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Monday, May 18, 2015

Cubic Zirconia Jewelry – Know About Them In 3 Easy Steps

Cubic zirconia (CZ) enjoys the limelight as the most popular gemstone in the market today. Very few materials can contend with the ever-popular Diamond as smartly as CZ does. Regardless of this, many buyers fail to connect with cubic zirconia jewelry.

Surprisingly, most of them do not even bother to explore the material, and rely mainly on what they hear from others to form their opinions. The following discussion provides an opportunity to learn some important and interesting facts about Cubic Zirconia jewelry, would help you develop the right perception.

Step I: Differentiate between CZs and Zircons

Like many others, you may also consider CZ and zircon as two names for the same material. However, you would be surprised to know that the two are as different as chalk and cheese:

• CZs are synthesized as a would-be diamond stimulant, whereas zircons occur naturally.

• CZs are popular as ‘true diamond' for being absolutely colorless. Zircons come in less desirable colors.

• Zircons undergo heat treatment to enhance their color or to make them colorless.

• Cubic zircon as used in jewelry, are optically flawless whereas inclusions and flaws are visible in zircons.

• CZs are harder and less expensive than zircons.

Step II: Comparing CZs with Diamonds

You may think, ‘how could Iover look any diamond, in favor of a CZ?' Here are some valid reasons that you could connect with:

• CZs are like true diamonds. They are even more colorless than diamonds.

• CZs are always flawless whereas flawless diamonds are extremely rare (read -mythical).

• Popular cubic zirconia jewelry designs contain gemstones with cuts and shapes that are similar to those that diamonds are known for.

• CZs are 75% heavier than diamonds, but cost just afraction of what diamonds cost.

• Colored CZ gemstones are making the right buzz, whereas colored diamonds are rare to find and highly priced.

Step III: Why Buy CZ Jewelry ?

Diamonds are designated as rewarding investments, though their value depreciates fast. CZs come with cheap price tags, but are still a smart investment because:

• CZs are safe to wear in routine - at workplaces, while traveling and for all types of events.

• Jewelry made from this gemstone enjoys great acceptance as trendy and fashion jewelry.

• Being inexpensive, cubic zirconia jewelry can be replaced with the latest designs more frequently (not possible with diamonds).

• From engagement to wedding rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, CZ jewelry is available in a wide choice of designs in the market today.

Yes, you need to be extra careful while dealing with and cleaning CZ jewelry. However, that should not stop you from adding some outstanding jewelry designs to your collection.

Popularity of Fashion Fabric Stores

Nowadays everyone wants to look different and be noticed and this is slightly difficult with run of the mill readymade garments. This is the reason people are opting for tailor made garments which in turn has made fashion fabric stores quite popular. These stores specialize in high end fabrics like stretch woven fabric which can be used to create really beautiful and unique garments custom made for you. Stretch fabric is especially great if you have a good figure and not just women but also men can make good use of this fabric. However, you need to keep in mind that special sewing machines are required to stitch this fabric and not all tailors have these machines. This is the reason it will be a good idea to consult the fabric store staff if they can recommend a couple of tailors for you. They usually have a reference of some tailors and they are quite happy to provide you with this information.

If however, they are not able to provide this information then you can search on the internet. Most of the tailors nowadays have their own user friendly websites. Even the fabric stores specializing in fashion fabrics have gone online nowadays. The best part about shopping from these online fabric stores is that they have a much wider variety of fabrics as they don't have a limitation of space unlike physical stores. The best part is that you can browse several stores at the click of a mouse and choose the one that appeals to you're the most. In fact you can even buy the fabrics from 2-3 different stores and all this without leaving the comfort of your home or office.

The purchased fabrics will be delivered to your doorstep within 2-3 working days and sometimes with no shipping charges. Another good thing about shopping from online fashion fabric storesis that they usually offer good discounts that can save you a lot of money. This is because these online fabric stores don't have to spend money on overhead costs like electricity bills, taxes, staff wages etc. They in turn pass on these saving to the customer in the form of sizeable discounts.

The best part of buying stretch woven fabric and other fashion fabrics from these stores is that you can exercise your own creativity with the garment that is made out of it. At the same time due to the fact that the garment is tailor made you will get the perfect fit that is not possible with readymade garments. For the designs of the garments you can consult several fashion magazines or even take the opinion of your tailors. Most tailors nowadays are well aware of the latest trends and will be happy to help you decide on a design that will suit your personality the most. The fabric stores nowadays are also ready with a few suggestions and you can consult their staff regarding the style of garment that will look best in the fabric that you are purchasing.

Making at Home Wedding Cookies with Best Use of Cookie Cutters

The idea of preparing cookies at home is fascinating as well as alluring for many people. Homemakers are interested to churn up these kinds of baked biscuits so that all the family members are able to enjoy the feast. Even for hosting friends and relatives during occasions, they can prepare the best cookies at home. Although, the practice may seem bit tough, but it is possible to design beautiful shaped cookies with the help of cookie cutters, which are nowadays available in the market with different designs.

•    Increasing popularity of cookies during weddings

For weddings and all related occasions, people are nowadays including the cookies as part of the menu for the guests. This is because of the huge popularity of wedding cookies and wedding favours UK, among the people. It is common to find these items being designed and presented for consumption by the guests during weddings. Cutters are interesting structures for preparing the cookies, because it is not only easy but also suitable for having the right kind of shapes for the occasions. Especially for weddings, these are of much use.

•    Popular among many for their tastes and beautiful designs

In the weddings, there are plenty of guests, starting from the family members to close relatives and acquaintances. There are adults as well as kids. When cookies are served during weddings, almost everyone likes the taste of these baked biscuits, more so with the features and shapes that are found with these along with the taste. It is therefore common to see the role of cookie cutters as important, if people were to serve these fresh and crispy cookies for the kids as well as adults. Since the cutters make it easy for preparing the biscuits at home, having some of these structures ready is a good idea. People can keep the dinosaur cookie cutter at home and prepare different shapes of animals and dinosaurs for the sake of fun for the kids. Even adults will appreciate and like the cookies prepared by the use of such cutters.

•    Cookies as popular items for favours given during weddings

Besides the use of dinosaur cookie cutter, the wedding favours UK can also be prepared at home with crispness and taste. This is supposedly a big and important feature of the weddings, because guests are given all these cookies as favours for their soliciting the occasion. These favours are wrapped inside boxes and given to people when they are departing. So, the wedding cookies are serving the purpose of tasty food items, as well as interesting wedding favours UK.

Many people order the cookies from bakeries, which are equipped with variety of cookie cutters in different shapes. There is dinosaur cookie cutter along with shapes of wedding ingredients. But, since these are available in the market also, they can easily prepare the items at home by buying the suitable shapes and ordering more over the course of time. These ingredients are making it easy for people to have their cookies in different shapes and whenever they want, for which not only the cutters are quite well known, but the cookies are eaten with more interest and fun.

Look Gorgeous With Fashionable and Trendy Clothing

Most of the women love modern and trendy clothing, especially those who need to go to work every day. They desire to look different and beautiful every day. They want to look good and feel good whenever they get out of the house. No doubt, every woman loves shopping. They prefer to buy fashionable clothes wholesale as they need to have all types and styles of clothes. Apart from buying wholesale clothing for personal use, you can also buy it for business purpose. If you are in the clothing business, then it is beneficial to buy wholesale clothing to save your money and time as well.

Women clothes like tops, jeans, skirts, dresses, pants, and even plus size clothes, everything is easily available in the market. You can also get women's top like tank tops, camisoles, halter tops, t-shirt, t-tops, and so on. In the present times, there are millions of online companies available in the web ocean that offer wholesale clothing at highly discounted rates. All you need to do is to find out the trusted online shop, place your order and receive your order at your doorstep. For finding a trustworthy online service provider, you can take the help of the World Wide Web.

There is one authentic online company available from where you can get wholesale clothing for the entire family. They are #1 online portal for buying designer, fashionable and top quality clothes for all age groups of people. Whether you want to get Wholesale Tee Shirts for personal use or for business purpose, just place your order at their website. An online company is based in Salisbury, NC. They specialize in supplying high quality as well as fashionable clothes for men, women as well as children. They carry an amazing collection of modern and stylish clothes. They offer such collection at wholesale rates. They believe in selling 1st quality, closeouts, graded irregulars and seconds.

They carry printed t-shirts, leggings, capris, tights, yoga pants, polo shirts, camo tees, pocket tees, socks, jeans, underwear, flannel shirts, tie dye tees, tank tops, hats & gloves, thermals and long johns, coats, and a lot more. They also offer accessories, including sunglasses, baseball hats, belts, hats, scrubs, wholesale long sleeve tees, winter knit hats, sweaters, hoodies, leather belts, mens underwear, denim jeans for men and women, denim belts, women sweatpants, winter coats, and so on. If you are looking for wholesale kids tees, then you can approach them anytime. They offer shipping services on all orders over $200. They deliver orders at customer's doorstep.

Find The Best Myntra Discount Coupons For Online Shopping

One of India's popular online shopping destinations Myntra has recently gone ‘only App', which means you can shop while you are on the move. No need to wait till you are at your laptop or PC. Simply log on to the Myntra App and use your boring travel times to browse through an impressive range of Clothing, Shoes, Accessories and more. So now do much more when you are on the move or traveling long distances. Don't miss out on the different occasional Myntra sales that keep happening. While you will get individual product deals on Myntra, it might help more if you could get Myntra Shopping Coupons that can be used across the Myntra site or across categories without restricting you to just some products. And this is exactly how CouponHind intends to help you grab great deals.

Mynrta Online Shopping

CouponHind is an online deals & coupons destination in India. In it's objective to keep sharing best deals and offers with it's customers, it keeps a tab on latest deals and declared offers by various of it's partner retail sites. CouponHind makes it a point to note and declare all such valid and value promising deals on it's website under respective store sections. Whenever you plan to shop online, do visit the website of CouponHind and therein review the various e-coupons listed there that will in all probability guide you to the most promising online retail site. CouponHind has partnered with most online retail giants and suppliers who have online presence. It keeps tracking and showcasing promo codes, discount coupons and vouchers that it's retail partners share with it regularly so that customers can benefit from these. So, do visit CouponHind and make your shopping an experiential one that gives the thrill of shopping and the satisfaction of saving money.

 Just like many other deals and coupons, CouponHind also keeps showcasing Myntra coupon codes from time to time. Avail of the Myntra discount coupons while you're cruising through the Myntra App and grab great deals. Simply visit CouponHind and check out the Myntra offers and deals that get listed by CouponHind on daily or weekly basis on their site.

 If you are shopping Apparels, then make the most with Myntra clothing coupons you can obtain at CouponHind. Don't miss checking out the brand-wise deals or category-wise deals on clothing when you are out shopping on Myntra. Not only might you get deals listed there on their site, but with CouponHind's Myntra coupons you will be able to max out on the discounts on the apparel orders you will be placing at Myntra.

 And not only clothes, you can also browse the CouponHind store for coupons on Footwear and get the Myntra best price on shoes and other foot gear too. Browse through a range of formal shoes, casual shoes, party shoes, sports shoes and more and select your pick and max out on payments.

 It doesn't stop at this. Once you've visited the Myntra Coupons section on CouponHind, you will undoubtedly find numerous coupons and discount vouchers across various categories and product segments. You can choose from among these depending on your shopping goals.

So, happy cruising on your phone; use Myntra promo codes to avail of the best prices on products on the Myntra App.

Create A Sensation With B Swim Swimwear

Summer is a perfect time for swimming enthusiastic. That is why most of the people start thinking of beautiful beaches and other water bodies. For fashion-forward women, swimming means fun, entertainment and different sorts of swimwear having lots of vibrant and soothing colors. Many women feel odd to be exposed in a swimwear with no comfort and appeal. Consequently, the selection of the right swim suit according to their comfort needs becomes prominent.

If you will feel confident then for sure you will look gorgeous. So, find a leisurewear which can bring your inner beauty in front of all in an elegant manner. Most important thing for choosing a correct swimwear is that you should consider which shape gives you the best frame of style and comfort. It should be able to minimize your body flaws and show your best features sophisticatedly.

B swim is a landmark in swim wear industry by its distinct and unblemished styles. It is globally recognized by the women who love to be in fashion and wear the outfit which give an attitude of fresh and trendy look. B swim is a popular brand for the best designs which are perfectly suitable for women who enjoy all types of water activities at summer festivals and different sandy beaches. This swimming costume collection will make you look unique with its one of a kind prints and custom trims. It comes in different size ranges as it will be reachable for every body shaped women.

The best part of swimwear is that it allows you to flaunt what you have. If you want to buy beachwear which gives you the pleasure of flatter your curves and shows off your waist, then your choice would be a bikini or tankini. If you are busty, then try halter bikini or one piece women's swimwear. It will provide you plenty of coverage and support to balance your look. Try different approach of bikini by mix and matching bikini top and bottom for a new look.

There are many varieties of b swim swimwear, but most of the full-figured beautiful women prefer to wear bikini as they are very comfortable in showing their beauty assets. Bikini is mostly divided in two parts, top and bottom. Bikini top can be in triangle shape, round and halter neck, which usually allow showing the body parts. The bottom can be a thong, skimpy cover up or connected with strings, which show off the beauty of legs.

Hip Hop Joggers - Spice up Your Wardrobe and Look Your Best

One of the most difficult tasks for every men and women of the world is to decide an appropriate clothing to wear on any particular occasion. People generally prefer to wear casual wears for most of the purposes as they are both comfortable as well as stylish. Casual clothing offers both elegance and comfy pleasure to the wearers. However, with the passage of years, the existing trends of fashion have been continuously changing. The evolution of the hip hop clothing has given birth to another level of trend statement. The very origin or birth of hip hop clothing has been taken place in New York City which has occupied different shapes in various other countries of the world.
The outstanding hip hop clothing also popularly known with the name of urban clothing comprises of extensive variety of apparels for both men and women to wear. The wide ranging collection of hip hop clothing includes baggy jeans, loose fitted t-shirts, hoodies, sweat shirts, joggers, bucket hats and 5 panel hats and many more. The apparels belonging to this hip hop clothing are generally worn in loose fittings which offer ultimate comfort and convenience to the wearers. One of the most popular and common bottom for men is new mens hip hop joggers.
Outstand among all
The new mens hip hop joggers are the extremely comfortable and amazing bottom wear for men which offer extra ordinary styling to them with their loose fittings. Men who carry these hip hop joggers become the major attraction for the huge masses. They are just required to pair them up with some amazing canvas shoes, t-shirts, hoodies or sweatshirts to always remain cool and calm. Match up a significant combination of such hip hop apparels to look extra ordinarily stylish and elegant.
Perfect for every occasion                                                    
Whether it is your best friend's birthday party or any other casual party, you can easily carry these types of baggy clothes to look stylish and chic. Most of the leading designers offer unexpected pairings of such clothing for both men and women to wear. This attire will ensure your outstanding presence among the huge mass gathering. The only thing people are required to concentrate on is to purchase such clothing from a reputed online store. There are numerous such online stores available which offer the huge collection of hip hop apparels at highly effective prices.
Match up a significant combination
People may combine their extremely comfortable hip hop joggers with different varieties of t-shirts or hooders varying in terms of color along with some smart canvas shoes. Such types of apparel will definitely redefine the realm of smartness among people. Being made of different varieties of fabrics, these joggers prove to be ideal for usage in every season of weather.  If you are unable to match up a perfect combination according to your personality, you can easily contact the customer support of the leading specialized online stores.  

Ladies' Apparel Online Shopping at Affordable Cheap Price

The site conveys looks that will make your outfit the discussion of the gathering. Tops, bottoms and nuts and bolts. From off-the-shoulder tops and cut-out tanks to the whitest shorts and designed maxi skirts, you'll cherish the imaginative looks you'll discover at Dainty Hooligan. Need new ballets, stockings, slips or bandeaus. We have the essentials you requirement for less. Swimwear and embellishments. From swimsuits and concealments to the adornments you need most, has the chic pieces you need most. Investigate our scarves, belts, headbands and shades, as well. Our ladies' and youngsters attire boutique conveys differing accumulation of fun, hot and smart dresses for each event. From minis to maxis, you'll cherish the midyear vibe at Dainty Hooligan. We even convey a determination of dresses you'll cherish under sensible value rate.
Los Angeles Clothing Store presents you Handbags, and shoes. What young lady doesn't love another tote or pair of shoes? At Womens Fashion Online Boutiques you will get a pretty rich design, we convey totes and shoes that will take you from day to night and back once more. While there power not be anything the matter with your garments, they ought to at any rate help channel that you are as a man. Your garments ought to supplement your way of life and leisure activities. On the off chance that you peer inside your wardrobe and get one major, now is the ideal time to get the opportunity to work. Building an extraordinary closet doesn't regularly occur incidentally. On the other hand, whenever there are huge changes throughout your life, you ought to consider changing or redesigning your closet essentials. On the off chance that a situation like the ones underneath comes up, you may need to redesign your closet with somewhat less cautioning. Come and shop with us at sensible cost.
Have a great time shopping at the Women's Fashion Online Boutiques today. Style is the straightforward idea that your look is intentional. It means assembling a closet that addresses your identity and hobbies. Ever strolled into a store and saw a top that helps you to remember somebody. At that point you can perceive the other's feeling of style. It's simply a question of discovering the style that best fits you. At the point when to consider a New Style & Clothing You're crisp out of school or began another employment. Your life has changed and your closet needs to mirror that. In the event that you've gone from a situation where shirts and pants were worthy to one where custom-made jeans are the best way to go, then your look needs an overhaul, immediately.
They say you ought to dress for the employment you need, and all things considered. Nobody needs to take direction from a man who appears as though they simply took off of bed or is wearing their more youthful sister's garments. In the event that your life has all of a sudden push you under the spotlight or there's another manager to awe, we verify you to not look a diversion or more awful, 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Naaptol Online Shopping raises Rs 136 crore from Mitsui & Co

NEW DELHI: Naaptol Online Shopping, which owns and operates TV shopping and ecommerce platform, has raised Rs 136 crore from Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co, the latest example of global investors continuing to back Indian online retailers.

Existing backers New Enterprise Associates, Canaan Partners and Silicon Valley Bank also participated in Naaptol's Series C or third round of institutional funding, which closed last month. The Mumbai-headquartered firm will use the money for expansion.

"We are already in 24/7 format across languages, and in this fiscal, we hope to be the largest home shopping network in India," said Manu Agarwal, founder and chief executive of Naaptol.

While Agarwal did not disclose exact stake sold to Mitsui, dilution is believed to be in single-digit percentage points. Investment bank Jefferies India was the financial adviser in the transaction.

Mitsui owns a sizeable stake in Japanese TV shopping retailer QVC Japan as well as home shopping networks in China and Japan. Naaptol competes with Reliance-owned HomeShop18, the country's largest TV shopping firm, as well as with TVC SkyShop and StarCJ. "Automation of our supply chain is also right on top of our agenda. We will be focusing on doing more creatives across more products," said Agarwal.

Naaptol is targeting commission revenue - which is net revenue, not gross - ofRs 530 crore for fiscal 2016, a 54% increase over its 2014-15 revenue. "We're not losing a significant amount of money, and expect to get into profitability by the end of this (financial) year," Agarwal said. The company derives about 85% of revenue from television, which it expects to grow to 90% this fiscal.

Indian home shopping grew by 6% in 2013 to Rs 1,210 crore last year, according to market research firm Euromonitor.

In June last year, global private equity firm Providence received approvals from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), the regulatory agency mandated to clear foreign direct investments in the country, to buy out Star Group's 50% stake in home shopping network StarCJ for an estimatedRs 300 crore.

Prior to the latest round of funding, Naaptol had raised $38.5 million from its existing investors. Institutional investors now hold a majority stake in the seven-year-old company, which sells a variety of products, including apparel, consumer electronics, home furnishings and kitchen appliances.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

How Does the Biscuiteer Ensure Attractiveness of the Cookies in Market

Going by the demand of the market, it is seen that a lot of people are nowadays favouring the use of cookies in different occasions. Starting from weddings to birthdays, almost every occasion is marked with the servings of delicious baked biscuits and suitable cakes and confectioneries. All of such products can be brought from the bakeries these days because of improvised menus and methods of preparing. Since there are plenty of such bakeries, which are concentrating on the personalised cookies, designing, making and selling, it has been a boon for people looking out to provide cookies as gift items to their near and dear ones. Adding to the beauty and attraction of these cookies, the biscuiteer adds the necessary ingredients and designs for making it the best gift possible. 

•    Aware of demands of different varieties among the public 

Since the biscuiteer nowadays has different perspectives of baked items as per the changing requirements of the people, the preparations of such products have undergone significant change. Most of these changes have been brought about by the traditional way of gifting cookies or baked items, but in fresh manner. These days, there are cookie gift boxes being designed by the bakeries, in which there are personalised cookies, besides a few other items, which can vary from person to person as per the wishes. But, the factor of looks has always been the most important feature behind the cookies being given out as gifts, in a packing or wrapped in special papers.

•    Adding variations to the taste, shape and designs 

Best feature behind the personalised cookies being designed by the cookies for gift is the taste and shape that is possible with these items. With cookie cutter, bakeries are able to come up with all and any design that people want. This can range from the miniature robots to the shapes of plants and people. Hundreds of imaginable shapes and designs can be used in the cookies, especially when baked. Since these are prepared by special orders or during special occasions, people will find their choicest cookies in cookie gift boxes in all these occasions. On the other hand, there are bakeries that keep special order for designing special occasion cookies, which is an essential feature about these biscuits. Shapes of different types are of significance, because it helps in giving unique feel for the cookies, which is liked by young and old alike. 

•    Attractive designs and icing on the cookies 

Another contribution by the biscuiteer, towards the popularity is the special designs that can be put by means of baking or icing. This is supposedly an important part of most of the demand for cookie gift boxes, where people want to write names or have pictures or images or some other features on these cookies, so that they can convey the messages freely and clearly to their loved ones. These added features are hugely valuable as the cookies become attractive and tastier and are liked by one and all. This has ensured that the bakeries and biscuiteer give unique charm to these kinds of biscuits as gift items. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Attracting Cookie Lovers for Various Occasions with Decorated Biscuit Gifts

Gifts can be of varied types and each of these is filled with warmth and love when given to friends and families. So, when people find that there are certain items that bring such feelings, they gladly make it a point to gift them during different occasions. Usually during very close and personal occasions like baby showers, weddings and anniversaries, people are tending towards the purchases of biscuit gifts. In very large numbers of occasions, these items have become extremely popular and are being designed and made by bakeries and confectioneries in many places.

•    Decorations in the tasty cookies make them further alluring

Although the cookies or baked biscuits are popular among people, these items are being decorated and made attractive to allure buyers. This is the upcoming trend these days. When going for the purchase of the cookies, people can find plenty of designs already made and variety of other possible decorated biscuits that can be ordered. In this way, the market for decorated cookies has not only grown by leaps and bounds, but also seeing plenty of cookie lovers, with intent interest for buying such items so that they can gift their loved ones.

•    Cookies gaining popularity as gift items across occasions

It is because of the availability of variety of decorated cookies that their popularity as gift items has grown significantly. People are choosing to go along with these items as the safest choices of gifts because such biscuits are liked by all. Irrespective of the age and gender, all like these baked biscuits. When people receive cookies as gifts, it is an exchange of love and warmth, which will make it possible for them to express the feelings. Such feelings are possibly the basis of the popularity of these items as gifts in special occasions. Their popularity has grown to such an extent that almost in all occasions, there are cookies in the menu, to be served to the guests and in bakeries as gift items.

•    For special occasions, feelings are well represented with cookie gifts

For a lot of occasions nowadays, people choose to purchase the biscuit gifts, so that they can ensure that along with these cookie products, there is also warmth and lovely feelings exchanged. In an occasion as important as the baby shower for the parents, baby shower cookies are being designed by many bakeries and biscuiteers, which are hugely impressive. But, more than that, it is the cute little design that can be put on these biscuits, which are liked by the parents. Along with the cookies, all the best wishes and blessings for the parents and their to-be-born child is also mixed. This kind of feeling can very well be portrayed with these kinds of gifts.

•    Resources available to come up with beautiful designs of cookies

It is possible nowadays to decorate the biscuits with variety of designs, especially with icing instruments and baking machines in the market. Some of these can also be purchased for home use, while a lot of these are found in the commercial biscuit maker shops. With the help of such equipments and features, it is but natural that decorated biscuits are the flavour of gifting.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Now, companies hiring counsellors like Optum International to wean staff from online shopping

MUMBAI:For 32-year-old Anirudh Sehgal (name changed), an executive with a multinational corporation, online shopping brought distraction to his work and distress to his personal finances.

Sehgal would always have multiple shopping apps open on his mobile phone and shop secretly for thrill, spending a bulk of his salary buying unnecessary stuff. An online shopping de-addiction programme conducted by his employer last quarter came as a life saver. Optum International, the organisation that conducted the de-addiction programme, has since also connected him with a counsellor.

"We not only made him realise the long-term impact and possible ways to tackle this addiction, we also connected him to our financial advisors who helped him plan his expenses better," says Amber Alam, head of business (India), Optum International (formerly PPC Worldwide), a provider of employee counselling.

It has so far conducted online shopping de-addiction programmes for about 500 executives.

The tribe of such compulsive online prodigals is slowly growing, say counsellors and psychiatrists. This is forcing companies to come alongside and offer help to executives addicted to buying stuff online.

"Shopping addiction exists in our study on exploration of behavioural addiction in community," says Dr Manoj Kumar Sharma, additional professor, department of clinical psychology, NIMHANS, Bangalore.

About 4.7% of female respondents and 3.5% of male respondents admitted to online shopping addiction in a NIMHANS study of 2,750 people in the age group of 18-65 years. The study was funded by Indian Council of Medical Research, Delhi.

Every day, Sameer Malhotra, who heads the department of mental health & behavioural sciences at Max Healthcare, treats at least two patients struggling with compulsive online shopping disorders. Leading multinational corporations are seeking de-addiction and counselling assistance for their employees, companies that provide such assistance say.

'A lot of anxiety'

Optum International recently did a workshop for two leading multinationals in India. Each workshop is facilitated by a psychologist, who advises participants on behavioural aspects, and a financial analyst, who advises them on budgeting and shopping responsibly without going overboard. These are typically 90-minute sessions with 30-35 participants. Counselling sessions are also offered at the end of such de-addiction sessions.

"There is a lot of anxiety because people are spending money buying stuff on the Internet sitting in offices, airports, washrooms, wherever they can, and damaging their finances," says Alam.

Typical signs of online shopping addiction include loss of self-control, ignoring other tasks, binges of buying unnecessary products followed by stressed finances and guilt.

"This is a kind of compulsive behaviour where consumers get a kick or are compelled to buy things they do not need in abundance," says Max Healthcare's Malhotra. "It sometimes boils down to keeping them under supervision or keeping away plastic money from them," he adds.

Online retailers claim to be unaware of this syndrome. "We haven't come across any cases of online addiction among consumers so far," says Praveen Sinha, co-founder and managing director of "But we are better prepared in their recovery process by digging data of their shopping behaviour. I doubt this will ever become an alarming issue for the ecommerce sector in India," he adds.

An email query and calls to Amazon and Snapdeal went unanswered while Flipkart said it cannot comment since the company hasn't encountered such instances.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Online Shopping: Safety Tips

India is witnessing an unprecedented economic boom. We can see the effect of this boom all around us. Among others, there has been an exponential rise in consumer spending. At the same time, more and more consumers are looking for easy way to shop since their time is increasingly under pressure.

E-commerce or online shopping provides a way out. Given the near universal availability of Internet connectivity, consumers save time and efforts by shopping online. More and more merchants are realising the enormous potential of the medium of Internet and are gearing up to offer products and services.

As the potential of online shopping is being grasped, the risks are going up too, particularly for consumers. Sadly, many online shoppers ignore the pitfalls and do not follow even minimum risk protection norms. If anything, online shopping frauds are more dangerous, because once the security is breached, fraudsters can siphon off a lot of money without the victim realising it.

Following some non-negotiable security norms is not an option; it is a pre-requisite for a delightful online shopping experience. So, the next time you shop online, do follow these tips:

1. Link Of A Website: Avoid going to an online shopping site through a link or pop-ups, howsoever interesting the offers are. Always type the website address into the address bar. Be wary of tempting offers, as they may be from fraudsters who have created a fake site.

2. Look For The Image Of A Lock At The Bottom Right Corner: To make sure your website is safe, look for the image of a closed lock in the browser window. Click on the icon and ensure the security certification is displayed. You are vulnerable to identity theft when you are entering your information on a spoofed site.

3. Check Privacy Policy: Are you sure the seller of a website where you have given personal details is not sharing them with others for money? Check the Privacy Policy of the website to make sure what the seller will and will not do with details about you.

4. Be Wary Of e-mails: You may receive an e-mail that appears as if it is from the seller that you have shopped online. You may be asked for your personal information to "verify" the accounts or "clear-up" errors that have occurred. Before responding, reconfirm with the seller. Call up and confirm if necessary, or send a mail and act only after you get a response.

5. Secured Programs: If the purchases are through a debit or credit card, then make sure that you sign-up for the "verified by VISA" and/or "Master secured code program(s)". Each transaction will then be authorised only by you.

6. Anti-Spyware/Trojan Software: Make sure that the latest version of antivirus, anti-spyware or anti-Trojan programs are installed on your PC or laptop and are regularly updated.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Online shopping is the next big thing

It's late afternoon on a Sunday . and you are in the middle of IPL's final match between Rajasthan Royals and King's Punjab XI, and the wife reminds you that you have to go shopping. However bored you are, you know that it's month end and you are left with no choice but to go shopping. You switch on your laptop, visit at least three retail outlets' online shopping portals, shop for the best prices, and all this without missing even a single Shane Warne delivery to Yuvraj Singh.

Online retailing or e-tailing has been a distant concept in India , except in the travel and ticketing sector. The Future Group has been an early mover while others such as Reliance Retail, RPG Cellcom, and Tata Woolworths are gearing up to launch their own online shopping portals.

Importantly , smaller players such as Vishal Retail, Subhiksha and Spinach too are seriously looking at e-tailing as a future revenue generator. Says R Subramanian, MD, Subhiksha, "We are investing Rs 12 crore into this venture and expect 3-4 % of total business coming from online. We'll deliver across 400 towns we are present in."

Other than shopping the website will be designed to provide buyers with information such as new store opening, offers and promotions and so on. Vishal Retail is also looking at internet shopping, confirms its MD Ramesh Chandra Agarwal, "We plan to launch our online shopping portal in the next 4-5 months, and have already appointed a person to head the new venture."

He says prices on the portal will be 5-15 % lower than what a consumer pays in their stores. Figures released by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) state that the ecommerce market is expected to reach the Rs 9,210 crore mark by the end of 2007-08 , a growth of 30% over the current year.

Online is the largest contributor to the B2C e-commerce industry at Rs 5,500 crore for the year 2006-07 and is expected to rise to Rs 7,000 crore by the end of 2007-08 . Etailing stands at Rs 850 crore in the year 2006-07 and contributes maximum to the on-line nontravel industry. It is expected to be Rs 1,105 crore by end 2007-08 .

Reliance Retail is on the verge of rolling out its integrated e-tailing website that will include Reliance Fresh, Digital, Trendz and other verticals. The company will set up its own call centre and a separate team for it, says Ajay Baijal, president, Reliance Digital: "Cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune are going Wi-Fi and we see a massive opportunity here for online shopping."

Speciality mobile retail store chain RPG Cellcom too is making its on-line foray soon. Its marketing head Bishwajeet Pandey says, "The prices on-line will be no different from our store price, and we plan to charge a little extra for home delivery."

The challenges in replicating the success of physical stores online are very different, and retailers are eyeing a different set of value adds and experience to hook customers. Some are planning to introduce virtual shopping , where the customer can get a feel of moving around in a mall, and can click on the items he/she wants to buy.

Mumbai-based Spinach is among those looking at virtual shopping. Says its CEO Pushpamitra Das, "There's big business in on-line retailing and it's still untapped in India. We're planning a virtual shopping experience which will be launched very soon."

Retailers have begun viewing IT as one of the areas, which could strengthen their market position, and market share thereby. Most of the spending would be in supply chain management , point of sale systems, strategic merchandising and facilitating customer relationships.

It is estimated that India, China and Russia would be spending over $1.57 billion in 2010 on software, says a research report by AMR. The report mentions that retailers would hike their IT budget by 25% by 2010. Says Rob Garf, vice president and general manager of retail strategies at AMR Research, "To support growth initiatives, retailers in India, China and Russia are focusing on building a technology architecture."

Says Ajit Joshi, CEO, Tata Woolworths , "We'll either partner with TCS or IBM or a combination of both for our e-commerce venture. We are conducting a detailed study since an online business should be supported by excellent delivery systems."

Online retail is also expected to benefit the credit cards business. According to credit card companies, retail has been instrumental in boosting average consumer spending per card at stores. According to an AT Kearney report credit card transaction value in organised retail has been is growing at 35% in India.

So card issuers have been tying up with retail chains with an eye on larger prospects when online shopping opens up in a big way by 2010.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Danish fashion company Bestseller to bring premium brand Selected to expand in India

NEW DELHI: Danish fashion company Bestseller will soon bring in its premium brand — Selected — to expand its India portfolio to four brands. The privately-held company, which owns around 15 brands, currently operates menswear brand Jack and Jones, and women's brands Vero Moda and Only in the country.

"We have added one more brand, Selected, to our portfolio which we plan to launch in a couple of months," said Ranjan Sharma, chief information officer at Bestseller India.

The company will launch only the menswear collection under the Selected brand in the country to begin with. It will cater to a slightly premium category than Jack and Jones, Sharma said. Bestseller, which runs 120 exclusive stores in India, will launch Selected on one of the online marketplaces initially before taking it to the brick-and-mortar format at a later stage, he added.

One reason for the online-first strategy is that most Bestseller's customers in the country are young people who are increasingly getting accustomed to online shopping. "Across all three brands, our customers will range from 18 to 28 years and they are always online," Sharma said. "On ecommerce, we have grown from 1% -10% in the course of one year," he said.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pearl Jewellery Items Designed to Lure Women of All Age Groups

Nobody can understand the significance of different jewellery items better than a woman whether it is platinum jewellery, golden jewellery or silver jewellery women have vast options in all types of jewelleries. For instance if you ask from a layman that what is jewellery for you his reply would be any dressing accessory made from expensive metals like platinum, gold, silver, or bronze is jewellery which can be either in form of chain, rings, earrings, bangles etc. But if same question is asked from any woman her reply would be any dressing accessory made from diamonds, perals, of any of the metals mentioned above comes in category of jewellery items. Here it would be interested to know that although men are also aware about the diamonds and pearls but normally they do not pay much attention towards jewellery made from these precious stones. It is because of this jewellery box of every woman is always filled with different types of jewellery items.

Interestingly although jewellery box of every woman is filled with all types of jewellery items but the shine of Pearls necklaces have always fascinated every woman towards them and every woman wishes to atleast one or two sets of pearl necklaces in her wardrobe. The main reason behind fascination of every women towards pearl necklaces is due to fascinating charm that pearl necklace develops on their neck after wearing. The craze of women towards Pearls Necklaces can be witnessed from fact that as soon as woman buys pearl necklace or get it as gift from her husband she gets excited to let her friends know about it proudly. Moreover the extent of her craziness reaches at peak if she buys a necklace studded with pearls and diamonds because both being the expensive of all the stones and wearing such necklace can make woman feel like a queen among her friends.

Integration of pearls and diamonds in earring and pendants

Earrings is one of the common jewellery item which every women used to wear since her childhood since her early age and therefore where you will find limited numbers of other jewellery items in her jewellery box you will find huge number of earrings in her box in different shapes, sizes and designs. But earrings which grab attention of every woman or in other words which can lure any woman towards their brightness are pearls with diamonds in earrings. Although normally such types of earrings are given as gift to a woman who is close to your heart and which occupies an important place in your life. Apart from being blessed with beauty of both diamonds and pearls merged in one piece such earrings are an illustration that attachment between you and your soul mate is strong and truly exhibits your love and feelings towards each other. Another interesting feature of these earrings is that they can be wear on different events without any consideration.

Alike pearl and diamond earrings, Pearls with diamonds in pendants can also be a perfect gift for your lady love on special occasion of your life whether it your marriage anniversary or her birthday. Necklaces and chains have always succeeded in making every woman attracting towards them and when if she gets a pendant made from pearls and diamonds to be mounted on her necklace or chain not only enhances the value of that item but help her in grabbing the attention of everyone wherever she goes by adding an elegance to her personality.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Online shopping sees 117% growth

NEW DELHI: As consumers went on a buying spree during the festive season of Diwali and Eid, they have not even spared the online shopping sites, which reported a whopping 117 per cent increase in sales.According to data release by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) online sales during this festive stood at Rs 115 crore as against just Rs 53 crore last year.IAMAI said online sales registered 135 per cent increase in transaction and clocked over 8,10,000 transactions in three weeks as compared to 3,45,000 in 2004-05 season."With e-commerce revenues to cross Rs 1,180 crore for 2005-06 and a growing internet user base currently at more than 32 million its been a sparkling Diwali and Eid in 2005-06 as e-commmerce sales crossed to a whoppping Rs 115 crore in three weeks period," IAMAI president Preeti Desai said in a statement.More than 4,15,000 Indians made an average purchase of Rs 1,420, which ranged between Rs 1 to as high as Rs 1,40,000, using the online services this Diwali, it said.During the entire festive season, the most active online shopping days were from October 28 to November 3.IAMAI said consumer preference for products remained more or less similar as that of last year, with consumer electronics, such as digital cameras, mobile phones, DVD players and microwaves topping the shopping list in major cities, followed by gifts, apparel, jewellery and acccessories.There were more than 3,60,000 products available in catalogue for the online consumers to shop, it said.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Right tools can make online shopping easier

Online shopping can be a smart consumer's best friend, with the ability to easily comparison shop, search for discounts and make purchases with a few mouse clicks.

You could always visit shopping comparison sites, such as, or search for coupon codes at one of many code-aggregators. But now a slew of Web browser add-ons makes smart online shopping easier. Here's a sampling:

Billeo toolbar: With perhaps the most functionality, helps with shopping, discount codes and bill paying. It will autofill your logins and passwords to retailer sites, as well as forms for your shipping and billing addresses and credit card information. On the checkout page, it will alert you if a discount code is available for your purchase and autofill the code.

Billeo will save transaction confirmation pages to provide a shopping history. And it aids with paying via vendor sites.

Billeo is available for Internet Explorer and Firefox on Windows and Firefox for Mac.

Dealio: One important function Billeo doesn't have is comparing prices among retailers. will do that and search eBay. Comparisons include tax and shipping for a true apples-to-apples approach. The toolbar works with IE and Firefox on Windows only.

InvisibleHand plug-in: If you don't want a bunch of toolbars stealing your browser real estate, is for you. It shows itself only when you're on a product description page. It will alert you when another retailer has a lower price on the item. Firefox only.

Retailmenot and CouponCabin: and are among the better sites to search for coupon codes, which can be entered at online checkout to give you goodies, including discounts or free shipping. Both are available for IE and Firefox. Retailmenot also has a version for Apple's Safari browser.

PriceProtectr toolbar: Many retailers offer price-protection policies that refund the difference within a certain time frame, such as 30 days after purchase. makes it easy to log your purchases at its Web site, which alerts you by e-mail if the price drops within the retailer's price-protection period. Available for IE and Firefox.

But shopping toolbars can be controversial:

*Privacy. See what information it stores.

*Profits. Companies that make toolbars offering coupon codes and steering you to lower prices earn money by driving traffic to retailers.

*Rewards. You can grab some of that affiliate money by joining and using a shopping rewards program, such as

Monday, March 9, 2015

EBay supports Google over Brussels antitrust probe: Report

EBay Inc Chief Executive John Donahoe has supported arguments made by Google Inc in its defense in an antitrust case, saying the two companies are direct competitors in online shopping, the Financial Times reported.

Barriers between different areas of online commerce are breaking down, Donahoe said in an interview with FT, highlighting the challenges the European Commission faces in bringing the high-profile case.

The European Union accused Google of cheating consumers and competitors by distorting Web search results to favor its own shopping service, after a five-year investigation that could change the rules for business online.

Google said in a blog post that it strongly disagreed with the EU's statement of objections and would make the case that its products have fostered competition and benefited consumers.

EBay and Google were not available for comment outside regular US business hours.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Online shopping mantra in times of recession

MUMBAI: The economic slowdown might have led to a decline in footfalls at swanky shopping malls across the country, but shopaholics continue to shop, albeit on a different platform, the rapidly-growing online shopping, says a survey.

Shoppers shopped more frequently through online portals in Q4 2008 than in the same quarter of 2007, a MasterCard Worldwide survey said.

The average frequency of online purchases in India increased to 2.9 per cent in Q4, as against 2.6 per cent during the same quarter in 2007, a press relaese said here today.

MasterCard Worldwide recently published its latest Insight Report-Economic Crisis and Preference for Online Shopping in the Asia-Pacific, Middle-East and Africa.

The survey findings suggest that the economic crisis could have made online shopping more attractive, the release said.

"The one key factor for shoppers being motivated into online purchases may be the consumers' ability to compare prices across multiple outlets, hence achieving the important objective of value for money," the survey said.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

10 Ways to Get a Discount on Every Online Purchase

If you ask me, shopping online is the way to go. No need to pack the kids in the car; no need to fight the crowds in the store. All you need is yourself, your computer and a piece of plastic. And in some cases, you may even be able to do without the plastic.

In fact, paying without plastic is No. 10 on our list of ways to get a discount on everything you buy online. Keep reading to see what other strategies made the cut.

1. Chat with customer service. Even people who regularly haggle for purchases in person forget they can negotiate online. The best way to ask for a discount is to open up the chat box on the retailer's website.

Sometimes, if you leave your shopping window open long enough, a chat box will pop up asking if you need help. Other times you may need to unearth the chat option from the contact page of the site.

Once you get a representative online, tell them you're shopping on a couple sites and looking for the best deal. Ask if any discounts are currently available. If none, ask if the company ever does free shipping. There's no guarantee of getting a discount this way, but it's a tried and true method that has worked in the past for me.

2. Give the retailer a call. Maybe you're on a site that still lives in the dark ages and doesn't offer customer service via chat. In that case, the phone is your new best friend.

It's the same routine as when you're chatting. Explain you're shopping for a deal, and ask if they have any discounts available or if free shipping is offered. The worst they can say is "no."

3. Check out coupon code sites. RetailMeNot is the very first place I look before shopping online. I find it tends to be the most comprehensive and accurate source of coupon codes on the web. You can also check out ShopatHome, CouponCabin and FatWallet for savings codes.

If you're not familiar with coupon codes, they're usually a phrase or a string of numbers and letters that you enter on the checkout page for an instant discount.

4. Install an extension on your browser. When it comes to using coupon codes, you can save time by installing an extension on your browser that will automatically search for savings. Honey is the most popular option, but there are others such as Coupons at Checkout.

You could also add an extension that will search for better deals while you're shopping online. InvisibleHand is one example. It will comb through 600 retailers to see if a better price is available elsewhere.

5. Abandon your shopping cart. It may not surprise you to know that online retailers are tracking your every move. And it's undoubtedly distressing to them to see someone with a cartload of stuff close the tab and move along. That's probably why you may find a coupon code landing in your mailbox a day or two after you leave your cart.

To get this trick to work, you need to be logged into your account so the retailer knows who abandoned the cart. Then put your items in the cart and leave the site. The list of retailers who offer codes to those with abandoned carts is likely fluid, but RatherBeShopping has a list of 17 stores that have been known to dole out the discounts.

6. Sign up for the mailing list. With sites such as RetailMeNot, shoppers can easily share codes with others. However, some stores have made that difficult by issuing one-time use codes.

To get these, you need to be on the VIP list, aka the mailing list. Sign up to receive newsletters from your favorite retailers so you can get discount codes and sales announcements delivered straight to your inbox. Just be sure to use a secondary email address so your primary account isn't overwhelmed by these messages.

7. Use discounted gift cards. Another surefire way to save money, even when there isn't a sale or coupon code in sight, is to use a discounted gift card.

View all Courses Why would anyone ever sell a gift card for less than face value? In many cases, they come from people who've received them as gifts and want to convert them to cash. Having $40 in their pocket can be more valuable than having a $50 gift card to a store they'll never visit.

While some people sell discounted gift cards on eBay and Craigslist, I'm wary of handing over my cash for cards that haven't been verified. Instead, I prefer to purchase through websites like CardCash or CardPool, which offer some buyer protections. To compare the discounts offered on gift card sites, go to GiftCardGranny to quickly see what's available.

Finally, warehouse club members can look online or at their local store for discounted gift cards. Costco, Sam's Club and BJ's all have a selection of discounted cards that cover everything from dining to travel.

8. Shop through a cash-back website. Using a coupon code and paying with a discounted gift card is a great way to double dip on your savings. On some sites, you can triple dip by shopping through a cash-back website.

Ebates is my favorite cash-back site, but other sites, such as ExtraBux, are popular, too. Cash-back amounts can range from a fraction of a percent to up to 30 percent for some retailers. You simply need to create an account and click through it to the retailers. After you make a purchase, the cash-back site will credit your account, usually within 30 days. Once you reach a certain minimum amount, such as $10, you can cash out via Paypal or opt to receive a check in the mail.

Similarly, you could use a site like MyPoints to earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards. And don't forget about the shopping portal for your favorite credit card, which can be a way to earn bonus points or miles.

9. Share on social media. Companies like Social Rebate and ReferralCandy are in the business of setting up companies with referral programs that let customers gain discounts simply by sharing their purchase online. While not standard on most major retailer sites, you can find the option to share for a discount at some smaller stores.

Speaking of social media, sending a message to a company on Facebook or Twitter can be another option to request a discount code if you strike out on chat or over the phone.

10. Pay with points. Our final way to get a discount on everything you buy online is to leave the plastic behind and pay with points or rewards instead.

This option is one that is just starting to gain traction, but I wouldn't be surprised if more rewards programs and retailers jump on board in the coming years. Here are a couple of programs currently available:
American Express Membership Points can be used to pay on Amazon.
Etihad Guest participants can use PointsPay to redeem points at 30 million merchants worldwide.
Discover Cashback Bonuses can be spent on Amazon, iTunes and Overstock.
Find this article useful? Be sure to share it on your Facebook page. And if you have other ideas for saving money on your online purchases, we'd like to hear them. Share in our comments section below or on our Facebook page.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

5 Pitfalls Of Online Shopping

Online shopping is convenient, quick and embraced by most every kind of connected consumer. While it is well-known for the benefits, few are aware of the darker side of purchasing from a "virtual store". Get the facts behind shopping with the click of a mouse, and use them to decide if your next purchase will be better made in person. (Shopping from the comfort of your couch has major benefits - and some unpleasant side effects. Check out Shopping Online: Convenience, Bargains And A Few Scams.)
IN PICTURES: 5 Money-Saving Shopping Tips

Shipping Fees
With the cost of fuel being an ever-increasing consideration, it may be easy to assume that having your purchase shipped to your door is both efficient and affordable. Pay close attention to that final shipping fee, however. Some stores charge the same price for all packages (making light or tiny bundles a bad buy), while others charge a separate fee for each item shipped. Even worse, many retailers punish their most loyal shoppers by charging more for every dollar spent, making that expensive but dainty gift pricier than necessary.
Inaccurate Sizing
Most women know their dress size, but are also aware that variations can occur. With the fickle nature of U.S. catalog sizes, one brand may fit true to size while others can run small. Perhaps the best way to assure that your online purchase will be a perfect fit is to research the return policy to see if returns are free or can be done via your closest brick-and-mortar location. If not, it may be wise to see about trying items on before you buy. (If you must be a virtual shopper, check any comments or feedback left by others who have purchased similar items. They often share information about whether a brand runs true to size.)

Misleading Product Descriptions
One of the benefits of shopping online is that it is a truly visual experience. If a product looks appealing on your computer screen, it may very well look superb in real life. Unfortunately, the pictures and descriptions that accompany a product page can be confusing or even completely fraudulent. The more trusted the shopping site, the less risk you'll have of ordering based on an ambiguous photo or depiction. Stick to sites you know, and if the image and narrative don't jive - don't buy. (For many, online banking has become a day-to-day routine. Still, there are some holdouts who refuse to accept the method. Check out Online Banks: Lower Costs And Little Sacrifice.)

Payment Issues
Having an adequate credit line may seem like all the discerning shopper needs to finalize an online purchase. In some regrettable instances, however, customers have been met at the final stages of their purchase with slow-loading pages, error messages, or no indication that their order went through - leaving them to wonder if their purchase was even made. Many websites instruct shoppers to "avoid hitting the payment button twice", since this could leave the consumer with a duplicate order (and double the bill). Be aware of how the payment page works before you hit "submit", and if a retailer won't allow a final review of your order before you buy, it may be best to walk away.

Poor Packaging
Some sites are known for their excellence in packaging. Amazon, for example, has even been criticized for its over-zealous (and reportedly wasteful) packaging, using more bubble wrap, inner boxes and packing tape for its packages than many of its competitors. On the other side of the spectrum reside retailers who skimp in this category, leaving a wake of frustrated shoppers who open their online purchase to find broken and damaged items. Even those who have a good track record of making sure their shipments are secure can't escape the casualties that can be caused by a careless order fulfillment employee or the hasty delivery driver. The only way to be absolutely certain that your purchase will get to you safe and sound is to pick it up from the store yourself.
IN PICTURES: 5 Ways To Control Emotional Spending

The Bottom Line
Buying online can be a gamble, so it is always best to allow for a little wiggle room with your purchase. If you need a gift for an event coming up within a day or two after your order is scheduled to arrive, you may not have time to rectify issues and get a replacement in time. Still, shopping via the web can be a money-saving endeavor, provided you're patient, wise, and up for the challenges. (Don't get taken for a ride. Learn the pros and cons before the salesperson makes a pitch. See Car Shopping: New Or Used?)

Deutsche Post aims for top spot in e-commerce logistics: paper

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Post is aiming for a top spot in the global logistics market for online shopping, its chief executive told a German weekly, adding small acquisitions could help achieve this.

"Indeed, we want to be a global leader in logistics services for the e-commerce sector. In Germany, we're the number one already," Frank Appel told Euro am Sonntag in an interview published on Saturday.

Deutsche Post, the world's biggest postal and logistics group, is best known internationally for its DHL parcel delivery business but it is keen to win more work from the global boom in online shopping.

E-commerce is expanding rapidly, with online retail sales in Europe seen doubling from 2012 levels to around 323 billion euros ($440 billion) by 2018, market research firm Mintel forecasts.

Appel said it was the group's goal to grow organically in the e-commerce sector.

"However, smaller acquisitions ... are always possible - also in this area," he said.

Deutsche Post, which went public in 2000 and lost its German mail monopoly seven years later, makes three-quarters of group revenues from its DHL logistics business, compensating for the decline in traditional letter deliveries.

($1 = 0.7336 euros)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Geneva mom tries alternative to online shopping

Online shopping has been displacing bricks-and-mortar trips for many consumers, but this year that trend has been reversed for Lisa Fullerton.

The Geneva stay-at-home mom typically shops online during the early holiday season, but this year she and her sisters decided to start a new family tradition of coming downtown for Black Friday shopping and lunch.

"I worked at a Gap outlet last Black Friday and saw a lot of families do that, and I thought it would be a fun tradition," Fullerton said.

She got downtown at about 10:30 a.m. on Black Friday. Her first stop was the Gap store on Michigan Avenue, but nothing caught her eye. She then visited Eddie Bauer across the street, where she bought $250 in merchandise, mostly gifts.

She was then off to meet her sisters at the Weber Grill restaurant, a recommendation by an Eddie Bauer worker.

Fullerton figured that she'd spend about another $50 on gifts today, bringing her total Black Friday spending to about $300, but still hasn't bought anything for her two kids, ages 10 and 8. She figures that she'll spend about $800 by the time the holiday is over, about the same amount as last year.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Is Online Shopping Killing Brick-And-Mortar?

Imagine one evening after a tiring day at work, you flop down for a quick nap but end up pulling a Rumplestiltskin, falling into a deep sleep that lasts years. When you finally wake up, it's the year 2025 and you're just in time for the holidays. You dash out of the house, searching frantically for places to do your shopping … but there aren't any. You can't find a single retail store among the supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants, car dealers and other businesses you're used to seeing. (Find out the best plays for taking advantage of the expected rise in mobile payments and money transfers. See Mobile Payments Predicted To Skyrocket.)

Then the memories come flooding back. You recall that in the Summer of 2011, when your long nap began, online shopping had already begun to wreak some pretty serious havoc with traditional bookstores and movie rental places. People were increasingly getting books and movies online. Now, nearly 15 years later, brick-and-mortar retail businesses of all types are pretty much extinct.

This is probably quite an exaggeration of things to come. But unless you've been soundly slumbering like Rumplestiltskin, you're well aware of how the Internet has begun to change retail. Here's the current situation for four brick-and-mortar retail chains that have suffered financially, or dramatically altered their businesses, because of the rise in online shopping.

Currently the second-largest bookstore chain in the nation, Borders is the latest casualty of online shopping. On July 18, the company announced it will be going out of business, closing hundreds of stores, and laying off nearly 11,000 employees. The inability to compete with online bookseller is a major reason for Borders' demise, experts say. Books-A-Million, the nation's third-largest bookstore chain, is in talks to acquire a small number of Borders stores, so perhaps at least some of those being laid off will be able to keep their jobs as Books-A-Million employees.

There aren't any reports of serious financial trouble at this huge bookstore chain, which is essentially the "Barnes & Noble of Canada." But online shopping has certainly prompted major changes in its business model. The company now does a lot more of its book sales online and has introduced a wide variety of non-book products at its physical stores. Customers will still find a Starbucks cafe at most Chapters locations, though the number of seating areas has typically been reduced. (Shopping from the comfort of your couch has major benefits - and some unpleasant side effects. Check out Shopping Online: Convenience, Bargains And A Few Scams.)

Barnes & Noble
Like Chapters, Barnes & Noble is trying to adapt to stiff online competition from and others. The company's biggest move recently was to introduce NOOK, an Android-based e-bookstore, and it plans to invest heavily in online retail going forward. In the short-term, Barnes & Noble's brick-and-mortar operations will probably remain reasonably solid because of their broad book selections and high-quality amenities like Starbucks cafes, comfortable reading areas, and literary events. However, only time will tell if the company can survive mainly on book superstores in the long-term as online competition intensifies.

Once the undisputed king of the video rental industry, with more than 4,000 locations and about 60,000 employees, Blockbuster succumbed to competition from Netflix and other online DVD rental services. The company filed for bankruptcy nearly a year ago and was acquired in April by Dallas-based Dish Network. By then, nearly 1,000 Blockbuster stores had been closed. Blockbuster is now attempting to compete directly with Netflix through its Total Access service that enables subscribers to rent DVDs online.

The Bottom Line
These are just four examples of brick-and-mortal retail operations that have felt the effects of online shopping to various degrees, from having to change the way they do business to going flat broke. Not surprisingly, competition from e-commerce is only expected to increase. In the past decade, online retail sales have grown by more than 20% annually compared with only 2.9% for retail sales overall. Still, brick-and-mortar businesses are unlikely to disappear completely. Instead, many experts see retail evolving to a point where retailers more often have online and traditional outlets that complement each other. But in the meantime, there'll probably be more casualties like Borders and Blockbuster. (For further reading, see What We Can Learn From 2011 Tech Leaders.)

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Lowest Online Price: Amazon, Best Buy, Target or Walmart?

"Where can I get the lowest price?" should be an easy question to answer. But it's not.

Thanks to a slew of factors ranging from shipping fees, special offers linked to credit cards and price-matching guarantees, it can be difficult for shoppers to find the best possible price on an item. Making things even more complicated are retailers' sophisticated algorithms, which respond to changes in the marketplace and sometimes adjust prices more than once a day.

Excluding these complexities, CNBC teamed up with personal finance website NerdWallet to track base prices on 11 consumer electronics products over 12 consecutive weeks at,, and

For the purposes of the study, which was conducted using NerdWallet's DealFinder tool, the base price was only adjusted when the retailer offered a gift card with the purchase. Products examined included a Fitbit Flex, Sony PlayStation 4 and a 16-gigabyte Apple iPad Air. Prices for the last one is charted below.

According to the findings, Amazon ruled the pricing jungle, with Walmart coming in a close second. In some cases, Amazon noted that its price advantage came from its third-party seller marketplace, where it does not influence pricing. Target and Best Buy most often tied for the highest online prices.

Price-Match Guarantees

NerdWallet senior retail analyst Matt Ong said that Amazon and Walmart have the most advanced pricing software algorithms and that "It looks as if Target is either choosing not to play the [pricing] game, or is just not as advanced in its [pricing] technology."

In response to the study's findings, spokespersons for Target, Best Buy and Walmart all pointed to their price-match guarantees. Rafi Mohammed, founder of pricing strategy consulting firm Culture of Profit, said price-sensitive consumers can almost always get the best price at any retailer by taking advantage of price-match policies available-so long as they're willing to invest the time.

A separate finding from the CNBC/NerdWallet study found Best Buy had the top track record for being in stock. Only one of the items included in the study was out of stock one time during the 12-week tracking period.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Shoppers Demand More From Their Online Shopping

"That's all your house is: a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff!" -- George Carlin

Consuming goods. Buying stuff. In a word: shopping. Myrtle Beach-based advertising agency The Brandon Agency has called it "America's new favorite pastime." (The "new" part is debatable, but "favorite"? Definitely!) And yet, for many of us, there's a big problem with the shopping experience -- and it's the subject of a new poll out of Gallup.

Polling some 12,055 adults nationwide last Christmas shopping season, Gallup discovered that about 1 in 3 (35 percent) of us are doing more of our shopping online than we did a year ago. But the more "stuff" we buy online, the less satisfied we become with the shopping experience.

This is contrary to what you might expect -- that familiarity with a store's website layout, and the ability to save a shipping address and credit card number for later use, would ease future transactions and make for a smoother and smoother shopping experience the more times a shopper visits a site. In fact, the opposite seems true. Familiarity with a website instead breeds contempt!

The Numbers

Comparing two sets of shoppers, one comprised of "retail customers overall" (online and offline) and a second group that shops online more often than the norm, Gallup found that the second group is 1 percentage point less "fully engaged" with a retail brand -- and could be as much as 7 percentage points more "actively disengaged."

This suggests that even if a shopper likes a particular brand in theory, exposure to the online shopping experience is unlikely to make said shopper like the brand any more. But it could well make the shopper like the brand less.

That's how much shoppers dislike the online shopping experience.

What Companies Want

Why is this important to the companies selling the brands to the consumers? In a nutshell, because "fully engaged" shoppers are much more profitable to a company than run-of-the-mill customers. Shoppers who have a "strong, positive emotional attachment to a company" (i.e., are "fully engaged") tend to spend more on, and produce more profits for, that company. (About 24 percent more, according to Gallup.)

That alone argues in favor of a company making an extra effort to engage its customers. But how?

What Shoppers Want

Curiously, the answer isn't that companies should offer to sell more "stuff" to consumers, or even sell them better stuff. Rather, Gallup's research shows that "service is more important to customers than products."

View all Courses In particular, Gallup notes that the customers it's talked to demand "the same type of personal, convenient service they receive at a storefront" when shopping online. That's not easy to accomplish in a remote shopping transaction, but Gallup says that by offering "live chat sessions with company representatives" and "personalized recommendations" of things to buy, an online store can better mimic the storefront experience.

The demand for the same service both online and offline also suggests companies should make an effort to "align online and storefront channels." Says Gallup, "retailers must deliver a seamless online and in-person experience." Otherwise, if a company offers one line of products online, for example, and another in store (or one level of service online, and something better in store), a customer might see no reason to patronize the company's online business at all. Customers might instead choose a consistently reliable service such as (AMZN) whenever shopping online.

But what's the No. 1 most important thing a store can do to improve the online shopping experience, and win shopper loyalty online? Gallup data shows that "problem resolution" is absolutely key. It seems that, even 15 years into the new millennium, shoppers are still deathly afraid of buying stuff online only to find they don't like it and have to figure out how to return it (or fear they'll never get it at all).

Turns out, smoothing over delivery problems, and making online shopping as easy and hassle-free as in-store shopping, is perhaps the single most important thing a company can do to ensure its brand value doesn't suffer from the online experience. What's more, says Gallup, "Retailers that perfect their customer service gain a significant competitive advantage over retailers who focus most of their efforts on delivering the latest and greatest products."

Better service, better profits. It's really as simple as that.

While generally in agreement with Gallup's findings, Motley Fool contributor Rich Smith thinks Gallup might have missed a couple of points for improvement. Namely, more free shipping -- and free shipping on product returns, too. He has no position in any stocks mentioned, but The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Discounts Have Cost E-Commerce Websites Around Rs. 1,000 Crore in Losses: PwC

E-commerce companies have incurred combined losses of around Rs. 1,000 crore due to heavy discounting strategy and this model is not feasible in the long run, a PwC report said.
"Offering lower prices will not be viable in the long term. Despite luring in customers in the initial stages, lower prices won't be able to retain customers in the long run.

While the discounting will continue for some more months, e-tailers are thinking beyond discounts to acquire customers and build loyalty," the report said.

The combined losses faced by e-tailing companies as a result of their discounting strategies now stand at almost Rs. 1,000 crore, the report said without giving the time frame for these losses.

Out of a total of 1,005 respondents surveyed as part of the PwC study from India, almost half the respondents said they preffered to shop online due to better deals and discounts offered by these retailers.

"A majority of e-commerce players are start-ups and, therefore, are working towards rapidly scaling up their market share. They have been aggressively planning and implementing discounting strategies, which would make the customer sit up and take notice," it said.

Pointing out that price has emerged as the biggest differentiator driving consumers to shop online or in-store, it said the customer habits have changed, as they are used to discounts throughout the year.

The PwC report said the 'predatory' pricing strategy of e-commerce companies isn't helping their stand with the premium brands.

It found that with valuations of e-commerce companies skyrocketing, there is increasing pressure from investor firms to cut down on discounts and concentrate on making profits.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Online Sales of Consumer Goods and Retail in India to Grow 40 Percent: Report

The Indian consumer goods and retail industry is estimated to witness its online sales growing by 40 percent till 2019, which is the fastest among the emerging markets, while store-based sales will grow by just 10 percent, according to a report.
As per the report by EY and the Consumer Goods Forum on global consumer goods and retail omni-channel supply chain, online sales to be witnessed in Indian consumer goods and retail industry will be the second fastest globally after Nigeria at 79 percent.

In India, growth in store-based sales is expected to be at 10 percent, vis-a-vis 40 percent growth in Internet sales, the report said.

During 2014-19 period, global online sales for the consumer goods and retail industry would grow by 15 percent, while the traditional set up would have a growth of 5 percent only.

"In emerging markets, the gap between store-based and online growth will be even greater," the report added.

In the emerging markets category, India is followed by its arch-rival China with an expected online sales growth of 21 percent and 8 per ent from traditional establishments during the period.

Highlighting the need to build a more responsive, integrated supply chain and improve consumer visibility, the report said omni-channel is fast becoming the key driver for consumer products and retail sector growth, but few can make it profitable using the traditional supply chain.

Commenting on the findings, EY's Global Supply Chain and Operations Leader Andrew Caveney said: "Reengineering the omni-channel supply chain must be a priority for consumer goods companies and retailers if they are going to remain relevant to both the consumer and their shareholders."

Interestingly, online sales growth in developed markets like the US and the UK are estimated to be only 12 percent, which are below than the global average of 15 percent.

Similarly, France and Germany would have 13 percent and 14 percent online growth, respectively, for consumer goods and retail industry.

As for store-based sales growth, France and the UK would have a growth of 2 percent, Germany and the US at 3 percent and 4 percent, respectively, during 2014-19, which is again below than global average of 5 percent.