The COVID-19 pandemic has flipped the business world on its head and put many in a state of panic. Do you dare start your own company, launch your very own business venture in such a volatile climate? How do you ensure steady growth and success in these trying times? Building a profitable business was difficult enough without a pandemic on our hands, but nowadays, it might seem impossible for new entrepreneurs.
Indeed, if you fail to incorporate new technology and capitalize on opportunities in the digital world, you may not manage to stay afloat throughout 2021. It’s also important to focus on branding and building the right company image to enhance the customer’s experience.
The truth is that there are many pieces to this puzzle, which also means that succeeding as a startup is very much possible despite the pandemic. With all of that in mind, let’s go over the most important opportunities startups should use to their advantage in 2021 to achieve their goals.
Standardizing hyper-personalization to achieve success
Throughout the pandemic, digital commerce rose to unprecedented heights. Of course, this should come as no surprise because people were and still are forced into lockdown and have to buy products online predominantly. This created a boom in the E-commerce sector, but it also made this very lucrative field more competitive than ever before.
Yes, there is a lot you can gain by taking your startup into the E-commerce realm, but to succeed, you have to boost your personalization. The new term is hyper-personalization, and it means delivering the experiences that are unique to the individual to elevate their satisfaction, build loyalty, and inspire repeat business.
The way forward is to leverage data-gathering software and solutions that will pool crucial user and customer data from every online touchpoint to optimize the individual’s experience. This is something that the giants like Google and Apple excel at, but it’s something that businesses of all sizes can use nowadays especially growth-oriented startups.
Your goal should be to learn as much as you can about the customer, understand their unique needs and drivers, their habits and preferences, and create a hyper-personalized journey that will convert them into loyal brand advocates.
Diversify your payment methods and accept bitcoin
On the financial side of things, startups need to capitalize on every opportunity and accommodate the needs of the individual as well. You can’t force the customer to buy in a way or through a platform that they don’t know or like – that’s how you’ll alienate them for good. If their only choice is to punch their credit card info into your site, but they want to pay through a secure platform like PayPal, then you can bet that they’ll take their business elsewhere.
So, payment diversification is important, but so is payment innovation. For example, bitcoin is emerging as the new standard in the post-COVID-19 world; it is growing in value and has built a passionate global community. Now that people are increasingly mining and trading in cryptocurrencies, you should consider expanding into the crypto realm to capitalize on a powerful demographic in 2021.
Start accepting bitcoin payments and consider investing in bitcoin mining as a company to take advantage of this growing industry in the years to come.
Innovate virtual tools to sell online
No matter if you sell physical or digital products or if you’re a service-based business, you can always leverage digital technologies to sell more, engage your customers, and build a powerful brand. The key is to develop virtual solutions that will help your customers decide to get in touch, place an order, or visit your physical store.
This is about innovation and creativity. For example, a popular Australian rug brand MissAmara always had a great website with many high-quality pictures showcasing their products. That might have been enough to push rugs before the pandemic, but now they have come up with their own virtual rug styler that allows people to visualize any rug from the store in their own homes, surrounded by their things, all in a handy little app!
The creativity, the innovation, the customer-centric problem-solving, all of that in a virtual tool that reduces customer effort and inspires people to buy a rug without ever visiting the store. This is just one of many examples in the digital world, but the point for you right now is that you need to be creative and think about what virtual tools your startup can offer to sell more and delight your customers.
Leverage AI and machine learning for contextual experiences
Context is everything nowadays. It’s not just about identifying the customer or knowing what your target demographic looks like; it’s about putting data into context and in the right perspective so that you can make better decisions. Context is what drives hyper-personalization, after all, and investing in contextualized experiences is one of the best ways for your startup to surpass the competition.
While everyone else is acting on basic, gross customer data, your goal should be to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to generate contextual insights. Collecting and collating vast amounts of customer and market data with AI allows you to act quickly and gain a deeper understanding of the customer.
It also allows you to predict trends and do some accurate forecasting so that you can bring new solutions to the market before everyone else. And, if there’s anything the customers love nowadays, it’s a brand that anticipates their needs.
Focusing on brand values and experiences
Speaking of branding, notice that every successful company in the world has a unique brand identity. The brand might not be innovative, it might not bring anything new to the table, but it is powerful and memorable. If you want your startup to achieve better results in 2021, one of your top priorities should be investing in the brand-building process.
You can start by creating a comprehensive brand wheel, detailing the brand’s essence, personality, vision and values, visuals, and much more. Focus on impacting your visual identity but invest heavily in quality content creation and website copywriting to reel in your audience.
A mix of storytelling with functional and relevant information is the way to spark the right emotional response. Once you have a powerful brand in place, you will have a much easier time standing out in a competitive industry, rising above a sea of competitors that all look and sound similar.
Building an omnichannel structure
Last but definitely not least, no startup can hope to succeed nowadays without an omnichannel approach to sales, marketing, and support. We’re not talking about multichannel here, because that’s where most startups end up – having a presence on a couple of online channels, never really delivering a tailored experience.
No, omnichannel is about optimizing the customer’s experience across all digital touchpoints. It’s about creating a seamless experience and ensuring brand consistency across the board. Whether people are buying or looking for support and guidance, or if they are comparing their options and reading through your content, you need to deliver a consistent message and brand identity on every channel.
Again, leverage customer data to achieve this type of consistency and eliminate any department silos in your startup. For an omnichannel structure to work, your departments need to work together towards common, overarching goals.
Of course, this is impossible without the right tech. So, consider investing in an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system to manage all resources on a centralized platform, and use cloud-based collaboration and communication tools to empower your employees to work together and build an efficient omnichannel structure.
Over to you
Launching a startup during a pandemic can be daunting, but when is it not? You have the opportunity to ensure continuous growth and success right now, but only if you invest in the right tools and make the right managerial decisions.
Image Credit: rodnae productions; pexels; thank you!
RUSSIA’S DEFAULT IS A REALITY AS GRACE MONTH IS OVER
Russia’s default has finally arrived on its sovereign debt in foreign currency for the first time in more than a century. Moscow has been unable to pay the interest on two bonds in dollars despite having enough foreign exchange reserves to do so. Investors assure that they have not received payment after the grace month.
Russia is showing the consequences of the sanctions the West has massively imposed on it after the war against Ukraine.
Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below!
For months, the country has managed to find ways and shortcuts to wade through the measures that tried to isolate the government of Vladimir Putin and make the country fall into technical default. In the end, the West has achieved its goal, albeit somewhat later than expected.
Although Russia had the capacity to meet this payment, leading economic indicators —the composite PMI sank in March and remain below 50, indicating that the economy is contracting— reveal that the country is facing one of the major economic crises of recent decades.
With double-digit inflation and several leading companies on the way out, Russia will face a deep recession and perhaps years of economic stagnation.
The one-month grace period expired on Sunday on around $100 million of trapped interest payments due May 27, a deadline that is considered an event of default if not paid in the correct currency, according to Bloomberg.
Russia’s default is also backed by other data. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reveals that the Russian Government had a debt of around $40 billion in hard currency at the end of 2021 —a relatively small amount.
Although the total foreign debt exceeds $470 billion, only part of that amount is in foreign currency and a smaller part is still a liability to the Russian Government.
This is a clear symptom of the rapid transformation that the country is facing, both financially and economically. Russia will have to go on without the foreign capital flows that have historically helped finance investments in emerging countries.
The nation’s Eurobonds have been trading on the secondary market at very low levels since early March, while the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves remain frozen. Russia’s largest banks are cut off from the global financial system, leaving the country in isolation.
Published First on ValueWalk. Read Here.
Image Credit: by Happy Donut; Pexels; Thank you!
Take Inspiration From Trending and Successful eCommerce Businesses
Believe it or not, online shopping has become a massive trend nowadays, and its popularity is increasing daily. Of course, we were already in the era of digitalization, but this entire pandemic situation has made eCommerce industries flourish more than expected in the last few years.
Nowadays, everything is digitized as people buy food, groceries, cosmetics, clothes, and even electronic gadgets online. This digital revolution has made it easier for creative founders to convert their dreams and ideas into a waking reality.
Old ways and patterns of handling businesses are changing every day, and business owners need to adapt to the fluctuating market trends. And in this, some trending eCommerce businesses have taken this eCommerce industry to a whole new level. They are ruling and conquering like a boss.
Here in this blog, we will be discussing such inspiring eCommerce businesses. So, keep reading to find out more and cope for the better.
What are The Types of eCommerce Businesses?
E-commerce businesses are not limited to one particular business model. Instead, there are various sorts of eCommerce business models as per their business offerings. So have a look at some of the highly prevalent eCommerce models.
- Business to Consumer (B2C): The process of selling from business to customer comes under B2C type E-commerce.
- Business to Business (B2B): The buying and selling process between businesses comes under the B2B type of E-commerce.
- Direct to Consumer(D2C): This new idea of selling directly to end customers without the involvement of any retailer comes under D2C type E-commerce.
- Consumer to Consumer (C2C): Consumer-to-consumer sales on platforms like eBay, Etsy, Fiver, and many more come under C2C type E-commerce.
- Consumer to Business (C2B): An individual selling their services to different businesses comes C2B type E-commerce.
Examples of Successful E-commerce Businesses
1. Warby Parker
Warby Parker is popularly known for producing designer, reliable and inexpensive frames for eyeglasses. An MBA student, Neil Blumenthal, and 3 of his friends launched this eCommerce company in 2010. They proposed the idea in 2008, and took nearly two years to implement.
Their idea of business was something very essential at that period because Luxottica (Another eyewear brand) was one of the few companies that used to sell designer and reliable frames, but they were costly as compared to Warby Parker.
Warby has a free try-on policy with free shipping and numerous return offers, and this is what the brand has adopted to stand out from the crowd and appeal to its customers.
An online Mattress retailer is helping people sleep better and comforting their sleep cycle. The whole idea behind this business model was to help people realize the importance of sleep and how an adequate amount of sleep can increase their productivity and quality of life.
Their first-ever mattress was “Universal Adaptive feel.” It was so flexible that it could easily adjust to all body types.
The 100-night free trial policy worked well for their customers and made the business model a huge success. Leesa had traditional showrooms at first, but with time they also opened online stores.
ModCloth is an eCommerce company launched in 2002, selling women’s clothing worldwide. They sell fun and quirky clothes that are not so exclusive but are comfortable and budget-friendly.
Everything about their store is creative and exciting – which customers nowadays love. The copies describing their clothes are also fun to read because every product has a name and story behind it – now, this is something very catchy.
ModCloth became a brand within a few years of its launch because of its targeted marketing strategy. They know who their target audience is and what requirements they have. Knowing this has made their business reach exceptional heights within a short period of time.
Mostly we know Amazon was launched in 1995 as an online bookstore and has been flourishing since then. Now amazon is not limited to books anymore because now it sells almost everything you can think of. From groceries to clothes and even jewelry, Amazon has it all.
Right now, Amazon is one of the largest eCommerce stores by revenue worldwide. Though amazon started with no competitors, now it has Walmart as one of its biggest competitors. Last year Amazon made a revenue of $470 billion.
Amazon has adopted a stellar marketing strategy, which is targeting the right customer and offering products at comparatively lower rates.
Shopify is a SaaS (Software-as-a-service) company that provides all the tools needed by a business to run its eCommerce business smoothly. It helps them with website building, marketing, payment processing, financial tracking, and everything in between.
It is a tech infrastructure that supports more than 2 million merchants and various operations ranging from mom-and-pop businesses to global brands. Shopify made $389 million in revenue in 2016 to $4.6 billion in revenue in 2021.
The profitability of Spotify has been improving with time because, just like every SaaS business, it has also scaled up.
LARQ is a business model that makes self-cleaning water bottles that are reusable, rechargeable, and also have some advanced features. For example, it has UVC technology used to eliminate viruses & bacteria from water bottles.
LARQ has the initiative to provide clean water to everyone. They also raised $1.7 million for the same. In addition, LARQ donates 1% of its earnings to help maintain clean water worldwide.
The product was so unique and exciting that it attracted numerous customers. As a result, many environmentalists and aware citizens switched to these LARQ bottles and saved their money from buying single-use water bottles.
7. Beer Cartel
Beer Cartel, as the name suggests, is Australia’s number one beer subscription service. It is said that some ideas sell themselves; the same was the case with this one.
Beer Cartel sells beers from all around the world to their subscribers at their doorstep. This online store gives people the freedom to select their unique beer bottles at a price better than traditional stores.
One of the significant reasons for Beer Cartel’s success is that they offer exclusive taste under budget. In addition, they have a wide range of varieties that keeps their customers interested and coming back.
8. Berlin Packaging
Berlin Packaging is well known for sourcing, designing, and even distributing containers and closures for companies like fortune and various family-owned startups.
They have always provided products at a lower cost to their customers to increase the overall efficiency of their enterprise. One interesting fact about it is that it is not a new startup; it is 80 years old, in fact. But Berlin Packaging has somehow still managed to bring their customers the latest and top-quality beer.
They started this eCommerce business model to keep up with the times, which worked out well for them.
With the introduction of eBay, Bonobos knew that the eCommerce business was getting more competitive with each passing day. So, they introduced a unique business model targeting only a super-specific audience.
This strategy of narrowing down to a particular audience helped them make loyal customers who also flourished their business in the long run. Bonobo’s success made everyone realize that focusing on the competition is not good for your business’s health.
They should focus on the value they provide to their customers, and they will reach greater heights of success.
The name of the company seems fascinating, right? Well, so is their initiative. TOMS is an eCommerce company that sells its customers quality shoes that are reliable, comfortable, designer, and inexpensive.
What separates TOMS from other similar eCommerce is that with every transaction, they will help one in need. Yes! Not only this, but they also run various social media campaigns with hashtags like #withoutshoes and many more to stand out from the crowd.
Everything about their business model is catchy and interesting, making it easier for them to drive more traffic to their online shop.
What are the Biggest Benefits of eCommerce?
Shopping in the comfort of home: eCommerce has made shopping easier and more convenient for our customers. Buying and selling things is a child’s play nowadays. As a result, our purchases are simpler, faster, less time-consuming, and not so hectic.
Markets are globalized: Now, you can shop from anywhere around the world at the convenience of your home. The impact of eCommerce on the planet can easily be visible. There are no limitations or barriers to buying from a different state or country.
Building startups is not so expensive anymore! Yes, in this era of digitalization, anyone can set up their online store at a meager cost. In addition, the operating cost is minimal because both buyers and sellers are now digital.
Technologies are evolving rapidly because of this, eCommerce businesses have to see a lot of changes frequently.
If you have an eCommerce business that is not growing as expected, you must adapt to new business models that add value to your customer’s life and your e-commerce services (my business: krishaweb dot com).
Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you!
What Does the G7 Russian Gold Ban Mean for Gold Stocks?
The G7 plans to announce a ban on Russian gold imports. But does that really matter for investors? While there hadn’t been an official Russian gold ban until now, this news isn’t exactly a surprise to the industry. Today, we’re seeing that lack of reaction in gold prices.
Typically, a ban on imports for a particular commodity sends prices soaring higher. Just look at what happened to oil after Russia invaded Ukraine. As it pertains to gold, prices also initially ticked higher this morning, with the futures opening up by under 1%.
However, it has now turned lower on the day, as have the VanEck Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDX) and the VanEck Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDXJ).
Does the Russian Gold Ban Matter?
This latest decision does matter. However, it will have a limited impact on the global gold market and gold-mining stocks. Warren Patterson, Head of Commodities Strategy at ING Groep NV (NYSE:ING), had the following to say:
“The impact from a ban on Russian gold imports by G-7 nations is likely to be fairly limited, given that the industry already took steps to restrict Russian gold […]It looks as though its largely symbolic.”
Russia has the world’s fifth-largest gold stash according to the World Gold Council. However, it only exported roughly 5% of the world’s gold supply in 2020. A bulk of those exports — over 90% — went to the United Kingdom, a G7 member. Still, Russia will likely find buyers in China and India.
In actuality, the buying pool may shift, but it will not completely evaporate.
How Does This Affect Gold Stocks?
At this point, the ban does not seem to have much of an impact on gold stocks. There’s multiple reasons why this is the case.
- The industry seems to have largely prepped for such a ban.
- Russia is not that large of an exporter of gold.
- The efforts from central banks to raise interest rates and strengthen currencies is likely playing a more important role in regards to precious metal prices.
Ultimately, a Russian gold ban certainly doesn’t hurt gold prices — if anything, less supply is a bullish catalyst — but right now that catalyst is not reverberating through the market. However, removing Russian supply from the market will be a modest positive for gold miners.
Published First: InvestorPlace. Read Here.
Image Credit: by Pixabay; Pexels; Thank you!