Article | August 24, 2021
The past 18 months has presented unimaginable challenges for many businesses seeking to stay afloat in times of crisis. But as with any challenge, shifting needs, perceptions and practices develop opportunity, opening doors for product and service differentiation.
Notably, in this time, sustainability has moved its way to the forefront of many minds. Not only has the pandemic forced businesses to re-evaluate commercial models for future resistance, but the constant reminder of issues regarding the climate crisis and ethical practices has magnified the need to think sustainably, too. But in this sense, sustainability is no longer a differentiator between businesses, and instead, an expected value any commercial enterprise must keep at its core.
The solution therefore, lies in the way in which sustainability is injected into every business practice - from manufacture to fulfilment. In this article, Nate Burke, CEO of technology, digital marketing and ecommerce solutions firm Diginius, discusses the latter end of a product's journey, and how sustainability can help businesses gain an edge on the competition.
As it stands, fast and free shipping is proving an attractive offering, often outperforming other cost-saving strategies. Understandably, these deals grab the attention of deal-savvy consumers who want their items delivered quickly and without extra charges on top of their original basket cost.
In fact, how many of us have paused, hesitated or even abandoned an order for the opposite reason? Well, you’re not alone - 64% of all online consumers expect their orders to be shipped for free and within five working days. What’s more, 68% of us will check a returns policy before making purchase. Present major obstacles here, and retailers will be providing an instant turn off in an ultra-competitive sales sphere.
Ultimately, an attractive delivery option can make all the difference in a customer choosing your products over a competitor’s. Unless they have developed long standing brand love, the chances of a customer remaining loyal to an offering which they can get for less and in quicker time elsewhere, are low.
This isn’t to undermine the importance of sustainability and environmental responsibility, though. While fast and free shipping is expected, it may not necessarily be the most ethical business model, particularly if it will mean greater emissions for more frequent deliveries, and cost-cutting measures in other areas of the business in order to make up for lost shipping fees.
Global reports state that consumers would be more likely to purchase from companies with an established reputation for sustainability too. This suggests it is just as important for online businesses to focus their efforts on acting ethically, as it is for them to fulfil orders efficiently.
But with the rise of online shopping, which has been propelled by the pandemic with a 48% increase in online spending coming as a result of lockdown restrictions, businesses may be finding themselves weighing up the two. Clearly, there is misalignment between consumer expectations and commercial values here, and choosing between the two will require more than a look at a business’s bottom line.
Sustainability and credibility
It should be noted that today’s consumers are incredibly switched on when it comes to buying from sustainable brands. They can see through the smoke and mirrors or false claims to make informed decisions about the products and services they choose. And more often than not, these decisions are based on a brand’s credibility.
Any business can say they are doing certain things to protect the planet and their people, however, not all can provide sufficient evidence. And as competition increases, these are the businesses that are finding themselves falling behind.
We only need to look to recent examples such as Boohoo for proof. In 2020, the fast fashion giant found itself in hot water when it was revealed it was not following sustainable or ethical business practices. Poor warehouse conditions, less than minimum wage pay and inadequate health and safety standards were just a few of the concerns.
As a result, the company experienced huge losses, with its share price falling by more than a third during the first two days of the scandal coming to light. There is an undeniable perception on sustainability and ethical working practices, and people do not want to support brands that don’t support their economy and their people.
Interestingly however, as a fast fashion retailer, Boohoo is renowned for its speedy shipping and low prices, even offering unlimited next day delivery for a small, one-off yearly cost. Therefore, in this case, it is clear that efficient fulfilment alone is not enough to sustain commercial success. Its ethical responsibility had a larger part to play.
And while the company has attempted to correct its wrongdoings internally and then communicate these through marketing strategies, its tainted reputation is proving difficult to rebuild, suggesting just how important credibility is for a sustainable business.
But that’s not all. When it comes to free and fast shipping, credibility continues to play a significant role in shaping consumers’ perceptions of the service they are going to receive. For larger brands with established reputations, this is less of an issue, but for smaller companies who may be starting their ecommerce journey, it is vital that you appear a reliable, trustworthy and credible enterprise that is going to follow through with its promise of a fast and free delivery.
This may be through clear contact details for consumers to get in touch with queries, customer reviews, business information and responsive and helpful customer service via email, live chat, direct messaging or phone calls, for example.
A balancing act
Of course, building credibility will not solve every issue for a business, but it is a place to start. It is also a common denominator for sustainability and fulfilment and can help businesses differentiate themselves from the competition.
However, the misalignment between attractive cost saving deals and sustainable business practices can cause confusion. Often, lower delivery fees and fast shipping incentives, particularly for items that are already low in price, can set off alarm bells and leave customers questioning the ethical impact of their purchase. Alternatively, high fees and long delays can send customers looking elsewhere - both are bad for business.
Instead, businesses need to find a balance. Find the point at which free and fast shipping can be offered without impacting profit margins, and therefore, the sustained success of the business. For example, ASOS offers free delivery for orders over £35. While the majority of its customers are likely to spend this amount anyway, those that are not are enticed to do so, generating greater income for the business and an attractive deal for the customer. And in the minds of customers, the reasonable threshold amount helps justify the cost saving as a sustainable offer, rather than something that will put the business out of pocket and force them to act unethically elsewhere to make back lost earnings.
The threshold will be different for every business, but through the use of data and analytics tools, the amount that is best for your business can quite easily be found. These tools can also help centralise activity, from sourcing and manufacture to product marketing and post purchase service. With this in place, processes can become much more streamlined, which can in turn, increase the efficiency of order fulfilment. If things are delayed, for instance in the case of pandemic disruption, email updates can be automated, ensuring you are also providing high quality customer service.
With all this in place, not only will a business be sustainable and efficient, but its credibility will only go from strength to strength, too.
Article | March 2, 2020
Facebook marketing has both grown and morphed into different forms over the years, but it has remained powerful. Small businesses can take advantage of the same audience that big companies have through Facebook marketing. As of 2020, there are 1.69 billion users on Facebook, and around 1.3 billion users on Facebook Messenger. Being able to tap into that market can turn your small business from an obscure donkey to a powerful unicorn. If you’re looking to up your game this year, here are seven Facebook marketing trends entrepreneurs should be aware of. Customers prefer being able to interact with businesses that can respond immediately round the clock.
Article | August 30, 2021
Human resources are a subjective term to each individual and a business entity. Many small firms overlook human resource departments, believing them to be time-consuming, so they do not engage human resource specialists to assist with business operations. Instead, they attempt to manage the tasks either directly or by delegation to current workers. However, human resources benefit both the business and future workers. This blog gives information on small business human resources in detail.
According to connecteam, 54% of small firms manage employment and other human resource activities on their own to save money; nevertheless, this type of management presents several challenges and frequently blows up in their faces.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resource management professionals will see a 10% increase in employment between 2016 and 2026.
HR is crucial in a small business from recruiting and retention through payroll and benefits. The shortcomings in any of these things result in:
Penalties for non-compliance
Inefficiencies that cause your manufacturing cycle to slow down
Above mentioned points define that you cannot underestimate the importance of HR support for small businesses.
Employees are one of a corporate organization's most valuable assets. So, it is needful to protect them. Therefore, human resources requirements for small businesses are essential.
Let us Know What Human Resource Management is
The Small Business Association (SBA) defines human resources as:
"The people who work for a company or organization"
"The department of a company that is responsible for managing those resources."
Human resource management (HRM) is concerned with your workers, whether they are hired, managed, or require other types of direction and support. Human resource management involve significant duties; some basic human resources requirements for small businesses should be considered and fulfilled. They are those who establish the tone for how employees interact,resolve conflicts, and collaborate.
There is a new trend in human resource outsourcing, and some small businesses are deciding to outsource a significant component of their human resources.
Responsibilities of Small Business Human Resource Management
Recruitment and selection
Education and development
Compensation and benefits
Retention of employees
Creating an atmosphere that is safe, healthy, and productive
Benefits of a Human Resources Department
Ensure a safe and healthy work environment
Attract and retain high-caliber individuals
Access Human Resources Anytime, Anywhere
Access to Employee Benefits at Large Corporations
Contribute to Time and Energy Savings
Fundamental Component of Human Resources
For small businesses, employing dedicated people in meaningful work can enhance performance, loyalty, and retention. Thus, in combination with the human resources manual for small businesses, the human resources department supports them in achieving their goals. This is accomplished, however, by increasing workplace happiness, making judicious use of existing resources, and developing an efficient expenditure model.
by boosting workplace satisfaction, judiciously utilizing available resources, and establishing an effective expenditure model.
With the clearly defined human resource policies and best practices for small businesses, you can assist workers in their growth and in contributing their expertise and knowledge for the growth of the firm.
Whether a small or a large business, the success of a corporation is highly dependent on its ability to manage both internal and external stakeholders successfully. The HR department very well accomplishes this.
Below Are Some Human Resources Requirements for Small Businesses.
Maintaining employee records is an essential aspect of the human resources manual for small businesses. Having it done guarantees that your business complies with labor rules and is protected in the event of a future issue.
Regardless of your business's size, it is requisite to gather and maintain these three papers for each employee to protect yourself and your company.
I-9 File: The US Government utilizes this form to determine and verify the eligibility of your personnel to work in the United States.
Personnel General File: This section covers the paperwork and certificates obtained from workers throughout the employment process. This includes resumes, verification of training, W-4 forms, payroll information, and disciplinary actions.
Medical Records of Employees: This file may contain doctor's notes, information on a disability, or information about a medical check-up. The information contained inside is confidential and must be kept secure against unauthorized access.
Employee's guidebook is a vital aspect of small business human resources element. The handbook includes an idea of expectations, best practices, and requirements.
It also includes:
The organization's vision, objectives, and values
The code of conduct
The anti-discrimination rules
The safety and security regulations
The non-disclosure agreement
Work schedules (covering how to monitor time, take leaves, and notify management of leaves)
Other general information not required by law
Posters That Are Required
The nation's or state's laws in which your business operates may require you to publish information at your place of business or in an easily accessible location. Additionally, the Department of Labor (DOL) requires posting certain labor law posters in the workplace.
While many business owners believe that small business human resources costs are redundant, a human resource department may have a significant influence on your workers' well-being and the success of your firm. Unfortunately, many employees quit their employment due to poor or non-existent human resource management.
Frequently asked questions:
Does a small business need human resources?
Every business, regardless of size, must have a human resources department or at least one person dedicated to HR duties. HR simplifies many duties for business owners, allowing them to focus on other critical elements of operating the firm. In addition, human resources can do a variety of tasks that other employees are unable to.
What are the essential human resources requirements for small businesses?
Human resources are the bedrock to your organization because it is responsible for hiring skilled workers who appreciate your corporate culture. The most critical human resources requirements for small businesses to succeed are:
Employee development and training
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Article | August 23, 2021
The use of smartphone/mobile technology has become the new standard, permeating every area of life. As a result, it gave rise to mobile technology opportunities for businesses.
According to Statista, there are currently 3.8 billion smartphone users worldwide, which equates to 48.20% of the world's population owning a smartphone. India, China, and the United States have the most outstanding smartphone penetration rates. Between 2016 and 2020, the global smartphone user base rose by 40%.
WARC asserts, by 2025, 72% of all internet users will access the web only through their smartphones.
With the primary data and projections, it is abundantly evident that mobile technology represents the future of the corporate world and commercial innovations. On average, in the United States, four hours of each day are spent on mobile devices, which account for more than half of all online traffic.
COVID-19 created obstacles for many areas of society; many company owners encountered several difficulties operating their businesses because of the limitations imposed, especially small businesses. But, on the other hand, the pandemic provided an unprecedented boost to mobile technology opportunities in every facet of life.
Mobile is gaining traction not just in marketing and retail but also in healthcare and education for convenience and safety reasons, and gradually gaining popularity.
Patients could not visit their doctors during the pandemic but could communicate through text, virtual meetings, or phone calls. Similarly, the education sector saw a dramatic shift in its teaching framework when everything went online. With the increased use of mobile to link teachers and students, mobile technology became an unavoidable factor in the education sector.
Save Time, Save Money
The potential of mobile technology is evident when it saves company owner’s time and money. For example, apps replace paper forms, cloud solutions replace resource-intensive local filing, and scanning and image functionalities assist field-based customer or supply chain personnel.
From mobile applications to the operating systems of mobile devices, there are various ways that mobile technology helps businesses save time and money.
Here are few benefits of mobile technology how they reduce business expenses and time.
Online mobile apps have reduced offline paperwork.
Mobile communication does not include any additional expenses, such as those associated with setting up a landline connection.
Even without being on-site, you may place or confirm business orders over the phone.
You may use mobile banking applications to send and receive paychecks or any other type of payment without visiting clients or banks.
Mobile technology is vital in business, from texting to phoning, sending voicemails, or recording them using VoIP.
Cashless Payment Options
Mobile technology opportunities opened a door for cashless payments. All these years, opting for this mode of payment had been just an option, but it became vital during coronavirus to avoid spreading the virus.
Both online and contactless payment methods gained popularity among both company owners and consumers. With social distancing norms in place, more individuals in established and emerging nations began to embrace contactless payments as a safer method to handle their money
According to Finaria.it, the worldwide digital payments sector is anticipated to reach a value of $6.6 trillion in 2021, a 40% growth in two years. Furthermore, by 2025, mobile payments are expected to nearly double in size and reach a value of $4.6 trillion.
Numerous payment methods exist, including mobile wallets, peer-to-peer mobile payments, real-time payments, and cryptocurrencies. Contactless payments are significantly faster than conventional modes of payment.
Mobile payments generate extra data on a user's habits and interests, which might benefit your marketing team.
Remodel Shopping Experience
The pandemic devastated in-person retail business, and they had to re-establish themselves in the market. Many consumers are comfortable getting access to a personalized in-store experience via mobile devices.
In 2016, 209.6 million Americans shopped online at least once, according to Statista. The number of online shoppers is anticipated to reach 230.5 million by the end of 2021, making the US one of the most developed e-commerce industry-friendly countries.
Looking at the above statistics and the customers' needs, entrepreneurs must meet consumers' demands and help them research, find, and compare items. However, as rising mobile components alter retail, it is critical for businesses to maintain their privacy.
Mobile technology potential is vast and can offer several benefits to consumers. In addition, entrepreneurs can incorporate it into their businesses in an inventive way.
Maintain Orderly Physical Spaces
QR codes date back to 1994, but they never acquired widespread acceptance or were widely used. However, the pandemic's onset altered the entire situation. Because the COVID-19 standards for maintaining distance, avoiding physical contact, and exchanging anything were deemed hazardous, consumers began to prefer digital connections over physical ones. That is when QR code-based payments became the most convenient payment method, requiring only the use of a mobile device.
The pandemic has created unprecedented opportunities for touchless technologies (QR Code being the leading player).
According to a recent poll by Statista, an estimated 11 million homes in the United States alone were predicted to have scanned a QR Code in 2020. This shows an increase from the projected 9.76 million scans performed in 2018.
QR codes are used to make payments as well as place orders. Elimination of physical touchpoints from your business provides a more seamless experience for your consumers.
While the utilization of mobile phones or smartphones is not new, the manner they are used has evolved considerably over the previous five years, particularly during the pandemic. Indeed, the mobile phone has evolved into the most helpful tool/asset for information, communication, purchasing goods, and scheduling.
Rapid advancements in cloud technology increase corporate use of mobile devices by enabling more flexible working habits and remote access to services.
What is the future of mobile technology for business?
The business has a bright future with mobile technologies. Everything is becoming virtual, including the corporate sector, where mobile technology plays a critical role. In addition, mobile technology has aided in the communication of businesses.
What are the effects of mobile technology on entrepreneurs?
Numerous mobile technologies, such as smartphones, mobile applications, and GPS devices, link everyone and enable company owners to stay connected with their consumers. As a result, mobile marketing is gaining traction and assists small businesses in reaching clients, and contributes to increased sales.
"name": "What is the future of mobile technology for business?",
"text": "The business has a bright future with mobile technologies. Everything is becoming virtual, including the corporate sector, where mobile technology plays a critical role. In addition, mobile technology has aided in the communication of businesses."
"name": "What are the effects of mobile technology on entrepreneurs?",
"text": "Numerous mobile technologies, such as smartphones, mobile applications, and GPS devices, link everyone and enable company owners to stay connected with their consumers. As a result, mobile marketing is gaining traction and assists small businesses in reaching clients, and contributes to increased sales."