Video Games: Console Games, PC Games, Online Games – Best Buy #retail #outlet


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Video Games

Video Games, Consoles & Accessories

Shopping for Video Games

Best Buy is the video game destination that offers everything from new releases to pre-orders to ensure you get your game as soon as it is available. Many game titles have bonus materials available only to customers who pre-order the game. Find fun gaming options for people of all ages, including a growing Toys to Life selection and educational games that are appropriate for young children. You can shop for game downloads for platforms like PlayStation, Xbox, Wii U, and PCs. Whatever your preference for diving into the latest gaming action, find great video game deals at Best Buy.

Video Game Consoles

Whether you’re just getting started in the gaming world, or you’re upgrading your system, find the gaming console that’s right for you in our complete assortment. Experience everything that Xbox One has to offer, including the popular Halo series, Xbox Live service that allows you to play online with friends, and backward compatibility with a growing number of Xbox 360 games. If you’re interested in the array of PS4 games. we have you covered. PlayStation delivers blockbuster franchises like Uncharted and Killzone. This popular console is also your gateway to PlayStation Plus membership that features free game downloads. The Wii U console is an ideal way to enjoy the interactive worlds of Super Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong, and other Nintendo franchises in an entirely new way.

Gaming Accessories

After you purchase a gaming console and a game to play, you’ll have everything you need to get started. But you might want to enhance your overall experience with gaming accessories. For example, extra controllers let you play with more friends and family. Charging stations keep the games going nonstop, while memory devices let you save your game play. Gaming headsets are a popular addition to a video game system. These specialized devices deliver realistic surround sound with selectable modes for specific media. A gaming headset and other accessories could mean the difference between gaming domination or “game over.”

Video Game Trade-In and Pre-Owned Games

If you have a growing stack of games that you’ve already mastered, consider trading them in for a Best Buy gift card. Then, you can apply the value of the gift card toward new games. Or, save money by choosing from a wide selection of pre-owned games. Best Buy has pre-owned titles available for popular consoles like PS4, Xbox One, Wii U and more.


Costs of Starting an Online Retail Business #top #100 #retailers


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Costs of Starting an Online Retail Business

Latest posts by StartupNation (see all )

Online retail businesses are a popular option for entrepreneurs with minimal capital to invest up front. What’s more, online retail is a great business to run as a home-based, solo, parent or part-time entrepreneur. It can also be a fantastic outlet for your creative talent or hobby.

So you’re asking yourself—what does it actually cost to start an online retail business? We’ve got a real-life example for you: Amy Weaver, corporate refugee and owner of a new online greeting card company. Amy took her creative ideas about a tried-and-true product—greeting cards—and launched her own online retail business. “Your words, not ours” is the humble tag line that sums up the unique niche of Amy’s Whoopzie Daizie Cardz. “I’m a card addict,” Amy explains. “But for me, greeting cards always seemed a little over the top—the glitter and the butterflies and everything else. I just want them to be simple. Maybe start a thought or give a good impression of what the card will be about on the front, and then let me fill in the words.”

Amy, a 32-year-old Dallas resident, began thinking about starting her own business more than a year and a half before she taxied down the runway. Her career as an airline property manager left her feeling confined. “Both my parents had their own companies, and I always felt claustrophobic working for someone else,” Amy admits. “So I’ve been attracted to the entrepreneurial lifestyle through experience.”

“I was drawn to the card industry because it’s a low-risk industry,” she continues. “Other than printing cards and the other basics, it’s pretty low cost—it’s not like I’m building superconductors.”

To finance her startup venture, Amy secured a $30,000 line of credit from a Texas bank and tapped into personal savings to keep up with her regular living expenses. While securing a line of credit is not typical for a startup that has been in business less than two years, many entrepreneurs are able to leverage personal savings, credit cards, friends and family or home equity loans to get started.

Amy then mapped out three critical areas on which to focus her financial resources in the initial startup phase:

  • designing a dynamic website
  • creating a top-quality product
  • implementing a strategic marketing program.

Let’s take a look at these priorities one by one.

Designing a dynamic website

“First, I had to have a wonderful website because essentially that’s my storefront. I wanted it to look sharp and classy but still convey the personality of Whoopzie Daizie Cardz.” Amy invested $5,000 in her site, which went live in February. This figure includes a web designer’s hourly fees, web hosting costs, domain-name registration, and the purchase of a shopping-cart function that allows Whoopzie Daizie to accept online orders and payments. Amy admits that she chose to go with some of the pricier options when building her site, and that it certainly is possible to build a site for less than $5,000.

Because her company name is long and has an idiosyncratic spelling, Amy reserved two domain names, whoopziedaiziecardz.com and wdcardz.com. The site’s platform was constructed under the first address, and customers who use the shorter name are automatically funneled to the Whoopzie Daizie Cardz site. Amy recommends that business owners whose company names have an unusual spelling—say, Andersen or Hawthorn—consider doing the same. A supplemental domain name can be claimed for less than $100 for a 2-year period, with the opportunity for renewal when the term expires.

Creating a top-quality product

The second critical objective of Amy’s startup strategy for her online retail business was to design and manufacture top-flight greeting cards. She had counted on having to pay $60 to $80 per hour for graphic design services, but luck was on her side. Clay Davis, of Plan 9 Design, was so excited about the fledgling card company that he offered to come on board as Amy’s art director and business partner.

As Clay set about designing the cards, Amy began investigating materials and manufacturing. She quickly realized that there is much more to a piece of paper than meets the eye, and that using two commercial printers would be a practical and cost-effective approach. “The volume of the print run brings down the cost, but then you may have too many cards. That’s what directed me into two types of printing. The digital printing is less costly for the lower volumes, so I printed most of my cards through there and just printed a couple hundred each. The larger, traditional printer I used for the cards that needed to be more precise. I printed a thousand cards each, which is a lot.” All told, Amy spent $1,600 on paper and $5,400 on printing services to create enough inventory to take the site live.

Next, Amy turned her attention to packaging. She splurged on a supply of silk drawstring pouches the same azure blue as the Whoopzie Daizie logo. Each card is individually wrapped in a transparent plastic sleeve, which costs about $0.10, and an insert in the bag tells the company story and informs the buyer that her purchase will benefit a cancer-related charity. My dad died from multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, and my mom had breast cancer, Weaver says. “The donations—20% of my net income—are the focus of all this.”

Implementing a strategic marketing program

When it comes to building out a strategic marketing program —the third and final piece in Amy’s initial startup expenditures for her online retail business—understanding the consumer is of paramount importance. To gather data about customer preferences, Amy and Clay conducted extensive market research. Once they had about 45 design mock-ups, they printed two of each card and hosted a focus group. Their goal was to halve the number of final designs that would go to press. They invited about 50 friends and family members to critique the look and feel of the cards. “Through that focus group we got ideas like ‘The font should be different’ or ‘I don’t like the color’ or ‘I’d never buy this card,’” Weaver remembers. “Thank goodness we have really critical friends who are honest!”

The focus group expenses toted up to about $900, a figure that includes card printing, product displays, food and drinks, and gift bags for each participant. The bags contained Whoopzie Daizie t-shirts, cards, and cookies. Weaver plans to use focus groups again in the future, but she says she’ll be more shrewd in planning the next session. For example, she wants to target women, who make up more than 80% of card buyers, according to the National Greeting Cards Association.

Pricing the product: A carefully constructed marketing plan requires savvy product pricing. In talking with others in the industry, Amy discovered that retail prices of greeting cards generally reflect a 100% markup from wholesale. The psychological tipping point for consumers, she learned, is $4. “Anything above $4, people want something extra, such as a bookmark,” Amy says. She and her director of business development, Megan Wood, applied that rule of thumb to determine that a unit price of $3.75 would be readily accepted by customers and yield a modest profit.

Marketing the product via trade shows: Although her showroom is in cyberspace, Amy wants customers to be able to see and touch her cards. To accomplish this, she has begun exhibiting her product line at trade shows. The first was in Dallas, and Amy spent about $1,000 to create a “bare bones” display that includes several cards enlarged to 2’ x 3’.

Amy’s mother, Sandra Weaver, helped staff the Whoopzie Daizie booth. The entry fee to reserve exhibit space runs from $1,500 to $2,000 at most trade shows. Travel expenses for one or two people will be about $1,000 for out-of-town conventions.

Trade-show attendance is the linchpin of Amy’s clever wholesale-to-retail marketing strategy. “My goal is to try to develop the wholesale end of the business—to get the cards into stores—to develop brand awareness that will drive the retail business to the website.” This approach ties in with Amy’s idea of using Dallas as a test market. For example, Amy plans to deliver gift baskets to the owners of local gift shops and boutiques that might be interested in carrying Whoopzie Daizie cards.

When all was said and done, Amy managed to start Whoopzie Daizie for around $20,000 by allocating her money in the following categories:

  • Website (design, domain name, web hosting, shopping cart): $5,000
  • Product (card stock, printing, packaging): $7,500
  • Market research (focus group party): $900
  • Trade show marketing (one trade show): $2,500
  • Wholesale marketing (gift baskets for local stores): $1,000

Amy is inspired by the challenge of competing with 3,000 other greeting card publishers in the United States. “I’m not someone who is drawn to Vegas or to gamble, so it’s not like starting this business was an impulse decision,” she says. “There’s great risk in what I’m doing, but—man, it’s exciting. Just bring it on.”

Our Bottom Line

Starting an online retail business can take a relatively small amount of capital if you manage your budget wisely. Some of the key ingredients of an online retail startup are: building a dynamic website; creating a top-quality, market-tested product; and developing an innovative marketing strategy. But above all, make sure you understand your market and your unique selling proposition very well, because the competition is pretty stiff out there in cyberspace!

Melissa Martin is a freelance writer for StartupNation.


5 Unique Online Business Ideas, Small But Successful #retail #website


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5 Unique Online Business Ideas, Small But Successful

Entrepreneurship has always fascinated me. I m amazed by the pride and sense of accomplishment that comes with building your own business. and I respect the risks that come with working for yourself. Even if your venture fails, as a business leader you still learn valuable lessons that you can use to make your next attempt more successful.

Taking a successful business model from someone else and building on it is no crime. In fact, it is how most leaders build businesses. It doesn t always take a stroke of genius to get to the top. But when those once-in-a-lifetime ideas strike, your window to act may be small. I don t accept the idea that all of the good ideas have been taken. These five unique businesses are proof that you can find prosperity, even in a market that may not have even existed when you first had your idea.

1. Santa Mail

When I first heard about Santa Mail. I had one of those Why didn t I think of that? moments. The premise couldn t be simpler: Parents order letters for children, and Santa Claus himself puts a note in the mail. For just under $10, your kids will get a personalized letter from Santa that is (genuinely) postmarked from the North Pole in Alaska. The site isn t flashy, but it s simple and effective.

Santa Mail has been around since 2003, and as far as I can tell, it was the first company of its kind. Since then, at least four sites offering the same service have popped up. Even though someone may come along and offer something better, for now, Santa Mail is at the top of its niche.

2. Alchemy Goods

Though recycling has been popular for years, practical-use items made from recyclable items and materials are quickly becoming more desirable. From clothes and bags to water bottles and wallets, these unique items are high-quality goods that let people show off the positive difference they re making for the environment. Alchemy Goods was originally born not out of ingenuity, but of necessity.

When Alchemy owner Eli Reich s messenger bag was stolen, he decided that instead of buying another, he would make one himself. With plenty of bicycle inner tubes lying around, he decided to make it the primary material for his new bag. Long story short, the completed product was a huge hit at the office, and Eli began to make them on a much larger scale. Today, Alchemy products are carried in many stores across the country.

3. Fetal Greetings

The greeting card business has been huge for years, and it seems to get bigger with every passing holiday. Fetal Greetings offers a special opportunity for expecting mothers: To have their baby greet the world in the form of a card! Holly Nill-McKay started the company in 1999, and while the idea may sound strange, I love it. It s a great example of a unique and clever idea that builds on an existing industry. The cards themselves are cute, and they make wonderful surprises to send to family and friends to announce a pregnancy.

4. Something Store

Do you love the feeling of waiting for something in the mail? I know I do, and that s why I tried out Something Store. A few years ago, I saw a piece in a popular magazine about an online store that sells mystery objects. I was intrigued. For $10 (no shipping cost), they send you a random item. It could be anything in the world. Since 2007, they ve shipped over 50,000 somethings to customers who wait with anxious anticipation.

I tried it and received an unusual, metal, spider-like object. It winds up and moves along the floor or tabletop. I looked it up and found that it usually retails for about $28. While I wouldn t necessarily have bought it in the first place, for $10 I got a pretty good deal.

5. I Do Now I Don t

Every day, couples in love get engaged. And every day, couples who have fallen out of love separate or break an engagement. When the latter happened to Josh Opperman, his fiancee was kind enough to return the engagement ring. and he didn t know what to do with it. Since the wholesale markup on engagement rings is insanely high, he would have taken a huge loss in returning it. So instead, he started his business, I Do Now I Don t. an online marketplace for unwanted engagement rings. Customers can buy rings at prices far cheaper than you d find at a traditional store, and you can sell at rates that are better than you d get if you tried to return the ring. Business started booming, and now you can buy and sell other jewelry items there too.

Final Word

This short list of examples just goes to show that not all of the good business ideas are taken just yet. It seems to me that when I get one of those genius ideas, I m always in the shower. By the time I get out and try to remember what was on my mind, it s gone. I hope it is not just me that this happens to.

How do you get inspiration to strike? And what do you do to remember your ideas and put them into action? Share your ideas, or any other unique sites or businesses you ve found. I m always looking for strange and intriguing things.

You are looking at Matthew Breed. He is a 30 year old sports nerd who lives in North Florida with his fiancee, Sarah. Originally in school for a Business degree that did not work out due to capricious youth and irresponsibility, he is currently “getting past” his Peter Pan syndrome and attends classes for a degree in Information Technology while working full time. His care for personal finance stems from a modest upbringing with fiscally responsible parents who highly value education and frown upon frivolity.

I believe in the importance of selecting a type of bussiness thats not very popular or well know When someone thinks about starting a business the things that come to mind are vending machines limo services daycare services and so forth. When in fact its the less well know small business ideas that can often be the right pick. Very often the type of businesses like limo services vending machines daycare are much more closely monitored by local state and the federal goverment. Their may be strict licensing and permit processing requirements strict zoning ordinances may apply. For example If you have a limo service you may not be able to operate from your house. And daycare forget about it their are a mermaid of regulations regarding this type of business. If you pick a business thats not well know or new its most likely less regulated. Take the internet a home based internet business it is likely to be less regulated not because federal state and local busy body bureaucrats do not want to regulate it but because its so new their have not been a lot of laws and regulations passed regarding this type of business. Just give those do nothing busy body bureaucrats twenty years or so and they will take care of that.

http://www.InternetNetworkMarketingTraining.com Corrisa Malone

Yes Internet-based business are less regulated however there is still the FTC regulations that companies and individual have to abide by.

FINAL WORD, put a child s crayon in the shower to write your idea with on the back of shower wall. It wont wash off if you look for the right crayon.


13 simple online business ideas #retail #store #signage


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13 simple online business ideas

Whether it s hobby stores or app development, there are plenty of ways to make some extra cash online. Source: News Limited

STARTING an online business requires a lot less risk than investing in an office or store front.

You can reach a wide national sometimes international customer-base and work from anywhere. With only a basic knowledge of website maintenance and a knack for communication, you can have an online business up and running in days. If you re ready to take the plunge into becoming an online entrepreneur, we ve got 13 ideas to help you get off the ground .

1. Specialised retailer An online store lets you reach customers all over that world and that means you can afford to specialise. Whether it s dollhouse furniture or organic dog food, there s an audience for everything. Using a web hosting service with an integrated shopping cart or e-commerce software, you can have your business up and running in days. Many vendors will even ship products to customers on your behalf which means you don t need to own a lot of inventory.

2. Social media consultant Larger firms can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their Facebook and Twitter accounts, but small businesses often have to take care of their own social media marketing. With so many other responsibilities, business owners may be too busy or overwhelmed to spend time coming up with a great social media strategy. As a consultant, you can help them determine the best tactics, posting schedules and content for their target audience. As their follower count grows, so will your business.

Start your own company consulting on social media strategies. Source: ThinkStock

3. Web design Have you ever been turned off by a business s generic-looking website layout? If you know some HTML and have a good eye for design, you can launch a service to create attractive, easy-to-use websites for small businesses. You can put your skills to good use for business owners who want to take their online presence to the next level. Build up a portfolio of work with smaller freelance jobs, then create your own website to show it off and bring in a steady stream of clients.

4. Resume/cover letter writing It s a tough truth to swallow, but a standout resume and cover letter can make all the difference when you re applying to a job. While listing your career accomplishments might seem like an easy task, the fine art of humble bragging eludes some of us. Get hired to help others get hired by writing stellar CVs. Capitalise on the increasingly important social media branding bandwagon and offer to fix LinkedIn profiles as well.

Help people perfect their CV and cover letter with your own company. Source: Supplied

5. Professional freelancer You might not think of freelancing as a business, but with more and more companies turning to part-time contract workers to fill their skill gaps, it s not hard to imagine making a living providing businesses with a variety of freelance services. Depending on your skill sets, you could work for multiple companies in a variety of fields, offering flexibility and a refreshing change of pace. According to freelance job listing website Freelancer.com, tech services, content creation and web design are popular fields for contract work,

6. Affiliate marketing If you re a person that loves leaving customer reviews on sites like Amazon, stop doing it for free. Word-of-mouth advertising is still a huge lead generator for many companies, and a lot of them are willing to share a portion of their profit with persuasive individuals that will promote their products to the public. If you have a personal website with a large following, this might be easier to accomplish (PR reps are always seeking out brand advocates they can send free samples to). Smart Passive Income breaks down three types of affiliate marketing and explains which one is most profitable.

Starting your own health business is a great way to help people get healthier. Source: Supplied

7. Health/nutrition coach When it comes to nutrition, most people seem to have a mental block: A growing percentage of the adult population is overweight or obese, and many people that want to lose weight and eat better simply don t know where to start. You don t necessarily need to be a registered dietitian (RD) to offer meal plans and diet counselling to your client base, either. With the right combination of personal support and nutrition and exercise knowledge, you could be helping people get healthier through your online service.

8. ebook author Have a ton of knowledge on a particular subject that you want to share with the public? With e-readers becoming more and more commonplace, self-publication is becoming a reality for many writers who might never get picked up by publishing companies. With the right marketing tools, you could successfully publish your own book on anything from cooking and weight loss to real estate. Inbound Pro s advice from successful e-Book authors offers tips for writing content that sells.

Becoming a health consultant can help you earn extra cash. Source: Supplied

9. Remote technical support Many small businesses don t have room in their budget for a full-time IT employee, so when their systems go on the fritz, they ll usually call a computer whiz friend or family member. Eliminate their need to call in a favour and offer immediate remote technical assistance.

10. Vintage store Bargain hunters and second-hand shop enthusiasts can turn a nice profit reselling their vintage clothing finds. Brand yourself by setting up an independent website as your virtual storefront, but use a managed service like Google Checkout to handle transactions. High-resolution images and catchy copy for your products will make you stand out in the sea of internet users trying to sell their used items.

Start your own online store to finance your spending habit. Source: News Limited

11. Handmade craft seller While you could run a clothing shop on sites like Etsy, these platforms are especially suited to crafters who can produce a steady supply of quality handmade items like crocheted blankets or unique painted glassware. Start-up costs are extremely low if you purchase your materials in bulk from a craft supplier, and if you can turn orders around quickly, you ll be making a profit in no time at all. It s even possible to turn your store into a full-time gig.

12. Teaching online courses You don t need a degree in education to teach people how to do something you know inside and out. According to Fox, online course enrolment on the rise, you can help others enrich their lives by offering classes in an area you re passionate about, like yoga or baking. Create instructional packets and videos for download from a website, or schedule real-time Skype lessons with clients.

13. App development Mobile applications are more popular than ever, and people are willing to pay good money for ways to manage their lives from their smartphones. If you have a great idea and happen to know coding, you can run with it and create your app yourself. If you just have an idea, there are plenty of software developers looking to collaborate with people on app creation.


Starting an online retail business – 10 things to consider – Women Unlimited Worldwide #specialty


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Starting an online retail business 10 things to consider

Online retailing is a lucrative business UK shoppers spent £68 billion online in 2011, an increase of 16% from 2012. Thanks to advances in technology it is now easier than ever to try and capitalise on this market. The Middleton’s ‘Party Pieces’ business (even pre Royal Wedding), is a great example of turning a simple concept of creating party bags for children, into a multi-million pound turnover online business, supplying party essentials across the UK.

More and more women are looking to set up their own online businesses. They are faced with the pressures of finding a work-life balance, affording expensive nursery fees and finding precious time with their children. Running an online business from home is the perfect solution.

Ten practical things to consider when setting up an online retailing business:

1. Know your market

It is absolutely essential that you know the market in which you intend to trade. Whether it’s a product or service, you must know everything about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and it certainly helps if you have worked in the industry before. Formulating your business plan will help with this.

2. Business plan

The best place to start your business is by formulating your business plan. This is essentially a document which looks at your strategy logically and helps you to understand everything from finance through to delivery and is as much for your own benefit as it is your bank managers. There are plenty of online guides to building your own business including the one recommended by the government on Businesslink .

3. Financing

Most start-up businesses have some start-up costs. There will be overheads such as stock, marketing i.e. the cost of building your website, storage etc. Therefore your budget will determine where you need to access finance from. The different options available include a bank overdraft, bank loan, equity investment including Business Angels and Venture Capitalists (individuals looking for investment) and the Small Loans Firm Guarantee. Of course if you are really lucky, your own personal savings may suffice.

4. Website

As an online business, your website is your most important selling tool as it is essentially your ‘shop- window’ for the product. Therefore keep it clean and simple to use and relevant to your product or service.

Register your domain

Registering your domain is registering your website name. There are a number of ‘registrars’ that you can do this with some free, some may cost a little but the most important thing is to ensure that the domain is registered in your name and not the registrars. *Domain registrars include:

Find a webhost

A Web host is the company that will rent you space on their servers to host your website. Some of these companies will offer domain registration and it’s easier to have both with the same company. *Therefore web hosting providers are the same as above.

Designing your website

There are two options to complete this task, either by doing it yourself via a template service or hire a web designer to do it for you. The first option can be done via:

  • Hosting company – They offer free site building tools
  • Word Press – Free tool and simple to install
  • Dreamweaver by Adobe – This will take a while to navigate

Hiring a professional is definitely the easiest option and you can either use someone you have met via word of mouth, or you can go through a third party where designers looking for work will advertise their services. These are:

5. Payments

The payment process must be as simple and easy to use as possible, otherwise you risk losing the sale. There are two methods of doing this through online payments or a shopping cart:

Online Payments

Shopping Cart

6. Logistics

Once a customer has made a purchase from your site, you will need to ship the product to them. Your product size and weight will determine how you make the shipment.

  • A simple method is to use a downloadable information product or an online service via E-Junkie.com.
  • A more comprehensive shipment will require a courier e.g. Motivational Fulfilment or Mailing Fulfilment Service Association.

7. Marketing

You need your ‘shop window’ to be as accessible as possible and to reach as many people as possible, therefore you need to consider how you will market your website so that it is ranked favourably online. You can use the following methods to market your site:

  • Register with the three major search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo)
  • Blog in the major blog directories
  • Content marketing, including video and audio podcast
  • Online advertising e.g. Google and Facebook ads
  • Offline marketing (direct mail, company vehicles, print ads, promotional products)
  • You could always outsource this job to an ‘SEO specialist company.’

8. Prospecting

In order for your business to grow you will need to do a fair amount of prospecting for new and existing clients. Capturing customer email addresses when they are making their purchase will give you a contact. Moving forward, a great way to keep in touch is to email them monthly with news, offers and competitions. Using a professional email marketing template accessed via a specialist email marketing company will make this activity look more professional.

Email Marketing Providers include:

9. Track Growth

You need to have some control over your web activity to determine how many visitors to your site, the most popular time for their visit and other criteria which will help to make your marketing campaigns more effective. Google Analytics is a free tool which tracks popular pages, traffic sources and popular keywords etc.

10. Things to think about

You are almost well on your way to launching your start-up online business however there are just a few more things to consider:

  • Tax
  • Banking
  • Licensing and trademarks
  • Accounting
  • Legal matters

Did you follow these steps when setting up an online retail business? What challenges did you face along the way and how have they impacted on your business?

About the Author: Katie Nunwick is a UK based content writer, writing part time for Project Simply: Digital agency Manchester and also writing on a freelance basis. She specialises in writing content for business, finance and well being websites.
Good Luck!


Setting Up an Online Business #merchandising


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Setting up your business on the Internet can be a lucrative way to attract customers, expand your market and increase sales. For the most part, the steps to starting an online business are the same as starting any business. However, doing business online comes with additional legal and financial considerations, particularly in the areas of privacy, security, copyright and taxation.

Rules and regulations for conducting e-commerce apply mainly to online retailers and other businesses that perform consumer transactions by collecting customer data. However, even if you do not sell anything online, laws covering digital rights and online advertising may still apply to you.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the primary federal agency regulating e-commerce activities, including use of commercial emails, online advertising and consumer privacy. FTC’s Online Advertising and Marketing provides an overview of e-commerce rules and regulations.

The following topics provide further information on how to comply with laws and regulations related to e-commerce.

Protecting Your Customers’ Privacy

Learn the necessary steps you should take to protect your customers from identity theft and other misuses of their personal information. Any business that collects personal or financial data either through online sales, credit reports or applications should understand these rules and regulations.

Collecting Sales Tax Over the Internet

If you a run business with a physical storefront, collecting sales tax is pretty straightforward: you charge your customers the sales tax required by the jurisdiction where your business is located. For example, if you operate a retail store in Nashville, Tenn. you collect both state and local sales taxes from customers buying merchandise at your store.

But suppose you start selling your products online. Does that mean you charge them the same sales taxes that you do to those coming into your store? It depends.

If your business has a physical presence in a state, such as a store, office or warehouse, you must collect applicable state and local sales tax from your customers. If you do not have a presence in a particular state, you are not required to collect sales taxes. In legal terms, this physical presence is known as a “nexus.” Each state defines nexus differently, but all agree that if you have a store or office of some sort, a nexus exists. If you are uncertain, whether or not your business qualifies as a physical presence, contact your state’s revenue agency. If you do not have a physical presence in a state, you are not required to collect sales taxes from customers in that state.

This rule is based on a 1992 Supreme Court ruling (Quill v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298, (1992)) in which the justices ruled that states cannot require mail-order businesses, and by extension, online retailers to collect sales tax unless they have a physical presence in the state. The Court reasoned that forcing sellers to comply with over 7,500 tax jurisdictions was too complex for sellers to manage, and would put a strain on interstate commerce.

Keep in mind that not every state and locality has a sales tax. Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon do not have a sales tax. In addition, most states have tax exemptions on certain items, such as food or clothing. If you are charging sales tax, you need be familiar with applicable rates.

Determining which sales tax to charge can be a challenge. Many online retailers use online shopping cart services to handle their sales transactions. Several of these services are programmed to calculate sales tax rates for you.

Personal data is not the only thing protected on the Internet. Digital works, including text, movies, music and art are copyrighted and protected via the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA offers a number of protections for information published to the Internet, as well as other forms of electronic information. Among its many provisions, the DMCA:

Limits Internet service providers from copyright infringement liability for simply transmitting information over the Internet. However, service providers, are expected to, upon notification, remove material from its web sites that appear to constitute copyright infringement.

Limits liability of nonprofit educational institutions for copyright infringement by faculty members or graduate students.

Makes it a crime to circumvent anti-piracy measures built into most commercial software. However, reverse engineering of copyright protection devices is permitted to conduct encryption research, assess product interoperability, and test computer security systems.

Provides exemptions from anti-circumvention provisions for nonprofit libraries, archives, and educational institutions solely for the purpose of making a good faith determination as to whether they wish to obtain authorized access to the work.

Outlaws the manufacture, sale or distribution of devices used to illegally copy software.

Requires that “webcasters” pay licensing fees to record companies.


Tips for launching an online retail business #clothes #retailers


#online retail business

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Tips for launching an online retail business

We were recently joined for a lunchtime masterclass with Caroline Stanbury, founder and CEO of luxury gift website Gift-Library.com .

Caroline shared a wealth of tips and inspiration on her four years running the site, which features handpicked women’s, men’s and children’s gifting and caters to those on any budget.

Check out her advice on everything from funding to product selection and how she tackled the technical side of the website, below.

Picture credit: Rex Features

Getting started

When you decided to start your business, what were the very first steps? I don’t mean writing business plans and getting funding. Did you contact companies whose products you wanted to sell or let them come to you? Do you think ‘what you know’ can ever overcome ‘who you know’ in business?

When you going into any business you need to be confident you can get brands on board – which is extremely difficult to judge! It’s a catch 22 as you don’t have anything to show them but at the same time you need them to believe in you and your vision.

Yes, my contacts did definitely help. I had worked in the fashion industry 10 years prior to setting up Gift Library so used this to my advantage, but it was still hard. Once you can convince one person though, it does become easier.

I would love to know when you got your lighbulb moment for the luxury online business – as I am still waiting for mine!

My lightbulb moment was when I woke up one morning and realised I needed my business! I was working all hours of the day and if I had a spare moment I was with my children, and the only time I had to shop was late at night. I wanted something that would bring all my favourite brands to one place, and so Gift Library was born!

It seems to me that we, as women, went from battling for right to work to ‘must be my own boss’. Do you think that corporate career is something you never wanted and your own business was the only way forward for you?

With the stress of raising money, staff, growing sales and ‘doing it alone’ – a corporate career sometimes seem very attractive!

I get asked a lot if I would start my business if I knew what I know now – and I do wonder sometimes when it has grown to the level it has and my stress levels are through the roof.

However, I find running my own business extremely rewarding and love so many parts of the challenge. I also believe I have been spoilt working for myself and I am not sure if I could go back to working for anyone else. Plus, the rewards are much greater when you have your own business.

My advice to you is if you have a passion to start a company and a great idea then you should definitely consider it.

Product selection and marketing

I was just wondering how you make Gift Library stand out from its competitors? There are so many websites competing in the luxury space it must be hard?

It’s an on-going battle as once you think you have cracked it, someone else comes along.

For us it’s about continuity. We make sure we focus on delivering a great service, that the website is trusted which is why I have my name and face visible on the homepage, and also that we have unrivalled product selection.

I am still hands on. Everything that is sold on Gift Library is picked by me, so that I can make sure quality is paramount. This makes me feel comfortable that we are on the right track.

You have such a beautiful range of items on the Gift Library – how do you shortlist from all the great brands you work with to ensure you always have the very best selection of products on the site?

The key with my choice is the diversity of the brands we have as each season I love to choose a small selection from each brand ensuring that the site is forever evolving and new ideas are being brought to the forefront.

We do however always have a core set of products that we keep too they are so timeless and will always be a fabulous gift. I also travel each season to find new and exciting ideas to share.

What do you look for in a truly great stand-out gift? are there any no-nos which turn you off a potential piece immediately? and any absolute yes’s?

A stand out gift for me is something that is luxurious and slightly frivolous that normally you would not buy for yourself.

A complete non gift for me is practical i.e. I never want to receive an iron or a blender and these will not be on Gift Library.

The technical side

I would love to know how you learnt about building an online business, from commissioning a website to maintaining and developing it. Did you always have a tech person involved the creation or did you teach yourself?

When I started it was like the blind leading the blind, I had no tech person and new nothing about the web except I used it and I love the convenience of being able to shop any hour of the day! I still to this day have Business School For Dummies on my desk!

I went direct to a web developer and learnt all I needed to know the hard way – trial and error – and we built the best site we could on my tiny budget.

Once it was up and running I could see what else need to be built to make it more user friendly etc. Now however I would never undertake this job again without my tech team.

If you could go back and do one thing differently what would it be and what would you do instead?

Knowing all I do now if I was to start again I would have taken a greater interest in the formalities and structure of running and owning a business, instead of handing it to others to formulate it for me.

Like most entrepreneurs I was the visionary and wanted to move on and get started.

Funding

What are your top tips for people trying to start their own business who don’t have much finance behind them?

My advice is to start small. I started at home and had one person helping me in the early days.

Importantly, I wasn’t in a hurry. Don’t think big in the early days. A business is like a wheel, as once it starts it picks up momentum, so you need to make sure your ready to move when things start to pick up. If you’re going in the right direction, and can prove growth, you will always find funding.

I have been in the process of setting up a new business for most of 2012, but a stumbling block is finance. Relatively speaking, I don’t need a huge amount – about £20k. What are the options available? Would you recommend a bank loan, or getting an investor (something I didn’t really want to do), or something else? What did you do?

Well it’s a tough question; its very hard these days to get any sort of a loan with a bank without some sort of security against it which I would not suggest you do.

I started out with friends and family investors but again this comes with having to give equity and some control of your business away.

Work/life balance

I have read before that you have three children. I am also a mum and am keen to set up my own business – did you think its harder starting a company when you have children?

Having children made me think about what I wanted to do and what I wanted to teach my children, and giving them a strong work ethic was important. The challenges are the same but it requires better planning on your part with child care and schooling.

It is tough but its also rewarding when your children are proud, and my daughter loves to come and sit with me in the office. With your own business you have the luxury too of choosing the work hours that suit you and your family.

How do you manage your work / life balance? I know that you must be so busy with running the Gift Library, I wondered if you find the time to do things that you enjoy outside of work?

I make sure that at weekends I switch off completely. In the week, I make sure I see my friends twice (who are the same I have had for 20 years) and put up with me being glued to a telephone constantly!!

With my children, I see them every morning and we have breakfast together as well as bed times and bathtimes. There is a lot of forward planning to make sure they have a fun and structured schedule whilst I am working. It’s not perfect, but it works for us and the children have always had a working mother and are extremely happy!

Did you have to manage a full time job whilst developing your business? I’m struggling to find time to fulfill my current job, work on my business plan AND spend time with friends and family without completely burning myself out!

I did have a job to support myself through the set up of Gift Library as I did not take a salary for about the first three years. so I continued with my styling, it was very stressful but rewarding.

Key is to ask for help when you need it and to write lists so as not to forget things and to be really organised in your day-to-day life.


Top 50 online retailers in the UK: Argos reclaims second place from Apple – Digital


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Top 50 online retailers in the UK: Argos reclaims second place from Apple

Argos is the second most visited online retailer in the UK behind Amazon, reclaiming second place from Apple, according to new data. The research, from Experian Hitwise and IMRG, indicates that Electronics retailers Currys (ranked 15), Comet (30), and PC World (38) all rose up the Hot Shops list this quarter.

Currys and PC World were also ahead year-on-year, up two and three places respectively on February 2011.

This quarter’s five fastest movers in the Hot Shops list were all travel brands. First Choice (up 37 places), Thomas Cook (+23), TravelRepublic.co.uk (+20), Thomson (+15) and Expedia (+12) all climbed in the rankings. Outside of the travel industry the fastest movers were LoveFilm.com (+10), Currys (+6), IKEA (+6) and PC World (+6).

Travel’s winter peak in January saw eleven travel brands rise in the rankings within the top 50. Premier Inn broke into the top 50 for the first time this quarter, and TravelRepublic.co.uk climbed 20 places on November to come back into the top 50.

As expected, this was a strong quarter for travel brands with the five fastest movers of the last three months all coming from this sector. Much like last year, it was the multi-channel travel agencies First Choice, Thomas Cook and Thomson that were the fastest-growing travel sites, although the airlines easyJet, Ryanair and British Airways all rose in the rankings too. By this measure First Choice’s decision last year to switch to purely all- inclusive holidays seems to have paid off, as the travel agency was ranked four places higher this year than in February 2011.

Post-Christmas shopping this year produced the biggest ever day of online shopping, with 96 million UK internet visits going to retail websites on Boxing Day 2011. In January it was the electronics providers and home improvements retailers that saw big increases in online traffic as consumers sought out big ticket items such as TVs, laptops, sofas, wardrobes and bathrooms. Currys, IKEA and PC World all jumped six places in the Hot Shops list since last
quarter, while Homebase and Comet were also among this quarter’s rising websites.

Online-only brands also had a strong quarter. Four of the top 10 in the Hot Shops list this quarter are online-only, including fashion retailer ASOS which climbed two places to 10th position. ASOS was also one of four fashion brands including Next, New Look and Very.co.uk that improved on its position year-on-year. Video rental and streaming site LoveFilm.com climbed 10 places to 18th in the list.

James Murray, Marketing Research Analyst at Experian Hitwise commented: “Travel has done well this quarter despite some really challenging market conditions. In early December many of Europe’s ski resorts were struggling with a lack of snow and things were looking pretty bleak, but massive snowfall in mid-December restored confidence and this together with people planning spring and summer breaks has seen the market bounce back well.

“As we predicted, 2011 was another record-breaking year for online retail with 343 million hours spent shopping online in December. As with Christmas 2010 there is still a gap between multi-channel retailers and online-only retailers. For the last three years multi- channel retailers like Next, Argos and John Lewis have consistently received more traffic than the online-only specialists like Amazon and Play.com. However, some online-only brands are starting to level the playing field, as witnessed by the rise of ASOS, LoveFilm.com and the specialist travel brands in the rankings.”

Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG, commented: “These figures are consistent with what we’re seeing from the IMRG Capgemini Index, where sales in January for the travel sector were up 16% year-on-year, following what was a challenging year in 2011 for the online travel industry. The story is similar for the electronics retailers as well, where growth levels remained below average for the e-retail sector throughout 2011 but returned to fairly steady double-digit growth toward the end of the year.

“The November Hot Shops list coincided with the launch of the iPhone 4S and the passing
of Steve Jobs, which resulted in surges of traffic to displace Argos from second place for the first time. However, Argos has now climbed back to its familiar position, which is unsurprising for a retailer that now makes 40% of its sales online.”

The IMRG-Experian Hitwise Hot Shops List of the top 50 UK e-retailers* is the key indicator of online merchant performance. The List is published quarterly and tracks popularity, as indicated by visits, of those selling goods and services within the IMRG Capgemini Index Classification. This List is based on January 2012 data. The IMRG-Experian Hitwise Hot Shops List excludes eBay and price comparison / aggregator websites such as Kelkoo and Froogle.

** IMRG Capgemini Index Classification: Beer / wine / spirits; Books; CDs / tapes / records; Clothing / footwear / accessories; Computer hardware / peripherals / consumables; Consumer electronics; Digital downloads (e.g. music, software); Flowers; Food, beverages and household supplies; Furniture; Garden / DIY; Health and beauty; Home appliances (e.g. washing machines); Household goods (e.g. kitchenware, bedding); Jewellery / watches; Software; Sporting goods; Tickets (e.g. cinema, theatre, events); Toys; Travel (e.g. flights, holidays, hotels, car hire); Video games; Videos / DVDs


Home Jobs Today – Increase Your Income Working Online! #retail #employment #agencies


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Home Jobs Today Review

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So few people consider this career because they usually know nothing about it. Home Jobs Today has created a system that can teach anyone how to be successful earning online. After becoming a member all information and tools needed will be provided. After spending a day to learn the system you could be on your way to turning a profit. If you have the ability to access the internet and a couple hours a week to utilize that is all you will need. To start earning online and boost your income fill out the form seen below and apply for your membership!

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Ten years ago chances are most people had not even accessed the internet. With technology advancing the internet has become a household item. Devices like the smartphone has also granted internet access at any time of the day from any area. The Home Jobs Today system was designed to target this extremely vast market. Members can make a profit online without having to make phone calls or sell.

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Do you ever dream about having your own business and working for yourself? Starting your own business is very difficult. New business owners must take a lot of risks and potentially lose all of their money. The Home Jobs Today system puts members in charge. By joining today you will be essentially working for yourself. Being your own boss also means that all your earnings are yours, not your bosses!

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Top 10 Websites for Cheap Online Shopping #retail #resume #examples


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Top 10 Websites for Shopping on the Cheap

Tell me if this sounds familiar: you’re relaxing in bed on a Sunday with a cup of coffee, coaxing the knot out of your brain left after five margaritas at Cabo Cantina, and flipping through the latest issue of Vogue. Bazaar. or Elle. After two hundred pages of Zac Posen dresses, Louboutin heels, Marc Jacobs bags, and “Smart Splurges Under $500,” you begin to cry.

Even if you traded in that hard-earned internship for a paid job delivering pizzas; even if you dropped out of school and stopped paying tuition; even if you sold a kidney, maybe two, on the black market in Thailand you still wouldn’t be able to afford a pair of $14,000 knee high alligator boots from Manolo Blahnik, or a $20,000 Hermes “Birkin” bag.

If you’re a dedicated follower of fashion like me, but poor as hell (like me), you need to know about these cheap online shopping websites: (In alphabetical order.)

amazon.com This site isn’t just for discounted books anymore. Amazon’s apparel and accessories department offers equally amazing deals on clothing, bags, and shoes from all the top labels. There are deals for every price range from over-the-knee patent boots from Jimmy Choo for $379 ($620 off the original price) to Seven7 skinny jeans for $18, a 70% mark down.

asos.com As Seen on Screen is a British company that specializes in trendy fashion items that are based on (or the same as) items worn by your favorite celebrities. They’ve got ASOS brand leather knee-high gladiators in the style of Ashley Olsen for £55 (about $102), a studded belt identical to the one Carrie wore in the “Sex and the City” movie for £15 (about $28), and an amazing selection of items from independent designers like a sheer chiffon floral top by To Love Kuvaa for £30 (about $56).

fashionjunkee.com This is by far the best place to find imitation designer purses. If you’re thousands of miles from Canal Street (or if the idea of Canal Street makes you retch), you’ll love Fashion Junkee. Their “Inspired by Marc Jacobs” Stam bag is a ridiculously low $46, and their “Inspired by Balenciaga” motorcycle bag is only $58 and comes in twenty different colors.

forever21.com This is the store that definitely sucks away the biggest portion of my paycheck. See a plaid Dolce Gabbana skirt on the fall runway you’re dying to have? Chances are they’ve got a similar item in their store for about a thousand dollars less. But the store can get crowded, and the music they play is annoying, so shopping online is a godsend. They add new merchandise everyday so visit often. Also, be sure to check out their higher end (as in, a few extra Hamiltons) label Twelve by Twelve and their accessories line For Love 21 .

knowlabel.com This isn’t a designer label (Know Label, get it?), but if you don’t care what the tag says then this is an amazing website to find high quality clothing at low prices. My favorite items include a little black party dress with rosettes in the style of Philip Lim for $48, and a white silk pleated babydoll top with black ribbon trim that looks like it was taken off the back of Chloe Sevigny, also only $48.

newport-news.com This site is really all about the shoes. They’ve got dresses, bikinis, and lingerie, but these items tend to be for older women, mostly in their 30s. Skip over that stuff and go right to the footwear. They’ve got a pair of studded platform oxford booties currently on sale for $39 (was $49) that I’ve been dying to buy and classic t-strap pumps in a range of colors for only $29.

rustyzipper.com This is like a flea market you don’t have to wake up at 6 AM and drive to. They’ve got hundreds of vintage items for men and women all for around $30. Shoes, pants, dresses, all categorized by style (“Disco,” “Hippie,” etc.) and era (from the 1940s to today).

target.com I try to stay away from actual Target stores because I find that I walk in just trying to buy paper towels and come home with two bras, a pair of jeans, and a George Foreman Grill. I stick to target.com to keep myself from over-shopping and to make sure that what I walk in for is what I walk away with. In recent years they’ve also earned major style points with their Go International designer labels. Currently it’s Richard Chai ’s turn, but my favorite was definitely Proenza Schouler’s line. I wear their bustier top all the time!

topshop.com Supposedly the British high street chain Topshop is coming to America, but until it makes it to your city, you’ll have to settle for browsing the runway worthy duds and Kate Moss designed separates online.

Has anyone got a favorite discount shopping site they d like to add to this list? I m always looking for new places to burn through my savings.