Need The Key To Smart Shopping? Start Online!

Recall your last Shopping experience and list out the shopping traps, you got caught up with. Compare against this standard list of common shopping mistakes, shoppers tend to commit:

a) Forgetting your grocery list or shopping list, back home

b) Not sure, which are the items, you’re running short on

c) Enticed at the sight of all ‘New Arrivals’ and other displays at the store

d) Tickled by the idea of saving smart with “Huge Sales” and other such captions

e) Missed on one of the ‘Most Needed Items’

f) The “Impulsive shopping disorder”

g) Your kids running all over the store persuaded you, into purchasing a stack of unwanted stuff. Of course, you couldn’t say no to him!

h) You lost track of your shopping budget, going overboard!

i) Comparative shopping syndrome: Other shoppers give you pointers on what else you could need

j) Not so well Informed Store Assistants! Web could have been better than this

k) Long queues & waiting lines at the check counters. Time Out!!!

l) Jam-Packed parking lots, at the mall. And that extra effort, gas and the swelling bills.

Honestly, if you had committed even 3-4 out of these 12 most common shopping mistakes, it’s time you should look up to web for rescue. Don’t you agree overtime, your over indulgence robs you off the much needed cash at hand? Or else, shocks you with blown up credit card bills, at the end of every month. More often than not, the shopping trips culminate into a nightmare, with not so planned and unorganized indulgence at the shoppers end. ‘Online shopping’ on other hand is one where you still have a controlled shopping environment and as such, comparatively lesser chances of splurging & regretting, later on. Nevertheless, the disadvantages that accompany are as crucial to the shoppers. For instance: insecure online payments, home delivery concerns, mishandling of the stuff by shippers, late delivery, loss of shipment, visible differences in the item displayed online and in the shipment, received and much more.

Well, how about balancing your offline shopping with a little online planning? That means you can still evade a lot of differences, anxiety and shopping mistakes by combining a few web elements (or say tools) into your shopping activity. Make your shopping more planned, organized, more manageable and more fun. This is how you could do it:

1) Prepare a list of items you need to shop for. I knew you always did! But this time, I want you to do it over the web. Go online, open up a spreadsheet or a word document and quickly list out your items. Print and take them along. Follow closely, with the requirements you have listed out.

2) Shop online with smart gadgets and carts. This means, you can directly log on to your favorite stores like HomeGrocers.com or TraderJoe or any other store, you like for grocery and other related shopping. And simply, create your online shopping lists. Print them and carry it over wherever you go.

3) Try Shopping 2.0! In case, you don’t have a preference for stores and wish to shop at a combination of stores offline or online, use web applications and shopping tools like ‘Shopping List’ at Infodoro.com or Froogle at Google.com. These web based shopping lists could be created, managed, stored and even accessed online. This is the biggest advantage, if you had been forgetting your shopping lists back home. You can login and access it anytime and even over your cell phone.

4) Creating a shopping list not always means, only jotting down all items you need. This is anyways what your brain can easily store, process and recall. What could still slip off would be stuff like quantities, brands and the stores, from where you need to get an item. Utilize shopping tools like Shopping Lists and Froogle, to create an organized shopping list with items, item descriptions, stores, quantities, categories and more details you wish to capture.

5) Shopping Smart is not always about faster and organized shopping but also saving all the dollars you can. You got it right! I was coming to coupons, you could always redeem for items at the stores you shop at. After all, why end up paying more when you know you could save with coupons. Just make sure you are on the look out for coupons from your previous purchases and that in the newspapers and do carry them along when you go shopping. There would still be many, who will forget to carry them or completely miss on making use of it, while standing at the counters and making payments. The solution is to store all your coupons in a Shopping bag, no matter whenever you get your hands on one. Make it a ritual and keep doing it always. This way, next time you go shopping, you won’t have to at least forget them back home. And to remind you of the coupons when paying off the bills, simply list coupons or add coupons to your online shopping list. That means, indicate ‘Coupons’ next to items you have it available for. And do keep an eye on your ‘Shopping list’ when paying off the bills. This way, you’ll definitely utilize your Coupons and save a few dollars. Web applications like ‘ShoppingList’ at Infodoro and even online shopping stores, have a section for coupons on their online shopping list tool and shopping carts.

6) Prioritize your Items as ‘Most needed’ to have a quick list of the immediately needed items. Again, web and a few desktop shopping applications help you filter your shopping lists by ‘Most needed’ items like for Coupons. Use these web applications and you’ll realize the shift in your overall shopping behavior besides purchasing & spending patterns.

7) Make Specialized Shopping lists sorted by Category and Stores. To make you shopping chore more manageable, you can always consider staying focused. You can split your list of items and share some of your shopping tasks with your family members, children or spouse. Web applications allow for sorting of your shopping lists and segregating of items by stores and categories in ascending or descending orders. Using web, you can forward one half of your shopping list to your spouse to let her pick up stuff from a store next to her work place and you can take care of the other half with stores, on your way back home. This way, you save time and don’t have to struggle with parking problems, at all stores you stop by. You can also sort your lists by item categories and decide what are you good at & what could be taken care of by your children or partner. Suppose, you can be quick and more decisive at grocery shopping whereas someone else in your family can do well at merchandise shopping et cetra. Splitting your list by categories and sharing some of your shopping tasks with others, would also save you a lot of time, gas, efforts and struggle with the not so supportive store staff.

By integrating a little web usage in planning for your shopping tasks, you can easily spare yourself a lot of time, efforts, gas and the mistakes that you keep repeating always. What’s the harm, if you could optimize your personal time, with a little planning online? Use web to your advantage, be it concerning tasks like shopping or planning shopping! And next time, you come across a baffled shopper, don’t forget to offer tips and tricks that could make him smarter too.

“Enjoy Smart Shopping with Shopping 2.0, setting in!”

A Guide To Shop Insurance

Owning and running a shop can be hard enough work in itself, often seven days a week, without the additional worry of what might happen to your livelihood should the worst happen. Fortunately there are many different shop insurance policies available today covering all the risks that a retailer might face in running a business from a premises that sells goods and services to the public.

A shop insurance policy will contain a variety of covers, packaged up for the convenience of the shopkeeper.

These include shop buildings and contents cover, stock in trade cover, business interruption and loss of profits, money cover and staff fidelity insurance, legal protection, window & glass cover for shop fronts, goods in transit, public liability, employers liability, and various options to cover shop specific risks. Shop insurance packages will include as standard most of the above risks, whilst some insurers allow the prospective policyholder to select the covers that are appropriate for their particular type of shop.

Shop Insurers use various basic rating factors to decide premiums and postcode and annual turnover are major factors.

The location of your shop will largely determine the price you pay for cover, in particular for shop stock and contents. A shop located in a run down housing estate with known propensity for theft and vandalism will command a much higher premium than one located in a modern shopping centre with street security and CCTV. Annual turnover is used to calculate cover levels such as the impact of a loss on a shops ability to trade.

Shop buildings insurance covers the costs of rebuilding the shop and the costs of replacing the shop front, which is invariably made of glass. All buildings insurance covers permanent fixtures and fittings such as toilets and doors. This cover is available for both shop owners and those who lease the property.

Shop contents insurance covers all the additional shop fittings and equipment that is used in the daily running of the business. Most insurance companies will require a breakdown of the contents of the shop into sums insured fo business equipment, fixtures and fittings, electrical and computer equipment, tenants improvements, refrigerated stock and all other stock.

Shops that require protection for high risk goods held on the premises will usually need to declare the total values of each stock item. High risk shop stock and goods are those that attract thieves and are expensive to replace. Examples of high risk stock items are electronic equipment, cigarettes, and tobacco, designer clothing, computers and digital equipment, software, computer games and consoles, drugs pharmacy and medicines, watches and jewellery, mobile phones and radios, photographic equipment, power tools, TVs, DVDs, CDs and Wines and Spirits.

If your shop has high risk stock you can reduce the cost of your premiums by having adequate security in place. This includes an insurance company approved burglar and fire alarm, window grills, shutters and bars, CCTV and sprinklers. Many shop insurers will only offer stock cover if the minimum levels of security are in place for all shops, regardless of the stock contents held. A lot of insurers may offer further large discounts to the premium if the shop owner lives on or above the premises and is there at night.

Shops by their very nature deal with members of the public and a good insurance policy will usually contain liability cover as standard. This should include Public Liability of up to £2,000,000 for any one claim by a member of the public who may suffer loss or injury visiting the shop.

If you employ staff all policies will offer Employers Liability cover of up to £10,000,000 one event and because shops sell goods and services, Products Liability cover of £2,000,000 for any one period of insurance.

Other standard features of a shop insurance policy are various levels of cover for Legal expenses and Legal protection, Employers, Public and Products Liability, Loss of profits, Glass and Sanitary Ware, Money cover and staff Personal Accident assault, Business Interruption, Goods in Transit, Loss of Licence, Treatment Risks and Seasonal increases in stock contents value.

We Earn Money, Shop Till Our Souls Get Tired – The Never Ending Process

“Shopping and buying” in the layman’s perspective, “Purchasing” in the marketing parlance all means to give money for something we get. To be short, it is trade. Barter was one system those days to exchange goods against goods where no money and calculation came into action. For example a kg of rice was exchanged for a kg of wheat and so on. Those days have gone. Now it is all money. People started thinking big when they started earning more and more. The situation is like they purchase just because they have come to that status and sometimes just because it is possessed by their neighbors. I feel ownership of something is valued more than value of money. Books define market as, “A place where buyers and sellers meet and exchange their products and services”. Today, it has become a stage for earning money. People have become so much obsessed with shopping and exploring products. Well, it’s up to people how they look at it. Some buy just because they want to possess it, some do shopping as a hobby, relaxation, and some create a situation for them to shop and so on. It is endless.

Developing a craze towards shopping depends on the mindset as well as buying behavior of a person. Quality of goods, customer satisfaction, and seller’s attitude play a very important role in dragging customers to their shop. Generally discounts; good shopping environment, customer relationship management, value added services etc are some of the strategies/activities they perform to keep loyal customers. Well, product availability, services, variety of branded goods, assortment of products, store ambiance etc are considered very important.

Shopping is done by each one of us almost daily. We find some reason to buy something. Pens, pencils, groceries and so on. List is endless. I have seen people would write down a list do buy but when they get into the shop, they get carried away by the attractive displays, advertisements, and sometimes even the wrapper and buy the things which is not in their list. Finally they come home and say, “Oh my god, I have got this one. I forgot what I wanted. It is my mistake” and so on. In marketing parlance, it is impulse purchasing.

Well, shopping is always fun. Some plan to shop. To others, it just happens. There is one term “window shopping”. Defining it would be great. It is always cheapest way of obtaining satisfaction. It is the only shopping in which people do it with a lot of pleasure and happiness because no money gets out of the pocket. Window shopping is even more great if the shopping mall is air conditioned well perfumed with good fragrance and the store ambiance is colorful. Wow. I am sure everyone would have experienced this.

Festivals always begin with shopping. This is the only culture followed all over the world. What do we buy during festivals? Sweets, chocolates, gifts, clothes, stationeries, fruits, flowers, dress materials, junk foods etc. The list is surely endless. “Hey, come let us see what we find there, will this shop be okay for us?, where do we get branded clothes?”, are some of the questions we will be able to notice. Specialty stores earn a lot during this period. When I think of specialty stores, the word brand loyalty hits my mind. It is when a person uses only a particular brand. They do not compromise with other brands. “Somehow I want it” will be their attitude. In that case men have a lot of brands to stick on to whereas women don’t.

Basically I love shopping. I buy anything that is good and worth paying. People generally ask me, “Why did you take Retail management as an elective paper in your marketing” and this is my answer to them, “I love shopping and moreover retailing sector is coming up”. There is always one question that keeps coming in my mind. Why do people buy? The very true answer is because of the external appearance (packaging) and the considerable price. Packing plays a very important role in the sale of a product. The best example would be FMCG (Fast moving consumer goods) products. Shampoos, biscuits, chocolates, tooth pastes, cosmetics and many fall under the category. I feel impulse purchase is influenced by the packing.

I feel, targeting the kids would make any company successful. Kids are influencers in most of the families. Right from biscuits to clothes parents give them the choice. Those days the attitude towards shopping for a child was, “I have bought this for you”. Now it has changed entirely. It has now become, “see if this will suit you, if you don’t like it you choose”. Cartoons and animated wrapper does not matter. Pleasant color and good designs matter a lot.

As I mentioned earlier, I love shopping. I feel people should have the art of observing things that happen around them when they shop. Well, it is very interesting to see the product assortment, salesman’s way of responding, displays inside and outside the shop, promotion strategies followed to attract the customers, lights over the products, maintenance and so on. The joy of watching people enjoying and buying what they want cannot be expressed in short. Shopping itself is an endless topic. My idea of looking at shopping will not be the same as others. It need not be also.

I feel a salesman can create ‘n’ number of footfalls to his shop. Promotion, advertising, brand image and location contribute a lot externally but inside the shop, how the customer is treated matters a lot. In a shop, a section should not have too many salespersons. If the crowd is too much, it helps. If there are limited customers, then it irritates the customers. Clutters like repetition of requesting, delay in showing the products, lack of attention to one customer generally happen. I have seen people deciding if they should get back to the same shop or not in the billing counter itself. If they like it, they say, “This is the shop I was looking for, awesome service, great shopping experience and so on”. If they don’t like the service, even if everything is good there, “I have never had such a bad experience, they don’t have anything with them other than their salesmen and so on”. This reminds me of one saying, “One satisfied customer can bring ‘n’ number of customers”. This is “Word of mouth strategy”.

I wish to share what I enjoyed as a customer while shopping in points. I feel this is the best way I can express. Many may identify the shop itself. I list them in general.

• Advertisement according to the themes. If pink is the color of the day everything in that shop would be decorated in the same color.
• Customer relationship. They tend to send card wishing birthdays and wedding day.
• Informing us about their new collection arrived, discounts and so on through phone, sms or emails.
• Attractive displays, mainly in the jewel shops by way of inviting attention
• Lighting and display of products in to the category they belong.
• Appreciating the customers on their choice or suggesting the customers that it will suit them.
• Letting customers pick their needs.
• Entertainments inside the shop such as dressing some person like a cartoon character to amuse the kids so that their parents can shop without any trouble.
• In some shops customers are allowed to select a song of their choice by placing a pay juke box

Lots come to mind when I think of why I like a particular shopping complex or why I like shopping. As mentioned earlier, it is an endless topic. Well, thanks for reading this ‘long’ blog of mine. I started this topic long time back, but now only I have completed it. I know there are few marketing jargons which I have used in this blog. I am still not satisfied. I feel I am leaving it incomplete. I have to stop now or it will keep going. I hope to find time to write more in this area. Once again, thanks for reading. I have written what I feel with very little of marketing knowledge. Thanks once again for reading my blog…