5 Business Upgrades to Consider in 2021

Business upgrades

Businesses have to make upgrades every so often, ideally every few years, to keep up with the times. Some updates should benefit your business. Others should help your customers or employees. If you know it’s time for some changes but aren’t sure what those changes should be, consider the following five business upgrades for 2021.

 

1. Cybersecurity

One crucial update you should consider is cybersecurity. More businesses are doing things online nowadays. This is a trend that won’t stop anytime soon. The internet is here to stay, and while it does offer businesses a lot of perks, it also exposes them to dangers. Many small business owners think they’re too small for criminals to take notice of them, but that’s not true. Small businesses are targets. This could expose customers’ private data, and that’s not something any budding business wants to admit. It takes a long time for a business to recover after a breach and even longer to get customers to trust your brand again. Even if you didn’t do this on purpose, you’d be blamed for it.

 

2. Better Parking

Another exciting upgrade you can make to your business deals with parking. Every person who comes to your place of business should be able to find a good parking spot. This requires updated parking plans, but you shouldn’t stop there. 2021 is a new year, and you should embrace the world of tomorrow. You might want to install several electric car charging stations for customers and employees as a way to welcome the world of tomorrow. The number of electric cars on the road is growing quickly. Some customers and employees may have these cars. Having a charging station tells the world you’re ready for the future, making you seem more appealing.

 

3. Move Towards the Cloud

If you still haven’t made the move, you need to move your business to the cloud. This can be a pain in the neck because it means transferring a lot of data to the computer, but it will be worth it in the end. Searching for data should be much easier since you can do it all online. This also means you can share information with your employees online through a secured cloud. This makes it easier for your workforce to work remotely. It will also be easier to work with third parties since they won’t have to visit your place of business.

 

4. A Portable POS

The point of sale doesn’t have to be in one place. The point of sale or the POS could be portable. Typically, this is a tablet but could just be a phone. You want to update your payment system to something like this because more customers are expecting this kind of technology. Your employees can walk around the store and check out customers without them standing in line. The other reason you should invest in a new POS system is so that you can accommodate new payment options, like chip or mobile wallets.

 

5. The Greener Changes

It might be a good idea to update your business by investing in green or eco-conscious changes. They don’t have to be too elaborate. For example, you can install sun tunnel skylights throughout your place of business. These things give you the full power of the sun, making your business feel illuminated, and you didn’t have to turn on the lights. You may also want to consider upgrading all your windows to UV protective and energy-efficient windows. You’ll save money with windows that keep the interior feeling comfortable. Make the changes you can make; just make sure you highlight these changes because being eco-conscious is profitable.

 

You’ve got several great upgrade ideas here, so just choose the ones that fit your business best. 2021 is a new year, and it’s time that your company embraces tomorrow.

The Evolution of Frictionless Payments

Closeup of hands using contactless payment and credit card against a blue background

Frictionless payments are essential for e-commerce platforms to reduce the barriers between online shopping and completed checkouts. The buying process needs to be easier for both the customer and the seller, because an enjoyable user experience leads to higher conversion rates and fewer abandoned shopping carts.

Effective frictionless payments are essential for both large and growing businesses. When done right, frictionless payments improve the checkout process by eliminating waiting times, which creates a faster checkout experience. It’s all about reducing barriers and the steps towards a completed sale. Ultimately, frictionless payments should feel like a natural part of the customer experience.

Understanding how frictionless payments have developed and reviewing the history of buying processes will help us understand how businesses will be able to continue their growth in the digital age. So, let’s explore the evolution of frictionless payments and predict how businesses will drive higher conversion rates and create better customer experiences in the future.

 

1950: Debit and credit cards

The credit card was developed in the mid-twentieth century, but it wasn’t until 1973 that the card payments system was computerized. This frictionless payment reduced transaction times to just one minute and gave rise to the era of electronic consumer payments. Computerized payments would eventually allow for future online transactions, where e-commerce businesses could contact banks to finalize payments with ease. In 1994, Stanford Federal Credit Union in California was the first financial institution to offer online internet banking, leading the way for online transactions to begin in 1995.

 

1999: 1-Click

Bookseller turned global conglomerate Amazon patented an online transaction process called ‘1-Click’ in 1999. This allowed customers to buy products with just a click of a button. Items could be purchased at the product level, without adding to a shopping cart, meaning that customers could buy a product in a flash. Voila: no shopping cart abandonment. With 1-Click, personal details and your bank account details are stored online, safely assuming that users are content with the same delivery address and bank account being used for every transaction.

The patent has since expired, meaning a flurry of businesses can now utilize this frictionless checkout method. Given the global average rate for shopping cart abandonment is 69.8 per cent, skipping over the shopping cart means that e-commerce businesses can maximize their conversion rates and generate more sales through this simple process.

 

2003: Chip, pin, and tap

Going back to credit and debit cards, a more recent development contributed to the evolution of frictionless payments. In 2003, the introduction of Chip and PIN in the UK allowed cards to store data in a small chip on the face of a card. This data could then be accessed using a four-digit PIN, authorizing the payment. The American conversion to chip and PIN was announced in 2012 and completed in 2015.

Not only did this process increase efficiencies for both customers and businesses by automatically authorizing payments rather than signing a receipt, but it also curated a secure form of payment. Only those with access to the card and the secret PIN could access the account. The advance demonstrates how frictionless transactions can be made easier, but importantly, more secure at the checkout.

Contactless payments were introduced in 2007, making the checkout process even easier. Today, one in five card payments is contactless.

 

2011: The mobile revolution

As mobile phones became smaller, they became as much an essential accessory as a wallet or purse. They’re with us all the time. So it’s not surprising that these handheld devices have become ingrained in the checkout culture. Leading mobile manufacturers, Google, Apple, Android, and Samsung all launched digital wallets between 2011 and 2015, allowing users to complete transactions with them rather than their debit or credit cards.

These transactions had the added security benefit of authorizing payments through a fingerprint or facial scan. Furthermore, these digital wallets could be used in-store or online, storing personal data to automatically fill in those arduous forms with personal details, delivery addresses, and billing addresses. The innovation helps further speed up online sales and transactions.

 

Now and the future…

As online transactions become easier and quicker on the customer side, some obstacles for businesses to achieve a completely frictionless payment remain. Businesses must ensure that they balance the risks and rewards that come with streamlining checkout and ensuring protection from fraud and abuse.

As the popularity of omnichannel sales, digital wallets and one-click buying continues to develop, innovative ways to maximize sales without being affected by fraud and abuse have been developed. Commerce protection platforms, such as Signifyd, drive automated decisions on all transactions, approving more good orders and recovering lost revenue from chargebacks. This streamlines the customer experience, limiting the need for authentication forms and processes. Overall, commerce protection platforms feel like a natural part of the checkout process, going unnoticed by customers, and they can increase conversion rates by four to six per cent on average.

Frictionless payments will continue to improve, creating better customer experiences and improving business performance. As more sales move online, and transaction speeds and efficiencies increase, it’s important to tackle attempts of fraud and abuse. At every stage of the evolution of frictionless payment, new processes are helping to make every transaction safer and more worthwhile for customers and businesses.

The 10 Jobs Which Have Lost More Than Half Their Workforce In the Last 16 Years

A pair of gloves used for heavy lifting on top of a ladder

A number of highly skilled job roles are at risk of disappearing in the near future should new talent not be recruited, a new analysis of workforce data has revealed. 

The trade trends report 2021 released by Skills Training Group has found glass and ceramics process operatives, toolmakers and wood machine operatives are among several jobs where the total number of staff working in these roles has more than halved since 2004. 

Having analysed 16 years worth of data from the Office for National Statistics, the report has been able to identify the jobs most in need of reinvigorating. 

With the number of glass and ceramic process operatives declining by 77 per cent between 2004 and 2020, the analysis found this was the occupation most in need of new talent. In total, there are 9,200 fewer glass and ceramic operatives now than there were 16 years ago. 

While the decline amongst typists (65%), assemblers (65%) and printing machine assistants (63%) has been slightly more modest, these job roles are also facing the brunt of modernisation. 

The top ten declining jobs:

Profession All person in trade (Oct 2004 - Sept 2005) All person in trade (Oct 2019 - Sept 2020) Total decrease over 10 years
Glass and ceramics process operatives
12000
2800
77%
Typists and related keyboard occupations
113000
39600
65%
Assemblers (electrical and electronic products)
60400
21400
65%
Printing machine assistants
24000
8800
63%
Rubber process operatives
11900
4400
63%
Playworkers
58200
22100
62%
Street cleaners
9900
3800
62%
Tool makers, tool fitters and markers-out
24900
9800
61%
Paper and wood machine operatives
55700
22500
60%
Print finishing and building workers
27200
11000
60%

While it is evident that due to technological advancements the demand for many of these jobs is likely to be greatly reduced in the future, a number of these roles will still have an important role to play in society for many years to come. 

Commenting on the research and how businesses recruiting for these job roles can attract young people, Mark McShane, managing director at Skills Training Group said:

“In order to encourage young people to take up positions in these job roles it is important businesses across all industries engage with youngsters, sharing their success stories to encourage a new workforce. Communication and marketing needs to be a big part of the recruitment process – young people will better engage with clear and smart communication. Companies and industries that make noise, engage with social media and shout about what makes these job roles attractive will see the tide change in the amount of people wanting a job.”

To find out more about the report as done by Skills Training Group, visit their website to read the full study.

Why Companies Need to Take Cyber Attacks More Seriously

Cyber attacks

Reports reveal a rise in hacked and breached data throughout the coronavirus pandemic, these being from such sources as IoT and mobile devices – devices increasingly common throughout the workplace. In fact, research shows that U.K. businesses experienced a 31% increase in cyber scam cases in 2020 from May to June.

The pandemic pushed businesses and workforces away from their usual routines and reliable systems, creating opportunities for hackers to take advantage of. In addition to this, as many would now prefer remote working to stay even once pandemic restrictions have lifted, it’s essential that companies take cyber-attacks, and furthermore their cyber security and adaptations to this amidst the pandemic, seriously. 

Cyber-attacks can be ruinous for owners of a business, a report from Statista released the 25th of May 2021 revealing:

“The average cost of cyber security breaches in the last 12 months in the United Kingdom was 2,670 British pounds across all businesses, however, this figure becomes greater as the size of a business increases. The cost of a cyber attack is not only financial, with companies having to spend time on recovering from the attacks.”

 

Ways to Protect Your Company from Cyber Attacks 

There are numerous ways companies can help to protect themselves from cyber attacks, including those listed below: 

  • Cyber insurance
  • Penetration testing
  • Firewalls
  • Employee training

 

By adopting these methods, business owners can help to strengthen their business’s cyber security. 

 

Cyber Insurance 

Cyber insurance can help to protect a business against malicious cyber-attacks, supporting them in the event of such an attack in various ways. Cyber insurance can cover the following after a cyber attack:

  • The costs for investigating the cyber crime
  • Reputation management
  • Loss of income that’s been caused by the shutdown of the business
  • Restoration of computer systems
  • And more…

 

The full extent of what’s covered by cyber insurance will depend on the provider and the details of the cover a business has opted for. 

Pricing from Get Indemnity starts at just £26.91 per month for a basic cyber insurance policy. 

 

Penetration Testing 

Penetration testing helps to identify vulnerabilities in a firm’s computer system by simulating a cyber attack against it. A penetration test, or pen test for short, can be used to try and breach numerous different application systems, the insights collected from such tests able to then be utilised to address vulnerabilities in the hopes of preventing against real, malicious cyber attacks in the future.   

There are a handful of really specialist companies that offer pen testing, which start from just a few thousand pounds.

 

Firewalls

A firewall is a type of security device used to help protect a network. It offers this protection by filtering traffic whilst blocking any outsiders from getting unauthorised access to private data stored on computers.  

 

Employee Training

With so many teams now working from home, it’s vital for a company to ensure that their employees understand how to both avoid and identify cyber security threats. 

It might help to conduct training sessions with staff on cyber security, helping a workforce to become better educated, and therefore more aware, on just how important the cyber security of a company is, and how to protect against cyber-attacks. 

Is Recruitment Bias Stopping Your Chances of Success?

Woman being interviewed by two other women and two men

Recruiters can be prone to unconscious bias during the hiring process. This aids discriminatory decisions, with damaging effects for both the candidate and employer. But, for businesses, what’s more, is that consistently hiring the wrong personnel is detrimental to financial performance.

David Bernard, CEO of innovative AI recruitment platform AssessFirst, explains how we can eliminate bias in the workplace.

 

Recruitment shortcuts

We are all hard-wired to take cognitive shortcuts when making decisions. These shortcuts manifest as problem-solving strategies, dictating how we think about people and problematic situations. This is what is known as heuristics, or cognitive bias.

This is a considerable issue for recruiters attempting to find the best candidate since we are unconsciously led to make decisions that are merely sufficient rather than ideal.

Unsurprisingly, this results in inadequate recruitment. Bad hiring decisions are costing companies dearly.
Hiring the wrong person at mid-management level costs a business around £132,000. This includes loses through recruitment, training, re-hiring fees and reduced productivity.

To reduce costs-incurring biases from the workplace, and to employ the best candidates with ethical practices, recruiters should begin to support their own expertise with behavioural science and the power of artificial intelligence.

 

The future of efficient recruitment

Now, we have access to recruitment platforms that use unique AI predictive technology, based entirely on behavioural science. This technology analyses hundreds of behavioural data points for each individual, revealing the motivators behind their working practices. Crucially, it explains what – and how – a candidate thinks in relevant, job-critical scenarios.

In this digital age, it is inevitable that the CV will soon become less the norm as established recruitment tools, whilst interactive assessment platforms and personality-based hiring will become more accepted and embraced.

While CVs can provide data about a person’s education and job experience, we know that many falsehoods could be found within CVs (you need only look at BBC’s The Apprentice to see how exaggerated some can be). And unless the recruiter does their due diligence in requesting educational certificates for instance, there could be many inaccuracies in both the skills and achievements that a candidate can lead you to believe they possess.

These inconsistencies mean the traditional CV model is in fact a low-accuracy recruitment tool. When we also consider that an overwhelming 85% of people lie on their CVs it is apparent how vast resources can be wasted in insufficient recruitment processes.

Cognitive skills tests, by comparison, are extremely accurate whilst predictive psychometric testing allows each user to find their ideal vocation, based – not upon a gut instinct or the validity of a CV – but through their talents, skills, personality, and motivations.

Some of the world’s biggest companies have already switched to psychometric testing as a method of hiring the right people. An estimated 18% of companies are now using behavioural science at the core of their recruitment process, and the percentage of psychometric testing for recruitment purposes is growing at a rate of between 10-15% per year.

American investor and hedge fund manager, Ray Dalio, regarded as one of the great innovators in finance, has used a variety of different personality tests for recruitment and management purposes. Dalio is such an advocate of the technology that he has encouraged Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Jack Dorsey to take personality tests to witness the team-shaping potential of behavioural science technology.

 

Benefits to businesses

Harnessing the power of technology to direct and enhance decision making – via tailored algorithms – can help recruiters rid the processes of the inherent biases we all subconsciously possess.

The configuration of company personnel will eventually be driven entirely by behavioural science. The question for businesses is, how long can they avoid the inevitable and how many resources will be wasted while doing so?

The Economist reports the pandemic has advanced work-place technological innovations by around half a decade, meaning some businesses risk practicing outdated recruitment methods. Five years spent adjusting recruitment processes to eliminate the traditional biases will hamper growth and present a considerable competitive disadvantage.

The solution is to adopt AI systems that future-proof recruitment strategies and practices. In a crucial business year, where companies are hoping to capitalise on the loosening of pandemic restrictions, the opportune time to incorporate these systems is now.

What Can the Retail Industry Do to Reduce Unemployment?

Sign outside a retail business that says

Unemployment is always a pressing issue for the federal government. The pandemic and the closure of businesses has caused significant stress for workers and business owners. In the new world of stimulus checks, we can forget the financial significance of unemployment payments. Simply put, fewer people out of work means fewer people claiming allowances and a rise in overall disposable income, both advantages for the state of the economy.

Victoria’s Secret is a recent victim of the shopping mall. Falling sales meant that the lingerie company was forced to close over one-quarter of their 1,000 stores in the US and Canada. The closure of popular retail stores is set to continue in 2021. Retail workers are now recovering from a 17.1 per cent unemployment rate in April 2020, the highest on record. Today, the figure is double its pre-pandemic levels. However, a return to work is coming, intending to end uncertainty and recover from the unemployment caused by the pandemic. This is an opportunity to create a forward-thinking workforce beyond the pandemic. Successful retailers must do what they can do to reduce unemployment in the industry — but how?

 

Employment and disability

In order to reduce the number of people who are out of work down to a disability, businesses should consider creating a “Disability Confident” employer scheme. Such schemes have been used by large businesses around the world to provide employers with the skills, examples, and confidence to recruit and develop disabled employees.

Businesses can get help from the government using the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN). The program helps companies create strategies for recruiting and advancing the careers of disabled employees in a variety of roles. Recruitment website, Monster, named Walgreens as one of the best disability employers in 2020, proving that retailers can provide jobs for people of all abilities.

 

Encouraging a diverse workforce

According to the Aspen Institute, women and other minority groups are underrepresented in retail management positions but overrepresented in lower-paying roles. Retailers should focus on broadening their selection process when it comes to the recruitment process. This can ensure that those who’ve lost a job in a retail position face equal opportunity when it comes to finding a new role. 

Encouraging diversity in gender and cultural background when hiring is not only beneficial for employees, but also for the business itself. Ultimately, when a workforce is representative of a customer base, it can lead to a better understanding of the target market and an improvement in business performance.

 

Charity collaboration

Another way to reduce unemployment levels is to collaborate with charities that are there to help those who are struggling to find work.

Partnering with a disabled or mental health charity for example can help you reach those who are out of work because of a disability or health issue and encourage them to apply.

One example of this includes men’s shirts retailer, CT Shirts. The company has a long-standing partnership with the Prince’s Trust which involves fundraising and a mutually beneficial relationship. This charity works closely with vulnerable young people who need a helping hand to get their lives back on track.

Like many retailers that The Trust works with, CT Shirts took advantage of one of their “Get Hired” days — a day of greetings and interviews with young people who have been through The Prince’s Trust Programs to get to know some potential employees.

 

Cross-discipline training

It’s true that for many retailers, while the jobs of their in-store employees may be at risk, often recruitment in their digital marketing and e-commerce teams are still growing. Therefore, an important consideration to make is whether retail employees should be trained in other areas of the business too. Or at least should their knowledge of the company and its products or services be valued so that they’re allowed to progress in another area of the business after redundancy?

There are advantages and disadvantages to this idea, but it’s certainly something for retailers to think about before making mass redundancies across the business. Cross-discipline training can also encourage more loyal employees and therefore those who are more invested in the performance of the retail business as a whole.

As we can see, there is a range of considerations that retailers are currently making or should think about when it comes to reducing unemployment. As some companies pave the way, it’s down to other industry players to make big changes too.

E-Commerce Checkout Tech Trends to Improve the Customer Experience

woman using a smartphone to complete an online transaction

The customer experience is essential for improving conversion rates in the e-commerce market. It’s important to make the buying and checkout process as simple as possible, creating fewer barriers to a complete sale.

While online sales have become the new normal for quick and efficient shopping, there’s still room for improvement and growth. Here, we explore the expectations of customers for an easier and more enjoyable checkout experience, and the innovative solutions that are shaping the online marketplace.

 

Frictionless transactions

It’s never been easier to buy online. Gone are the days where consumers would have to trudge through countless forms, filling in personal details, delivery address, card details, billing addresses, and authentication. Today, many large brands use a more efficient transaction process to help consumers buy their products. It takes just one click.

Frictionless transactions are essential for online shops looking to increase their conversion rate from basket to checkout. Did you know that the average shopping cart abandonment rate across all industries is 69.8 per cent? Reducing the barriers to a complete checkout is essential. This is achieved through processes such as one-click shopping, where customer details are stored to allow a speedier buying process. The reduced time prevents any second thoughts on the customer’s part, meaning that businesses can increase their conversion rates. Ultimately, the customer gets the product that we all know they want.

There is potential that this could damage the customer experience. Quicker shopping processes increase the potential for fraud and abuse. Businesses may use checks, such as a captcha, to ensure that customers are legitimate. This is another barrier to a complete checkout that genuine customers may struggle with. Eventually, a customer may abandon their cart. To avoid this, commerce protection platforms such as Signifyd are optimising the transaction experience. Intelligent and automated modules can accurately identify risks of fraud and abuse, stopping them in their tracks, while customers get to enjoy a streamlined order fulfilment process. Overall, the customer experience is improved so much that these automated agents can increase conversion rates by four to six percent on average.

 

POS lending

E-commerce is increasing its share of the global retail market. In 2015, online transactions accounted for 7.4 per cent of all retail sales. By 2020, this figure had leapt to 18 per cent. The ease of purchase and variety of choice makes the online world a fierce competitor for traditional brick-and-mortar stores. But being unable to view or experience a product before purchasing may prevent try-before-you-buy shoppers from visiting online stores.

Some stores consider POS lending or Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services as the solution to attracting these customers. At the checkout, customers can opt to pay for their products later. Once they’ve received their products and are satisfied with them, customers can complete the purchase. If they’re not convinced and want to return the products, they can by cancelling the loan without any money leaving their bank account.

These BNPL services work a little differently from loans. They don’t make their money through interest on the loan but instead take a small share of your final bill from the retailer. The tech quickly checks your eligibility before approving your small loan.

This trend is popular among clothing retailers, where customers may want to try a variety of styles and sizes before they commit any money to the purchase. Items that don’t fit or are not suitable can be returned, allowing customers to only pay for what they’ve kept.

Will this trend stick? It’s uncertain, as some European legislators – like the UK Treasury – are beginning to regulate these services. They believe that these small loans should fall under the Financial Conduct Authority. They warn that the BNPL market, valued at £2.7 billion ($3.7 billion), may encourage people to spend more than they can afford. Therefore, this trend may be short-lived or come with greater barriers in the future.

 

Prioritising the mobile experience

The way we pay continues to change. In-store, we’ve used cash, cards, and now contactless payment. Online, our options are similarly expanding. Where computers and card payments had given rise to e-commerce checkouts, today mobile traffic and digital wallets are helping to improve the customer experience.

As of February 2021, mobile activity made up 56 per cent of all online traffic. Meanwhile, mobile searches equate to 60 per cent of all online searches. It’s clear that mobiles are the most convenient and preferred way to view information online.

However, the e-commerce conversion rate on mobile devices is only 2.25 per cent. Meanwhile, desktop conversion rates stand at 4.81 per cent. The trend for online traffic does not correlate with our e-commerce checkouts. This may be because businesses have not optimised their online checkout for mobile devices. E-commerce businesses must improve the customer experience on mobile devices, understanding how it differentiates from desktop buying.

Digital wallets are one example of an optimised mobile experience. Allowing customers to purchase goods using their mobile-linked bank account means that purchases can be made using the security of fingerprint or facial scanning, automating the process of delivery and billing.

Other checkout trends make the mobile customer experience easier and prevent cart abandonment. Unnecessary buttons which can navigate away from the checkout, such as hamburger menu icons, are removed during the checkout stage. All the buttons needed to complete the transaction should be kept in the ‘thumb zone’ – this means that all essential buttons are within easy reach of a mobile user. This makes the checkout experience more comfortable for the customer and can speed up the checkout process.

Adopting innovative solutions to the e-commerce checkout experience will help drive conversions, improve your business, and assist customers in their buying journey. Understanding how technology is changing and the new ways that we use it ensures that businesses can grow with the e-commerce revolution. Businesses can be proactive in fraud prevention, user experience, and diversifying payment options to create an easy and enjoyable customer experience.

Is Your E-Commerce Business’ Growth Attracting Fraud?

Man using credit card to buy something online with laptop

Online shopping has exploded in the past decade. In 2015, e-commerce accounted for 7.4 per cent of global retail sales. In 2020, this had grown to 18 per cent with projections of a rise to 21.8 per cent by 2024. This is good news for businesses, as online platforms are allowing them to reach new customers and drive more sales.

However, as e-commerce grows, so does the potential for fraud. Fraudsters are finding new ways to abuse online shops and processes to damage businesses and steal goods. Here, we explore some of the common types of e-commerce fraud that are hitting business hard. Then we’ll review how your business can prevent these online activities and protect its revenue.

 

Chargeback fraud

Chargeback fraud occurs when a cardholder intentionally disputes a transaction that they originally authorised. The fraudster will contact the bank and claim that this transaction was not authorised or may argue that the package ordered never arrived. E-commerce businesses will be charged for the cost of the product without receiving anything in return, leaving them out of pocket.

Fraudsters may do this to receive products without having to pay for them or because they regret making the purchase and are unable to return the items.

 

Friendly fraud

Friendly fraud is similar to chargeback fraud, except the fraudster, in this case, may not have ill intentions. In this case, a cardholder may mistakenly dispute a charge because they can’t remember authorising the payment.

This unintentional fraud may be caused because the cardholder does not recognise the purchase on their bank statements or may have forgotten about a recurring payment. However, whether intentional or not, it’s still a costly loss for businesses.

Customers who fear a mistaken charge should contact a business directly before getting in touch with the bank, where the consequence of a chargeback can take longer for a refund and be costly for a business.

 

Return fraud

In the UK and the EU, consumers have the right to return goods ordered online within 14 days of receiving their goods. It’s important that customers have the opportunity to review products and decide if they are suitable. However, this is an aspect of e-commerce that is open to fraud.

Return fraud comes in many forms. Complaints can be fabricated to order a refund that they may not have been eligible for, leaving businesses out of pocket and down on inventory. Meanwhile, returning fake items in place of the genuine article is another way that fraudsters are hurting business. Some may not even attempt to find a similar item, shipping something with the approximate weight – there are reports of fraudsters returning a potato in place of an iPhone.

It seems unbelievable that such an unusual feat of fraud can take place in this way. But some online payment engines, such as PayPal, only require the tracking number of the return in transit to provide a refund.

 

Unauthorised resellers

If someone bought fifty identical products from your e-commerce store, what would you believe the intention of the buyer was? If these products are expensive goods or bought at a discounted price, you may have a safe assumption that the buyer intends to sell these goods for a profit.

Unauthorised reselling is a type of fraud that is difficult to tackle on e-commerce platforms. While it can appear positive for your business to achieve this many sales, resellers can damage your brand image. It can also be difficult to determine if the threat of resellers is genuine.

 

Preventing fraud

The best way to prevent fraud is to stop fraudsters from buying from your e-commerce site in the first place. Taking away the power to buy takes away their power to commit fraud. But how can a business differentiate between fraudsters who intend to chargeback, commit return fraud, or resell your products from a genuine customer? How do you know who is buying from your e-commerce store?

Commerce protection platforms, such as Signifyd, are used to automate customer experiences and eliminate fraud and abuse. This is just one solution to reducing fraud online. These platforms are able to make intelligent decisions based on historical buying activity. Transactional and behavioural data is key to stopping fraud before it has even happened. This commerce protection platform has rendered an image of the shopping world from over 10,000 merchants in over 100 countries. Impressively, this means that 98 per cent of all online purchases are made by consumers that Signifyd has seen before.

These platforms can accurately identify anomalies in buying and behaviour such as account takeover, unauthorised resellers, and promotion abuse. Even better, they can automatically recover lost revenue from a chargeback, meaning that fraud has a limited impact on a business.

Businesses should continually strive to create improved customer experiences online, with frictionless payments, while protecting themselves against fraud and abuse. As the e-commerce market grows, fraudsters must be eliminated from riding the coattails of your success.

Virtual Interviewing: Preparing for the New Norm

Young woman in an online interview on a laptop

Without beating about the hypothetical bush, the future of the labour market in the UK is looking rather bleak.

Reports suggest that we are on course for the worst recession in more than 300 years. The Institute for Policy Research meanwhile has warned that more than one million young people could be unemployed by 2021.

While those searching for work are going to be facing stiffer competition, there is an additional challenge — the virtual interview process.

Admittedly, online interviews have been a part of many companies’ processes for years, but since the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown was implemented, it has become a staple.

Furthermore, the virtual interview looks as if it’s here to stay thanks to the fact it allows employers to interview a plethora of candidates in a short space of time, at little expense to the business. Additionally, unsuitable applicants can simply be sifted out prior to their and the employer’s time being wasted at a face-to-face interview.

Now we understand why companies will be keen to maintain the idea of a virtual alternative, let’s take at how you, the jobseeker, can make sure you utterly boss your opportunity.

A new reality

The first thing to be aware of is the fact that an online interview is actually different — disregarding the obvious. If you treat like a standard face-to-face interview, failing to adjust yourself, chances are you’ll face a particularly rude awakening.

Professional interview coach Sarah Johnston told the BBC: “Interviewing online and interviewing in person are two completely different experiences. Job seekers share that it can be challenging to connect with the interviewer online because there is often less small talk and its harder to pick up on non-verbal cues.

Know where you’re going

Have you ever sat down the night before a face-to-face interview and planned out how you’re going to get there, checking Google Maps, parking, and the entrance to the building?

Your online interview should be no different — well, maybe a little. Discover how to use the platform it’s going to occur on. The recruiter should instruct you in advance of where the interview will take place, whether it’s Zoom, Skype, Teams, or another alternative.

Conduct a trial run before the big day with a friend or family member and ensure you know what’s what.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

It might seem like somewhat of a cliché, but a lack of preparation is only going to result in one thing — disaster. Just because the interviewer isn’t in the room with you doesn’t mean that you can just sit and read off a script the entire time.

Research the company beforehand, know the details of the job you’re applying for, and most importantly, know what you’re going to say when they ask you questions!

Check both your camera and microphone work. The last thing you want to do is start flustering because things aren’t working.

Dress up

You might not be attending a fancy office block; in fact, you might not even be leaving the comforts of your bedroom. But that doesn’t mean you should turn off your professionalism.

Put on the exact same attire as you would if it was a traditional interview. Tailor this decision depending on the company. If they are a typically formal company then wear a suit or a dress. Alternatively, if you’re going for a role at a more modern, laidback business, then you may want to adapt and wear something slightly more relaxed such as a polo shirt or blouse.

Don’t be tempted into pulling on a shirt and tie without the trousers as this could seriously backfire if you need to get up to grab a document or pull a blind!

Strategic set up

A definite difficulty of conducting your interview over webcam and not in the office of the employer is the potential hazards that could make you fluff your lines.

The best thing you can is plan strategically where you are going to sit. It’s probably best not to sit directly in front of a window or a door, as you might get an unwanted ray of light appearing.

We’d advise picking a space at a table in front of a blank background. If you have kids, or anyone else living in the house, warn them that you are going to be on a call for a certain period of time.

Make sure that the washing machine or tumble dryer isn’t going to transcend into a high spin and pop your mobile phone on silent for the duration.

There are a number of ways you can prepare for your online interview, helping you to get that all important job. But most importantly — just stay calm!

Work and Family: Practical Tips for Moms to Balance the Two

Working mum

As a mom, you love your family and work hard to give them a great place to live and a better quality of life. However, you also have a high-pressure job that often overflows into your personal time. At the end of each day, you’re just short of sheer exhaustion. Below are a few tips to help you manage them easier. 

 

Too Much on Your Plate

No one person can handle it all. Don’t feel like you’re a failure if you don’t complete everything on your to-do list each day. If you own your own small business, you know what it takes to perform all the jobs at hand. When possible, it’s beneficial to outsource things like your taxes, payroll, and IT. 

If you’re an e-commerce business, outsourcing with a company that uses the latest UPS audit software will ensure accurate results. Along with freeing up valuable time, outsourcing these types of services will also cost less than hiring several employees year-round. If you don’t own the business but are the manager, learn how to delegate duties.

And don’t overlook the practicality of off-the-shelf technology. Here are a few more tips:

  • Manage business expenses with apps like Expensify or Mint. 
  • Keep track of accounts payable, accounts receivable, and payroll with Quickbooks or PayPal. 
  • Skip the headaches of juggling domain purchases, setting up web hosting accounts, hiring a web designer, and figuring out who is qualified to update timely information on your website with an all-in-one, user-friendly solution like Squarespace or Wix. 
  • Instead of hiring someone to manage your IT department, harness the cloud with a service like Google Workspace. You’ll have word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, file management, email, and chat communication at your fingertips.

 

No Need for Guilt 

Unfortunately, there’s still a double standard between the sexes when it comes to parents with careers. Dads are free to resume the workplace almost immediately after the birth of their child. Society still expects moms to remain at home with the children. When family, friends and neighbors feel that a mom returned too soon, they are judged and charged with abandonment. Don’t let others make you feel ashamed or guilt you into putting a hold on your career. Your job is essential to preserving your family’s quality of life.  

Try these books to give you inspiration:

  • A Uterus Is a Feature, Not a Bug: The Working Woman’s Guide to Overthrowing the Patriarchy by Sarah Lacy
  • The Fifth Trimester: The Working Mom’s Guide to Style, Sanity, and Big Success After Baby by Lauren Smith Brody

 

Then, download an app like Care.com to help you find a babysitter or the Cozi Family Organizer to stay sane amidst practices, recitals, late work meetings, and school schedules.

 

Save Time

Working moms need to get as much done as possible in a short amount of time. Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do to shave minutes from each day. No time for food shopping, thanks to COVID-19, most grocery stores now allow you to create an order online and have it delivered to your door within the hour. Lunchtime at the office provides a wonderful opportunity to take care of small errands. After the kids go to bed, lay out their clothes and shoes, and pack a lunch for the following morning. Weekends give you extra time to create meals for the upcoming week. Find recipes that you can freeze and reheat during the week such as a casserole. At the office make a conscious effort to avoid lengthy gossip sessions at the water cooler in order to get more accomplished per day. 

Here are a few technology-based tips to help you save time:

  • Try a meal-planning app like Paprika, Mealime, or MealPrepPro to make feeding your family a more efficient–and hopefully more enjoyable–job.
  • Get your kids more engaged in chores with reward-based apps like Homey or S’moresUp.

 

Family Time

There’s a lot of hustle and bustle during the week. When the weekend arrives it’s important to clear your calendar on Saturday or Sunday and dedicate it to quality family time. Bonding now while your children are young will make the teen years much easier and more memorable. In many cases it doesn’t require you to leave the home. Share the cooking, creating foods that they desire. Break out the board games or a family movie, gather the troops and congregate in the same room for the evening. During the warm summer months backyards can become an outdoor movie theater or the perfect place to pitch a tent, roast marshmallows and gaze at the stars. 


Technology isn’t just to help you be more productive. Try these:

  • Impress your family by knowing all the newest content that’s on Netflix without having to turn on the TV. “New on Netflix” is a free app for the iPhone that tells you exactly that.
  • Start an online multiplayer version of a game your family loves to play. Monopoly and Clue are just two games you could be playing with your family on devices.



Open Communication

Working moms will need to leave the office or even miss a day or two due to a sick child. The problem lies when you disregard the need to speak to a manager in advance of a new child or when starting a job. Every mom makes an effort regarding child care. When kids get sick, it’s usually mom that misses work to tend to them. A flexible schedule is ideal, allowing you to make the hours up during lunch or at home. Many companies today offer these types of work arrangements. Having open communication with your superiors will make it easier to get time off when necessary. 

You won’t need an app or website to help you with that. Just know that there are organizations out there to help support moms who work, such as the National Women’s Law Center.

You can improve your work and family balance, allowing you to feel better and get the most out of living. 

How to Keep Your Hybrid Workforce Engaged

Work hybrid

The way businesses operate has changed significantly since the first national lockdown in March 2020. But arguably one of the biggest changes has been the way businesses use technology. Data from McKinsey shows that businesses accelerated their digitisation by three to four years in the first four months of the pandemic.

This adoption of new technology has not come without its teething problems, however, and this is especially true for businesses with large office contingents. These workers promptly switched to remote working in March 2020 and had to adapt to these technologies while working from home. Google data shows that searches for terms on how to use tools like Zoom rose exponentially during the first few months of the pandemic, with “how to use Zoom” increasing by 7,016.74%.

Now that workers have had time to familiarise themselves with the tools, they’ve been embedded into workplaces. Employers and employees will still be taking advantage of tools including Teams and Zoom until the work from home directive is lifted, and may potentially keep them in the long term. Many businesses are looking to shift to a formal hybrid working model, so employers need to know how they can bring their home-workers and their office-based staff together using these tools.

Check out some of our top tips on keeping your employees connected using the technology you’ve embedded into your workplace during the pandemic.

 

Hold regular business catch-ups

Many businesses adopted collaboration technologies for the first time in the March 2020 lockdown – Zoom data shows that its daily meeting participants increased from 10 million to 300 million between December 2020 and April 2021. While searches on how to use them have died down since hitting a peak of 335,910 monthly searches in the March 2020 lockdown, queries remain 3,482% higher than 2019, which shows we’re still using – and maybe even getting to grips with – these tools.

As we begin to emerge from lockdown, you can still use these tools to your advantage. Because, if there’s one thing the pandemic has proven, it’s that we don’t need to be in the same room to be together at work. Despite that, almost half of people who worked from home during the pandemic felt isolated and lonely. So, with less restrictive work from home instructions still in place, how can you ensure those people feel included in the workplace?

Hosting regular workplace catch-ups and dialling your home-based colleagues in on Teams and Zoom is a great way you can do this. What’s more, if you have a large space in the office and TV or digital screens on the walls, you can cast Zoom and Teams to these screens so it really feels like you’re all together.

 

Host remote after-work activities

While many hospitality venues have opened, capacity and group sizes are limited. You may also have employees who are uncomfortable socially mixing at this stage in the pandemic. So, with the Euros hitting our screens this month, why not host work watch parties that your office and home-based employees can take part in together?

“Watch parties” are becoming more commonplace, with a number of streaming services recently launching a Teleparty function. This allows people to watch their favourite show together and includes a group chat so they can discuss it in real time.

It’s easy to recreate this for your colleagues. You can utilise your office screens and TV distribution technology to stream the matches – or any show, for that matter – in your office and create a Teams group for your people to discuss the events as they unfold.

 

Set up social groups

The great thing about tools like Teams and Zoom is that they can be used for both business and social purposes. If you’re already using Teams to allow your employees to collaborate remotely, why not set up some social channels to allow them to connect throughout the day too?

Whether you set up a company-wide chat for your employees to get to know each other, wherever they’re based, or you encourage your people to set up chats within their own teams, letting them know that they’re able to connect and engage with others is a sure-fire way to make them feel involved.

 

The coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdowns have forced many of us to work with technology in a way that we hadn’t previously. It also introduced home working to many employees for the first time, which made the adoption of this technology more challenging. Many businesses are currently operating with a hybrid office and home-based workforce, and this trend is set to stay in the long term. That means keeping your employees engaged could become more difficult – but our tips will make this much easier!

Amping Up The Marvellous Marketing

Businessman with a tablet creating a digital marketing plan for real estate

In a world that is increasingly digital and where the right marketing can make a world of difference, Amped Lead Generation might just be one of the most valuable firms around for those involved in real estate. After the firm was named the Most Influential Leader in Real Estate Marketing 2020 – Texas, we profiled it to find out more about what it offers, and what makes it such an outstanding option for those working in real estate marketing.

The Amped brand is a far-reaching conglomerate, made of many pieces that come together to form a marketing puzzle of sorts. Chief among them is Amped Lead Generation, which takes the lead with more than 5,400 websites that generate mortgage and real estate leads. There are a handful of other parts of the conglomerate, which includes Amped Database Management, a CRM system that managed the incoming leads with automated triggers to maximise the ROI on incoming leads for the marketing partners. Amped Rescue is a distressed property software that tracks the properties and owners to assist with a refinance, or cash offer to help them sell the distressed property very quickly. There is also an India-based facet to the company, Amped Digital Solutions, which is a website design, software, and mobile app design company. The Manila-based Amped Business Solutions, which is the business development arm of the Amped brand, handles customer service and virtual assistance service for the Amped brand, as well as other small business companies that require assistance. Amped Finance Solutions is a real estate finance company for owner finance transactions, and Amped Insurance Group is a property and casualty, and life insurance and annuity company that assists with insurance and investment needs.

It’s safe to say that the Amped brand has grown a lot over the last three years, and is now in a position where it can assist clients with all facets of the mortgage and real estate industry. One of the reasons that the Amped brand has been so highly successful is that it has found a way to place a website or advertisement in just about every crack, crevice, and part of the industry. With more than seven thousand websites being created and perfectly placed in the top two hundred cities of the United States, the Amped brand has taken each market captive. It is a behind-the-scenes company, and works tirelessly on behalf of its clients to provide a simple, yet highly effective service for the marketing partners so that they can be successful and grow their platform. Amped is focused on making its partners shine, and works on its SEO and social media marketing platform to make itself better every single day.

As the flagship of the company, Amped Lead Generation is responsible for working primarily with mortgage banks that are seeking leads for purchase transactions. With over seventeen years in the mortgage industry as an executive, it has been the privilege of the firm’s own executive-level staff to meet with many other mortgage executives and help them achieve their professional goals. This has made finding mortgage partners rather easy, given that the staff know how the industry works and where strengths and weaknesses lie for every single company. The weakest link for every single company is that they rely on realtor partners to provide all their business. The Loan Officers may be the ones to bring the realtor relationship with them, but the main problem is the high turnover in the industry. When a Loan Officer leaves, therefore, they take all the business with them.

This demand constant recruitment to replace lost revenue, which can be rather expensive. Businesses such as this simply have the wrong blueprint for continued success and growth, with the cost of recruiting fees, sign-on bonuses, shopping expenses, new and old leases, HR expenses, and large amounts of training all amounting to quite an expensive decision. Companies like Quicken primarily attain their business via advertisements, but it is 99% refinance transactions, and it is proven that the revenue us smaller on refinance transactions due to rate compression and rate competition. This is where Amped comes in. Amped is the first and the largest business in the country that generates purchase transactions as its primary focus. This provides an opportunity for the marketing partners to not only control and train the business should a Loan Officer leave, but it also solidifies the realtor relationships as Amped is the only platform consistently handing business back to them. The fact is that the current leadership does not understand the cost of lead generation will actually cut expenses by making it very difficult for Loan Officers to leave, thereby cutting corporate expenses.

Changing the course in this way will force the hand of every mortgage company to do the same, or they risk losing their realtor partners to a company that provides business in return. Again, this should force many companies to seek out the services of Amped and the Amped brand, especially given that Amped has already purchased the best domains available in the top two hundred cities of the United States. Now, the Amped brand is in a place where it can roll out hundreds of new websites each month to solidify its presence and position at the top of the food chain within the world of real estate marketing. It will become almost impossible for competitors to even get close to what the firm has built over the last three years. Amped has spent three years learning and perfecting the algorithms in each city, and it has certainly paid off.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the staff that make Amped so outstanding in the first place. The staff are everything when it comes to sealing the deal on the success that the brand has built for itself. The leadership has provided the blueprint and the capital that has allowed the team to build the machine; the vision has been provided, and the staff have turned it into a masterful realization. Now, the Amped machine is preparing to move into new arenas in 2021. The firm will aim to enter the insurance industry and auto industry, and is also building a personal injury law platform. It will likely roll out in 2022, but it is possible that the team will get over the line in the last quarter of 2021.

There can be little growth without challenge, and that has certainly proven to be the case for the team at Amped. The biggest challenge currently is the mass refinance boom. When mortgage companies are dealing with mass volume, and pipelines are backed up, they are not looking to market for more business. Marketing shut down completely for four months, and it was a swift sucker punch for Amped. Yet, the leadership regrouped and attained new contracts, despite it being hard to keep paying staff with no revenue. Though this will likely continue as COVID-19 continues to be present in our lives, Amped will find a way to continue delivering excellence for itself and its clients.

Armed with the experience and expertise of its leadership, 2021 should be a banner year for the Amped brand. It has taken the downtime forced by COVID-19 to fix errors and build out more sites to maintain its position at the forefront of what the industry has to offer. Taking its place on the pedestal, Amped is refreshed and ready to go achieve more growth and more success than ever before.

For business enquires contact Rick Orozco at Amped Lead Generation via https://www.ampedleadgen.com/