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ELECTRONIC COMMERCE (I): BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY

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ELECTRONIC COMMERCE (I): BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY

Connectiondeal.com or E-Commerce has become in recent years one of the most used means to make our purchases.

Despite the current economic situation, each year, sales volumes through this channel increase significantly.

The number of Internet users has doubled between 2005 and 2010, reaching 2,000 million.

And, currently, in Spain, there are already 27 online shoppers per 100 inhabitants.

These figures mean that online sales, every time, open up more business opportunities.

For all this (and more questions that we will discuss), we will dedicate to this topic a block of three posts.

Currently, it is an undeniable fact that new technologies (and, in particular, the increasing ease of Internet access) have meant a great change in the way in which they interact in the professional and business world.

This is demonstrated by the data in this regard. Let’s see some.

In the second quarter, this volume reached a total turnover of 2,640.8 million euros, 13.7% more than in the same period of 2011, which constitutes a new historical maximum.

In total, during that second quarter, 36.7 million transactions were recorded, the same figure as in the previous quarter, which represents a 17% year-on-year growth.

This generated economic amount was distributed mainly among the following ten branches of activity:

If we analyze its quarterly evolution, the data is revealing:

– By turnover

.– By number of transactions

ORIGIN AND DESTINATION OF OPERATIONS

Obviously, the data is very good. However, one fact should not be ignored: this growth of electronic commerce in Spain does not necessarily mean that money stays here or, at least, not everything.

The purchase and sale of goods and services via the Internet from Spain abroad invoiced 1,137.9 million euros, representing 43.1% of the total, with 19.2 million operations.

The number of transactions made from abroad and directed to Spanish websites was 394.5 million euros, which represented 14.9% of the total turnover, with 3.1 million operations.

These figures placed the net balance of business volume abroad in a negative balance of 743.4 million euros.

If your interest is to focus on the exclusively Spanish market, you should know that the turnover of electronic commerce generated in Spain and directed to virtual points of sale within our country was 1,108.4 million euros, 42% of the total amount, with 14.4 million operations.

If your objective is focused on internationalization, you should know that, by geographical areas, the ones that make the most online purchases in Spain are the European Union with 77.1% of the total and Latin America 6.5% and the United States with a 4.5%, the tourism sector being the most demanded activity.

METHODOLOGY

Finally, to assess this data, the methodology used by the CMT to prepare its report must be taken into account.

In this sense, only online purchases made through bank payment cards attached to the Spanish payment institutions collaborating have been counted: Sermepa-Serviced, Sistema 4B, Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks (CECA-Euro6000).

Therefore, a payment made by bank transfer, or by means such as PayPal, without a credit card, is not reflected in said report.

ELECTRONIC COMMERCE AS A BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY

In view of the above, it can be affirmed, almost without any doubt, that electronic commerce is a future bet.

The greater ease of access to new technologies, the change in consumption habits, ease, comfort, accessibility, the elimination of borders, etc., mean that there is a great boom in electronic commerce and that, every time, they are more SMEs that benefit from it.

The initial reluctance generated by electronic commerce in its origins has now given way to a set of undoubted advantages, both for companies and for consumers themselves.

Advantages and opportunities for companies

  • – Reduces the costs of starting up a business, compared to traditional commerce
  • – Creation of new sales channels

– Market expansion: it allows new customers to be reached, making geographic boundaries for business disappear

  • – Globalization and access to potential markets of millions of customers
  • – Availability 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year
  • – Increased competitive capacity and efficiency of companies
  • – Considerable reduction of stocks and time of transactions, transfers, inventories, data collection, etc.
  • – Shortening of distribution chains
  • – Quick update of information about the company’s products and services
  • – Increased customer loyalty and proximity: through systems that offer personalized attention and offers (eg discounts to the best customers, etc.)
  • – Reduce the terms of commercialization
  • – Customer service time is optimized
  • – Cost reduction at almost all levels of the organization, as well as ROI and promotion costs

In addition, it presents a fundamental aspect to take into account: the implementation of Electronic Commerce in the company will be important value creation.

This creation of value is revealed in different ways:

– As a result of an increase in margins, that is, a reduction in production costs or an increase in profits. Electronic commerce allows this objective to be achieved through:

  • Positioning in new markets
  • Increasing the quality of products or services
  • The search for new customers
  • Increase customer loyalty
  • The increase in internal efficiency

– As a result of customer satisfaction, through:

  • A price drop
  • Better customer service
  • Products and services best suited to customer needs

Advantages and opportunities for consumers

– Possibility to quickly access the products that interest you, without having to search store by store physically

  • Possibility to choose between a much wider range of suppliers
  • Greater interactivity and personalization of demand
  • Possibility of finding, easily and quickly, the cheapest price
  • Shortening of the distribution and automation chains of the trade, which allows obtaining supplies “just in time”
  • Possibility of access to products and / or services that, in many cases, cannot be acquired by other means at the place of residence (eg something common in small population centers or far from large cities)
  • Optimization of customer service time, which can be attended without waiting for long lines

However, like everything else, it is also true that this type of trade has a number of drawbacks. These are fundamentally related to the security of operations over the Internet.

However, this problem has a lower and lower level due to the following aspects:

  • Internet users are increasingly familiar with electronic purchasing processes, registration in forums, portals, stores, etc., so it can be said that the fear of the Internet is being lost.
  • Today there are different protocols such as SET (Secure Electronic Transaction) or SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) that make sure that these types of transactions through computer networks are as secure as possible.
  • There are also numerous reliable payment systems such as virtual POS terminals of the different banks or the PayPal System.
  • In addition, as a mechanism to grant greater security and confidence to the Web pages, what are known as the online trust seals have emerged. These are companies that try to unify criteria and give confidence to the user who visits a website, establishing minimum requirements for topics such as the processing of personal data or accessibility to the website, etc.

It also helps to generate greater security and confidence in the user the fact that an online store shows tax information, information about the purchase process, shipping costs, return conditions, etc.

AND WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FOR 2020?

Before venturing any forecast in this area, we must bear in mind that we are facing a market of great dynamism, which is not only affected by the real economic issues but also how the technology itself evolves.

However, analyzing the evolution of recent years, it does seem possible to describe a scenario:

1) First, taking into account how Electronic Commerce has evolved in Spain, it is estimated that by 2015, 50% of the Spanish population will buy through the Internet.

2) In view of the previous data, annual growth has been close to 20%. The increase in consumer confidence, the increasing access to the Internet and, with some luck, an improvement in the economy, could be data that favor this growth.

3) The MBE transport company shows in a report that the number of shipments of packages with SME products dedicated to electronic commerce has grown by 65% ​​in recent years.

4) As of 2020, the entry of new sectors is expected, which will provide an important boost for Electronic Commerce.

Thus, to the already announced entry of DIA, it is necessary to add the strategy that Coca-Cola has planned to enter direct actions of Electronic Commerce; as well as Mercadona, which is strengthening its digital structure, which makes it anticipated that it will place a bet on this market.

These situations usually produce a drag effect on the sector, as happened in the aforementioned case of Zara.

5) In countries like the United States, 10% of sales through Electronic Commerce are via mobile or tablet.

These types of devices are progressively gaining more and more market share in Spain.

6) Electronic Commerce is also increasingly favored by mobile payments as support.

In 2011, the number of users was 160 million, reaching 212 million in 2012. BBVA estimates the forecasts for 2016 at 448 million users.

This is an interesting fact for Spain since the smartphone penetration rate is one of the highest in Europe.

CONCLUSION

Based on the foregoing, and after several experts consulted, the general conclusion is that, although it seems that there is already an offer for everything, Electronic Commerce in Spain is still taking its first steps.

It is not surprising, therefore, that more and more companies look for the right combination between Electronic Commerce and internationalization.

In our country, in view of what has been done, what is being done and what seems to be coming; Seeing the gaps in certain markets, the improvement options that others offer, seeing the needs of users, Electronic Commerce presents itself as a very interesting business opportunity.

AND WHERE ARE THE OPPORTUNITIES?

To answer this question, we can take as reference data from last year.

In 2012, one of the sectors that represented a major boom was the textile sector. In the last quarter of the year, it rose two positions to be in the fifth position, obtaining 5.1% of the total turnover of Electronic Commerce, which means reaching revenues of more than 123 million euros.

This boom was favored, on the one hand, by the change in consumer habits in this economic sector and, on the other, by the launch and expansion throughout the world of the Zara website, as well as the updating of others in the sector , such as Cars, Commercial Vehicles , Domains , Websites , Electronics , Textiles ,Home Appliances , Machinery & Commodities, which offer great discounts.

Therefore, a good first option would be to go to under-exploited markets.

In addition to fashion, we find other sectors that are not very exploited, with opportunities and that offer a great tour, including health or food.

Another option (and that applies to any market) is to improve the existing offer. At this point, the options are almost endless.

The key is to analyze the competition and its deficiencies. These abound in Spanish online businesses (shopping experience, delivery and return conditions, information, etc.).

For example, an option in this regard is to improve the usability of the Web page. An example of this is Doctortrade, which improves the eBay buying and selling experience thanks to software that identifies the products and allows you to make offers without having to describe them.

Therefore, creativity and innovation will be the benchmarks.

And considering the latter, many options arise:

  • Opt for new business models
  • Expand the depth of our products through services
  • Expand the experience, giving continuity to the relationship with the client, increasing the value of what we offer

It is about analyzing what our customers buy and evaluating, taking advantage of their suggestions, how we can extend our products or services.

For all these reasons, if you are thinking of launching yourself into the business world or if you do not already have your e-commerce website, it would not hurt to include this dissemination and distribution channel.

Apart from the fact that the capital needed to start it is not high, with a good marketing strategy and a good Web positioning, visits to your online store will increase considerably.

BUSINESS

The History and Significance of Gothic Rings

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Gothic Rings

Gothic is an art trend dominated in Europe from the 12th to the 15th centuries. Starting with architecture, Gothic gradually encompassed sculpture, painting, book miniature, stained glass, fashion, and, of course, jewelry. It is not really correct to call the Gothic fashion style. Rather, it is a lifestyle.

In the Gothic era, jewelry reflected the status and wealth of its owner. In the majority of medieval states, commoners couldn’t wear jewelry made of precious metals. Even if they could afford a gold ring, they were forbidden to put it on (affluent members of the society, however, could freely wear lavish ornaments, though many of them bore a functional significance rather than decorative). Catholic Church dictated that believers couldn’t flaunt garish jewelry, and since Gothic is basically an evolution of cathedral architecture, it followed the rules of religious dogma. It also means that we can see many religious symbols in Gothic art including crosses, the tree of life, vine, etc.

Two Trend of Medieval Gothic

  1. Symbolic items

Because Gothic stemmed from Christian architecture, religion impacted its components. Take across, for instance. While crosses still personified the dogmas and beliefs of the Catholic Church, Gothic made use of the emotional power of art like no other period in the history of mankind. Just like those cathedrals and temples, crosses were crafted large, intricate, and highly ornate to highlight the significance of the supreme power while belittling a person.

A crown, as symbols of power, also repeated the architectural ideas of the cathedrals in miniature. Gothic crowns pointed their prongs to the sky mimicking cathedrals’ spiels. These symbols of the royal authority always contain heraldic signs and embellishment of multicolored precious stones that resembled stained glass windows of temples.

2.Utilitarian jewelry as part of the attire

At first, jewelry and accessories didn’t consider to be decorative elements. Rather, they performed a certain utilitarian function. One of the first pieces of ‘jewelry’ that combined both beauty and functionality were buttons. In Europe, they appeared only during the Crusades (crusaders brought them from East), and soon enough, they became a popular accessory among riches. Buttons were pretty expensive to craft at that time so a few buttons featured in a dress cost more than all the fabric.

Rings also performed a functional role. Every person who had power or importance used them as signets to seal correspondence and documents. Along with that, they carried the significance of an amulet. Especially popular were rung with gemstone inlays. Their symbolical meaning varied depending on their size and color intensively. By the way, medieval people didn’t always keep the rules of wearing rings on their fingers. In England, for example, they often tied their signets to wrists, and in Germany, men attached them to their hats.

Besides rings and buttons, the Gothic influence is seen in buckles, fasteners, combs, hairpins, and brooches.

Features of the First Gothic Jewelry Items

Real silver gothic rings (and gold, too) of the medieval era benefited from cloisonne enamel techniques, large cabochon gemstones, and multicolor inserts. Diamonds, turquoise, garnets, rubies, emeralds, and pearls were the favorite jewels of that era. As you can see, the medieval Gothic ornaments have little in common with modern ones. Back then, jewelry was a real riot of colors while modern Gothic sticks to black and silver. The pops of colors can still be seen but they are not near as sweeping as in the old Gothic.

Neogothic

After the period of its heyday, Gothic fell into oblivion for about four centuries. However, the XIX century introduced a revival of neo-styles. Hard on the heels of the Napoleonic Wars, Europe succumbed to a romantic mood and gave birth to the first of neo-styles, the Neo-Gothic. The motherland of this style became England. One of the favorite entertainments of the aristocracy of that time was themed balls. Ladies and gentlemen put on lush ornate dresses and costumes, and thus clothing and jewelry imitating items of the Middle Ages came into fashion in the early 1800s.

 

Neo-Gothic jewelry is built upon religious images, mythical animals, floral patterns, crosses of various shapes, shields, crowns, individual letters of the Gothic font, and phrases in Latin. Gemstones were a less common option in comparison to the Middle Ages. Instead, rings, necklaces, and headpieces were made of gold or oxidized silver with commonplace enamel accents. This era also brought to us castiron jewelry.

 

At first, castiron jewelry was only a symbol of mourning (because its color is black) and was affordable to everyone. However, during the numerous wars sweeping Europe in the 19 century, it quickly became a symbol of patriotism and fidelity. Women donated their gold jewelry for the needs of the army and received cast iron items in return. Perhaps due to the Neo-Gothic, black color became an integral companion of the modern Gothic image.

Neo-Gothic lasted until the1850s and then quickly gave way to the style of archaeological revival. Without this short resurgence, however, we probably would not have witnessed its reincarnation in the 20th century. The Goths of the modern era gravitate toward dark, deep colors, silver rings adorned with outlandish symbols, and make-up to match.

 

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How Online Reputation Management Services Work

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How Online Reputation Management Services Work

Online reputation management services are comprehensive and are used for far more than crisis control or eliminating negative online reviews. When used proactively, they can actually work to establish and protect your brand’s online image.  These tactics don’t just apply to businesses though. Individuals can use the service to ensure that only a professional image appears. In some cases, they can even be used to hide negative news relating to criminal records. The individuals who use these services are primarily business leaders who want to maintain a positive personal brand image.

A number of strategies ensure that an online reputation can be effectively managed.

  • Search engine optimization. Search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO is the process of getting your online content to rank higher in popular search engines like Google. Reputation management firms use SEO tactics to be sure that internet users who are searching for topics relating to your business will be more likely to find positive information. SEO techniques are used to emphasize positive information and relegate the bad information to the outer reaches of the internet. A quality online reputation management company will brainstorm ways to use truthful, positive content to detract from any negative content effectively pushing the negative information off of the few pages of search results.

 

  • Content Development. To rank well in search engines you need great content. This means having content that is written with SEO in mind. Existing content is often not enough, so reputation management services will write new material that adds more credibility to your brand and authority to your reputation.

 

  • Social Media Marketing. Social media is here to stay. People and businesses alike are active on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Online reputation management companies can help you establish a presence on the most popular networks and develop content that portrays professionalism. They’ll also know how to clean up any potentially negative information.

 

  • Review and Information Generation. Many reputation management services develop strategies that help businesses acquire and manage online reviews. They’ll promote good reviews and address negative ones. For individuals, they may create bibliographical content. Either way, the process is similar. They want to encourage the spread of positive information.

It’s always easier to build a positive reputation than it is to improve a negative one. The primary goal of reputation management is to maintain a positive one. But when things go badly, you need reputation repair. Too often though, people don’t think about reputation until they have a crisis to address. But there are some amazing reputation repair companies out there today. For businesses, we recommend repairbadreputation.com. For individual reputation repair, nobody beats searchresults.repair.

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BUSINESS

TN-1 VISA

Umar Nisar

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TN-1 VISA

According to the North American Free Trade Agreement, (NAFTA), Mexican and Canadian professionals are eligible to apply to enter the U.S.A under the TN visa order. 

The TN rule for Mexican professionals is the same as the H-1B visa process (including the 3 to 4 months of visa processing duration). 

The TN visa process for Canadian professionals does not ask for USA Department of Labor (DOL) certification of a Labor Condition Application or any kind of prior approval from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) of any appeal. 

The effect is that qualifying Canadian citizens qualified in one of a proclaimed list of professions may get TN1 visa status as well as enter the U.S.A. within one day by applying at the U.S. port-of-entry.

Applications for sections of the TN-1 status for Canadian experts may be listed with the USCIS through the mail. They are usually prepared in 2 to 3 months or can be executed directly at the border. 

Requirements for TN-1 Status 

  1. Evidence of Canadian nationality. Canadian Landed Immigrants or non-Canadian nationality must apply for the H-1B status.
  2. Proof that the expected U.S.A. employment as well as the applicant quality following Schedule 2 of NAFTA. (A listing of professionals that qualify under Chapter 15, Schedule 2, of NAFTA)
  3. Applicants must indicate to involve in employment at a professional level. The employment has to be prearranged by a U.S.A. organization or institution.
  4. A letter from the U.S.A employer describing the characteristics of the employment. TN-1 status is allowed for only one employer at a time for a particular kind of work. For many employers, multiple TN-1 applications need to be filed.
  5. Self-employed experts are restrained from getting TN-1 status, and the USCIS has instructed its field offices that E-2, treaty investor order may be a suitable alternative for those kinds of Canadian professionals.

Benefits of TN-1 Status

  1. TN-1 visa is usually granted in three-year increments. Besides that, you can get unlimited renewals.
  2. You won’t be asked for any form. Moreover, it can be obtained in person directly at the U.S. border.
  3. Sometimes TN-1 status is accessible to some people who may not suit for H-1B status.

TN-1 Checklist While Crossing The Border 

  1. Evidence of Canadian citizenship through Birth Certificate and/or Original Passport.
  2. Employment agreement from the U.S.A. Employer – describing position, duties, and employment dates (please note that employment agreement has to be temporarily not permanent).
  3. Professional Certification or license. (if relevant).
  4. $50.00 (money order or cash).
  5. Proof of academic degrees like Diploma (original and xerox) 

NOTE: TN-1 status may be received at any of the U.S.A. Port of Entry along with the Canadian border. Some border exchange offices are more experienced with the TN-1 status than the others. It is always safer to have too much documentation than too limited. Original papers should be presented whenever possible.

TN Application Process

STEP 1: The hiring authority must submit the TN eForm to the UC International Services with the following documents:

  1. A letter, endorsed by the Head of the Department, inscribed to the employee, declaring the dates of the employees asked for the TN status (It won’t exceed 3 years), the wages being proposed, and a summary of job responsibilities which confirm that the job demands at least a bachelor’s degree in a particular field of study. 
  2. A letter to Homeland Security explaining how the employee qualifies for the TN status. 
  3. A draft made out to the Department of Homeland Security for $325.00 (if the candidate is inside the U.S. and does not intend to get TN status at the border). 

STEP-2: The proposed employee must present the following stuff with the eForm application:

  1. A xerox of the highest diploma obtained and relevant transcripts. If the degree is not from a university inside the U.S.A, the. U.K., Canada, or Australia, an evaluation of the comparable U.S.A degree needs to be presented.
  2. Personal information such as:
  • Curriculum vitae; 
  • Xerox of all current immigration papers (visa, passport, and I-94 card) if the employee will not be asking for the TN at the border. 
  • if applying from inside the U.S.A. and the applicant has dependents (children or spouse), Form I-539, and xerox of all latest immigration papers (visa, passport, and I-94 card) for dependents.

STEP 3: Upon receiving the eForm and full documentation listed in Steps 1 and 2, UC International Services will: 

  1. Get the I-129 application ready if the employee will not be migrating to the border to get TN status. 
  2. Convey the employee directions for check-in and onboarding if getting TN status at the border. 

It is justified that the employee always obtains TN status by going to the Canadian/U.S.A. border as there are no application charges to the University for this and the status can be achieved within one day. An application requested in the country to Homeland Security will take almost four months to get approved

 

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