• Today is: Friday, September 21, 2018

Hair Entrepreneur Cleans Up in Christmas Gift Guides

Oliver J. Woods
Martina Mercer
November21/ 2017

As eSellers, you know that Christmas Gift Guides are the place to be if you want to increase sales over the festive period. One hair entrepreneur is finding his products mentioned in these popular guides just a few months after launch.

Oliver J.Woods is the stylist to the stars, he boasts an impressive portfolio of Brad Pitt and Robbie Williams as his clients. He launched his very own men’s grooming range using only the best ingredients and as it hits the shelves, many consumers are falling in love with his products.

He has just a handful of products for sale currently, but this hasn’t dampened the soaring popularity, from his Blackseed wax to Perilla Oil, all are being well received. What can other eSellers learn from Oliver J.Woods and his immediate success?

A Focus on Design and Quality

It’s immediately evident that a lot of careful planning and thought has gone into every single Oliver J.Woods product. This is due to the packaging and also the quality of the actual product. The packaging looks decadent on a shelf, while the subtle logo and design oozes sophistication and style. It shouts, “no fuss” and it does it well.

The Message

Oliver J. Woods products are created for busy, successful men and entrepreneurs who like to look good but don’t have a lot of time on their hands. In short, the product lives up to the message. The Blackseed wax easily styles and sculpts hair, while the Perilla oil delivers a sheen and quick nourishment to hair. Oliver J.Woods products simply live up to their claims and deliver on their promises.

The Man Behind the Hair

When Oliver J. Woods answered 10 Probing Questions over on Sunday Woman magazine, many women swooned. Men want to be him, women want to meet him and of course, this helps with the sale of the products. The celebrity injection is also advantageous, although we believe these products would still sell themselves.

How to Get Your Products Into a Gift Guide

To emulate the Oliver J.Woods success you do need to follow the steps above. For gift guide inclusion you must be prepared for your product to be tested. If you product lives up to its hype it should be included. It’s worth it, as many people use gift guides as shopping lists and lots seek out inspiration in articles and magazines as they look for something a little bit different.

More About Oliver J. Woods

Oliver holds an impressive list of A list celebrity followers, and has groomed some of the most popular men in the world. He travels the globe as the stylist to the stars and spends his time with globally recognised photographers.

He currently divides his time between the UK and LA, when not travelling for work purposes. He has an impressive social media following and has even featured on TV as a judge on the Channel 4 series, “Model Behaviour”.

Oliver’s creations and styles can often be found gracing the covers of popular magazines such as Vogue and Rolling Stone. He is one of the most in demand men’s hair stylists in present times.

 

Managing Your Money as a Sole Trader

Martina Mercer
November01/ 2017

Many freelancers instinctively focus upon attracting clients and it is natural to concentrate upon this, particularly when starting out. As a newbie, you are undoubtedly keen to find new clients and gain commitments for projects. And this is obviously key to building up a business as a contractor. However, if money is not managed properly then cash flow can quickly become a serious issue that grounds your fledgling business before it has had an opportunity to gain momentum.

At its most basic level, the money that relates to your businesses is either an income or an expense. If the money coming in is greater than the money going out, then your business will be in profit. If not, then it is making a loss. Of course, there are many other factors to consider, but the most fundamental question for any business, including those starting out, is whether there is more revenue being generated than is being spent.

Managing your money is critical to ensuring your business survives. The longer the gap between spending money and receiving income, the more likely a business is to have problems in paying for the costs of running a business. One of the considerations to managing cash flow is to define your payment terms – particularly how soon payment is required after issuing an invoice. Invoices should be issued promptly and where a large contract is being undertaken, it is advisable to agree staged payments at agreed milestones. The latter ensures income is received more quickly and it also reduces the risk associated with receiving a large, one-off payment such as a client being unable or unwilling to pay.

Use a record-keeping system to track details of income (sales ledger) and expenditure (purchase ledger) and update this on a frequent basis. This will allow you to understand the businesses financial situation. The sales ledger will allow you to track the amount of sales invoiced (turnover) and identify where payments are late and require chasing. It also allows a freelancer to analyse which clients and assignment types generate the most revenue, which can be invaluable for business planning purposes. The purchase ledger will track your business’ spending and how much is owed to creditors. Identifying which suppliers most business is done with may also provide opportunities for savings by shopping around or for negotiating better terms.

Record-keeping is also extremely important for tax purposes. Your business will be liable for Income Tax and possibly also VAT and Corporation Tax and you must ensure you have the funds to cover your liabilities. It is highly advisable to set aside money to cover these liabilities and managing tax payments from the outset will avoid a potentially painful squeeze on the businesses finances in the future.

If the taxable turnover of your business exceeds £73,000, or if you expect it to, you must register for VAT. Businesses registered for VAT, will generally charge it at the standard rate of 20% on all goods and services supplied. More information can be found on HMRC’s website here. Corporation Tax is payable on the taxable profits of limited companies and the rate for small companies with profits of less than £300,000 is 20%. Sole traders are treated differently for Corporation Tax purposes and are not liable. Further information on Corporation Tax including allowances and tax relief can be found here. You may even be able to claim a tax rebate, such as a mechanics tax rebate or non UK resident tax rebate.

Additionally, it is essential to create a filing system to store receipts, particularly for small costs such as postage and stationery. For freelancers, business and personal expenses can sometimes intermingle. However, income and expenditure must be kept separate and for record-keeping purposes they should be considered as completely separate entities.

It is preferable to keep a computerised record-keeping system as it is easy to maintain and can be manipulated and modified according to the user’s requirements. It also allows for calculations to be made easily and can feed into other areas such as sending invoices to clients, making payments to suppliers and filing tax returns. There are a number of accounting software packages available which are suitable for freelancers. Included among these are: Sage Instant Accounting, Intuit QuickBooks and Pegasus Capital Gold.

Utilities

If you run a business from home, you can save tax on utility bills and boiler costs. This depends on what portion of your home you use for business. It’s also best to work out which heating fuel is best for your business. It may make sense to switch to an oil boiler or LPG gas. There are advantages and disadvantages to all sources of fuel. If choosing a new boiler for your business premises, try not to compromise on cost, as the higher the quality, the less the maintenance and the more time for you. It’s essential that your customers always feel comfortable and your machinery works as it should for a business, so choose wisely and discover the best heating options for your business. City Plumbing can help with business or domestic boilers for all fuels, be it oil, LPG or mains gas.

Is Your Business Buff Enough? QUIZ

Martina Mercer
August23/ 2017

Is Your Business Buff?

Put it through its paces with our quick and easy

Fit Test

We strongly believe the major organs of a business are the accounting and management information systems. When our heart and lungs are running efficiently and are carefully maintained then the whole of our body feels fit and healthy, meaning we can fight off infection, disease and face any unexpected events that may put our bodies to the test. Taking care of our bodies ensures we have time for more pleasurable activities, such as using them for our own enjoyment be it a dinner party, a holiday or a simple walk in the park. Your business is no different. When it’s fit and healthy and performing at its peak rate it will meet the day to day requirements without ever breaking a sweat, with everything working in harmony, your business and you can then concentrate on the more pleasurable side of business life, making money.

Usain Bolt wins medals but Rab C Nesbitt never did…

 Take the test, answer a simple yes to any of the statements below if they sound familiar and we’ll determine your business BMI at the end:

  • Your Business Brain -I only find out my annual profit or loss months after my year end when my accountant finally lets me see some figures which even then don’t seem to make sense.
  • Your Businesses Eating Habits – I am often very surprised by the amount of VAT and PAYE I am asked to pay and get into arrears
  • Your Businesses Energy -I struggle to find the time and the enthusiasm to maintain my business records and don’t feel that my management information systems are effective and if I’m honest coping
  • Your Business Health Checks -I know that the computer based accounting system we use can do so much more than we use it for but I don’t have the time or anyone to ask about accessing these benefits
  • Your Businesses 5 a Day – I need help with my accounting system from payroll to invoicing, I don’t need a full time bookkeeper and my accountant doesn’t seem interested. What can I do?
  • Your Businesses Performance Output -I don’t really understand my HMRC VAT and PAYE returns I think there might be a better way of doing things but I can’t find it
  • Your Business Heart -My accountant seems more concerned with ensuring that the Tax Man gets the most from me than in helping me run the day to day things I need help with and seeking out new ways in which my business can improve. I could really do with seeing someone more regularly as the year unrolls rather than once a year in his office
  • Your Business Diet Plan –I need to know how my business was performing last week and what it needs to change to perform better next week but all I seem to be doing is coping with my bank balance going up and down
  • Your Businesses Mental Health – My accountant and my bank manager don’t spend any time finding out what I do and why I do it – I really need and advisor who I can meet with regularly and who builds up a good understanding of what I’m about and where I’m going in language I can relate to
  • ·

Your score:

v  You answered YES to two to four statements

Your business BMI is 32 which in fitness terms is classed as overweight. You need to get your business back on the race track and quickly in order for it to fit back into those skinny jeans and be the belle of the ball.

v  You answered YES to five to seven statements

Your business BMI is 40 which is classed as obese, you have some serious training to do to get your business back in shape; however we can help and take the blood, sweat and tears out of your exercise regime.

v  You answered YES to over seven statements

Your business BMI is 50, this is classed as morbidly obese. Oh dear. Not only does your business need a kick to get off the sofa it also needs a holistic therapy approach which covers all aspects of your business and puts it on the right diet plan to sustain it well into the future, luckily, we can offer the whole package.

v  You answered NO to all the statements

Congratulations, your Business BMI is 21, the healthy weight; you don’t need to do anything except carry on as you are, before you disappear though, were you really being completely honest about your weight?

If you’re business isn’t buff enough you could be missing out on tax rebates or r and d tax credits you’re entitled to. Check out the approved sites above to see if you’re owed any tax refunds for your business. You won’t be disappointed.

This post and Copywriting Services by Martina Mercer

What You Need to Consider before Starting a Business

Martina Mercer
August21/ 2017

With so many success stories of businesses started online it can be tempting to try and claim your own piece of the pie. Although this ambition should be commended there are a few things to consider before investing time and money into a new venture.

Competition

The internet may have made it easier for businesses to connect and advertise on the cheap but it also means there is a lot of competition. You need to ask yourself if your business is:

  • Better than the competition
  • Offering something new or different to what’s already on the market
  • Capable of keeping up with changes to stay ahead of the competition
  • Great value to your customers.

Essentially when starting out you will be taking customers or clients away from other businesses that provide your service. Few people like change especially if things are ticking along nicely. This throws up a whole host of other questions such as:

  • Is there a compelling incentive for the client to move providers?
  • What’s in it for the client/customer in the short and long term?
  • What can you do to entice trust as a new company?

How easy would it be for them to switch? Top Tip – If a customer has to fill in lots of paperwork, cancel current providers and use their free time to switch, they won’t unless an offer is incredible.

Without a history or a reputation you need something incredibly attractive to bring customers to you.

Skills

The online and offline businesses that succeed are those who are started by people with an absolute passion for what they do. They love their work so much that they’d happily live on bread and water as they see it build up. This passion shines through as they undoubtedly strive every day to provide the absolute best. Unless you can provide the best or the cheapest it may be worth looking elsewhere.

To determine whether you have the skills you need to consider how you’ll bring the customers in. Will you use the internet? Face to face? Then, when you have customers how will you serve them day to day?

Having a great website is a good starting point but do you have the skills to update it? To send out emailers, to blog, to keep customers up to date? If not you may need to outsource and your budget should reflect this.

Unless you’ve time to spend training with Google to create adwords campaigns it’s always best to hire a professional adwords agency. This way, you can be sure of a profit while being able to spend time on your business, as adwords campaigns take a lot of time and training to pull off.

Retaining Customers

Once you have customers you need to keep them. Market research is crucial before starting a business but once started you need to analyse your client’s behaviour to drive growth.

An understanding of Google Analytics is essential to monitor behaviour and to ensure you continue to give your customers what they want, as just as you did, there will be thousands of competitors looking to steal your customers starting up every day.

This is just a short overview of the most basic areas that must be considered before starting a business. There are many more facts to consider and if you can tick all the boxes you have a good chance of making your business work.

If you’re looking for funds to start a business a tax rebate could help. Check out Tax Rebate Services to see if you’re entitled to a windfall which could help you go a long way. If you’re in the research and development industry, you could be entitled to research and development tax credits which are worth a lot of money, thousands in fact. Make sure you know what you’re entitled to by visiting DSM R and D Tax Credits.

How to Choose Your Target Market

Martina Mercer
August21/ 2017

One strategy that has proven effective for freelancers in building business is to focus on one sector and begin to develop both knowledge and a profile. If you are a freelancer you may benefit from these tips from Fergal Bell on how to choose your target market.

Every sector has its own acronyms, jargon, issues and concerns and by immersing oneself in a specific area, a freelancer can develop a deeper understanding of the pressure points of their clients.

For example, for a client who is a service provider where customer feedback is important, being able to coordinate customer feedback on their website with analysis of survey results may firstly switch on a light bulb in their minds and secondly have them reaching for their diaries to confirm the freelancer’s availability. Client needs can sometimes arise as a response to topical or regulatory issues and being aware of a client’s likely concerns allows a freelancer to prepare possible solutions in advance.

For example, in 2010 a volcanic ash cloud from Iceland caused severe disruption to flights and holidays. In this situation a travel agent client may have benefited from an addition to their website that automatically forwarded guidance to registered holiday makers by email or smartphone app. As another example, cases are periodically reported in the news of customer data being stolen or going missing. In these situations, a freelancer who was able to present their client with an enhanced security capability for their website that provided peace of mind to their customers, may be able to demonstrate a real benefit of using their services. A freelancer that can demonstrate an understanding of their client’s business will boost their credibility immeasurably, and reposition themselves from being just another web designer to being a business partner. Separately, by concentrating on one market it becomes far easier for a freelancer to build up an expert profile.

Focusing external activities in a narrow but structured way can concentrate their effectiveness. For example, in one scenario a web designer provides information in a health professionals’ social media forum about linking common patient enquiries to relevant Department of Health information. This allows the freelancer to reach a defined market with relevant information that demonstrates their expertise.

Even in the gambling industry, there are new opportunities to reach more customers as more and more people are seeing matched betting or back and lay bets as a way of life. Instead of just marketing to the seasoned gamblers, professionals are now understanding that those who have never gambled before may be interested in a game. Especially if the rewards outweigh the risks. Of course, this throws up ethical questions but for marketing purposes, this does demonstrate how new opportunities can be uncovered.

The members of a forum will usually be relatively open to such a message, if it is presented well, as there is an affiliation of sorts. Marketing can be as low-key as commenting in a forum and it is far more effective when individuals perceive a benefit. The key is to help members, rather than to sell to them and by providing a solution to a need a freelancer can do this effectively. When it comes to spending money, clients only ever really buy from those they trust can meet a need. A recommendation works because the client trusts the judgement of the person making the recommendation and their experience of using the service previously. In addition, professional recommendations tend to be made between individuals operating within the same market. By focusing on one market a freelancer can build up a network of contacts more easily and also target their marketing activities more effectively.

Three Steps to Uncover New Business Opportunities

Martina Mercer
May10/ 2017

 

Some business may be content with the way their company is going, they may be content to keep the profits at exactly the same level, to not embrace growth or to quietly tick away, however this complacency can be quite dangerous for a business.

The market, economic climate and customers are constantly evolving, to ignore this is quite foolish, as although the business may be ticking away fruitfully for now, change is sudden and next year the business may find itself in a position that is a struggle to break free from.

Complacency will render the business irrelevant over time and opposition will see your business as easy competition, thus taking away your market share. There is always a reason to look for new business opportunities even if the thought of change seems scary.

There are three simple steps to follow to uncover new business opportunities:

1) Understand the market trends (sociological, political, economic conditions and technological) and in turn understand the ever changing consumer behaviours and preferences.

It is important to understand market trends if your business is to stay ahead of the competition. Your competitors will be evaluating you to exploit any weakness and to plan their next move; you need to do the same.

You also need to be aware of the demand for you product and services to draw attention to the trends to see if demand is growing or shrinking.

The plan will look into the future and evaluate how your customer’s preferences could change over time.

It is a good idea to try and locate what products your competitors may be producing, as these new modern services could make yours look old and out-dated.

Calculating your competition keeps you at the forefront of your target market, finding out what your competitors charge gives you the edge to defeat the competition.

Encountering how your competitors advertise helps you to consider new ways in which you can promote your business.

It is imperative that your business is aware of any forthcoming government legislation that could affect future sales or profits.

2) Self Evaluation

Concentrating on the present elucidates the products and services that generate the best revenue, taking stock of the current offerings means you can evaluate objectively.

The best way to remember this is by a simple acronym of SWOT- which means Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. By evaluating these it brings a realistic approach to your business and emphasizes any areas that may need change.

3) Identify potential new products and services

As mentioned in steps one and two, assessing your competition and recognizing the target market will help you stay ahead of your adversaries. Scrutinizing current and future market trends will uncover new business opportunities and new products or services that your company could branch out into to.

In conclusion no matter where your business sits economically, every successful company regularly looks for ways to uncover new business opportunities to secure future revenue and to stay ahead of competition. This is an invaluable tool to ensure that your business not only continues to bring in profits but also to highlight areas in which your business can expand.

The Death of the Email?

Martina Mercer
May06/ 2017

Is this the death of the email? You decide! Some huge companies this last month have decided to ditch email as a modern form of communication between colleagues. This has led to a lot of speculation as to whether email is in fact now outdated as a means to exchange information in the office.

A lot of factors prompted this change however the major reason seems to surround the time consumed by employees. Many big business executives claim their employees spend up to a third of their time answering emails, using precious pounds that could be spent on them simply doing their job.

This news seem to coincide with the rising cost of the first class stamp, as very few of us now use snail mail to keep in touch with friends and family, it does beg the question of where we’ll go next. If email is to become defunct as a speedy way to keep in touch, just how will we communicate in the future?

However it’s not only the huge corporations that are seeking to remove this once revolutionary form of communication from their everyday working lives, those under the age of twenty five see email as yesterday’s news, throwing it onto the retro trash pile along with VHS video, cassette players and Ceefax.

This new generation see email as a slow means of communication, preferring an instant message that is answered in seconds rather than minutes or hours. Of course teenagers can use the myriad of social networks to keep up to date with their friends, and as Mark Zuckerberg rubs his hands in glee it seems his wish has finally come true.

Facebook

Although Facebook has an email facility, lately this has been coupled with the express means of instant messaging, turning any email into a chat that has the option to be answered instantly if online. With many documenting their daily lives through photos and status updates, is there really any need to write a lengthy letter to expand on the personal news?

Skype

Skype has found its way into the homes and offices of many, with video calls and instant messaging users can choose how to communicate. Messages can be sent direct to a contacts phone which leads us directly to…

Texting

The ultimate form of communication, with contracts abound no longer do teenagers have to worry about using ten pence every time they send a text. As smart phones increase in popularity, we can now simply speak into the phone, hoping it recognises our accent before typing the text for us.

These substitute forms of contact are obviously ideal for a teen, but as corporations remove email do they really want employees communicating through Facebook and Twitter or fiddling with their phones?

One company has found the answer, using a platform similar to Wikipedia, they’ve constructed a way colleagues can update information (without any banal chat or pleasantries involved), keeping them working whilst removing the small talk.

Google Docs seems to be another favourite for sharing work and updating files, but although the alternatives are legion, we are afraid to announce that even the trendiest of teenagers will indefinitely find themselves using this prehistoric form of contact if they ever hope to secure employment.

This post was written for MobileEase by Martina

MobileEase offer iPhone repair in London just a short walk away from Victoria Station.

 

The Benefits of Telecommuting

Martina Mercer
May05/ 2017

Finding a cheap office is difficult, as not only must it be secure when you’re not there it must also be fully equipped with everything you need to make your business run smoothly.

A new survey has suggested that in twenty years over half of the working population will be freelancers and it’s these growths that is leading many companies to forego the traditional offices set up and choose telecommuting instead.

There are so many advantages to telecommuting rather than trying to find cheap office space that doesn’t eat into a budget.  Just a few reasons why companies choose this direction include:

Communication

Now with super-fast broadband, email, Skype, Face Time and the trusted telephone employees don’t need to be present in an office to work. Colleagues can be present on video as they talk through any major developments and then left to complete the work ensuring they hit the deadline.

Conference calls and venues for hire ensure that when many heads do need to come together there is always a solution.

Commute

There are a few businesses that aren’t feeling the pinch of the rising fuel prices. Working remotely not only saves a lot of time – in some cases a few hours a day- it also saves a lot of money. Statistics show that when two parents work the second parent’s wages are swallowed in travel and childcare costs alone making it pointless to work full time. Of course if you are commuting, you can claim mileage tax relief when you submit your tax return online.

Payroll

When working remotely you don’t have to take staff on a permanent basis. You can hire freelancers for all your needs without worrying about the red tape of employee tax and national insurance. You also save money on sick days, holidays and maternity leave.

Equipment

With a virtual office all employees or freelancers use their own equipment meaning you don’t have to fork out for the latest computer model or Skype headset.  You don’t have to worry about your employees bad backs due to unsupportive office chairs and you don’t have to ensure they have lockers, bathrooms or a staff room for their own use.

Peace

Working remotely you can turn off the speakers of your computer and enjoy uninterrupted peace which is almost impossible in a cheap office environment. If you do fancy a change and find the dally life a little lonely you can choose to move your virtual office to Starbucks for the day.

No Service Fees

Without a tangible office you have no need to hire cleaners, security or other staff that simply add to the price of the office rental without bringing in any return. Your profits can be limited to the necessary staff and equipment you need to keep your business moving forwards.

Little Extras

With a virtual office you can also hire a virtual PA who will be half the price of one present by your side. You won’t have to buy them a desk and they’ll still complete every task efficiently. They can listen to memos, take minutes of Skype meetings, shop for presents, answer and forward calls, arrange your diary, and make sales calls and much more. It’s quite amazing what can be done from any location today.

Your Home Office

You can also buy bespoke furniture online to make your home office more luxurious, keeping you in the surroundings that others will be envious of, without the commute.

 

 

 

 

Can Sales Reps Save Our High Streets?– with Tim Johnson and Kevin Blackmore

Martina Mercer
May03/ 2017

One question we’ve been asking a lot of our eSellers this year is what they think the future of the High Street will be. It’s natural, with the closure of Jessops, Comet and HMV to believe that the High Street no longer provides value and bricks and mortar stores will be no more.

However, new technologies are emerging that not only ensure the stores work in  harmony with the internet and mobile technology but offer a way to save the High Street and even suggest that the right strategies will actually increase the amount of stores outdoors.

These solutions focus on the customer experience, along with multi-channel, cross channel omni channel technology that combines the collection of data with buyer behaviour to enable retailers to increase sales on the shop floor.

LightHaus is one company that believes there are many missed opportunities in store that could be capitalized on with the right communication and data collection tools. In some stores up to 80% of the footfall is through browsers alone that leave without buying a thing but Lighthaus have the solution.

They’ll be talking about this in a presentation at the RBTE so I won’t give away all the secrets yet, instead I focused on the sales staff experience along with the consumer experience, in order to gain an insight from the other side of the fence.

With over 20 years’ experience of giving customers what they want, Kevin Blackmore, LightHaus’ UK General Manager, is in a prime position to advise on how to utilize and capitalise on consumer behaviour, while Tim Johnson, the Sr. Technical Director of Concept Development & Implementation for AT & T stores believes customer focus is key.

At Integrated Retailer we’ve already determined that the next decade will show the consumer to be the one in control, the customer holds the power, and the retailers who will thrive will be those who listen to the customer and give them what they want, however, although the US has a great reputation for customer service, here in the UK we do not.

Tim has recently launched a store in Chicago and this is proving to be a huge success, not only is it reinforcing the brand but the staff are reinforcing the reputation of giving excellent customer care. He is proud that customers will ask for a specific sales person by name, as they remember the service they received, yet here in Britain we do tend to remember more the bad service.

Of course, high end stores, Harvey Nichols, Harrods, John Lewis even understand customer care but others seem to miss the point.

The British Can Do Better

A recent trip on the North Yorkshire Moors railway gave me the opportunity to witness the worst case of customer service I’d ever encountered, while anyone that’s moved home recently and used BT for broadband will understand my plea. The Consumer Voice has incredible stats on how customer care is now losing apathetic brands billions.

As an example of this, recently I stepped inside a Body Shop, having met Anita Roddick a couple of times, this has always been a brand that I respected and admired. I was looking for an all-natural face wash for my daughter and approached two sales assistants to ask if they still sold the oat scrub. I stood, as they finished their conversation, looked at me as if I was extremely rude then replied “no” in unison.

That was it. I was so shocked I let them know they’d missed a sale. They shrugged. Obviously not on commission then!

See if they’d shown me an alternative, asked me what skin problem I was trying to help and found out a bit about my daughter’s regime I would have happily parted with £100 for body wash, facial scrub, moisturisers and bath foams as long as I thought it would alleviate her eczema naturally.

The cheaper options especially seem to have disregard for customer care, as David Cameron should be able to confirm when he bought his pasty from Greggs.

The Computer Says No –Innit?

When I asked what Britain could do to improve on customer care, Kevin disagreed that the UK had a problem in this field, which is understandable as every client of Lighthaus is committed to providing the ultimate customer experience.

Regardless I persevered for those of us, who have returned home to write a strong ranting email to a store we were disgusted with and asked,

“Loyalty schemes and listening to the consumer are obviously the way forward however, how do we tackle the apathetic employees that don’t seem to understand the importance of customer care?”

Although both believe that there are very few out there that do watch the clock and don’t often care about customers as long as their wages are paid, Tim Johnson did give me some great insights.

He told me that now; the focus is not simply on the customer experience but on the sales reps experience too. Companies are investing more in staff both in training and confidence, as they are involving more employees into the whole process so they feel like a huge part of the success (which they are). With the information Lighthaus can gather, sales reps can also be motivated by rewards for giving a great customer experience and customer satisfaction can be measured so employees understand how to improve.

Tim also highlighted that with every investment in modern technology; there should be an investment in staff training too so the two work seamlessly together to deliver the best service.

The Future Looks Bright

Personally this short interview has already whetted my appetite for a better future. It’s not difficult to see that with more motivated staff, happier customers and a growing High Street, LightHaus is shining a bright light on the future of retail.

Should I Rent or Buy the Technology Hardware for My Store?

Martina Mercer
May03/ 2017

Technology hardware can present a large outlay for your your store or business. EPOS systems and staff technology can be one of the biggest outlays your business can make. A good EPOS system will ensure you please the consumer. As consumers expect speedy transactions, complete security and high quality hardware as standard.

A glitch in a EPOS system can leave a consumer disgruntled, with contactless payments and quicker ways to pay, consumers don’t deal well with delays, no matter how small. Sticky buttons, and clunky dial ups can impact on consumer loyalty, while leaving a cashier red-faced.

The quality of EPOS systems used for your business should not be underestimated. As we’ve discussed previously, when visiting the RBTE and reporting on the new EPOS systems from Verifone, Epsom and Samsung, intuitive systems can actually grow the bond between a consumer and a store.

You already know how important it is to use a failsafe EPOS system that gets the job done, extra features are a bonus, you need reliability, strength and security. These assets are not inexpensive, to benefit from brilliant technology hardware you do need to invest heavily.

That’s why we ask the question of “Should I Rent or Buy the Technology Hardware for My Store?”

There are pros and cons to each, for example:

The Benefits of Buying EPOS Systems

If you buy Epos systems, always choose a reputable technology hardware sourcing service, such as PLM Global,  who can keep your costs down while meeting all of your business needs. A service like this will remove any guesswork and will ensure you receive the best deals on the latest technology. You can relay the information they need, such as the training level of staff and the current speed of checkout. The product sourcing service will then secure hardware completely bespoke to your business.

  • Another benefit if you buy technology hardware you can benefit from Capital Gains tax allowances by using good accountancy services.
  • You can sell the hardware when you’re ready to upgrade which will give your business a good cash injection.
  • Your hardware, if new, should come with a warranty and service guarantee should anything go wrong with the system.
  • If the technology you buy, is top of the range, you may be entitled to free staff training as a result.
  • You pay once, with no rolling fees and no interest

The Benefits of Leasing Technology Hardware

Leasing technology hardware is a sound solution for many stores and businesses. There are many benefits to leasing hardware rather than buying outright.

Some of these include:

  • You can pay a monthly fee that’s synonymous with your profits and what you need in the way of EPOS systems
  • You will benefit from regular maintenance and upgrades
  • You may be able to afford more up to date technology than you would should you buy outright
  • You will always have the latest technology
  • You can return the EPOS systems easily should the business be sold, should it expand or contract.
  • You may still be entitled to tax breaks, when using high quality tax return services.

Whether you decide to buy or lease technology hardware, one fact remains the same. You need the best EPOS systems in order to please your customers and to serve the most people in the least time possible. A store cannot operate without a good EPOS system in this day and age.