are always seeking to innovate and grow, times of crisis have interrupted these goals temporarily. Having a big long-term vision does not have to change. For the time being, however, working within an adjusted budget and empathizing with customers and employees come first.

Creating a Recession-proof Business: How You Can Do It

Creating a Recession-proof Business: How You Can Do It

Creating a Recession-proof Business: How You Can Do It

For the past years, there have been a lot of discussions about a new recession taking place. The topic is even more intensified due to the spread of the coronavirus, leading to a great economic uncertainty affecting both small and big businesses all over the globe. Since last year, many individual workers have been laid off from their jobs, and businesses of all kinds were forced to close down.

In a nutshell, recession refers to the decline in economic activity due to a significant drop in spending. If you’re worried about your business’ stand during such times, it’s never too late to carry out some recession-proof strategies. Learn what you can do to increase your chances of riding out a possible economic storm.

  1.  Master cash flow management

Cash flow is what keeps a business alive. To achieve good financial health for your company, it’s your job to ensure the money is outflowing and inflowing continuously. And obviously, you also need to make sure that you are bringing in more money than shelling out.

Cash flow management encompasses several strategies and practices that you must learn to master to track and improve your company’s finances properly. These may include building an emergency cash reserve, setting invoice terms and timelines, encouraging early and easy payments, and driving sales with promotions and incentives. Moreover, you should ensure that every cash flow projection is accurate, from the dates to the knowledge of upcoming cash outlays. And for the last tip, do not overspend in certain areas of your business.

  1.  Focus on your customers

In these uncertain times, you must be laser-focused when it comes to your customers. Understand the current needs of your customers or reconnect with them. If you’re a business in the financial industry or an insurance agency, it’ll be useful to obtain a skip trace investigation service if you need help finding or contacting your clients. Aside from that, you can also carry out a precisely targeted and well-designed survey to gather insights about any changes in your customers’ purchasing behavior.

Following that, think about how you can generate more sales opportunities from your loyal customers. Do you need to make adjustments to your products and services to match their needs better? What about providing your customers with well-designed incentive programs?

  1.  Bring in multiple revenue streams

Another effective way to make your business recession-resistant is to build multiple revenue streams. Doing so clearly allows you to maintain your income and stay flexible, preserving your business no matter what the economy is. It’s advisable to have at least seven revenue streams. To start, take inventory of your current products and services already doing great in the market.

After that, plan the need to create blueprints and resources for your customers and diversify or innovate your current offerings. Furthermore, in creating multiple revenue streams,it’s best to take a user-centric approach to avoid wasting too much time. Lastly, be sure to keep at least one revenue stream without your own control. Don’t rely on others’ performance of offerings to succeed. That one revenue stream you have full control over is your real money maker.

  1.  Design the business to sell it

Regardless if you’re starting a small business or already running one, it’s always necessary to build it with the intent of selling. Now, that does not mean you will really need to sell it. This means that you need to successfully run the company in a way that doesn’t revolve entirely around you. A good professional and entrepreneur know that it’s essential to pay attention to your business processes and systems and whom you serve. It would be best if you also focused on what an outside investor would want to see in a business.

To give you a clear idea, would-be acquirers look for businesses with pristine and wholly transparent financial statements, had developed proven work systems, and operated with minimum wasted resources or motion. Most importantly, it is crucial to building a business with individuals or members who think and work like actual company owners. A successful company is made up of people who share in the rewards yet always take responsibility for the performance of the company.

While economic recession can be very alarming, know that you can always find ways to minimize, if not eliminate, its negative impact on your business. And during these uncertain times, there are still opportunities that can help you survive with your employees. Follow our tips and start building a recession-resistant business right now.

Operations are Going Digital: Your Top Priorities

Operations are Going Digital: Your Top Priorities

Key Areas to Digitalize First for Your Business

There is no room to relax if you want to remain relevant in today’s advancing world, and one way to achieve it is to ensure that you are keeping up with the digital trends. Almost all areas of operations and business processes have to undergo digital transformation. The shift allows businesses to be more efficient and productive, qualities that customers want. If you want to ensure that your company remains on the customers’ good side, you will have to secure digitalization.

Here are some areas that should be at the top of your priority list:

Marketing

Suppose you are looking to invest in an area you would want to innovate over other business departments. In that case, you should consider seeking those that are visible to the customer’s eyes. Customers have to know that you are keeping up with the trends. Since promotional content and advertisements are your most effective tools in attracting customers, you will find that the marketing department will be the ideal place to start the digital transformation.

Traditional methods could still be effective, but you must realize that your audience is moving towards a more virtual and mobile platform. They will be on their phones and the internet for most of their days, making it critical to pursue digital marketing strategies. Social media presence and search engine optimization could generate leads and customers for your company.

However, it can be costly to hire many people and resources for the department. Fortunately, you can outsource the tasks to a reputable digital marketing agency. The investment in customer engagement will be critical for your business, making digital transformation a priority in the marketing department.

IT Security

Innovation continues to happen for businesses, but it does not mean that everything will be for advancements and benefits. You will find that digital innovation also comes with threats. Hackers are constantly improving to attack unsuspecting businesses, risking many entrepreneur’s years of hard work.

Digital transformation, especially during the initial stages, could put your company at risk of cyberattack. To prevent hackers from infiltrating your business, you will have to invest in IT security. Create a department that focuses on ensuring that your company can respond to threats quickly and prevent problems. However, you might not have an idea of what you need, making it critical to get a managed security services provider. Your tactics, advancements, and operations will be at risk if you decide to pursue digitalization without security, making it a priority to have it in your business.

Customer Experience

Marketing aims to ensure that your business will attract customers. Building a relationship with them is a whole other process. Customer experience needs to be seamless from start to finish to increase your chances of repeat purchases. To do that, you will have to ensure that they feel like a priority. Customers have plenty of questions and comments about your products.

Entrepreneurs must find a way to connect with them, which is where customer representatives can help. Find call center agencies that can provide you with the necessary workforce to interact with customers. They will also offer facilities and technological equipment to help your business reach out to more customers. You will need the power of digitalization to make the company more accessible to people, and it starts with prioritizing a better customer experience.

Transportation

Traditional methods will remain in your business, including logistics. There is nothing much you need other than securing vehicles for your fleet. However, you will find that the surrounding tools you need for the job can benefit from technological advancements. A fleet management software will help you track down your shipments and cargo, connect you with drivers should they encounter issues, and create real-time solutions. The devices and digital technologies you can provide for your logistics will allow you to be more efficient, which will enable you to enjoy more benefits.

Digitalization is a game-changer for businesses, but it is becoming necessary for companies to stay competitive and relevant in their respective industries. However, it can be challenging to figure out where to start if you are in the initial phase. If you require a guide, you will find that these departments should be your priority.

Competition is critical for every business in every industry. If a business owner chooses to relax, their rivals might swoop in and attract customers to their companies. It would mean a hefty loss of investment. Small businesses might be enjoying a tidal wave of profits, but it can change in a matter of months if they remove their foot from the gas pedal.

There is no room to relax if you want to remain relevant in today’s advancing world, and one way to achieve it is to ensure that you are keeping up with the digital trends. Almost all areas of operations and business processes have to undergo digital transformation. The shift allows businesses to be more efficient and productive, qualities that customers want. If you want to ensure that your company remains on the customers’ good side, you will have to secure digitalization.

Here are some areas that should be at the top of your priority list:

Marketing

Suppose you are looking to invest in an area you would want to innovate over other business departments. In that case, you should consider seeking those that are visible to the customer’s eyes. Customers have to know that you are keeping up with the trends. Since promotional content and advertisements are your most effective tools in attracting customers, you will find that the marketing department will be the ideal place to start the digital transformation.

Traditional methods could still be effective, but you must realize that your audience is moving towards a more virtual and mobile platform. They will be on their phones and the internet for most of their days, making it critical to pursue digital marketing strategies. Social media presence and search engine optimization could generate leads and customers for your company.

However, it can be costly to hire many people and resources for the department. Fortunately, you can outsource the tasks to a reputable digital marketing agency. The investment in customer engagement will be critical for your business, making digital transformation a priority in the marketing department.

IT Security

Innovation continues to happen for businesses, but it does not mean that everything will be for advancements and benefits. You will find that digital innovation also comes with threats. Hackers are constantly improving to attack unsuspecting businesses, risking many entrepreneur’s years of hard work.

Digital transformation, especially during the initial stages, could put your company at risk of cyberattack. To prevent hackers from infiltrating your business, you will have to invest in IT security. Create a department that focuses on ensuring that your company can respond to threats quickly and prevent problems. However, you might not have an idea of what you need, making it critical to get a managed security services provider. Your tactics, advancements, and operations will be at risk if you decide to pursue digitalization without security, making it a priority to have it in your business.

Customer Experience

Marketing aims to ensure that your business will attract customers. Building a relationship with them is a whole other process. Customer experience needs to be seamless from start to finish to increase your chances of repeat purchases. To do that, you will have to ensure that they feel like a priority. Customers have plenty of questions and comments about your products.

Entrepreneurs must find a way to connect with them, which is where customer representatives can help. Find call center agencies that can provide you with the necessary workforce to interact with customers. They will also offer facilities and technological equipment to help your business reach out to more customers. You will need the power of digitalization to make the company more accessible to people, and it starts with prioritizing a better customer experience.

Transportation

Traditional methods will remain in your business, including logistics. There is nothing much you need other than securing vehicles for your fleet. However, you will find that the surrounding tools you need for the job can benefit from technological advancements. A fleet management software will help you track down your shipments and cargo, connect you with drivers should they encounter issues, and create real-time solutions. The devices and digital technologies you can provide for your logistics will allow you to be more efficient, which will enable you to enjoy more benefits.

Digitalization is a game-changer for businesses, but it is becoming necessary for companies to stay competitive and relevant in their respective industries. However, it can be challenging to figure out where to start if you are in the initial phase. If you require a guide, you will find that these departments should be your priority.

Maintaining the Entrepreneurial Mindset: 4 Possibly Profitable Ideas

Maintaining the Entrepreneurial Mindset: 4 Possibly Profitable Ideas

4 Business Ideas Amid the Pandemic for Persistent Entrepreneurs

The pandemic continues to provide businesses with a harrowing ordeal as social distancing and health threats shut down their doors. It remains a challenging process for entrepreneurs to adjust, with some small business owners even reaching a point where they have to give up or pause their ventures for a while. It can be an unforgiving situation, but you will find it possible to maintain the entrepreneurial mindset.

Adjusting to the pandemic made way for a new target audience: people who are stuck at home. If you still have the entrepreneurial spirit, you can develop business ideas that will be profitable amid all the world’s chaos. Other business owners are already providing different paths to follow if you want to pursue a business amid the pandemic.

Cleaning Services

Homeowners are responsible for keeping their house clean, but they might no longer have the time and energy to perform them. Work is starting to become a part of household activities. Work supplies and equipment will also take up a lot of space inside the property, making it frustrating for homeowners to organize and clean. Fortunately, the opportunity allows you to profit by creating a cleaning services company.

Cleanliness is essential for every home during the pandemic. Families have to secure a safe space to prevent the virus from inhabiting their homes, which requires daily sanitation. You can provide professional services, but you will have to invest in safety equipment and tools to ensure that you are not bringing the virus inside your customers’ properties. Your offers can range from sanitation and cleaning to home organizing and renovation. Homes are becoming more valuable for families, so cleaning services are starting to increase in demand.

Delivery Services

Home quarantine is necessary for homeowners because it is the only safe space to feel comfortable during the pandemic. Every time you go outside, you might be suspicious if you have contracted the virus despite practicing social distancing and wearing safety equipment. Because of the potential health complications that you might bring into your home, it will not be worth the risk of going out.

However, you must buy essential goods like food and medication. Starting a business based on delivery services allow you to prevent homeowners from risking their lives by dropping by the grocery store or the pharmacy. Hire a few delivery personnel and promote the services online to make it a profitable venture. You will find that your business idea can be beneficial, as well as life-saving.

App Development

People stuck at home will be working, which means that the property evolved from a place for relaxation to a location for productivity. However, most people feel burned out if they focus on working without creating distractions for themselves. Some of the usual activities involve going out with friends and playing sports, but it will not be achievable during home quarantine.

People can distract themselves through entertainment, so video game companies are starting to increase in profit. It might be challenging to compete with the established video game ventures, making it critical to focus on mobile apps instead. You will find plenty of opportunities in app development. The range goes from games and recreation to budgeting and social connection.

If you are struggling to come up with ideas, try to find your area of expertise. You can also try to collaborate with other people to develop an app that will translate to profits. If you are making a mobile game, you can find a company that provides 2D game art outsourcing servicesfor the characters and design. App development might not have a definitive guide, but you will find that it can be worth it since people will be using their mobile phones more often.

Mental and Physical Wellness Programs

The virus continues to be a threat to people, which is why they will stay at home. However, the four walls can be restrictive enough that their health will still deteriorate. They do not have access to fitness centers and restaurants, which could affect their mental health. It will be challenging for people to focus on at-home exercise if they do not have a good guide.

Fortunately, you can provide them with the necessary assistance by selling mental and physical wellness programs. Your efforts can help people struggling in their homes, especially those who require the essential push. Hire a few coaches and therapists to support customers through mobile apps or online platforms, allowing you to create a stable business.

Entrepreneurs need to innovate as the pandemic shows no signs of slowing down. However, it might take a while before creating a profitable venture because of the unfamiliar situation. Even if you encounter multiple failed attempts, it is critical to avoid giving up on your entrepreneurial mindset. People need someone like you to make life easier for them, starting with engaging in these profitable business ideas.

Technology That Will Improve Logistics and Strengthen Supply Chain in the Future

Technology That Will Improve Logistics and Strengthen Supply Chain in the Future

How These New Technology will Improve Logistics in the Future

Most consumers do not notice it, but there is a network of people and processes that enable goods to be transported from a source to a grocery shelf halfway around the world. The pandemic has been a challenge to the global supply chain. As borders were closed and movement between nations was strictly limited, the transfer of goods has also undergone restrictions.

Around the first half of 2020, there was a global shortage of food. Many supermarkets were emptied. Because of outbreaks, some major meat processing plants were forced to shut down. Meanwhile, some farms were forced to plow their crops because there were no buyers as restaurants around the world close down.

Later on, more and more items experienced shortages. By October, the United States and Europe were in short supply of more than half the drugs needed to treat patients infected with COVID-19. Even technology companies such as Apple found themselves dealing with a serious deficit in parts which affected the production of iPhones and iPads.

Now that economies have reopened and vaccination campaigns have started in the majority of the world, things are slowly but steadily gaining back a sense of normalcy. However, the past year has exposed the vulnerabilities of the global supply chain.

Logistics at Work

The logistics industry continued to work throughout the pandemic despite the threat of infections. Companies that not only transport but produce, store, and distribute goods strove to keep operating, sometimes with reduced capacity, to keep products that people need, including food, medicine, household products, and personal care products.

In the distribution of vaccines, there are still logistics at work. Most vaccines need to be stored in the cold. Moderna and Pfizer, for example, require to be frozen at -20 degrees Celsius and -70 degrees Celsius respectively. It is a difficult undertaking and these products need to be delivered to their destination in the safest way possible. These vaccines are precious and fragile and there is a very limited supply but a high demand.

Luckily, the technology to enable a smooth storage and distribution exists. There are refrigeration data loggers that will enable manufacturers to monitor cargo to ensure that no perishable goods are wasted while in transit or in a warehouse. There are software applications that design a blueprint that will make the whole process smooth-sailing from start to finish.

While COVID-19 has led to the global supply chain disruption, in future pandemics, the industry might be more ready. There is currently technology that is improving logistics so that, despite crises, goods can move seamlessly from production to the hands of consumers.

Robotics

The pandemic made employing robots convenient. When outbreaks happened in factories and warehouses, robots enabled work to continue. Places that long ago automated could continue production while maintaining physical distancing and other health measures.

Amazon, one of the few big winners of the pandemic, received increased demand in the past year as people locked themselves indoors. Consumers were purchasing their groceries, school and work supplies, and other goods online. The e-commerce giant was able to respond to the demand so easily by hiring new staff to work alongside robots.

Drones

Drones can potentially ease delivery, especially at the last mile when the package will be handed to the consumer, in future pandemics. People who deliver goods are at a higher risk of infections through close contact. Drones allow them to deliver packages to their respective owners without fear of becoming ill. They only need to operate the machine from a safe distance.

Amazon, Google, and other companies have already begun testing the use of drones in logistics. In the past year, CVS partnered with UPS to utilize drones to deliver prescription drugs to patients in a massive retirement community in Florida. Seniors were at a higher risk of becoming sick and being hospitalized due to COVID-19. Drones would be lifesavers in case the world once again succumb to another pandemic.

Self-Driving Vehicles

Truckers were at a higher risk of catching COVID-19. The nature of the job involves coming in and out of places, interacting with other truckers and logistics people, and, sometimes, dealing with little sleep, poor nutrition, and lack of exercise.

The technology is not ready yet, but self-driving vehicles can take some load that human truck drivers have to transport from state to state. Right now, the technology is only used across short distances such as in warehouses.


The pandemic was exacerbated by these shortages in the global supply chain. The past year should be treated as a test to see what else can be improved in the entire process. One day, if the world experiences another pandemic or crisis, the same issues will not be present.

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