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A Personal Touch Matters in Your Store and Online

A Personal Touch Matters in Your Store and Online

Businesses have long ago found out that their clients like it when they are treated as individuals, and not as faceless sources of ready cash. Therefore, a personal touch always went a long way in making positive impression, in increasing sales and client return rates. In brick-and-mortar shops, achieving it isn’t all that difficult to implement – a skilled sales manager can find a way to effectively communicate with any client. However, for online shops this approach remained problematic for a very long time, for the very nature of arrangement made contacts between the store and the client anonymous to a degree.

Nevertheless, technology doesn’t stand in one place, and today we more and more often hear about the new ways to personalize your website to better engage your clients.

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For quite a while, personalization in stores was limited to things like gathering information about client’s preferences and displaying lists of items similar to ones they’ve already bought to try and attract their attention to them.

It all changed with the start of mobile revolution and the emergence of responsive web design.

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It used to be that all web designers and webmasters had to think about was making websites look good and function well on desktop computers. Then came the mobile revolution, and everything changed. People started accessing websites from scores of different types of devices, all using different software, with screens of varying sizes.

Responsive web design, specifically aimed at ensuring a positive mobile experience, is an approach to design that provides an optimal viewing experience, no matter what device a user is accessing a site on. Today, there are no serious web design companies that don’t work with this paradigm in mind, and such prominent companies as Duda dedicate all of their efforts to building products aimed making the creation of these sites as simple as possible.

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To take it a step further, the most cutting edge companies also focus on something called website personalization, that enables a web designer to ensure that a website visitor also receives an individualized experience based on things like time of day, date, number of previous visits to the site, a user’s physical location and more.

Such an approach doesn’t simply change the way the site is displayed depending on the device, but effectively changes what content the visitors gets to see depending on any number of factors you want. You define certain triggers changing the information provided to the customer, such as time of day, date, the number of visits attributed to this customer, previous purchases, the site from which the visitor came to you, and so on – and define beforehand what your visitor is going to see. You may engage first-time visitors with special welcome videos, or improve weekend and holiday sales by giving discount coupons to those visiting you at those times.

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When a visitor sees that you’ve paid special attention to them, that you keep your website up to date, that you are interested in improving their experience, you are certain to stand out, at the very least when compared to stores that treat all their visitors in the same manner.

Higher conversion rates are the least you can expect. In perspective, it may change your entire way of dealing with clients and customers’ attitude towards your shop. A lot is said today about how the most promising approach to business is to turn a store from a place where people go for purchases to a place where people go for an experience – a pleasant experience of having your wishes anticipated, being treated to pleasant surprises now and then, and, in general, being regarded as a friend and a member of a friendly community rather than a walking wallet.

Those who will embrace this policy early on are going to prosper; those unwilling to do so now are likely to soon wish they had.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory/stokpic.com via stokpic.com

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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