How Aussie jewellery entrepreneur Pinar Parry overcame horrific online abuse

Brisbane woman Pinar Parry was in a personal slump when she came up with the business idea that would turn her life around.

The mum was dealing with an ailing business and had put on weight due to stress several years ago.

“I went through a really hard time trying to grow my business and my whole life went to sh*t,” she told news.com.au.

“I wasn’t looking after myself, I put on weight, and I wasn’t living my best life.

“I started looking at what had gone wrong, and I was reading a lot of psychology books about how to find your passion and purpose. I learnt so many new ideas, and I thought it would be great to wear something to remind you to live your best life every day.”

And so the idea behind Delta and Co was born — a jewellery company which produces delicate bracelets engraved with straight-talking “truth bombs” and phrases designed to inspire the wearer.

It officially launched in January 2016 as a side hustle, while Mrs Parry was pregnant with her third child.

At that time, her husband Anthony was often away as a FIFO worker, and Mrs Parry struggled to juggle her hectic family life with her growing business.

Pinar Parry was targeted by online trolls after launching Delta and Co — but she ‘blasted back’. Picture: Instagram/@deltaandco

Pinar Parry was targeted by online trolls after launching Delta and Co — but she ‘blasted back’. Picture: Instagram/@deltaandcoSource:Instagram

For 12 months, Delta and Co products were sold at pop up stores and events but last November, Mrs Parry realised it was time to go “all in” and focus solely on the business.

Her husband quit his FIFO job and joined the company full-time, and they soon “started to find their stride” through Facebook ads.

But then the abuse began.

“I started running Facebook ads as a way of marketing and I noticed some comments on the ads saying I’d copied the quotes from another business,” the 39-year-old said.

“They started popping up every day and at the beginning I addressed them nicely and diplomatically, and then I started deleting them.

“But eventually I decided to address them full-on.”

In a post which soon went viral, Mrs Parry explained the business was “100 per cent original” and that its branding and quotes had been inspired by her own experiences.

“ … if you are going to let yourself be bullied by random people on the internet you won’t survive in business, or in life for very long,” Mrs Parry wrote in her viral post.

Mrs Parry eventually decided to ‘blast back’. Picture: Facebook

Mrs Parry eventually decided to ‘blast back’. Picture: FacebookSource:Facebook

“If you let yourself get pushed around and listen to every a**hole with a two-bit opinion about what you SHOULD or SHOULDN’T be doing, you are simply NOT going to make it.

“It’s your life and you need to defend your right to exist, to shine, to grow, fiercely. And no one is going to step in and do that for you, but you.”

The post soon attracted thousands of likes, comments and shares, with many Facebook users praising Mrs Parry for fighting back against trolls.

Mrs Parry posted her October sales figures on the Facebook group Like Minded B**ches Drinking Wine. Picture: Facebook

Mrs Parry posted her October sales figures on the Facebook group Like Minded B**ches Drinking Wine. Picture: FacebookSource:Facebook

“The story about haters trying to hurt my business resonated with people,” she said, noting the post had led to a big spike in sales.

“The haters f***ed up — it ended up turning things from lemons to lemonade because I spun it around and sold so many (bracelets) just by telling my authentic story.

“Being authentic about who you are really resonates, rather than just saying ‘buy my sh*t’ — that doesn’t work.”

[“source=cnbc”]

A guide on global online shopping for Indian buyers

It may not be as simple to shop from a global e-commerce website as it is from familiar online retail firms like Flipkart or Amazon India. Photo: iStock

It may not be as simple to shop from a global e-commerce website as it is from familiar online retail firms like Flipkart or Amazon India. Photo: iStock

Are you bored of your gaming console, and want to switch to Nintendo Switch? Or have you been eyeing that premium Harrods bag, or the latest collection from Saint Laurent or beauty products from Glossier? One way is to buy these global brands, not available in India, on your next trip abroad, the other is to hand a list to your NRI relatives. If you can’t wait that long, there’s always the option of shopping online from global e-commerce websites that ship internationally.

Click here for enlarge

Of course, there’s a cost attached to it, which many Indian shoppers don’t seem to mind paying, given the quality and choice. According to a report published by logistics firm DHL, The 21st century spice trade: A guide to the cross-border e-commerce opportunity, which quotes the Google Consumer Barometer, what drives consumers in less mature e-commerce markets like India to shop cross-border is better quality, broader range and trustworthiness. According to the report, 42% of surveyed Indian respondents said they shop from websites abroad due to better quality of products, while 37% liked the available offers. Electronic items (55%) and fashion apparels (45%) are among top purchases by Indian consumers, followed by beauty products and cosmetics (26%) and toys (20%).

But it may not be as simple to shop from a global e-commerce site as it is from familiar online retail firms like Flipkart or Amazon India—there are charges to take care of and payment and shipping options to consider. We hand-hold you through the hiccups and tell you smart ways to reduce your costs.

THE CHARGES

Shipping charges: While we are used to one-day free delivery option from most domestic e-commerce sites, ordering products from an international website typically attracts shipping charges. There are various factors that determine how costly the shipping is going to be. “Shipping charges are calculated based on factors like weight, dimension of the product, origin-destination, duties and taxes, insurance as applicable, and the service type (express takes 2-3 days, economy takes 5-15 days and postal takes 15-30 days),” said R.S. Subramanian, country manager, DHL Express India. Most global e-commerce websites have preferential rate agreements with a particular courier company and the same is displayed upfront at checkout.

Customs duty: All products, if imported for personal purposes, attract basic customs duty of 10%. On top of that, you also have to pay goods and services tax (GST) depending on the slab rate fixed by the government. Check the import customs tariff of various commodities here. While some websites might levy local taxes to be paid in your country in advance, some collect the customs duty upon delivery.

“Basic customs duty is 10% on majority of the products. It’s levied on the CIF (cost, insurance and freight) value. If you are purchasing something online, the CIF value will be mostly put up by the courier company; their cost generally includes insurance, too,” said Bipin Sapra, tax partner, EY.

However, the customs officer takes into account the “assessable value” when calculating the duty. “Generally, the assessable value and CIF value are the same and the customs duty is imposed on such value. Assessable value is self-assessed by the importer and is accepted by the customs officer. In case, such value is rejected by the customs officer, then the officer may determine the value as per applicable rules,” said Suresh Nandlal Rohira, partner, Grant Thornton India LLP. The CIF value may sometimes get rejected by the customs officer if she has any reason to believe that the product has been undervalued by the sender.

“Online shoppers should take care that the products ordered online by them are imported through courier and used for personal purpose to avail the concessional rate of 10% basic custom duty,” added Rohira.

Currency conversion: Websites usually list products in their local currency (say US dollar or British pound). The rupee is not one of the strongest currencies globally and hence conversion rates might spike up the charges.

PAYMENT OPTIONS

Most international websites only accept credit cards, payments via Paypal account or Amex cards. Domestic debit/credit cards that are not enabled for international transactions may also not work on international portals.

However, debit cards of some banks might work for international transactions. So check with your bank if your debit card can be used to shop internationally. If not, ensure you either have a Paypal account or a Visa or Mastercard credit card.

SMART WAYS TO REDUCE COSTS

Compare prices with package forwarding sites: If you are shopping for multiple items, package forwarding websites like Borderlinx, Shipito, and Shop and Ship may help you save some money.

Once you sign up, these sites will give you access to local warehouse addresses of different countries, for a fee. Just shop from any website and enter this local package forwarding address during checkout. After receiving the product from the e-commerce portal at their warehouse, they repackage and consolidate items into one package (in case of multiple items) and also help reduce the weight and size. They also work for those looking for brands that are shipped only domestically, say within the US.

While they may work for multiple items and in a situation where the main website doesn’t ship to India, they can turn out to be expensive otherwise because they have steep shipping costs. So make use of these services only if you really need the product and are willing to pay a premium on it. Compare costs before going for it.

Look for cheaper currency: You can also save at the time of currency conversion. You can get slight advantages by checking if the product is available on another country’s portal, say the US or Europe, where conversion rates might be slightly better. “Customers should do their research to not just see what the listed price is but also what the delivered price is going to be,” said Sapra.

However, “customs duty would remain the same for that product regardless of the country (you order the product from),” said Rohira.

Look for offers: One way to avoid the shipping charge is by shopping when the websites come up with offers of free international shipping during festive or sale seasons. Many sites also waive off the charges on a minimum order amount.

While Indian consumers are willing to pay extra if they can find quality products online, shipping charges and customs duty often make the products 40-50% more expensive than the listed price. So research well. Last but not the least, be careful of online fraud and only shop from reliable websites.

[“Source-livemint”]

I was addicted to online shopping! This is how I controlled it

Online shopping, that’s the new bug under the list of behavioural addictions. Some people indulge in it because they hate to invest time and step out to shop, while some do it because of its massive variety and accessibility. However, studies say that the trend has caught particularly with stressed individuals as shopping on the net can provide instant gratification. Whatever the root cause, it is not something that should be taken lightly. A reader of ours, Meha Sindhwani, shares with us her encounter with online shopping addiction and how she chose to combat it.

I have been in a media organization for three years now, the industry that is known to be abreast with everything that goes viral. Also, not to mention, media industry is also known for the high scores of stress it gives to its employees. Though I don’t have hard fact to support my argument but I really think that stress, at least in part, comes from the unfamiliar nature of our job. We never know what may trend or happen in the next second. This has us glued to our seats, overwhelmed by the speed at which the world is moving.Though I like what I do but I would not deny that since the time I have been here, my stress levels have only gone up. I didn’t realize it when it was actually happening but only now that I look in the rear view. And, this stress had many forms of manifestations.

My job required me to stay active on social media platforms. I never realized when I became a junkie from someone who would even browse Facebook just thrice in a week. Being on the mobile so much, I would often browse the various shopping advertisements that showed on my social media feeds. And honestly, I couldn’t help but visit their websites and download their apps.

It started with an order or two every month for the first few months. I loved to order online because it started giving me a happy hit. My most favorite part would be the delivery, which I mostly got done to my office only. All those memes that exaggerate the sense of waiting for an online order, that’s actually me. No kidding.

So gradually, the frequency of my online shopping increased to once in every week. I realized that this was becoming a problem when, towards the end of the month, I would be bankrupt and I would still order clothes, or accessories, or footwear or something or the other, making the payment through my credit cards. And let me tell you, I have never been a credit card person.

Three months went by like this. I paid my credit card bills which would usually be not beyond a certain limit. Then, in the fourth month, I ended up not just crossing that limit, but also doubling it. But I wouldn’t say I was surprised. I knew what I was doing; just that, I couldn’t control it. Some signs that I felt particularly in that month included:

– Browsing shopping apps while travelling, before sleeping and after waking up, basically at all times I could spare. I was surprised myself when during one of the routine night calls, I disconnected because I was sleepy but post that, I browsed a shopping app for 45 minutes.

– Online shopping started making me feel happy. I started looking forward to the time when I would be idle, sometimes just to browse those apps and not even shop.

shutterstock_541434475 shopping online

– Clicking on ‘Buy’ often accompanied guilt and did not take into consideration my financial situation.

– I stopped telling my mother what I bought because she would scold me.

– My cupboard was flowing with clothes, many of them unworn so far and I had to get two new jewellery boxes to contain my accessories.

After having to pay the debilitating bill, I decided that this could not continue anymore. Immediately, I uninstalled all the shopping apps from my phone and reported all their advertisements that stared back at me on social media platforms.

But, by doing so, I was only eliminating my possibility of shopping and not the cause of my shopping problem. I didn’t know how to do that and so, I sought advice from a friend who was pursuing a Phd in psychiatry. It was then I realized that my habit was stemming from stress, majorly at workplace and also because of a recent break-up that I had had, which I earlier thought wasn’t as traumatic as it perhaps was.
I would shop in order to pleasure myself and because the pleasure wouldn’t last, I had to shop again. This was my coping mechanism as it gave me little adrenaline rushes every time I received an order. This has also been proven by many studies, such as one by the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. It said that online shopping reduced sadness. Another one by The Huffington Post concluded that every third person shops online to deal with stress.
My friend told me to reroute my mind, which meant that I needed to destress and unwind. She recommended that I do yoga and whenever I get an impulse to shop, I should recognize the underlying negative emotion that’s driving it. Once I know what the emotion is, I can either write about it, talk about it with a friend or just acknowledge it because even that apparently helps. And yes, it did.
It’s been six months since I have not shopped even a single thing online and I am really happy that I could come this far. Not that I will never shop online now. I will, but only much less frequently and when I really need to buy something and it is a necessity, not otherwise.

[“Source-timesofindia”]

We compared online shopping at Costco and Boxed, the ‘Costco for millennials,’ and one had a clear advantage over the other

Costco Grocery

Costco’s website has a lot to offer, but it can be tricky to navigate.
  • Costco and Boxed are both bulk retailers that sell pretty much everything.
  • Boxed has been called the “Costco for millennials” because it’s an online-exclusive store with mobile ordering and speedy delivery. Costco also has an online store and mobile ordering, but its prices can be as much as 20% more there than in the physical warehouse stores.
  • Costco shoppers can shop online without a membership, but a 5% surcharge is applied at checkout.
  • The websites themselves have some obvious differences, and we found that one was much easier to use than the other.

Costco and Boxed – the so-called “Costco for millennials” – sell everything and anything in bulk.

Unlike Costco, Boxed is digitally native. It has mobile ordering and one-to-three-day delivery. It also offers free two-day shipping if you spend more than $49, and it doesn’t require a membership to make a purchase.

Costco has an online store in addition to its physical warehouses, but products across all categories tend to cost more online than in stores. Though the website allows shoppers to order from Costco without paying for a $60 annual membership, a 5% surcharge is applied at checkout. However, Costco has been taking some steps to reach more millennial shoppers, like offering two-day delivery through Costco Grocery and one-day delivery through a partnership with Instacart.

One of the most clear differences between Costco and Boxed is that Boxed members don’t need to pay an annual fee to access the savings. But the company did recently launch Boxed Up, a premium service that costs $49 a year and provides shoppers with perks like free shipping on orders over $20, 2% cashback rewards, and price matching with competitors.

Both websites offer major savings for bulk shoppers, but upon trying both, I found one was easier to use than the other. See what it’s like to shop at each:

Costco was the first site I went to. On the homepage were members-only savings deals, buyers’ picks, and a selection of different featured products in a variety of categories.

Costco was the first site I went to. On the homepage were members-only savings deals, buyers' picks, and a selection of different featured products in a variety of categories.

It was hugely different from the Boxed homepage, which was very simple and sleek. Scrolling down on the Boxed homepage, there were links leading to more information about bow Boxed gives back to different causes.

It was hugely different from the Boxed homepage, which was very simple and sleek. Scrolling down on the Boxed homepage, there were links leading to more information about bow Boxed gives back to different causes.

Costco had far more departments on its website, but it was cluttered and hard to navigate compared to Boxed.

Costco had far more departments on its website, but it was cluttered and hard to navigate compared to Boxed.

Boxed had a cleaner look. Though there weren’t quite as many categories, it was easy to find everything because the existing categories were pretty broad.

Boxed had a cleaner look. Though there weren't quite as many categories, it was easy to find everything because the existing categories were pretty broad.

The grocery page on Costco’s site, for example, is divided into 18 further categories such as pantry goods, packaged goods, snacks, and cookies. There were a ton of categories, but they were all very broad.

The grocery page on Costco's site, for example, is divided into 18 further categories such as pantry goods, packaged goods, snacks, and cookies. There were a ton of categories, but they were all very broad.

The Boxed grocery landing page is much more user-friendly. The homepage lists popular products, and on the lefthand side are categories like salty snacks, chocolate and candy, condiments and spices, and other more specific categories. Products can also be sorted by brand on both websites, and both offer two-day delivery.

The Boxed grocery landing page is much more user-friendly. The homepage lists popular products, and on the lefthand side are categories like salty snacks, chocolate and candy, condiments and spices, and other more specific categories. Products can also be sorted by brand on both websites, and both offer two-day delivery.

Comparing prices isn’t an exact science. For example, both sites sold Tide laundry detergent. Boxed sold a 150 oz. package for $19.99, and Costco sold a 200 oz. package for $28.99. The price was higher, but you were getting more for what you paid.

Comparing prices isn't an exact science. For example, both sites sold Tide laundry detergent. Boxed sold a 150 oz. package for $19.99, and Costco sold a 200 oz. package for $28.99. The price was higher, but you were getting more for what you paid.

Costco: 200 oz. for $28.99Boxed: 150 oz. for $19.99

As for the snacks, the prices seemed to be a little bit higher throughout Costco’s site.

As for the snacks, the prices seemed to be a little bit higher throughout Costco's site.

Costco’s private label, Kirkland Signature, was an exception to this. Boxed also has a private label, called Prince & Spring, but it was almost always more expensive than Kirkland Signature for identical products. A 27 oz. jar of almond butter from the brands’ respective private labels, for example, was $3 more expensive from Boxed than from Costco.

Costco's private label, Kirkland Signature, was an exception to this. Boxed also has a private label, called Prince & Spring, but it was almost always more expensive than Kirkland Signature for identical products. A 27 oz. jar of almond butter from the brands' respective private labels, for example, was $3 more expensive from Boxed than from Costco.

Costco: $8.79Boxed: $11.99

Both sites have a service for booking hotels, with prices typically starting around $100 a night. Costco had more luxury hotels that surpassed $700 a night, while the highest rates on Boxed were around $600. But Boxed was much easier to navigate than Costco — you couldn’t even see hotel prices on Costco without entering a membership number.

Both sites have a service for booking hotels, with prices typically starting around $100 a night. Costco had more luxury hotels that surpassed $700 a night, while the highest rates on Boxed were around $600. But Boxed was much easier to navigate than Costco — you couldn't even see hotel prices on Costco without entering a membership number.

In fact, nothing could be purchased from Costco’s website without a membership, unless you’re willing to pay a 5% surcharge on your purchase. A membership starts at $60 annually, with an executive membership costing $120 annually. The executive membership offers perks like 2% cash back on purchases.

In fact, nothing could be purchased from Costco's website without a membership, unless you're willing to pay a 5% surcharge on your purchase. A membership starts at $60 annually, with an executive membership costing $120 annually. The executive membership offers perks like 2% cash back on purchases.

The membership service at Boxed is optional. It’s structured similarly to Amazon Prime, offering free two-day shipping on orders over $20, price matching with competitors, and 2% cash back on purchases. It costs $49 annually.

The membership service at Boxed is optional. It's structured similarly to Amazon Prime, offering free two-day shipping on orders over $20, price matching with competitors, and 2% cash back on purchases. It costs $49 annually.

The shipping policies are also slightly different. Costco offers free two-day shipping for orders over $75 …

The shipping policies are also slightly different. Costco offers free two-day shipping for orders over $75 ...

… and Boxed offers free two-day shipping for orders over $49. With Boxed Up, shoppers only need to spend $20 for free two-day shipping. On Boxed, you don’t have to spend as much to get the perks.

... and Boxed offers free two-day shipping for orders over $49. With Boxed Up, shoppers only need to spend $20 for free two-day shipping. On Boxed, you don't have to spend as much to get the perks.

Overall, the Boxed website was much easier to use than the Costco website. Even though the Costco website offered the same treasure-hunt experience that its stores do, it was difficult to browse for products, and the deals weren’t as good as in stores. Boxed also makes it easier to get perks like free shipping and 2% cash back.

Overall, the Boxed website was much easier to use than the Costco website. Even though the Costco website offered the same treasure-hunt experience that its stores do, it was difficult to browse for products, and the deals weren't as good as in stores. Boxed also makes it easier to get perks like free shipping and 2% cash back.

[“Source-businessinsider”]

Here’s how online shopping websites are planning to deal with frauds

Related image

-commerce companies are focusing on artificial intelligence and virtual reality with a view to cut logistics costs and identify fraudulent orders, said a report by global auditing and consulting firm PwC.

With an emerging middle-class population of more than 500 million and approximately 65 per cent of the population aged 35 or below, India represents a highly aspirational consumer market for retailers across the globe, said the PwC TechWorld report.

“E-commerce players are revamping their technology strategies to maintain their competitive edge. Most e-commerce platforms are upping their investments in areas such as conversational commerce, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR)/augmented reality (AR) and analytics technologies,” it said.

It observed that to identify fraudulent orders, reduce return rate and also cut down on logistics cost, e-commerce companies are investing in robotics and AI heavily.

“AI-based voice-based shopping in vernacular language enables deeper customer engagement and smoothens the transition from offline to online by overcoming the language barrier,” it added.

Then there is advanced analytics that allows for better optimisation of stock management as well as customisation of content based on data-driven understanding of consumers’ online behaviour and preferences.

Also, there are blockchain technologies that improve fraud detection and enable companies to offer a secure and transparent online medium as it helps in determining authenticity in multi-party transactions and expedite payment settlement, PwC said.

“Almost all customer interaction for online retailers occurs via phone or email and involves banking information or personal data, e-commerce sites are particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

“Given the recent episodes of data breaches and alleged misuse of customer information, the need for adopting appropriate security measures has escalated significantly,” said Sandeep Ladda, PwC India Partner

The report further highlighted that frauds or data thefts cause not just financial loss but also reputation damage and consequently loss of business, which is detrimental in today’s global digital economy.
According to research from the Ponemon Institute, in 2017, India recorded the largest average number of breached records at 33,167 (global average = 24,089).
[“Source-gadgetsnow”]

Online mattress companies defy age of online shopping by opening brick-and-mortar stores in Denver and across country

Eddie Machuca tries out one of ...

Eddie Machuca tries out one of the beds in the Amerisleep showroom inside Park Meadows mall June 24, 2018. Amerisleep, an online mattress company based in Phoenix, has opened several brick-and-mortar stores, including the one that opened last month in Lone Tree.

The internet opened up an entirely new marketplace for businesses as smartphones proliferated and broadband moved into rural America.

And it wasn’t just services such as airline tickets and hotel reservations — anyone can set up shop on digital Main Street and hock their wares to customers who are passing by, or in this case, swiping or clicking by.

Few industries have capitalized on this trend more than mattress makers. You see the ads on websites or Facebook, and hear them on the radio. They are everywhere. The best sleep of your life for a reasonable cost all shipped to your door. Rolled tightly and made of foam blends rather than traditional wire springs, these mattresses slide out of the box and in a few hours expand to full size.

And now, building on their success, some online-only mattress retailers are trending the other way and setting up shop in brick-and-mortar stores, some in Denver.

And, as you’d expect, doing it with the same nontraditional approach they started with in the online world.

Take online retailer Amerisleep, which is opening its first Denver area store at the Park Meadows mall in Lone Tree on Saturday, June 23. There, customers can enter “Dream Suites” where they can nap in private for as long as they want while trying out one of five mattress models.

“One of the most frequent questions I get (from customers) is, ‘Is there a store I can go and try out one of your mattresses?’ ” said Joey Holt, co-founder of Amerisleep, which also has stores in Austin, Texas, and Arizona’s major cities.

People spend about a third of their life sleeping, so testing a mattress before purchase is paramount to many customers.

“Eighty percent of mattresses are still sold in stores,” Holt said. “Stores allow people to have those in-person conversations and create relationships that you can’t create online.”

Denver offers Amerisleep and other online mattress companies a large customer base as one of the nation’s second most rested states.

“Denver aligns with our three pillars: sleep, exercise, and nutrition. Colorado is the second most rested state, the least obese, and has some of the healthiest restaurants in the country,” said Holt.

The decision to partner with furniture stores and open their own brick-and-mortar locations goes largely against the grain as many other industries struggle to compete with online retailers and are investing more resources into online marketing and sales.

Physical store fronts and on-site locations have the added benefit of bringing in walk-in traffic and driving awareness that wouldn’t exist otherwise.

Other online mattress companies like Leesa, Boll and Branch and Casper also are beginning to establish physical footprints, wanting to catch some of that foot traffic and also to provide the opportunity for customers to grab a catnap.

Casper has a store in Cherry Creek mall, one of its 18 locations throughout the country, that also allows customers to try out their mattresses and catch a few z’s in the privacy of their makeshift bedrooms.

Leesa is also in Cherry Creek mall. The company has partnered with West Elm furniture store, opting to sell its mattresses in an established retail space.

Later this summer, Amerisleep plans to open another a location in Cherry Creek alongside Casper and Leesa.

“Furniture is an aesthetic that people want to touch, feel, and sit on,” said David Wolfe, CEO and co-founder of Leesa. “Our West Elm partnership gives customers the knowledge that if they want to try a mattress, they can.”

As mavericks who upended the traditional mattress-selling business model, it’s not surprising that Wolfe and Holt have a different perspective from those selling traditional brands.

“Many traditional mattress stores made it very difficult to differentiate between mattresses,” Wolfe said. “We give people the opportunity to research and shop from the comfort of their own home, but we’ve picked one partner where they can go and try it in-person. We’re building relationships and building understanding.”

Holt said AmeriSleep was attempting to “elevate the customer experience.”

“Our goal is to redefine how mattresses are purchased and sold in stores,” said Holt. “With the current landscape you either have one or two options or 50 to 75. Trying a mattress in-store can be kind of awkward. Our approach is much more customer focused.”

[“Source-denverpost”]

UAE’s online shopping sites try to win over loyalty

Mujeeb Rahman, chief operating officer at Bebuzzd, a loyalty programme solutions provider, warns that simply copying Amazon or any other industry leader may not work.

Dubai: What sort of online shopper are you? One who sticks with a specific portal for as many of your shopping requirements as possible? Or are you the sort checking out price comparison websites to see which has the best deal on offer?

Image result for UAE online shopping sites try to win over loyalty More second-tier online retailers are creating rewards schemes that will prompt shoppers to remain with them rather than chase a deal elsewhere.”

 – Mujeeb Rahman | Chief operating officer at Bebuzzd 

Now, these online portals are trying to decide what sort of shopper you want to be. And to do so, they are using a key strategy their brick-and-mortar rivals in the UAE have been using for years now — loyalty programmes.

 

 

“More second-tier online retailers are creating rewards schemes that will prompt shoppers to remain with them rather than chase a deal elsewhere,” said Mujeeb Rahman, chief operating officer at Bebuzzd, a loyalty programme solutions provider.

“These e-retailers are offering up to 10-15 per cent [on the transaction] as rewards compared with a 0.5-1.5 per cent that one of the bigger retailers — brick-and-mortar and online — currently offer.

“Online loyalty schemes are still trying to find their feet in the UAE — but with more and more shoppers being found there, it’s only a matter of time before e-retailers place more emphasis on winning loyalty.”

The reasons are clear enough. These e-retailers want to be on the right side of a formula — the “80:20” — that has worked successfully in the retail business over the years.

Under this, 20 per cent of customers of a business account for 80 per cent of its transactions. These customers are thus less likely to look elsewhere for a product or service and will not be swayed by one-off discounts.

This is why playing the loyalty card is so important. Win over enough of these committed — in other words, loyal — shoppers, and the portal stands a better chance of remaining in business.

“There could be many other factors that compel a shopper to choose a particular shopping site, but if they can offer a compelling rewards/loyalty scheme, it provides another attraction,” said Rahman.

They had better start doing so. There has been so much of speculation that souq.com/Amazon could use its basket of ‘Amazon Prime’ premium services to go after market share in the region. This is a tactic that the US e-retailer has deployed to its advantage elsewhere, and there’s no reason why it won’t work in these markets.

Going forward, it won’t be enough to be a plain-vanilla sort of shopping portal, selling the same kind of things at more or less the same prices. Some competing point of difference needs to be there.

Grocery shopping, especially the fresh produce, and quick delivery is one category that portals are working on to win over customers. The thinking is that grocery offers can raise the transaction volumes immeasurably and, if played right, retain customers too. To date, no regional online shopping platform has got a lock on this category as yet, which makes the stakes higher.

But Rahman warns that trying to copy an Amazon or any other industry leader need not work. “Amazon/souq.com already has the scale and other portals need to come up with schemes that will not be a burden on their operations,” he added. “One can’t just promise same-day delivery and free shipping just because Amazon can do it.”

Yet, for online vendors, there are some inbuilt cost benefits compared to their brick-and-mortar rivals. “They don’t have to spend integrating user data because that already comes with an online shopping transaction,” said Rahman. “But brick-and-mortar retailers don’t have that advantage — they have to do everything from scratch in the data collection and integration.

“What online vendors need to work on is create loyalty/rewards schemes that people will want. In online selling, it’s never about the first-time buyer — what counts is the repeat shopper.”

An e-gift could be headed for your smartphone

Digital gifting could well be the next big thing headed your way… via your smartphone. You can thank the young for making it happen,

“It has been largely driven by millennials as it fits their online and mobile-centric lifestyle,” says a report by Bengaluru-based Qwikcilver, a prepaid gifting service platform.

“Digital gifting has become necessary for this younger audience, to make both online and offline purchases, and for online gaming as well. With millions of users worldwide accessing digital commerce from mobile phones, it’s a phenomenal opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses.

“Digitised plastic gift cards are still a mainstream avenue for most retailers globally but pure digital cards are increasingly popular, particularly from younger audiences — the market, like many others, is becoming virtual.”

[“Source-gulfnews”]

App to make NHS ‘as easy as online shopping’

The app will be available in September and will allow patients to book appointments and repeat prescriptions

The app will be available in September and will allow patients to book appointments and repeat prescriptions

Every NHS patient will be able to book GP appointments and check their symptoms on a smartphone app that ministers promise will make getting treatment as easy as online shopping.

It will become the standard way to access the NHS by the end of the year and will put a stop to the need for desperate early-morning telephone calls for GP appointments, the government has pledged.

Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, said that it would “revolutionise the way we access health services” in the same way that banking and shopping had been transformed by the internet.

Patient groups said that the idea was hugely exciting but may be “too good to be true” given the woeful NHS record on major IT projects.

[“Source-thetimes”]

OPINION: Seven habits of a successful online jewellery retailer

Guest column by The Diamond Store chief executive officer, Gary Ingram

The job of online jewellery retailers has never been so tough. The cost of acquiring customers and in particular Google clicks have soared. Brexit looms. Modern customer expectations and the social media landscape are forcing us to do more with less.

To combat the pressure, here are seven critical habits that I feel will help British jewellery e-tailers build stronger brands and bottom lines heading towards 2019, which we apply to TheDiamondStore.co.uk.

  1. Be adaptable

Digital trends, Google algorithms, smartphone touch payment technology; the tools that drive online sales are in a constant state of flux. As frustrating as it is sometimes, we must constantly be prepared to trash yesterday’s plans and start again. Embracing change is the only way forward in the fast-moving world of ecommerce.

  1. React to trends as they happen

Celebrities dictate trends – as we’ve seen with Meghan Markle. But if we want to sell products off the back of trends, we need to react to them in real time. Tomorrow is too late. During the week of the Royal wedding, traffic to our online magazine’s Royal Family articles spiked from 12,000 weekly organic visits to 35,000. This provided an incredible vehicle for sales, but we were only able to benefit from it because we had exciting, interactive web and social content poised to go live as the event unfolded.

  1. Get granular

Granular… this marketing buzzword has been thrown around so much, some have come to loathe it. Yet it is exactly what brings an online environment closer to a “real store experience”. Granularity refers to crunching marketing data down to the finest level of detail. For instance, we know that our biggest social media sales converters are females, 25-35 of age. We also know fairly accurately who, and for what occasions, they buy jewellery gifts for. This amount of detail allows us to create targeted campaigns that offer genuine value to our customer niches.

  1. Overlap customer services and social media

Today’s online shoppers expect to communicate with retailers instantly, via multiple channels. We offer Live Chat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, social media feeds, and of course, email and telephone. This means our Customer Service and Social Media teams need to work closely together to catch every customer comment and question. The focus is on gaining trust; when our teams align their efforts it makes our customers feel reassured.

  1. Find practical ways to refresh product lines

Baby boomers and generation X are still shopping for classic heirloom jewellery, while millennials look for pieces with a shorter trend-based lifespan. This makes curation of product lines incredibly tricky. But often simply updating best-performing collections by introducing variations in precious metal type, gems or design details, keeps things exciting for loyal customers, while attracting potential new shoppers.

  1. Expose your brand to unbiased feedback

The Competition and Market Authority (CAM) estimates that around £23 billion per year spent by UK consumers is potentially influenced by online reviews. We have been subscribing to the Feefo.com independent review platform since 2011 because it not only allows us to get honest feedback, but also respond to it. Again, in an online environment where we don’t meet our customers face to face, this is another route to personal interaction and trust building (as well as overall improvement).

  1. Provide value

Sales are what keep businesses going. But modern consumers don’t like to feel that they’re being sold to. Tweaking your message from “selling” to “being of service” adds value and creates a shopping experience so good your customer want to repeat it. To add value, do your research and give customers what they want; speak their language, provide attractive packaging, offer trustworthy advice, useful content and fast free shipping. Arguably, the overall message of value that brands provide can sometimes be even more important that the products they sell.

[“Source-professionaljeweller”]

Is India’s Online Jewellery Market Mature Enough to Support Niche Players?

Is India’s Online Jewellery Market Mature Enough to Support Niche Players?

Online jewellery shopping has been slowly growing in India over the last few years. Companies like BlueStone are becoming more recognisable names, while Caratlane, another early pioneer, was acquired last year by Titan’s jewellery arm Tanishq. And while these specialist companies have been growing, Amazon and Flipkart, the bigwigs of the Indian e-commerce space, both have jewellery sections as well.

But is the market now developed enough to support specialist plays such as CharmsDay, a company that specialises in making silver charm bracelets? Started about a year ago by Parul Nagpal, who used to be the VP-Marketing at BlueStone, CharmsDay is focussing on a small niche within the larger jewellery space, and it’s been operational actively for just a little over a month now.

Gadgets 360 chatted with Nagpal to understand more about the state of online jewellery in India, why smaller cities represent a better opportunity than the big metros, and what new technologies are coming up in the jewellery industry.

“We got started around this time last year, but we launched the website about a month ago,” says Nagpal. “It’s backed by Liali, a Dubai-based jewellery company. They wanted to enter the Indian market and we were doing ideation on what product to come out with, and we traveled around the world to figure out what India is missing.”

[“source=marketingweek]